Tuesday, April 4, 2017


(If you can, please read this. If you don't have time, save the post and come back to it when you do have time. I promise it'll be worth your time. This is something we all struggle with. Something we can all learn from.)

I recognize no one is perfect. I recognize a lot of us want to be perfect. I recognize a lot of people get hurt in our quest for reaching that perfection.

I've been hurt a lot in the past. The hurt is usually a result from trusting in someone who was "deserving of my trust" and then "earned it", just to change their minds and treat me with cruelty. This happened in my life more times than I'd ever like to admit. It's been very hard for me to move on from the major loss of trust. It has caused severe trust issues. For example, (1) I still (to this day) CAN NOT do a trust fall, (2) I absolutely HATE closing my eyes (ex: "okay, now everyone close your eyes and picture.." HA HA. GOOD ONE. HECK NO. I REFUSE.), (3) I rarely believe someone the first time they say something... if it's not verified by multiple sources, I struggle to accept it as okay, and (4) I struggle to let people into my life in real ways.

In my life, I have judged and hated those who caused me pain. I end up forgiving their action but I still couldn't forgive them. In their quest for perfection, they may have made a mistake. They made their choice. My interpretation was that it was an unfortunate one-- they hurt my feelings or the feelings of someone else in their path. They may have offended someone or lost the trust of a friend or colleague as a result of that mistake.

One thing I just realized (I know, it took me long enough, right?) is that we are ALL guilty of hurting others during our own personal journeys. I am 100% positive we have all made someone question our motives; feel hurt by something we've said or done; disrespected someone; etc. and I am 100% sure we will ALL do it again, probably multiple times in our lives.

Thing is... we're human. Each and every one of us. We are imperfect beings. We make mistakes. We hurt people when we make choices. But we also lift people, we can strengthen them, we can build them. You see, I was told recently that we (usually) will make the best decision we can in any given moment. Because of that, should I really hold onto any feelings of hate or frustration? Should I avoid forgiveness to someone who is just as imperfect as me? .... Shouldn't I give them the same courtesy that I expect them to give to me? We CAN choose to forgive the action AND the person who performed the action as well.

Driving through southwest Virginia recently, I was reminded of two different events that occurred when I was 15 and 20 down in this area. In both of these situations I put a lot of trust in one thing or person just to feel I had my back stabbed right when I least expected.

But, what I did not recognize (until now) is that as mad and frustrated and HURT as I was/am... I know I am guilty of causing pain/anger to many throughout my journey. I was fortunate enough to witness repetitive forgiveness applied to my unkind actions. There were/are individuals who showed me that forgiving is not only possible, but that it can heal. They taught me this through their example. Simply by the way they live their lives, they changed mine.

So please, before you get up off your phone/computer and go back to the day-to-day you've become so used to. Please remember this:

1. Please do not judge others. You have not walked a day in their shoes, let alone lived their life. You do not know why they do what they do or say what they say.

2. If you are offended or hurt by something or someone, some words said or some action performed, first remember that you are not perfect and neither are they. Their actions/words have hurt you but you have the power to react to that. You can choose to be offended for years to come. You can choose to be hurt and hold onto that hurt. You can choose to hold onto the pain you feel. You can choose to hate the person who caused you pain.


You can choose to feel that pain and then let it go. You can choose to forgive the action and the person and allow yourself to move on to a brighter future. It is not easy, by any stretch of the imagination. BUT allowing yourself to move past the hurt and pain and anger is freeing, it is relieving. A better future with happiness and peace is possible. Although you were hurt/offended and you can't always stop that from happening, how you react to that offense, is 100% up to you.

3. Remember to love. We are all on this journey through life together. We all have ups and downs. We all have pain and feel hurt. We all experience joy and happiness. We each feel sorrow and loss. We feel betrayed and get offended. Not one of us is perfect or superior to another. We are ALL imperfect. We ALL make mistakes. We should remember that. We should focus on what we can do, how we can react, and use our ability to love and forgive to overpower our ability to hate and be offended.

So if you feel offended in some way right now; if you are currently experiencing pain or sorrow in your life; if you are holding onto a hurt that is weighing you down.... PLEASE try to fight the natural instinct we all have to hate the action that hurt us and the person who performed it. And try to do what you can to combat it. 

Choose to remember that we are all imperfect. Choose to realize that we each have offended others possibly just by having the beliefs we do. Choose to be as happy as you can right now. Choose to LOVE your fellow man. Choose to be who you know you can be. Choose to find joy in the journey.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Tidbits from This Week :)

March 26th

There's no point of being anyone BUT YOU. You are the only one who can be you perfectly. I'm done trying to be everyone else; time to just be me. #smithfamilygoesraw #rawisreal #beyou

March 28th

I love this.
As I watched, I thought about the men who stopped to help this woman. Many would've been too focused on getting a personal best or been so concerned with their pain or exhaustion that stopping wasn't even an option.
But, two men stopped. They helped her until she couldn't go on. Another man comes back to assist and carries her... right in front of the finish line. He helps her finish on her own two feet.
In life, how often are we so focused on ourselves that we cease to see that there are others who need assistance? How often do we "pause to help and lift another" just to make it all about us (consciously or unconsciously)? I know I am guilty of "serving" others but in reality, I am more focused on myself than the person I am serving.
I say we all try a little harder to be a little better-- to our friends, family, strangers, those we love, those we judge or despise, and those we haven't even crossed paths with.
#sharethegoodness #helpinghand #bemorelikethem #tryalittlehardertobealittlebetter

March 30th

Being pregnant and feeling more "morning sickness" than almost everyone you know (that's ever been pregnant) is HARD. It often feels WAY too easy to mope, cry "why me?", get depressed, and be SO selfish.
Today we were a bit late for our flight (not super late just "right on time"). We were kindly let into a shorter security line at the SLC airport so we could catch our flight. As we are walking through the line hectic as can be, there was a mom trying to juggle her little ones and all their stuff-- she had an 16 month old boy and a little 1 month old girl. Kids that small can get carried through the old school security scanners and this mom had both babes to get through and I immediately stopped thinking of how crappy I felt and what I had to throw away (because it was considered a liquid and over 4 oz) before continuing...
I asked to help. I helped her grab a few things. I took her little boy (she said "oh he's heavy", so cute) and I carried him through and held him while his mom got her baby and all their stuff organized and put together.
I will not lie, I started crying, kind of sobbing actually, because I was so overwhelmed with life and stressed out, but I held that babe until this mom "got it".
Moral of this story:
Yes. I am often super selfish. No, serving someone else didn't magically solve my stress or how overwhelmed I felt. But, looking back over 12 hours later... I am grateful that God put me in her path. Life is hard. It's never intended to be "easy". But we are all going through hard times each day, if we can do something small to help ease someone's burden or help someone over a hurdle they are facing, isn't that what we should do?
#spreadthelove #sharethegoodness #serve #love #tryalittlehardertobealittlebetter

My Own Personal Spin Team

Days like today (and yesterday), I am reminded of the good in life. I am trying to be my own personal "spin team" (aka referring to Parks and Rec's campaign spin team for Leslie Knope). I am trying to make a positive spin on everything not so positive and make a super positive spin on things already semi-positive. Life is too short to spend any time regretting things, focusing on the negative, or being anything less than optimistic. Life isn't always great. But it's not so bad either.

When I started watching Parks and Rec, I never thought I'd actually learn something from it. But I was SO wrong. I have learned how caring A LOT about something and never giving up on your dreams can make all the difference. Aka, if I want to be happy and have success, my best option is to pursue my own dream. I loved my undergraduate studies. I loved working in the recreation field. I love working with people. I love learning about someone's strengths and perceived weaknesses, reminding them how their weaknesses can also be strengths.

No one has to settle. No one has to be content with being less than happy. We all have ups and downs. We can't prevent something "bad"from happening just by being "good" people. Life will happen. BUT, how we react to that will make or break us. If something unfortunate happens, we can either embrace the fact that it happened and move forward, or we can let it break us or destroy us.

If we choose to find something (a) to learn from, (b) to be grateful for, or (c) to be positive about in every situation, we are going to be okay. We will be sad at times but we will be able to work through the hurt and will BE STRONGER individuals as a result. We can be better parents, spouses, children, friends, colleagues, etc. simply by turning everything that happens into a moment of growth.

If you feel you are down on your luck, if you are concerned you are on a losing streak, if you just can't win....

#1 you are NOT alone

#2 try to think less about the bad and instead focus on the little things.

We will be okay, even if at times we feel we don't stand a chance. There's more to be grateful for in our own lives than we realize.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Good Happens

I am grateful for so many things- including life itself. I am especially grateful for my friends and family, my education, and my experiences. I know that I have certain experiences because I need to relate to others and help them through their hard times and other experiences. I feel that God has blessed each of us with various experiences to help our fellow man.

Recently I came across a few videos that have stood out to me, and that I would like to share.
Below are the links. Check them out:

This video shows us how we view ourselves versus how others view us. It is amazing how degrading we are to ourselves... I know we are all children of God and that we are all beautiful.

This video reminds us that we are not alone... Others are suffering as well... But that we must endure to the end, we must exercise even a twig, or particle of faith and use to the extent we can... And we can rise above our trials. We are NEVER alone.

And lastly a music video:

Good happens. Theme of this blog. You just have to wait and see. Life will be tragic, heart breaking, frustrating, and sometimes may seem impossible- but I promise you, good happens! Pain won't last forever, I know that for a fact.

I believe that we are all sons and daughters of a loving God, whom I like to refer to as my Heavenly Father. I know that life throws us more than we feel we can handle sometimes, BUT if we believe even with the smallest particle of faith, we will find a great hope and know that although we feel alone, we are NEVER alone.

- J

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

What I'm Grateful For #21

My cell phone.

I am so grateful that I can communicate with my friends and family from across the country using my cell phone. It's pretty much the best ever.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

What I'm Grateful For #20

Dark Chocolate.

Why, you ask? Because it is heavenly, and it cheers me up, and soothes my soul.

Why wouldn't I be grateful for it?!!

Monday, November 19, 2012

What I'm Grateful For #19

I am especially grateful for SOFT TISSUES. They are so nice on a raw nose. That is all.