Browsing Category | God

His Happiness is My Happiness

Photography by Abbey Kyhl, www.akstudiodesign.com
Photography by Abbey Kyhl, www.akstudiodesign.com
Photography by Abbey Kyhl, www.akstudiodesign.com

 

When Brady and I were engaged to be married, 4 years ago, we met with our Stake President to interview for our living ordinance & sealing recommends. We talked about each other, and being husband and wife. He gave us great counsel, but one thing he said is something I have struggled with but finally feel like I’m starting to get the hang of.

“Ashley, if you put your husbands happiness before yours, you will be happy.”

That was it. That was the big winner. It has been on my mind ever since. It sounds like one of those sayings that you hear from everybody.


Somewhere down the road I developed a very selfish attitude. I was sick of people being rude. I was sick of letting others be mean to me specifically. I developed this attitude that if someone expects something of me, they are expected of the same also. I noticed a very angry and selfish person shine through each day. Oh, you want trash talk Mormons? Well no wonder they all trash talk non-mormons. Or something like that. Oh, you want me to accept the LGBTQ community and support gay marriage in Utah? Well you better love your neighbor, the Mormon, who doesn’t support gay marriage, and THAT’S OKAY. It’s just irritating. Even writing this still brings up some of those feelings.

I hate it. I hate this person I’ve become. I hate the way I’ve changed. I’ve somehow become this very closed off, anger bottled up inside, complaining woman and I hate her. I’m tired of being her. I’m tired of feeling hurt, singled out, lonely, selfish…. I’m tired of anxiety and depression. I’m tired of the way it controls my life. I’m tired of letting my friends down by not showing up. I’m eternally sorry and I regret not being a better friend. I’m just tired of all the negativity in my life. The “nothing ever works out for me,” or how about the “well, with depression and anxiety, everything is 10x harder,” and while that may be true (that last one) it doesn’t give me the right to see myself as more-deserving than others BECAUSE of this difficulty I face each day.

What does this have anything to do with the title of my blog post? I promise, I will get there.

With this new attitude or “way of life,” it started to destroy everything in my life. My friendships, my relationships with family members, my marriage relationship/friendship, my work-life, my church-life, my health & fitness, my finances…. everything. I felt like everything was falling at the drop of a hat, and it definitely was. It was around the end of April when I met with my new friend Karli. She and my sister had planned to meet up one Saturday to do weight/measurements & meal planning. My sister said that she was a previous trainer at the gym she attends, but now she does more personal training/meal planning for others. I was interested because again, I was miserable with this way of life I was living. After the meeting was over, I thought about it for like 30 mins – 1 hour before texting Karli myself. We picked a date & time to meetup. I was serious about this life change, and I knew my health was the first place any of this wanted “change” was going to happen.

On our first meeting, we recorded my weight and measurements so we knew where we were starting. We created goals together and talked about foods that I liked (or should I say, foods I DO NOT like). A couple of hours after our meeting, she emailed me with my meal plan attached. I was so freaken scared but knew deep down, I wanted this for myself. I wanted this for myself. Fast forward to today. The day I made the decision to want to make the health change that I needed, I changed. I noticed a physical change as well as a change in my every day thoughts. I honestly wanted to spend more time with my husband. I wanted to see my family and friends more. I started making an effort to go to social events (aka hanging out with friends) even though I thought I would die from anxiety. My effort at changing my attitude about and at work started working. I started CHOOSING to feel happy, to be nice to others, to do something for my husband, to just clean the freaken bathroom. I can’t tell you exactly what it is or why things in my life started changing but they just did.

You cannot make someone change or become better, or do something different. They have to want it for themselves. And until that happens, all you can do is love them.


My life is different now. I feel different now. I’m choosing reading over social media. I’m choosing private blogging over trying to be a business blogger. I’m choosing personal photography over business photography. I’m choosing my health over temporal “wants.” I’m choosing discipline/debt snowballing over obsessive compulsive/anxiety-driven shopping. I’m choosing honesty over hiding. I’m choosing God over doubts. I’m choosing the Gospel of Jesus Christ over finding joy and peace in temporal things or people. I’m choosing to smile when I wake up because I prefer to have a better day than yesterday. I choose my husband over anyone else. I am choosing to give the benefit of the doubt. I am choose to say sorry and to admit to my mistakes.

I love my husband. He is my best friend. I love spending time with him, cuddling, watching a movie, or driving in the car together. I love that he teases me and I love that he accepts my apologies. I love that, even though times have been hard, he’s choosing to be with me forever. I love that we’re growing stronger together as a team, rather than two individuals legally married. I love him. I love him so much. He is the calm to my storm and I’d be lost in life without him. Putting his happiness before mine has truly changed the happiness I experience each day. He means so much to me and it’s important to me to make sure he is happy. His happiness IS my happiness.

I cannot end this blog post without first sharing my gratitude towards my Heavenly Father. He is always there when I need someone the most. He is always there when I’m upset about how lonely I feel each day. He comforts me in ways that I never look for comfort in. He answers my prayers when I kneel humbly each day. He has blessed with me with a beautiful life, an amazing husband, a loving family and endless opportunities. Heavenly Father comes first in my life. Without Him, everything else isn’t possible.

I’m doing my best each day and as I make these new decisions to cultivate what matters most to me and the Lord, I find myself feeling happier and more at peace.

  • Tomorrow I mail off a form that will close up my photography business forever. I have had the most amazing time these last 3 years but I know that it is time to move forward.
    • If you need any referrals for any kind of photography, I know MANY amazing photographers who are good friends of mine.
  • I am blogging waaaay more on my personal blog (private) so shoot me an email or comment if you’d like to follow. I keep it private for the sake of my family and myself.
  • You can follow me here:

Brady and I have something in the works for our cute family in the next coming months and I can’t wait to share. Be sure to send me your email for my private blog if you want in on this new adventure!

The domain for this blog expires on 08/03/2017 and I won’t be renewing. Be sure to send me your email!!

Save

Save

Save

Oh, just Secretary

If you follow me on Instagram, then you already know that I’ve been called to serve in my wards Young Women presidency as the Secretary.

I remember being secretary as a Laurel in the Laurel presidency back in the day ;) It was so stinkin’ easy. I pretty much just took notes, went to meetings, and helped where needed. When Brady and I were in our first ward together as a married couple, I was also called to be the secretary in the Young Woman presidency. It more of a 3rd counselor kind of calling than it was secretary, but I still loved it nonetheless.

This time as secretary, I HAVE SO MUCH TO DO. Haha, but it’s exciting. I love doing so much all of the time. I love all of the fun, different, little or big, tasks!! All of the young women in our ward were literally babies when I was first in young women’s. So, I know them but I don’t know them. Hopefully I’ll get to know them over the next little while! :) I like to think that I’m fun. Can I really be a leader though?? Hahaha

I really really really really really loved young women’s when I was in middle & high school. It was an eat, breathe, sleep, walk, talk type of love. I guess you could say it was the time in my life that I really grew and it just so happened to be in young women’s where I found myself and God. I always felt like I belonged there and often prayed that every calling I ever had would be in young women’s. It’s obvious that it never happened (shout out to my nursery kids!!), but this time is different.

I’m not complaining or bragging. AT ALL. Because that’s very much not the case this time. My ward members are so very kind and have shown their support and love as I was sustained into this calling. So many have told me that I belong there, or they can’t imagine anyone better. I love them, and I appreciate them, but I’m just worried this is much more different from what I remember. I walked into young women’s class the first day and felt a little panic because I didn’t really know anyone and there was already so much to do and I just felt so inadequate. 

It was a very humbling first day in young women’s as a leader. I know I’m only the secretary, and don’t do much that the counselors do, but I still view myself as a leader to these girls and I pray and pray that the Lord will direct me in a way that will serve these girls and show them that God loves them. I pray that they’ll have an experience in young women’s like I did, maybe not the exact same, but an experience that they’ll be grateful for. No matter how long I serve, that is my hope and prayer.

When Elder Holland Comes to Town…

Just kidding. He doesn’t always come to town. But a couple of weeks ago, he did.

We had our Stake Conference on June 11th. We found out in May that Elder Jeffrey R. Holland would be visiting us and I literally couldn’t even contain my excitement!!!! Not only was an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ coming to visit, but ELDER HOLLAND was coming. 

I have this weird thing that I bring upon myself, it’s called social anxiety. I literally get so anxious that I end up having a panic attack and start crying pretty hard. It often keeps me from going to social events like meeting up with friends, going to stake conference, etc. It’s really hard on me and I absolutely hate it but it’s just something I have to work through. :/

ANYWAY.

We arrived at 8:30 AM (more like 8:15) to get good seats. We were on the 5th row from the front where Elder Holland would speak to us. It was incredible. The meeting didn’t even start until 10:00 AM! Haha, but it was so worth it. I got to sit by my babe and my bff Abby. ANNNND my mom and Jess :) It was just a wonderful experience. Absolutely incredible. Abby and I always find ourselves doing everything together and this was one of them!

I wish I could remember everything he said, I really do. It was so good. We were getting a new stake presidency that day so, he spoke a lot on supporting and accepting those who are called to certain positions in the Church that we, as members, feel like it could have been filled by someone else. It’s kind of silly but people do! I always wondered why my dad was never in the bishopric like my friends’ dad. Or why my mom wasn’t in a super cool stake calling. You just do, it’s just apart of being within the Church. But the way he spoke about sustaining them anyway, and supporting them and promising with the Lord that you will serve alongside them. It was very powerful and probably something we needed to hear.

He then started talking about a few other things and incorporated the Book of Mormon. I say “things” because I literally just can’t really say all that he said. You just had to be there. Also, he speaks exactly the same in person/in the chapel as he does in General Conference. HAHA like woah… we can hear you loud and clear through the microphone ;) ;) ;) I kid I kid. But it was powerful and amazing and a complete testimony builder. God loves his Apostles. They are the same person both on TV and in your church building. They love us. They want to serve and help us. Some things I do remember him saying are:

  • “You can stay in the church. You can leave the church. But you cannot deny the evidence!”
  • “I read this book every year. I am not me without this book.”
  • “YOU CANNOT DENY THE EVIDENCE!”

A little bit of emphasis on that last one because we all know Elder Holland. Haha, anyway, the “evidence” that he speaks of is the proof that God lives, Jesus Christ atoned for our sins and the Book of Mormon is the most correct book on the earth today. The evidence that Angels are real, Heaven exists and this is the true-living Church of God, the ONLY true church on the earth today. I cried. I cried through his entire talk. surprise surprise. It was exactly what I needed, what my friends needed, my family… our stake. It was everything and more. I need to read the Book of Mormon. Every year, every day.


I know, without a doubt, that my Heavenly Father loves me. I know that Jesus Christ lives. I know that the Prophet and President of the Church today, is Thomas S. Monson. I know that Apostles are real, and that they are just like us. I know, that after hearing him speak to us, God is ever-mindful of us individuals and what we need to hear and when we need to hear it. This church is true. It is the truest of the truest. It is life-saving, life-changing, and eternal. I would not be who I am today without it. I would not be able to live, breathe, love, or enjoy life without the gospel of Jesus Christ. I am thankful for the many Pioneers and ancestors who trekked across the country to bring this light. My family is eternal. My marriage is eternal. I don’t understand, and I might not ever, some of the doctrine, the policies or any other decisions the Church makes. AND THAT’S OKAY. It’s okay that I have questions, and it’s most definitely okay that I wrestle while working through that. Nothing in this world, no alcohol, drugs, partying, stealing, etc. would EVER be more worth it. NOTHING. I know what I know because of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. I have had way too many sacred experiences, and too many witnesses to deny it.