Friday, November 11, 2016

The Candidate I Voted For Won: So Why Am I Heartbroken

Yes. I just admitted to voting for Donald Trump. I know some who will read this will be disappointed and upset. I just want to say, that if anyone I know reads this and decides they can no longer be my friend, I will be sad, but I will also respect your decision. Why? Because I believe that everyone should be true to themselves and what they believe in.

I have really debated writing this post. But the more I have thought about my feelings and what I have witnessed since the election, I feel very impressed that I need to share my feelings. I don't expect to turn hearts or ideals. I don't even expect anyone to really read this. Maybe I'm mostly writing this for myself and writing it out in paper would give me writer's cramp.

When I received my ballot in the mail, I could not believe how many people were running for President of the United States. I only knew of four of them! So I sat down, researched each candidate and their platform, and then really prayed about who I should vote for. I wanted to vote for someone, yet not feel like I had compromised my conscious nor my convictions. After a lot of thought, I chose the candidate that I felt in my mind would be best for out country. candidate won! I should be happy, right? I'm actually very heartbroken. And not for the reasons you think. I still stand by my decision just as I would expect anyone who voted for someone else would stand by theirs.

I am heartbroken because of the hate, bigotry, ugliness, etc. that has been spewed all over social media. The bullying and unkind words and actions towards our fellow Americans. 

I am disappointed in the college and high school students who have decided to stage walkouts and request that exams and tests be postponed because the candidate they didn't want, won.

The thousands of protestors blocking traffic that prevents others from getting where they need to be. What if there was a medical emergency and the first responders couldn't get to that emergency?

The burning of our American flag which shows complete disrespect to the men and women who have sacrificed their lives so that flag can wave.

Young children bullying their classmates and spewing out hateful and racist comments.

People saying they will move out of the of country or states saying they will separate themselves from the United States in protest.

Families and friends attacking each other because of their political belief.

Don't get me wrong.......I am in full favor of freedom of speech. Everyone has the right to speak up for themselves and stand up for what they believe in. However, that does not make any of us immune from the consequences. And I know that people are upset and frustrated with the outcome. But all of the above does not accomplish anything!!! It just causes more hate and hurt. You know the expression "You can draw more flies with honey than with vinegar"? I'm pretty sure that rings true today.

All of this hate makes me think of the wars of our country where it was father against son, brother against brother, friend against friend. Haven't we come a long way to live in a country of tolerance and acceptance only to go backwards???

Now I know our country isn't perfect and we, as a society, are still learning on how to work together and we still have a lot of changes to make. But OUR actions are what is putting our country in reverse. OUR actions as American citizens says more about our character than who we voted for. Everyone deserves to be treated justly and fairly. But we have got to stop blaming the government and establishment for the reason's we act the way we do.

We do not have control over who our President is. But we do have control over how WE will handle the outcome individually and as a society. We can either add to the problems in our country or we can work together and find ways to help solve the problems we have. And maybe my thoughts are naive, but the hate isn't working. Hate is only breeding more hate. And honestly, this hate is coming from both sides of the coin.

In a time of turmoil and contention, WE need to find a way to be kinder and more compassionate with each other. WE need to find a reason for hope. WE need to pray for our new president-elect that he will be up to the challenge and make our country great. Wouldn't we want to do the same thing if Hillary had won? Or anyone else?

Facebook has become a place where everyone is posting why their candidate is better and why the other candidate is bad. It's become a place where people are judgemental and accusing others of racism and hate and bigotry. Again, I truly believe the way we treat others says more about our character than anything else.

So this is my plea and my prayer......That we can all learn to be a little more kinder and compassionate to our families, friends, neighbors, and communities. That we can find a way to work together. That we can find a way to have civilized and respectful disagreements and arguments. That we can find a way to still accept and love each other despite our beliefs and values. 


United we stand; divided we fall.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

What Is Our Purpose?

Lately, I have been pondering a lot about my purpose here on this Earth. What exactly is Heavenly Father's plan for me? What is it that he wants me to accomplish? 

I know what I am. I'm a daughter, wife, sister, aunt, friend, and a Child of God. 

But see, I am a 38 year old woman, married 18 years to my best friend and love my life, have done 3 rounds of failed IVF, looked at adoption, and foster care which all didn't quite work out. We are taught, in the Mormon faith, from the age of 12 that we are to get married in the temple to righteous young man and have a family. Well......I did the temple part.

As I'm nearing 40, and don't worry.....we haven't taken children out of the picture yet, I still have to wonder my purpose. I'm not really a mom, in the physical sense. I do have a little dog so that kind of counts and 5 babies in heaven. But if there are not to be anymore options for children, I have to look at my life in a different way and look down a different path. (Again, that door hasn't closed yet)

A friend of mine and I were discussing this the other night and she had a lot of good thought and insight given my situation. I really did appreciate what she had to say and I really loved her perspective. 

However, later that night, I read a post on social media that really upset me. It was a post on infertility which was fine and it was a very open post. But then......there was a statement that stated "a woman's SOLE and ONLY purpose on this Earth is to bare children". This took me back. It kind of shook me to my core and knocked me down. And all I could think was.......What about me? We've tried that and it hasn't worked. And it wasn't just because of my health problems. It also stated that you have to be "mentally, physically, and spiritually prepared". Well.....we were! We had faith that could move mountains! We worked hard to be healthy, mentally, and spiritually prepared and it still didn't work. So do I not even have a purpose because I'm broken?

As I read this post, I wrote out comments and deleted them. I know this post wasn't directed at me. This individual was sharing their story and experience. But it still came across as very bold and direct and almost.....judgemental.

As I laid in bed after reading this post, I really thought about it and about why we are here on this Earth. Why Heavenly Father created this plan for us. Why did we come to this place knowing all the trials and challenges and demons we would face. Why in the world would I even want to live such a painful yet joyous life?

Because I said I would. Plain and simple. I knew the consequences and the challenges and I still said YES. I said give me everything you've got and I will persevere because I knew there would be plan for me to return. No matter how difficult things would get, there would be the Savior and His Atonement. 

So here's the deal.......we each have our own path to follow. Heavenly Father has a plan for each of us and He knows what He is doing. He can see the big picture when we we can just see a tiny scene.

So, maybe I don't know my purpose yet. But it's ok because I know that HE knows and as long as I have faith and continue to follow Him......and it won't always be easy, so I've learned........He will help me through.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Opinions Are Like Armpits

"Opinions are like armpits. Everyone has them and some of them stink."

Everyone has armpits and everyone has opinions. Sometimes they smell really good and sometimes......they really stink. 

Recently, I posted on Facebook about how I was disgusted by how athletes have decided to not stand for the national anthem to make a statement about racism or that the flag no longer stands for the liberties it used to. Well, that is there opinion and definitely their constitutional right. However, it is my right and opinion to disagree with them. Not disagree with their belief, mind you, but disagree with their actions.

In this post, which I ended up deleting and wish I hadn't, I never made mention that I disagreed with their beliefs or that they were wrong....just their actions. I agree that their beliefs have some merit, but not the actions. I feel the actions are completely ineffective. Again.....that is my opinion.

Why did I delete this post you ask? Well, the comments became pretty heated and I don't like to be an instigator of confrontation. However, I am quickly learning that is how the world works when you post your opinion on social media. And there was quite a bit of backlash among commentators. 

However, what I can't stand about social media and in other settings are the malicious comments such as: "your opinion is wrong" "your opinion is invalid" "you are stupid if you believe this or that" "how can you be so blind" "how can you be so ignorant" "you're out of touch and close minded" I see ALOT of this especially when an opinion is expressed that is against the popular norm.

People......opinions are just that.....OPINIONS. They are neither wrong nor right. It is something that someone thinks which may not necessarily align with someone else. NEWSFLASH.....that is ok!!! There is nothing wrong with having a different opinion or disagreeing with someone else's idealism. We all have different things that we believe in and fight for and there is nothing wrong with that.

So why is it that if I happen to disagree with an athlete not standing for the national anthem and find it disrespectful, that I am the one who is close minded? That is my OPINION! There is nothing wrong with how I feel and I shouldn't have to apologize for that. There are other ways to make a statement without being disrespectful. to our nation.

And the other thing I want to point out is this.......if I had already made a statement on something I feel passionate about, do you really think being rude and ugly is going to change my opinion? I don't mind if you say "well that's you opinion. However, I feel...." That's fine with me. It shows you respect me as a person as well as my mind. But....through life experiences, I have learned to think for myself and make my own opinions based on what I see and read. It is going to take a lot to persuade me to think differently on something I am passionate about. But it isn't going to happen with rude comments.

If I were to go to John Doe down the street and tell him how ugly and how much I hated the flowers he planted and was rude about it, do you think he's going to take them all out and replant because of my opinion? Probably not. He has already made the decision. 

Now let me get a little deeper on this topic. And if you decide to stop reading at this point, no offense taken and God bless.

I have many reasons why I am so passionate about the American flag, our national anthem, and patriotism.
  • I have sung that national anthem on several occasions at sporting events as well as at church. The history behind it is humbling.
  • I have attended 3 funerals for WWII veterans where Taps has been played, a 3 gun salute, and a flag has been draped over the veteran's coffin. I have watched how tenderly the soldiers at these funerals have folded that flag, handed it to the surviving family members, and humbly thanked them for their loved one's service. It gives me chills just to think about it.
  • I have friends and family members who have spent months away from their families so they can do their duty to fight for and protect our freedoms.
  • I have ancestors who have fought in the Revolutionary War and Civil War to protect our rights and freedoms that we have today. 
Now let's dig back a little further in history, shall we?

This country was founded by men and women who wanted more freedoms in their lives than what they were able to have in other countries. Freedom of speech, of religion, the right to bare arms, etc. 

Our fore fathers worked and fought tirelessly through blood, sweat, and tears to create a country that would give us all the freedoms we have at this point and take very much for granted. Was our nation perfect then? Of course not! Are we a perfect nation now? No way! Are things going to change over night? Not a chance! But they can change.

Now the main reason patriotism is so important and close to my heart is because of two things........God and Faith.

Our fore fathers were religious men who wanted freedom of religion and could not obtain that while still living under a monarchy. These men put their faith in God that He would protect them and help them create a nation that would allow themselves and their posterity the freedom to practice and believe any religion they wanted. These men had the faith that they were doing the right thing. These men put their faith in God that He would protect their freedoms during time of war. 

Because of these men, the gospel of Jesus Christ would not have been restored. That's right.....I threw some Mormonism in there. If you are offended, feel free to leave any time,

Because of the faith that these men had, the church that I believe in and follow was able to be restored. Because of these men and the thousands upon thousands of men who succeeded them, I now am blessed to have the gospel of Jesus Christ in my life. Because of the countless men and women who have sacrificed their lives for our country, I have the freedom of religion and to believe in whatever God I want to. This freedom above all others is precious to me.

Now we are at a point where we are taking God out of the Pledge of Allegiance, prayers are not allowed in schools, the Ten Commandments can not be displayed outside of court houses, its offensive to say Merry Christmas so we are asked to say Happy Holidays, it's offensive to have In God We Trust on our money, it's a distraction to fly the flag in some neighborhoods, and the list goes on and on. We are coming to a point of becoming a godless country which is so sad and unfortunate since that is what our very country was founded on.

So, if you want to be upset because I stated my opinion about my feelings of athletes or anyone in general not standing for the national anthem and flag, that is fine. I won't be offended. But my opinion is not wrong nor right. It's how I feel and think.

So I will say it again.......I find it very disrespectful to not stand for the national anthem or the flag. I don't care who you are! And the reason I find it so disrespectful is because not only are disrespecting those who have fought for your rights and freedoms, but you are disrespecting my freedoms.

Like I said, "Opinions are like armpits. Everyone has them and some of them stink." And I am going to continue to voice my opinions regardless of how stinky they are.

"If we don't stand for something, we'll fall for anything." - Irene Dunne

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Thoughts About My Mom

I have been really missing my mom a lot lately. But I have been trying to think of good and happy memories. And the more I thought about these, I wish I had remembered them at her funeral to kind of lighten the mood because she sure loved to make us laugh. Probably not on purpose, but she did a good job at it. So I thought I would share some of my memories on my blog........that I haven't updated in almost a year.

The summer after my senior year of high school, I worked at Jo-Ann's Fabrics in Crafts. And let me tell ya....this wasn't located in the best area when there was a Girls, Girls, Girls dance club near by. Anyway. Mom loved to craft and loved even more that I worked at a craft store so she could use my discount. She was on pretty good terms with most of the managers so she could shopping without me even being there. There was one time that she called me early in the morning, while I was still asleep, so she could get my SSN to use my discount. Now that's an addict right there!

One time, when we are all still in school, my dad took all of us on a business trip to Orlando. While he was in meetings, mom took us kids to Sea World. When we went to see Shamu, I convinced my mom that we needed to sit up front so we could see better. (Believe me.....I knew that this was the splash zone.) But she didn't. (Insert evil laugh.) Needless to say, we were all pretty soaked.

After an incident where my Grandma and I made my mom laugh so hard that she passed out, she told everyone that we couldn't make her laugh hard or she would pass out.

When mom had a cold, she couldn't use just a box of Kleenex. Oh no! She needed a whole roll of toilet paper.

When she would floss her teeth, she would need at LEAST a mile of dental floss.

Now Jon....was the only one who could really get my mom laughing. Laughing so hard that she would have an accident. On a road trip from Homestead to Key West, Brenda really had to use the restroom and my mom just kept driving and saying "We'll stop at the next key," until Brenda finally had to yell at her to stop. When mom went in to use the restroom, Jon ran up to the door, banged on it really loud, ran back to the car and told us to all act natural. Of course Brenda and I were cracking up. Mom came out and told us she didn't even have the chance to get her pants down. I'm pretty sure you can guess what happened!

Mom would call Ramen Noodles, Roman Noodles and Renee Zellweger, Renee (Reni) Zigler.

In Homestead, there is a power plant called Turkey Point. In Utah, we have a park/shopping area called Thanksgiving Point. She always called Thanksgiving Point, Turkey Point.

In New Jersey, the freeway is the called the Turnpike. She always called the freeway in Florida the New Jersey Turnpike.

When Blackberrys first came out, we went to the AT&T store to check out the price and thought about getting one for my dad. She walked in and asked "Can I see your Blueberries?" The sales person was so confused and told her she would have to go to Publix (local grocery store in Florida) to get blueberries. I explained that she meant a Blackberry.

Mom did not do amusement park rides. If we went to Disney World or Lagoon, she would just sit and wait for us while we did the rides. Although she would do the water rides. This one time at Lagoon, we convinced her to go on the Wild Mouse. I'm pretty sure the kids behind us learned a few new words to add to their vocabulary that day.

Mom had what we called platinum blonde hair. It was the Fenstermaker curse to get premature greys. Whenever she would go to the movies or the fair, she was always asked if she wanted the senior discount. She didn't think this was funny, but the rest of us got a good chuckle out of it. I told her she should just roll with it.

During a visit to California, I decided she was becoming her mother when she started watching Matlock at 1 in the afternoon. All I could think is "And so it starts."

After her first surgery, Dad and I were sitting with her in recovery and she was so loopy that I really wish I would have filmed it. My dad told her she was acting like a space cadet to which she replied that she didn't like space. She kept asking us if we were laughing at her and we told her we were laughing with her. She kept asking my dad if he loved her and he said he didn't know. So she asked him "When will you know?" She was pretty out of it and sarcastically told me that she was glad that she gave us so much entertainment.

Even at the end, she kept her sense of humor. I jokingly told Jon that women on the Fenstermaker line go out swearing. 

She mothered us up until the very end. But I am so glad that I still have some of these memories of her that make me laugh and smile.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Cancer and The Gospel

It has been a little over a year since I have last posted and it has been a crazy year! I have traveled back to California numerous times to visit my mom an dad during my mom's cancer treatments. She had been doing well with treatment until August 2015 when another form of breast cancer was found despite chemo and radiation.

She underwent yet another surgery and started chemo again but at a much more aggressive approach due to the high risk of the 2nd cancer coming back.

I had the opportunity to visit with mom and dad over Thanksgiving 2015 before she started her next round of treatment. We had no idea how taxing this 2nd round would be on her body.

Two months later, our family's world changed forever......

On January 29th, my mother passed away peacefully after a week of being in the hospital due to her body going into septic shock. Her body fought hard, but she had decided she was ready to go. Ready to reunite with her mom and dad and her darling daughter Allison.

My father, siblings, and I had the chance to be with her in that last week, even though she was lucid for only a few days. We were able to talk to her, share stories of her grandson, sit with her, and witness tender moments between her and my father. 

A few days before she passed, we had the opportunity to have a family prayer where each of us said a prayer and thank and plead to Heavenly Father to grant his will and that we would be able to accept it.

She told us she loved us, hugged us as well as she could while hooked up to several monitors, and kept her sense of humor to the end.

The last few days, the Spirit was very strong. I think I knew it was her time yet still struggled, and still do, to accept it.

A night or two before she passed, her bishop came to visit and as he was looking at her, she looked to the side of him and kept staring. My first thought was that there was someone there in the room to see her. Who it was, I have no idea. But there was a visitor ready to take her.

We had a beautiful service for her in California where we had the most amazing support from family and friends. And come this summer, we will prepare to lay her in her final resting spot.

I still can't believe it has already been a month since my mom has graduated from this life and is now an angel watching over me. However, I have learned a lot over the last few weeks or so......

The gospel of Jesus Christ and His love for us is real. Heavenly Father hears our prayers and answers them. Maybe not in the way that we would prefer, but He knows what the best answer is. 

Family is everything. Families are eternal and I am so grateful for this knowledge and blessing. Because of this, I know I will see my mother again. I love my brother and sister and my dad. I love that they are my family and that this is the family I was meant to be a part of.

I am grateful for wonderful friends and extended family and how much love and support they showed us and are still showing us during this time. Friends are so special and know when to lift you up when you need it most.

Heavenly Father has his own time line that doesn't necessarily match up with ours. But I have the faith and continue to ask for the faith that He knows what is best for us to grow and progress.

I am so incredibly grateful for the testimony that I have for this gospel and my Savior, Jesus Christ. Without, even in the loneliest of times, I know I am not alone. And through the sacrifice of our Savior and His atonement, we can be with our loved ones again.

This is still a grieving process where I have my good days and my not so good days. But I know it will get easier. I know Heavenly Father is with me along with my mother and Savior.

Cancer is a very awful thing and makes it so hard to watch a loved one fight it to the end. But I don't believe my mother lost the battle. She fought hard and won over this earthly life. Death is not the end! I'm proud of her. She will forever be my hero.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Looking Forward in 2015

It's a new year and I decided to look forward and "try" to not look back.

Yesterday morning, Jon and I discussed what kind of things we wanted to accomplish this year to improve ourselves and our lives. His first response was find a job. Obviously, I want that too. But we also discussed things that would make us happier. Not more money or a bigger house. Just things that would improve our well-being. I know everyone makes resolutions and sometimes, after a month, give up. I wanted to work on things that were more realistic. So, together we came up with a few that we can do as a couple and then I came up with a few of my own.

- Plan for a family vacation
- Start dating each other again
- Consistent family prayer
- Read together
- Focus on the temple
- Spending more time with our nieces and nephews
Those are just to name a few.

- Daily scripture study (whether it's a chapter, whole book, or a verse)
- Eat healthier
- Personal prayer
- Make more time for reading
- Attend the temple
- Exercise more (even if it's just walking)
- Love and be more accepting of myself (strengths and weaknesses)
- Find peace
- Find time for crafting
- Be more forgiving
- Be more present and attentive
- Follow the Spirit

I felt like these were pretty realistic and easy to accomplish if I focused more. They seem like a lot but I feel like some of them will be like killing 2 or 3 birds with one stone. It will take some work and it may not be easy, but I know I can do it. I want to be a better ME and I feel like these are the things I need to work on to do that.

I am not going to lie, 2014 was a rough and stressful year. I want 2015 to be different. I want to find things to look forward to and be more aware of my daily blessings.

I know that this can be a good year. I am positive that this is a year of changes and good things are coming our way. I am also aware that whatever changes come may not necessarily be what we want them to be, but what Heavenly Father wants them to be.

Happy New Years, my friends! May your 2015 be what you make of it!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

All I Want for Christmas....

About 4 or 5 years ago, when Jon and I started our journey on IVF, one of the things I dreamed about the most was Christmas morning. The excitement in my children's eyes as they rushed down the stairs to see what Santa brought them. Making cookies and delivering neighbors gifts. Buying the perfect outfit for the Christmas Sacrament meeting. And so much more.

As each IVF failed, I saw my dreams slowly slip away. Since then, whenever Jon has asked me what I wanted for Christmas, I said I just want a baby. By this time, we should have at least a 3 year old. But, Christmas morning is very lonely. We wake up, open our gifts, eat breakfast, relax, visit family, and then come back to a dark, lonely house. We don't have the joy of watching our children open the gifts they have been anxiously waiting for or hear their squeals of delight. I would even take listening to a little bit of arguing or whining because the doll or truck wasn't exactly what they wanted. So each year, we try to make our Christmas just a little bit more special for us.

This year as been a little bit more difficult with Jon out of a job, my mom battling breast cancer, and the same sad feeling of no children. I was at a point where I decided celebrating was trivial when compared to our hardships. I wasn't going to do a tree or decorate. I was just going to let the season go by. However, slowly I started getting into the Christmas spirit and realized I would be sad and disappointed if I didn't at least decorate.

One day, Jon and I were talking about the new video that was put out by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, titled, He Is The Gift. We had both watched it, separately, and had both been touched by the Spirit. We had been discussing our situation of not having children during the holidays or even the thought of a baby. Jon said something to me that I will never forget. He told me that we do have a baby on Christmas. The gift of that baby was from Heavenly Father and that baby who was given to us is our Savior, Jesus Christ. We have all been given that same gift. He reminded me that we are given this baby every single year on Christmas. It may not be the baby we had hoped for, but it is still a baby. It may not be one that we can hold and snuggle and care for, but we can still strive to make ourselves worthy of His love and blessings.

After that discussion, I have looked at Christmas in a completely different light. Christmas isn't about wrapped gifts under the tree, Christmas lights, stockings, neighbor gifts, edible goodies, etc. Christmas is about the gift of Christ and His love, sacrifice, and example. We have been given the most incredible gift and I hope to never take it for granted. Heavenly Father loved us enough to send His only Son. I don't believe that there are any gifts that can top that. What a blessing for us to remember. 

As Ebeneezer Scrooge said: "I will keep Christmas in my heart and throughout all the year."

Here is the link to this heartwarming video: