Thursday, January 30, 2014

He lives, my kind wise heavenly Friend!

There may come a time in your life where you break down.  A time where you find yourself wondering why this is happening, and asking why it has to happen.  You may be angry, confused and hurt in ways that you didn't know were possible.  There might be moments where you feel sheer terror at what might happen as your mind frantically tries to find a way out.  

In those mere moments when the emotions are too much and the dark thoughts and worries almost consume you, it's hard to see your way.  You might think to pray, to again ask why this is happening to you.  Was it something that you did? Is it something that you need to learn from? How could this possibly be something that you need to go through?

It's likely that while you're trying to pray you can't find the words to start with.  The emotional weight and sorrow feel never ending. But the rapid thoughts and feelings will slow down.  Soon you'll be able to think clearly, and communicate with our Heavenly Father in a very raw and vulnerable way.  As you poor out your very soul to Him, he listens.  

He is there. He hears you, and He loves you.  

I know what that feels like.

Months have gone by this past year where I had no idea what I was doing.  I wasn't even aware that I had no idea what I was doing.  I remember during those months asking Heavenly Father to help me to know my Savior better.  I knew that he suffered and died for my sins.  I know that he lives.  But I don't think I knew HIM.

I have been overwhelmed with His spirit this morning and all I wanted to do was write.  I can't explain how it took this ongoing trial to bring me closer to my Savior, but it has.  It has!  I may not understand yet the full extent of why it is happening and I certainly have a long way to go before I am healed.

But now I KNOW that he is with me every single baby step of my way. 

The hymn "I Know That My Redeemer Lives" has always been one of my favorites.  But today, here in the middle of my little living floor where I have been praying, I feel like I've heard it for the first time.

"I know that my Redeemer lives.  What comfort this sweet sentence gives!  He lives, He lives, who once was dead.  He lives, my ever-living Head.  He lives to bless me with his love.  He lives to plead for me above.  He lives my hungry soul to feed.  He lives to bless in time of need."

Just knowing the simple truth that my Savior lives is truly precious.  He was dead and rose again! He wants to bless me with his love, he pleads for me above.  He is my biggest support and advocate.

"He lives to grant me rich supply.  He lives to guide me with his eye.  He lives to comfort me when faint.  he lives to hear my sou'l complaint.  He lives to silence all my fears.  He lives to wipe away my tears.  He lives to calm my troubled heart.  He lives all blessings to impart."

He is always with me, always guiding me.  He gives me strength when I have none.  He has such love for me that he waits for me to come to him with my complaints, and my sorrows.  He is always there. He has already done so much for me, knowing that he is STILL there for me is incredible.  

"He lives, my kind, wise heavenly Friend.  He lives and loves me to the end.  He lives, and while he lives, I'll sing.  He lives, my Prophet, Priest, and King.  He lives and grants me daily breath.  He lives, and I shall conquer death.  He lives my mansion to prepare.  He lives to bring me safely there."

He is my closest friend.  He is my big brother.  He watches over me and protects me.  He is the very air I breathe! Because of Him, I will have eternal life with my Heavenly Father.  He patiently waits and guides us through our lives until we are safely in his arms again!

"He lives!  All glory to his name!  He lives, my Savior, still the same.  Oh, sweet the joy this sentence gives: 'I know that my Redeemer lives!' He lives!  All glory to his name!  He lives, my Savior still the same.  Oh, sweet the joy this sentence gives: 'I know that my redeemer lives!"

All glory, to Jesus Christ my Savior.  He is STILL the same, he is eternal!  

Sunday, November 4, 2012

It has been a while!

I hadn't realized how long it has been since I've written a post!  Probably because this Lefler family has been nothing but BUSY the past couple months.  We had a good friend visit us from Utah for a week, bought a house, moved, won big on the Rachael Ray show, and survived a Hurricane all within the last 3 months! Phew! Instead of writing a lengthy explanation of everything we have done,  I'm just going to post photos captions.  All in all we are doing fine, we did make it through Hurricane Sandy without any major issues.  We lost power for 4 days but we know it could have been a lot worse.  We thank you all for your prayers, and sorry for slacking in the blog department! ;)

 Our friend Zach came out to visit us from Utah and we took lots of fun trips to NYC and all over NJ.  This is us in Central Park.

 At the shore in Atlantic City.

 Waiting to see the water show at Caesars Palace in Atlantic City.

Sunset, Atlantic City.

Yankees Game! So much fun!

 The keys to our first home!

 Opening OUR front door for the first time, woo-hoo!

 My big kitchen.  

 Some friends who helped us move taking a break to fight with Styrofoam. 

Ian cleaning the mildew from our roof.  Welcome to humidity!

 One of my projects for the new house.  Dresser turned entertainment center.

 All painted!  Now, to decorate :)

Also painted a bookshelf for the living room-work in progress!

 The OSS Tunnel-to-Towers Runners 2012

Here is the story of the Tunnel-to-Tower Run:

Run for your lives Zombie Run Baltimore, MD 2012
 Ian and Seth Neville, a friend in our ward.  Saying goodbye to their wives before they are chased by zombies!

 Seth's wife Amanda, their baby boy Alden and I.

 Go Ian, go!

 2nd to last obstacle, slide down into a big pool of muddy water.

 Last obstacle, crawl under and electric fence to the finish line!

Tired, muddy and cold but they had a blast.  It was really fun to watch too!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Thoughts for the week...

I've been doing a lot of thinking this week, and I think I've helped myself grow a little.  Sometimes I can get carried away in my own little world and the only way to get it out of my brain is to either talk to my husband about it, or write it out.  I want to make it perfectly clear that Ian is a wonderful listener, but I thought I'd give him a break this time ;)  So instead, YOU get to be the listener.  And aren't you lucky?!

It seems that lately there is even more pressure on women these days, if that's even possible.  Everywhere we turn there are examples of what the world thinks that we should be.  Most of the time there is no escaping the images and messages that seem to be flashed across all existence.  The latest diet, the newest fashions, new crafts, new trends etc.  Can you say over load?

Sometimes I hop on good ol' Pinterest and I find myself pinning things that I want to do, things I want to buy, or things that I want to be good at.  I get myself all excited and for a few days it feels great.  But then I get a reality check...don't you just hate that?  I realize that no matter how hard I try I will never wear the dress size I think I should fit into.  I'm just not built to be a size 2.  Or sometimes I don't have the time or money to decorate my home the way I think it should look.  Or, "Hey, self..maybe you don't have time to do any of these things because you sit on the computer day dreaming about them instead of actually DOING them."  There isn't a day that goes by where we don't hear a new idea or make a new goal to try and change something about ourselves.  

Now, don't get me wrong...goals and making changes FOR THE BETTER are absolutely fantastic.  But, sometimes I think we completely misplace the big picture.


There, now doesn't that feel better?  

I know I feel better now that I've reminded myself that I am of great worth in his eyes!

It really doesn't matter that I don't look like a model.  Ian loves me for exactly who I am, not for the me that will never exist.  Maybe I don't have an endless supply of material to decorate my home with, but, at least I have a home.  I may not be a world class chef and be able to prepare 5 course meals everyday, but we are blessed to be able to provide for ourselves.  And, I'll be honest...I have seen so many cute patterns for knitting or crocheting on Pinterest and I am just not cut out to knit.  I plainly do not have the patience for it.  But that's okay, because Heavenly Father has blessed me with other talents.

So, I'm not going to try and keep up anymore.  Sure I'll still try and learn some new things, but I won't beat myself up about not being "good enough" anymore.  I'll be the best wife, mother, daughter, sister and friend that I can be.  Not what the world thinks I should be :)

Anyway, just thought I'd share.  To the women in my life, stop putting so much pressure on yourselves to be worldly women.  You're exactly who you're supposed to be, and there is no competition for our Heavenly Father's love, you already have it!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Manhattan Temple Aug. 11th 2012

It's hard to start a post about my temple experience, because in all honesty, it is an almost indescribable and special experience!

There was a period of time when I thought the temple was somewhere I would never get to. I didn't think it was in the cards for me.  But the past two years of my life have been an incredible journey.  It's funny how you can think you are so far away from our Heavenly Father, and then realize that you have always been cradled in the palm of his hand.  Despite the way I was living my life and all of the mistakes I thought I had made, our Savior never gave up on me.  Somehow through that time, I think, I always knew that.

It was hard to imagine myself in the temple without my family.  Living in New Jersey proved difficult with that.  But what it really came down to was that my family would be there with me.  My husband was there, that was very special to me.  My aunt and uncle were able to make a trip from Virginia to be with me, that too, was special.  The rest of my family was in my heart.  No matter the distance or circumstance, every single one of you was with me.  I could feel your love and prayers.  I was grateful for that comfort.

We found out later that afternoon that I am related to my bishop on my mother's side.  He is my mother's 3rd cousin, which would make him my 4th cousin.  I guess I truly did have more family with me than what I thought!

I knew that what I was doing was right.  Never before have a felt such a feeling of comfort, safety or peace.  I could feel Heavenly Father and the Savior's love for me, personally.  I know they are proud of the changes Ian and I have made in our lives.  

Now, nothing can keep me from the temple :)

My Uncle Kurt and Aunt Tami visiting from Virginia.  It was so wonderful to see them and to finally introduce them to Ian!

My sweet friend Amanda who was my escort in the temple.  She made a huge sacrifice for me, as her baby was due in only a few days!  She has since given birth to a healthy baby boy :)

My ward family :)  It meant so much that they all made the trip to support me.

Kurt and Ian talking air traffic.

We all went out for lunch afterwards, it was an amazing day!  Oh, and yes, that IS raw tuna in my salad ;)  Tami and I were very brave!

Soon to be eternal companions :)

Saturday, June 30, 2012

22 lbs gone! Before and After Pictures

Well,  I did it.  22 lbs are gone (not lost, because I don't plan on finding them again!) and I feel like a million bucks!

I started my health program Take Shape for Life in March of this year.  I am now in the transition phase of the program and couldn't be happier with the results.  

The program not only taught me about how to eat right, but the reasons behind my cravings and fixes for emotional eating.  

I now enjoy working out and am going to the gym 4-5 times a week.  I can't describe the sense of accomplishment I feel now that I can run, jog, spin and weight train.  I feel like an entire new woman! 

I learned that my body isn't a waste basket.  I really notice a difference now that I am eating almost all raw/fresh foods.  My energy level has doubled, I sleep better at night, and I have less headaches.  Not to mention the awesome feeling of hearing "have you lost weight?" or "you look amazing!"  

Little things that would have been a challenge in the past aren't a bother anymore.  Things like touring Washington DC all day without feeling tired or my feet hurting, or even working a full 8 hour day without being tired or feeling completely exhausted when it's time to go home.  I can keep up with my husband in almost every activity!  He has even gotten me hooked on cycling believe it or not!

The journey I stated in March isn't over, I still plan on losing another 15-20 lbs, but I wouldn't have made it this far with out my amazing husband, family, my best friend Jamie and my health coach Alison.  None of you will ever know how much I needed your never ending support!  Thank you!

And now, BEFORE & AFTER:
(Shout out to Ian for helping me with the photos!)