If you give a mouse a cookie

The other day I was trying to decide what I wanted to do. Go take a shower? Watch a movie? Go get some laundery done? I was thirsty… Maybe I’ll start with a getting a drink.

Yeah, I’ll go get a drink. Oh but wait, the breta is empty. I need to fill up the breta in order to get a drink. But the sink is full of dishes and I can’t fill up the breta if the sink is full. But the dishwasher is needs to be emptied before I can empty the sink.

Wow. That’s a lot of things to do just for a drink of water. No wonder my anxiety gets so on top of me! It reminds me of the “if you give a mouse a cookie” story. You know the one… Where the mouse wants a cookie and in about three pages, he’s taking a bath. Like, how did we end up here?!

A few weeks ago, my husband and I were talking about what we wanted our lives to look like in the next year – like goals for our family, personally, etc. One of my main ones that I really want to focus on is to be less stressed out and anxious. For me, my anxiety and stress levels are pretty codependant on another. If I’m anxious, I’m stressed about why I’m anxious and all those spirals that go with my anxiety but on the flip side if I’m stressed, I’m anxious about being stressed and why I’m even stressed in the first place. It’s a hard place to be.

Okay, so I had to decide what I wanted having less stress to look like. Ideally, I would be the one that just says, “yeah, let’s go!” on any given adventure or the one that is spontainous and goes with the flow. Obviously, that’s not who I am or what I might even want to be. Talking to Shelby so much and discovering myself, I realized that that isn’t who I actually want to be. I enjoy planning and making all the lists that go with the planning. But what I can do, and what I want to do, is to just be a little less “stressed.”

In figuring out what what that is going to look/feel like, I came up with some easy things I can do every day or every couple of days to help ease that stress. A few of those things on my list were yoga, meditation, regular selfreflection…stuff like that.

But I don’t live alone or have just me to worry about, so in that initial converation with Ricky, I expressed my disire to have less stress in my mental space and he agreed that I (and him too) would benifit from me being not so stressed and anxious.

I thrive on rutine. When I have a plan, I feel stable. Ricky does…not. Luckily, that’s something that he wants to work on this year for himself, so it lines up perfectly with how I plan to be less anxious and stressed. We have come up with daily and weekly chores. We have set a regular date night and are going to take turns planning it. We have scheduled alone time without each other. We have time on the calander to budget every paycheck. It feels so good to have a plan. For me at least. We’ll see how he does. Haha!

I’m about two weeks into this and the time I spend doing yoga or the uplifting selftalk I am trying to remember has been so good for my little anxious heart. The internal “cookie mouse” still goes crazy and distracted and there have definitly been several moments of high stress and anxiety but it feels different. I don’t know how to explain it, but it’s for sure a good different. I look foward to see how this develops and changes during the year!

Lessons in the Temple

I love the temple. I love the lessons that I have learn while being in the Lord’s Holy House. Usually when people say that, they mean the things they’ve learned while they participated in those beautiful sacred ordinances while the temple is open. I love those lessons too, but I wanted to write specifically about a little of the knowledge I’ve gained while cleaning the temple after its closed for the day.

Last year, Ricky started a job as part of the custodial team for the Pocatello Temple. I can’t believe it has been that long! It’s been one of our favorite jobs he’s had. πŸ™‚ It’s been such a special experience.

The team he works with is amazing. They have become our family! And the volunteers that come to help are just as fantastic. I try to tag along with him at least once a week, sometimes twice!! I love being in the House of the Lord in a behind the scenes compasity. I remember after about a few months of doing it regularly, I was so worried about being there “too much.”

I had an emotional breakdown right before we were supposed to go one night. I told Ricky that I wanted to go but I didn’t want to overstay my welcome or insert myself too much because the recommendation is that the volunteers only come if their wards/stakes are in charge of sending people to come and help. I didn’t know if I was an exception because my husband is an employee. I also didn’t want to cause a problem.

Ricky told me that his supervisor had told him several times that he loves when I come to help because he know that I will actually help. He also told me that the Lord loves me and that He appreciates when I serve Him, no matter how I am serving. That’s what hit me. I wasn’t going to help clean the temple just because I could but because I wanted to help and serve. I was doing it to show my Heavenly Father how much I love Him and how thankful I am that I have a temple so close to where we live. I keep that attitude everytime I feel bad for showing up….again.

Throughout the year, I’ve been given permission to be taught more “advanced” cleaning. I have learned how to scrub the baptismal font, clean specific mirrors, spot cleaning carpets, and many more special things. It’s super cool but very overwhelming.

Recently, Ricky has been teaching me how to vacuum the big fluffy, plush carpets (these carpets can be found in the Bride’s Room, the Sealing Rooms, and the Celestial Room). There’s a very particular way to vacuum them – they are vacuumed with a specific vacuum in a way that makes sure you don’t have any vacuum lines. It reminds me of fresh blankets of snow – perfect and white and begging for someone to run across it. πŸ˜‰ Oh and you can’t move the furniture.

I was feeling confident and ready to help last week with actually vacuuming – not just watching, so he handed me a vacuum and told me to get started. When I say I struggled!! Whoooo boooooy! So, the vacuum is as big as I am and maybe weighs twice as much. Okay, probably not but it sure feels that way! Since the vacuum and I are such an awkward pair, I kept running into furniture so I had to keep fixing it and I kept having lines or my own footprints on spots that I had just vacuumed!

I was getting so frustrated and eventually started crying. I told Ricky that I couldn’t do it. It was too hard. He told me that it was okay. “No it’s not okay,” I sobbed. “This is the temple and it should be perfect.”

He gave me a huge hug and let me cry. Then he said something that hasn’t left my thoughts since. “You’re trying. That’s all that is expected. You’re also still learning. I can finish. Let me do the rest.” I told him that I didn’t want him to have to do it. Then he said, “Would you tell Christ that?”

I looked at him kinda funny. What was he talking about? Then he explained, “If He was physically here, would you not let Him finish it? The Lord knows you’re learning and trying but sometimes it’s too hard. It’s the same with life and the Atonement and you already know exactly how He feels about you. He’s only expecting you to do your best at what ever you’re doing. He’ll understand that you’re not gonna be perfect the first time…or the second…or even the hundredth time. It’s okay.”

I cried for a little longer while he held me; not out of frustration anymore, but this time because of the peace I felt standing in the middle of that room. I cried because how much I love my husband and how much my Savior loves me.

I am so grateful for the knowledge that my Heavenly Father loves me so much. I am so grateful for all of the little reminders that he gives me to show me how much He loves me, including my husband, the temple, and new learning experiences.

He loves you too. He’s also aware of you. Look for those tender mercies and blessings that are in your life. I promise that they’re there. The more you look for them, the more you’ll notice His love.

Survive vs Thrive

So I ended my last post with a phrase that I wan to go on a tanget about it – “are we thriving or just surviving” and because this is my blog, I can talk and rant and do anything I want and you just have to deal with it. Haha!

I remember one time I told Shelby (my therapist, remember?) that I didn’t want to “just survive.” I wanted to “thrive” during this life. Living every moment to its fullest. Doing anything and everything all the time. Giving 120% and beyond.

Of course, because it was therapy, she asked me to explore that further. Why was “thriving” so improtant to me and why was “surviving” so below my radar? Surviving means you are doing things that are nessesary to stay alive – water, shelter, food, etc… So why was surviving not the priority? Why was I trying to skip that important first step and go straight into thriving? Don’t you need to know how to survive in order to thrive?

I’ve already talked about this before, but my brain has wired itself to think that I have to prove that I’m deserving of this second chance I have. I have this hunger to show myself that I am capible and strong enough. Enough for what?? I don’t know how to discribe it… Anyway, there is something driving me to go waaaaaaayyyy past my limists, even though I know it’s ridiculous, I have to do it and if I don’t do it according to these made up specifications in my head, I’m failing.

And this is why depression is so hard for me, personally. I can see where I’m “failing” and my mental voice (I call her Fantacy Sarah – I’ll introduce you to her later in another post soon) is yelling at me because I’m failing and I know I’m failing but not wanting to do anything about it so she just yells louder.

Talking to Shelby about all of this definitly helped me recognize my need for going “above and beyond” my human needs and desires. I have learned that, yes, it’s okay to clean the kitchen when all you were planning on doing was unloading the dishwasher BUT it’s equally okay to only put dinner’s dishes in the sink. Those dishes are in the sink instead of on the table! That’s fantastic!

I know it can sound a little condecending, but I’m still learing and right now that kind of reinforcement helps me. When I feel like I’ve “failed,” I look at all the things that did get done today instead of what didn’t. That also kind of ties into to how important visual productivity is to me.

If you know me, you’d know that I’ll usually pick to clean the living room (from top to bottom) over taking a nap. Why is that? What’s going on with Fantacy Sarah that makes her feel like cleaning is more important? This is something Shelby helped me with – QUESTION IT. Figure out where that desire is coming from, understand why it’s important to me, make a decision, and then be okay with that decision.

So using this strategy and my mental percentage mesuring I’ve talked about before, I am now pretty well equipt with being kinder to myself and allowing myself to thrive in the ways I want…rather that what I thought it meant, even if that means I’m “just surviving” for a hot minute. πŸ˜‰

She’s alive!?

I’m back! Life has been keeping me busy and crazy. (I also kinda got locked out of the blog, but I figured out how to get back in! Hooray!!)

So, what has happened since my last update in April? I think you all know what time it is…. PHOTO DUMP and STORY TIME, because that’s all I know how to do apparently! Haha!

In June, we went down to Ogden for some family time with the Taynors and came home the next day with someone’s wrist broken…. I bet you don’t even need three guesses to know who that was! πŸ˜‰

Ricky was being “the fun uncle” and attempted to play on a hoverboard. He didn’t even get both feet on it before he went down. We we at my sister-in-laws house, so luckily we were literally right down the street from an urgent care. Our cute nieces came with us (one of them was our driver πŸ˜‰ ) and provided us with some wonderful distractions at the hospital. In Utah, the put him in a splint and told us to call the orthopedic surgen when we got back into town.

Before that could happen, we went back into the ER because of pain. They readjusted his splint, gave him meds that worked much better for him, and sent us home.

Since then, he has seen the orthopedic surgen, gotten 2 different casts, and gon to physical therapy. Frustrating and annoyingly slow, but he’s been healing.

In July my family came down from Alaska to visit! It’s still very weird to think about… But they love it up there!

We also got to go camping with Ricky’s family – including extended family that I hadn’t met yet since they don’t live in Idaho or Utah! It was a wonderful weekend fo lots of laughing, no sleep, and way too much dust! Since Ricky had a cast during this trip, we were spoiled and got to sleep in the camper with Mom and Dad. I gotta tell you, as much as I LOVE camping, there’s something really nice about sleeping in a bed.

I super slacked on pictures, but this was taken from my bed one of the mornings! It was absolutly beautiful!

Ricky got a second job! He’s working with Superior Water and Air as one of their vendors, so now, we work together!! It’s been fun to have a buddy to talk to when I’m standing there doing nothing at my job! Haha!

So that’s been our summer! It’s been busy but we are still alive. Are we thriving or just surviving, who knows!? But that’s okay because life is wonderful no matter what!

Happy Heartaversary #9

April 21st snuck up on me this year. Kinda happens when you’re busy living life. I’m so grateful for that blessing!!

9 years!? How in the world has it been that long? It feels like a life time ago…but, at the same time, it feels like yesterday.

Every year my family and I try to do an act of service to pay it forward. It’s been so fun to include friends, roommates, and my spouse/his family in it too throughout the years!

Ricky and I have a stamp card for the Soda Shak and only had two more until our free drink…so this year, we bought the two and then left the freebie for someone else! (It wasn’t very grand, but that’s not the point.) Hopefully it put a smile on someone’s face and made them feel loved. ❤❤❤

I don’t remember much from the day my angel heart became mine, but things I do remember are so vivid….

β€’ Riding in the elevator, surrounded by nurses, doctors, iv poles, and monitors with Mom in bed with me hugging me so tight and Dad/Grandpa Brown giving me a blessing

β€’ Feeling SO guilty and not wanting to tell any of my heart buddies or their families because that means they didn’t get to have it

I remember the feelings of gratitude, happiness, excitement, grief, terror, uncertainty… So many emotions all at once for someone so young. I’m so grateful that I have since been able to talk to Shelby and learn about how all of these things have shaped me into who I am and how that Sarah has helped me be so strong!

I’m so grateful for my parents and their continued everything my entire life. I’m grateful for my siblings and even though most of them didn’t really understand what was going on entirely, I’m so grateful they had so much faith and willing to just go along with everything as it happened – and the ones that did, thanks for still going with it. ο˜‰ I’m forever grateful for my heart angel, their family, and their gift of a second chance. And of course, I’m so grateful for My Father in Heaven and His love.

Along with gratitude for ALL of them, I am so thankful for all of the other prayers and fasts and love and support and everything that has been done in my behalf! So, thank you! ❤

Welcome to BBW, Sarah!

I started down a new path last week. After almost two years of staying home and hiding from everything, I got a job! I applied, got a call, and had an interview, went in for paperwork and videos last Thursday and I had my very first real shift on Monday. Yay!

In a span of a week, I went from nervous to excited back to nervous all the way to legitimately scared. It’s such a big change. I haven’t been “out in the world” for so long. How in the heck am I supposed to be safe AND still live life?!

The night before I was supposed to go in for my first day, I was laying in bed in total panic attack mode. Ricky was at work so I was at home by myself trying to sleep. I started crying and honestly kind of freaking out. I immediately got on my knees begging my Heavenly Father to help me calm down.

As I was finishing up my prayer, my sweet husband came home and found me surrounded by my emotional wreckage. He held me while I cried and talked, offering no solutions or fixes, just hugs. When I was out of tears, he offered to give me a blessing. It was exactly what I needed. We stayed up a little longer and had some ice cream. (Ice cream ALWAYS makes things better!!) Then went to bed.

The first day was pretty boring – paperwork and videos. Yesterday was much more fun. I got to actually be on the floor doing things. It’s definitely going to be a learning curve, but I’ve done retail jobs before so I’m not super worried about it. Everyone I’ve met has been super sweet and excited for me to be there. I’m looking forward to getting to know these girls!

As for my anxiety about it all, it’s still there. It’s always going to be there. I just need to pay attention to it and really be in tune with myself. I know that I can do things that seem scary. I know that I’ve got so many people in my corner who love and support me. I know that I can turn to my Father in Heaven anytime I need that extra hand to hold. And finally, I know that this is going to be a fantastic experience!!

Sitting vs Running

If you’ve been around for a while, follow me on social media, or know me at all, you know that I love books. I’m always reading. I always have a book with me where ever I go. A few weeks ago, I pounded three 500+ page books in less than a week. Great books. Loved ’em all! As I was picking out a fourth, Ricky mentioned that maybe I need a break. “Take a breather.” So I did. I didn’t like it.

I’ve read books to escape real life and my anxious brain my whole life. Reading isn’t just entertaining for me. It’s a way to get away from my thoughts. Duh. That makes sense. Everyone has something like that in their lives – books, food, tv, games, drugs… The list goes on. There’s a line between “loving ____” and “running away.” It’s important to find that balance.

Now that I’m talking to Shelby, there’s been new things/feelings that were coming up. Things I didn’t necessarily want to deal with. It’s a lot to work through and it’s very uncomfy. I don’t like how I feel or what I’m thinking, so I pick up my book. Easy.

I had a week between the book binge escape and my next appointment with Shelby, so I talked to Ricky, we decided that I needed to take that week to sit in my feelings. Try to navigate my way through it.

It was a really hard, long week. I could really see what reading did for me. But I didn’t want to keep mentally running away. Talking to Shelby is important but it’s not going to do anything if I don’t take the things I’m learning and use them. So I didn’t read. Instead, I would try to work through what my anxiety was saying. There were lots of tears that week.

When I finally had my conversation with Shelby, I told her about my week, the binge reading, the not reading/sitting in my thoughts and feelings, and what I’d learned. She was so proud of me for learning about myself and how I handled the whole thing. She was happy that I was willing to do what I need to to grow.

My homework that week was to start questioning why I’m reading. Every time I pick up my book, I have actively stop and ask myself: Why am I reading? What am I avoiding? Or is a book is what I’m craving? I’ve learned how to analyze the reasons I’m wanting to read. If I am not trying to avoid anything or if I’m just really wanting to read, I go for it. If I’m running away from a feeling or an anxiety, I have to stop and figure out what it is and why.

It’s been a couple weeks since that appointment and I’m doing better with the balance. I’m still reading, but for happiness and entertainment. Because I’m reading with purpose, I’ve noticed that I’m reading slower and enjoying the story more. I am a fast reader, regardless, so I’m still plowing through books pretty fast, but it’s with joy now!

Learning To Not Be Okay

In talking with Shelby (my fantastic counselor and new non-biased best friend), I have discovered that I put a ridiculous and overwhelming amount of pressure on myself. Pressure on myself for what? To be a good wife, a good daughter/sister, a good friend, a good disciple, a good human…. The list goes on and on.

I have also learned that I’m really good at judging myself when I don’t reach the impossible goals I set. I have to learn to be more compassionate with myself. When a friend comes to me with a problem, I don’t judge. I love. I wouldn’t question every little thing they did. Well, Sarah is just as important as that friend. I need to love her just as much. I have to understand that I’m not perfect – and that’s okay. I also need to ground my expectations.

It’s so hard. I’ve been told my whole life that I’m strong and that I can handle anything. I have now burned that into how I live my life. If I’m not strong, then that means I’ve failed. If I can’t handle the things that are going on in my life, then everyone was wrong, right?

I’ve also constructed this Idea that in order to show my heart angel how grateful I am for their gift, I can’t say no. I have to live my life 110%! If I don’t then I’ve disappointed them and showed they that I didn’t deserve it. And on top of that, because I was such a sick kid, there was so much I “missed out on” so I have to make up for that in my adult life because I’m healthy now.

If I’m not thriving, then what am I doing? “Just” surviving isn’t an option. I have to be strong and take everything with a smile on my face. And if I don’t, then something’s wrong with me? Why did I not do it right? Why? Annnnd….que the self judgement.

Now, I know that these are just thoughts trying to protect me and they are not true, but they’re there and they are loud. And they are valid. Every thought I have is valid. But not every thought serves me. I’m still learning how to ask what the purpose of the thoughts are. I’m going to be learning for a while. This is a hard thing to readjust.

So for now, I am practicing being compassionate towards myself, understanding that it’s okay to simplify my goals, and know that I’m still doing a good job at living life if all that happens that day is waking up.

Today was one of those days. I was very much in my feelings today. Life’s hard and I’m tired of it being hard. I haven’t been too understanding or compassionate to Sarah today. And I know that I should be and so I judge myself on how I’m lacking and it turns into a big old circle. Round and round.

But it’s okay to not be okay. Sometimes surviving is the best we can do. So, I’m trying put a stop to my circle and tell myself that I am doing my best and it’s okay that my best today was getting out of bed and taking a shower. That’s awesome! I’m so proud of myself!

Sometimes I slip back into the circle, but that’s okay. I’m still learning. I can’t wait to tell Shelby all about how hard today was. I can’t wait to tell her the moments that broke me because I know she’ll be proud of me for trying. She’ll tell me that I’m amazing for doing the best I could. And you know what? She’ll be right! I did good today. It’s okay that It was hard and you know what? Tomorrow is a new day to keep trying!

Sarah’s Head

It’s kinda crazy in here… In my head. There’s so much going on all the time. It’s always busy with something or other – singing a song, quoting a movie in its entirety, thinking about the book that I’m currently reading (or the one I just finished), worrying about situations that my or may not be in my control, being self-conscious about how others see me, questioning everything I do, wondering if I’m living up to my potential or if I’m wasting my second chance. See? It’s a little insane being in my head. Lots of whiplash!

You see, I was “unofficially” diagnosed with depression, anxiety, and maybe ptsd. I say “unofficially” because at my last annual heart appointment, I mentioned that I was struggling in that area of my life – the mental side. My heart team called in the physiologist that works with the team, and we had a little conversation. He asked me what was happening and I told him that I had been “sad a lot” and “I wasn’t always happy like I used to be.”

We talked a bit before he told me that he was pretty sure that I had depression and anxiety…with isn’t a big surprise with what I have been through throughout my life. I guess it’s a common diagnosis, especially in transplant patients. Since then, I’ve been on a dose of an anti-depressant and meeting with a wonderful counselor!

Since that heart appointment, I have actually received a diagnosis. I have General Anxiety Disorder. What does that mean, personally for me? For me, it means that I am overanalyze and question everything every single moment of the day. One example of this that makes me smile is the night before I met my counselor. I was laying in bed, trying to go to sleep, wondering what I should wear the next morning for my appointment. It was the first time we were going to meet each other. I wanted to give a good first impression. I struggled with this all night.

The next morning, after worrying out loud, Ricky reminded me that it didn’t matter. She was going to see me of good days, bad days, and all days. It didn’t matter. It kind of helped ease my mind, but I still struggled with making sure I was cute and put together. It turned out that it actually didn’t matter, and since then, she’s seen me in all sorts of appearances. Haha.

Another one that I struggle with and am exploring with her is my constant questioning of “if I’m a good wife.” I was talking to her one day and we were discussing the different spirals that I often find myself trying to not drown in on a daily (sometimes hourly) basis. She asked me about what my most often visited one was. I told her, “if I’m a good wife or not.” With that thought, I immediately started down the rabbit hole. The sink was still full of dishes, the laundry wasn’t folded, I hadn’t made any plans for dinner yet, the house was a mess, the garbage needed taking out… Everything on my “not done” list led to some pretty dark stuff.

Once she was able to help me out of the spiral, we talked about what it means to be a “good wife” and what things I’m supposed to do to accomplish that. I told her that my mom is a good wife and so are both of my grandmothers. Good wives are loving, kind, supportive, and so on. I also explained that I know my husband loves me even if the dishes aren’t done and that he’s told me that he’s willing to help with things that I don’t get done, but my brain is focused on that he’s at work all day and I’m home so I should be handling the house.

We talked about that for a minute and then she mentioned a really interesting thing. From the beginning of time, we’ve had thoughts… Some of them true, some of them not. But whatever the thoughts are saying, they’re there to protect us, even if it’s worse case scenario. “Oh, I’m hungry…” (okay, eat so your tummy doesn’t hurt) or “I have to make dinner before Hubby gets home… (otherwise he’ll leave you for someone who actually makes him food.) See? It’s crazy stuff that our thoughts come up with.

With help, I have been able to understand, rationalized, and acknowledge the thoughts I have in my head without following them down their individual spirals. It’s been interesting to take that time to realize how much power I’ve been giving these thoughts.

Some of them are good and do me well, some of them are irrational and serve me no purpose, and some of them are silly and make me smile. I’m still trying to differentiate the difference and question (superficially for right now) why I’m having them. I’m excited to explore my mental health and take control of my anxieties with the help of my fantastic counselor! Wish me luck!


Over the years, I’ve struggled with letting myself be vulnerable on my blog. I debate with myself every time I get ready to post something less than happy. Not because life isn’t hard, but because I want to be a source of light and hope.

There have been points in my transplant journey that weren’t always sunny, There have been posts about heartbreak and starting over. There have been moments where I have put myself into a vulnerable place here.

And. That’s. Okay.

This blog is my journal. This is where I can authentically be me in my thoughts and words. So, I would like to promise you (and myself) that I will try to do better at that. <3