Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Miss me?

Did ya miss me? I was enjoying my WHOLE family in the beautiful mountains of Colorado!
I have got so much to write about that! But I have so many other things that need to come first!! 

One of them being a darling set of twins that are turning three tomorrow!! 

Oh my goodness!! 

It has been a month since I started on "my blessed body" journey. So much I have learned, and so much I still get to learn. Everyday is trial, error, and a whole lotta brushing myself off and getting back up.(Mostly emotionally--I don't fall down often) I saw a little clip of a Rocky movie today. I haven't ever watched those movies, but after this clip--I almost wanna!

I love this line, 
"Until ya start believing in YOURSELF, 
you ain't gonna have a life." 
- Rocky Balboa

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Let your light so shine!

A couple of weeks ago I went to my first aqua zumba class. I had tried zumba before and loved it.  For those who don’t know, it is a latin-dance-inspired workout. Basically this white girl can’t dance like that very well. Yet I know that as long as I move my body, it doesn’t matter if I don’t get the moves right! I when I was aqua zumba on the pool schedule, I knew that I would love it!

I went to my first class and it confirmed my theory—aqua zumba is the most fun thing on the planet! It was a ton of fun dance moves, yet you aren’t self-conscious at all because you are under water! And when sweat is pouring down your face, you can just grab a handful of water and splash yourself. And due to the compression of the water, your muscles don’t get tired as easy.

Latin dancing by nature is very sexy. The instructor was well qualified and her confidence in what she did exuded from her. He had a huge smile ear to ear the whole time we were working out. As I followed her, I couldn’t help but smile with her. As she radiated confidence, I couldn’t help but to feel confident. I might even admit that I felt a little sexy.

When I noticed that I felt so good because she was projecting all of those good emotions, I thought to myself, “if I looked that good, I could feel that good all of the time.” Then and only then did I notice that she didn’t have the perfect body. Now let me make it clear, she was very healthy—she just wasn’t perfect.

We don’t need a perfect body to feel good about ourselves. The amazing thing is that when we genuinely feel good about ourselves, we give others permission to feel the same way. Genuine confidence in ourselves is contagious. If we have true confidence, it isn’t boastful, proud or arrogant. True confidence can be found in knowing that you are doing what God wants you to do. It can be found in having a great relationship with God and seeing yourself the way he sees you. God doesn’t care about a perfect body (according to the world’s standards.) He wants a perfect heart.

Feeling bad about ourselves only causes us to shrink and not perform the work God has for us to do on this earth. This all reminds me of one of my favorite quotes. It was given to me by an amazing lady that I met on my mission. She was a lady that had many talents, and used them to let the light of God shine through her.

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” –Marianne Williamson

This quote is often attributed to Nelson Mandela.

So this pioneer day, I encourage all of us to find something that lets God’s light shine through us with the intent to liberate others from the darkness of self-doubt and shame. We all can push forward as the pioneers—onward ever onward as we glory in His name!!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

How would it change you?

Picture credit
Today I went to W.A. and then swam laps afterward (mostly because I slept in!) When I was getting in the lap pool I overheard three women talking. One was in the pool and the others were standing on the side looking as if they were done with their work out. I hadn't heard the conversation but what I heard had a profound impact on my swim. 

One of ladies leaving mentioned to the woman in the water that her father had died when she was 16. The lady in the water inquired as to what he died from and she replied, heart disease. Then she said, "I vowed ever since then that I would run everyday."

I have heard of others that lost their parents at a young age from similar circumstances. How would it change you? How would it have changed this dad if he would have known a couple of years earlier? How would it have changed him if he could have seen how she would to his passing?

Now I have to be VERY careful here because I think there is a HUGE misconception about overweight people. I was very surprised last week in *primary when a visitor couldn't stop talking about my weight and what the other kids said in response. It just shows me how people explain weight to their kids. I think in most cases there is something broken either physically or emotionally. I don't know this girl's dad and what caused his illness. Yet I do know that it changed her. And it probably changed her for the better. She has probably benefited so much from a healthier lifestyle. Yet just by her words, I could tell she missed her dad, and wished so bad that he could be around.

So as I swam, I swam for my heart. I hoped my efforts would not only help me, but help my kids have a mom a little longer. And if not longer--a happier mom for as long as God allows me to be on this earth with them.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Excuses or solutions?

Excuses or solutions?
I have always loved swimming. This is me--maybe 11 or 12? I was on a swim team.
 I remember starting to be conscious about my body around this time.
I also remember deciding that I wouldn't let being embarrassed of my body keep me from swimming.
(I am the one on the right)

So now I had found my love of water aerobics (w.a.). How in the world was I going to be able to keep this up? About a month before I luckily had found that my insurance company offered a program called Prime. It is a program where you pay $25/mo. and you have access to thousands of gyms nationwide. I looked at my area and noticed that both rec centers were on the list and that month only they were waiving the registration fee. There was no cancellation fee. I thought about it for a little while and decided that there was no risk. I could have stopped right there and made 1,000 excuses of why I shouldn’t spend the money on the membership. Yet, I decided that I could either make excuses or find solutions—I found a solution.

I had the pass for a month before I used it though. I had purchased it in mind for w.a., yet I couldn’t figure out when I could possible use it.

“I couldn’t wake up and be there for the 6am class. Even if I could there was no way I could be home in time for my husband to leave for work at his preferred time. He really likes to be at work early. Even if I could—if I am on my game I like to have breakfast and scripture study with him and the kids before he leaves. If I am going to wake-up that early, wouldn’t it be better if I focus on scriptures instead of going to the pool?” Were the thoughts that battled in my brain.

One day I asked myself the same question, “am I going to make excuses or find a solution?”

I decided that we could do scriptures at night before bed. Josh was old enough to fend for himself for breakfast. I hoped beyond hope that he could settle for being on time for work. When I talked to him about it he said, “well, go and we will see how it works out.”

For my first Monday I decided that I needed to go to the other pool since it was closer. I woke up at 4 and couldn’t go back to sleep because I was so excited. I ended up getting up at 5 and heading to walmart for a couple of things I had wished I had had the Sat. before (my birthday.)

I drove out on the near empty streets and my heart sang. It sang one of my favorite Broadway songs, “My time of day” from the musical Guys and Dolls. It felt good to be awake, alive, and to have something to look forward to.

I entered the near empty Walmart and bought a cover up, a pad lock, some water shoes and a pair of flip flops. I then headed to the pool and made it on time. I really enjoyed class that day. It was deep water aerobics. I knew that water belts were worn. I was nervous that they wouldn’t have one that fit me but was relieved to find out that they did. I am always worried that anything that is public use won’t fit me.

I had so much fun. I left a little early so I could make sure I was home on time. My sweet husband was waiting for me to see how I liked it--I think he could tell I was in love.
Later that day he said that he was okay with me going a few times a week, then he saw my despondent face and realized that wasn’t going to cut it for me. He then told me that we will try every day and see how it goes.

Here I am three weeks later and I haven’t missed a day yet (except Sunday--I take Sunday off.) A little over a week ago I started waking up even earlier and swimming laps for about 20 minutes before class started. I can’t wait to write the post about all the positive changes I have already seen.

So what are you procrastinating? Is there a way to find solutions instead of excuses. 

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Going down into the water, and being born again

(not a post about baptism)

I love water . . . and mountains  . . . and Montana

In March I was down with a bad back. My back has gone out a few times since I had the twins. If you haven’t had back issues, count yourself lucky! I honestly couldn’t get off the couch to do anything besides go to the bathroom. Even then I cried because the pain was so bad. On that Sunday, when my husband was home, I took pain killers and muscle relaxers and slept the day away. It was really bad, and I knew that I had to do something. My core muscles are just trashed from having twins and I haven’t really known how to fix them.

I sent a message to my *trainer from my mission. She is a pilates instructor. I explained to her my situation and told her that I had heard that pilates is the only way to heal the abdomen muscles after twins and a c-section. She confirmed what I had heard and gave me some exercises to start doing. In the course of our conversation she also gave me some healthy advice about exercising in general. She told me to research any rigorous physical activity that sparks my interest—something I would enjoy doing. I had heard a million times that you should find an exercise that you love so you will keep doing it. Yet once she posed the idea to me I realized that I couldn’t think of anything.

At this time my liver was doing awful and sucking the energy right out of me, I was in pain from my back, my depression was high, and honestly I felt like death would be welcome.

 I knew something had to change, If not for myself—for my family. I thought a lot about what my friend had said about finding something that would spark my interest.

Last summer, I completed the hardest workout ever as I played on the slip-n-slide for a couple of hours. I realized that I had really enjoyed it because it was fun and it involved WATER! I again realized how much I love water last summer when my husband and I went away for our anniversary and all I wanted to do was to spend as much time as I could in the hotel pool. I played around, swam laps, and overall just looked for reasons to stay in the pool. A couple of months ago it dawned on me that swimming could be that rigorous physical activity that she was talking about.

Leading up to my 35th birthday I decided to stop surviving and start living. So for my birthday I went to water aerobics. One of the local rec centers (we don’t have one in my town, but I live between two) offers water kickboxing on the 5th Sat. of every month. I went. I knew that since it was my birthday after all, the family wouldn’t complain.

The day before I had gone to JCPenny to see if I could find a men’s swimsuit to wear with my swimsuit. I walked into that first class with my black swimsuit and coral trunks. I was nervous and shy. As soon as I got into the water, my inhibitions seemed to dissolve into the pool. I have spent many hours with kickboxing work out videos so the moves were familiar. As I crouched under the water, I felt the flab on my arms ripple in the water. My inhibitions started creeping back until I reminded myself that no one could see, and even if they could—it didn’t matter. What good is a body if you don’t use it? even if people will make fun of you for trying.

When the workout was done, I got out of the water a new person. I knew I had found my rigorous physical activity that I LOVED! I started my birthday refreshed, renewed and it didn’t seem like a chore for even one second.  My next task was to figure out how to make it to the pool EVERYDAY!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

My blessed body (a new adventure)

35 years  and two weeks ago I was given a very special gift. I was given the gift of a physical body. My *patriarchal blessing tells me that I shouted for joy at the prospect of receiving a physical body. When I first heard that as an almost 15 year-old girl, I remember being surprised that I shouted for joy. Joy? Really? Over something so trivial as a physical body? You see I was never really that into my body. I think I have felt like my body was something to be ashamed of, something that weighed me down and held me back. I had never really seen it as a blessing. I would say that I have always seen myself as a very spiritual person. I am not saying that I have always been in tune or made perfect choices. I have always known though, that I have a Father in Heaven that created me. He created all of me.

My coming into this world was met with a lot of excitement from my family. I was the first girl after 4 boys. For my 35th birthday my mom sent me some memories of my birth, I would like to share part of her writings.

“When you were born Tiffany, our whole world rejoiced. I didn’t believe I would ever get a little girl after four little boys, so I prepared myself by planning for another boy, and even though we would have been pleased with another boy, it seemed unbelievable to have a little girl. The delivery room was silent as you were born—everyone knew this mom had four boys and the suspense produced almost a breathless silence. As you entered this life, the doctor said something like, ‘will you look at that!’ I said, ‘What is it?’ No one answered. ‘What is it?’ I asked again. No comment. I looked up at Dad and he was crying. The silence continued. Finally Dad choked out, ‘it’s a little girl.’ Of course it was hard to believe, but a new, joyful adventure had commenced.”
Oh my goodness! My little Amelia does look like me!

Soon after the joy there was worry and angst. I got very ill. I had a really high fever without an explanation as to why. The doctors kept me at the hospital to run a bunch of tests. One of these tests was a painful spinal tap. They wouldn’t allow my parents to be in the room—sending them away to walk the halls. My mom writes, “My anxiety level was high, but there was a little relief when no abnormalities were found. However, they insisted on keeping you a couple of days in the hospital and wouldn’t allow me to spend the night, so I got up in the middle of the night at least once each night and drove to the hospital so I could nurse you. I spent much of those couple of days going back and forth to the hospital to feed and cuddle you, and I spent much time on my knees pleading with the Lord to ‘please make her better.’”   It was after my mother submitted her will to the Father, my condition improved. I love this line from her memoir, “What was His plan for her? Could it be different than mine?”

As I read this, I was struck with the thought—“What is His plan for me? Could it be different than mine?” I am sure that most of us, which believe in God, have had this thought 1,000 times. What is His plan for me? How is it different than my own? I believe God has a plan for me, and it is much different than the plan I had had for myself.

Right now I know that part of His plan is for me to learn how to take care of, and heal my physical body. There is a lot for me to learn as I have never been one that even took much thought about my body. Honestly, it has only ever been a source of shame and embarrassment. Maybe it was my rough introduction to a physical body. Maybe somehow when I got sick as a new infant, I somehow was turned off to the whole pain and suffering aspect and it caused me to be turned off to the whole physical body experience in general.

I had never appreciated all of the amazing things my physical body can do. I have had many experiences lately that have helped me to realize that I have been approaching my health problems the wrong way. Taking care of myself has always felt like a punishment. Yet, in reality, it is an amazing blessing. Having a physical body—no matter the shape and the limitations is a blessing. It isn’t God that teaches me to hate my body—it is the one “person” that can never have one—Satan.

So I am approaching this from a new angle—one of gratitude. President Howard W. Hunter said, “Happiness is found along the way of this journey.” I am also not trying really hard not to be ashamed or embarrassed. That is one of the reasons why I have chosen to share this journey with “the world” via my blog. Another reason is that I am hoping to get help and encouragement from my support group. But most of all, I am also hoping that sharing my healing, epiphanies, and struggles will help others. Not only those that suffer from body hatred, but I am hoping that others will liken my circumstances unto theirs and glean hope and encouragement. I try to write with the Spirit and I know that Spirit can help us all in our unique trials. So if I say something that strikes a chord, please share it! 

(I wrote this weeks ago. I have been so scared to committing to share this journey. Every day I get an impression that I need to start sharing this journey. Every day I chicken out. I promised myself that today would be the day. So folks . . . here it is! My first post in my new series—My blessed body)

*check out the Latter-day Lingo page for definitions for any words that may be unfamiliar. 

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

I am small town.

I am small town.

A polaroid of me as a toddler in/near the Prescott National forest

I have heard the phrase “she/he is small town.” I think it is meant to be a derogatory term denoting that someone is naive or ignorant. Let me tell you though I am small town.
A sunrise I captured waiting for the bus in Jr. High
I grew up in a close-knit small community. We have one High School in my home town and only two middle schools.
Me and my friends in Jr. High

Hanging out at Granite Mountain Middle School (or was it Jr. high then?)
We were pretty isolated in the middle of Arizona. Our claim to fame? Home of the world’s oldest rodeo. My oldest friend in the whole world was the rodeo queen—a huge honor. The street we lived on wasn’t paved until I was a senior in high school. Even then, it is just a chip seal—no gutters, sidewalks, or curbs.
Neighborhood kids on our dirt streets in 1987
Seeing someone go down the street on their horse was almost as common as seeing a car. My parent’s property shares a property line with the Prescott National Forest.
I must have a hard time keeping my eyes open outside! Near Prescott National Forest May 1988

Friends at a breakfast at Goldwater lake
I am Prescott Arizona. After living away for almost half my life, I am still that small town. Half of my life was spent exploring those dirt streets, running away to that forest, and climbing those mountains. You could almost always find my family having breakfast at Goldwater Lake on Memorial or Labor Day. We often went camping in the mountains of Prescott. 4th of July would always find our family lining the streets cheering for the countless horses and spending time at the booths of amazing artists. Every 4th of July I get terribly homesick. We often spent time at “the square” during Christmas. Prescott is “Arizona’s Christmas City.” That is my core. You can take the girl out of the Prescott, but you can never take the Prescott out of the girl.
Camping with cousins friends for my 13th birthday

Camping is how I chose to spend my 13th birthday

I have amazing parents. They are pillars in the community. Yet this community is a pillar in me. I was raised by my parents, church, teachers, and neighbors. That is small town. I don’t know if everyone feels so attached to their hometown, but I do. Prescott may be “everybody’s hometown” yet it is true for me.

My hometown is mourning today. I am mourning with them. That is small town. 19 firefighters that were stationed in Prescott were killed by a raging fire over a week ago. I didn’t personally know any of them. I did know Andrew Ashcraft’s widow though. My most vivid memories of Juliann were the summer that I tended the kids that lived next door to her. I also grew up with her older brothers. Her dad has worked next door to my dad for 35 years. The Crockett’s are part of the Prescott in me. That is small town.

Would it matter if I didn’t have a personal connection? Would I still be sitting here crying? Probably. I will never forget the fire of 92 where we sat and looked out back, seeing flames shoot up over the mountain. So many of the memories of that fire were brought back when the Doce fire again burned Granite Mountain in late June. Luckily my parents weren’t evacuated, but housed some that were. That brought back memories of the fire of 2002 when my Mom had her knee replaced and I was tending to her and the house for them. We took in evacuees then too.

See wild land firefighters have saved my parent’s home and property before. These type of firefighters were heroes growing up. Becoming a firefighter was what so many of my heroic friends wanted to do when the “grew up.” It reminds us daily that there are heroes all around us.

I want to be a hero. I know I will never be out fighting fires (at least professionally)—but I don’t think we have to in order to be a hero. Juliann said on the today show, “they were heroes in our homes and in our communities.” I know I can be a hero in my home and in my community.

I may live in suburbia now, but I will always be “small town.” 

What is small town to me? It is caring about each other. It is mourning with those that mourn. It is loving the children around you like your own--taking a vested interest in them. It is living with a purpose greater than yourself. It is giving of yourself. It is service. It is an overwhelming love of God, Family and Country. That is the example I grew up with in a small town. That is what the building blocks of my soul are. 

I am small town.(or at least I strive to be.) 

P.S. Check out these links, you will be glad you did! 
Deseret News article
Her interview on The Today Show
For baseball lovers

Monday, July 1, 2013

Big things to come for me (and my blog)

I am working on something . . . more to come! Until then, I thought I would share this inspirational video! Let's live life to the fullest--we never know when it will all be over.

Thinking of the 19 brave men that lost their lives in the Yarnell fire near my hometown. Life is precious--just precious!

Hey hey it's his birthday!!

At 8:05 pm a total of 17 hours of labor and 7 minutes of pushing came to an end. My little boy entered the world. He life was beginning, and mine began anew--as a mother. That happened 7 years ago. Every birthday my oldest has, I feel like it is my birthday too--as I became something new on the day of his birth. I became a mom.

I let him play video games--a rare treat in our house. The number on his arm was from the local trampoline place we jumped at on his birthday. 

My cute 7 year old! (SEVEN!!)

Cooper the super trooper!

He is so excited for his presents!

Max might be a little excited too :)

Um... Spoiled much?

I agree, an awesome kid!


That is a North American River Otter in case you couldn't tell!

This boy loves Otters!

Nothing like an otter cake!

I hope he gets his wish!
The last seven years have been such an adventure. It has passed quickly. Turner has taught me so much and continues to do so everyday. He loves the North American River Otter like no one else I know! He is so observant. I believe his memory over my own any day (he better not figure that out and take advantage of it in his teen years!) He is so helpful, kind and tender hearted. He is passionate. He gets excited over everything happy and devastated over everything else. I am very aware that he is mine for such a short while. I hope I do my best. I love you T-bug-Buddy-T-Turner.