Monday, February 10, 2014

Life in Guatemala

Hola Friends! It's been a while since I've written. Over the past few months we have been getting use to our new home here in Guatemala. I wanted to share with you some pictures of this wonderful place and share some of the great experiences we have been having.  We've had some fun times so far in this beautiful place.  I have also started a new blog with all the great adventures we are having here if any of you are interested at 

 Here is a peak at what is on my new blog.  I hope you enjoy.  Here is a little bit of what life is like in Guatemala: 

Emree poses for her photo shoot :) 

After the photo shoot a few days later.  Emree got a little confident in her ability to step down off the side walk and face planted it, but she is still as happy as can be. 

 Uncle JC and Emree spending some quality time together. 

Emree has made a lot of new friends while we've been here. Cheena (the girl who is holding her, excuse the spelling) is her buddy :) 

Karen and Bruce made it safe and sound a few days ago and are enjoying their new life so far here in Pana. 

Taxi! :) 

Father, Son time! 

A view of Lake Atitlan

There are dogs everywhere, this one reminded of Jake.
The ladies I have met here are so kind and loving. We've met some amazing people. 

A boy playing with his dog. 

A family walking down the street probably on their way to church. 

One of the many markets/tiendas. 

Now, here's something you don't see in the U.S. This is how most people travel around town. 

If you need a quick ride somewhere here is your taxi a "took took." I think they are so cute! :) 

Travis, looking like a missionary, just missing the name tag.

Beautiful hillside
Daddy Daughter Time. Emree loves her Daddy. 

This is part of our walk home everyday. 

Travis with his new glasses. Looking good! 

One place to get your fruits and veggies. 

Soccer is a big deal here. This is where the kids come to play at the end of the day. 

Fruit Lady

A Mom with her two kids.

Home Sweet Home

Outside our apartment

Emree playing with a new friend.
Casa Colonial 
We're almost ready to open up. Just a few more weeks and we are on our way! :) 
We feel so blessed to live in such a beautiful place with so many great people and to be having this great adventure together. :) 

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Gratitude for Myself

I recently had a fun assignment to do for a class called "mind mapping."  You make a symbol in the middle of a piece of paper that has to do with your life and you write words and draw pictures of things to go along with your life right now branching off of it.  It's a good way to work with both sides of your brain, the logical side and artistic side. :) 

Anyway, I first started out by drawing a symbol of music.  That was something I have really loved to do for most of my life, but I realized that that is not me right now.  So I changed it to another aspect of my life.  The point to this story is that I realized something important.  I realized that I am starting to understand who I am.

Let me explain, so a while ago I learned about this system called Energy Profiling or Dressing Your Truth.  At first I was skeptical and wasn't so sure about it, but I found myself beginning to understand more and feel better about myself as I learned more.  So I continued exploring.  It came to the point where I couldn't stop learning and finally got the actual course so I could learn more.

In my journey with DYT I have recognized that I have hidden so much of myself from myself.  I have convinced myself of things that I wanted to be rather than who I was and not being true to myself.  As we were driving in our car on our way home one night, it finally clicked.  Yes, I have a great love for music and for a long time I thought, "this is who I am."  But in reality it's not.  Music is a big part of me, but my love and passion is for people.  It's hard to explain, but on that drive home I recognized that I am starting to really understand who I am.  My true self is finally coming out.  I am finally putting the pieces together and understanding who I want to be in my life. 

Satan doesn't want us to feel good about ourselves or understand who we are. We have great talents and gifts to offer and as we grow and develop those talents and gifts we are able to do so much good.  But the adversary tries to keep us from learning and growing by telling us that we aren't good enough and discouraging us from learning and progressing.   That is why we probably spend so much of our time trying to figure out who we are. 

I watched a video just recently talking about women  and how we are trained to put ourselves down when we receive a compliment.  What would happen if you decided to change that thinking and just say thank you?  I loved this video, because it helped me to realize, that I should be grateful for my beauty, and for my gifts as well as be grateful for the beauty and gifts of others. We always look at others and compare ourselves, but we should take a moment to remember to be grateful for ourselves and for our abilities and our beauty.

Love yourself, accept yourself, because you are beautiful inside and out!

This is the video I mentioned if you are curious. :)

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

I Am Thankful

We have made some big decisions in the last few months that I wanted to share with you.  We
decided back in August that we were going to be moving to Guatemala for a year.  My brother-in-law is building a hotel there and is in need of a lot of help.  We had no idea that this was what we would be doing.  In fact we had no intention of going. We thought we had it all figured out.  But one day, the subject of Guatemala came up in casual conversation and we both felt that it was right for us to go. Since we've made that decision, we have had many trials or "adventures," (as we've started calling them).  They just keep coming. 

I've been really having a hard time with the idea of moving to a country that I know nothing about.  I don't know much about the culture or the people or the language and just to make a long story short, there is a lot of anxiety that has come with it.  It doesn't help that there is so much negativity about us moving from people around us. We've had a lot of people tell us what to do and what we need to be careful of, etc., etc. I understand the worry and fear that they may have, we have them too. Trust me! But it's an opportunity that we feel is worth while and will be for the best.  It's a leap of faith that we are taking and instead of negativity, though I know there will still be some, a person can't just run on that a lone, there needs to be a little encouragement.

I was thinking today about all of these things on my way home from the grocery store.  I broke down crying in my car, just wishing and hoping for some encouragement especially from those that I love.  Then I had a thought, I decided I needed to look at all of these things that have been weighing me down in a different light and find those things that I can be thankful for in it all. 

1.  I'm thankful for my trials! 

          Why?  It may sound silly, but it's true.  I wouldn't be the person I am today if I didn't have to go through challenges.  Those challenges are what make us better.  They make us stronger.  This challenge of feeling lonely and unsure and needing encouragement is a trial, but a great one.  It's one that will help me gain certain skills and abilities that I never thought possible.  It is one step to becoming more like my Father in Heaven. 

2.  I'm thankful for my Journal. 

          Being able to share my thoughts and achievements in my little book has  been a great motivator and a great stress reliever for me.  I love to write.  I only hope that future generations read these journals/blog with an open mind. ;)

3.  I am grateful to be where I am right now. 
          It would be easy to give up after learning about moving so far away and say, "well I'm not going to be here much longer so why continue trying."  Despite everything going on, I try to serve faithfully in my callings, and will do so until we go.  I'm thankful for the friends I have made here, for the callings I have, for my ward, my home, for the furniture we have.  I am grateful just to be here to serve and love the people around me until it's time for me to move on.

4.  I am grateful for a home. 

        It's really hard right now with us having to sell most of our things.  The other day we sold our couch.  I can't tell you how hard that was for me.  I never thought I would ever have grown an attachment to such an object, but it's hard.  That night after it was gone, I sat in the living room just thinking.  I thought about the early saints and how they were driven from their homes and had to leave everything behind.  It might sound crazy, but that's how I feel right now with all the trials we've been facing.  I feel like I am a pioneer.  It started from the moment we decided to move. Those saints had a lot to worry about and probably knew far less than what I know now.  They were going off of faith and what they knew was right.  It's a blessing to have a home no matter how much we have in it right now.  It's a blessing to be here.

5.  I'm thankful for a loving Husband and Daughter.

       Everyday as I am looking at all the struggles and things we have to worry about, these are the two most important people in my life.  I draw great strength from them.  Travis always reminds me that this too shall pass.  That we will be okay and as long as we are doing our best and all we can, the lord with help us with the rest.  He always knows how to cheer me up.

 Little Emree, well she has always been our strength.  She has been our miracle baby.  She has been a really easy baby and I believe it's because of these adventures we have had to face.  She reminds me of what is most important.  My family is a great blessing!

6.  I'm grateful to be in school.

       I've learned a lot this semester. It has been a great blessing to be able to move forward and learn alongside my husband and daughter.   We've been so blessed! I am loving learning every single day. 

7.  I'm thankful for a car.

         Yes, our car is not the greatest car in the world.  We often times call it "the rolling trash can," but it gets us around and that's all we can ask for. :)

8.  I'm thankful for my sister Nicole.
           I've prayed and prayed for quite some time to have a good friend to talk to. I finally realized while I was in search of someone to come to me, that my friend was already there.  She has really helped me through some tough times whether she knows it or not.  Just being able to talk to her and have her listen and understand me, is exactly what I have needed. 

9.  I'm thankful for the Book of Mormon. 

         It has been a great comfort to me when I really have felt down.  I have learned some great lessons and some great blessings have come from that wonderful book. 

10.  I am thankful for a loving Father in Heaven who let's things happen to me to help me grow.

          I know he loves me so very much.  I often am reminded of his love through the tender mercies he shares with me each day.  It's taken a lot of faith for me and my husband to make these decisions and with that faith, the lord has shown us many great tender mercies even when we make mistakes. 

These are just a few of the many things that I am thankful for and trust me there are many.

I challenge you to look at the many blessings in your life as you go about your day and through all of your "adventures!" :)

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Otherwise Ye Could Not Abound

School has started up and there is already work to be done. Schedules are crammed full of things to do. Dirty dishes are starting to pile up and the stresses of life are just beginning to set in.  But through it all I've had many thoughts throughout this week, but one in particular has meant so much to me.

My family has seen me as a musician for a long time and I don't think they quite grasp the idea of me changing my goals and moving on with something new.  Stress management is my goal. Why is this my goal? Why I am studying to be a stress management consultant? Where is this headed?

 I love people and I want to help in any way that I can and for me, the lord has shown me that this is what I have a passion for and how I can do that is by working towards this goal. I can honestly say that I don't know where this path is going to lead me, but I know who is guiding me in every step.

Yesterday I was reading in D&C 88:49-50 it says:

"The light shineth in darkness, and the darkness comprehendeth it not; nevertheless, the day shall come when you shall comprehend even God, being quickened in him and by him.

Then shall ye know that ye have seen me, that I am, and that I am the true light that is in you, and that you are in me; otherwise ye could not abound."

As I read this scripture I thought about my life and what I have accomplished. Why have I accomplished the things that I have? Because the lord has been with me every step of the way.  Without the lord and that understanding that the lord is in all things, including me and I am in him, I would not be able to become what he wants me to become. I would not be able to reach my full potential. To be everything I can be.

For me this is what the lord is saying when he says "then shall ye know that ye have seen me... and that I am the true light that is in you... otherwise ye could not abound."

My family and I have made many big decisions recently and I know without a doubt in my mind that the lord is leading us where we need to go and he will take care of us.  And so it is with my stress management goals. I know that this is what I need to be doing and the lord is helping me accomplish my goals as I pray to him and keep him uppermost in my mind always.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Fear vs. Faith

Last weekend I had the opportunity to see Glenn Beck's production "Man in the Moon." It was a show that really impacted me! Recently, I have felt a lot of worry and stress in my life about the future and what will happen to us as a country and a people. From things shown on Facebook to hearing stories and things from neighbors and family, I found myself fearing. I knew that everything would alright in the back of my mind, but that fear remained, until that night. I felt peace and comfort. I was reminded that as long I am doing what is right and following what the lord asks of me, that I have no need to fear. Fear does not come from God and the only way to replace that fear is through faith. All I need to do is put that faith and trust in him and he will lead me through, he will lead us through.  President Thomas S. Monson puts it perfectly in his message for July:

For many, the pioneer trek of 1847 didn’t begin at Nauvoo, Kirtland, Far West, or New York but rather in distant England, Scotland, Scandinavia, or Germany. Tiny children could not fully comprehend the dynamic faith that motivated their parents to leave behind family, friends, comfort, and security.
A little one might ask, “Mommy, why are we leaving home? Where are we going?”
“Come along, precious one; we’re going to Zion, the city of our God.”
Between the safety of home and the promise of Zion stood the angry and treacherous waters of the mighty Atlantic. Who can recount the fear that gripped the human heart during those perilous crossings? Prompted by the silent whisperings of the Spirit, sustained by a simple yet abiding faith, those pioneer Saints trusted in God and set sail on their journey.
They finally reached Nauvoo only to set out again to face hardships on the trail. Tombstones of sage and rock marked graves the entire route from Nauvoo to Salt Lake City. Such was the price some pioneers paid. Their bodies are buried in peace, but their names live on evermore.
Tired oxen lumbered, wagon wheels squeaked, brave men toiled, war drums sounded, and coyotes howled. But the faith-inspired and storm-driven pioneers pressed on. Often they sang:
Come, come, ye Saints, no toil nor labor fear;
But with joy wend your way.
Though hard to you this journey may appear,
Grace shall be as your day. …
All is well! All is well!1
These pioneers remembered the words of the Lord: “My people must be tried in all things, that they may be prepared to receive the glory that I have for them, even the glory of Zion.”2
The passage of time dims our memories and diminishes our appreciation for those who walked the path of pain, leaving behind a tear-marked trail of nameless graves. But what of today’s challenges? Are there no rocky roads to travel, no rugged mountains to climb, no chasms to cross, no trails to blaze, no rivers to ford? Or is there a very present need for that pioneer spirit to guide us away from the dangers that threaten to engulf us and to lead us to a Zion of safety?
In the decades since the end of World War II, standards of morality have lowered again and again. Crime spirals upward; decency careens downward. Many are on a giant roller coaster of disaster, seeking the thrills of the moment while sacrificing the joys of eternity. Thus we forfeit peace.
We forget how the Greeks and Romans prevailed magnificently in a barbaric world and how that triumph ended—how a slackness and softness finally overcame them to their ruin. In the end, more than they wanted freedom, they wanted security and a comfortable life; and they lost all—comfort and security and freedom.
Do not yield to Satan’s enticements; rather, stand firm for truth. The unsatisfied yearnings of the soul will not be met by a never-ending quest for joy amidst the thrills of sensation and vice. Vice never leads to virtue. Hate never promotes love. Cowardice never gives courage. Doubt never inspires faith.
Some find it difficult to withstand the mockings and unsavory remarks of foolish ones who ridicule chastity, honesty, and obedience to God’s commands. But the world has ever belittled adherence to principle. When Noah was instructed to build an ark, the foolish populace looked at the cloudless sky and then scoffed and jeered—until the rain came.
Must we learn such costly lessons over and over again? Times change, but truth persists. When we fail to profit from the experiences of the past, we are doomed to repeat them with all their heartache, suffering, and anguish. Haven’t we the wisdom to obey Him who knows the beginning from the end—our Lord, who designed the plan of salvation—rather than that serpent, who despised its beauty?
A dictionary defines a pioneer as “one who goes before to prepare or open up the way for others to follow.”3 Can we somehow muster the courage and steadfastness of purpose that characterized the pioneers of a former generation? Can you and I, in actual fact, be pioneers?
I know we can be. Oh, how the world needs pioneers today!

I hope that we can always keep this message in our hearts and minds, always remembering that we are strong and that this is the way that we defend our freedoms, through faith and trust in the Lord and following and obeying his word.  We have a light within each of us which is the light of Chirst.  We have the power to strengthen one another and help each other come to know him. We are brothers and sisters. We are children of God. 

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Happy Independence Day!

"When we safe guard the heavenly virtue of freedom, when we honor it, when we protect it, we will walk with washington, we will pray with patriots, and we shall peace on earth, good will to men." 
-Thomas S. Monson

May we never forget those who fought for the freedoms we have today and may we rise up and continue to defend our country despite the trials we may face! God Bless America! 

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Building Up

Glenn Beck shared a powerful video this week that I hope all of you will take the time to watch. He has lost his voice due to paralyzed vocal chords and has shared some inspirational words through his silence.

Something I really liked about what he says in this video is that when you begin to change and to grow the people around you don't like it and begin to bash on you for trying to better yourself. I have always wondered why that is? Why would anyone want to criticize someone for trying to become a better person, to become more like Christ?

Satan seems to think he can bombard our minds with thoughts that bring anger, confusion,  hold grudges, jealousy, etc.  If we let him he will cause us to feel feelings towards even our closest friends and loved ones to tear us a part and to keep us from lifting one another.

I've noticed this same pattern in my life, the more I try to become like Christ the more people, even my closest family, seeks to tear me down and make themselves feel better. When they see me growing and stating my own opinion, trying to be better, they feel they have to defend themselves. What kind of happiness does that bring...NONE! It only brings tension. We are all striving to become better. We all have changes and goals we are trying to reach. So why not help each other and cheer on one another.

Glenn Beck has found his path and has decided to make a change in his life that will bring him great joy as he continues to do so despite what others think. I am reminded often of how Christ was treated throughout his life. He was perfect and did everything he could to serve and to love and yet he too was bombarded with people trying to tear him down. I'm sure there were many nights or days when Christ took time to be a lone so he could get away from the persecution thrown at him.

We shouldn't tear others apart because of the changes they are determined to make and will make. You can make changes too! If you strive to build others up, you will find that they in turn will build you up.