Endure to Enjoy

When we accept our reality we allow ourselves the freedom to take it on and make the best of it. That’s why the E in S.M.I.L.E. stands for Endure to Enjoy. Choosing to master our toughest circumstances will give us confidence, even when it feels like things are falling apart. We can be brave, keep trying, and eventually face challenges with grace.

We get stronger from the struggle. Eventually, joy and peace can come regardless of our circumstances.

Enjoy this sample of my Endure to Enjoy photo gallery for some specific experiences and examples of how I’ve applied this mental strategy. It takes time and patience, but it’s worth it!

Endure to Enjoy Photo Gallery


Such. A. Rough. Night. How is that my peaceful afternoon turned into crying and shouting and frustration and anxiety and confusion and a complete loss for solutions? As soon as one storm was calmed, within minutes another started. Mental illness is real and isn’t just a stressed-out-mom-issue. It hits kids too, and they are so much more inept at knowing how to handle the emotions… and it’s heartwrenching. I would write more but I’m too exhausted. I know I’m meant to be the mother in this family. I know it will all be ok… eventually. I know it will make us stronger to work through these weaknesses. I also know I’m not alone in feeling completely clueless or helpless at this parenting gig at times. So if anyone else tonight is in my same shoes, or old slippers, and you’re calling it a night as you wipe away tears, sniffle, and scroll through your phone as you try to distract yourself, please remember how brave you are to keep showing up to this hard job of motherhood each day. Please be patient with yourself and God as He shapes you and your children through harsh trials and realities. Please let go of the pain of today as your head hits your pillow and think instead on the heavenly scenes that make the heartaches worth it. Those peaceful, perfect moments will come again.❤️ 
Sometimes when I do my scripture reading I feel like I should open a certain book to a specific spot, so without looking at the page I go for it! It’s always what I need. This was the message tonight. “How can we become long-suffering if we are never required to suffer for a long time?” I have some specific trials that seem to be going on so much longer than I thought they would. I even asked my husband yesterday, “How much longer is…going to be this way???” But God ALWAYS grants us peace through our trials if we let him. This weekend my enduring has been easier with the companionship of a sniffly son and his snuggly cat. Serving him makes it easier to forget my stress, especially when you’re reading a good book. Truly, like will always have stress but it can also have joy as we bravely endure with the ones we love.
“Don’t let yourself get dumped on.” That’s what I thought when I saw the rain from the broken gutter pouring into this poor potted plant. It’s up to us to not put ourselves in that position of getting overwhelmed! And sometimes it’s our own head doing that negative trash talk.❤ Instead of a mental downpour of worries when life goes waaay differently than planned or when you feel behind on everything, try thinking these thoughts instead: “A woman of faith is confident because she understands the divine plan of our Heavenly Father and her role to bless lives. She is confident that any sacrifice she makes is worth something in an eternal sense. She knows about sacrifice from knowing of the life of the Savior. She knows that her sacrifices may be small by comparison, but she knows that Heavenly Father understands and values what she does to strengthen her home and her family and the world in which she lives. Her confidence grows because she is virtuous and lovely and gracious, which is even better than beautiful.” I know I’ve sacrificed many, many hours for the greater good. I’ve given up my own personal goals and comfort to help save my marriage, support my kids, and take care of others. But the great thing about a sacrifice is that it ALWAYS gives you something better in return. So don’t shame yourself for loving selflessly, giving tirelessly, for forgiving and forging forward! Don’t let yourself feel defeated if your endless sacrifices mean your house is messier than you like or that you’re a few pounds heavier than you want to be. In the eternal scheme, that doesn’t matter like your tireless love does. Truly, seriously, your acts, your faith, and your ways are GLORIOUS.❤ (From A Woman of Faith, October 2002 LDS General Conference, Margaret D. Nadauld) 
This moment was a highlight, no, LIGHTHOUSE, during rough January 2019. On the first day of the year we lost a sweet, dear pet which was heartbreaking for me and the sensitive child who owned him.😖 During the first week of the year our basement flooded at least 3 times with gross sewer water. 😷 Then I seriously threw out my back, at the same time that I was trying to choreograph and prep for dance auditions, and both a hip-hop class and a guitar class I’m teaching this semester. 😵 All this was in addition to the challenging anniversaries of 3 family deaths during this time of year and other crummy personal-fail anniversaries. Day after day I kept trying to turn things around, but it was kind of a 3 steps forward and 2 steps back vibe. So my body gave in and I got to experience a week long headache/migraine with accompanying nausea. Thank goodness for moments like these!!! This is from when, after sledding with great friends for 4 awesome hours and then grocery shopping in wet clothes with all my kids because we REALLY needed groceries, Sam remembered he’d left his gloves on the top of the hill at the park. So as the sun was setting we headed back, and we had some special time with just the two of us. Isn’t that THE BEST? When you can just slow down and enjoy the moment? We had a quick snowball fight, and I snuck a selfie and a kiss…& he tried to also. 😅 Through allll the up and downs, we still had some “ups.” My point is that even though my husband had to vacuum out the basement again last night, there have been beautiful memories during this stressful month too. Remembering the happy times has helped me deal with the hard ones. My headache and stomach cramps have started to subside. Also, I’ve felt closer to my Heavenly Father. I’ve had moments I’ve hit my knees and prayed for guidance and comfort, courage and peace, and I’ve literally felt hands on my shoulders, calming me and my weary soul. I am so grateful for the hope that comes from God when we place our faith in Him, stay close to the loved ones who keep us smiling, and keep putting one foot in front of the other. Thank you for the moments of mercy and the lessons you taught me, January 2019. ❤
This quote is laminated and the crown of my messy desk because OH how I need it.❤️
Depression and anxiety are REAL and exhausting. Sometimes people in my family are like the bright, brilliant buds on these flowers, and sometimes they’re more like the stems, stuck down in the dirt and darkness. But like Elder Neal A Maxwell said, trials can help us that we might “teach (His) people with authenticity.” Through the ups and downs, I do think we are learning and growing in our love for each other. Also, I hope I’m being authentic on social media when I’m sharing our home life. Sometimes I don’t share all the dirt because it’s not mine to share. Sometimes I don’t fling my own mud around because I know it doesn’t help. But I would never want to paint a false reality. It’s just tricky because it’s not always my place to share someone else’s struggles, even when they affect me. So I usually wait, ponder, and regroup when I’m ready to handle things with better grace and beauty, instead of ranting and complaining. Life can always be beautiful in some way, even if it’s just in the growth we’re going through, but we can’t always see it when we’re the ones planted in the mud (or keeping our head down in it). I guess I just wanted to say, hang in there and believe that you are lovely and necessary to this world. Whatever your outlook today, sunny skies or smelly fertilizer, I hope you know you are LOVED, and you are meant to bloom.

P.S. For more on this topic from my latest book, Learning to S.M.I.L.E. Again: 5 Simple Steps Toward Joy click here!