Sunday, July 31, 2011

Selfish Critcism Can Poison Relationships

"Now let me take a moment here to note that we must take care in our families not to cause spiritual or emotional snakebites in the first place! In much of today's popular culture, the virtues of forgiveness and kindness are belittled, while ridicule, anger, and harsh criticism are encouraged. If we are not careful, we can fall prey to these habits within our own homes and families and soon find ourselves criticizing our spouse, our children, our extended family members. Let us not hurt the ones we love the most by selfish criticism! In our families, small argumens and petty criticisms, if allowed to go unchecked, can poison relationships and escalate into estrangements, even abuse and divorce. Instead, just like we learned with the poisonous venom, we must 'make full haste' to reduce arguments, eliminate ridicule, do away with criticism, and remove resentment and anger. We cannot afford to let such dangerous passions ruminate--not even one day."

-Daved E. Sorensen

Saturday, July 16, 2011


This week has been full of experiences that I need to remember. I sent a very important APOLOGY letter that has finally given my soul peace and closure. I had my heart BROKEN... again. I have learned to appreciate my TRUE FRIENDS & FAMILY as they continually lift me up. And I have relearned that MY SAVIOR loves me and knows who I am.

As I am about to celebrate my 23rd birthday I thought back to what my life was 5-years-ago. It always seems to be the question everyone asks "Where do you see yourself in 5/10 years?" Well 5-years-ago I thought I would be finished will college, have an amazing career, be married, and have at least one child.

I am proud to say that after the month of August I will have graduated college. Granted I will be going back for my ultrasound tech license, but hey lets not be downers;) Other than that, nothing on my list has come to pass. And you know what? I wouldn't change it for the world! I have learned and grown so much over the past 5 years. And though it has not been ideal all the time, it has been an amazing journey.

"It's funny how THINGS CHANGE.

How NOTHING ON THAT LIST went as I initally planned.

How what you THINK YOU WANT out of life evolves as real life unfolds.

My path has changed so many times over the last few years."


Constant evolution.



-qoute taken from a friends blog

Thursday, July 14, 2011

When I say HAPPY you say BIRTHDAY!

Micaiah Anne Stones born July 14, 1992!

I can't believe my little sister is 19-years-old today! I called my mom the other day for a little pick me up...she told me that when Abby and Mike got their own rooms and were no longer sharing they would invite each other to sleepovers in each others rooms. They would send each other invites with a "date, time, place, and activities"! They also would have "freeze outs" in each others rooms. This is where they would open up the windows and turn on all the fans in their rooms because they didn't want the little bugs to come through the screen; and they just knew that if they had a "freeze out" the little bugs wouldn't come through the screen! My sisters are adorable, but since it is Micaiah's birthday we are going to personalize it to, Micaiah is adorable! Lets not bring up the fact though that I never got invited to any of these sleepovers. Apparently its a very exclusive club!

Micaiah is extremely talented, beautiful, caring, hard working, self-motivated, an amazing dancer, quirky in all the best ways, very real, honest (ok lets be honest she is down right blunt), slow to complain, and one of my very best friends:) I love you Micaiah more than you will ever know and I wish you the happiest birthday! I look forward to watching you grow and excel in all that you do. Through the thick and the thin we will remain close and be besties for always and forever!


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Self-Esteem Month

For the month of July my topic of study has been self-esteem. I have read some of the most amazing talks...and want to remember some of the qoutes that stick out to me the most.

"I would like to say one thing to the young men(& Sarai): don’t take too much counsel from your fears." - James E. Faust

"Indeed, the self-esteem that I speak of this evening is not blind, arrogant, vain, self-love but rather a self-esteem that is self-respecting, honest, and without conceit. It is born of inner peace and strength." - James E. Faust

"The Worth of the Unsung
In my long life I have observed that the greatest respect is owed not necessarily to the rich or the famous but to the quiet, unsung, unknown heroes whose true identity, like the Unknown Soldier, is known only to God. The unsung often have little of status, but much of worth.
Example of the Unsung
When I was growing up in the Cottonwood area of Salt Lake County, it was the rural part of the valley. One of the men who had the greatest dignity and commanded the greatest respect was an old Scandinavian brother who, after walking a couple of miles, traveled by streetcar to work at the Salt Lake City Cemetery and back every day. His work was to water and mow the grass, tend the flowers, and dig the graves. He said little because he did not speak English well, but he was always where he should be, doing what he should be doing in a most dignified, exemplary way. He had no problems with ego or with faith, for while he dug graves for a living, he felt his work was to serve God. He was a man of little status but of great worth." - James E. Faust

"Worth has little to do with age. It has everything to do with service. The Lord has made it clear that worthiness is built upon service, not just to family and friends but also to strangers and even enemies. From Milton’s Paradise Lost comes this truth:
Oft-times nothing profits moreThen self-esteem, grounded on just and rightWell manag’d" - James E. Faust

Six Keys for Healthy Self-Esteem

First: Keep your agency
- “This means we must not surrender self-control nor yield to habits that bind, to addiction that enslaves, nor to conduct that destroys.”
Second: Humility – “I mean the humility that comes with inner strength and peace. It is the humility that allows us to accept and live with our own warts, without cosmetics to hide them. It is important to learn to live with our uncorrectable physical and mental defects without complaint or explanation.”
Third: Honesty – “Honest begins with being true to one’s own self. Being true to one’s own self is the essence of honesty and a keystone of self-esteem.”
Fourth: Love of Work – “It doesn’t matter what people say about me, or what I say; what matters is what I accomplish. What we accomplish helps our self-esteem.”
Fifth: Ability to Love – “The commandment given by the Savior was to love other and yourself. Am I secure enough in my love of myself to laugh at myself, to admit mistakes, to graciously accept a compliment? Am I secure in my love others to smile and say hello to a perfect stranger?”
Sixth: Love of God – “The most essential key to self-esteem is the love of God…There are many whose self-esteem has been so devastated by the loss of loved ones, by divorce, of by other misfortunes…It is important to remember and never forget that all of us, male and female, were created in the image of God and created by God. Mankind is the noblest of all creations…so it is that nobody is a nobody. The seeds of divinity are in all of us…The day will come when we will all have to account to God for what we have done with that portion of divinity that is within us…I testify that God loves each of us – warts and all. I testify that each of us has a potential in this life and beyond the grave that exceeds our fondest dreams."

I have to live with myself,

and soI want to be fit for myself to know;

I want to go out with my head erect,

I want to deserve all men’s respect;

I never can hide myself from me,

I see what others may never see,

I never can fool myself—and so,Whatever happens,

I want to beSelf-respecting and conscience free.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

"A Better Me, A Better Marriage:Developing Emotional Integrity" - Victor L. Brown, Jr.

Marriage is designed to last forever. Ordained of God, it should bind two hearts as one. But no marriage is without problems. Each contains its own unique combination of frustrations and frictions.

Naturally, we want our own marriages to succeed, so we turn to books and theories about relationships between spouses—books on marital communication, physical satisfaction, child-rearing methods, and family activities. Yet, as I have worked with couples, I have observed that individual preparation is necessary before interaction between spouses can be truly effective. This personal preparation results in what I callemotional integrity.

Emotional integrity is the personal achievement of emotional strength, discipline, and completeness that remains constant no matter what others say or do. It includes both a control of emotions and an honest acknowledgement of them—pleasant or unpleasant. When we achieve emotional integrity, we are steady, consistent, and resilient. Our actions are not determined by the actions of our companions. We are emotionally resilient within ourselves, more enjoyable to live with, and easier to communicate with. We have put our own emotional “houses” in order and are thereby prepared for effective communication with others.

As I have worked with people, I have found five principles that promote this emotional integrity. The individuals in the following examples (their names and certain circumstances have been changed) developed integrity on their own, independent of their spouses. They learned to accept responsibility for their own behavior and to strive to become more Christlike in their actions. As I watched them develop this personal capacity, I saw strong marriages made stronger, weak ones strengthened, and even failing ones saved.

Principle: We must establish self-esteem

An ability to feel secure and confident in our abilities and in the direction of our lives is a must in marriage. Yet too often we undermine ourselves by judging ourselves harshly or by comparing ourselves with others. We often allow our feelings of self-worth to be challenged by the standards of the worldly. For example, a feeling of worth based on adherence to principles of the gospel—kindness, warmth, and faithfulness—is often undermined by a culture that celebrates winning rather than participating, wealth rather than thrift, fame rather than honor, and status rather than service.

Each of us is a child of God, with unique traits, talents, and abilities. Our worth is inherent. While others can help us recognize our God-given gifts, they cannot give us self-esteem. We must cultivate our own self-esteem. We must learn to recognize our good qualities and work at overcoming our weaknesses without constantly berating ourselves.

I recall one woman, whom I’ll call Ella, who as a child was criticized harshly by her parents and peers. Later, as an adult, during and after Relief Society lessons she became discouraged as she compared herself to the other sisters. She was certain that they were all more intelligent, better organized, and stronger in the gospel than she was. Her husband began to avoid her after Relief Society because she was so unpleasant.

Eventually, Ella saw that her self-condemning attitude was harming her testimony and her marriage. She decided to change. Taking specific inventory of herself, she made a list of strengths and weaknesses. At first, she had trouble accepting her strengths, and she all too readily accepted her weaknesses as permanent and unchangeable. However, using the list, she determined to overcome one weakness and to hone one strength at a time.

Through her self-evaluation, she discovered that one of her weaknesses was a quick tongue. Realizing the hurt her retorts could cause, she practiced thinking before she spoke. Eventually, as she ceased to wound others through thoughtless remarks, she gained a new sense of self-mastery. She also honed her housekeeping skills, which gave her tangible evidence of achievement in something that was important to her and was a service to others.

Service is always an essential part of developing self-esteem. Narrow, self-centered obsession with perfection can become an emotional disability. But when we consciously and reasonably set out to sharpen and polish a talent in an effort to serve God and others, we begin to feel good about ourselves.

After overcoming a few of her weaknesses and refining a few of her strengths, Ella began to believe that she was a person of worth. She did not expect confirmation or praise from others for her efforts. Hers was an internal, personal effort—an effort to live in accordance with God’s laws. Her self-esteem really was self-esteem. And, as her self-esteem increased, her marriage improved. Her husband began to relax and enjoy her obviously more pleasant outlook and behavior. Then he, too, began to examine and improve himself—with beneficial results.

Principle: We must heal our own emotional wounds

Many of us have old hurts—emotional wounds—from past relationships. Emotional wounds have various origins—a childhood home that was unsettled or even violent, unsatisfactory peer relations, a transient family that left us feeling rootless, or failure to achieve some of our goals and dreams. Whatever the source, many of us allow these unhealed wounds to continue hurting us.

Too often we expect our spouse to heal our wounds for us. This is neither logical nor practical. Blair was such a person. His mother was an exceptionally dominating, even unkind, person. An only child, Blair resented his mother’s dominance, even after she died. He fiercely resisted his wife’s slightest expression of opinion or preference. He wanted—and kept—total control over finances, discipline of their three children, housekeeping, recreation, prayer, and church attendance. His wife desperately tried to say or do things that would satisfy or pacify him, but nothing seemed to work. Assuming that she was at fault, she sank into despair.

Blair’s wounds began to heal when he came to see that he was reacting to all women as if they were reflections of his mother. To learn more about his mother, he did genealogy work and interviewed relatives. As he listened with compassion to tapes of oral histories, he began to see his mother as a person, not just as his parent. And he learned to understand her struggles as she tried to succeed in what she perceived as her role as a wife and mother. Eventually he was able to forgive his mother, and by accepting the responsibility for healing his own wounds, Blair was able to relieve many of the pressures that were undermining his marriage.

Principle: We achieve effective communication through respect and courtesy, not through complex techniques

When we try to say just the right words in just the right way in order to elicit just the right response, our communications tend to become defensive and calculated rather than spontaneous and natural. Effective interviewers and counselors know that true communication takes place only when people sincerely respect and desire to hear what others have to say. Most people respond well to honest sincerity.

However, many of us put ourselves in situations like that of Ruben, who took pride in the communication techniques he had learned from his sales training. Knowing of his wife’s unhappy childhood, he earnestly tried to get her to talk whenever she became upset. Unfortunately, because Ruben was rather mechanical and scrutinizing, relying more on technique than on the love he felt for his wife, he intimidated rather than encouraged her. As she would tense up, he would press harder, applying probing techniques until there was very little heart-to-heart communication.

The solution lay almost totally with Ruben. He learned to care enough about his wife to recognize that often she needed respect more than she needed to talk. As he allowed his love for her to guide him, he learned to watch for nonverbal nuances. If he asked a question and she did not respond immediately, he did not press her for an answer. On more than one occasion, he went days without pressing issues, confining himself to simple courtesies, thoughtful actions, and words such as “please” and “thank you.” As he concentrated on creating a climate of respect instead of trying to get his wife to open up, she responded with increasing trust, and their communication improved steadily.

Principle: We achieve perfection step by step through preparation, repeated practice, and adherence to the Savior’s example

The Savior said, “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” (Matt. 5:48.) But perfection is difficult to achieve, and often takes a lifetime—or more—to attain. Some people give up and turn to immoral pleasures. Some strive for perfection in an area in which they are gifted and become obsessed with career, intellectual growth, civic service, or material acquisition. Others despair of ever being perfect, yet press on dutifully—and miserably. Still others adopt a harsh view, stressing the letter of the law like their philosophical ancestors, the Pharisees.

But we should not be discouraged by the Savior’s admonition to be perfect. God truly loves us. We are his children. His Son came to earth to sacrifice himself for our sins that we might have joy and return to our Father in Heaven. The perfection expected of us is a lifelong effort of patience, growth, observance of law, and reliance on the redeeming mercy of a loving Father and Son.

Laurie learned this by trying to be more Christlike in her relationship with her husband. She had a need for order; her husband did not. She shed many tears after she repeatedly lashed out at her husband for his casual and not very tidy ways. However, Laurie realized that her feelings and actions were not in line with the Savior’s example. Rather than condemning her husband, she determined to work on her own attitude. She thought of how Christ would have handled such situations, and planned how she would react to her husband’s next offense. With a Christlike attitude, she found there was no room for fault-finding. She ceased to react unpleasantly. Though it took weeks before her husband’s untidiness no longer bothered her, she found that while she waited for her husband to come home each day, she found herself planning to listen to him, to join him in a few quiet moments, and to help him relax from the tensions of the day.

These actions did not decrease her need for order. But as she learned to deal with the problem cheerfully, this approach became second nature. As much as she wanted it, her husband never did improve enough to be considered tidy. But after a while it did not matter much, because she found that her ability to control her temper was enormously satisfying, far more than having all his socks in the dresser drawer. She had, in fact, come a long way toward achieving emotional integrity.

Principle: The covenants of God provide guidelines and rewards for achieving emotional integrity

President Joseph Fielding Smith explained that Heavenly Father’s covenants are not negotiated with us. (See Answers to Gospel Questions,comp. Joseph Fielding Smith, Jr., 5 vols., Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1957–66, 4:155–60.) Rather, our Father in Heaven offers us blessings predicated on obedience to laws. He sets the conditions and covenants to grant us the blessings as we meet them. We can keep or break the covenant, but we cannot set the conditions or make counteroffers to our Creator. Yet sometimes we act as if we can modify the laws of our all-knowing, all-loving Father.

Stephen wanted to make such a counteroffer. He admitted to his bishop that he and his wife were not happy together and wondered if they should get a divorce. After assuring himself that there was no transgression requiring Church discipline, the bishop reminded Stephen of his covenants—that he had vowed in the temple not only to remain married for eternity but also to be a Christlike husband.

Stephen was unhappy with his bishop’s reaction. Saturated by conditional morality and self-absorption, Stephen tried to tell the bishop of his wife’s shortcomings and of his need to be happy. But the bishop simply urged Stephen to get the movie Johnny Lingo from the meetinghouse library and carefully review it. And he challenged Stephen to spend the next twelve months living his covenants before considering the matter of divorce again.

The bishop did not do much counseling; he simply reminded Stephen of his solemn oath before God. Prompted by the Spirit, he plainly but kindly told his brother what was right and wrong. And fortunately, Stephen had retained enough integrity to recognize that he had made a covenant with the Lord—a covenant that he could not take lightly.

For twelve months Stephen honored his covenants, trying to treat his wife in a Christlike manner. Rather than worrying about whether she was alluring enough to make him happy, he concentrated on honoring his priesthood. At the end of the year, Stephen reported to the bishop that he had developed an appreciation and love for his wife that had far surpassed his expectations.

For Stephen, individual obedience led to blessings in his marital relationship. Repenting and submitting himself to such rigorous self-discipline was not convenient or easy. But as he grew in personal righteousness, he gained a healing peace that was far more tangible, complete, and enjoyable than the so-called “happiness” he had sought. And his long-suffering wife gained a loving companion who had learned to nurture rather than undermine her.

The Basic Principle: Follow the Savior

Most of these examples tell of fairly serious problems. Not all marriages are on the brink of collapse. But many serious problems can be prevented or solved if each partner concentrates on living the gospel before trying to change his or her spouse.

These five principles are not exhaustive, nor does the ideal of emotional integrity imply that cooperation is not needed in marriage. But experience teaches that strong, rewarding marriages incorporate some or all of the five principles as the basis for effective cooperation, communication, and companionship. Without them, grave misunderstandings often arise.

Yet, as important as these five principles are, there is one upon which all of them are based. The Savior’s life is the one true, complete example of emotional integrity. The Latter-day Saints whom I have watched attain emotional wholeness have, of necessity, studied and strived to emulate the life of Jesus Christ. He lived in this world and experienced mortal emotions. He celebrated with friends and relatives. He experienced temptation in the wilderness. In righteous anger he drove greedy men from the temple grounds. He wept with joy at the purity of little children and with sorrow at the death of friends. Weary from teaching and healing, he withdrew to recuperate. In the closing scenes of his mortal life, he yearned for companionship as he suffered unspeakable pain for others’ sins. Viciously abused, he still forgave the soldiers who killed him.

Christ’s mortal experiences demonstrate an integrity that remained unchanged even when he was left without spiritual comfort and cried, “Why hast thou forsaken me?” (Matt. 27:46.)

His perfection ought not discourage us. Rather, we should be encouraged that he knows, perfectly well, what we are going through. Obedience to his laws helps us gain mastery of our emotions, and we, in so doing, are able more fully to express and receive love.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

River Rafting Part 1

Mid June my family booked a trip to raft the Lochsa River in Idaho. The river is beautiful, the guides were hilarious, the weather was a little chilly, and the rapids were insane! I have done a little river rafting in the past on the Green River during family reunions, where the river is going so slow you have to paddle just to creep slowly down the river. The Lochsa on the other hand was wicked fast, with class 4 rapids mingled with class 5 features. For those of you who don't know what that means (I didn't before I went rafting) it means you better have a really good guide and be ready to paddle til your arms ache!

Some highlights of the trip:

1. Losing reception in the mountains and trying to use a land line with limited quarters; phone not working and the clerk not letting us use the phone inside the lodge! More specifically Rachel's mouth falling wide open at how rude the clerk was.

2. Roasting lil' smokies over the fire, smores, dutch oven chicken and peach cobbler.

3. Hot cocoa every morning when it was freezing cold and raining outside:)

4. Abby, Mike, and I sleeping in the van instead of the tents.

5. Trying to heat up rocks to put in our sleeping bags so we wouldn't freeze at night (instead we burned towels).

6. Seeing everyone in wet suits; not flattering.

7. Being grateful we were wearing wet suits. It was freezing.

8. The adrenaline rush of river rafting the Lochsa River.

9. Not flipping our raft on the Lochsa Falls!

10. Discovering that my mom gets really chatty when she gets nervous! Everytime we were going through big rapids she starting talking really high pitched and really fast. I tried to answer her one time and got a mouth full of freezing Lochsa River.

11. Our guides were hilarious!

12. Sitting around the campfire dead tired after our river rafting expedition.

Part two will follow after I get my water proof camera developed!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

4th of July Weekend!


"Behold, this is a chioce land, and whatsoever nation shall possess it shall be free from bondage, and from captivity, and from all other nations under heaven, if they will but serve the God of the land, who is Jesus Christ."

-Ether 2: 12

For the 4th of July we had a blast! Bronwyn, Brook, and I met up with some friends at the Canyons in Park City for a live band and fireworks on the 3rd!

The Blues band was amazing! We had a blast dancing around to Tina Turner remixes!

For the actual 4th of JULY I had to work all day (which was ok by me because the sun apparently forgot it was summer and it was cloudy all day!) and then headed down to the Sugarhouse Fireworks in Salt Lake! It was my first time going to this firework show and it was amazing!

Some of you may not know my Chilean popstar friend Brook! She really is a Chilean popstar! How lucky am I?!;)

Then there is the oh so exotic Bronwyn (right of the chilean popstar)! she is from Korea but grew up in South Africa, Texas, and now resides in Utah!

This is my friend Taylor. He thinks he is pretty "Baller" so we had to do an impersonation pictures of him! How did I do?

Happy 4th of July!