Friday, November 17, 2017

You Can Do Great Things

Often times has human beings, we tend to underestimate ourselves and the abilities we have. I am an expert at this. I'll admit that I question my greatness more often that not. Everyone has greatness to offer in this world. People may tell you over and over of how awesome your greatness is. Speaking of personal experiences, that greatness won't be able to come to life unless YOU believe that you have greatness to offer. If we are to do great things we must always be motivated to take bold risks. If you're feeling timid or uncertain, find the inspiration to do what you are meant to do.

There may be some fear of failing. People often ask themselves, "Who am I? What do I have to offer?"  There is so much uncertainty in this world. People get nervous about the unknown. I am here to tell you that this is common. Things are not made to come across easy. You can do hard things. By doing hard things, this contributes to your greatness. It shows what your character is made of. When you believe in yourself, good things happen. 

The following lyrics are from the movie, Prince of Egypt. I know that these lyrics speak the words that I've been looking for to say for so long. This describes what people may go through everyday in life. Having that fear then rising up on top to do great things in this lifetime.

Many nights we've prayed
With no proof anyone could hear
In our hearts a hopeful song
We barely understood,
Now we are not afraid
Although we know there's much to fear
We were moving mountains
Long before we knew we could...
In this time of fear
When prayer so often proved in vain
Hope seemed like the summer birds
Too swiftly flown away
Yet now I'm standing here
With heart so full I can't explain
Seeking faith and speaking words
I never thought I'd say
There can be miracles
When you believe
Though hope is frail
It's hard to kill
Who knows what miracles
You can achieve
When you believe
Somehow you will
You will when you believe

We are not here on earth to fail. If you feel you have failed, try again. Awhile ago, I was talking to a friend of mine about some concerns about succeeding in different things. He showed me this video that Will Smith put out. He was talking about not being afraid to fail and not being scared to show your greatness. That video has changed my life my friends. I am here to tell you that YOU, yes YOU, YOU have greatness. You just gotta believe in yourself. Go forward with a smile on your face and hope in your eyes and go after that greatness and do something great today!

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Jesus Christ Knows

Often times when things are hard, I just want to give up on things and call it quits. This is how my younger self mind set would be like.

Over the years, I have learned that giving up is not an option. Heavenly Father didn't send me down here to quit. But to keep trying. One of my favorite quotes is from Jeffrey R. Holland. It says:

“Don't you quit. You keep walking. You keep trying. There is help and happiness ahead.  Trust God and believe in good things to come.”

Sometimes we don't understand why things happen the way they do. No matter what you may be going through, know that Jesus Christ knows. He knows you. He knows what you are going through. He is there to carry you through the good and bad. He is there to lift you. He is there to comfort you. You are never alone. Never forget that. Just hold on. The light will come. 

"And when it seems as if your end is drawing near
Don't you dare give up the fight
Just put your trust beyond the skies"


Don't Give Up. You are loved. There is always someone there for you. Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ knows and loves you perfectly! 

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Mormon and Gay Pt. 2

Ever since I posted the original Mormon and Gay blog, I felt the urge to continue to share my story. Now I am no storyteller so a heads up, it might be kinda scattered. Let's get the ball rollin'.

Life as a Gay Mormon is a roller-coaster. I'm not kidding. Some good and bad moments. I'll be sharing both sides on this blog.

There were many times where I just got lost into many different thoughts. 99.9% of those thought had to do with me being Mormon and Gay. Some days, it is easy to live both. Some days not so easy. There were many times where I contemplated leaving the Mormon church to get that "free release." But every single time I thought about it, I felt I shouldn't do it. Maybe to help people in my congregation understand the LGBT better? Who knows, but I do know everyone has a different path in life. And that is perfectly fine.

There are times where I feel alone and that I don't belong. Whenever I have a hard time, I often think about the song, Hold On, The Light Will Come. Towards the end of the summer of this year, I was at a breaking point. I was depressed. I didn't want to hang out with anybody. I didn't want to feel the pain and hurt that I experience everyday with trying to balance being Mormon and Gay (I tend to hold in my feelings and it builds up until it explodes). People often ask me why I choose to stay. I just reply, because of the feeling that I feel at church. The congregation I attend is really awesome.

Just a day or two later, I got a text from one of my good friends asking me if I was going to Affirmation Conference in Provo. I replied with a "No." Not really interested. Then I felt a peaceful feeling kinda urging me to go. So I went.

(For those of you don't know, Affirmation is a 3 day conference for LGBTQIA+ community who were raised Mormon. There are lots of meetings, classes, socials for everybody to learn and grow. Anybody is welcome.)

As soon as I step foot in that building where the conference was held, I felt at ease and at peace. I am somewhere where I feel like I belong and with people who understand what I have been through. There were people there from all around the world and many backgrounds with many different stories. I met many incredible people who I love dearly. I made many friends who I still keep in contact with today. I am glad, that I took that leap and went.


In conclusion, all I have to say is LOVE is the answer. Love is the center of everything. When you show love to us LGBT peeps, it helps us to be more open with you and about our lives if you had any questions. 

I am the same Laurel. I have always been. I am just sharing more about myself than before. Something that is a part of me. I am happy to take you all on my journey called life. It's about creating many memories along the way. Thank you for joining me. Until next time.

-Laurel

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

A Letter to My Younger Self: Don't Give Up

Dear younger Laurel,

Your 24th birthday was one for the books. You were on your mission and were given 5 cakes. What to do with all of them..lol. You were just going along with your mission when you felt something was wrong. You feared to call you Mission President remember? You knew if you called him, you would get sent home a second time due to anxiety/depression. You called him anyway, because that is what you ought to do. Yes, I remember when you cried being dropped off at the airport to go home. You fought the great fight. You finished your course. Remember, do not compare yourself to other RMs. It won't help. But I understood when you did it anyway. You couldn't help it. You are strong and prayed non-stop to overcome the feeling of emptiness. Eventually you were on top. Good job Laurel. Good job. Keep at it. Don't give up.

Fast forward, you were torn apart at first when you realized you have feelings for women. You thought to yourself, how can this be? This is not possible. You did everything that you thought would work to get these feelings away. You prayed, read your scriptures, went to church every Sunday. You did this thing called, "Pray the Gay away." Yeah that didn't quite work. You were frustrated. The depression and anxiety crept in a little more each day. Now I want you to remember at that point, I was very happy you told your family about what was going on. You cried and shook when you told your parents that you were dating someone. What a very vulnerable state you were in. Just remember, things will get better. You don't believe people when they say that, but I assure you that it is true.

As time went on, your depression and anxiety kept getting worse. You already felt empty for being gay. You felt alone. You didn't know what to do. I remember when you thought death was the only way out. Don't give up. You must understand that suicide isn't the answer for you. You thought otherwise. There were many times when you held a bottle of your prescription pills, crying. The only thing that stopped you from taking those pills at once was imagining what your family would feel. Remember, your family has been there all along. Open your eyes to see that. I promise you that things will get better. Your family loves you. You must understand that. You prayed. You threw the pills to the other side of the room out of reach from your bed. Your future self was trying to save you. Boy am I glad they did. Don't give up.

Don't forget that there will be many good times. The experiences and trials you will face later on will shape you to be the person you will become. Trust me. People will come into your life and teach you things. They will show you that they care. Let them help you. You can be so stubborn when it comes to help. You help so many people. Now it is your turn to let them in. Just give it a try. You won't regret it. You would meet the dearest people from different sources. From your future football teammates, coaches, online sites that help you meet local people like you who are also gay. They become some of your friends that you will never forget. They are also there for you. Love them back. Don't give up.

Lastly, do not give up. You are loved. Love unconditionally. Forgive others. Smile. Laugh. LIVE. Live in such a way, that others may feel that love you've been wanting to show for so long. You got this. Life does get better. Heavenly Father is right there by your side and has never left. Remember that. Live. Laugh. Love.

Sincerely,

28 yr old Laurel

Thursday, August 24, 2017

I Am Me and That Is Okay

I don't know what I am going to talk about so I will just start typing of what comes to mind. There are times in life where we may ask ourselves, " Am I enough? Do I have to change the way I am to please others? Do I have worth as a human being?"

As many of you know, I fight depression and anxiety everyday. This has gotten me into trouble with school before. Having no motivation and not caring about school is what my days at BYU-Idaho were like. I was not myself. I wasn't social as I used to be.

Fast forward, here I am a student at UVU. My 3rd university. I tend to think sometimes, I should have graduated college long time ago. Then I realized and told myself something that changed my life forever. This phrase came out of nowhere. My thoughts said, "Laurel. You are progressing. Do not compare yourselves to others. Everyone has a different journey than you. Live it to the fullest and you will be happy."

And I thought to myself, whoa. I have been tearing myself down all these years and not really realizing it. I should pay more attention to my thoughts. Who cares if some people your age graduated college and have a nice career. It's okay to not be like others. Be yourself and everything will work out fine.

Another thing I learned is that you do not have to change yourself to please others. Be true to who you are. Don't hide that sweet spirit within you.

Everyone has great worth. A lot of people tend to put themselves down a lot. Things happen. You, yes you who is reading this, you have great value. Don't let others convince you otherwise. Everyone has something to offer in this world. There is so much good out there. You just may have to look for it and it may take time. But if you really want to see the good, it will be shown to you. Smile. Hug. Live. Laugh. Love.

Do not give up. You keep trying. Fight the fight. The fight may take awhile to win, but I assure you, you will come out on top. The worlds need you, because nobody can live up to you as yourself. Once again, I repeat You are progressing. Do not compare yourselves to others. Everyone has a different journey than you. Live it to the fullest and you will be happy.

I am me! You are you! And That Is Okay. 


Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Overwhelming Support- Thank You

A couple of days ago, I posted a vulnerable blog about me being Mormon and gay. I felt the need and was inspired to post that topic for quite some time. I was scared, excited, anxious and nervous of how people would perceive it. I shared that blog to my Facebook page. After 10 minutes, my Facebook notifications started to blow up. So and so commented on your post. These people liked and loved your post. Other people shared your post. Anonymous people left kind messages to me.

As time went on, I was just humbled and thankful for all the love that was shown. On my blog, I can see how many people have viewed the post. 2,700 views. WHHHAAAATTTT???? How can this be? I barely reach 14 views for my other posts. haha.

All I can say is thank you from the bottom of my heart. Thank you oh so much. I went to bed the past few nights feeling lots of love from all of you. I hope that post has helped at least 1 of you. Mission accomplished if it only helped 1 person.

I would like to share some of my favorite lyrics from the Broadway Musical, Dear Evan Hansen. The song is called, You Will Be Found. Before I post the lyrics, I would like to say that this song has been my anthem for a long time. It has given me hope, light and courage and feel the need and want to help those around me. The lyrics have given me a stronger testimony that Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father are always rooting for us to be happy and to do good deeds to our fellow neighbors, friends and family. He loves us perfectly and sends people into our lives for a reason.

Whenever you feel alone, know that there are people around to help. It's important to let others help you rather than shoving them away. God has created friends and family for a reason. I just want to say I am beyond grateful for everybody. Each person is heaven sent and have helped me a great deal on my journey called Life. Life is about loving and being happy. Tell your friend, family, significant other that you love them. Life is a gift. Go on adventures. Take that leap of faith to tell your crush that you like them..haha. ;). Be spontaneous. Live. Laugh everyday. Love. LOVE WHO YOU LOVE! Again I say, you are not alone and that You Will Be Found.

Have you ever felt like nobody was there?
Have you ever felt forgotten in the middle of nowhere?
Have you ever felt like you could disappear?
Like you could fall, and no one would hear?

Well, let that lonely feeling wash away
Maybe there's a reason to believe you'll be okay
'Cause when you don't feel strong enough to stand
You can reach, reach out your hand

And oh, someone will coming running
And I know, they'll take you home

Even when the dark comes crashing through
When you need a friend to carry you
And when you're broken on the ground
You will be found

So let the sun come streaming in
'Cause you'll reach up and you'll rise again
Lift your head and look around
You will be found

There's a place where we don't have to feel unknown
And every time that you call out
You're a little less alone
If you only say the word
From across the silence
Your voice is heard

Even when the dark comes crashing through
When you need a friend to carry you
When you're broken on the ground
You will be found

So let the sun come streaming in
'Cause you'll reach up and you'll rise again
If you only look around
You will be found

Out of the shadows
The morning is breaking
And all is new, all is new
It's filling up the empty
And suddenly I see that
All is new, all is new
You are not alone

Even when the dark comes crashin' through
When you need someone to carry you
When you're broken on the ground
You will be found!

So when the sun comes streaming in
'Cause you'll reach up and you'll rise again
If you only look around
You will be found
Even when the dark comes crashin' through
You will be found
When you need someone to carry you
You will be found

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Mormon and Gay

Hello everyone! Welcome. As you may see in the title, that is what I am going to write about. Yep! I, Laurel am Mormon and Gay. Some of you may ask, how? How can you both? Isn't it difficult? Other people asked me, "How can you go to church and date women like you have in the past?" So many people have asked me these questions and I am here to share with you about me being Mormon and Gay and what it is like. So here we go.

Many of you know that I have been a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints(Mormon) my whole life. I went to church every Sunday with my family. Served in the church. I went on a mission to San Diego. The church was and still is a big part of my life.

Coming out as gay was very difficult. I didn't know what my future was going to be like. I wanted to know how to balance being a Mormon and gay at the same time. I was very afraid. Was I going to be judged, rejected? 3 1/2 years ago, I thought to myself how on earth can I do both? What will happen to me? It took me a long time to figure these things out. Have I gotten answers? Yes. But not to all of them. For answers to prayers are in God's timing.

The first thing I had to figure out was, Does Heavenly Father still love me for who I am? Am I excluded because I am gay? I knelt down so many times praying to Heavenly Father begging Him to feel the love I have been wanting to feel for so long. It seemed I always ignored the answers to my prayer, because I was at the place where I convinced myself I wasn't worthy to be loved. Not from anyone. Then it came to a time where I just thought, forget it. And just go on with my life.

Did I still go to church? Sometimes, but not all the time. I just got lazy and thought to myself, whats the point? I'm gay. There isn't a place for me in the church anymore. Fast forward a year or two, I realized that this wasn't the case. By awesome people coming into my life and accepting me for who I am, I realized, yeah, there can be a place for me in this church.

I started to go to church more often. Not going to lie, it was hard. But I went for myself. I didn't care what people thought about me, because I knew the feeling I needed was there.

Overtime depression and anxiety got me in full force. I wanted to give up. I didn't want to live. I didn't want to live with this pain anymore. I would often pray to Heavenly Father to take these feelings towards woman away. It never happened. I would selfishly pray to God to let me die, because I believed that I didn't have a purpose anymore.

This is when Heavenly Father answered to my prayers. I heard a sweet whisper saying, "Laurel, my child. Hold on. I am here. I have never left you. I love you and always will love you."

I stopped in my tracks. What did I just hear? That is when I knew I had purpose for this life. I mattered to God. And I know that everyone matters to Him.

I know that people care more than I realize. I talked to my church leader in getting to know him and he reassured me of God's powerful love.

Love is the key. Love is the answer. After all these years, I finally realized that I can be Mormon and Gay. Nothing wrong with it. It's important to shed light and love to those around us. It's okay to love people who are different than you.

I don't know what the future will hold, but I know that God is right by my side helping me. I haven't figured out everything yet, but I can go with a smile on my face and love people and serve them.

Remember, you are worth it. You matter to me, your friends, your family. But most importantly, you matter to Heavenly Father. Nothing you do or will ever do will change His love for you.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Love Is The Center of Everything

You may have noticed I have been talking about love a lot lately in my blog. I would like to share with you how I came to know why love is important.

As many of you know, I came out to the public on my blog over a year ago as gay. It was a secret I held in for a long time. When I first realized I had feelings for women, I was scared, terrified, ashamed and felt no self worth. I felt that I couldn't tell anybody. Not even my own family in fear of being rejected, shunned and persecuted. I kept on doing this thing called, pray the gay away. Praying to God that my feelings towards women would go away. Yes, I was very anxious at the time.

When my family and friends said that they loved me, I didn't believe them. I felt I wasn't worthy of being loved due to my secret. That is how low I was feeling.

I first came out to my family almost 3 1/2 years ago. It was the toughest thing I ever did. It wasn't easy. There were tears shed. I would cry almost every night pleading that I wouldn't have these feelings. There was a barrier between my family and I for awhile. It wasn't their fault. It was mine. I kept on shoving them away without realizing it until I came to my senses.

I know it is quite the adjustment for my family. It takes time for something like this to get used to. Then something amazing happened. I met this awesome girl and started to date her. Several months later, I was talking to my mom and decided to invite my girlfriend and I over for dinner and game night. To me, this was a big deal. That is when I knew my eyes were fully open to see that my family has loved me all along. I was just blind and didn't see it for a couple years.

Since then, things have gotten better. I have become more comfortable to tell my family about my dating life. You see, when love is there, things become better. Love is very important.

To the family and friends who have LGBTQ loved ones, please don't hesitate to tell them that you love them. That is all we want. Is to be loved. Heavenly Father wants us to love one another despite our differences.

When love is involved, it can change lives. You never know what people are going through. To love and be loved can conquer the world. Don't assume one knows that you love them. if you LOVE them, tell them. Love is the center of everything! Live, Laugh, LOVE.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Facing The Giants

I am going to write about Facing the Giants. No, not about the movie. About our own personal "giants."

I can't speak for anyone else, but I can speak for myself. Growing up, I had many giants in my life. One of the biggest giants I had was to believe in myself. Believe that I, Laurel have self worth. That I belong and that I am loved. 

It also took me awhile to learn how to stand up for myself, because I don't like confrontation. Once, I learned how to stand up for myself, many experiences came about where I had to stand up for myself. Whether it was to stand up for my beliefs, leaving a class where they showed a really bad movie or turning down a bribe of money to say bad words. The list goes on.

There were plenty of times where I had to face giants. The biggest one out there is Satan. He is the biggest Giant of all. He is the master of lies and they are not for our own benefit. He doesn't want us to be happy. He is the one that creeps the bad self worth thoughts in everyone's minds. I have often asked myself, how do I overcome this big giant in my life? How can I show him that he will lose the fight every time? 

The main thing for me to overcome this giant is to serve others and telling them that I love them. I can't assume that they already know. That is why I tell them. I love people. 

Another way I defeat my giants is that I remind myself to hold on Laurel. The light will come. 
"When you feel trapped inside a never-ending night.
If you've forgotten how it feels to feel the light,
If you're half crazy thinking you're the only one
Who's afraid the light will never really come"
Hold on, the light will come.

I love these lyrics, because it means that you are never alone. There will always be light after darkness.

In the words of Elder Holland, "Don't you quit. You keep walking.You keep trying. Trust God and believe in good things to come."

If you ever feel like giving up, please don't. Line upon line. Precept upon precept. There are many times I feel like quitting, but then I think of my family and friends who love me. Love is always there. Love is powerful.

Lastly, find happiness. What makes you happy? 

"It is not how much we have, but how much we enjoy, that makes happiness."

Know that YOU are worth it. Your own personal giants do not define who you are. You are worth much more than that. You are special. You are loved. You are a fighter. Know that happiness is always there. It has never left your side. 

Love, Laurel





Sunday, April 10, 2016

LIVE LAUGH LOVE!!

Live Laugh Love. You may notice that these three words all start with the letter L. But it has a whole new meaning. These three words have changed my life for the better. There is a quote that involves these words. "Live every moment. Laugh often. Love beyond words." Of course this is a simple quote, but if you ponder after awhile you might figure out how it can help and change people for the better. It helped me greatly when I took that quote into action. Lets break it down.


First is LIVE. When I was younger, I thought that life wasn't important until I experienced some difficulties that caused me to get sick a lot. It was hard to bear. I thought I was alone and that nobody was understanding of what I was going through. It reached to the point where I had to ask God for help..which I should have done in the first place. This is where my biggest lesson I ever had began. I learned not to feel bad for myself. It lasted for awhile and I was just feeling miserable. Nothing was getting better with that. So after awhile, I learned to be happy of what I was going through. Not that it was desirable, but of what I may have learned from it. Trials are tough, but with the help and Love from God, it can make our trial(s) easier to endure. Living every moment has changed my life. Life is short. So I decided by doing good deeds for other people are very important and it teaches us to LIVE every moment.


Second is LAUGH. I believe that Laughter is the best medicine for anything. It creates a good time. Sometimes I can't stop laughing to which the point my ribs hurt and I can't breathe. What do you think about the word laughter? I hope its good, because its the best thing ever in my opinion. Especially when you know of someone that has an infectious laugh which makes it even better. By Laughing everyday or often, it creates a beautiful thing for life. It sure does make life easier to live and helps our trials a lot. I love laughter.


Third is LOVE. What do you think about when you hear the word Love? Some of you may think of your significant other, family, friends, or even chick flick movies. Whenever I think about love, of course I think about the sappy love there is, but I also think of loving people beyond measure no matter who they are. It changed everything for me, when this became a habit. I believe that this good habit will never leave me, because its just who I am. I love all people. Its a beautiful feeling to love them. People are my drug. I am addicted and I love to be around them which creates my love for everybody. That might sound strange, but its so true. By having love for people and wanting them to have joy in their lives is life changing. There is good to be seen in everyone. Imagine what this earth would be like if people started to spread more love to one another. I often imagine what it would be like, but until the contention is gone, I just keep smiling and say Life is full of amazing opportunities that we can be part of. Life is short so might as well make it amazing and have love towards other people no matter who they are.

Well, this is my little thought for the day. I hope you enjoyed it. Love you all!

Love, Laurel