Tuesday, November 10, 2015

This One Is For All Of You...

I didn't plan on writing this.  I didn't plan on saying anything. I didn't think I could.
But as the texts, and messages have started to appear on my phone my brain has just been flooded with emotions, memories - and immense gratitude. 

I don't even know where to begin as I sit here and think about the past year, even the past two years of my life.  

The Lord works in mysterious ways.

I have so many questions that I will never receive answers to until I can one day stand face to face with the Lord and ask, "why?".  But no one knows when that day will come.  And until it does I am so grateful for the incredible peace and love that I have felt during the past year - not only from my Heavenly Father but from SO SO many of you. You are all so amazing.  Many not even friends but acquaintances, or complete strangers who took a moment to tell me they were thinking of me.

Death is hard.  It is so hard.  It feels so final.  Even though I believe this is not the end it is still so hard to go on without those we love.  It is especially hard when someone's life is cut short so early.  There are so many things they will never experience.  So many things left on their list of to dos.  It is so devastating.  A person could focus on that alone and become completely crippled by it.  Why go on if they no longer get to?  

I have debated that over and over in my mind.  Why keep going? Why live without them?  

But then that little voice in the back of my head whispers the same phrase again and again...because there are so many left here on earth to live for.  

Those left here make life worth living.

We never realize the power and importance of friendships, love, and service until we are placed in the midst of a difficult trial. 

After someone passes we often hear people say to "hold your loved ones a little tighter today" - that is because tragedy brings to light what is really truly important.  It reminds of all that we have - or do not have - and we appreciate it.  We are grateful. 

Jeff's passing influenced people around the world.  His story was shared and heard by many.  One small town Southern Alberta boy, with bright blue eyes, touched thousands of lives.  His story hit home for so many.  He left a legacy - his love for hunting, sports, his family and friends.  He will always be remembered as the boy who had enough passion for ten people his size.  He will never be forgotten.  And he will always be loved.

I know that my special blue eyed angel has been watching over me the past year.  I have felt him near.  I have learned so much from him.

I have been taught by so many of you - as you have shared your stories, your trials and achievements with me - I have grown to love so many.  The empty, ugly spot in my heart was filled with a different kind of love.  A love and appreciation for the hard things in life - because if we let them - those hard things make us beautiful.  They make us different.  They make us special.  They make us survivors.  
I  have to remind myself all the time that I can do hard things.  I can do this.  Why do I think I can do it? Because of all of you! You told me I could.  You offered my family and I your support, your prayers, your love, your hugs and words of encouragement.   So we are doing it.  We take it day by day.  We struggle and have moments of weakness but are quickly lifted up by the amazing spirits around us.  

There is a good chance that if you are reading this you have followed us through our journey over the last year...

This post if for you! 

We thank you from the very bottom of our hearts - and we will never forget the influence that you have had on our lives.

We love you so much...

I love you so much...

Thank you.

Dakota & The Passey's      

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Judge A Little Less, Love A Little More...

Hello there,

I hope all is well for you! :)

With last weekend being LDS Conference and April just beginning, my brain has been filled to the brim with new motivation, new goals, and new plans.  I just love that feeling! :)

Today I wanted to share something that has been on my mind lately.  

I don't know if my sensitivity to the world around me has increased, or if I am now just starting to pay attention ...but I can't help but notice how negative towards each other us humans can be sometimes.

As life has presented me with challenges - many of them caused by my name being the topic of a conversation - I have struggled to understand why someone would wish the pain and suffering caused by their actions or words upon someone else.  I then began to think about all the things that I have said about others... 

 Was I a catalyst amidst their trial?

I have decided to take a step back and to re-evaluate my attitude and actions towards those around me. What I say about them, my thoughts towards them, even what my body language says to them.  
Might as well try to learn something good from a not so good situation right? :)

I have decided to judge a little less, and love a little more.

I know how it feels to hear the things that have been spoken about you.  Everything comes out in the open at one time or another and there is not an ounce of truth in the saying, "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me."  Words do hurt, especially words that are untrue and completely unnecessary.  The only thing that has kept me strong in moments where I have wanted to be anything but - is the simple fact that I know the truth.  Rumours are spread by those who think they know - whether it be something they heard or something they made up...that is why they are called rumours.

  We can not mistake rumours for facts.

I thought long and hard about this.  How do we make sure that what we are saying is a fact?  Well the solution is actually quite simple.

We just don't say anything at all.

Nine times out of ten the situation has nothing to do with us. It does not effect us in any way, and our day wouldn't have gone any different had we not heard it in the first place. If the person wanted us to know they would have told us themselves.

I am sure we have all heard this a million times - I am not the first person to have this epiphany and I surely won't be the last. But when you are standing on the opposite side of the fence - the victim to what feels like fiery darts from the world - there is nothing you want to do more then to stand up for yourself. Sad thing is...you can't. It is nearly impossible for one person to stop the words of many.  So I will just say this.

Until we have walked in the person's shoes - felt their pain, lived in their minds, experienced their highs and their lows, fought their battles, felt them cry, or felt them laugh - we have no right to judge. We have no right to tell their story. That is their right.  If they want their story told, they will tell it.

If this world put half the effort into lifting people up as it does putting them down - it would be incredible place. 
It often already is, thanks to those who choose to uplift and inspire instead of demean and destroy. 
 I know many who instantly brighten my day just by their presence! These people make a daily effort to only see the good in people.  I have been inspired to become more like them - and to follow the example that they have humbly set for me.  I have challenged myself to find the good in others and to allow them to tell their own stories.  I have also challenged myself to love those that hurt me - I have found that for me this is so much easier said then done - but I know it is necessary.  I have experienced the internal peace and  rich blessings that come from forgiving those that have wronged you.   

I challenge you to join me! 
Lets make the world a happier, more positive place to be. Lets stop rumours in their tracks and choose to change the subject.  Set the example for your children now and they will do it for theirs in the future.
Simply judge a little less, and love a little more! :)

With love,

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Come What May And Love It...

Well hello there!

I hope all is well with you! :)

Today is a personal day on the blog!
(I have written and deleted this post three times now...so this is the last kick at it.)

I have been wanting to bring you guys "up to speed" on my life for quite a while now, but I just didn't know what to say.  I never know who is reading this, and everyone interprets things differently.  So please try to understand my point of view...or simply just don't judge.  :)

So here goes...   

Have you ever had a moment when you see something, hear something, or read something and go, "Oh my goodness! That is my life!"?

I had one of those moments today.

I was reading an email from an old friend and the last line said this...

I swear I have heard this phrase a million times but today it smacked me right in the face.
It perfectly sums up where I am at right now.
Because amidst all of the trials, upsets, and life altering circumstances I have found myself in...

I have found myself.

And I love it.

Life has softened me, molded me, sanded down my rough edges and polished me...I am in no way naive enough to believe that life is anywhere close to being finished with the refining process - but I have come a long ways.

I have learnt important lessons. Met inspiring people. Inspired others in my own way. Lived through one of my worst nightmares. Accomplished things I never thought were possible.  And above all, I have learned to love myself and where I am at in life.
There are so many things that I miss and that I always will miss.
But there are also so many things that I have gained.
 I have come to love the situation that I find myself in because it has allowed me to get to where I am now. 

I am happy with where I am.

Please don't take this as me being insensitive to my situation. Because I am not. I am simply saying that life has ups and downs - I have fought to get over my mountains. And I am proud of myself.  Life is 
bitter-sweet - it is more bitter at times and more sweet in others. But life is good.

I have incredible memories and an amazing angel. I will never forget that.
 I am going to make my angel proud.

Over the next while I will be sharing my new life with you all...
My goals and plans. My dreams. My hobbies.  My new friends.

The blog is going to transform into what I always wanted it to be!

I hope you will stay with me while I continue on my journey! I have so much to tell you! :)
I just need you to know that I am ready for what life brings next.
Things don't get easier...they just get different. I experience the truth of that statement every day. Life is different. But life is good.
In the end, everything works out how it is supposed to. :)

Looking forward to the future!

Friday, March 13, 2015

Thankful Thursday...

Well hello there!

I hope everything is wonderful with you! 

I have had a busy week with work and life and sleep...you know how it goes! :)

Today is special because I am posting my very first "Thankful Thursday".  
 The first of many more to come!

I know technically it is Friday but last night I was caught up in playing around with all the amazing things you can do on a blog...and let's just say that took a little more time then expected.

So I have taken a moment to ponder the events of this week...to think of each day and to pick out a few things that I am grateful for! I thought sharing them with you might be a good way to begin my morning...and maybe you can take some time to think of a few things you are grateful for to! :)

Nothing starts a day off better then a little bit of gratitude!

So here we go!

It has been so wonderful to walk around in a t-shirt outside! Having the sun out this week made my horse happy, my dog happy, my vehicles happy (big day at the car wash) and all of that made me extremely happy!

My Animals!
Nothing brings a smile to my face faster then watching my furry friends and learning about their hilarious and loving personalities! This week I took a little extra time to cuddle and feed them treats...a few extra car rides and nibbles of grain. I bet the animals were thankful to! ;)

Technology and Social Media!
I am SO thankful that even though my family may be far away, I can pick up the phone any time and feel like I am right there with them! Texting, phone calls, Facebook...I am just so happy that I get to communicate with them as much as I do.

This week I have been able to have some great visits with friends! It is so wonderful to catch up and to know that they are thinking of me.  Plus a few of them are pregnant so hearing all of their baby news is SO exciting!


I am so thankful that I have a job that I love, and that I can support myself by doing it.  I am so lucky to work in a setting where I am basically serving those around me 24/7.  I have found that when I take less time to focus on myself and more time to focus on others - my day goes so much better and I am so much happier!

I hope you enjoyed my list of things that I am thankful for!
Maybe take some time today to make your own...you will be glad you did! :)
When you sit down and think about it...we really are so very blessed in so many ways.

With love,

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Don't Cry Because It's Over, Smile Because It Happened...

Well hello there,

Confession time...
Deciding what to do with the blog has been very difficult for me. I won't lie...I LOVE this blog! The things that is has done for me and even more importantly...what it has done for many others completely humbles and fascinates me. I feel like what it has become, is something I never would have imagined in my wildest dreams. 
I have spent countless hours thinking of where to take it from here and I am still waiting for my "light bulb" moment...but I have faith it will come! For now please just bear with me as my posts may be random and rather scatter brained...which I promise you is really just a glimpse of what goes on in my mind. Ha! But while I search for some direction...if you have any advice, ideas, questions, or if you just want to encourage me to keep emptying the contents of my over-active brain onto the internet...please let me know! :)

Now to the good stuff...

One of my favourite things to do is to sit in front of the bathroom mirror for a realllllllllly long time and think.  I have often been teased about this, but little did they know there was some serious soul searching going on! I can literally stare back at myself and reflect on how much has changed and how much I have grown. It is quite the experience. If you have never tried it, you should
 In one of my more recent "pondering sessions" I thought back on the events of the last few months and then of the last few years...yikes/wow/wahoo!/oh man...it was insanely overwhelming. But I was able to take a step back from everything. I was able to see the negative; the things that had gone wrong, or simply just not how I had planned. And I was able to see the positive...which came as a result of conquering each mountain in front of me.

When life threw me some "less then desirable" experiences...I had two options:

One - I could focus on everything that was lost, taken away and destroyed.
Two - I could be grateful for the memories, and then focus on everything that was still here.

I found a saying that I now have in my home...I see it every day and I love how simple the message is - but the power that is behind it.  It says;

"Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened"

So easy to say, rather difficult to do?  It is hard - but it is all about your mindset.  And for me I found that the only way I could get the icky, negative thoughts out of my head was to flip them around into something positive.  I had to be grateful instead of being angry or sad.  
Let me give you an example;
It was unbelievably hard, not to be given the opportunity to say goodbye the moment things happened.  I was a long ways away. I couldn't do a thing. And as much as I did have a chance to say goodbye, it still wasn't the same as "being there" at that moment. I am sure you understand what I am saying.  BUT  it would have been much harder to sit beside him and make the decision of whether or not to end life support...see, tender mercy.  I didn't have to make any decisions. Thank goodness the decision was made for me.  I just had to accept it.

We have to flip these things in our brains to make them easier to cope with! 

My Grandma shared a perfect, much simpler example of this with me.
One day she left a bottle of fabric softener on top of the washing machine...with the lid not completely tight.  The washer turned on...the fabric softener fell off.  As you can imagine this was quite the mess to clean up!  That stuff is slick! But how did Grandma choose to think about it? Well she decided her house sure smelled nice!

Last week I woke up very early on a day off, after a very late night, to go Visiting Teaching. I was up, dressed and out the door early enough to allow myself time to sit in my car, read over my lesson, gather my thoughts, say a prayer etc. After texting my companion for directions to the Sister's house that we were going to...she replied with, "I thought that was tomorrow!" Turns out...it was! My first thought? Are you kidding me?! I got out of bed for nothing?! My second thought? Wow, that was so nice to sit in complete silence and to take a moment to refresh myself and to start off my day with a different spirit then I normally do. AND I had even more time to ponder the message! ;) 

Clearly it is all in our mindset, and I love how invincible I feel when I choose to think this way.
Give it a try! I really believe you won't be let down. No matter what happens today, focus on the positive! Focus on everything you DO have...the rest will work itself out in the end. It always does. 
Great things will come.

If you have any wonderful stories about when you put this method to use...please share them with me in the comments below! It is so refreshing to hear different experiences! :)  

I hope you all have a wonderfully, positive day! :)


Monday, February 23, 2015

What's Been On My Mind...

 Hello friends,

It has been a while...life gets in the way of things sometimes.
I thought I would check in with all of you who are wondering if I am still alive! ;)  
I am still here, still kicking!

I wanted to share with you, something that has been on my mind for the last few weeks...actually I think that I have felt this way ever since "that day".  So here it is...Please feel free to share this if you know of someone who might need it.

When an "atomic bomb" is dropped on your life - and within moments everything is different - it is like time stands still. Literally, not a thing matters. Food, sleep, your job, the world around you...all of these things just seem to fade into a blur.  And there you are - having an outer body experience as you look over the remnants of what once was your life, your plans, your everything. It is hard to describe unless you have actually been there for yourself. But what is even harder is accepting the fact that outside of that "moment" that you are in...life still goes on.

Life still goes on in many ways.  But the most difficult thing for me to accept has been that because life still goes on...sad things keep happening

"I wouldn't wish this upon anyone."
I have thought these words over and over in my head a million times.  If only my thinking them could actually make them happen...but that is the tricky thing about life.  We were sent here to be tested, to learn, to be stretched and moulded, strengthened and refined...the catch... we do not get to decide how that is done.

It was so easy for me to understand and to be at peace with the fact that this was my trial.  This was going to push me as far as I could be pushed. I often tell people that this was a "forced growth spurt"..and then I add  that I had to grow so fast it left behind stretch marks ha!  

But I don't even know if I can describe the sorrow and ache that my heart feels when I hear of someone else receiving their trial.  I sit there and my eyes well up with tears because I can relate to a tiny fraction of what that wife, mother, father, sister, brother, friend, etc. is feeling. That tiny fraction is more than anyone should ever have to feel.  
While I sit here writing this I can think of numerous moments lately, after hearing of yet another tragic occurrence,  in which I have stopped what I was doing and prayed.  Prayed that the individual harmed would heal, or simply that they would live.  Prayed that the family would feel comfort and that they would feel loved.  And each time I have had to fight back the urge to scream out, "why?".  Why do things like this have to happen? Why do we have to experience our trials in such drastic ways? Why can't one person's suffering be enough so that others do not have to experience the same or similar pain?  
Well I know the answers to those questions. That is just how life works...but that doesn't make it any easier to accept.

It did not take very long after news spread of the accident for me to be engulfed in the arms of people who were choking back tears, not only because of what had happened, but because in their own way they had once felt this themselves.  They had walked this path and they hurt for me as they watched me begin my journey.  I remember very vividly the emails, texts, phone calls, and people that stopped me on the street.  I think back on their words of comfort often.  I remember not understanding why it was effecting certain people so much...now I know.  They had once been me, and now they were standing on the sidelines watching it happen all over again.  All they wanted to do was take away my pain, but they couldn't.

I have found that this is a very difficult place to be. It is hard to feel so much emotion at one time.  It is so hard to accept that we cannot take the hit for others.  Whether our trial be death, divorce, financial issues, health issues...the list goes on. Even though it has not been long, when I look back, I am grateful for what my trial has taught me thus far. I am grateful that I can relate to many that I could not before, and that I can send  words of encouragement and love.  It is my wish, that when others see me still trekking along, they will feel the urge to press on and do the same. So...

To those of  you who are going through your trial at this time, know that there are SO many people around you sending their love and prayers your way.  Your situation can influence someone so much more then you will ever know, and even influence complete strangers.  Someone has walked the path you are walking now.  It has been done. It is doable.  We are all survivors in our own special way! One day you will look back and see the growth, the lessons learned, and how far you have come when you thought for sure you couldn't take another step. Just remember that you are never alone! So many others are fighting this battle right alongside you, and many of them are seasoned warriors.  They all made it through, and so will you!

And to those of you who reached out to me in that critical time, and those who still continue to reach out... please know how much I appreciate you, and the impact that you have made on my life.  I am forever changed but it has been for the better.  I have been so blessed, and because of that I will never shrug off the responsibility I feel to give back to others what I have been given.  I am humbled every day when I think of the army that has surrounded me to help me on my journey. 
Thank you from the very bottom of my heart!

With love,

And thank you Pinterest for the wonderful quote...

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Lions Don't Lose Sleep Over the Opinions of Sheep...

Hello there! 
It has been a while since I have posted anything on the blog but today is the day! :)

With Christmas under way tomorrow, so many people talk about the "Spirit of Christmas" or the "Spirit of Giving"...or my favourite, "putting CHRIST in Christmas" ...now that is wonderful and there are so many people who truly do live by this motto, but at the same time there are the select few who may not.. I have decided the ratio is 10 bad to 1000 good, but my goodness can those 10 make a stink! 

With that said throughout this last while and especially in the past week I have talked with some of my closest friends about some of the trials I have had to face resulting from Jeff's passing.  I can honestly say one of the HARDEST things I have had to deal with has been the people around me! Crazy right!? I am sure I am not alone on this as many people have gone through these sorts of things and are going through their own personal trials right now - I know I am not alone with how I feel.  So for my Christmas gift to you all I would love to share with you the amazing advice that I have been given! If you are going through your own trial at the moment, have gone through something where you can relate, or if your trial is just around the corner...I hope you can find peace and strength from my words and that you can keep you head up and be strong just like I have been encouraged to be!

Be Brave
During the trials in my life I have literally found that there is no other option then to just be brave.  A letter from my Mom confirmed this.  Many people have said to me...how are you still doing this? How are you working? How did you not just drop everything and move in with you parents? Well, even though I may have WANTED to, that just isn't really logical if you ask me. The Lord doesn't give us any trials we can't overcome (sometimes I have to question what he thinks I am made of).  So if the Lord knows I can do this...then I might as well make him proud. I have to be brave, I have to keep my head up and keep pressing on.  It is hard. And every person grieves differently.  Most days I just want to lay in my bed and cry and hide, but I know that is not what I am supposed to be doing. We have to let our trials make us stronger, braver, better, and smarter - we can't let them break us. Easier said then done I feel but I know Jeff wouldn't want me to quit life at the age of 20.  So I get up each morning and I put on a brave face for him, and by the end of the day I can be proud of myself for making it through another day.

Lions Don't Lose Sleep Over the Opinions of Sheep
A conversation with a good friend led her to tag me in a photo that said this...Lions Don't Lose Sleep Over the Opinions of Sheep.  I had heard this before and at first thought, "Wow"! What a powerful statement...then I chuckled to myself when I thought of myself as a lion! Ha. I have no idea why I thought it was so funny.  But I told myself that every time I heard a creative, new story someone was telling about my life - I was going to look at myself in the mirror and tell myself I was a lion.  Their opinions don't matter, their stories don't matter, the fact that they feel it necessary to dedicate time out of their day to speak about me....well that just makes them sheep.  (I have nothing against sheep, but you know what I mean ;) )  So I have to be brave, I have to keep repeating to myself the wonderful Dr. Suess quote that says, "Those who mind don't matter, and those who matter don't mind." People will talk, its human nature - but at the end of the day the only opinion of you that matters...is YOURS!  

If They Are Talking About You They Are Leaving Someone Else Alone
An incredible thought another good friend shared with me was the concept of..."if they are talking about you they are leaving someone else alone".  Now, I had to think on that one for a few moments - but how powerful is that? Or maybe I just thought it was powerful...but it really hit me.  I am a pretty strong person. I know who I am, and what others say about me may sting for a moment but at the end of the day I shake it off like a duck with water on its back. It is just who I am - life has forced me to become that way.  But there are many people who are not strong, and who are completely battered and torn at the end of the day by the words spoken about them.  So if the creative tales that are being spread about you are saving someone else from pain and suffering....that is a pretty positive twist on an icky situation!  Talk about taking one for the team! I would say that was some humbling advice, and I will constantly remind myself of that.  If you can be brave and think of yourself as a lion...then you will have the strength to carry a little bit of someone else's burden...there is always a "glass half full" way to think about things.

Focus On The Good
Now this last one didn't come from a specific person but more so my family in general...I have been taught to think like this my whole life and I have a Grandma who is absolutely amazing at finding the positives in horrible situations. So I feel as if I was very lucky to have this mentality.  Many of you who have me on Facebook have probably seen my occasional "happy rant".  When I wrote my first "thank-you" on Facebook the day of Jeff's passing - I decided that I was going to say thank you more throughout this trial then I ever had in my life.  I made it a goal! So every time I am having a bad day...whether I am missing Jeff like mad or I am dealing with some crazy business...I force myself to sit down and say thank you to someone. Whether it is a phone call, text, blog post or on Facebook - that is my first thing I have to do. I do this because by the end I have completely forgotten why I was so mad or sad in the first place! When you think about all that you have been given - it helps you forget, or at least think differently, about the things that you don't have or the things that are causing you a little strife.  
I would give ANYTHING to just talk with Jeff. To hold his hand and kiss his hair and see his perfect little ears and blue eyes one more time. Even typing that made the flood gates open...O boy.  But I know that one day there will be good that comes from this.  Jeff doesn't have to live in this wayward world any more! He is perfect, he is safe.  He is back where he needs to be, he just beat us all to it!  

All we have to do is look for the tiniest positive and talk it up! Be SO grateful. Thank those around you. Love those around you and make sure that they know it.

I wish you all a very merry Christmas and best wishes in the new year!