What the World Needs Now…

Image result for sunrise

Our world is continuing to darken.  Each day we see more evidence of the consequence of sin, selfish choices, hate, violence and despair. For those who remain faithful to their religious values, there is this feeling that they are in the minority.  Our numbers are dwindling, or so it seems.  What lies ahead?  Is it truly worth the fight? Friends, neighbors, and people who you thought were “rock solid” are succumbing to ways of the world.  Darkness is creeping in.  Will it overcome the light?  Your light?

Tonight as you prepare to go to bed, I’d like you to do something very simple.  Take a flashlight with you to your room… turn off all of the lights so that the room is completely dark.  As you sit in this darkness, think about where we are as a world today, identify some of the emotions that come to you while you process this thought.  Loneliness, fear, desperation, and anxiety might be some that you can identify.

Now it’s time for something amazing… Turn on the flashlight……….. What just happened? The light has just overcome the darkness. The darkness right in front of you has disappeared. It was replaced by the light.  Now, just using the darkness, try to overcome the light.  Take lots and lots of darkness and try to snuff out the light…. Keep trying….Try as hard as you can. Were you able to do it?

Light will ALWAYS overcome darkness… ALWAYS!!  But darkness can never overcome the light.  The only way for that to occur is if we turn off the light.  You have total control over the switch.  There will always be light around you as long as you leave the switch on.

What happens when you introduce another flashlight into the room?  The room gets brighter, thus eliminating more of the darkness.  And so it goes until the darkness has been totally eliminated by the overpowering of light.

My call to all of you is simple.  We must first choose to keep our flashlight on.  Don’t listen to the whispers of sin, temptation and darkness. As we choose goodness and righteous living, we can enjoy peace even when we are surrounded by the contention of the world.

Secondly, WE NEED EACH OTHER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Surround yourself with others that have chosen to keep their lights on as well. Family, friends, church members, etc.  We must stay close to one another.  We must bring our lights to their houses, and they must have the opportunity to bring theirs to ours.  Identify who these people are in your life. Stay close to them. Serve them.  Love them and their families, for this is what will recharge your flashlight batteries.

“Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid. 15Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. 16Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”

Are numbers are strong, but just shy and bashful.  Be proud of your light. If you feel that you do not have others in your life that have this light, join us here. I invite you to share your thoughts on this blog.  Let’s help one another as we connect, to show the world that we are still here.

I also invite others who have been overcome with darkness, that you might know that there is still peace on this earth.  You will find it in bits and pieces as you associate with those still clinging to their light, and the principles of goodness which they cherish.  Come and rest your soul in the meadows of HIS love.

We Need … Peacemakers

Image result for Let there be peace

Us versus them… Me against you… My way, not yours… and so goes today’s thinking.

I’d like all of you to think about the one in your family who always seemed to be the one to bring peace to the group. What was their side of an argument?  Were they for this… or against that? (Are you ready for a big reveal?) To them, it’s not about opinion, or choosing sides. Their vision, purpose, and devotion was always about one thing… Bringing Peace.

“Peace”… The word itself just feels… awesome, doesn’t it?

Peacemakers are unselfish. They put aside their own wants and opinions, and work towards bettering the group.  To bring others together, find common ground, and redirect others towards reasonable thoughts, ideas and solutions.

There is a very selfish movement in our world today.  People want what THEY want.. at all costs.  Many don’t even know what they are fighting for, but are driven by the sole thought of what they do not want.  This is very obvious in politics, but perhaps more subtle in the groups of people in our own lives.

So, go to your closet, and dust off the Halloween cape.  We need hero’s right about now.  DO you see the light beam over your city, calling out for help? Your skills, and talents are needed… your brothers and sisters need you.  We need peacemakers.

So, can one person make a difference?

Look at your world.  Who does it involve?  You have family, neighbors, friends, coworkers, and strangers in your life.  There are also others that are beyond your reach of closeness.  So for now, we will eliminate those others far away.

The people who you are around everyday… this is your mission… To be the peacemaker in this circle of humanity.  So now, let me ask you the same question.  Can you… one person, make a difference?  YES YOU CAN!!!  Want more peace in your life?  Then YOU become the instigator of that peace.

The tools that you will need to accomplish your mission.

Love.  Develop a genuine love for other people. This is one of the basic needs that we all have… To love and to Be loved.  You have this wired in your DNA.  Let it lose.  Loving others actually accomplishes the second part of that need, for when you love others, you feel loved.  It can start with you…. and is not necessary to wait for someone else to show love first. Love, and feel loved.  Hmmm… interesting, huh?

Understanding. People want to be heard.  Allow them to talk through issues and explain why they feel the way that they do.  As people share their feelings, the other party has an opportunity to hear the other side, to which understanding can develop on their end as well. Resolution comes from understanding one another.

Find Common Ground. What feels like a fight between two parties, can end up as three people working together to reach common ground.  You do not need to choose sides, rather, let the three of you discover what might be the best solution. Many people have not been taught the concept of “give-and-take”. You can take the lead of the conversation and introduce the concept of compromise.  This is essentially negotiating.  What are some of the things that each side is willing to give to the other?  As one side sees the other side give, it’s likely that they too will be willing to give up something.  This is the secret to being a peacemaker. When both sides give, peace is inevitable.

Now, you have your assignment.  Let peace begin with us.  This is not a battle we fight, yet a Divine teaching that will bring light to a darkened world. You will notice that as you fulfill this assignment, others will gravitate towards you as they associate you with this light. People are searching for someone to help them navigate through the emotions of hate, contention, and fighting.  You have the light… it’s time that you hold it up high for others to see.

 

 

Both of Me Are Bi-Polar =)=

Image result for bipolar

I’m writing this post to my bi-polar friends… Especially the ones who I have not met yet.  I want you to understand what is happening inside of your mind. And, most importantly, I want you to recognize these conditions, not as personal weaknesses of yours, but rather resulting behavior of your condition.

Mental illness is just that… It’s an illness… just like diabetes, it is a medical condition not asked for, but once understood, can lead to effective treatment and a better life for you.  Don’t be ashamed to call it what it is… Your brain, just like other organs in your body has received some deficiencies and genetic imbalances, that are a challenge for you to navigate through.  I’d like to offer some thoughts for you to consider.

Bi-polar is a roller coaster ride of ups and downs. This might be over a period of time, or your mood could change in a split second.  Those feelings that you have (when perhaps people call you moody) are a condition of the disease.  You can be HAPPY… even giddy at times, and then swing to the lowest of lows, stuck in the pits of depression. Again… realize this is not a weakness of yours.  It’s not that you are trying to act this way… it is a very normal trait of the illness.

You might even like the mood of mania, especially after depression occurs, but sometimes this high does not stop at a comfortable level. Your mood might accelerate to you becoming irritable, your behavior unpredictable, and your judgment impaired. During periods of mania, people frequently behave impulsively, make reckless decisions and take unusual risks.  Understand this about yourself. Recognize when you are in the danger zone of mania, and put your guard up a bit not to get caught up in those decisions, or make those mistakes.

Now, the depression side.  This is the easiest to understand, yet the most difficult to navigate through.  From my experience, this can not be resolved without the key component of medication.  There are other tools that are important and can be used during these periods, but medication… the right brand, and the right dose, are game changers.  This behavior, when extreme, can not be resolved by just trying harder.  The medication produces the balance that your brain needs, just like insulin that assists the diabetic.

Specific types of Mental illness are a challenge to diagnose. And… one size does not fit all in treatment.  But if you can identify with some of these behaviors, your very first step is to visit a medical provider and begin treatment.  Right medication… right dose again… this is an important factor. It takes time to find that balance.  Do not give us by saying, “I’ve already tried meds, they don’t work”.  It took me a year, and trying 8 different medications to find relief.  Give yourself the time to zone in on the right stuff.

A second thought is.. Don’t get stuck in your own mind.  Let me explain.  We all have conversations in our mind.  I am not talking about hearing voices… but we have thoughts, that lead to other thoughts. This is called “Self talk”.  During self talk we think of what we are experiencing, and how bad or good life is. This talk usually leads us down a non healthy path. For example, “Here we go again. I’m feeling depressed. I hate to feel this way. Am I losing my mind? I have no desire to keep trying. I’m getting to be a burden for others. I’m not strong…..” and so it goes.  If you stay there in your mind, it is unhealthy and dangerous.  You need to “get out of your own mind” and redirect your thinking.

However, self talk can also be positive and redirected.  Instead of taking you down, recognize that you are in this state, and begin to self talk in a positive sense. “Oh… I’m slipping again, but I have people who love me. I can distract my thinking by listening to music. I love my friends, this is my depression period, it will pass… etc”.

What else helps?  Exercise!  Just do something that gets your heart rate up for 20 minutes or more several time a week.  Exercise releases endorphins and serotonin… the “feel good” chemicals.  Now… you’ll exercise to get some of those… right?

The last thought that I want to give you for this post is…There is a healing benefit to “Talk Therapy”.  Talking to someone else about your condition.  But, what do you talk about? This is the time to explain your thoughts and feelings. You are not looking for solutions from the other person, but you are getting lots of thoughts and feelings out to someone who will intently listen.  If you feel misunderstood (another symptom of your condition), talk therapy is the perfect time to speak those thoughts. Listen to what you say. Release what you have been holding back.  Talk it out…You will find this to be effective in healing your mind.

This is just the tip of the bi-polar iceberg.  But, just enough for you begin to understand yourself more. I believe in you… I care about you… and I’m excited to join the team that is helping you find sunshine on a rainy day. =)

 

“I’ve Had ENOUGH!! I Quit!” Overcoming Discouragement

Image result for discouragement

  • Worn Out
  • Tired
  • Rejected
  • Fear

…Sound familiar? We have all been there. But even though this is a common feeling, when you are in its grasp, it can be a very powerful, destructive emotion to battle with. I’d like to offer my thoughts in dealing with this concept, yet perhaps from a different approach.

First off… No one’s life goes as planned.  Read that once again….  No one’s life goes as planned…  Now this time, read it and believe it… No one’s life goes as planned.

When we are young, we have our entire life planned out. Go to school.. Marry the perfect companion… Have beautiful children who will respond with my upbringing request as the Brady Bunch kids did with their parents…Have the perfect job… Experience no financial stress… Enjoy good health… Then die with my spouse on the same night in our sleep.  You’re smiling, but be honest… aren’t these close to your expectations?

We have to begin by looking at our expectations of life. There are so many factors that we had not planned on when we initially set those expectations. “Life Gets In The Way!” People get sick; Family members have their own free agency going against what choices might make perfect sense to you; And there is this……………………….

The very reason that we have been placed on this planet……….. GROWTH!  Don’t tune me out on this one… I would guess that most of your frustrations have come because of the pounding challenges that you are faced with… right?  Why is life so stinking hard at times?  THIS happens, and then THIS happens, at the same time THIS happens… STOP!!!!!!!  Why so many challenges?

C. S. Lewis…. Do you love his writings?  I do.  Check this out…

He talked about God’s transforming power, and what He is doing in our life. We sometimes see these problems  as discouragement or bad luck which leads us to experience frustration.  But let’s look at life through C. J. Lewis’ words:

“Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on; you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably. … You see, He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of. … You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself.”

God is involved in all of our lives, (thank heaven)! He is allowing difficult events to take place in our lives in order to build a better, stronger version of you. (Is this helping?)

Expect challenge!  Expect hard times! Expect illness! Then… embrace it when it comes knocking on your door. For these are the tools that are refining us intro something greater than ourselves.

Additionally, take a moment to push despair aside, and consider all that you have in your life… whatever that is.  Your sight, family, friends, talent, and…. your ability to brighten someones day.

Back off a bit… slow life down… breathe! You don’t have to be the best at everything.  Just… TRY your best!

One last thought.  Ask for help at times when you need it.  From others… and …From God. Perhaps the very lesson of life that you are struggling with, which is leading to your discouragement, might just be pride.  =)

Yesterday, he didn’t know he could! Today, he doesn’t think he cant.

Image result for baby bird flying

The young life of a bird can certainly teach us something amazing. Up until this time, he had no idea what he was about to accomplish. His life consisted of chirping when mom’s feet would land on the nest. She always answered his call by providing food and a warm place to rest. But… that was all just yesterday.. Today was going to be a very different day.

It might have been the subtle push from mom, or a feeling inside of doing something instinctively crazy. It started with what must have been a horrifying fall. He left the nest, and then the baby bird began to TRY. No experience… No pep-talk… No logic or reasoning… He just tried to do what he felt inside…. “FLAP YOUR ARMS”. His focus must have immediately changed from the horror of being hurt to… HIS GREATEST ACCOMPLISHMENT! “I can Fly”!!

Even from our perspective, as you look at this picture, would any of you give these two any chance of a successful flight? Not Me. Look at how little their wings are… Their weight has to be too much to Saba tosh their Nobel intent of flying. What else would you say they don’t have going for them?

However… he did it, because he tried…. and gave it his best. That first flight I’m sure was a bit of a controlled crash, but it was the beginning of his greatest skill… to fly high.
You and I limit ourselves by logic sometimes don’t we? I can’t do this because (insert answer here).. Sometimes it might be easier to not even try. What if we fail? What if we embarrass ourselves?

I ask all of you to join me in a blog experiment. For the next month, I challenge all of us to….. TRY…AND GIVE IT OUR BEST. That’s it. When life approaches you with a challenge, for this next month, we will not debate with ourselves if we are going to accept the challenge or not…. but our answer will ALWAYS be..I’m going to try…. and give it our best. I’m going to take the inspiration found through the picture of this little bird…to try…. and give it my best.

I’d like you to post your experiences on my blog. Tell us all the stories… Tell us what you learned…and…Tell us how this has the potential to change your life.

Remember… one month… until March 5th…you’ve got your assignment…. TRY… and give it your best…and we are all waiting to hear your experiences.

 

Why People – “Self-Harm”

Image result for self harm

You’ve just discovered someone in your life is hurting themselves on purpose.  Our immediate thoughts are, “Why would someone hurt themselves on purpose? What would lead a person to believe that this was somehow a solution to any problem?” Let’s take a minute to understand the possible causes of this behavior.

Most often, in looking back on a child or teenage person displaying this behavior, there has been some type of trauma, neglect, abuse or traumatic event in that person’s life.  Whatever the reason, that person is not able to process these tragic events.  Cutting, or self harm becomes a coping mechanism in dealing with such pain.

It might not make sense to others…. “So why self inflict more pain to deal with the original pain?  That seems backwards in their thinking”.

Think of it this way.  When a person is not sure how to deal with emotions, they “shelf” the pain.  Self harm is a way for them to release the pain.  Emotional pain is not seen. Physical pain is visible… “When I cut myself, it makes scene that I am hurting.  I see the blood coming from my body.  There is a purpose to my pain… the cut.” This is the logical thinking of someone self harming.

Additionally, when a person injures themselves, endorphins or pain killing hormones are released into the body, causing that persons mood to elevate.  There is an additional comfort associated with the self harm pain.

From the original emotional pain caused by traumatic experiences, emotional numbness is created. There are not coping skills taught to those who experience this…. and… herein lies the challenge.

First and foremost, the person needs to understand why they are self harming.  In their mind it is simple.  “When life gets too hard, I cut myself, and I feel better.” But, dig deeper… There is a reason that you cut yourself… What have been the emotional challenges in your life?  This might be more effective when discussed with a professional, or someone who can guide you through the process of identifying this underlying cause.

A second clue is to ask yourself, “What are my triggers? What is my mental state prior to cutting myself?  Am I stressed, made fun of, or scared?”  There is a reason why you self harm. Identifying the cause is the first part of treatment.

Secondly, after you have identified the cause, it time to move towards a successful solution in dealing with “the trauma”.  Up until now, cutting has been the solution.  But, just know that there are other solutions even more effective than what you are currently experiencing. And, these other solutions do not bring the shame, and guilt that are associated with self harm.

Here are some solutions to consider:

  • Dialectical behavior therapy, a type of CBT that teaches behavioral skills to help you tolerate distress, manage or regulate your emotions, and improve your relationships with others
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), which helps you identify unhealthy, negative beliefs and behaviors and replace them with healthy, adaptive ones
  • Dialectical behavior therapy, a type of CBT that teaches behavioral skills to help you tolerate distress, manage or regulate your emotions, and improve your relationships with others
  • Mindfulness-based therapies, which help you live in the present, appropriately perceive the thoughts and actions of those around you to reduce your anxiety and depression, and improve your general well-being.

If professional assistance is not available, find a trusted friend.  They can be key in your recovery as well. You should express the problem that you are facing which is causing you to consider self harm. Let that person talk through other reasonable solutions in dealing with your issue. Learn to find success in expressing discomfort as a way to release your emotional pain. Getting outside of your own head is a big part of being healthy.

You can find successful solutions.  There is hope. Identify the underlying reasons, and move forward in processing your emotions differently. You can and will find a peaceful life once again.

Annie…A Journey Like No Other!

annie final

Perhaps, once in a lifetime, we are made aware of a person who has overcome difficulties on a scale beyond comprehension.  I choose this day to pay tribute to such a woman, Fawn Ann Stevens Wilde… My mother…”Annie”.

Born on a beautiful summer day, she was the last of 7 children, living in Ferron Utah.  Times then were difficult for all families. That was the time of the great depression.

It was a cold frigid morning, February 17th, 1927, Annie was just 2 years old.  Her father answered the call to travel up to Indian Canyon to clear a road that had been covered by an avalanche slide. With a kiss on the cheek to his little girl, he was out the door.  That would be the last kiss that she received from her dad, as he was tragically killed while on the mountain from another avalanche.

Devastated, the family continued on without their dad. But this event would only be the beginning of an incredible tale.  One that almost seems too difficult to comprehend.

Time marched on. Annie was looking forward to her 8th birthday.  A time for celebration of family recognition and love.  But this birthday would damper Annie’s desire to ever celebrate a birthday again.  For you see, Annie’s mother tragically died from an illness on Annie’s birthday.  She was confused as to why there would be no party for her on this day, and why her mother was no longer with them.

Can you even imagine the sence of loss that she must have felt? The pillars in her life as she grew up… Mom… and Dad were both gone.  At such a young age, where do you find stability to continue.  Left alone… or so it must have seemed.  Abandoned? Who would she run to share her worries and concerns.  Future accomplishments? What would be the point? Her young life had been tarnished with the loss of the two closest people in her life.

Living now in a parent-less home, Annie had two sisters, Nona 21 and Laurine who was 16.  Who would raise these two young children?

Nona was asked before her mom died if she could handle the responsibility, with the assistance of her grandparents. She agreed to accept the task. “I promise Mama… I will take care of them,” was her verbal committment.  And so a plan developed.  Annie would have some source of stability in her life.

Yet again, tragedy raised its head.  Both of her grandparents would both die within a year of losing Annie’s mom.  It was Nona… Young, and by herself. Thrust into the adult responsibility of raising two children.

Death was frequent in Annie’s life. Her brother Floyd was tragically killed in an auto accident when she was 13 years old.  He left a wife and two small children.

Both of her parents, …grandparents… and brother… had all left this earth life..Leaving Annie behind at such a young age. Five seprate deaths. How would she process each of these?  Especially in a period of time when emotions were not always discussed with one another.

It’s not hard for me to become overwhelmed when I think of this happening to my mom.  I myself have felt empty on the few occasions that my mom wasnt there for me when I got home from school, or my dad not in the stands of my little league baseball game.  But those experiences, as small as they are in comparison, give me some insight to the incredible emptiness that must have been my mothers constant companion. I admire her ability to continue on… to somehow find the desire to smile again, and look for positive events to build upon.

A very guarded Nona spoke of having her true love who was serving a LDS mission at the time of her mother’s death.  There plans prior to his leaving on his mission were to someday wed, with him becoming a doctor, and Nona a nurse.  But with the changes that she had now as a mother, when he returned home from his mission, things did not go as planned.

nona

She repeatedly stated that she had made the right choice, but I feel that she must have truly experienced some disappointment that her fairy tale life had become so different than it must have played out in her mind.

The events that I have just written frequent my mind often.  I have found Annie and Nona to be important influences in my life.  I admire their strength!  I also have two great examples of people who were give challenges… that they did not ask for, yet they pushed through …successfully.  They have taught me to be unselfish, and that life is simply not just about what we wish for, or even expect.  They are shining examples of not questioning God, or running away from Him, because of being given more than their share of hardships. They ran toward Him, and He saw them through.

I want all of you who are reading this to know about these two women.  Their sacrifices have been, in most part, silent to the world.  Yet to me, they are legendary and inspiring.

We can all benefit from their examples.  We CAN overcome! We CAN do it! Life is not so-called “fair”! Do not take your challenges and let them become the face of you being a victim.  Let your challenges define you in positive aspects of accomplishment, victory, and improved self-worth. It is not about what we could have become under different circumstances, but what we have become because of how our life’s course, changed by the curves of destiny.

Mom… I love you! I miss you deeply. I will continue to follow your example of trudging forward.  And, Nona, there is a throne of glory for you as a result of your sacrifice. Your life has influenced ALL that have known you.

I choose to carry the torch which you have lite, and hope to make a difference in others lives just as you have.  Thank you for giving of yourself, and weaving such a strong family bond for us all to grasp in times of trials.  Rest in peace beautiful angles.