When People Leave

In the past week I have seen more posts about people choosing to leave a religion I love, than I have in my whole life combined. Not everyone is leaving because of doctrine. Not everyone is leaving because they decided they don't believe anymore. Some of leaving because they do not feel welcome. They are leaving because they felt too much pressure to be perfect and to "Keep up with the Jones'". Because members are hypocritical and sometimes downright mean. They leave because sometimes, we push them out. 

This breaks my heart. 

We tell them, "Well if you don't believe, why don't you just leave?" So they do. 

We tell them, "If you don't want to be here, then go." So they do. 

We tell them with our actions that we don't care, because we don't introduce ourselves. We don't welcome them. We don't say, "Thank you for serving!" We don't say, "I'm so glad you're here!" 

I grew up in a wonderful Young Women's that consisted of all my girl friends. I never had an issue with church. In my single's ward in college I loved it too. Everyone was welcoming, everyone wanted to get to know each other, serve each other, love each other. 

In my first married ward I was introduced to Relief Society over 8 times before people started saying, "Haven't you been here before?" Nobody knew who I was. One lady asked where we lived and when I told her we lived in apartments she said, "Don't be offended if I don't bother to get to know you. It's just that the apartments have quick turn over and it's not worth my time." I was not worth her time. Then I was given a calling where I worked under a woman who told me I was not good enough to be in the position I was in. She made church hell for me. You can bet I was "sick" on Sundays more often than I've ever been in my life. I made every effort to attend church elsewhere with anyone else. 

In my second married ward, I felt so young. My visiting teaching companion set up all our appointments and when I told her I felt too young and I felt like no one wanted to listen to me she said, "Do you think that God thinks you're too young to make a difference? I think he's so grateful that you are willing to minister to His children in ways that he cannot right now."  BAM. I felt important because some one reminded me I was important. I was so happy when I received a calling in Relief Society Stake Presidency and so sad when we moved out. I felt needed, even if I was 50 years younger than the rest of the presidency.

When people leave I feel anguish for every judgmental comment I have made about another person. I was not the nicest most welcoming person in high school, I judged others for their mistakes. I feel sorrow for anyone I may have ostracized and pray to be forgiven of those sins. I wonder if I should spend more time getting to know those I attend with. I try to make sure I say thank you and say, "I'm so glad you're here!" to the women and young women I serve with. I now realize that just because my sins might not be as visible as someone else's doesn't make me any better. I am a SINNER in need of a SAVIOR just like you, just like the young man I dated with an addiction to pornography, just like my girl friend who went too far with her boyfriend, just like my friends who use vulgar language, just like the friend who drank in high school and I kept my distance from because of that. I need a Savior just like them. 

I'm not perfect now. But I've figured out that I could have friends who have different beliefs and values than me. In fact, they make life interesting because I learn so much from them. I learned every Latter-Day Saint is not saintly, many can be devilish and seem to be on Satan's own agenda based on how they make you feel. I recognize now that the basis of the gospel of Jesus Christ is to simply LIVE like Jesus Christ. I pray that in all the gospel fluff, we (and especially I) will focus our lives, our lessons, our testimonies, our relationships on Jesus Christ.

And when people leave, I hope we choose to love them like Christ would. Without being pushy, judgmental or ostracizing. I hope we will welcome EVERYONE with open arms. Because if Christ were here today, I believe that is exactly what he would do.

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Preparing for my first 5K- Rescue Run 5K

A few weeks ago we went to Moab, UT to watch my sister in law run her first half marathon. We had a great weekend and as we stood at the finish line waiting for her to cross I got that feeling. Ya know that one that makes you say, "Oh crap. What am I getting myself into?" That's the one. 

I mentioned to my husband that I would love to do that one day. We both brushed it off but as soon as we got home I started my research. I decided to do the Couch to 5K program and discovered they have an app. It's a 9 week program to get you running your first 5K. Tonight I finished week 2. 

Striped Jacket & Leggings: Albion Fit
Shoes: Nike

The app is amazing because you push START and it begins your workout. You can turn on your music and the app will interrupt you when it's time to walk or run. In fact, I use the LDS Gospel library to listen to old General Conference talks and run the app in the background. 

Through my blog, I've been given the opportunity to run the Rescue Run 5K on May 21st. My mom's birthday and my 3 year engagement anniversary. I was scared to sign up because it will be one week after I finish my Couch to 5K and that just did not seem like enough time. I wanted to overprepare and be like an amazing rockstar at running before I ever signed up for a race. This opportunity was the perfect chance for me to push myself. 

You probably won't hear me stop talking about this until it's over because well... if I don't, I'm afraid I'll give up. I'm TERRIFIED. What if I'm the last across the finish line? What if I walk a ton of it? What if I get blisters on race day? What if I embarrass myself? 

I need to do this. To prove to myself that I am capable of starting and finishing something like this. I'm nervous but excited! Tonight as I finished my 31 minute workout I was surprised it was already over. It went by fast and I didn't feel like I was going to die which was a miracle! 

If you live in Utah, you should definitely consider signing up with me. I could use a friend or two and it's for a great cause! If you sign up by Monday night you can save $10 off race fee. It will only be $25 and of course you get an awesome tee shirt and the money is donated to Operation Underground Railroad. 

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The Power of Words - CARE-ing for Syrian Refugees

(Every time you click on a link in this post, I am compensated. A portion of proceeds from this campaign will be donated back to CARE to help Syrian refugees. Thanks as always for supporting my blog! This blog post is sponsored by CARE.)

I think to some extent, we all believe there is power in our words. That's why we write blog posts, listen to music, send text messages, write tweets, call our moms, write love letters, read books, etc. We all know that something about our words literally CHANGES the environment around us. 

When I was asked by CARE to participate in this campaign to write letters to Syrian refugees I did a little fist pump in the air. I absolutely love showing others how easy it can be to make a difference. I've been so humbled lately by all the evil that is happening in the world. I tried to think of a more euphemistic way to say that, but evil just seems like the best word to describe it. I've felt so helpless, so hopeless, so lost. 

I've heard people say, "Don't pray for Paris! Do something about it!" which actually makes me sad because I do believe in the power of prayer, but I also want to be someone who DOES do something about it. 

The Syrian War has produced the worst humanitarian crisis since WWII. More than 4.6 million people have fled the country and another 6.6 million have been displaced within Syrian. MILLION. CARE has reached over 1 million Syrians with immediate humanitarian relief and support for dealing with the crisis long term. You can donate a CARE package in various forms or donate a specific amount of money.

+ $35 for a hygiene kit

+ 70 for a month's worth of food

+ Any amount

+ FREE! Write a letter to a refugee. It only takes a few minutes and you never know what it could do.

Here's mine:

Hi there-

You don't know me, and I don't know you. But that doesn't mean that I don't care for you and that I don't think about you. 

I think about your past and what you had to leave behind. I think about your present and what that must feel like for you. I think about your future and all you have to offer this world. 

Never forget that kindness is magic. It truly produces miracles! The things you are going through will increase your capacity for kindness. You know tragedies that I may never have to experience, so I won't pretend to understand. But just know, that all the way in Utah, USA, someone cares for you and is thinking of you. 

- Brooklyn

You can click HERE to learn about others who are using their love and compassion to make a difference. Or click HERE to learn how you can write a quick, easy letter to Syrian refugees to give them hope and courage in these times of trial.

I'm also doing a giveaway for $25 Paypal cash below. I hope you'll consider entering, each time you click on a link I am compensated monetarily. Proceeds from this campaign will be donated back to the CARE program. The $25 prize can be used however you like! However, I also hope you'll consider using it to donate to CARE, donate to a local cause you believe in, or use it to strengthen a relationship in your immediate circle. Because the best place we can start making a difference, is with the people around us. 

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H A L L E L U J A H !

Happy week leading up to Easter!

We've been going through a lot of life stresses (aren't we all) so it hadn't really caught up with me until today just how quickly Easter is arriving. I just realized it today when I was asked to participate in a musical number for Easter Sunday. 

I wanted to share this Easter Message about Jesus Christ. It is truly a beautiful video. To see more click HERE.

Because of Jesus Christ, I can overcome bad habits. I can be a better wife. I can be forgiven for my past mistakes and any future mistakes I make. Hallelujah.

Because of Jesus Christ, I can live forever with my family. I can find comfort in times of trials. I can have hope in a future better than I can even dream of. Hallelujah.

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Everyday MOMents: Book Review

This post contains affiliate links. This means if you use a link in my post and make a purchase I will receive a portion of that purchase in return. I received this book as compensation for a review post. 

When I first was presented with the opportunity to review the book "Everyday MOMents: Discovering Christ in the Details of Motherhood" by Jessica Poe I was wary. I'm not a mother yet so I wondered if this book would have any value to me. I decided to give it a shot, I figured if nothing else I could pass along to my own mother or another mother in my life who could use some inspiration. As it turns out, I feel like this book was written specifically for me.

Jessica Poe is an everyday, ordinary mother doing her tasks in an extraordinary way. This book focuses on her decision to look for heavenly and spiritual "stories" in her every day tasks. From doing dishes, to weeding her garden she found Christ in the details because she ASKED Heavenly Father for spiritual eyes to see.

I don't want to ruin the book, but I do want to share a few things that touched me.

+ At one point, Jessica Poe states that she finds that she feels trapped in a "surround-sound lifestyle". Quoting Richard G. Scott, "Have you noticed how Satan works to capture the mind and emotions with flashing images, blaring music, and the stimulation of every physical sense to excess? He diligently strives to fill life with action, entertainment, and stimulation so that one cannot ponder the consequences of his tempting invitations."

I too, find myself living in a "surround-sound lifestyle". Jessica's suggestions gave me hope and courage to make changes so I can be STILL more often.

+ She speaks of how her children play pretend. They often choose to play school, home, go to the grocery store, etc. all in the name of "play". She loves how this type of playing pretend is practice for their futures as productive adults in society.

This is like when we go to the temple. She says, "Though there are different settings and ordinances available to participate in, all prepare us to stand in the presence of God- a future as real and faraway-feeling to us as adulthood is to a child... our real temple attendance qualify as beneficial and enjoyable preparation for the future." What a beautiful comparison.

+ I also love how she encourages us to keep a journal of the experiences we have that we can see Christ in. When are those moments when you feel his influence? Write them down. Keep a notebook handy to write down the experiences you are having that are touching your heart and strengthening your testimony.

With Mother's Day coming up, I would absolutely recommend this book to anyone looking for a Mother's Day gift! It is an easy read that can be read quickly, or slowly and still be thoroughly enjoyed. Jessica Poe will have you cheering for motherhood and the incredible influence that a righteous woman, who stays close to the Spirit can have on those around her.

This book can be purchases on Amazon.com 

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March Powersheets Prep

Every month seems to fly by faster and faster. It's March now you guys! I took some time to sit down at the end of February to look over my month, see what worked and what didn't, and plan out my March goals with my Tending Lists from my Powersheets. 

In February I felt overwhelmed. I didn't get much accomplished and each day was full of stress and anxiety for me. In March I plan to do this differently. I've lowered my daily goals to 3 things.

+ Read my scriptures 

+ Pray

+ Review my Ponderize scripture (2 Nephi 33:6 "I glory in plainness, I glory in truth; I glory in my Jesus, for he hath redeemed my soul from hell.")

I KNOW, because I've taken this challenge before, that prioritizing my spiritual and emotional well being will result in a happier, more balanced Brooklyn.

My weekly goals...

+ Write in my journal 

+ Blog

+ Go to Jazzercise

+ Write Colten a love note

I've been going to Jazzercise for a couple of weeks now and am loving it. I want to try and go 3X a week but for now as long as I am going once a week, I'm going to celebrate that! The workout goes by quickly and I enjoy it. I enjoy the current music and dancing and it helps me manage my stress better.

Monthly goals

+ Take puppies on a walk 

+ Use Write the Word Journal

+ Jolley Family Blog Update

+ Go to the temple twice

+ Add to food storage

+ Add to water storage

If nothing else happens but my daily goals, that will be enough for me. I am going to focus on getting myself back into the habits that make all the difference. That's what March is going to be all about.

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I'll be completely honest. For New Beginnings this year... we scrambled. We had just called a new secretary, the president's mother was very ill, my life became a living stress basket and we threw this together in less than a week! One of our YW suggested the theme from a pin she had found on Pinterest.

Thank heavens for Pinterest and for The Dearth Duo sharing a wonderful post idea about their Wizard of Oz New Beginnings them! THANK YOU! 

To get all the ideas and all the printables make sure to check out her site.

We have a combined YW class presidency instead of one for each class because our numbers are so small, so we had each YW In the class presidency speak for a few minutes. One of them sang "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" and played it on her guitar. She learned it in 3 days! We were blown away by her talent. 

We also had a craft for the YW while the leaders and parents mingled. We used this activity to notify parents of important dates and a brief overview of Personal Progress. Look how amazing it all turned out? Our brand new secretary KILLED it on the decor. I brought the bread, butter and jam. Woo! Go me!

The girls painted the temples white and added glitter. They turned out beautiful! I was jealous and wanted one for myself ;) I'm always amazed by the women in the church. It seems like everyone's talents really pull together to make amazing events like this happen. I'm so grateful to be surrounded by so many talented women and young women. It is truly a dream to minister to the young women in our ward!