Sunday, November 20, 2016

Hope Works

oftentimes the things that we repeatedly think about and the things we repeatedly say 
become who we are and what others remember about us

a photo of my daddy sits by my home monitor 
his soft gaze looks at me as i work in the wee hours of the night and early morning
oh how i wish i could talk to him in person
but the words i hear my daddy say to me in my mind are the words i heard him say so often
words of counsel
words of encouragement
words of love
but so very often the words of hope

my father was a spiritual man who drew strength and wisdom from the words of the scriptures 
that lucky for me he passed on to his family
one of my favorite things i heard my daddy teach about was hope
my father's adopted definition of hope was an "earnest expectation"
taken from one of my most beloved chapters in scripture, Romans 8 verse 19 
an earnest expectation
in an address at a conference of women Lisa Valentine Clark said
'when we don't know where to begin, we begin with hope.  hope has the power to change our attitude.  hope sometimes comes from our actions and sometimes comes through inner feelings."
we begin with hope
with earnest expectation of a change in how you feel or a change in an outcome
earnest can be defined as 'resulting from or showing sincere and intense conviction'
for me this anticipation of change in nature or change in situation 
must be coupled with a sincere and intense conviction in God's loving nature and his work and his glory
"to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man"  (Moses 1:39)
which can only come through the process of becoming
most importantly, becoming as Christ
oh the joys that come
but oh the pain and the strife
no one is exempt
which means that we are each others' learning material and experts on how to find hope
we have all felt it sometime in our life 
we have felt of its transformative power
its sustaining power
its restful power

because of this universal reality of the state of man
to learn, to grow, to be stretched, to rise, to fall, to find peace, to feel despair, to find rest, to find joy
it is my firm belief that we each must speak up and
"be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you"
we must share our stories of hope
even if we are in the middle of it
even if we have not seen the light yet
we can speak of the light in our hearts
our speaking can spark a hope in the hearts of someone else
it doesn't need to be on a public platform
you just need to have an open and willing heart 
that if the opportunity presents itself in speaking to another in need 
that you will be ready to share your story and give an answer for the reason for your hope
your sharing may just be showing them where they can begin

it has been my honor to learn from so many in my life through the sharing of their stories
through my podcast The LifeBeats Project I have been continually amazed 
at the willingness of my guests and my community members so many to share their journeys for the benefit of others
i continually seek out opportunities to hear from the brave ones willing to share
recently i was able to attend a brilliant and inspirational TED talk like event called
in which 6 speakers shared their life experiences and insights of how they feel hope and love
particularly through the light of the Savior Jesus Christ

as i listened to 

i was filled
there was no podium, no screen, no barrier between them and myself
it was if they were speaking just directly to me
i could feel their pain 
but oh could i feel their joy
there is a power in hearing others' stories
those LifeBeats inside of us connect with the LifeBeats within their story
those core desires within us all
to feel loved, to want to serve, to want to reach our potential, to be understood, to want to feel needed, to want to feel that what we are doing and how we are living has meaning

if you are in need of a little hope
i invite you reach out to someone you love, someone you admire, a place of inspiration 
and hear how others have found hope in their lives
i invite you to hear the stories of the inspiring guests of my podcast The LifeBeats Project
you can even listen to one of the speakers from the event Hope Works that i attended over on YouTube
friends make hope an earnest expectation in your lives
draw on the stories and strength from others
root your sincere anticipation of that rest, peace, and joy that will come in our Savior Jesus Christ
for hope lives
hope conquers
and hope works 

when have you felt hope in your life?  how did you find it?

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

The LifeBeats Project Story Search Soiree

in the Spring i hosted a Story Search through my podcast The LifeBeats Project
in conjunction with Diana Putnam Photography's series Rose Colored Lenses
asking my listeners to submit stories of people who inspire them
or to share their own inspirational story

it is part of my mission to be able to share how extraordinary people are with you
i had 20 nominees submit stories
and how could i only share 2 of them with you

reading through each one of their stories was so uplifting and inspiring 
that i decided i would honor them all

welcome to the first Story Search Soiree
at my beautiful new home
keeping it simple was my goal
in order to focus on why we were gathering
and their stories

our simply beautiful decorations
felt ball garlands, floral buntings, wooden flatware, and sunburst napkins
were there to add sunshine and feminine fun
provided by the darling party and paper store My Paper Crush
dedicated to having all the pretty things in one place

you have a chance to win a $50 gift card to their darling shop
by simply following the steps shown on my Instagram post of the soiree
giveaway will end Thurs Sept 22 so hurry and enter

our guests were provided with some gifts as little physical reminders of how truly amazing they are

notebooks and pen by My Paper Crush

my favorite heartbeat necklace by Sweet Lemon Boutique
perfect for my brand and a special gift to my interviewed guests

beautifully burned wood leather wrap 'be brave' bracelet by Sweet Saltwater Designs

seven of us gathered together
some arriving after our photos
to share in a delicious meal made by my loving mother who knows how much cooking stresses me out
she used fresh vegetables from our garden as part of her main shrimp pasta dish
strawberry shortcake my favorite for dessert

i am glad we got the women behind the lens out in front
to know Diana is to love her
she has a heart of gold and a magical talent

the darling Ashley Lundgreen of Visage Artistry

when i envisioned this dinner
i imagined it to be for the purpose of coming together in meaning conversations and to share our stories
three of the attendees shared their stories through video
together we watched them and were able to discuss together the underlying stories
each of us shared a piece of our story
and we talked into the dark of the evening
creating connection and learning from one another
it couldn't have gone any more perfectly

here are the videos for you to witness the beauty of each of these stories

the passionate Carissa of Family History Modernized

i am so excited to share with you this coming week on my podcast The LifeBeats Project
about the new social media campaign i will be launching soon
to help give everyone who wants to share their story an opportunity to do so
to share that #lifebeatsforme

the incredible Tami Schlappi, one of our selections to interview on the podcast
hear her full podcast episode here

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

loving your post-baby body

to love yourself is a gift you give yourself
to love the way you look is the bow on top
we all have beliefs within us that shape the way we see the world and ourselves
possibly outside forces turned into inner thoughts
we repeat again and again
for me the way i look right now is a result of lots of those
lots of hard things 
but my smile and the way i carry myself despite my weight
tells me that despite the hard i choose to focus on the joy

yes i initially wince when i see photos of myself still
but i then i look at the happiness that i see in myself and i try to allow it to outshine the shape of my body

i was so happy to have had a studio full of mamas and babies on my podcast
as we candidly discuss experiences and feelings about body image post-baby 
with a panel of three incredible moms. 
Michelle Petersen from The Mumsy Blog 
fashion blogger Brittany Maddux 
and Roxana Baker of Roxana B Photography 

we openly shared our struggles with the way we view ourselves 
and even moments when we have wondered who that girl is looking back in the mirror 
we dive into what experiences and beliefs have shaped our view of what we should look like 
and how we work on safeguarding our own children from an unhealthy body image 
what we struggle with varies but we each relate the things that have helped us through moments of definite discouragement 
and what we would say to someone struggling with this right now 
and for those still planning on having more children, what they 
(because you know I do not fall in that category) 
would do differently during their next pregnancy to prepare for their post-baby body. 

you are not alone
whether you have given birth to children or not – 
it is something we all struggle with
and we hope our very candid responses help you to feel that

listen to our podcast on The LifeBeats Project here
Winning your battle with your post-baby body image | with Brittany Maddux, Michelle Petersen, and Roxana Baker (TLBP #29)

we were joined by lifestyle blogger Alycia Crowley
for an opportunity to work with Shabby Apple
-the clothing store dedicated to celebrating the beauty in you-
to celebrate and honor our post-baby bodies
with a photo shoot by Roxana B Photography

and you can get in on the celebration too 
with our huge giveaway of five dresses
hop on over to my Instagram @lifebeatsproject for more details today Sept 14 at 10 am MST 
giveaway lasts til Sept 17 at 10 am

for me choosing clothes is tricky
i loved how many options Shabby Apple had available and in a variety of sizes
i choose clothes that have some structure like the seaming on the bodice
and have some illusion of angles like the belt wrap and flare skirt
i love color and love the way it makes me feel when i wear it

check out the other girls' blog posts on their thoughts on self-acceptance, body image, 
and their choice in clothing

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

just where we are: family photos by Heal Courageously

the moments turn into minutes
the minutes into hours
hours into days
days, weeks, months, years

it has been years since we have had our family photo professionally taken
and so when Michelle from the incredible organization Heal Courageously offered her free service 
of taking our family photo
i was elated

Heal Courageously is a non-profit organization which provides a free service to those dealing with life threatening illness 
patients, care givers and survivors 
in which photographers volunteer their time to capture life just where they are 
in what Michelle calls “the night side of life” 
this time of life that shapes us the most  
she gives them the opportunity to to reflect back on those things that cannot be taken by illness  
to hear more about Michelle, her story, and why she founded this organization
be sure to check out my LifeBeats Project podcast with her here

i am sure you have all experienced the stress that comes with getting ready for and taking family pictures  
this experience was nothing like that  
it was freeing 
it was freeing to know that some one was coming to our home for the purpose of capturing us just as we are  
no wardrobes were purchased 
no predetermined poses 
just us  
we had not had our family photographed professionally in over five years 
and so much has changed  

Michelle and her photographer Emily came to our home and were there to serve  
their presence was calming and warm  
we captured Mike in his wheelchair 
with his garden
with each of our children  
we captured him and i together 
and us as an entire family in our home 
and on our back porch  
emotions were there on the surface as I watched my little family 
and cherished where we are 
and that we could capture this time in our life together

here are just a few of the many photos captured
that will forever freeze this time in our life
in our home
our beautiful home
16 moves in the making
where we can thrive as a family
and provide the clinical material for each of us to grow into our potential
i can't wait to watch


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