Saturday, October 29, 2011

"The purpose of life is a life of purpose"

This was one of my most favorite quotes when I was in high school.  It motivated me to live life with a purpose and try to make a difference in the world.  I think about what kind of legacy I wanted to leave behind for my posterity and for this world.  The times that I felt most fulfilled were when I was doing service for others.  I feel that we will be happiest when we are serving the Lord's children, which will also grant us many blessings of happiness.  There's just something special about sacrificing your time and efforts to lighten the load of those struggling.  

Service manifests itself in many ways, even if it means simply giving a smile or saying "hello" to brighten someone's day.  I always try to smile at people, even strangers as I'm passing by.  It doesn't require a lot of work and hopefully it initiates a ripple effect.  It brings me great joy to know I have served my brothers and sisters with all of my heart; there's just incomparable joy that comes from doing good for others.  Now, don't get me wrong, they don't necessarily need our help, but we can always offer to serve and show them that we care.  When we commit to serving our brothers and sisters, we are committing ourselves to God as well.

As a program director for a Y-Serve program called, Service to the World I put on a monthly project night for the community and BYU students.  In the past, we have made hats, puppets, file folder games, school bags to send to children in developing areas of the world through LDS Humanitarian Services and other NGO's.  We've also worked with local NGO's to help women's shelters as well as schools abroad, by preparing hygiene kits, scarves, blankets, and nail kits.  We have had many great turn outs of volunteers.  I am impressed by those, especially students, who were willing to sacrifice time from studying and other obligations, to serve children they don't even know.  Now they are living their lives with purpose by providing as much care and love as they can for others.

 Jon, Martina, & AJ with some of the puppets.

There are so many ways we can serve others in our families, communities, and around the world.  I am grateful for the opportunity to serve others, despite being in a wheelchair.  I've gained a greater testimony of my Heavenly Father's love for me because he still allows me the opportunity learn and grow through serving others.  I know that I can do many things because of his help, and I am confident that service is something everyone in any condition can get involved with.  From this experience and many others of service, I am prompted to dedicate my life to serving others--that is my purpose in this life. 

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

A visit to the Pumpkin Patch

It's pretty amazing to see the change in dynamic when a child is in the picture.  Our world seems to center around little sister, Holly.  She is such a smart and amazing girl.  She brings light to our lives and so much laughter ensues her hilarious attempts to be funny and clever.  I can't believe how she encompasses a little piece of each of us.  Hopefully, we can somehow prevent the little quirks from getting to her as well.

Anyways, our family took a visit to the pumpkin patch. And my were lots of fun things for little kids to do--corn pit, hay maze, animal petting (including a real live reindeer!)hay ride around the farm, and the best part of all--pumpkin picking! AJ of course had to seek the largest pumpkin around (which he had to carry, thank goodness!), Holly got a pretty decent sized pumpkin, and I sought out the nicest, fullest, roundest pumpkin of all (I just have a knack for these kind of things, what can I say? JK).  We had a lot of fun.  I was definitely ready to change out of my hay-filled pants at the end though :)

 OK, so maybe she did pick out a pretty good one :)
I love spending time with my family, especially with my sweet little sister. It's such a blessing to watch her laugh, grow, and learn.  I really wish time would freeze, even just for a little!  I know kids grow up fast, so I'm trying my best to keep my eyes peeled and watch every moment pass with her. If I blink, I might just miss something cool.  She's amazing!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

10 Day Body Image Challenge

We should all love our body and care for it as it is what will carry us throughout our lives and for those who believe, into the next life as well. Since the accident, I realized how precious each part of me was and that I should never take it for granted. Recently, I took the 10-Day Body Image Challenge by the BYU Women's Resource Center, and learned so much about myself.  Lexie and Lindsay Kite, two beautiful women pursuing their doctrate at the U of U began a movement to "Redefine Beauty." They gave a lecture on the influence of media on women.  They brought in many great studies and statistics on how many advertisements target women each minute and negatively affect their perception of their body and self-esteem.  We constantly get the message that we need to change in order to look a certain way.  Women are becoming less connected and appreciative of their bodies, often relying on the opinion of others to feel their value.

The challenge made me reflect of how the media has affected my perception of beauty.  I was disappointed to discover that I, too have struggled with my body for a long time now.  But I will not allow media to influence me anymore!!! The challenge taught me a lot about love for my body, my soul, my personality, and it taught me how to overcome the media's influence.  Here are some facts I've discovered from this 10 day Challenge:

1. Meditation is necessary for us to clear our minds, fill our souls with goodness, and stay in tune with our bodies.
2. Only kind words should be used towards our bodies, even in thought.  Protect our body like our own child and love it!
3. We are given spiritual gifts and talents from our Heavenly Father to contribute to this world.  Let's hone those gifts and use them for good.
4. Giving meaningful compliments to others assure them that we can see beyond their appearance and that we also value their inside more!
5. Express our opinions (in a classy, not overbearing manner, of course) and stand for good.  Be headstrong if someone or something is hurting others.
6. The media portrays women as perfect beauty queens and objects.  Resist the need of becoming like those photoshop images.  Be grateful for your body and respect yourself.
7. I know that I wear make-up, but it's because I don't want o look like a zombie.  This may be the one thing I give in to (I am working on trying to feel beautiful, naturally without make up).  However, I just want to feel and look elegant and beautiful for myself.  I don't think light make up to enhance beauty is a bad thing.  Making thick make-up to cover yourself up, might be.
8. Let your body know how grateful you are for it.  I am very grateful to be alive and have my body.  I know that my body is not perfect, but it works.  The toughest parts are the limitations I sometimes feel from my body and the back pain from long hours of sitting and shooting pains from damaged nerves.  Anyways, I'm grateful to God for His love and His gift of a body to me.  I will never take it for granted.
9. There are a few superwomen in my life that I want to attribute my strength to (but not here).  They are so strong.  They juggle work, family, services, etc.  They love and appreciate life.  They lift me up when I am feeling down. I am so grateful for them in my life. I'm so grateful to have such great people to call friends.  Thank you ladies for being such great role models to me through the years. I really could not have done it without your love, prayers, support, and friendship.
10. I am beautiful because I understand my worth in the eyes of God.  Because of this, I can share myself with others, especially with my darling, AJ.

Please love yourself and love your body.  Realize that beauty is within and it can never be taken away if you hold onto it and take care of it.  Show your body some lovin' today :)

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Like There's No Tomorrow

Each year, we watch a new Warren Miller film to get us ready and pumped for powder season.  That was the first time I was introduced to snowboarding, and I've never looked back.  From that first movie on, I was ready to ride.  This year, the title of the film is "Like there's no tomorrow."  There were footages of skiiers and snowboards in many locations around the world including: India, Norway, New Hampshire, Utah, Cali-Squaw Vally, Alaska, etc.  It was sweet!!  Tons of steezy rides, fresh powder, and exhilarating views.

I have to admit, this is a pretty surreal time for me as we draw nearer to powder season.  As I was watching the rides, the leg movements of the boarders, the twists of their bodies, and snow flakes that rush up as they rode, I couldn't help but imagine how that felt while I was doing it.  I really miss it.  I really wish I were one of the lucky few to board this season.  But rest assured, I will be up there--monoskiing, not the same, but I can make it work.

I can really relate to the title for this year's theme.  After the accident, I have never lived my life the same way again.  There's so many things that I took for granted before, but I'll never do that again.  I will live my life to the fullest.  I promise to never let anything get in the way of my dreams.  I know extreme sports like snowboarding is tough business, but don't let my experience or your fears stop you from trying something new.  You never know what kind of things you can learn about yourself.  I felt like snowboarding was one of the ways I lived life to its fullest.  It brought me so much happiness.  Maybe it could do the same for you.  Word of advice: take it nice and easy.  Enjoy!