Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Anna's Maternity Photographs | West Valley, Utah

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This is my sister in law Anna.

Isn't she gorgeous? Uhm, I know right?

She is expecting the first of three nephews due to our family this year, and we cannot wait to meet little Alec due in June.

These photos were taken in my backyard 10 minutes before it started hailing and pouring rain. I don't think we could have gotten any luckier.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle. -Ian Maclaren

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(My brother took this photo of me, I love it, nap makeup and all.)

Everyone you meet truly is fighting a hard battle.

The last two months of my life have been full of heartache, sadness, depression, struggle, illness, and overcoming. It seems I have been fighting one battle after another and never coming up victor.

I have had to make some very hard decisions which involved really looking inside myself to find that 'voice', that 'gut' which tells you what you really need to do in life. I am amazed by how much I have learned from listening to this voice. In the midst of terrible personal struggle, this voice has brought me peace and understanding beyond any I have ever felt before in my life. I am amazed at our personal abilities to overcome tragedy and our battles if we keep fighting and pushing. It gets really hard and dark and tragic at times...but there is so much we can learn about ourselves and about those around us.

I have a particular worry lately. I particularly see it in my LDS culture, and in the state of Utah in which I live. I am seeing so much judgement and bitterness and sometimes getting the "I am so much better than them." feelings from people. It is breaking my heart into a million pieces as I try to open my heart to truly loving others and showing kindness, that I can't believe that we as humans think and say some of the things we say, and the saddest part of it all is that our children are picking up on it, therefore becoming silent bullies of judgement.

If you are slightly religious at all you will have heard this scripture from Matthew 22:36-39:

36 Master, which is the great commandment in the law?
37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
38 This is the first and great commandment.
39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

I am concerned that society doesn't know how to love anyone but themselves anymore. I have recently seen children make grown people cry because of things their parents are teaching them, that someone is less of a person because of choices and decisions they make in their lives because they aren't the same choices that these parents would make for themselves or for their children.

I have heard of grown women in my neighborhood being shunned and judged because they aren't dressed 'modestly'. What the hell is wrong with us that have to ever say anything about the way someone is dressed? Are clothes what make people who they are? Who cares? Why do you care? Why do you even waste the energy to make yourself feel better than that person? It kills me slowly to hear of things like this. To witness things like this in my culture. I loved reading this article after feeling this way for awhile now: The Friend and The Orange Tank Top. Guess what? My girls sometimes wear spaghetti straps and sleeveless shirts. Guess what else? I don't care what you think.

Does someone's sexual orientation make a difference in whether we love them or not? Why do we put so much energy into battling back and forth who is right on the subject and who is wrong? I am so sick of hearing all of this that I could scream. Quit judging. Love.

Tattoos? So freaking what. Get over it people. They have been around forever. Guess what? I am FASCINATED by them. Why people get them, what they mean.

My mom is mentally ill. Guess what? That doesn't mean that I am.

My dad is an alcoholic and an ex con. Guess what? That doesn't mean that I am, or will be. We lost an adoption placement over this.

Quit. Judging.

Be the LDS people you were taught to be. Love one another.

Guess what else? It is possible to teach your children right from wrong. We also need to remember to teach them that what we believe is wrong and right differs from what other people believe. What we need to teach them, is despite our differing values we can love others without making them feel less than us. It is possible, my children are living proof. I am living proof.

Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle. -Ian Maclaren