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To anyone needing to be brave

This video is about breast cancer but really….anyone needing to be brave.  Pass it on. xoxo

The Fall and the Rise

Last Night.  Sunday Night.  After a glorious conference weekend.  I crashed.  I burned.  I fell hard.  All my crazy came together at once and it was not pretty.  But then I rose.  I sang.  I flew.  That is the cycle of living and the rhythm of feeling.

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“If vulnerability and pain are the price of love, then joy is its reward.  That was the lesson Adam and Eve learn in the Garden, but the principle was rooted in the heavens.  As surely as the dark gives meaning to the dawn, so does pain give meaning to pleasure, and sorrow to joy.  All that we love, all that we strive for, all that we relish, we know only by contrast.  The lesson of creation is that the world acquires its meaning only through differentiation.  It is in separating the light from the darkness, that God’s work of the first day is complete.  And so He continues day by day, making a distinction between what is of the heavens, and what is of the earth, where the water flows, and where the land begins, the domain of the stars and the province of the moon…In the Garden story, good and evil are found on the same tree, not in separate orchards.  Good and evil give meaning and definition to each other…All that exists in our world of meaning must exist in paired opposition…God does not instigate pain or suffering, but He can weave it into His purposes.” -the god who weeps

You see, my life is good.  Hard, but really good.  I often consciously choose joy, not effortlessly.  And I think I came to a place where I was forgetting.  There was little remembrance placed on the goodness of my little world.  And I needed reminding.  I also needed reminding of the power and movement of God.  Of a Heavenly Father who can and does work many miracles.  One is to take the human soul from a place of despair to a place of joy.

“God’s power rests not on totalizing omnipotence, but on His ability to alchemize suffering, tragedy, and loss into wisdom, understanding, and joy.”  See here.

Going through hard things is hard.  And last night really sucked…until it became beautiful.  I guess I am sharing this because…I love you.  And if you are experiencing anything close to the complete mental breakdown I had last night, I want you to know that things will get better.  And when they are better they will be Oh So Good.

 

to marriage or mismarriage

See HERE for the first case of mismarriage.

I am sitting at Starbucks right now observing a young couple.  They just met for the first time.  I am not sure if this is a set-up or a result of an online dating site.  Either way it’s pretty awesome.  The hope of a “maybe.”  The bliss of a “what if.”  As I sip my salted caramel hot chocolate I wonder if I will ever feel that again.  There is so much excitement in the possibility of love.  The drama of not knowing whether a thing is or a thing will be.  But there is the dream…

And I suppose that is where it all begins.

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Finding ourselves

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“We don’t discover who we are by sitting alone on a mountaintop and meditating, or by being introspective and ‘going deeper,’ as valuable as these disciplines may be.  The royal road for both discovering and reinventing the self is through our relationships with other people.”  Harriet Lerner

I knew that principle was true the moment I read it.  I have a friend who is constantly traveling the world.  Which is great and there are many reasons for one to do so.  But for him, he was trying to “find himself.”  And that was always so sad to me.  You can learn a lot about life and people and maybe form a picture from that of who you do or do not want to be.  But it is through people not places that we become ourselves. And possibly our best selves.

“Holiness is found in how we treat others, not in how we contemplate the cosmos.  As our experiences in marriages, families, and friendship teach us, it takes relationships to provide the friction that wears down our rough edges and sanctifies us.  Then, and only then, those relationships become the environment in which those perfected virtues are best enjoyed.” Terryl Givens

My dear friend is still searching.

Losing her confidence

In the book The Beginning of Better Days, author Virginia H. Pearce shares an experience that took place during the last stages of her husband’s illness.  She relates, “He wore a mask over his mouth and nose to enable him to breathe more easily.  He depended on others to situate the mask properly so that the air forced through it didn’t escape and blow into his eyes.  One morning, for whatever reason, I was having difficulty fitting the mask successfully.  I thought I was doing what I had always done, and then he would signal that it wasn’t working.  I tried again and again as he waited patiently, and I became slightly frustrated.  I finally got it right, and just as I turned to attend to something else, he said something.  I couldn’t understand him, and he repeated it.  Still unable to understand him through the mask, I took it off, only to find that he just wanted to thank me.  Of course, now I had to go through the frustration of trying to get it on right yet again!  The amazing part of this little tale is not my frustration and annoyance, but Jim’s interpretation and reaction to it.  He didn’t say anything immediately, but when the nurse came that afternoon, he asked her – with great effort—to ‘help Ginny with the mask.  She’s losing her confidence.

That interpretation and response, I believe is what true charity looks like.  Rather than be offended and hurt by my behavior, he interpreted my actions as having come from a place of ignorance rather than flawed character.

When we are filled with charity, we understand that the behavior of others is most often motivated by their desires to do good, even when that is not the reality of their actions.  President Monson articulates it well: ‘I have in mind the charity that impels us to be sympathetic, compassionate, and merciful, not only in times of sickness and affliction and distress but also in times of weakness or error on the parts of others.’

When we give a charitable response to someone, rather than an accusatory or defensive one, we inspire and motivate others to open their hearts and try harder to make things right.  True charity in our everyday encounters with one another leads to everyday miracles.”

Wherefore, my beloved brethren, pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ; that ye may become the sons of God; that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is; that we may have this hope; that we may be purified even as he is pure. Amen.  (Moroni 7:48)

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Damn Near Anything

In the book that I talk about HERE it says, “The body can take damn near anything.  It’s the mind that needs training.”  I have been thinking about this a lot lately.  It’s true.  Our bodies can endure just about everything.  Think about all the terrible things we put into our bodies.  The harsh things we expose it to.  Bodies that survive cancers and radiations.  I also think about athletes who push their bodies to the limits.  The body can take damn near anything!  We just need to believe it can.  That is what I have been trying to work on lately.  My mind.  My thinking is my greatest enemy or my greatest motivator.  This past month I have been really struggling.  Struggling with guilt.  And guilt paralizes me.  I also have been struggling with thoughts of worthiness (see HERE for more on that). SO…..

Here are a list of tools that I recommend to help reset your mind and reset your body (Beginning with my favorites):

Prayer and the Atonement of  Jesus Christ.

Addiction Recovery Program Guide

Willpower is Not Enough by A. Dean Byrd and Mark D. Chamberlain

Intuitive Eating by Everlyn Tribole and Elyse Resch

Overcoming Overeating by Jane R. Hirschmann and Carol H. Munter

and Chris Powell whom I love and adore.  I am going to marry a man like Chris Powell.  Just putting that out into the universe…

A picture of Chris Powell because WHY NOT?

A picture of Chris Powell because WHY NOT?

 

What is to be done

The past few weeks I have been in a very bad head space.  I have been having a lot of trouble liking who I am.  Feeling like I can’t do anything right.  Like I fail at everything I do.  I constantly compare myself to others.  It is killing me.  I do not have time for this.  I have important things to do.  I know whatever I am going through I cannot overcome on my own.  This is an opportunity to grow my relationship with my Savior and experience His power.  I know the video above is about knowing what is true.  As I watched it today I related it to my current situation and feelings about myself.  Right after writing this I am getting down on my knees to ask what is to be done?  What is true?  I invite you to do the same.  After reading, get on your knees and offer up whatever is in your heart and on your mind.  Let him know what is going on with you, inside of you and ask WHAT IS TO BE DONE?  I know we will all receive an answer.  xoxonicole

Love is Greater

“As an inmate of a concentration camp, Corrie TenBoom heard a commotion, and saw a short distance away a prison guard mercilessly beating a female prisoner.  “What can we do for these people?” Corrie whispered.  “Show them that love is greater,” Betsie replied.  In that moment, Corrie realized her sister’s focus was on the prison guard, not the victim she was watching.  Betsie saw the world through a different lens.  She considered the actions of greatest moral gravity to be the ones we originate, not the ones we suffer (Taken from The God Who Weeps by Terryl and Fiona Givens p.80).”

In 3 Nephi 27:27 Christ asks the question, “What manner of men ought ye to be?”

“What is always at stake in any decision we make is what that choice turns us into.  We may suffer the unfortunate consequences of other people’s choices.  People may honor or abuse us, harm or nourish us.  But for the most part, it is our own choices that shape our identity (Givens p.81)”

So what manner of men ought we to be?

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“Verily I say unto you, even as I am.”

photo of Christ by Mark Mabry // to view more visit Reflections of Christ

I am almost scared to voice these raw feelings….

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I have followed this woman’s BLOG for a long time now.  I love it.  Today I read about a recent chemical miscarriage she had.  My heart goes out to her.  When I was reading about her experience, I was experiencing something strange and heartbreaking of my own.  I was doing more than just empathizing with Natalie, I was actually feeling many of the feelings she was describing.  Now I am not married.  I am single.  I have not even had sex.  No baby-making going on in my life.  But so many times I have felt the loss of a child.  The loss of a life.  Could being single be some form of miscarriage?  I know that sound ridiculous.  But really….  Many times I can feel my body needing, craving, yearning to have a baby.  To create life.  And I am not talking about my body wanting to have sex.  Different feeling.  This is my body saying “Why?  You have been created for this very purpose.  Lets start this thing!  I am prepared!”  I guess that is probably me feeling my “biological clock ticking.”  But seriously, in those times of missed opportunities to connect with someone, not having the courage to say “hey, I kinda like you,” coming home from lame dates or not getting asked out at all…. I know this probably sounds over dramatic but I can’t be the only one out there who has felt this.  Felt this loss of life.  This “I will not become a mother this year.”  The loss of excitement when you realize that nothing will ever go anywhere between you and this guy which means you will not be having his baby.  Because I can’t start being a mother if I can’t even start in a relationship.  A miscarriage.  A mis-marriage.  A mis-life-as-a-mother.  A mis-this-is-what-it-feels-like-to-be-pregnant, to push a human being out of my vagina, to have my body heal after giving birth, to take care of a new born on no sleep, to enter into parenthood with my husband, to learn to be married AND have a child, two children.  The loss of being a grandmother, a great grandmother.  I too “recognize that familiar feeling of sudden, stark absence even in a tornado.”  And Natalie is right, sometimes there is nothing left to do but curl up in the couch and let it take its course.

Lone Survivor

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So I am reading this book, Lone Survivor by Marcus Luttrell.  Yesterday I read half of it.  Wow.  I don’t even know what to say.  I am really into it, that is for sure.  Yesterday I was listening to it while I was running and got lost in it.  Ended up running ten miles without stopping.  Perfect thing for me to read over the 4th.  Thank you to everyone that has, is and will serve for this country.  I cannot properly express the deep emotion that I feel for you and the sacrifices you make.  

“Lone Survivor, recounts the tragic story of a four-man team of U.S. Navy SEALs on a covert mission in a remote sector of Afghanistan five and one-half years ago. When they were inadvertently discovered by shepherds—two men and a boy—these specially trained Navy servicemen had a choice either to kill the two or let them go, knowing that if they let them live they would disclose the team’s location and they would be attacked immediately by al Qaeda and Taliban forces. Nevertheless, they let the innocent shepherds go, and in the firefight that followed, only the author, Marcus Luttrell, survived against well over 100 attackers.

In his book, Luttrell recounts the extreme training and endurance required for one to qualify as a SEAL in the U.S. Navy. In Luttrell’s training group, for example, of the 164 men who began, only 32 managed to complete the course. They endured weeks of near-constant physical exertion, in and out of cold ocean water, swimming, paddling and carrying inflatable boats, running in sand, doing hundreds of push-ups a day, carrying logs through obstacle courses, and so forth. They were in a near-perpetual state of exhaustion.

I was impressed by something a senior officer said to the group as they began the final and most demanding phase of their training.

“First of all,” he said, “I do not want you to give in to the pressure of the moment. Whenever you’re hurting bad, just hang in there. Finish the day. Then, if you’re still feeling bad, think about it long and hard before you decide to quit. Second, take it one day at a time. One [phase] at a time.

“Don’t let your thoughts run away with you, don’t start planning to bail out because you’re worried about the future and how much you can take. Don’t look ahead to the pain. Just get through the day, and there’s a wonderful career ahead of you.” (see Talk by Elder Christofferson)

It should come as no surprise to anyone that I am into this book.  I have always been into the secret agent stuff.  Read about how I once applied to the CIA here.  One of these days I am going to take one of those wilderness survival courses.  Knowing how to survive in the bush on nothing intrigues me.  I just don’t want to be alone in the dark.  Haha.  I do not know why I have always been so drawn to this kind of thing.  Maybe it is because it is in such contrast to my personality.  When I was on my mission I made one of my comps dress up as a “spy” with me and we took Pictures.  We got Sister Juhos good!

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I also met a man who was a real life spy in the middle east.  He was actually part of a group that raided Saddam Hussein’s bother’s home.  He had all this memorabilia that he was allowed to take from the home. (In the picture below we are being dorks.  The paintball gun is not loaded. And I have deep respect for my friend and his work.  I was also very happy he let me dress up in his salwar kameez!!!)

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Back to the Book.  I was so inspired by this book that last night I stayed up until morning roaming around the Navy Seal website.  I spent forever looking a knives (who am I??) and reminiscing about watching Brother Mann teach all the marines how to handle those dangerous weapons.  While on the site I also fell in love with the Navy Seal Warrior Creed (below).  As you read it think of it in the gospel sense.  When I have a family of my own I am going to use this as a template for my own family ethos.

In times of war or uncertainty there is a special breed of warrior ready to answer our Nation’s call. A common man with uncommon desire to succeed.

Forged by adversity, he stands alongside America’s finest special operations forces to serve his country, the American people, and protect their way of life.

I am that man.

My Trident is a symbol of honor and heritage. Bestowed upon me by the heroes that have gone before, it embodies the trust of those I have sworn to protect. By wearing the Trident I accept the responsibility of my chosen profession and way of life. It is a privilege that I must earn every day.

My loyalty to Country and Team is beyond reproach. I humbly serve as a guardian to my fellow Americans always ready to defend those who are unable to defend themselves. I do not advertise the nature of my work, nor seek recognition for my actions. I voluntarily accept the inherent hazards of my profession, placing the welfare and security of others before my own.

I serve with honor on and off the battlefield. The ability to control my emotions and my actions, regardless of circumstance, sets me apart from other men.

Uncompromising integrity is my standard. My character and honor are steadfast. My word is my bond.

We expect to lead and be led. In the absence of orders I will take charge, lead my teammates and accomplish the mission. I lead by example in all situations.

I will never quit. I persevere and thrive on adversity. My Nation expects me to be physically harder and mentally stronger than my enemies. If knocked down, I will get back up, every time. I will draw on every remaining ounce of strength to protect my teammates and to accomplish our mission. I am never out of the fight.

We demand discipline. We expect innovation. The lives of my teammates and the success of our mission depend on me – my technical skill, tactical proficiency, and attention to detail. My training is never complete.

We train for war and fight to win. I stand ready to bring the full spectrum of combat power to bear in order to achieve my mission and the goals established by my country. The execution of my duties will be swift and violent when required yet guided by the very principles that I serve to defend.

Brave men have fought and died building the proud tradition and feared reputation that I am bound to uphold. In the worst of conditions, the legacy of my teammates steadies my resolve and silently guides my every deed. I will not fail.

Red Wing

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Anyway, I am loving this book.  If I am not feeling crazy anxious I am crying over it.  It moves me.  Moves me beyond myself.  I know God has blessed these men.  And really, all His children.

 

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