He Wasn’t a Last Minute Gift

December is a crazy month. I feel so much pjesusressure to get stuff done. Now “stuff” includes finishing my ever-growing must finish Christmas movie list, drinking a cup of hot chocolate while sitting on my porch in 75 degree weather, and finding the perfect gifts for e.v.e.r.y.o.n.e. Finding THE perfect gift for someone can be a daunting task, especially when you are poorer than Tiny Tim from the Muppet’s Christmas Carol (Netflix must see). This is #Clott’s first Christmas and we are excited to establish some of our own traditions. We decided to start a daily Christmas scripture chain. Each day we read a few scriptures from the Old and New Testaments that focus on Christ. On our first day we read John 1: 1-5

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

 The same was in the beginning with God.

 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.

 In him was life; and the life was the light of men.

 And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.

After reading this clump of scriptures, Mr. Bird and I discussed them and I had a thought….We started talking about the Plan of Salvation and the knowledge that this world and everyone who has come and gone made the choice to come and experience life. I thought about how I made the decision to come to earth and started to laugh at some of the things I agreed to. I agreed to everything I would experience the good and the bad. I have had times in my life where I have felt that I couldn’t go on whether it be physically or emotionally and on the flip side I have had times where life was p.e.r.f.e.c.t. The “Negative Nancy” in my thought back to the harder times in my life and reflected on the only way I made it through, it was with the help of my Savior, Jesus Christ.

I continued to think about the scriptures and how they related to Christmas and the birth of our Savior. From the beginning, it was known that God would send his son to earth to die for us, to suffer all the pain and sins so that we could return to live with God one day. The birth of our Savior was not a last-minute gift. He wasn’t the product of a quick trip to the mall on Christmas Eve.Sometimes the best gifts are not hidden under festive wrapping paper and cellophane.  It was known from the beginning that he would be the Savior of the world. I had a profound sense of love fill my soul as I realized this. It reminded me of the true meaning of Christmas. I am humbled at the knowledge that because of this gift my family can be together forever.

As we enter the Christmas season and we are either elated or disappointed at the gifts we receive, remember you were already given the most important one.

The Two Questions to Stop Asking Women

1606348_10204076942700462_2556663616494677616_oI have been off the grid for a while. I apologize. I spend most of my time on social media sites throughout the day for work, and when I am done, it is hard to bring myself to get back on when I should be spending time with my husband. Mr. Bird is in medical school and it is a rarity to see him these days. Today, I want to address something that has been bothering me as of late.  When Mr. Bird and I started dating I posted pictures on Instagram and to Facebook so I could document our relationship. I thought, well if this guy eventually asks me to marry him we are going to need an awesome wedding video #girlthoughts. That was my motive. These pictures led to questions after only two months of dating…. They were all questions about when we were going to be married. At this point in our relationship I knew very little about him…which was okay, it was still early. Don’t get me wrong, I was already thinking about marriage myself, but the more people asked the more I wanted it. I mean an unmarried 24-year-old, college graduate living in her parents house, it didn’t look good, and people were worried…I get it… But I started to become envious of those in that stage in life and wasn’t “living in the moment.” Two nights before Mr. Bird proposed to me we got into a disagreement. It was about how he hadn’t proposed yet. All I could think was I want to be engaged and I want people to stop asking the question “when are you getting married.” Two nights later, he surprised me at the train depot with a candle lit path lined in white roses and pictures of us. If you ask me, it was perfect. Finally I could post it to the world and no one would ever ask me that question again… (besides what the day was)

The week after Mr. Bird and I were married we settled back into our “normal” lives. With only one week of marriage under our belt, people started asking when we were going to have kids. I didn’t even have an entire month to enjoy being a newlywed. I started worrying about it. I though oh no, we are just getting use to being married and now we are expected to have kids! At this point, it never occurred to me that I could ignore these people.

Now before I continue, I want to make sure you all know… I am not innocent in this aspect. I asked these questions to so many about when they were getting married and when they would have kids. I have made the decision that I will no longer ask these questions. We are so easy to ask questions not considering the person’s background or circumstance. When a “cookie cutter” Mormon couple has a long engagement or are waiting to get married maybe there are things that they are taking care of and have to wait. That scenario would already be painful enough, we don’t want to burden them any further.

I followed Andy from How to Lose a Guy in 10 days, this is our future child even with glasses!

I followed Andy from How to Lose a Guy in 10 days, this is our future child even with glasses!

As for kids… If I had a dollar for every time I heard “when are you having kids” or “you wouldn’t know, you don’t have kids” (that’s the worst) I would literally be able to pay next months electricity bill. When you ask the question or simply state that people without kids don’t understand, it merely rolls off your tongue and is forgotten within minutes. To the receiver of the statement it resonates for much longer. I want to share with you a #reallife event. A few weeks ago I went to an event where I was the only one without kids (this is now my normal) which I have learned to enjoy, I get to hold all the cute babies and I don’t have to take them home! However I left this event feeling like I was worth nothing because I had not  yet reproduced. At the event I was even refereed to as the free babysitter while I was left out of the “adult” conversation and reminded multiple times that “I wouldn’t know, I don’t have kids.” I mean come on! I have been married almost 7 months, if we wanted to have a child it wouldn’t even be here yet. I know that their intentions were not to hurt my feelings, but I couldn’t help but feel worthless. I felt that I had no identity, no personality, and nothing of worth because I didn’t have a baby on my hip and the warrior like stretch marks covering my stomach. So obviously I called my mom and she managed to talk me up! We joked about all the things I could say… My favorite being “You wouldn’t know, you have kids.” She taught me such a valuable lesson, love where you are in life and live it. Life will continue and kids will come along when it’s time.

I suggest that my readers consider not asking these questions anymore. I mean it’s okay to ask your sisters that’s like a basic human right, but refrain from asking those you meet in your day. We never know what is going on behind the scenes. We don’t know if a couple has experienced a miscarriage, we don’t know if they have problems with fertility, we don’t know their lives! If us childless women want to talk about it, trust me we will bring it up and ask you questions.

As I finish this post, I don’t want you all to leave thinking Clare is upset or unhappy. If I have hung out with you recently PLEASE don’t sit and run our past conversations through your mind, it’s not worth it…We all know that I am over-sensitive. I have moved on and relished in the fact I can stay up all night playing Settlers of Catan without interruption. If you said something, I can promise you I am over it. The truth is I am so happy where I am in life. I am a newlywed. I get my best friend to myself. I may be baby hungry, but what woman with an active Pinterest account is not…


(C)LVB2014

Is it Child Porn?

stopYesterday, one of my Facebook friends posted a status claiming she was upset because someone had reported her picture she had posted that morning. The picture included her son who was about 5/6. He was playing in the bathtub with his toys. The picture was not necessarily super graphic, it hid his “private parts,” but he was still naked. As I thought about this, I researched Facebook’s guidelines on “nudity” It states:

Facebook has a strict policy against the sharing of pornographic content and any explicitly sexual content where a minor is involved. We also impose limitations on the display of nudity. We aspire to respect people’s right to share content of personal importance, whether those are photos of a sculpture like Michelangelo’s David or family photos of a child breastfeeding.”

I was happy to see that Facebook is cracking down on nudity, especially in minors. As Facebook’s community continues to grow the activity will as well. I am part of the generation that posts pretty much anything, from what I am eating, to what I am reading, and who I am in love with (duh, my husband). This is great for keeping a”journal” but it poses a lot of security questions. In college I took a Cyber Security class, and learned that if it makes it on the internet it is on there to stay, even it you try to delete it. Bringing it back to the picture containing “nudity,” I would like to point out who can be looking at your pictures.

me ME: I think of myself as a normal person. I have a college degree, a husband, and a job. I work every day, do crafts, cook dinner, and watch shows. I work on Facebook so I often see pictures of your new-born babies, engagements, your vegan food, and even those dreadful #selfies…just kidding I still take them. What I am getting at is, I look at your pictures. I am a pretty safe and innocent person, and I know most of you are comfortable with me looking at your life.

 


deltonStephen M. Parsons: He is a 25-year-old man, a resident of Felton, Delaware. He spent his days on Facebook liking his friends post’s, posting, and was just a regular guy. On March 21, 2014 a search warrant was presented and his home was searched. After a forensic examination of his laptop, they found more than 25 video files containing pornography. He was charged with 25 separate counts of dealing in child pornography.

sebSebastian Crump: He is a 39-year-old man who was a former cabinet office digital expert. He is now facing a long time in jail after 400 child porn images were found on is computer. He used both his work and home computer to access these images. He also plead guilty for making and distributing indecent images of children. In court he insisted he was not a pedophile, he was just a regular guy.

Those are a just THREE examples of people who are looking at your Facebook pictures. Two of them were looking at more… You don’t wake up one morning and think ” I am going to become a child porn addict.” It is something that builds up over time. It could start with simply looking at a picture of a young child in the bath and then escalating to full nudity.
Your children don’t have a choice or a say in what YOU put on the internet. Don’t allow them to be harmed. Don’t let their picture float around the internet. Remember whatever you put on the internet, even with the safety measures you take, your picture can be saved or shared. All I ask is, be careful in what you post!
(C)LVB-2014

Obama and Mormons

obamaI am in no way a political wiz. I should probably be more involved in what is going on in the world, but for me it has become to contentious of a subject. On Sunday, I attended Sunday School and the lesson was on “Good Leaders.” We began discussing good leaders throughout the church, from olden time prophets to modern-day prophets. The discussion then turned to good leaders outside of the church. Our teacher described a good leader with many characteristics. The first person that came to mind for me was obviously a fictional character, Dumbledore and by association Harry Potter. While that answer got a few chuckles, the next person mentioned created much controversy throughout the room… OBAMA.

I was shocked at the response from the class members. As class members started to nit-pick everything wrong about Obama and his actions, the teacher held his ground and kept reiterating that we were not in class to discuss how good our president is doing, and that our political beliefs are our own. There were many off-hand comments about Obama and his role as president. I won’t go into detail, but the room was full of people both for and against Obama. I tell you again, I am not a political wiz. I know maybe a fraction of what is going on around the world, but what I do know is that the Mormon church allows us to have our own political views.  On mormon.org the Church has a statement: “Principles compatible with the gospel are found in the platforms of all major political parties. While the Church does not endorse political candidates, platforms, or parties, members are urged to be full participants in political, governmental, and community affairs.” This statement reassured me that politics are important, and I should be better informed, and that I should be involved.

A few years ago I attended a summer camp called GIRLS STATE. It was an opportunity for me to spend a week with 100 girls from around Idaho and play “government.” Throughout the week, we recreated the government, we ran for offices, gave speeches, ran campaigns, and even passed laws. That week I ran for a position and didn’t get voted in. I had lost. At first I was upset. It took me a day or two to realize a lesson about leaders that I will never forget. Even if you don’t like your leader, you should show your support. This lesson has followed me through many things, student council, after school club, EFY, and even church callings. Sometimes I didn’t agree with my “leaders,” but what I had to remember was the importance of the bigger picture.

When it comes to Obama, I may not like everything he does. I don’t agree with him on a lot of things, but right now he represents our country and so I support him. I don’t know what he does all day, I don’t really know the behind the scenes of his life, but I do know that he has our country, America, in his hands. So I support him. I pray for him to make decisions that will better the country instead of rip him apart. I hope that he does well, because when he does well so does America. He is like any other human on this earth, he has agency and he will make mistakes just like you and me. He may or may not have been my choice, but my choice is to support America. number 12

(C)LVB-2014

 

4 Things About Arizona

I have been quite for a while so I apologize. I have been in the midst of a life change that included a lot of planning, packing, and driving. Mr. Bird and I packed up our 18 foot Budget truck and started the trek to Glendale Arizona. We were lucky to have family members help us pack up. On the drive to AZ, I realized how lucky we had been to be surrounded by our families. It will be sad to not be able to stop by my parent’s house and say hi to all of the kids, we will miss Sunday dinners with our families, and the cooler weather 🙂

There are a few things I have learned since moving to Arizona…

cactu1. Don’t touch the cacti…

Mr. Bird and I were stopped in Kingman city when a random man came up to us and said your tired is about to blog (on the rental truck dolly) so we had to take a time out while they worked with Budget and got the tires changed. While this was happening, Mr. Bird and I were glad to do a little exploring in the literal desert. I had found my first cactus it was a flat one and looked dead. Without thinking, I picked up the leaf and started to examine it. At first I had forgotten what covered the outer layer, but was quickly reminded. After giving a little “yelp” and dropping the cactus, and a lizard ran in front of me, I looked down to find my fingers covered in prick-lies. I learned the lesson of, even if it looks cool don’t touch it…

2. Everything Melts…

Mr. Bird and I thought that death was imminent with the heat surrounding our thick blooded bodies while moving. We got in the car and decided popsicles would be the only solution. We picked out the most delectable flavors including pina colda, mango, and banana. We put them in the backseat, and within the 5 minute drive home, they had melted. So apparently it’s a thing to take a cooler to the store.

3. Waterholic

I am not used to drinking water. I don’t really enjoy it. Prior to living in AZ, I would drink maybe a glass and a half a day. Now I feel like an addict, carrying one around just to keep cool. So if I am not sweating, then I am probably running to the bathroom.

4. Color

There is none. There is literally no colors here. At first I was wondering if I was stuck in The Giver… Arizona has three colors Brown, Tan, and Rust Red. This is something I will have to get used to!

We have been warmly welcomed by ward members and have already been to someone’s house for dinner, and another house for games! We have been invited to dinner again tomorrow night, I have been searching for the perfect housewarming cactus to leave.

 

The Temple Garments

modestyWhen it comes to the Mormon Temples a lot of people have questions and think it is a bunch of secrets. I have written about it before and you can read it here. I know this subject is sacred and so I will do my best to maintain that. I also am not pinpointing anyone in particular, just sharing some thoughts. Today I want to write a blog for those who have been through the LDS Temple or are preparing. I received my endowment in 2010. It was while I was still in college and was preparing to go on a mission. One of the things that happens when you go through the temple is you begin wearing special garments or underclothing. Many people refer to them as “g’s,” “special underwear,”  “my religion,” etc. I am always saddened when I hear those terms because I feel like it is degrading its sacredness. I don’t go around calling God my “homeboy,” I always use his name respectfully. My mother and the temple worker instructed me to not give such a sacred thing a degrading nick name, but to call it by name. Ever since, I have called them garments and have never lost sight of the meaning.

When my mom called me to talk about what day to go through the temple, my first thought was I should wait until after the Howl, the largest Halloween party in the west. I thought it would be my last hooray to wear something a little more skimpy and not feel too bad about it. While discussing dates with my mom, the idea that I wanted to wait until after the big party had slipped out and she was appalled…As she should have been. That was the night I realized my heart was not ready for the temple. At that point I poured over my scriptures, the pamphlet that explains the sacredness about the temple, and prayed. I wanted my heart to change before I entered the temple, and it did. Receiving my endowment was a wonderful and peaceful event. I won’t go into detail, but I was happy that I had prepared myself spiritually. From that day forward I began wearing the garment. It’s not very often that I go with out it. We are instructed to wear it as much as we can. I only take mine off when I wear my swimsuit, go rock climbing, or  pretty much when I exercise. At the beginning it was an adjustment, but as I have continued to wear them I have seen them as a blessing in my life. There were a few times that I would throw a pair of shorts on and realize that they were too short and so I would change, or a shirt that didn’t cover everything. Instead of taking off the garments so I could wear the outfit, I took off the clothes that didn’t work and gave them away.  Now as a missionary I heard many things said about garments but mine haven’t stopped a bullet from penetrating my heart, they haven’t stopped a stab wound, or been fire repellant… What they have done is constantly reminded me of the covenants I made in temple and the blessings I have received.

templeNow, I want to talk about the HOWL again. I went ahead and received my endowment in the middle of October. The HOWL was coming up and I wanted to have an exciting costume. I made a promise to myself that I would wear my garments no matter what.  That night my costume was not Mean Girls like, but I was fully clothed. I had a comforting thought pop into my head, I wouldn’t be the only one dressed modest that was at the party. As I went to the party I was so disappointed to see many of my LDS friends who had served missions or been endowed decide to leave their garments at home. There were many males and females that had decided that a night of showing off their sad-looking faux six packs and nice looking coconut bra would be worth it. I was even more shocked by the boys who had decided to just take their tops off and wear the bottom half of the garment when we are specifically instructed to wear both parts together. Many of these people had pictures taken of themselves and they were plastered over Facebook. That night I added to my list of MUSTS for a husband, “respects his garments” (I found one:)) I was heartbroken that so many people were willing to violate their covenants for a night of fun.

That night I went home feeling great about the decision I had made to stick to my covenants. As I have continued to wear my garments, I think back to that night and think about what an internal battle I had over something that seems so plain and simple to me now. If you have been through the temple or are preparing to enter, I urge you to prepare yourself spiritually and physically. What I mean physically is prepare your wardrobe (even though your wardrobe should be pretty close to what it needs to be anyways). We all have our agency and we are instructed to use it. The question is what will you do?

(C)LVB2014

#ItWasMom

it was momMother’s Day is right around the corner. Mr. Bird and I were asked to give talks in church on this upcoming day and we both thought, well that’s easy, we will just talk about our mothers… Trying to sum up what a mother does would take more than the allotted 15 minutes. Mr. Bird and I invited our parents to come listen to us talk. My mother’s response was, “I will come if it’s not sappy.” If you know the Kri, that fits her personality perfect. So this is this year’s tribute to my mom. I am not going to make it sappy, I will just provide the cold hard facts. As a recent bride, some of my past times include looking through wedding photos (I know shallow). I came upon this one and thought, this is all because of one person, my mom.

Facts:

She found a worthy man, and she married him… in the Logan Temple

She supports her husband through thick and thin

She has given birth to 6 children without any epidurals all by the age of 30 ( I will most definitely be drugging up and spraying some Pam down there)

She drove each child back and forth to piano lessons weekly from the time we started kindergarten until we could drive in high school. Unless you decided to bite the piano teacher, then you didn’t have to go…

I can’t remember a day during my childhood when my mother didn’t stop what she was doing and read to me and my siblings. We still gather around and beg her to read to us during Christmas time.

Five of her Six kids served  LDS missions

4 1/2 have been married (Max is engaged)

She has 4 1/2 grand kids who are loved endlessly and spoiled

She taught us to get an education:

LauriAnn has her Bachelors and Masters in History

Mitch has a Bachelors, Masters, and his PHD in Family Studies

Emily has her Bachelors, Masters (RD) , and is working on her PHD in Dietetics

Alex has his Bachelors, and graduated with his Masters of accounting today

Me, well I have my Bachelors in Communication, with a Certificate in WGS

Max is working on his Bachelors in Economics

Since I can remember, she has always gotten up around 545am to go running

She ran the Boston Marathon

Sometimes she gets into a laughing fit and can’t stop…These are some of my favorite memories

She poured us orange juice every morning before school

She came and silently cheered me on through “boring” golf tournaments

She never has to call her kids, we always call her to catch up (some daily)… I think she ends up spending at least 3 hours a day on the phone with her kids.

She can make popcorn with her eyes closed

We did family scriptures and prayers every day

She has mastered the art of distraction and can still use it on her kids and we are all in our 20’s and up.

She is humble, doesn’t like fluff and to the point.

Happy Mother’s Day to the best mom in all the lands!

That’s a fact Jack…

The missing grand kids and my sister is having another girl in June 🙂

evers mad hayes

Getting My M.R.S

IMG_3898I remember in elementary school when I would lay on the bottom bunk bed with my blue and white starred comforter thinking about the day I would get married. I had so many ideas to make my wedding day the best day in all the lands. I had planned a huge bonfire in the backyard for roasting marshmallows and a slip in slide for the guests. I would wear a white swim suit with rhinestones spelling out BRIDE on the behind. I had the idea to rent out a movie theater and have the infamous “line” go directly into a movie theater of their choice. Obviously, I thought about it a lot. I have had 24 years to think about all of the details. Often that is how I would fall asleep, is dreaming about the extravagant wedding that I would have one day.

Last night I sat in the family room with my mother and sisters and they watched me open up my “wedding capsule.” We had made them for young woman’s in 2004 when I was 14 years old, such a great idea. It was full of magazine clippings of what I wanted my wedding to look like, the groom’s qualifications, the cake, and the ring. It was so fun to see how I swayed from the extreme wedding plans, because once I met Mr. Bird, none of that matter, only he did. It doesn’t matter that the shades of coral don’t match just right and that yellow is the color everyone hates with a passion. It is not going to be the end of the world when someone gets upset because they can’t find a parking spot. I know I will be very anxious and so my stomach will probably hurt all day, but still that doesn’t matter. What I have come to learn is that what matters the most is being able to be sealed in the Temple for all TIME and ETERNITY. It is definitely the scariest decision both Mr. Bird and I have ever made, but it will be one that blesses us every day until forever.

IMG_3966In my “wedding capsule” there were two letters, one from me and one from my mom. I read mine out loud and there were parts that I couldn’t stop laughing, I had specifically stated that I needed to make sure to not make my husband jealous of me, and that we needed to have kids as fast as we could “no matter the cost,”  whatever that means. What I loved most was my past self saying how I needed to get married in the temple, and that I needed a man worthy to enter. It’s funny that at such a young age we are taught those things. As I look back today, I am so happy that I learned that young. There were years when I thought it would be easier to forgo a Temple wedding to satisfy my temporal needs and the Gospel wouldn’t do much for my family. I realize now, the sealing and the Gospel in my family means everything. I want to run back to my 14-year-old self and let her know, I did it, I made it to the Temple.

My mom read her letter out loud. It almost brought tears to my eyes, I say almost because it totally made my sister Emily bawl. She gave me great advice and said that the day of your wedding will be a hectic one, it will be one of stress and of happiness, but the most important part would be the sealing. I couldn’t agree more mom and dad, thanks for preparing me.

Tomorrow all of my friends and family will begin to pour in and the festivities will start. I can already imagine an impromptu dance party in the family room, loud arguments/discussions between family members, and a fun late night. Saturday will come quickly and the day will pass in a minute. I will be surrounded by my favorite people, and will realize how blessed I truly am. The best part of getting sealed is that we will be together forever no matter what. I will never regret looking at that “BYU” boy and saying hello to him, because now I will never have to say good-bye.

(C)LV-B2014

The R-Word

End the R-WordI want to speak about a somewhat taboo topic, disabilities and mental handicaps. I want to introduce you to someone who I love dearly and consider my good “pal” as he would say it. His name is Uncle Bret. He is my Uncle, and everyone I have introduced him to consider him to be their own Uncle Bret. He was born in Germany while my grandpa was in the Air Force. When Uncle Bret was born, he was different, he had Down Syndrome.

Down syn·drome

noun: Down’s syndrome; noun: Down syndrome; plural noun: Down syndromes
  1. a congenital disorder arising from a chromosome defect, causing intellectual impairment and physical abnormalities including short stature and a broad facial profile. It arises from a defect involving chromosome 21, usually an extra copy (trisomy-21).

End the R-WordI remember when I was little and my grandparents would drive from Logan to visit us in Boise. I would get very excited, it meant Uncle Bret was coming. At the time, much of my excitement came from the fact that my mom stocked the house with chocolate milk for him (one of the few things he likes to drink), but now it has become much more. On one of my grandparents visits, I remember going to Albertson’s with my dad and Uncle Bret. At first I was afraid of what people would think of us because Uncle Bret looked different from the people staring at him. I didn’t know if people were curious or were looking down upon him. It was when a son and father had walked by and the son kept staring, the dad grabbed him by the arm and said “stop staring at that retard.” I am pretty sure I was the only one to hear it. My.heart.broke. I was so little, but I knew we never ever used that word, because it wasn’t kind. I wasn’t always clear on why my mother told us not to use it, but that day I learned exactly why. As years have passed I have heard many stories of how my mom and her two sisters protected Uncle Bret. It is hard to think that we ever have to protect him, that there are still people out there who will tease him for who he is and what he looks like. People with disabilities have a unique and special spirit and the kindest hearts. They have talents that many of us don’t have.

uncle b 4Uncle Bret and I have spent a lot of time together. I went to college in Logan and would see him 2 to 3 times a week. I consider it to be one of my favorite blessings. I have learned so much from him. He has taught me kindness, love, patience, true happiness, and has been a tender mercy to so many around him. I have learned that we have some similarities… We both like shows, and we both like to watch them over and over again. We can quote them, and we never get sick of them. We both love  a good routine, there is nothing better than a regular schedule and sticking to it. We both enjoy teasing each other. Usually we have fake arguments that end with him saying “Clare Cry” and him giving me a hug and saying ”back better.” Even though we are different in appearance, we still have similarities.

I consider myself lucky. It wasn’t until recently that I realized that not everyone grows up knowing someone who has disabilities and I have been blessed by a love that is rare. When we come across something unfamiliar we are not always comfortable.  Sometimes when we meet someone who is “different” from us, we tend to stare, or feel uncomfortable because it is new to us. When we are unsure on how to do something, or feel uncomfortable, the only way to overcome that is to try it out, get to know them, find out what they like to do, spend time with them, I can promise you that you will have a lasting friendship. The reason I wanted to write on this was because it is end the R-WORD week. If you are someone who uses the word, just stop. If you use it as a describing word of something you find “stupid, uncool, or dumb” I want you to reconsider.  God made all of us and he loves all of us, we should follow his example and never show unkindness towards someone who is different.

(C)LV-B2014

I Was a Bully.

yellow flowersI was a hellion growing up. I was not always a nice goody-goody girl, I had a mean streak. I remember walking home one day with two other boys. These boys had hard lives and were a little rough around the edges, they had an idea to start throwing rocks at people going past. It was my turn, instead of saying no, I picked up the rock and I threw it. My t-ball years had paid off (unfortunately) and I hit a girl riding her bike, right in the head. She wobbled and then toppled off. My heart sank. I was torn between two things, fitting in with the boys and being kind. I felt guilt. I got home and didn’t say a word about it to anyone, hoping I could forget. The next day at school, I was called into the principles’ office. It was a scary thing, I was at a brand new school, and I had only been there for a few days. The principal asked me why I did it and even thought it was a witty comeback… “It wouldn’t have hurt if she was wearing a helmet,” to this day I regret my action. I don’t regret it because I got in trouble. Literally, I have never seen my mother so mad, she marched her way down the street, grabbed me by the arm, and walked me home. I spent the day in my room. I regret it because I missed an opportunity to be kind to those around me.

I thought I had learned my lesson but a year later I fell into a similar trap. Once again I was being a bully. I was still hanging out with the rougher kids, and I still did not excel at making friendships with girls. I don’t know if it because I felt threatened by them or because I was that insecure, whatever the reason it doesn’t make it right. I had started playing the trumpet. There was another girl in my grade who started to play as well. My parents had rented me a nice one and I felt very proud about it. There were no scratches, and it was shiny. The other girl’s trumpet was not as nice as mine, and I made sure she knew it. Later, I found out how much I had really hurt her feelings. I apologized years later, but it is something to this day I still regret. Who am I to judge?

A few years later…”I got what I deserved.” I was bullied. Some girls ganged up on me and started rumors about me that were crude and not even a little bit true. It caused me a lot of grief. It made me a different person. I sometimes hated myself because, I began to believe those things flying around about me. It was a hard to shake those feelings, but I was able to find people who were willing to show me kindness.

When the reality of my actions set in, and my own wounds were healing, I decided to change, I was always going to look for ways to be kind… To Everyone. To make someone’s day better. I am still not a professional, and I still have moments when I think, I shouldn’t have done that. Instead of waiting years now when I make a mistake, I go straight to the person and apologize. Whether it is a CEO of a company or someone who is homeless, I strive to treat them with kindness. Today, I watched a video that reminded me of my bullying days, and days I was made to feel like nothing. It was a powerful video that highlighted very real things. As many of you know I am very passionate about anti-bullying and anti-cyber bullying. There is never a life that is worth less than yours, so don’t make them feel that way. You have a choice, don’t be the bully, be the one who sticks up for others. Watch this video, I know it has an LDS religious tone to it, but the overall message is what matters.