Spiritual Strength

Sometimes, I feel like I really struggle with "authenticity". I think because I was raised to be a very private sort of person but I think my natural woman likes to be more open and more willing to share but those two things butt heads and it makes it hard for me a lot of times to share what's really on my mind. I say this, though, as a preface to this post because I want to share some of the spiritual struggles I've been having the last few months and just hope that I can spit it all out in a way that not only makes sense but semi-accurately captures the feelings I've been having. And I don't know, if anyone still reads these posts, maybe it can help you out if you've been feeling the same.

Since around last summer I feel like I've been in a spiritual rut. I got lazy with daily prayer, hadn't really picked up the Book of Mormon in a hot minute either, was having a hard time feeling comfortable in garments in the middle of a scorching summer while being very pregnant, not to mention trying to find clothes that covered my bump AND garments and didn't make me feel even more hot and/or ugly, and I felt like I was constantly bombarded on social media with friends and just other women who had given up on wearing garments all together. 

Now, I know wearing garments and your commitment to that is personal and honestly the choice to wear them has to come from within and your own personal testimony. But seeing so many women just not wear them was really getting into my head and making me start to question why I was wearing them. It would be so much easier to just give up on them too. I would be more comfortable and I wouldn't have to think about my clothing choices as much. I mean, if other women could still hold on to their faith, be active church goers, etc and not wear garments...why couldn't I?

I think that's where/when I started drifting off into my spiritual rut. Instead of focusing on my own faith and testimony I was focusing on the faith and testimony of others, which, to be frank, was none of my business. This constant comparison game I was playing with my level of commitment and the commitment of others slowly started to chip away at my spiritual strength. By the time Noah was born I had walked myself right into a spiritual desert. Where once there had been green, grassy valleys, trees, and flowing rivers of faith there was now only dry crackling dirt. 

Fast forward a few months of struggling to find my way back to my grassy valleys of faith, and most days struggling to even have the desire to find my way back, and it was the new year. I was taking stock of the last year and what I would like to do with this new year and all I could think about was how stuck I felt with where my faith was at. I made it a goal for the year to strengthen my faith in the Gospel, and all the covenants I've made as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. 

Well, a week into doing absolutely nothing to move forward in strengthening my faith I found myself sitting in my car on a Saturday night thinking about how I had a Sunday School lesson to plan for the next day and it was absolutely overwhelming me. I was sitting there just telling God, "I can't do this. It's too much. I can't be a new mom AND a Sunday School teacher. It's taking me all I've got just to get me and my baby ready in time for 9am church and half the time we aren't even on time. I want to give up on my calling, Heavenly Father. I'm going to give up on it. Tomorrow I'm going to talk to my bishop and tell him I can't handle the calling anymore." As I was sitting there thinking these things it dawned on me that I was sitting in a brand new car, breathing in that delicious brand new car smell. What a huge blessing. Then I thought of my sweet Noah and how healthy and strong he is. Another blessing. I then thought of the fact that I was just returning from the mall where I had just purchased something or other for myself. Another blessing. And all I could then think about was how selfish I was being. I was so willing and happy to accept blessings and selfishly demand more all the time, and yet I couldn't even give Heavenly Father enough time to plan a lesson. So, I went home that night, planned my lesson and decided that I'd continue on with my calling. 

Yet another week went by, though, and, beyond saying half hearted nightly prayers, I still hadn't made a single change in my daily habits to strengthen my faith. I found myself on a Friday afternoon in full on shabby PJ mode, with all the intention of making some time later that night to plan my Sunday School lesson, when Mitch called to remind me that we were feeding the missionaries in an hour, and we would be feeding TWO companionships (four missionaries in total). This put me in a tizzy because I realized that I now had an hour to get myself dressed and semi-presentable, cook a large enough dinner to feed FIVE hungry guys and myself, and tend to a now very fussy Noah. All thoughts of planning a lesson had gone out the window and at some point during the chaos of prepping dinner while soothing Noah and trying to hide my dirty hair under a hat I stopped in the middle of the kitchen to just cry in frustration/anger. Why was I doing this to myself? I didn't have to do any of this. I didn't have to feed missionaries. I didn't have to plan lessons. I didn't have to wake my baby and myself up earlier than necessary on Sundays to make it to church at 9am. I just plain old didn't have to do any of it.  

In my moment of frustration I just stood there thinking, "Heavenly Father, I'm hanging on by a thread here. I'm so close to giving up on everything. Life would just be easier if I gave up on my faith. If I just let it all go and let it float off into the distance like a balloon drifting off into the sky. I wouldn't have all these commitments and responsibilities and I could just spend Sundays sleeping in with my baby, snuggling, and doing just whatever. I'm hanging on with all I've got but I don't know if I want to anymore. Give me something. Anything." 

Well, needless to say, I finished cooking dinner, Noah eventually calmed down, I got some clothes on and we fed the missionaries. Did I feel spiritually reassured? Not particularly, yet, but the world didn't come crashing down around me like I felt like it might in my moment of frustration. 

That Sunday I had an awesome spiritual experience, though. I had been feeling throughout the week that I needed to read this talk but had been ignoring the prompting and telling myself I'd read it later. Well, during sacrament, the feeling came again so I decided I'd finally listen and give it a read. As I read, I came across these lines from the hymn, Who's on the Lord's Side?, "Who's on the Lord's side, who? Now is the time to show." Those lines hit me like a ton of bricks. Was I on the Lord's side? Was I showing it? Honestly, if I looked at the way I'd been feeling over the last few months the answer was no. I was not on the Lord's side and I wasn't showing it. Did I want to be, though? YES. Something about those lines just struck a chord in me and reminded that no matter how much "easier" it would be to just give up on church going, callings, garment wearing, and just faith in general, the covenants I had made in the temple, that came with the promise of being with my Mitchel and sweet Noah for eternity, were much too beautiful and important for me to ever let go of. 

It's like President Monson once said, "The saving ordinances we receive in the temple that permit us to someday return to our Heavenly Father in an eternal family relationship and to be endowed with blessings and power from on high are worth every sacrifice and every effort".

I left church that Sunday feeling more comforted and ready to continue on even if my faith still wasn't where I wanted it to be. That Tuesday one of my visiting teachers stopped by to visit. I had completely forgotten that we had agreed to meet up so the visit felt very much unexpected. We chatted briefly, she shared the message for the month and per-usual she asked me if there was anything she could help me with. I was just going to say my usual "no thanks" but I felt like I should share some of the struggles I'd been having. 

In a very unlike me manner, I opened up about how I had been feeling like my calling and church going had been feeling like a burden, how by the time I had gotten house-work, work-work, and caring for my Noah done I felt like I had zero time or energy left in me to give to God. 

Instead of judging me or just telling me to keep trying, she surprised me by telling me that she had been feeling the same way when she had first been called as Relief Society president a few months back. She shared some of the experiences she had had in the last few months and her testimony of how when we put God and the Gospel first in our lives all the other things that seem to stress us out just seem to fall into place. And a lot of times they fall into place a lot easier. 

Maybe that sounds simple or cheesy, but in that moment that's exactly what I needed to hear. Before leaving she invited me to give it a shot. To try putting God first and see how all the other things on my plate would fall into place with more ease. 

Well, that week I prioritized planning my lesson over other things, and coincidental or not, that week I really did have more spare time than usual. When Sunday morning rolled around, though, waking Noah and myself up in time to get ready for 9 o'clock church wasn't any easier and I found myself once again grumbling and just feeling like going to church was so hard. 

As we're sitting in sacrament, me feeling shabby, disheveled, and tired and Noah fussing up a storm I started getting those "this is too much" feelings again. My parents, who are in our ward, offered to hold him for me during sacrament and I started paying closer attention to the talks being given. I can't remember quite what was said anymore but it really touched me. I think my mom could see that I was feeling a little overwhelmed so she offered to take care of Noah for me for the remainder of church so I could give my lesson, and actually be present during Relief Society. 

Now, I'm not saying that it's impossible to be mentally/spiritually present during church when you have a baby but it is a little more of a challenge so my mom's offer couldn't have been more appreciated. I gave my lesson without interruption, and was reminded why I love Relief Society. During the lesson one of the sisters shared how she too had been struggling lately and feeling overwhelmed with motherhood but as she had prayed throughout the week she had felt reassured that there was no greater or more fulfilling role she could have in her life than her role as a mother. Something about hearing her share her feelings and testimony really struck a chord with me and helped me realize that I wasn't alone in my feelings. I had a room full of sisters who were also mothers who could relate, and give me encouragement. It also made me realize that unlike the sister who had turned to God in her moment of frustration I had been turning away. I had been letting simple tasks overwhelm me to the point of wanting to give up and just throw in the towel.

Sometimes giving up seems like the easier choice but when you think about how The Savior has promised that if we endure to the end, faithfully living the gospel, He will hold us guiltless before the Father at the Final Judgment giving up really isn't the easier choice. How awesome and simple is that promise? All we have to do is hang on to the end, living the gospel, which promises us an eternal family, and we'll be guiltless. Really, when you pause to think about it, it really is an awesome thing! Is it hard to remember sometimes? Heck yeah. But it's awesome all the same. And honestly, when I think about it that way, I'll take giving up on some free time and sleep every week for the chance at eternity with my husband and baby. 

Now, I know this post is already super long and maybe all these thoughts and experiences aren't even making any sort of sense but I just wanted to wrap it all up by sharing some quotes that really spoke to me. The first was shared on the Q.Noor instagram account and really helped me realize that I didn't need to feel embarrassed by the questions, doubts, and difficulties I had been having with my faith. I could use them to help drive me forward and strengthen me. "I think we all feel some tension between our religious convictions and the secular times in which we live. In one way or another, modernism invades and unsettles our thinking, perhaps our thinking about our fields, perhaps our personal beliefs. What I hope we all realize is that this tension is not to be suppressed or regretted. Unanswerable as some questions are, we need not lament the discomfort they bring. The strain of believing in unbelieving times, is not a handicap or a burden. It is a stimulus and a prod. It is precisely out of such strains that creative work issues forth. And we can take satisfaction in knowing that we are in this together." -Richard Lyman Bushman

These next couple quotes are from a book that Mitch got me for Christmas called, "When Heaven Feels Distant" by Tyler J. Griffen. Before I share these quotes I just want to say that I am so super grateful for a husband that instead of judging me for my struggles does his best to quietly help me. During these past few months I shared with Mitch all of these feelings and every step of the way he was a comfort to me, and offered a hand to hold. And it seems like it's becoming a trend in our marriage for Mitch to hear my struggles and answer with a book. Maybe that seems kind of strange but I really love that he does it. It shows me that he cares, he's listening, and offering me advice in the best way he knows how, through a book. Which, coincidentally, is the best way I receive/absorb advice. 

Anyhow, here are the quotes. "Elder M. Rusell Ballard taught, "We are on the old ship Zion...God is at the helm and will stay there." The test is to stay in the boat with the Lord, rather than assume we can do better by abandoning ship and trying to swim to safety on our own. Human tendency causes us to panic and become overwhelmed when difficulties mount. Often, our knee-jerk response is to question God's motives, concern, and love for us as we ask, "Why does the Master sleep?" Just as He was near His disciples throughout the tempest, He is never far from us, especially when our personal storms rage. Jesus's presence protected them from drowning, but it did not protect them from getting soaked and stretched to their limits."

"Like Jesus, rarely are mothers or fathers asked, "How can I help you? What do you need?" And yet, despite limited opportunities to have quiet connection with the Lord, they still find ways to address the myriad demands life requires of them. Could it be that considering our limited time, energy, and abilities, these feeding-the-5,000 moments are in fact heaven's way of connecting with us?"

Both those quotes described perfectly everything I had been feeling these past few months. I feel ready and refreshed to keep going. To keep enduring to the end. To not give up and take the "easy" way out by quitting. 

If you made it all the way to this point in my post I congratulate you, haha, and I hope something in here spoke to you if you've been feeling in anyway the same way I was.


New Me -Allexis 2.0

I'm going to be honest today, guys. Motherhood is hard. Is it awesome? YES. But is it also the hardest thing I've ever done? YES. And I only have one child. And I'm still in the "easy" part of parenting when he can't talk back, get into things, or make bad life choices haha. I saw a video on Facebook the other day of a woman describing how she was the perfect mom...before she actually had any kids haha. I'll link it here so you guys can watch it, but basically the video is trying to illustrate how as women we all have this idea of what we'll be like as mothers, and how awesome and perfect our children and ourselves will be, and then we actually have kids and everything we thought we knew is turned upside down.

For instance, I always thought that my babies would never use binkies, cry in sacrament meeting, have blowouts, would sleep through the night from day one, and would just be perfect all-around babies because of what...my miraculous mothering? HA!

I'm not saying this to sound negative or anything either, because as imperfect as my mothering is and as imperfect as my beautiful, perfect to me, baby is, being a mom is the best dang role I've ever had. And honestly, the reality is that we're just imperfect beings trying to do the very best that we can and that very best looks very different for every mother.

I've also been surprised by the things I've discovered about the "new me" the mom me. Like the fact that "mom me" still likes going to concerts and jamming out hardcore. Will you find me at a concert every week? Probably not. That's just not my priority anymore but it has been fun to get to know the new facets of myself and see the things that are still the same. It's also crazy how big of a difference taking some mom time makes, too and how it really does help you tackle mom duties better. When you're in the mommy trenches it's so easy to forget that you're still a human with interests and desires because, at least for me, my mentality is so "Baby, baby, baby. What does he need? What can I do for him? etc." and taking that time for me every now and then really does just make me feel like I am still  me.

I'd like to think that "mom me" is a better version of myself, though, Allexis 2.0 if you will. I may not be the perfect mom I always thought I would be but I definitely see how being a mother is drawing out the best in me so that I can love and raise my baby boy to the very best of my ability.


Valentine's Day -Party of 3

// Balloons are from Zurcher's -They're seriously the best //

Our first Valentine's Day with our little Bubs and as a party of 3! I know Mitch is missing from these photos, but I forgot to get the balloons for our shoot on Saturday which is his only free day so sadly it's just Noah boy and me. I do have to say, though, that every holiday is about ten billion times better with kids. I know everyone says it, but it's true.

In the spirit of it being love day, I'm going to make a list of the top 3 things I love about each of my Valentine's.


1. His kindness. I know he thinks he's a mean grouch, and he can be sometimes haha, but his capacity for kindness and being an all around tender hearted guy blows me away. It's what first attracted me to him honestly.

2. His service. I don't know of any other person who would stay up till 1 in the morning carefully wrapping anonymous Christmas gifts for a family in need or likewise bake cookies for me at the drop of a hat...also at 1 in the morning haha. Seriously, my guy has a heart of gold.

3. His thoughtfulness. This guy does not miss a beat when it comes to being thoughtful, which is great because I never think of the little sweet details that make people really feel special, haha, so he reminds to go the extra mile and do the little things. And he does all the little things for me that make feel like a million bucks!


1. His cuddles. There are no cuddles on earth like Noah's. The way he presses his warm, sweet, little cheek against mine as I carry him around as we do chores in the morning is one of my favorite things.

2. His laugh. Gosh, I could die when this little boy graces me with one of his gurgley giggles. It's even better when it turns into a scream/squeal.

3. The way he wakes me up in the morning with his sweet babbles and gently stroking my face, as if to say, "Mama, wake up. It's time to play." I still even love it when those gentle strokes turn into hardcore slaps, hahaha, if it takes me too long to wake up.

Anyway, however you're spending your Valentine's Day, I hope it's a good one and that you can remember to give those you love, romantic or otherwise, an extra squeeze. Also, shout out to my sweet sister Allison who snapped these pics for us! She also took the pics of mine and Mitchel's first Valentine's Day shoot. You can check out that flash back here!


Getting To Know You -Thoughts on Motherhood

As of this Thursday Noah and I will be five months in. Five months into me being his mama, and five months into him being my son. I remember when he was first born it felt so odd to refer to him as my son. Just saying "my son" felt so foreign and strange.

I've been thinking a lot lately about the fact that I really don't know Noah and he really doesn't know me. Well, at five months into our relationship we do know a little bit about each other -mostly how much we love each other- but really our relationship is just like any other relationship out there were you start off with pretty much zero knowledge about one another. Does he know that I love music and concerts, or that I love classic literature and can only claim Jane Austen as the most current author whose works I've read? Probably not. But I guess there is one giant difference between the beginnings of a mother-child relationship and a common relationship: it starts off with fierce love.

I often look at Noah and wonder what kind of person he will be. What his likes and dislikes will be, what will interest him. Whether or not he'll be a music fanatic like me or sports fan like his dad. Or maybe he'll shock us all and end up being a hip-hop dancer (I would secretly love this) or something.

So far I would say that I've learned that Noah is a very particular and demanding kind of guy. He is kind of the exact opposite of 'go with the flow' haha. He has very exact ideas of what he wants to do, where he wants to be, and what position he would like to be in and he makes what his dad likes to call 'gremlin' noises until his desires are met. He is also the sweetest little guy, though, and thankfully quite the opposite of me as a baby when it comes to affection. He adores kisses, loves to be held nice and tight by his mama and just about anybody honestly. He hasn't experienced too much caution when it comes to strangers because he is a HUGE lover of attention and will take it wherever and whomever it comes from. He also, loves, loves, LOVES adventuring and going outside. If he's cooped up inside the house for too long he starts going stir crazy and getting fussy.

I really am just super excited to keep getting to know this little soul. This little soul that God trusted me enough to care for.


Looking Back and Looking Ahead

Guess who's back? Mostly because I need somewhere to keep journaling my thoughts on life and dump photos of Noah. Because every single one of these photos is way too cute to not share somewhere even though they're almost all exactly the same hahaha.

Let's talk about 2017 briefly. 2017 was easily the best year of my life thus far! Becoming a mother was indescribable. Seriously, there are no words to describe it. I will say, though, that after pregnancy-brain comes mom-brain and it's just as bad. So basically I've already forgotten pretty much all of 2017 and can hardly remember what I did yesterday, hahaha.

Now let's talk 2018. I think this will be a very interesting year. 2017 was cool in the sense that I knew exactly what was going to be happening that year. I was going to experience pregnancy/birth for the first time and by the end of the year I would have a tiny little babe in my arms. 2018, though, is going to be a complete mystery. I have zero clue where life will take my little family this year and the only thing I know for sure is that my little Noah boy will just keep on growing. So honestly, 2018 feels like one big question mark. I have goals and such made for the year for my little fam and also for myself. My biggest goal for this year, though, is just to increase my faith. It's something I've been struggling with for a few months now, and by the time I reach the end of 2018 I hope I can say my faith has been strengthened, but I'll share more details on those feelings another day.

Also, I realize none of these thoughts have anything to do with these pictures of Noah, but hey, we've got to start somewhere. I will say, though, how cute is that TONGUE?! That's his latest skill and we're just as obsessed with it as he is.

Anyhow, that's it for now but I promise I'll be back soon with all the thoughts I've had swirling around in my brain in regard to motherhood, health, and faith. I don't know if anyone even visits this space of mine anymore or if I'm just spitting out words into the great void of the internet but I enjoy writing and sharing photos of my little fam so I'll keep at it.