Monday, July 25, 2016

Finding Peace in a Troubled World

So, I’m a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints…more commonly known as a Mormon.  One of the things that I have always loved about church, is that we have no paid clergy.  This means that the members of the congregation, young and old alike, give short sermons during our Sacrament Meeting, which we call talks.  I am headed back to Arizona this week, so my dad asked me to speak this past Sunday.  I loved the topic that he gave me, and I have decided to share that with you.

Finding Peace in a Troubled World.

I find this to be so appropriate a topic right now, not only for our world, but also for my life.  Peace is NOT the word that comes to mind when I think of the world.  It is not a word that comes to mind when I think of my life.  That word…would be FEAR.  I have many things going on in my life right now that are making me fearful.  Add to that the disturbing current events that flood our news feeds and news outlets each and every day, and it makes me wish I hadn’t left my bottle of Xanax in Arizona this summer!  :)  (Cue: binge ice cream eating this summer!)

Now, our Savior, Jesus Christ, does not want us to live in fear.  I think so many times, we (not just members of our church, but also all of Christianity), get so caught up in everything we are NOT supposed to do.  We get so caught up in avoiding sin and “helping” others avoid sin (insert eyeroll), that we forget why we are here on this earth.  2 Nephi 2:25 reads, “Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy.”  We are here to have joy! 

But, what about Abraham 3:25, which says, “And we will prove them now herewith, to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them.”  Okay, so it’s actually a darn test, and we are supposed to keep ALL the commandments?  Every single one of them?  All the time?  


But y’all, it’s okay! Let’s go back to 2 Nephi 2 and read verse 26.  “And the Messiah cometh in the fullness of times, that he may redeem the children of men from the fall.”  And, how about John 3:16… “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him, should not perish, but have everlasting life.” 

There is absolutely HOPE for PEACE in this troubled world, but only through our Savior Jesus Christ…and that goes for us individually and collectively.  However, if we want peace in our world, we must first start with peace in ourselves, and THAT begins with how we view others.

I have read a book called The Anatomy of Peace, several times, and I always find new nuggets of wisdom.  This last time around, this quote stuck with me the most.  It reads, “So, if we are going to find lasting solutions to difficult conflicts or external wars we find ourselves in, we first need to find our way out of the internal wars that are poisoning our thoughts, feelings, and attitudes toward others.  If we can’t put an end to the violence within us, there is no hope for putting an end to the violence without.” 

With everything going on in our country and the world today, it is so easy to fear.  I am afraid.  Most days, I really am.  However, let’s see what Howard W. Hunter said about fear. 

Fear . . . is a principal weapon in the arsenal that Satan uses to make mankind unhappy. He who fears loses strength for the combat of life in the fight against evil. Therefore, the power of the evil one always tries to generate fear in human hearts. . . .
. . . A timid, fearing people cannot do their work well, and they cannot do God’s work at all. Latter-day Saints have a divinely assigned mission to fulfill that simply must not be dissipated in fear and anxiety.  (Howard W. Hunter, “An Anchor to the Souls of Men,” BYU devotional address, 7 February 1993.)

Satan wants us to give in to our fears, but our Heavenly Father wants us to hold on to hope.  2 Timothy 1:7 reads, “God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”  If we make a point to not be susceptible to all the fear mongering going on in the world right now, we truly will find peace in learning to love others.  But, we must learn to love them as Christ would love them...the actual Jesus Christ.  You know, the one who dined with sinners, healed people on the Sabbath, and did not condemn the harlot?  Yeah…that guy.  He put no conditions on his love, and we should not either. 

I read a post by Glennon Doyle Melton on Facebook the other day about how many times the words “fear not” (or some variation of them) and “love” are repeated in the Bible.  I did a bit of research on dear old Google, and found that this phrase is written 103times in the Bible.  (In my original talk on Sunday I said 365, because that’s that the interwebs had first told me…upon further research while editing this for my blog, I found the correction.)  Additionally, it is written 669times in the Book of Mormon!  In our ancient scriptures it tells us almost 1,000 times to “FEAR NOT.”  And, let’s also take into account how many times our modern day prophets and apostles have admonished us to “FEAR NOT.” 

So, I then got on a kick of looking at how many times certain words, and their antonyms are found in the scriptures.  Y’all.  The Gospel of Christ is one of hope and love.  Positive words are used overwhelmingly more times in the scriptures than negative words.  During your personal scripture study, focus on that positivity!  I have compiled these words into a list of what I will call “antidotes for Fear.”

***Disclaimer, many of these numbers include variations on the words.  For example, for the word LOVE, I also added in variations like loveth, lovest, etc.  I also did the math super quick in my head while my baby was napping, and I’m not about to go through all the data again!  lol  I have listed the sites I used at the end of the post***

I started with Faith and Doubt.   Faith is mentioned 663 times, while Doubt is mentioned 39 times.  Sister Jean A. Stevens, first counselor in the Primary General Presidency, said, “As we develop greater faith and trust in the Lord, we can access his power to deliver us.”

I, then, went on to Forgive and Grudge.  Forgive is mentioned 139 times, and Grudge is mentioned just 6!  We are commanded to forgive others, not for their sake, but for our own.  Deiter F Uchtorf said, “There is enough heartache and sorrow in this life without our adding to it through our own stubbornness, bitterness, and resentment.”  Be like Elsa, and Let it Go!  J

The next pair of words is Grace and Justice.  Grace is mentioned 201 times, and Justice 98.  As members of the church, we focus a lot on “Faith without works is dead”…on becoming perfect.  Let us not forget that we cannot be perfected in this life, and we cannot become perfect in the next without the atonement of our Savior Jesus Christ.  Should we keep the commandments and live a righteous life?  Absolutely.  Is it okay to make mistakes?  Absolutely, because we are saved by Grace.  Quentin L Cook said, “We are liberated by the love, Grace, and the atoning sacrifice of the Savior.”

Happiness or Joy is mentioned 413 times, while sadness or sorrow is only mentioned 201 times.  Dieter F. Uchtdorf said, “No matter our circumstances, no matter our challenges or trials, there is something each day to embrace and cherish.  There is something each day that can bring us joy if only we will see if and appreciate it.”

Light is mentioned 371 times, while darkness has 153 mentions.  Vern P. Stanfill said, “There is no darkness so dense, so menacing, so difficult that it cannot be overcome by Light.”  Remember, Christ is the Light of the World.

Now, the last two I want to focus on, are Peace and War, and Love and Hate, as I think they are the most intertwined.  The more we love others, the more peace we will feel in our hearts, and THAT will overflow into the world. 

Peace is mentioned 572 times, and War is mentioned 288.  Love is written 385 times, while Hate, only 220.  Hatred of others is what robs us of peace.  Hatred comes in many different forms as well.  It can be overt or well concealed.  However, hatred is what turns our hearts to war against our fellow man.  Fellow.  Man.  Actual human beings.  Obviously, the antidote to hate, is alwayslove. 

A friend (I’m lookin at you Brenna!) recently shared with me a passage of scripture from the Book of Mormon that has changed her perspective on her fear of those that are different than her.  It is found in Mosiah 9:1.  It reads, “I, Zeniff, having been taught in all the language of the Nephites, and having had a knowledge of the land of Nephi, or of the land of our fathers’ first inheritance, and having been sent as a spy among the Lamanites that I might spy out their forces, that our army might come upon them and destroy them—but when I saw that which was good among them, I was desirous that they should not be destroyed.(emphasis added)   Zeniff saw the GOOD in a people that he had always been told were bad, and his heart turned to peace towards them. 

My friend also shared with me a quote whose authorship is unknown. “There is so much good in the worst of us, and so much bad in the best of us, that it hardly behooves any of us, to talk about the rest of us.” 

There is so much good, and so much beauty in every single person on this planet…but we must see them through our Father’s eyes.  We can do that through sincere prayer and earnest pleading with our father.  CS Lewis said, “I pray because I can’t help myself.  I pray because I’m helpless.  I pray because the need flows out of me all the time – waking and sleeping.  It doesn’t change God – it changes me.”

I mentioned to my dad that in the wake of all the recent tragedies that I would never take my kids anywhere again for any sort of celebration…. I now realize that that is the wrong mindset.  If tragedy were to come upon us, I would want it to be because we are living life to it’s fullest and enjoying all of the beautiful people and things that our Heavenly Father created….HE CREATED US ALL…. Muslim, Jew, Christian… White, Black, Hispanic…Criminal, and Cop.  We are ALL brothers and sisters.  We must STOP being afraid of each other and START loving each other.  We must start loving our Savior and HIS atonement and HIS gracemore than we love HIS justice for others.  Thomas S. Monson saidto never let a problem to be solved become more important than a person to be loved.  THAT is how we will find peace in this troubled world.  We must hold on to faith, forgiveness, grace, happiness, joy, light, peace and LOVE.  We find that through immersing ourselves in the scriptures, going to the temple, and fellowshipping with our neighbors…neighbors both similar to us and different from us. 

Lovewill always blot out hate just as Light will always dispel darkness.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Be Beautiful, Be Bright

So, it's been usual.  I think if I avoid it that maybe it will just go away.  Yeah freaking right.

I had a really awesome counseling session today though, and I really wanted to get my thoughts out.

I have been reading the book The Right to Innocence: Healing the Trauma of Childhood Sexual Abuse, and I recently got to a chapter entitled Releasing your Anger.  That is where I stopped for awhile, because I am angry... very angry.  I'm literally angry at just about every person in my life for one thing or another... but let's be honest, I've mostly just been angry at myself.  I've been angry that I can't stick to a healthier diet or make the necessary changes that I need.  I've been angry at myself that I can't lose weight, that I am always late to work, that I am not a better mom, that I don't clean like I should, or cook like I should, or always follow through like I should.  I'm just angry... all the time... and I don't want to be anymore.

The downside to being so angry at yourself, is that often times it becomes displaced anger.  I'm angry at myself for waking up late, so I displace that onto my two year old who is feeding off my anxiety and having a hard time getting her shoes on and out the door.  I am angry at myself for eating that burger and fries, so I displace my anger onto my husband for simply wanting me to be healthy.  I am angry at myself for not being as efficient as I would like at work, so I displace my anger onto a coworker for not being as stressed as I am.

Silly.  I know this.

What's awesome about this particular chapter in this book is that it validates the anger, because as long as it's directed at the right person, it can be very therapeutic.  The author makes mention that many times an abuse victim will be overweight as an outward sign of an inward struggle.  We don't love ourselves on the inside.  We feel unworthy and dirty, so oftentimes, as in my case, an abuse victim will pack on a few extra pounds as A) a barrier or a defense, and B) to reflect how we feel about ourselves on the inside.

After describing this tendency,* the author gives the reader an exercise to complete.  (I haven't done it, but I will be this weekend hopefully)  In this exercise you are supposed to sit in a quiet and calming place.  The abuse victim is to then focus on all of the people that he/she is angry at... parents, siblings, friends, children, spouses, etc... while thinking about whether or not the anger is appropriately placed, which in most cases, it is not.  Unless those people deliberately put you in harm's way, or were the abusers, there is no need for anger at them.

The next step to the exercise is to then visualize the anger and self loathing you have towards visualize the yuckiness and unworthiness and guilt and shame that is built up inside you.  You then visualize reaching down inside of you to gather all of the gunk out and then make a throwing motion towards your visualized abuser.  While it sounds a bit silly, she says to actually pretend to throw it at your abuser so that your body feels you throwing it away.

In going over this exercise/visualization with my counselor, he recommended very strongly that I complete it soon.  Even though I was just a little girl, I have carried a burden of guilt around with me my entire life since the abuse happened.  I have blamed myself, even though I would never blame any other little girl or boy for what happened to them... but I have blamed myself...

As I was crying quietly in his office, my counselor asked me why I thought that HE thought this was an important exercise for me... and it clicked.  I said, "...because this is not MY burden to bear.  this is not my mistake.  this is not my guilt.  this is not my shame.  this is not my sin.  this is not mine to carry... it is his, and i have been carrying it for him for 21 years... and I am tired."

I told him that I didn't want to carry it anymore, because I didn't want to feel like that anymore.  I told him that I know I have a beauty and a brightness inside of me.  THAT is what I want to carry around and identify with.  Throughout the course of my life, you can see how I feel about myself through my eyes.  There are times when my eyes are dark, and there are times when my eyes are bright.  I want them to be bright more often than not.

At the very end of my session today, my counselor said he wanted me to keep what I said as my mission statement to "Be Beautiful and Be Bright" every day.  Whether that means that I don't yell at my daughter, or that I put on make up, or that I wake up on time, or that I go to the gym, it doesn't matter.  The only thing that matters is to do something that shows light, and not darkness.

Be Beautiful.  Be Bright.

*This tendency to pack on pounds is only one of the many struggles abuse victims find themselves in.  They also can often develop bulimia, anorexia, self mutilation, alcohol or drug abuse, and many other self desctructive behaviors... all with the purpose of self medicating or as an indicator of self loathing.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013


I came across this song recently and have really connected to it.  Thoughts?

Who Am I?

Recently my counselor and I have not really touched the subject of my abuse.  I think he sensed that I needed a break.  Healing from something like that is incredibly taxing emotionally, physically, mentally, and spiritually.  I needed some time away from it, so we have been mainly focusing on my need to be super woman.

I want to do it all and be it all, but I have learned that because of the abuse I tend to focus my time on things that I have the most control over.  I don't like feeling out of control, which is what your abuser takes from you.  What that means in my life at this time is that I focus mostly on work, which means that in turn, my relationships with people suffer... even my most important relationships with my daughter and husband.  As I'm sure most of you know, it's REALLY hard to control a 2 year old girl and a 40 year old man.  They just don't do what I want them to do ALL the time!  Let's be honest... very rarely do they do what I would like them to do!  ;)

So, not only have I been putting in nine hour days at work, but I would come home and open my computer up and work...and work... and work... and work some more.  I would work instead of take advantage of the few precious hours that I had with my daughter.  I would work instead of spending time with my husband after the baby had gone to sleep.

I would work because I was good at it, and it was a way for me to excel at something and not have to focus on the broken parts of myself.  However, that was causing more parts to break.  I was on the brink of a mental breakdown... like crazy town breakdown.  In talking to my counselor he asked me two very important questions.  First, he asked me if I got paid extra for working at home.... No.  Second, he asked me if that was more important than spending time with my daughter and husband...again, No.  So then why was I doing that?!

Another thing that it was doing, is that with me being focused on everyone and everything but myself, I had lost who I was.  I look in the mirror and see a shell of who I once was.  A bigger shell because I've gained weight, but just a shell.  There is no more sparkle in my eye, there is no more vibrancy.  I miss that.  I miss me.

We made some goals.  1) No more working from home.  2) Pick up a new hobby.  3) Spend time nurturing important relationships. 4) Nurture myself to re-find myself.

We made those goals three weeks ago, and here is how I am doing.

1) I don't work from home anymore.  Every once in awhile I will, but for the most part, work stays at work.

2)  I have not decided on my hobby yet.  I'm toying with a couple ideas though, so hopefully that will come soon.

3)  I spend time with my husband and my daughter in the evenings and on the weekends.

4)  This is the hard one.  I have been doing some pretty small things that I enjoy, like I read a book and started eating healthy.  I've lost a few pounds, so I'm happy about that.  I have a long way to go just like with everything else, but I know I can get there one step at a time.

The thing I am having the most trouble with is figuring out who I am anymore.  I really like who I used to be, but I am not that person anymore.  I have a husband.  I have a daughter.  I have an entirely different perspective in life due to those paradigm shifts.

However, I do have another blog that's more our family journal (I'm horrible at keeping it up though).  I was writing an update post earlier, and saw the little blurb I had written about myself off to the side.  It says:

hi! my name is karly and thanks for stopping by! i am a wife, a mother, a sister, a daughter, a teacher, and a friend. right now i call the desert of Arizona home, but the SOUTH will always be my true home as it is indelibly etched into my heart and soul.

I think that's a good place to start, but let me ask those of you that know me.

Who do YOU think I am?

it's been awhile crocodile

it's been a very long time since I last posted, and the winds of change have been a blowin!  Here are the highlights...

1) I got a new job!  I am not an online high school teacher.  I teach in the electives department, and they already have me branching out from Spanish.  I not only teach Spanish, but also a career exploration course, and they have also allowed me to teach a middle school course based on the 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens.  That's probably my favorite class so far, and those middle school kids have some amazing things to say.  It's like this world hasn't jaded them yet, and I hope they stay that way.  As with any job there are things about it that I really like, and things about it that I don't really like.  I am making more money though, which will help us to get out of debt sooner, but it's tough because it's full time so that means less time with the booboo.  We were so sad to have to leave Jenny's, where Lae had been going for two years, but we found a full time situation that is just about as close to Jenny as you can get.  Eventually I will be able to phase out of the office and work part time from home, which will be really amazing, especially if we would like our family to grow anytime soon.

2) I got a new nephew!  Well, I guess I should say I got a nephew, since I didn't have any before.  It's so surreal that my baby sister now has a baby, but it is the truth.  He is chunky, and smiley, and perfect. I never appreciated Laela's baby cry more though.  That kid has got some lungs on him, and he is not shy about making sure everyone on the block knows he is ticked that mom isn't getting that milk to him fast enough!  Seriously though, cutest kid ever.  (after Lae of course)  :)

3)  Krista moved to Florida!  I'm insanely jealous of her new office view that looks out over my grandparents' property along the Orange River.  She moved down there to look after dear old gram, plus she was due for some change and a new adventure.  I am super duper sad she is like 6 times further away now though.

4)  JJ's grandmother, affectionately known as everyone's Nana, passed away two weeks ago.  She was essentially JJ's mother, so it's been very hard.  Booboo and I flew out there to see her while she was still living.  That meant we didn't get to attend the funeral, as we just didn't have the money, but we felt it was more important for her to see Laela, and for Laela to see her one more time.  She was an incredibly special lady to everyone that ever knew her.  The obituary written by Aunt Jean was one of the most touching tributes I have ever read.  I will add that as a post as well.

5) We moved and hate our new apartment.  Epic. Fail.  We cannot wait until our lease is up in May!!

Welp, that's all I can think of for now folks.  More soon....hopefully.

Sunday, August 4, 2013


Well, I did what I always do... I have been avoiding this blog... because by avoiding this blog I have been avoiding change.  I have fallen back into old destructive behaviors and thoughts.

I have lost sight of my goal.

Believe it or not... this sucks.  Big surprise right?

Attempting to heal from what happened to me requires me to go to a place that I have been trying desperately my whole life to get away from.  It requires me to go back.  To experience what happened to me over and over again as I strip every part of it away from me.

So I have been avoiding it.

But, I have an amazing counselor that called me to the carpet recently.  I love that he doesn't mince words with me.  I love that he holds me accountable, and reprimands me when I don't do what I say I'm going to do.  THAT is what I need.  I don't need someone to coddle me.  I need someone to expect and demand change.

We made a breakthrough this past month though.  I have come to realize that I still am desperately holding on to that little girl inside of me.  I realized that I haven't attempted to change or heal before now because in some skewed view of the universe I felt that I would be letting her down if I let her go...that I would be telling her it was okay what happened to her if I let go.  I want her to know that I see her.  That I hear her.  That I know her.  That I love her.

But I have to let go... I have to let HER go.

I now can see that by letting go and healing, that I am validating her in a way that I can't by holding on. By healing, I am telling her that what happened to her doesn't define us... doesn't control us.  I am taking power away from HIM and giving it back to US.

I don't have to push her away and hide her, because she is a part of me.  But, I must live in the present, and I must show her that she has more power than she thinks... that I have more power than *I* think.

I heard this song in church last week and it really struck a chord (no pun intended ;) )  Enjoy.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013


First, I just wanted to thank everyone for their outpouring of love and support for my post the other night.  It was extremely difficult to put that out there, but I believe it's part of my healing process.  I don't really have any "successes" to report, other than everyone is still alive, which in my book right now is pretty darn successful!  :)

Anyways, tonight I had an interesting experience.  I am incredibly sick, and have been for about four weeks.  I've been alternating a stomach bug and bronchitis.  It's pretty awesome... no, actually it's not.  ;)  I asked for a priesthood blessing* tonight, and was so grateful that my home teacher was able to come over at 9:30 pm and help out with that.  I asked for a blessing of health, but got so much more....

Like I said in my previous post, I have been extremely angry at God my entire life because of what happened.  I am STILL angry, but I'm trying not to be angry at Him.  It is NOT His fault that someone exercised their agency for evil.  He DOESN'T want things like this to happen, but if he intervened, he would "cease to be God."  He gave us our agency, and unfortunately must watch with sorrow as horrible things happen.  Now, I know that's the right answer.... that's the thing... I KNOW the answers to all those deep questions about life... but I don't *feel* them.  His atonement is not "written on the fleshy part of my heart.

This is one of the things I am trying to work on... letting HIM take over and take it away.  Well, it will never truly go away, but HE can make living with this trauma bearable.  I know he can, but I don't know how to trust people, much less a God that I cannot see... though I have felt Him.  I don't talk to Him much about what happened to me... in fact I don't talk to him very much at all, because I'm scared of being vulnerable.  I am scared of opening up and really starting to heal, because I know it's going to be ugly and painful.  However, I did ask him recently to allow me to have a spiritual experience.  I just needed a little push from Him to let me know that He would be there when I was ready.  Well, I think I am *almost* ready.

Tonight, during my "blessing of health," I was actually given a blessing of comfort.  The words that came out of a man's mouth, who doesn't know anything about my situation, came straight from the Spirit.**  He said things that only God would know, and he recognized my innermost struggles and the wounds in my soul.  However, I was also promised not only physical healing, but a healing of that wounded soul as well.

God is great.  I know he is there.  I know he knows MY name.  I know he is waiting for me to take the first step, and I'm almost there... almost there.

*for those of you that are not of my faith, you can read about priesthood blessings here:

**you can also read about our beliefs on the Godhead here: