A week ago Sunday  Elder Oaks came and spoke to the youth of ours and several other nearby stakes. He was accompanied by his wife and two other general authorities, Elder Randall and Elder Ringwood, along with their wives.  The meeting was outstanding and the feeling in the room was special.  The program was set up in a unique way. Three stakes in Roosevelt chose 2 youth each, one boy and one girl, and asked these youth to fast and pray about questions they had for Elder Oaks.  Elder Oaks then either answered the question or asked  Elder Randall, Elder Ringwood, or either of their wives to answer the question. There were a few times all of these individuals answered the same question.  What a treat!  The youth amazed me – they touched me.  Tears flowed.  I was in awe of the strength, love, and wisdom in their questions. It was apparent the Lord was with them in choosing what our stake needed addressed.  One of the questions asked was this: “How can youth that lack support at home find the love and support they need.”  Wow. That hit home.

I mentioned last week that I would write about what was in my heart, what moves me now.   Well this is it.  This question launched me back into the past with my own family of origin, to a  time when my parents were struggling with alcoholism and I was the only child left at home. I had four older siblings who loved me dearly and supported me in numerous ways, but they didn’t LIVE with me. They didn’t experience what I was experiencing day in and day out right THEN. They too had painful moments when they lived at home. Through conversations I’ve learned they’ve had experiences that I have never had to live. But still, there were times I felt almost alone and very  trapped in the life my parents built.  I say almost because I never felt truly alone – just alone in the world.  I’m grateful for the love of my Heavenly Father, for I always felt His presence. I think I was gifted with discernment because from a very early age I knew what was good in a family and what was not, what was right and what was wrong. I wasn’t confused as to what is really REAL. I knew my parents were good, that they loved us very much, but they were very lost in addiction. I could elaborate about my feelings and how I managed them but I’m only going to share one aspect of this today. The idea that I knew one day I would be the master artist of my life. I would paint my picture. I could add the texture and colors of my choosing. I  heard this whispered often. This was hope.

When the question was asked, Sister Randall answered. Her answer left me stunned. Her words were exactly what I had practiced as a young girl and a young married mother, a skill I taught my children and I teach my clients on a weekly basis.  We can choose our own life. Sister Randall, when sharing some difficult times as a child said, “I couldn’t choose the environment to which I was born, but I could choose what environment my children would be born into. Resolve what you want to create.”

Choose Your Life.
Resolve What You Want to Create.

Resolution.
Choice.
Agency.
Power.

These are principles that are healing. They can move mountains. They can change everything you know.

It’s a wonderful thing to have family. Family is ordained of God. We cannot come into the world without a family. It’s how God planned it.  It’s a tender mercy when we are put with families who are able to love and serve and give and protect –  families that are clean from addiction and evils that destruct.  It’s well known and does not need discussion here that all families have weakness. Just as all individuals do.  We are here to learn and grow and become.  It’s also well known that some families struggle more that others. Again, discussion is not needed as to all the reasons why. There are far too many for this post. The fact is, not all children have the love and support needed at home. So how can they move forward and believe and understand that they too have been given the ability to create a beautiful life?

There are many ways. But here’s the one I love the most. They can begin now to choose their life. Regardless of the environment they are in right now.  They can begin the creative process of painting their masterpiece. Their life.

Many artists take years to decide what to create, and even more years in the creation. They begin early on thinking about the work. They ask questions such as, what am I going to paint? What mood and feelings am I going to convey?  What kinds of shapes and lines will I use in my composition?  What will my brush strokes and my color areas be?  What techniques and textures will I incorporate?  What color scheme will I follow?  These are all questions that take time to decide.  We begin dreaming, playing with ideas, researching, planning, practicing, purchasing necessities, and all the things that go into this creation, and then it evolves. Ask an artist when he began his masterpiece. It’s never at the onset of the work. It begins with the dream and then becomes.

When I felt the most frustrated as a  young girl, I would sit and plan. I would write all I wanted out of life. I made lists of what I wanted to have happen.  I would read, read, and read in an effort to fit myself into environments that I might want.  Books gave me the ideas of love and friendship and beauty. I would feel happy in those scenes.  I would read the New Testament often, and I fell in love with my Savior. I knew I wanted to know Him more and have Him be a part of my family. I wanted Him near me and I wanted to be like Him. That was part of my plan.   The lists looked sort of like this:  (The ideals of a teen, keep in mind)

I want:

A family.
A super cute husband. Any eye color but blue is especially nice. Sincere really.
He’s loving and kind and thinks I hung the moon – always.  He’s smart and successful – he takes care of all we need.
Children. Lots of cute bubbly, smart, musically talented children who walk around smiling and singing all day.
A big beautiful house that looks like a plantation home. A big porch with lots of white flowing curtains.
A life in the country with sunshine and flowers and streams and trees. Apple trees. Cherry trees.
A Christian life full of love and service and donuts after church. Lots of Hymns.
A career. I want to help people.  Preferably an attorney. Maybe family law?  I want to make a ton of money to just stock away in savings and go on lots of trips and wear beautiful things and buy lovely perfumes. I want land with lots and lots of flowers.
I want to be healthy and strong.

This is an example of a list I wrote probably several hundred times. I would not write it once and re read it. It was in my heart. All I had to do was rewrite it when feeling trapped. This reminded me that soon I would not be living the life that someone else was creating. I could begin creating my own.

I then would elaborate on my lists. What could I do now to begin this life?

🙂

Husband: If I wanted a loving and kind husband who thinks I hung the moon, I better be loving and kind myself and be someone worthy of  “She Hung the Moon” sort of evaluations.    I’ll begin by looking at the good in all people. Serve someone every day.
A career: If I want to be smart and successful I can begin now by studying and paying attention to things around me. Science. Psychology. Law.  I’ll study and become as involved as I can in school.
Health: If I want to be healthy it can start now. I can exercise, dance, play a sport, eat right. I don’t have to wait to be married to begin taking care of my body. I can do it now.

This is how I began to choose my life. By dreaming and then slowly implementing.  It gave me energy and hope. Something interesting happened. I began to realize much of what I wanted was already in my life – at times. I remembered how my dad loved to take me on outings in nature. He loved taking pictures of flowers. He loved taking me to streams when I was younger. I realized my mother loved white flowing curtains too, mostly she saw them in movies, but it was her love that sparked mine. I realized while I disagreed with much of how my parents lived, they were the ones who taught me that God was real and here and that He loved me. I remembered my dad holding my hand through church, and how this gave me warm feelings about church and God. I thought of my siblings and how good they were to me, and how this has made me want many children.

So there it is.

Choose Your Life.
Resolve What You Want to Create….. and then GO TO WORK.

🙂

I can testify that not all my dreams have come true, but they are pretty close.  For example, Jeff does not believe I hung the moon at all times, but I think he feels this sometimes…. maybe.   
Jeff is sincere and kind and lovely.
I’m not an attorney, but I am in a healing profession and I have had much success in my field. I’ve been blessed.
I have children who love music, and are smiley, but we have failed to duplicate the Von Trapp family. (Dangit! Maybe the grand-kids?)
I could be healthier, but I try. I have run several marathons and eat pretty well. I love movement and outdoor activities.  I feel good, mostly.
I have a beautiful home with a porch and white flowing curtains! BAM!
I don’t live IN the country but pretty close. The Uintah Mountain Range, one of the most beautiful in the world, is 15 minutes away. It’s loaded with streams, and lakes and flowers and majesty. The land behind me has cows and horses and I feel much peace each morning when I look out my window.
I am a Christian and I raised my children with Christian values. It’s blessed our lives tremendously and given us cause for thanks daily. We do have family challenges that come up, but we have a a guide. A plan. A Savior.

I could go on but you get the idea. I dreamed a dreamed. I planned. I worked toward it. I am living the life I created, along with unforseen lessons God had planned for me. I find joy in my life, but I’m still dreaming and making lists. It’s part of what makes me me. Knowing I can create what I want.

There are youth and adults alike who feel trapped and are angry at the life they have been handed. When meeting with me I remind them of their agency, their ability to begin choosing, their power to create. I tell them we are not trapped. God did not want that.  We can evolve from any situation we’ve been given.  It’s the PLAN. We are created in Love and created for Love. It can happen and will if you begin planning the creation.

If this is you, start now. Make your list. Dream Big. It’s fun. It’s real. And It’s the PLAN.