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

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Hi. It's Me.

Hello. It's me. Laurel. Many know of you know me as a fun, loving and caring type of person. Some of you may think I'm shy or outgoing. I love to have a good time. I like to have my own dance parties while cleaning....shh don't tell anybody. ;) I love to watch wholesome, feel-good, funny, romantic movies. I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints also known as The Mormons. I served a church mission in the California San Diego mission. I wouldn't change it for the world. Here I am sitting on my bed trying to put my feelings into words. I have been through a lot lately. More like since the day I came home from my mission. I have felt love, joy, anger, lost, alone, depression, anxiety, confused, excited, happiness. The list goes on.

I like to see the good things in the world. I like to see the good things in people. Doesn't matter our differences, there are always good things to be seen.

 There has been a lot of self discovery. Who Am I? Are these feelings true? What is my purpose here? Do I have a purpose anymore? Depression and Anxiety, is that you creeping into my mind making me think of these things?

There were many days and nights where I felt I wasn't worthy of being loved, because of what I have been discovering over the course of time. It has been a hard couple of years. Now you are probably wondering what is Laurel talking about. Yes, It's Same-Gender Attraction.

Being terrified is an understatement. I was praying that these feelings would go away. Countless times. I fell into a deep depressing and anxious state. I feared many things. I told myself, I can't tell anybody in fear that I would be rejected, yelled at, persecuted, or even shunned. I felt that I wasn't worthy of any kind of love. Not from my friends or my family. When my friends and family told me that they loved me, I always thought "I am not worthy to be loved. You don't fully know me." I kept this secret for a very long time..

It's rough. Nobody knows what it is like unless you experience it yourself. There were times where I was literally so close to committing suicide, because I felt there was no way out. Luckily I have good friends and family who show me my value and talk me out of it. Yes, there are some good days and some bad days.

I still have fears with being gay. I have a choice to make with my fears. Forget Everything And Run or Face Everything And Rise. I have chosen that I am done running away from everything. I need to face everything and rise. It's not going to be easy. I am thankful to Heavenly Father for I have felt His love in my darkest hours trying to process everything that has been taken place.

In conclusion, I hope and pray that me breaking this to you doesn't change anything between us. I am the same loving person you have known. I wrote this so I am honest with myself and with you. If you want to talk about anything, please message me privately. Before you jump to any conclusions, just ask. Assuming is not good for anybody these days. Am I right? ;) Please be kind.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Knowing

Knowing. It is more than the phrase, "I think." I like to share things that I Know.

I know that every trial is sent to us to make us stronger. It may seem that trials come one after another, but It will be OK in the end.


I know that life is full of amazing opportunities. Partake of them.

I know that the Lord wants us to love all people. I'm grateful that I learned how to do that. :)

I know that our families are perfect fit for us.

I know that I was made compassionate for many reasons. I'm grateful for this.

I know that I love people with all my heart and it will never change.

I know that befriending people is worth a shot. You never know who you might meet.

I know that living each day to the fullest is the way I am supposed to live. For I don't know what tomorrow brings.

I know that a smile is a curve that sets everything straight.

I know that families can be together forever. It is a comforting feeling to know that.

I know that God and Jesus Christ loves us and knows what is best for us in our lives.

I know that music is what brings people from different walks of life together.

I know that I can't please everybody, but its ok. There is opposition in all things right?

I know that my brothers and sisters are perfect fit for me. I can't get enough of them.

I know that my parents love me.

I know that my friends accept me even though I have a upbeat "crazy" personality...lol.

I know that all of you are amazing and wonderful.

I know that laughter is the best medicine for anything.


I know that judging a book by its cover won't get you anywhere.


I know nature is a way that God tells us He is there for us.

I know that our loved ones are always there for us.

I know that LIVE LAUGH LOVE has a lot of meaning to me.

I know it is important to tell people that you love them

I know that I love all of you!


Love, Laurel

Sunday, October 4, 2015

My Invisible Illness



You are probably wondering what I am going to write about. Just to get it out of the way, I don't want any sympathy. This subject has been on my mind for awhile. I felt I should write about it with high hopes it helps at least 1 person out there. Here we go.

I titled this blog, "My Invisible Illness," because I want to talk about my invisible illness. Now you may have some idea what I am talking about. Yes, I am going to talk about my anxiety and depression and what I learned throughout my journey since I've been diagnosed.

I want to say it was my 2nd year in college at BYU-Idaho. As I look back, I started to lose interest in everything I was interested in. I didn't like school. I wasn't motivated. I wasn't social like I used to be. I was VERY dependent on others. I didn't realize this all until I was told of how my body language was. On my off-track, my family suggested I get evaluated. I agreed.

When I was told I have anxiety and depression, I fell apart. I thought that my world was turning and that I was weak. For the longest time, I looked at anxiety and depression as a weakness. I felt that all my strength was gone. There were and are days where I wake up in the morning not wanting to do anything. My anxiety makes me feel really sick time to time. But no one knows that unless I make it known. I look fine on the outside, but in reality, my anxiety likes to hide.

As time went on, I tried many different medications to see what would work best for me. My life was like a roller coaster for quite awhile. By the time I went back to school, I was still new to this. My motivation was still gone in my school work. It got me into trouble with my grades. It came to a point where my BYU-Idaho days were over before I graduated. (No I didn't get kicked out).

I was then trying to figure out where I can finish my schooling. Was it going to be Utah State University or Utah Valley University? Nothing seemed like anything was falling into place. Then long story short, I got the answer to serve as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. It was very overwhelming, because I knew I needed/wanted to serve. My anxiety kicked in when hearing how hard and mental taxing missions can be. I got called to the California San Diego Mission. I was excited to return to my "home" state.

Between the time of receiving my mission call and entering the Missionary Training Center on September 19, 2012, I got lots of help from my therapist in preparation of dealing and coping with my anxieties and depression on the mission. I felt I was prepared for what was ahead. I was ready to go.

I was set to be in the MTC for 3 weeks. But they had me stay an extra week due to getting sick. That really sky-rocketed my anxieties. I had no medication with me at the time. I got to San Diego around mid October. My anxiety and depression got worse. I felt that I was a failure. I felt sick all the time. I got sent home 5 weeks later from when I got to San Diego.

I was home for 6 months to get on medication and more help from my therapist. I felt better than ever. I went back to San Diego to finish my mission. I had 16 months more to serve. Things were going so well. I was happy. Miracles were happening. Then I noticed things were starting to fall apart about 1 1/2 months after returning to the mission. My anxiety was getting worse. I didn't know why. I didn't notice any triggers. It was just there. I went home again from the mission after being there 3 months.

When I got home, I felt I was at the bottom of the pit. I was told in a blessing that I served all the time The Lord needed me to. It took me 1 full year to not feel guilty about not finishing my mission like I thought I would. Then, I learned a valuable lesson.

Anxiety and depression doesn't define who you are. Don't let it take over your life. I let it take over mine for awhile and it wasn't very pleasant. It doesn't make you weak. I learned it is all about our attitudes towards it. Let me show you. Since the letter "A" is the first letter in the alphabet, I will put a 1 next to it. Now where does the letter "T" fall in the alphabet? Do it for the rest of the letters.

A: 1
T: 20
T: 20
I: 9
T: 20
U: 21
D: 4
E: 5
________
    100%

As you can see, all the numbers add up to 100. Attitude is everything. I have learned that it helps to strive to be positive while having anxiety/depression. Some days are harder than others. Would I change having anxiety/depression? No. Why you might ask? Because it has helped me be the person I am today. It builds character. It gives me the opportunity to help others who may battle with the same thing. It helped me have more compassion and love towards everyone. That is just who I am. I wouldn't change all the hard times I went through. 

For those that might be reading this, know that you are loved and not alone. You are never alone. If you feel that you need help, allow others to help you. It will get better. You are strong. You are a fighter. Keep fighting.  Always remember that.

Love,

Laurel

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Love and Happiness

A dear friend of mine taught me many things in life. The thing that she taught me most was that I am loved. I didn't believe her at first. I felt inadequate in many ways. As soon as I realized I had my guard up, I had to find a way to put it down. I had to humble myself and believe that I am loved by my family, friends, Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father. I want to pass on the love to whoever is reading this.

You my friend are loved. Many people care about you. You are smart, beautiful, talented, and fun to be around. You are worth it. Whenever you feel alone, there is always our loving Heavenly Father that is near you that will carry your load. There are always people around you that care about you and want to help. They will listen and help you in any way they can if you let them.

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 this word, I think of loving people beyond measure no matter who they are whether I have met them or not. 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 because everybody is a Child of God. People are my drug. I am addicted and I love to be around them which creates my love for everybody in the world. That might sound strange, but its so true. 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 good and have love towards other people.

Next, I want to talk about happiness. I finally realized what true happiness really means. True happiness comes from serving those around you. Putting others before yourself. "Joy can be real only if people look upon their life as a service, and have a definite object in life outside themselves and their personal happiness." Being happy is something we all have to learn. It's a learning process.

"The greatest degree of inner tranquility comes from the development of love and compassion. The more we care for the happiness of others, the greater is our own sense of well-being."

Also, I  believe the first step to be truely happy is to first be happy with ourselves. I find it sad that some people are not happy with who they are and that they don't realize how much great worth they are. Yes, I will admit that I had a tough time for awhile being happy with myself. With the help with many people, they helped me realize that it is important to be happy with myself. 

This is one of my favorite quotes of all time,

"Happiness uplifts you.
Happiness fills your heart, your mind, and your soul
 Happiness gives you the strength you need
Happiness is a great feeling that
Enters your mind
Happiness takes the sorrow away
 Happiness fills you life with joy
Happiness makes you feel happy, excited,
And thrilled
 Happiness warms your heart
It gives you a sense of relief
 Happiness welcomes you
 Happiness can be seen by a smile
And in your eyes
Twinkling with shine
 Happiness is a very beautiful feeling
Which allows you to enjoy
Every day to the fullest"

Until next time,

Laurel



Saturday, November 16, 2013

Happiness is...

Happiness is...

Seeing my youngest brother be the fan of the game at a Volleyball match.
Meeting new people and befriending them.
Going to sporting events/Playing the sports I love
Flowers of all kind
Seeing the first snow of the season on the mountain top
Seeing couples so happy around each other.
The ocean and how peaceful it really can be.
Long walks on the beach or hiking
Stopping and thinking of how I am truly blessed with everything I have
The love I feel from Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ
Watching the sunrise/sunset over the valley/ocean and reflecting on life.
Giving and receiving hugs
Laughing endlessly with my family.
Having a place to live
Finding joy in my journey through life.
Learning from inspired people
Smiling at strangers
Dancing in the rain
Snowball fights
Building igloos/Making Snow Angels
Filling the adrenaline rush from Roller Coasters. I love Six Flags.
Talking with friends and just listening to them
Accomplishing my goals
Funny jokes
Phones: So that we may talk with loved ones who live far away
Living each day to the fullest.
Loving and accepting people beyond measure!

*I can go on and on for days, but I won't. What brings you happiness?

Live, Laugh Love