Mar 5, 2015

It's Never Too Late

Earlier this week I was going through some drawers when I came across a journal from 2006. For those of you that know me, you know that I have kept a journal faithfully since I was 8 years old. The main reason I keep journals is because it allows me to work through the thoughts in my head, how I'm feeling, or see it on paper instead of in my chaotic brain. This journal was one that made my stomach turn. This was a year that I didn't remember too well. It was a year I would've liked to forget.

As I sat in my chair early that morning, I started to read through this journal of a girl that I don't know anymore. It felt so foreign that I couldn't believe it was me. The things I was doing at that time in my life don't even make sense to me anymore. It felt so far away, and that was the moment I realized how much I've changed. I realized that it's never too late to change your life, and become the person you've always wanted.

For those of you that don't know me, I'm a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I was born into the church, but I left at the age of 14. From 14-24 I had nothing to do with the church. I never brought it up, I didn't tell people that I was part of the church, and I stopped hanging out with anyone who was active. I didn't want anything to do with it. I wasn't ready to live that lifestyle, and I didn't know if I ever would be.

During those years from age 14-24 I partied, I drank, I did wild and crazy things, and I thought I was happy. I thought I was having fun, and "experiencing life". I thought that this was what my life was going to be like forever. I never wanted to get married, I had no desire to ever be a mother, and I lived for the moment. Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die. That was exactly how I lived my life. I don't think this is a bad way to live your life (just FYI), I just didn't realize that it wasn't the way I wanted to live mine.

At 24 I started going back to church. My Dad was Bishop (the leader of our branch) of my singles ward, which was funny because he was Bishop when I stopped going to church too. I went to church every now and then but it wasn't consistent. I started going again because I had reached a point in my life where I realized something needed to change. I had just ended a serious relationship, I had been laid off, and I realized that the life I was living wasn't making me happy. I didn't know what would make me happy, but I knew this life wasn't it. The only thing I could think of was to try to give the church I was born into a chance. I had exhausted all of the other religions I was interested in, so why not?

Slowly I started to feel more comfortable at church. I still struggled with the other single adults that went because well, let's face it; they had never had any of the experiences I had. They really hadn't even come close to going through what I'd gone through. Most of them hadn't even questioned the truthfulness of the church in their life. How in the world would I relate to these people?

My 2nd month going back to church I got a new job as a manager of a boxing gym. On my first day of work I met the man that would soon become my husband. After knowing Dave for 2 months, and realizing he wasn't going to ask me out, I bit the bullet and asked him if I could take him out for his Birthday. He agreed, and our romance began.

After 3 months of dating each other I figured we were getting ready to make our relationship official and take it to the next level. I wanted him to call me his girlfriend. Who wouldn't want that?! One night I was snooping around his room while he was in the bathroom and I found a scrapbook of his. As I started to look through it, I realized it was a mission scrapbook. What?! Dave was a Mormon? How had we not talked about that? How did I not know that the boy I was dating was a Mormon? When he came back in the room I asked him about it. He told me about his mission, and said he hadn't brought it up because he didn't know if I was Mormon. That was a day that will go down in history as the day I started to change my life.

After a few more months of dating we realized we were falling for each other. We brought up getting married one day and Dave told me that he wouldn't get married anywhere but in an LDS Temple. I instantly got sick to my stomach. I 1. Never wanted to get married before now, and 2. Never wanted to get married in the temple. The thought never crossed my mind, and now I was being forced to face it. He told me that he understood if that's not what I wanted, but that's the only place he'd get married.

I was still going to church when Dave and I had the conversation about getting married in the temple. I went home from his house that night, and decided that I needed to decide if this church was for me. Was I willing to change completely from the girl I was to the girl I was sort of scared of, but deep down wanted to become? The truth is, I didn't think I was strong enough. I didn't think I was worthy of God's love for all the mistakes I'd made in my past. I didn't know if I could stop being the party girl Jill and become the "Mormon Housewife". It was time for me to pray and ask God to tell me what he wanted my life to look like.

I'll never forget what happened the following morning after Dave and I had this conversation.  I was out for a run when I remembered a journal that I started when I was 14, only months before I left the church. I had a dream about a "Dave" at 14. He had blonde hair, blue eyes, drove a Jeep Grand Cherokee, and I met him at a gym (yes, all of these things were true about my Dave). Over 3 days I had 3 different dreams about this boy (no I'm not making this up and yes I have the journal to prove it). I wrote about each of these dreams at the age of 14, and then I said this in my journal: "Wouldn't it be cool if Dave were real, and I really got to marry this boy one day. I can dream." I ran home, and searched for this journal. I found it. As I sat there pouring over these dreams, I knew what my answer was. God had told me when I was 14. Dave was the man I was meant to be with.

This was the first time in my life that I sat down and read the Book of Mormon. I had to know what this church was about if I was going to be a member. I had to know that it was right for me before I ever said I would get married in the temple. I may not have been active for 10 years, but I knew enough to know that going through the temple was a major step, and if I was going to do it then I needed to be a ready for it.

A year after meeting Dave, we were going to church every Sunday together. I had stopped going out to clubs, stopped drinking, I started wearing modest clothing (which was a HUGE step for me), and I started to have a relationship with God. I started to believe that he loved me and cared for me. I still wasn't 100% on all the churches teachings, but I didn't need to be. I had read the Book of Mormon and I knew it was true for me. I knew that this was the church I wanted to belong to. It was the one that made me feel most complete. I know it's not for everyone, and I think that you should belong to whatever you feel is the best for your life, but this was best for me.

13 months of dating flew by, and Dave asked me to marry him. It was amazing. I couldn't believe the girl that I was when I met him, because I wasn't that girl anymore. I was still outgoing, accepting, loving, kind, fun, happy, and respectful, but I was different. I woke up each morning and talked to God. For the first time I felt love for him, and I knew he loved me too. I woke up knowing something I hadn't known for the last 10 years. I was a daughter of God. I was special. I was important. I was worthy of love.

Now does this mean that people who party aren't all those things? Of course not! I'm just saying that for me, I didn't know those things about myself until I came back to the church. The reason it took me coming back to the church is because that's when I put forth effort to have a relationship with God. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints gave me that relationship. It gave me the push I needed to start to become the woman that I not only wanted, but that God wanted me to be.

So many people that I speak with tell me how they feel like they've screwed up so bad that they can never change. I want to tell you all that, that's simply not true. Whether it's coming back to the Mormon church, or going to your church, or even just learning that you have a beautiful soul, with beautiful energy, and learning to love the person  you are, You Can Change. It's never too late to become the person you want. You have NEVER sinned too much. You have never walked so far away that you can't turn around and walk back. I promise you, you can come back. You can decide today that you're not happy and want to make some changes. I'm here to tell you that you can. You can be the person you've always wanted, even if you're not sure what it takes to get there. It's never too late. I know, because I did it.

As I sit here at my computer with a picture of Dave and I on our wedding day (6 years ago next week) I'm touched by the simple fact that I know God loves me. I know I matter. I know I'm special to him. If you don't believe in God, know that you're special to so many. You're loved by so many. You matter to so many. If you don't believe me,  just ask. I'll make sure you know that I love you, and that you're special to me. It's Never Too Late. You can always come back.

Jan 29, 2015

What I'd tell the 300lb Jill.

I've thought long and hard about this post ever since it hit me that I needed to write it. Let me say that my hope for this post is that anyone battling an issue with weight, or any body issue, that they will find comfort in knowing that someone out there in this big universe understands. I hope they know they're not alone because I know many times I felt like I was fighting a war all by myself. That being said, I want to let you all know what I would tell the 300lb Jill now.

Dear Jill,
I know you're waking up today like every other day. You don't want to get out of bed and face the world. You don't want to be looked at, judged, or feel the "Evil Eye" from anyone else. You don't want to see your family and be reminded that you're different. You don't want to feel like a project when someone asks you if you want to go workout with them. You don't want to feel like every eye is on you when you put something in your mouth. More than anything, you don't want to feel unworthy of love one more day.

My beautiful Jill, I get it. You are not alone. There are so many fighting this battle along with you, and they all feel the exact same way as you do. I know this because I've received thousands of emails from people telling me all about it.  How they feel ugly, unwanted, depressed, sad, unworthy, unlovable, angry, hurt, and some even suicidal. They feel the same way you do at this very moment. YOU ARE NOT ALONE.

Now that you know that, I want you to know some things about you, that you don't even know about yourself. You are magnificent. You are the most beautiful girl in this world. You have a smile that lights up a room. You have a heart of Gold. You're the most kind, loving, caring, and considerate person I know. 

Jill, you're a friend to the friendless. People lean on you because THEY NEED YOU. They don't want to be in your life out of pity or because they look at you as a project. You truly brighten people's lives. You make other people forget about their problems. You make others feel loved, and needed. I don't think I've ever heard you say something mean to someone in my life. Even when others are mean to you, you choose to love them. These are not characteristics of an unlovable and unworthy woman. These are qualities of a beautiful daughter of God.

You are so special. You're special beyond what you can even imagine. You make so many people happy.  There isn't a person you meet that doesn't leave your presence with a smile on their face. You're positive, optimistic, happy, and you always have a smile on even when you're hurting. You ALWAYS put others before yourself. Do these sound like something a horrible person would do?

I know that when you look in the mirror you don't see someone beautiful. You see that your face is too fat, your clothes are too tight, your hair isn't long enough, your boobs aren't big enough, your waist isn't small enough, your teeth aren't white enough, your clothes aren't cute enough, and most importantly; You are Not Enough. I'm here to tell you that You Are.

You may ask how I know this about you when you don't know it about yourself. I know because I was you. I've felt how you've felt, I've cried the same tears, I've begged God for all the same things. I know you. I was you. I Am You.

No one can judge you until they've walked in your shoes. No one can degrade you unless you let them. No one can hurt you unless you believe what they say, and you can Choose to Believe anyone. Please Believe Me. I'll never lie to you. I'll never hurt you. You can trust me.

You're beautiful beyond words. Your physical shape doesn't matter and never will.  The people that it matters to, are people that don't matter. What matters is the beautiful light you have inside. The light that shines through your smile. The light that makes others feel loved. The light that you were born with that has never left, it just gets shaded at times. It's the Light of Christ. That Light is within You.

I know it's hard when you're putting on your clothes in the morning and the tag doesn't read size 4. I promise you that when it does, that won't be good enough either. You'll never be happy with your size, shape, or anything else, until you learn to Love Jill. 

When you learn to love yourself, the rest of your issues melt away. No one can hurt you when you love yourself, because you don't need love from anyone. Your guard will be dropped, your defenses will fall down, and you'll finally realize what was there all along. You are a beautiful woman because of who you are inside and not what you look like on the outside.

I'm sorry it will take some drastic measures for you to find yourself. The  good thing is that even though you will go through some really hard times, and you will do things to change who you are physically, you will get to a place where you learn that your body appearance doesn't matter. You will be able to put on any size clothes, and care about how they look and not what the tag reads. You will walk with your head held high, and not constantly be thinking about what others are thinking about you, because you'll truly believe you are beautiful. You will KNOW that You Are Beautiful.

I've been a size 24 and I've been a size 4. Neither one made me happy. I felt ugly at both points. I didn't accept my body or myself at either size. It wasn't until I stopped caring about the number, and more about who the girl was that was wearing it that I started to feel beautiful. The size no longer defines me. The love I have for myself is what makes me who I am, and I truly am beautiful.

I know it's hard right now. I know you're in pain, and I know your heart is hurting, but remember what you've been taught. It won't feel like this forever. This too shall pass. This is but a brief moment in your life. You will endure it well, and you will become the person you've always wanted to be. The person that God always knew you were, and the woman that I am very proud to be. You are beautiful. You are wonderful. You are Perfect.
Love,
Jilly

Jan 24, 2015

Depression

I have the most amazing people in my life. People that I've never even met before, and the people that know me. They send me messages like, "Are you doing okay, you've been quiet on social media? Just checking because I love you." Or how about this one, "Jilly it's one of you best friends checking in on you! Write me back love. I need to know you're okay." This last one really touched my heart, "Jilly, I know you're depressed right now because you're not online. I know it will just take a few days to get over, but know that I'm here 24/7 if you need me. Love you." These messages mean more to me than anyone will ever know. Depression sucks. It's the worst torment a mind can go through. I'm going to tell you about mine.

I have Bipolar 1 Disorder with Rapid Cycling.  I'm medicated and am very faithful about taking my meds. Even with the meds though, I still have rough days.  I have about 3 days of Depression every month and 3 days of Mania. I know most of you don't know what Mania is, but for me it's a state where I don't sleep, I hardly eat, I want to talk to everyone, shopping is the greatest thing and the only thing I can think of, (which is why we just take the packages, unopened, back to UPS) and I couldn't even tell you what I bought.  Then it moves the next 24 hours to a state where I'm very quiet, and unemotional, I'm not loving to Dave, my motions are all very mechanic, and the reason for this is because my thoughts are racing faster than I can get out.  It's almost as if I'm on a roller coaster ride I can't get off of for 24 hours.

After the Mania comes the Depression.  Once again, I take my meds so this Depression isn't as severe as it was when I was younger and I tried to commit suicide. I don't get to that place anymore, and I never will.  My Depression comes on slow.  The first 24 hours I notice that I start to slow down, jewelry stops being interesting, I don't get dressed for the day, the household chores stop, and I just kind of sit around and think.

The next 24 hours is where I cry constantly. Everything makes me sad.  This is also when my anxiety kicks in.  Yes, I get horrible anxiety when I'm Depressed.  I feel like I can't breathe which makes me cry harder, I feel like my world is closing in around me and there's nothing I can do to stop it, and nothing in this world makes me happy.

The 3rd day is the worst, but I also know I'm coming out of it in 24 more hours.  I get really quiet, the tears stop and the worst feeling in the world sets in. Numb.  Feeling Numb is the worst sensation I've ever experienced and I live it once a month. Nothing is interesting. Nothing catches your eye. You can't smile for the life of you. Your emotions completely shut off and you feel like you're a zombie. 

My Depression stops after 3 days. If it doesn't I go to my doctor.  For the past 10 years though my medication has worked and I only go through a few days a month of this. I can't imagine what those of you go through on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis with you depression. It breaks my heart for you, and I'm so sorry you have to live it.

Nothing makes the world harder than depression. For me, I can't eat, I sleep all the time, my anxiety is overwhelming, and I'm unable to love the most important man in my life. Depression is similar to my 2nd day of Mania. I can't love Dave that day either. Not only are these 2 states hard on me, they do a world of hurt to my husband. He holds no contempt towards me. He knows I'll be back in a few days, and he just loves me through it. I have the greatest husband known to man.

For those of you that struggle, please know you're in my prayers. Your pain and anguish are not thrown aside like you think. I know you, I know what you're going through, and I love you. It's okay if you can't return phone calls or text messages because I do the same.  If people don't understand, that's on them. All you need to do is focus on taking care of you. Remember this my friends, "It won't feel like this forever, for this is but a brief moment of your life."

Jan 15, 2015

I hate Babies


Let's get really, real for a moment. I'm really hating babies at this moment in my life. We're actually going to work through my thoughts together because I'm dying inside.

I log onto Facebook today and 10 of the first 13 posts that come up are all on pregnant moms either finding out where they're having, blogging about what they're having, posting pics of the beautiful bumps, revealing the gender and on and on.  Argh!  I feel like I've been punched in the gut.

I know I come across as I have it all together, but I don't.  Last week when a radio station tore me apart for 2 days and had help from a woman who claimed to know me so well, I ended up in tears.  I'm not a rough and tough girl. I'm actually very loving, kind, and emotional.  

I love that my friends are all pregnant and having kids they've wanted their entire lives, but at the same time, I'm furious.  I don't want to see your bump. I don't want to have to pretend to be happy for you.  I don't want to read your blogs.  I don't want to watch your gender reveal on TV, and you know what?!  I know this is all my own issue and there's nothing you can do about it.  I'm allowed to be mad, but it's not at you.  I'm thrilled for you.

I know many would tell me that I have so much going on in my life, and I have so much to be grateful for, which I do, but the one thing I would trade my show for is to have a little baby enter my family. I would give up everything to have a little boy or girl for Dave and I to call our own.  I would give it all away.

Please don't tell me you're sorry, because I want you to be excited about where you are.  I just needed to let it out that it sucks.  It hurts.  It crushes me at times.  Right now I'll stay off Facebook for a while and Instagram until I can get through this hard part that I've had many times before.  It will pass. It won't feel like this forever.  I'll be okay.

Oct 4, 2014

Confessions with CNN

I'm sure most of you that follow my blog, or are my friend on Facebook know about my recent publication with CNN.  I was asked to write an article for their religion blog this past week.  A lot of people have asked me if they found me because of my appearances on Oprah.  In fact, they didn't even know that I'd been a guest on the Oprah show.  Lisa Ling has a show on CNN and they are doing a special on the Mormon community in Utah, this Sunday the 5th.  As they were researching for this special, they came across my "Mormon Housewife" blog.  That's how they found me and that's how all this crazieness started.

In their searching they came across my post titled The Perfect Mormon Housewife.  I wrote it quite awhile ago after realizing the pressure that I put on myself to appear perfect, along with a few of my close friends. I never knew that writing that post would lead me to CNN or all the emails, texts, and phone calls, I've received this week.  It's all been a little overwhelming, but so touching.  

The piece I wrote for CNN was published on their religion blog.  You can find it here.  I was so honored to be asked to write this piece.  I didn't realize the response that would come from this piece though.  I guess I was bit naive when I wrote it.  I didn't understand how touchy of a subject it was for those within the church and those outside of it.  I wanted to clarify a few things that weren't covered in the article, so a clearer picture could come from my thoughts and feelings expressed.

This piece was not about the women of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  This piece was about me.  It was strictly based on my feelings, my insecurities, my issues.  It was mine and mine alone.  It does not and never will reflect the women within the church.  I would be out of line to claim to know what every woman inside of the church feels about themselves, or their lives.  It also had nothing to do with being a "Mormon".  This article was about Jill Strasburg.  It was about how I have felt at certain times.  It wasn't meant to show how being a member of the church has made me feel.  It was strictly about how I felt at a time in my life when I was sick, and had to accept help from some amazing women.  

Those beautiful women taught me about love.  They taught me how charity is the pure love of Christ.  They taught me what it means to be a true Christian.  It was my weakness, my insecurities, and my issues with myself, that made me feel as though I wasn't worthy of their unconditional love.  They loved me more perfectly than I had ever been loved in my life.  They taught me how women that believe in Christ should treat another human being.  They taught me the true meaning of the greatest commandment ever given, "Love one another as I have loved you."  What an incredible gift I was given by them.  I wish I would've seen it back then, the way I see it now.

Perfection doesn't exist.  The only person that has ever been perfect is our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  He is my Savior.  He is the reason that I can ask forgiveness from my faults, my wrongdoings, my insecurities, and my shortcomings.  He is the greatest example that has ever walked the face of the earth, and I'm thankful for his example.  

I'm thankful for the imperfections that each of us have, and the imperfections that make us the beautiful people that we are.  I'm grateful for each day that I wake up and get another chance to change and become better.  I'm thankful for the ability I have to admit fault, and ask forgiveness from God.  I'm grateful for the knowledge I have that I am loved just the way I am.  That as long as I am doing my best, I'm doing enough.  I'm grateful to know that my Heavenly Father loves me no matter what I do in this life.  

I'm blessed beyond what I can ever put into words.  How lucky I am to have amazing men and women in my life that teach me about the pure love of Christ on a daily basis.  I'm truly blessed to be a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. No matter what you think of me, the piece I wrote, or the things I write in the future; I would hope you never judge the members of my church, aka "The Mormons"; by the things that I say or do.  Everyone deserves to be judged by the words that come from their mouths, and the things they do themselves. If you have a desire to learn about something, I would encourage you to search it out for yourself, and find the answer that was meant for you.

Thank again for all the love, support, and encouragement that I've received from this article.  I've been blown away by the response.  I'm honored that some of you would take the time to reach out to me and show me such incredible kindness.  It never ceases to amaze me how much my Heavenly Father loves me.  I know he loves me because he sends me you.  Thank You! Thank You! Thank You!

Aug 27, 2014

Calm My Aching Heart

I've always thought of myself as a person that has a lot of Faith. I believe that when I pray, God listens.  I believe he inspires me to do certain things, reach out to other people, and be a good person.  I thought I believed that he could comfort my heart when it was hurting. I didn't realize until lately that I wasn't allowing him to do that.  I was crying inside because of the desire I have to be a mother, but when he would whisper to my heart and mind that all would work out, I didn't listen. I ignored it, and kept the bitter feelings in my heart.  That is until this past month when I finally allowed him to calm my aching heart.

Dave and I have been married for 5 1/2 years.  In that time we have faced some amazing trials.  Trials that those of you that read my blog know only too well.  We've gone through things that I hope the majority of people in this life never have to experience. We've been penniless, unable to afford anything because we were paying off medical debt. We've been without work, and both of us have been laid off. School was taking longer than expected because we didn't have loans available, I almost died within the first 3 months of getting married, Dave had to take a leap of faith with me and move to Salt Lake without a job and a place to live hoping that the Lord would provide for us, and through all of this; he has.  He has always provided for us, been with us every step, and made our marriage so strong that nothing could break it.  The tough times that we've had, and still have make us better people.  They make us a better couple.

Knowing all that we've been through, and realizing that the Lord has been with us from day 1, I couldn't figure out why I wouldn't let him heal my heart.  The emptiness that I felt because I'm unable to bear children has ripped me in 2.  It's crushed my soul, put me through huge bouts of depression, made me feel like I'm less of a woman, made me ask why in the hell he put me here, made me wonder if the dreams I've had of my baby girl were all just pretend. I mean did I just make up the same dream that Dave had??  I was questioning everything.  The only thing I wasn't doing was asking God to send me peace.  I was living my life being mad.  I was pouting, throwing a fit, and angry because I didn't get my way.  Then one day this summer I woke up.

You're probably asking yourself, "Is she pregnant?!" The answer is no.  I'm not pregnant.  That's the beauty though is that I don't need to be.  My heart is at peace.  I asked God to take this pain from me.  I couldn't bear it any longer.  I couldn't hold that hurt in my heart.  I had to learn to trust him all over again like I did when I had a 10% chance of living.  Like I did when I made the decision to marry Dave.  When I decided that I needed to have him be a part of my life again.  I had to learn to jump off the cliff without seeing what was below because he simply asked me to.  I had to have Faith that everything I feel and desire is real, and in time it will all work out.  In his time, not in mine.

As I've come to the realization that he is in control, I have finally allowed myself to have Faith once more.  I forgave myself for hating God, and I asked for his forgiveness. I told him I accept his will, and whatever happens will happen.  Until then I will love the life that I'm blessed to be living.  I will cherish every morning that I wake up to see Dave sleeping next to me.  I will love my family, enjoy times with my friends, and be thankful for the food and shelter I have.  I'll continue to pray and not turn my back on God like I have for so long.  I'm finally going to let him be in control, and do as he wants me to do.  What he wants me to do is be Happy, and have Faith that he knows the big picture.  He knows the ending, and I believe that my ending is going to be Fabulous!

Jun 30, 2014

In my Next 30 Years

I figured since it's the official last day of my birthday month that I better write about how my 30th went.  Those of you that follow me on instagram @jillybeanjewelry got to see the festivities and how amazing it was; for me that is.  It was the 2nd best Birthday of my life. I couldn't believe I am alive to see 30!

When I say it was my 2nd best Birthday, the first was when I turned 26.  For those of you that follow my blog you know that when I was 25 in 2009 I became deathly ill and almost died.  I truly didn't believe I would make it to 26.  I will never be able to put into words how amazing that morning was when I opened my eyes on my 26th Birthday, but 30 was very similar.

Dave and my parents planned a special Birthday party for me at my favorite resort in Las Vegas.  Those of you that have been to The Encore, know how absolutely beautiful it is.  All I wanted to do the entire week was sit at the pool and sip cold drinks.  I got my wish.  It was magical!  The weather was beautiful, the room was gorgeous, and the company was the best.  It was the most amazing Birthday.

On the morning of the 5th I woke up, and got ready to go spend the day by the pool.  As Dave and I headed down, I was greeted by the concierge with balloons and gift cards to the buffet for that night.  Then it was off to the pool.  Dave and I sat in the water and soaked up the sun.  We had such a lovely day.  I got my wish too!  Plenty of nice, cold, delicious drinks were served all day. 

When I decided I had sufficiently meant my sun quota for the day we went back to the room.  I opened the door and my entire room was decorated!  It was the best surprise ever!!  My Mom and Dad had covered it in Balloons, signs, and streamers!  I was floored.  I was in heaven and so excited!  I don't know about you, but I LOVE Birthday's!  To have my room all done was the icing on a so far perfect day!





After coming in from the pool, Dave made a gorgeous bath for me and I soaked for hours.  It was so nice.  Then I got all ready to go out that night!  I curled my hair, put on a gorgeous dress, and we hit the casinos! I ended up only winning $40, but we had so much fun!  Dinner was great, and spending time with the people I love the most was perfect.

As we got back to the room a little before my Birthday was over, I told Dave how much I loved this day.  I started to cry because I was so thankful to actually be alive to see 30.  For a long time I never thought I would hit 30 years old.  To be alive, and well on my 30th Birthday was the greatest gift ever. To be with the man of my dreams is a gift from God.  The entire week was magical.  I truly didn't want to get on the plane and come home.

When I got home the party didn't end though!  Dave's family had a Birthday party for me that was so much fun! I got to see all but 1 of the 7 sisters, and most of my nieces and nephews were there.  I got big hugs and kisses, some fun jewelry, and the best cards ever! Dave's family is amazing and I'm so lucky to have gained 7 beautiful sisters and a Mom and Dad that love me so much!  They are so good to me!

All in all it was an amazing month.  I feel so lucky to be here at 30 years old.  To be alive at this time in my life is a true gift from God.  I truly cherish every day and realize how lucky I am every morning when I open my eyes.  I still have my bad days, but I'm grateful for them too (just maybe not in the moment.)

In my next 30 years...I'll try to stop cussing like a sailor, be a bit more like my mom, I would love to become a mother in this life, be a better friend, do more service in my church and other areas, help my husband finish medical school, be a better wife, sister, daughter, and daughter in law, and above all be a better daughter of God.  I hope to still be having as much as I do now though!  One thing that won't change is the thing that makes Jill, "Jilly!"  It's what Dave calls me.."I'm Spicy!"  I hope I never lose that "Spice" for life!  Here's to the next 30 years!

May 31, 2014

Truly Touched

As I sat here tonight talking to my sweet husband, I got onto check my email. I normally do it every night before I go to bed to check for people asking me about my jewelry. When I logged on I saw an email from a name I didn't know. I expected it to be a question about a necklace. How very wrong I was.

I've really been struggling since Mother's Day, and been feeling really bitter.  I've been really mad at God recently, and have been praying for someone to talk to who would just understand. Not someone who has kids and tells me that "they get it" but someone that has been through it. Who has "fought the good fight".  Who knows what it's like to cry every month, and take multiple pregnancy tests in a year all to have them be negative.  Someone who understands that adopting isn't like picking out your favorite soda pop.  Just anyone who can relate to me, and kind of have some empathy.

I want you to know how amazing each of you are, and how touching all of your comments are.  Your love, kindness, and concern is so very special to me.  Please don't feel like I am not grateful for all your love.  That's not what I'm saying at all.  What I'm saying is that I needed a shoulder to cry on.  Someone who could put their arms around me (even through a computer screen) and say "I Get It! This sucks, and I'm sorry. I can't make it better, but I can lend an ear. I can lend an understanding, empathetic ear."  It's all I've been praying for.  Tonight I got that.

As I started reading this email from a woman I've never met, I was moved to tears. Her story touched my heart so much I can't express.  As I read each word to Dave, I had to stop multiple times to hold back tears.  I couldn't believe that someone who understands was taking the time to write me such a beautiful letter.  

As she started she said, "I don't know why I'm writing you, but I feel like I kind of understand you."  WOW! She just said she could relate to me.  Not only that, but as I read I realized that she truly could relate to me.  Her story was so much harder than the path I have walked.  It not only comforted my heart, but it humbled me. (How lame is that to say you're humble? Doesn't that defeat the purpose??)  

I realized tonight that I've been so ridiculous only focusing on myself. How selfish and self centered.  I've been stuck in my bubble, pushing everyone away because "no one knows how hard this is."  Instead of accepting love and kindness I've been turning my back on it.  When my Father in heaven has been sending me love, like I've been asking for; I basically told him that I didn't want it.  Well he threw it in my face tonight, as he has to do to me quite often.

My life is difficult for me.  I always tell people when I do my public speaking, that what you're going through is not as hard as what others go through. It's hard for you though, and that's what matters.  Well I realized tonight that learning that others have it a bit harder can bring you to your knees thanking God for what you go through.  It's true isn't it?  The old saying that if given the opportunity to take someone's trials other than your own, you'd gladly take yours every time.  I realized how true that was tonight.

As this beautiful woman told me about her trial of being single for a long period of her life, and then finally getting married and having to go through infertility trials to finally get her child, I was touched.  She gets me.  Then she explained how she understands how hard it is to not have a bunch of kids in my culture.  I started to cry.  She expressed how she also didn't go to church on Mother's Day.  Oh my goodness, I'm not alone.  Thank you God for your unconditional love.  How ungrateful I've been.  Thank you for this amazing woman who wrote me "not knowing why?"

The most beautiful thing about this email was her honesty, kindness, concern, tenderness, and love.  She's never met me, she has no idea who I am except through a computer screen, yet she sent me her love.  She didn't try to tell me what I should do, or how to get over what I was going through.  She simply said that she understands and that she's here for me if I need to talk.  I don't know how you ladies that read my blog are so unconditionally kind and loving to me, but I'm so thankful.  How blessed I am to have each of you in my life.  I couldn't ask to be any luckier.

Tonight as I write this sweet woman back, I hope she understands how much her email meant to me.  How much her empathy, kindness, and love touched my heart.  She has no idea, but she was an answer to my prayers.  Tonight God told me he loved me in the form of an email.  He sent me a hug through the computer.  He wrapped his arms around me through another woman.  How gracious, glorious, and loving is our Father in heaven. I'm so thankful that he continues to love me even with all my faults, the mistakes I make, the times I scream and yell at him, and all those little cuss words I say throughout the week (yes I have a mouth like a sailor.) 

Thank You! Thank You! Thank You! to each of you for your love and kindness, but especially thank you to the beautiful soul that felt the need to email me tonight. You truly brightened my day, my week, my month, and my year!