Friday, April 14, 2017

My Snow White Skirt | Fashion Friday








OUTFIT DETAILS:
Shirt: Forever 21
Shoes: Ross


Wow, looking at these photos I can't believe I thought I looked fat. Especially now that I'm 14 weeks pregnant with twins and have a real belly now. I took these photos months ago and recently found them on my camera and decided to post them because I am obsessed with this skirt. I got it for Christmas from my mom after she saw me fall in love with it at Kohls. It's part of their Lauren Conrad/Disney Snow White collection. Unfortunately, this skirt is not available anymore. But they do have another super cute one still available and that's the one linked above.

I also just love my hair in these photos. I hope my pregnancy sickness goes away and I can start doing more with my hair again because currently, I'm just too tired and lazy.

Below I've linked some other amazing tulle or tulle-similar skirts (as always, $50 or less) because I grew up in ballet and tulle is like my life. (Did you ever see my wedding dress??) I really want to make a tulle skirt of my own, but I'm just so lazy. I also I'm really hoping at least one of my babies is a girl so I can make them tutus all the time. I'm good at tutus.



Sunday, April 9, 2017

One Year | A Letter To My Miscarried Child

Dear Lil Pumpkin,

Today would be your first birthday. When your dad and I discussed that the other day we were both amazed. We couldn't picture ourselves as parents to a one-year-old.

It's amazing what I year can do. A year ago I was still suffering, still crying on a daily basis from losing you, lost to my religion, lost to any direction in my life, and broken, seemingly beyond any repair.

Now a year later, I hardly ever cry, despite thinking of you on a daily basis, I'm stronger in my religion than I have been in years, I have a new job, new life goals, and I am pregnant with your younger sibling.

At thirteen weeks I am still terrified of what might happen. I was fifteen weeks when I found out I had lost you. Your Aunt was much further along when she lost your cousin Jamison. I don't see pregnancy as a guarantee and I'm constantly worried about what might happen.

I don't believe I could survive another miscarriage. Not now at least. I was meant to have a one-year-old by now, but I don't. I was meant to be a mother for a year now, but I'm not. And I still have to wait until October to become one.

I have so many fears with this pregnancy. What if I lose this one too? What do I say when people ask if this is my first? Do I talk about you? What if I begin to forget about you? Will this child be healthy? Will they survive? How could I possibly cope with losing another child?

I hope to never, not even for a day, forget about you. You are my first child, my angel child. I had prayed and waited a year for you. I prayed daily that you would be healthy and safe, and came to terms with the fact that you would be safer and healthier if you never came to earth.

Not a day has passed since you left that I haven't thought about you. Every holiday over the past year I thought about how different our celebrations would have been with you there. I miss you and I hope you know I could never replace you, but I need a child. One I can hold and care for.

I'll always love you. I'm grateful for the time I had with you. And I'm grateful that I get another opportunity to become a mother on earth.

Watch over all your siblings until it's their time to come. I know you're a great big sibling.

Love,

Your Mother

Sunday, April 2, 2017

General Conference April 2017 Thoughts

Hello, friends! This post is going to be a bit of a mess. I'm going to just type up thoughts and quotes while watching General Conference. I'll clean it up the best I can before posting it Sunday night, but these will be the things that stick out to me the most while watching/listening.

I rarely do this, but I'm trying something new. Oh, I did not listen to Women's Conference so that's not on here. I hope to listen to it soon. Thank you to the LDS Conference Twitter page for the images I've shared as well.  Enjoy!

SATURDAY MORNING SESSION



Pres. Henry B. Eyring - "Gathering the Family of God"

-The names 'Brother and Sister' are more than just terms of endearment. 
-We accepted Heavenly Father's plan and accepted the sacrifice with a promise to obey the commandments. 
-Family history has made a big increase in recent years. 
-"God knew that you would be drawn to your ancestors in love."


MY THOUGHTS: As I have since my miscarriage, when I hear a talk on family and the importance of raising children, I tend to zone out. But I do love the quote above. All families are different and imperfect, including my own, but I was so blessed to have parents who love me unconditionally and have shown me throughout my life what true love really is. 

Brother M. Joseph Brough - "His Daily Guiding Hand"

-God has created a "care package" to help us return to him. 
-Never disregard the counsel of your bishop. They are there to guide us. 
-More import than words is our example of living the gospel. 


MY THOUGHTS: I love the idea that scriptures, family, friends, and the church are all a "care package" that God has given us to help us survive the trials of life. That's probably my favorite metaphor ever. He knows exactly what we need and he provides us with everything we need to return to him and to find happiness. He is the source of all the tools we need to live a rich and fulfilling life. 

Elder Weatherford T. Clayton - "The Plan of Salvation"

-If we repent, we suffer less. 
-"Even in our moments of deepest grief, in the moments when time stands still and life seem unfair, we can find comfort in our Savior because he suffered as well."
-"Come and live a happy Christ filled life."


MY THOUGHTS: Honestly, I didn't listen to this one as much. But the last quote that I wrote, "Come and live a happy Christ filled life" speaks to me. I have referred a lot lately to a quote by Al Carraway, "With God, life is oh so good!" It's one of my daily mantras. We can only find real happiness through Christ. 

Elder Dale G. Renlund - "Our Good Shepherd"

Monday, March 27, 2017

Will Blogging Ever NOT Be Hard For Me?

That's a serious question. I want a serious answer. For reals, I make all these goals, I set plans, schedule posts, have a ginormous list of posts I want to write, and then I still go over a month without posting. Will blogging ever become easy for me? And if so, how do I speed up that process?

Despite having a freaking long list of posts, I'm in a writer's rut. I can't even get myself to work on Heroes & Villains which has an actual deadline and is insanely important to me. If anything, that should be my focus, but I can't even bring myself to do that.

I've also filmed quite a few videos to put on my YouTube channel, but once I get to editing, I panic that they aren't good enough and just discard them. They still exist, but will probably never be posted for public viewing.

I'm just stuck between my high expectations and reality. See, I have a very, very vivid imagination, which I love and I think that's what allows me to be a writer. But in my imagination, I see myself as a successful blogger, YouTuber, and writer. And when I realize that I started my blog four years ago and nothing has come of it, I get insanely discouraged.

I've never been the type of person who always believes in myself. In fact, I've spent many years of my life struggling with self-loathing. I am so good at putting myself down and making myself believe that no matter how hard I try, I won't amount to anything. I started writing stories at the age of 10. Freaking ten years old! I'm now 26 and have nothing to show for it but Heroes & Villains (which, again, I'm very proud of, but still, it's not a published book).

Let's not forget that life gets in the way. I would love to travel and do more posts about that, but I've never had a job that allows that. And I hope to someday be able to blog as my job in order to do that, but how do I get there if I'm always at jobs that keep me from blogging?

I know I'm overthinking it. I think that's a family trait. But I can't help that I get so caught up in what I want that I can't see the present for what it could be. I can imagine blogging as a career all I want, but unless I take the time today to do something about it, that dream will never come true.

I want to rebrand a bit, change what kinds of posts I do. I think that giving myself a more specific niche will help me to actually blog.

I've read dozens of blog posts about "How to be a Successful Blogger" or "How to Make a Career From Blogging" and I keep looking at those posts as things that I can do in the future. But I need to start looking at them as things I can do now. I'm certain I could make my dreams a reality if I just learn to stop being lazy, stop thinking about the unrealistic future, and focus on what I can do now.

I am honestly, probably one of the laziest people you will ever meet. Today I didn't leave my bed all day. I didn't even take my dog outside to let him pee. Granted, I am also sick so there was a slight necessity to my laziness, but even I am getting to a point where I'm sick of my own laziness.

And instead of lying in bed listening to podcasts (I personally love Not Too Deep with Grace Helbig) and watching YouTube videos (I think my Thatcher Joe obsession is getting to be a little bit too much) why didn't I just work on one of the many blog posts I have planned? Even if it doesn't get posted for a while, why didn't I just start?

I don't really know what this post is about, other than letting you know how much of a failure I often believe I am, but I hope (and I can only hope) that this post leads to more soon. Better ones. Much better ones. In fact, I have a good one coming in a few weeks. It's currently my only planned post, I'm very excited for it, but after it's posted I don't really know what else to do.

Anyways, I should end this post now before I embarrass myself too much because, quite honestly, I'm embarrassed to admit all this. Especially the thing about not letting my dog out to pee. In my defense, Zoram laid around and slept all day with me. He didn't whine or show any signs of needing to go until I started putting shoes on to pick up my husband from work. But I am sorry Zoram. I love you very much and I know you can't read, but I hope you can find it in your little heart to forgive me.

And to end this post here's a picture of my adorable dog.


Oh... And this picture was taken on the bathroom floor of my new apartment... which I never mentioned on here that I moved and barely even said it on social media. I'm failing. Sorry.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

My Testimony


I belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

At the age of seventeen, I was horribly, dangerously depressed. It wasn't a new feeling. I remember being a kid in elementary school and crying on the playground. I never knew why, there never was a reason, and I never told anyone. Somehow, as a child, I already was conditioned to believe that crying was a sign of weakness, so I did not tell anyone what I was feeling.

No one knew what I was going through.

I had gotten a recommend from my bishop months prior to the age of seventeen that would allow me to get my patriarchal blessing. And at the push of my parents, I made an appointment to go. I was at a terrible time in my life and my depression was at its worst. I was lost, broken, and felt that there would never be any hope, and light left in my life. My soul was slowly dying and I had no way of stopping it.

No one knew what I was going through.

And yet, there I sat with a priesthood leader's hands on my head and I listened to him give me a blessing. A blessing with words of advice that no one should have known. I had never told a single soul what I was going through. The only one capable of knowing was my Father in Heaven. My prayers for help had been heard and I was getting an answer.

My testimony is that God hears us and knows us.

I wish that after an experience like that I could say I've never fallen away. But depression is a disease that distorts the mind. It makes me believe that I am useless, that my life will never amount to anything, that I am ugly, fat, that I have no friends, that no one loves me, that I will never be happy again. Depression distorts my thinking. Depression has often made me believe that my Father in Heaven does not love me. That the pain I feel, that the terrible things that happen in my life, are because I am unloved.

This is not true.

Depression is a product of Satan. He is the one who distorts my thinking and makes me think the way I do. I am in a war against Satan and his games and unfortunately, I have lost many battles. My testimony of the gospel of Christ is not strong. Never has been. But I have never given up.

Because God knows me and listens to me.

He knows that I am struggling, that each of us has struggles and hard times. He hears us when we pray to Him. He has a plan for each of us. It is up to us to trust His plan, to trust in Him to guide us where we need to go. It's hard to hear Him sometimes, or all the time, but we can never give up on Him, because He will never, EVER, give up on us.

He loves each and every one of us.

I can't guarantee I won't fall away again. Being a member of the church is the absolute hardest commitment for me and I have to consciously think about it every day. Some people make it look so easy. For me, it never has been. But I know what he has done for me in the past, and I can never deny it. And by always remembering that I have always found my way back.

A testimony is like a plant.

It takes constant work to nourish and maintain. Plants need sunlight, water, and good soil. Testimonies need study, prayer, and an open heart. Keeping a testimony strong takes effort. If your testimony begins to fade, you can always get it back. Some people have bigger testimony plants than others, some people only have the seed, but in the eyes of God, it doesn't matter. Because if we have something, He will help us. He is the ultimate gardener, and He will show us what to do.

My testimony is only a seed.

I hurt all the time. I am constantly fighting. My life is a struggle and being a member of the Church is a commitment I sometimes cannot find possible. But my Father in Heaven makes up the difference and shows me the right way. My testimony is only a seed, but it's growing, it has potential. And that is all that is truly important.

I belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

And I know that it is true.

_________________________________________________________

If any of my readers are curious about the LDS church, Mormon.org is a great resource to learn about what we believe, and find people in your area to teach you more. I am happy to send a Book of Mormon to any of my blog readers who want one. Email me at thedancingcowblogger@gmail.com if you are interested. 

Friday, February 17, 2017

Bows









OUTFIT DETAILS

SHIRT:  Store: Ross, Brand: Siren Lily Maternity
SKIRT: Store: ???, Brand: Promesa
SHOES: Store: Ross, Brand: White Mountain

Yay! Fashion Friday! I love this outfit and a wear it a lot. It's a go-to dress up outfit for me because it's actually super comfortable and looks great. Please ignore how pale my legs are. It's winter. Forgive me. Also, it was not warm enough for me to not be wearing no coat or tights, but I sacrifice my warmth for fashion photos. Yep.

Fun fact, this top is a maternity shirt that my mom bought for me back when I was pregnant in 2015. I'm in love with this shirt and it looks great, pregnant or not. So it's a win all the way around. I'm loving my hair in these photos. I'm trying to find more ways to make my hair look naturally wavy, but I can't figure out how without using heat all the time. My hair is so fried.

Anyways, I did take a couple different outfit photos on the same day so my hair and makeup will be the same in the next few #FashionFriday posts, but considering I do the same thing most days anyways it's not too far off from my real life. I'm trying to do weekly outfit posts so we'll see how it goes.

Love this outfit. Love you guys. See you soon!


SIMILAR SHIRTS UNDER $50


Sunday, February 12, 2017

How To Be Happy



I'm sorry to disappoint, but I don't have the answer. I can't tell you how to be happy when happiness is something that often evades me. But that doesn't mean I don't continue to try and find happiness. Nor does it mean that I can't help you find happiness as well.

See, happiness is often said to be a decision. We are often told that if we want to be happy, then we can make ourselves happy. But as someone with depression, I have to say that's bull. Happiness is something I work so hard for, yet I often fall short. And it's not because I didn't decide to be happy, it's because depression distorts my mind.

Happiness is not just a decision. It takes work sometimes. If happiness is something that you want in your own life, here are a couple of things you can do to help find happiness in your own life.

1. Read positive daily mantras

I recently created a note on my phone with my mantras. I read these every morning and every night. I also read them when I feel I need a pick-me-up. When I move into my apartment I plan to hang these on my bathroom mirror so I automatically see them in the morning when getting ready and at night while brushing my teeth..

Your mantras should relate to you personally. Scoure the internet, Pinterest, music, books, whatever to help you find a few short sentences that will lift you up and make you want to be better.

Here are my current daily mantras. I'm sure this list will change at many times in my life, but here is what I need in my life currently:

"With God life is oh so good!" 
(This is a quote by Al Carraway, my current blogger obsession.)

You are perfect, God makes no mistakes.

"Who you are is not where you've been."
(This is from an amazing Taylor Swift song called "Innocent." I would link the quote to my Spotify, but T-Swift took her songs off Spotify, something I can never forgive her for.)

You are beautiful, inside and out.

"Do you like the person you've become?" 
(This is from my theme song for the year, "The Weight of Living: Part II" by Bastille. Read about why it's my theme song by CLICKING HERE.)

I am a warrior.
(This relates to my tattoo. Read about why I got my tattoo by CLICKING HERE.)


By reading these mantras daily, I find happiness comes a bit easier. Repetition helps us learn, and repetition can help us to think more positively. 


2. Have faith

Whether it's faith in God, faith the sun will rise, faith that things can't get any worse, having faith will bring you happiness. We as humans need something to believe in. We wouldn't get up in the morning and commute to a job we dislike if we didn't have faith that it will bring us money or something better in the future. We always believe in something. 

For anyone new to my blog, in November 2015 I had a miscarriage and lost my first child. Without faith, I would have never survived that experience. My heart still aches when I think about it and I still cry over my lost child often, but I have faith that I will see my child again and that someday, somehow, I will be able to become a mother. 

When you are feeling low, and happiness is too difficult to find, figure out what it is that you have faith in. Do you have faith that you will survive the pain? Do you have faith that you are loved? Do you have faith that you will be successful? Take that faith, cling to it, and you will make it through whatever trial you're going through. 

3. Find the things that make you happy...

For a while I did "Happy Tuesday" posts, where I literally just listed the things that had made me happy the previous week. The act of writing down what made me happy, made me feel happier. It was often the littlest things that brought me the most happiness. 

Here are a few examples of the things that make me happiest:

Dancing. Music. Cows. Writing. Notebooks. Zoram Gerrard. My husband. Reading. Makeup. Food. Sugary food. Rain. How To Train Your Dragon. Binge watching TV shows on Netflix. Pinterest. And more. 

I recently found a Tumblr post (which is now lost in the internet world) that said something along the lines of, there is no excuse too small to not commit suicide. At the age of 17 I was suicidal. I survived for various reasons, but one of the main ones was that I knew my family loved me, and I refused to hurt them, even if it meant I was suffering myself. 

Also at the age of 17 I met an incredible friend by the name of Colton. He was the first person I ever told about my depression. He invented Happy Tuesdays with me and every Tuesday we would hang out together. I looked forward to my Tuesdays every week to be with the person who made me laugh the most. Tuesdays became one of my small reasons to not commit suicide. 

Everyone finds happiness in different ways and I encourage each one of you to find what makes you the happiest and go out and do it. (Unless it's illegal, maybe don't do that, maybe find something that's morally good as well as happy. Just a thought.)

(If any of you are contemplating suicide, please check out the resources in THIS POST for help. You can also email me at thedancingcowblogger@gmail.com if you need someone to talk to. I'm here for you. I know what it's like, you are not alone, and you can find help and you will survive.)

4. ...And get rid of the things that bring you unhappiness

This past year I moved from Logan to the Salt Lake Valley to live with my parents. Did I ever expect, or want, to be twenty-six years old, married, and living in my parent's basement? Not really. But I left Logan because I was unhappy. Logan had become the place I dropped out of college, the place I lost my child, the place so many bad things had happened to me, and I just couldn't take it anymore. 

Could I have waited until we could afford an apartment of our own? Sure. But I was unhappy and needed to do something about it right away. So I did. I was offered a job and I got out of Logan as fast as I could, with my supportive husband by my side. 

There are certain things we can't just get rid of immediately. I would like someday to be a full-time blogger and writer, no longer having to work for companies. Quitting my job and dedicating my life to writing would make me happy, but the stress of unemployment and struggling for money means that I have to endure and have faith (ah ha, see, #2 totally is important) that what I am doing now will help me to get where I want to be. 

But any of the little things in your life that are bringing you down you need to get rid of. This can be done in many different ways. For example: Do you have a friend who is constantly bringing you down? Maybe it's time to find a new friend. Does your weight make you unhappy? Put in the work to get rid of it and become stronger.  Do you not feel comfortable in your wardrobe? Sell it and buy new clothes. Does college make you absolutely miserable? Maybe you need a break, or a different major, or a different location. 

If you want to be happy you have to put in the work and that includes staying away from whatever brings you down. 

5. Build strong relationships

I cannot imagine my life without Chris. He is my soulmate, best friend and everything in between. He is many times the only reason I find the strength to get up in the morning. He gives me so much love and he only wants me to be happy. My relationship with my husband is a strong bond that I never expected was possible. 

If my husband is not around and I just need someone to hug, who loves me, and is always happy to see me, I turn to Zoram Gerrard, my dog. Zoram is such a snuggler and his snuggles often bring a smile to my face even in the darkest of times. 

But most importantly, the relationship I turn to most when I am feeling unhappy or weak, is my relationship with my Father in Heaven. I know that my Father in Heaven knows every pain that I am going through, he has a plan for my life, he does not want me to suffer, and if I rely on him and trust in him, then I can be happy. 

I have so many wonderful relationships in my life with my parents, siblings, friends, and coworkers. Building these relationships brings me happiness. As I mentioned before, I would never do anything to hurt my family. I put them above myself. Their happiness means to world to me. And more often than not, when we work to make other people happy, we find happiness ourselves. 

Whether your strongest relationships are with family, friends, spouses, God, or even your pet, build up that relationship until you cannot break it. That person then becomes your rock, someone you can turn to when you need help. I promise you that everyone has someone in their lives that loves them. Love them back, with all you have, and you will find happiness through each other. 


What in your life brings you the most happiness? 
Let me know in the comments below! 

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

I Am Still Living



I am still living. 

I have been suicidal. 

I have cut myself, burned myself, made myself bleed, made myself cry. 

I have hated myself, brought myself down. 

I have lost a child and not been able to have another. 

I have lost my religion and found my way back again. 

I have sabotaged my own happiness. 

I have torn down my self esteem and fought to get it back.

I have driven into the night not knowing if I would return. 

I have starved myself.

I have screamed, cried, and questioned why I feel this way.

I have had darkness take over, consume by body. 

I have given in.

I have let myself break, I have given up. 

I have fought back.

I have lived with depression for as long as I can remember.

I have coped, I have fallen, and done everything in between.

I have prayed.

I have turned to Christ.

I have become a warrior.

I have turned to family and friends.

I have cried in my husband's arms. 

I have hated the world that doesn't seem to understand. 

I have hated myself. 

I have told myself things would be better more times than I can count. 

I have found happiness and lost it again. 

I have been strong and I have been weak. 

I have been emotional. 

I have started a day positive only to fall apart by the end. 

I have given up. 

I have made goals. 

I have become a different person, time and time again. 

I have depression. 

And I am still living. 


Sunday, February 5, 2017

Why I, As A Mormon, Chose to Get a Tattoo

 


No one can ever call me a perfect Mormon and I'm not even that close to the top. I've made so many mistakes. I've allowed myself to fade away multiple times. I've never actually completed reading the Book of Mormon all the way through. I always forget to pray. And my testimony of the gospel is not the strongest.

That being said, I've never completely fallen away either. I was lucky to have an experience at the age of 17 that ensured that I could never deny God or leave the church for good. I believe the God, I believe the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is the truest gospel on the earth today, and I love the teachings and blessings that I receive when I do attend.

But as someone who suffers from depression on a daily basis, being a member of the church can be incredibly difficult.

My depression is a full blown, daily struggle, daily having to remind myself to be happy. And I know I'm not the only one who feels this way.

A month or so before I met my husband, I was at a very difficult point in my life. And in a moment of weakness and loss of control, I took my hair straightener and pressed it against my left arm, leaving burns.

This wasn't my first instance of self-harm, and it wasn't the last either. Only the largest and most significant. In high school I spent nights with tweezers, picking at my legs until they bled. In college, I used my razor on my wrists. And after getting married, I used my own fingernails to scratch at my arms till they were raw and almost bleeding.



Growing up LDS, I was always taught my body is a temple. We are meant to love and protect our bodies the way we would the temple. But the distortion that depression causes, has never allowed me to fully grasp this concept.

For me, my body, my skin, is the thing that holds in all the darkness, the depression. When I cut myself, it was because I needed to feel real pain, to see an actual wound, to be able to put a band-aid over it and know that it would heal. Depression, the darkness inside of me, doesn't heal. I can't put a band-aid on it, I can't control it, I can't stop it when it comes.

There are ways to ease my depression, but it's still invisible. Treating an invisible wound isn't the same as one you can see. At my weakest points, I needed a visible wound to help me feel like I was in control again. If I couldn't see the pain I was feeling, I would make pain I could see.

A few years ago I found a song by my idol, Demi Lovato. The song is called "Warrior" and the moment I heard it, it changed my life.


This is a story that I have never told
I gotta get this off my chest to let it go
I need to take back the light inside you stole
You're a criminal
And you steal like you're a pro

All the pain and the truth
I wear like a battle wound
So ashamed, so confused
I was broken and bruised

Now I'm a warrior
Now I've got thicker skin
I'm a warrior
I'm stronger than I've ever been
And my armor is made of steel, you can't get in
I'm a warrior
And you can never hurt me again

Out of the ashes, I'm burning like a fire
You can save your apologies, you're nothing but a liar
I've got shame, I've got scars
That I will never show
I'm a survivor
In more ways than you know

Cause all the pain and the truth
I wear like a battle wound
So ashamed, so confused
I'm not broken or bruised

'Cause now I'm a warrior
Now I've got thicker skin
I'm a warrior
I'm stronger than I've ever been
And my armor is made of steel, you can't get in
I'm a warrior
And you can never hurt me

There's a part of me I can't get back
A little girl grew up too fast
All it took was once, I'll never be the same
Now I'm taking back my life today
Nothing left that you can say
Cause you are never gonna take the blame anyway

Now I'm a warrior
I've got thicker skin
I'm a warrior
I'm stronger than I've ever been
And my armor is made of steel, you can't get in
I'm a warrior
And you can never hurt me again

No oh, yeah, yeah

You can never hurt me again



I cannot express how much this song speaks to me. It sometimes feels as if this song was written about me, for me.

I've talked in the past about being a warrior. One year ago I shared a post called "Become A Warrior" in which I shared how I would write the word "Warrior" on my wrist to remind myself to be strong. And when I got the urge to claw at my arms, I would see the word on my arm and remember that I am a warrior, I am a fighter, and my depression "can never hurt me again."

On November 4th, 2015, I had my miscarriage and lost my first child. And throughout 2016, my depression had been worse than ever before in my life. The song "Warrior" was the only thing that kept me from injuring myself. I was consistently writing the word on my wrist as a reminder that I could survive. Somehow, I would survive the pain.

As a person, as a Child of God, I am in a war against Satan. Because of my depression, he has a strong grip on my life. I have to be a fighter to make it through the hell I am put through. I have to work hard on a daily basis to break the hold Satan has on my life, my actions, and my emotions.

"Warrior" helps me in the war against Satan. It helps me to not injure myself. It helps in the moments I want my life to end. It helps when my social anxiety appears. It helps me to be confident. It helps me to stay strong, be positive, and look for the light when my head is so full of darkness.

On November 4th, 2016, I got a tattoo of the word "Warrior" on my left wrist so I would never be without the support and strength that word gives me.

In my religion we are told not to get tattoos, to protect our temple. For me, getting this tattoo was one of the best ways for me to help protect my body and temple. And while I not supporting breaking the commandments the prophets have given us, I believe that for me, in my life, in my situation, getting this tattoo was important.

The night I got my tattoo, I said a prayer to my Father in Heaven. I apologized for breaking the rule and explain why I believed I needed it. And for a brief moment, I felt peace that He understood. I'm not saying that my decision was right or wrong, but I made the decision and I fully accept anything that comes of it, good or bad.

I have never once felt guilty or ashamed of getting my tattoo. I am proud to show my tattoo. I am happy to tell people why I got it. And while I know that many other members of the church will never understand, I still believe it was the right decision for me and I am not going to let them bring me down.



I cannot say that having this tattoo has made my depression go away. It's not magic, I know that will never happen. But there have been moments where the darkness takes over, I begin to lose control, and I see the word and make a change.

I still hurt, I still make mistakes, I still find myself in pain, but I am now constantly reminded that I am a warrior. Even if I lose a battle, I can still win the war. I can still triumph over Satan and his clutches. I can still find happiness even when I feel all hope is lost.

My life is not over. I can be successful. I can be the person that I want to be. 
Because as a warrior, I will NEVER stop fighting. 


Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Suicide Prevention | COTM February 2017

Hello, friends! This month's Charity of the Month is actually multiple charities, all relating to depression and suicide prevention.

February was the month where I made the decision to live. I am a survivor of suicide and I believe wholeheartedly that suicide is a topic not talked about enough. It is the most serious thing to plague our world. It's never a joke, it's never something to be taken lightly, and it needs to be understood more fully.

This month I have a series of posts related to my personal struggle with depression and suicide. Every Sunday this month you can expect a new post about how I survived and have been able to cope. I'm not better. I'm not magically healed. But I've survived and I'm a warrior fighting to stay alive. And I'm never giving up.

The following charities mean a lot to many people and deserve our attention and support. Like any Charity of the Month, I encourage you to donate what you can. It doesn't have to be a lot, just whatever you can manage. Together, as a team, we can help make a difference. I'm not asking you to donate to all of these charities, do what you can, even if that just means sharing these charities with someone in need.

There are so many people out there who are needing help but will never show it. It is up to us to get this information out there and maybe, just maybe, we can save a life.

Before I get into the charities I want to share an image I found on Pinterest this past week. It speaks for itself.



SUICIDE PREVENTION LIFELINE


If you or anyone you know is struggling with suicidal thoughts, CALL THIS NUMBER. This number can help with suicidal thoughts, anxiety, and depression. Please visit their website and read about the warning signs. Educate yourself so you can help those around you, and possibly save a life.

You can donate to the Suicide Prevention Lifeline by CLICKING HERE.


AMERICAN FOUNDATION FOR SUICIDE PREVENTION


One of the best ways to prevent suicides is to educate. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention researches the best ways to prevent and assist. They help those struggling with suicidal thoughts and those who have lost a loved one due to suicide.

There are many ways to help with the AFSP and you can learn about how you can offer your help by CLICKING HERE.


THE TREVOR PROJECT


The Trevor Project provides crisis and suicide prevention to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning youths ages 12-24. In many cases, a suicide or crisis stems from bullying, which is something that I cannot stand. I am not gay, but that doesn't mean this charity is any lesser than the others on this list or doesn't deserve help.

To donate to The Trevor Project CLICK HERE.

CLASP


Clasp is the mental health awareness and suicide prevention charity for our UK friends. The above charities are American based because that's where I live. But to any of my readers in the UK, this charity is your best resource for nearby assistance.

CLICK HERE to donate to Clasp, whether or not you're based in the UK.

TO WRITE LOVE ON HER ARMS


The final charity for this month was the February charity last year. It's one of my personal favorites and will always need and deserve our support. You can read what I wrote last year by CLICKING HERE.

Make your donations to TWLOHA by CLICKING HERE.


Saturday, January 28, 2017

Heroes & Villains Character List

Hello, my friends! Here is a running list of all characters in my Heroes & Villains series. This includes villains, heroes, and everyone in between. This post will be regularly updated to add new characters or character information. If you ever think this post is missing something important about a character, leave it in the comment section below and I'll get it entered in. Thanks!

Last Updated: January 28th, 2017

BENJAMIN BAKER, 
AKA THE KNIGHT DRAGON

-Ben is the main protagonist of this series. He is first seen as himself in "Eleanor Washington vs. the Interview" or as the Knight Dragon in "The Knight Dragon."

-Ben was born and raised in Apple Creek and grew up in the Baker family, the richest family in the city and owner of the largest technological and engineering company in the nation, Bakersfield. Ben grew up just outside the central city skyscrapers in a large mansion with his older brother Brian, and younger siblings Kacey and Bradley. His dad, Brandon, is the owner and CEO of Bakersfield. Ben's mother, Reese has always been a stay-at-home mother but has continually helped in running Bakersfield.

-Ben is currently the next in line to run Bakersfield and works alongside his father as a second, though lesser, CEO.

-Ben works his nights as the Knight Dragon, a hero with the power to produce fire from his body. He works many high profile cases and is known as one of the stronger, more successful heroes in the city. His father, a retired hero, trained Ben in becoming a hero. Ben's father is the only member of the Baker's family who knows of Ben's powers.

-Ben is single, though has a city-wide reputation of dating many women, though he often protests that this reputation is based only on the year after his high school graduation when he went on many dates with multiple women, some of whom were already in relationships. The press often portrays Ben as the city's most popular bachelor due to his good looks and money, though in recent years, mostly due to his secret hero identity, Ben has tried to stay out of the press and the limelight.

ELEANOR WASHINGTON

-Ellie is our other main protagonist in the series. She is first seen in "Eleanor Washington" though her character isn't really introduced until "Eleanor Washington vs. the Interview."

-Ellie was born and raised in Apple Creek in the southern part of the city known as the Island. Ellie's parent's died in a bombing when she was nine years old, and not much else is known about her parents. After their deaths, Ellie moved in with her grandpa, Carl. Ellie considers Carl more of a parent than her real parents ever were. She grew up without much money and bullied by many of her classmates, but she never once lost her positivity or enthusiasm for life. She suffered from a massive crush on Benjamin Baker in middle school and covered her bedroom walls with pictures of him cut out from newspapers and magazines.

-Ellie grew up with a desire to learn and build. She graduated from Apple Creek University with a degree in both mechanical and electrical engineering. During college, she invented the Wonder Key, a device inserted in a key meant to assist when lost, though she had her name taken off the patents and blueprints. She currently works for Bakersfield as a data entry worker, entering information into their systems.

-Ellie also works as the personal tech assistant to the Knight Dragon. She built his suit, creating a new fabric to do so. The Knight Dragon has often used Ellie as part of his cases and depends on her as part of his team.

-Ellie is dating Arthur Wallace, and they have been dating since their senior year in high school. Ellie sees marriage in their near future and hopes to spend her life with him.

ROGER ADAMS,
AKA THE SPEEDSTER

-Roger is the best friend to Ben and sidekick to the Knight Dragon. He is first mentioned as the Speedster in "The Knight Dragon" and introduced in "The Knight Dragon vs. His New Suit."

-Roger grew up in the central city in an apartment with his parents and twin brother Kevin. His parents divorced when Roger was fourteen years old, and despite the apparent riff between his parents, Roger has maintained a good relationship with both of them.

-Roger is a hero known as the Speedster with the power to run quickly. Despite the Board of Supers offering Roger a full-time solo hero position, Roger elected to work alongside his lifelong best friend. The Knight Dragon and the Speedster as a team work well together, and while they consider themselves a partnership, the majority of the city considers the Speedster to be a sidekick.

-Roger is engaged to Karen Warner, a woman he met in college through a friend. They were inseparable since the beginning and Ben is quoted saying he knew the moment he saw them together that they would get married.

-Roger works as his old high school as a history teacher and track coach. He loves the ability he has to control his power enough to show up all his students on the track, while also training them to become faster. His students love him and work hard for him.

OTHER MAIN CHARACTERS (In order of appearance)

-WILMA is the executive secretary who sits outside Brandon and Benjamin Baker's office doors. She monitors any visitors for the CEOs and is a personal family friend to the Bakers. First seen in "Eleanor Washington vs. the Interview."

-RYLIE BLACK is Ellie's team lead, AKA, her boss. She is first seen in "The Knight Dragon vs. the Mortician Part 1." Rylie attended the same high school as Ellie as the two have never gotten along well, as Rylie was one of Ellie's bullies. Rylie is one of the many Apple Creek females with a crush on Benjamin Baker.

-CARL WASHINGTON, Ellie's grandpa, is first seen in "Carl and Ellie." Carl is the man who raised Ellie after her parents died. Carl's wife left him shortly after their marriage and died of cancer years later. He lives on his own in the Island and works for a small production factory for small wages. He has weekly morning game parties with Ellie every Sunday.

-LIONEL THOMPSON is the police chief in Apple Creek first seen in "The Knight Dragon vs. the Farmer." Lionel is best friends with Brandon Baker and sees Ben as another son. Lionel has three kids of his own, two boys and one girl. He is happily married.

-KACEY BAKER is Ben's only sister, first seen in "The Knight Dragon vs. the Evil Santa." Kacey is the twin of the youngest Baker child, Bradley. The Baker family has a long standing tradition that all boys have a name that starts with the letter "B" and occasionally Kacey feels left out that her name doesn't fit in with her siblings. Kacey idolizes her brother, Ben (though she has no knowledge of his hero career) and gets along with him better than her other brothers.

-ARTHUR "ART" WALLACE is Ellie's long-term boyfriend. He is first seen in "Benjamin Baker vs. the New Years Party" and is immediately despised by Ben, despite Ellie's adoration for him. Art works at his family's hardware store. He grew up in a different state and is still not used to being in a city filled with superheroes and villains. When he first moved to Apple Creek his senior year of high school, Ellie immediately caught his attention, and despite their classmate's un-approval, he knew he had to date her. They love each other fiercely and plan to spend their lives together.

-REESE BAKER is the mother of the Baker children and husband to Brandon Baker. She is first introduced in "Benjamin Baker vs. the New Years Party" as the party planner. She loves and supports each of her children and raised them as a stay-at-home mom.

-BRADLEY BAKER is the youngest Baker child and twin to Kacey. Introduced in "Benjamin Baker vs. the New Years Party" as a boy very aware of his family's wealth and sees himself as better than others. He is a senior in college without much of an idea of what he will do with his life.

-BRANDON BAKER is the father of the Baker family first seen in "Benjamin Baker vs. the New Years Party." Brandon is the CEO of Bakersfield, his family's company for generations. Brandon is a retired superhero, The Golden Man. He was the city's most popular and successful hero. He retired from hero work shortly after defeating his nemesis, the Master. His choice to retire was because of his kids. His family knew of his hero work and stared at the news every time he had to battle a villain. Brandon decided he didn't want his kids living in fear anymore and retired. He trained his son, Ben to be the Knight Dragon and encouraged him to keep his hero identity a secret from the family.

-CASSANDRA EVANS is the leader of the B.O.S -the Board of Supers. First introduced in "Eleanor Washington vs. the Board of Supers," Cassandra is in charge of all the supers in the city. She decides who is classified as a hero or a villain and arranges any confrontations between supers. The B.O.S., while funded by the government, is a secret from the citizens of Apple Creek.


VILLAINS (In order of appearance)

-"SANDY" BURTON is the first villain we see the Knight Dragon face in "The Knight Dragon vs. the Sandstorm." This villain has the power to turn into sand, produce sand, and control the sand, dirt, and dust around him.

-THE MORTICIAN is featured in "The Knight Dragon vs. the Mortician Part 2." The Mortician, real name unknown, has the power to control corpses, waking them from the dead.

-MELANIE BOLTON is not necessarily a villain, though she makes the list due to her appearance in "The Knight Dragon vs. the Power Outage." Melanie has the power to produce and control electric currents.

-MATT WATERS is the villain seen in "The Knight Dragon vs. the Farmer." He has super strength and is one of the hardest matches for the Knight Dragon and the Speedster, so much so that Lionel and Ellie both assist.

-OLIVER TOTEM is a physics professor at Apple Creek University, though in "The Knight Dragon vs. the Invisible Man" we see him use his powers of invisibility to help him obtain pieces to a weapon.


Is your favorite minor character missing? Was a new detail added that changes a character's profile? Remind me in the comment section below and I'll continually update this page with new information! Thanks in advance for your help! 

Friday, January 27, 2017

Why Fashion Friday Posts Are Difficult To Do In Winter



One of my unwritten New Years Resolutions was to never miss a Fashion Friday post. I left it unwritten because I know that sometimes it is honestly impossible to go out and take fashion photos, especially during the winter time. I was right to leave this goal un-written since here we are, the last Friday of January and I've done one fashion post so far this year.

My lack of fashion posts doesn't go without trying. I tried. I promise I tried. You can ask my husband about my almost crying when the weather and daylight hours would not work with my schedule.

See, I work a full-time job. 8-5. During all daylight hours. Now, if I had a home with good lighting, or could purchase good photography lighting, then maybe it wouldn't be such an issue. But in all honesty, the fashion posts that get the most attention, are always done outside, and I completely agree that outdoor pictures look and feel the best. Lighting is better, backgrounds are better, and there are so many more opportunities instead of just a blank wall.

Winter is such a beautiful time of year. Fashion photos in the snow can be absolutely gorgeous... Can be. Winter can also be the ugliest time of year. Gray mounds of snow piled up on the sides of every street, gray skies, fog, no sunlight, as bleak and depressing as the beginning of a Charles Dickens novel.

During the winter no one WANTS to leave their home. We only leave because we're forced to. Getting an outfit together, driving to a decent location and standing in the cold doesn't ever sound fun, but we do it anyways. Sometimes.

But there's such an unpredictability during the winter. Weather is constantly changing. This past month we had temperatures in the single digits which jumped up to 40℉ and rain in a single day. The wind is almost constant and makes it feel even colder. It snows whenever it feels like, which is hard to predict considering the clouds are really talented at covering any sight of the sun.

I want to be a fashion blogger... part-time, only on Fridays. But during the winter it's just so incredibly difficult! So while fashion posts are still a goal for this blog, it may still be a while before the consistency starts. But I'm excited for when they do!

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

There Is No Pain

There is no pain
Like the tears in your eyes
The lump of air in your throat

There is no pain
Like a broken bone
Being idle your only antidote

There is no pain
Like a cut in your skin
Turning cloth red with your blood

There is no pain 
Like the throb in your head
Cured only with too many drugs

There is no pain
Like a miscarriage
The heartbreak of losing your child

There is no pain
Like never meeting them
Never knowing the way that they smiled

There is no pain
Like waiting on end
For something good to come your way

There is no pain 
Like monthly tests
That only end in tearful dismay

There is no pain 
Like fighting a fight
And never knowing when you might win

There is no pain
Like doing your best
But being caught on what might have been

There is no pain
Like smiling in a crowd
Pretending your pain doesn't exist

There is no pain
Like feeling defeated
By a darkness you can't resist

There is no pain
Not physical at least
No pain anyone else can see

There is no pain
Yet everything hurts
And you think this is how it will always be.

Monday, January 23, 2017

How To Become A Fitness Junkie With Kaylee Farnes



STEP 1: Join a gym. Preferably a real expensive one with all the amenities of a resort and a cost that will never be worth the few times you go.


(They don't all have to be expensive. My husband and I go to Vasa Fitness for a reasonable price.)

STEP 2: Weigh and measure yourself to get a starting point. Then cry over ice cream because you really let yourself go.


STEP 3: Create a workout playlist of all your favorite songs. Spend as much time as you can on it, probably during the hour that would be best spent at the gym.


(You can check out my Spotify playlist of workout songs by CLICKING HERE.)

STEP 4: Download all of the fitness and dieting apps and buy all the products so you're well prepared.


(Got to get those Fitbit steps in. Also, the above Gif is from "The IT Crowd" which is on Netflix, go check it out.)

STEP 5: Create a Pinterest board with hundreds of workouts and dieting tips that you'll forget about and never use.


(I'm compulsively on Pinterest every night before bed. You can look at my fitness board by CLICKING HERE.)

STEP 6: Start a new Instagram account for all your #GymSelfies.


(I'm guilty of this for sure and you can view them all on my second Instagram account @kayleeshealthylife)

STEP 7: Share all your weight loss and fitness goals on social media so everyone else can know how good you are.


STEP 8: After a good workout reward yourself with some chocolate. You earned it.


(Can I just be Taylor Swift in a crown? Please?)

STEP 9: Tweet about your workout. If it's not on social media, it didn't happen.


(Shameless Twitter plug, @cowgirl_kaylee)

STEP 10: Repeat the above steps over and over again until your magically fit.


____________________________________________________________

Yes, yes, I'm very funny. But in all honesty, this has been my understanding of health goals. Health and fitness goals are hard. So ridiculously hard. We make goals that seem possible in the beginning, but the work and time we have to put into it can be overwhelming.

Mondays on this blog are now all about health and fitness. This doesn't just include physical health. As someone who has depression and works to raise more awareness about the seriousness of mental health, my Monday health posts will include mental, emotional, and physical. We should always be growing our brains as well as our bodies, and learning to help our emotions work for us instead of against us.

All my life I have wanted to help people and I've decided that now is the time to do something about it. I am not perfect. I have many struggles, insecurities, and make mistakes daily. But I know I'm not alone. We are not alone and if we work together, we are capable of anything. We are a team, the Dancing Cow Team, and together we can help make ourselves and the world better.

Monday health posts are not all set in stone, they may not start immediately, but by the end of the year, they should be a consistent thing. As always, I'm grateful for my amazing blog readers because, without you, this idea would never have happened. I love you all, more than I can express.

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