Friday, December 30, 2016

52 Weeks of Gratitude Challenge: Weeks 50, 51, 52

52 Weeks of Gratitude Challenge
Weeks 50, 51, & 52

The prompt for week 50 is my favorite one yet!! Lessons learned.
Holy cow...where do I even start?
This year was so huge for me. In so many ways, this was a "bad" year. A lot of icky thins happened. And yet, I did something new for me. In 2016, I turned to Christ and my Heavenly Father instead of hiding from them. I leaned into them, trusted in their understanding instead of my own, and put faith in their plan for me. I prayed,..BEGGED...for help at times. For peace. I don't need my problems to go away, but I do desire peace. I also desire such strength and magnitude of self that no one, and nothing, will diminish my sense of value. I believe this year I have achieved that! Finally. But not on my own. So don't give me the credit...but oh, how free do I feel!

So free. And so valued. I see myself now through the eyes of God. I'm not ashamed of it, I am proud. I respect myself. I love myself and I love others with the pure love of Christ better.

The prompt for week 51 is 100 things to be grateful for. I'm still making my list!! But it's coming, and I promise to post it. 

The prompt for week 52 is did this Challenge change you?
Yesssss!
So much.
It made me focus.
It made me realize that while there can be crappy stuff, I literally have the choice to choose how I will react and how I feel. This is a skill, I wasn't born with it. I've spent ALL of 2016 learning--and praying for--it. I feel like it's been given me now, and the more I practice it the better I get at it. I love having a grateful heart. I like trying to pick out the positives in my day. Instead of the negatives. In fact, I just act like the negatives don't even exist, that way my life is as dreamy as I want it to be :)

And that concludes the ENTIRE 52 Weeks of Gratitude Challenge!!
I can't believe it's over...I'm a little sad. But in a happy way :)
Bring on 2017!!!
Thanks for following along:
Xo
Brittany Shannon

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Book Review: Bible Origami by Todd Huisken

What a fun idea!

Have you ever heard of origami? The Art of folding paper? Of course, you have. Well, this book, Bible Origami combines the fun of paper folding with stories from the Bible. 

Jonah and the Whale, Daniel and the Lion's Den, and Noah's Ark are just to name a few. There are also tutorials for basic words like wheat and dove.



What is unique about the book Bible Orogami is that many ages can enjoy it. For younger children who need help, adults can assist in the paper folding while telling the story so that it is an entertaining learning experience. Teenagers and adults will have no trouble at all following the easy to read instructions.

I think this book is a good idea for Monday night family home evenings, too.
Bible Origami would make a great gift to any family looking for new ways to incorporate bible study into their lives, with an activity you don't see or hear about every day.

There is a design for "manger" which I did on Christmas for my kids. I really enjoy this book. Thanks, Todd, for Bible Origami!

Monday, December 26, 2016

52 Weeks of Gratitude Challenge: Weeks 48 and 49

Where has time gone!? I'm not sure. But I've been so caught up in the Year that these weeks have slipped away.
52 Weeks of Gratitude Challenge week 48&49 prompts are:
Your job
And
Things you like about winter.

My job, where do I begin?
First, I'm a mother. My job is the best. People say that. It's so ironic and cheesy and predictable. But I don't know how else to say it. I love being a mother. And I LOVE my toddlers!!!! Haha...most people would say they love "babies" and they get "baby hungry" and "babies are so sweet". I have to say I would give birth to a toddler if I could. Seventeen of them!! This is probably a combination of the fact that I had a unique situation with my babies. They were very difficult. Both my babies had severe colic and reflux. The uncontrollable and inconsolable crying of my helpless infants did something wild to my psyche. I would prefer not to do it again. Also, the parenthood skill set God equipped me with finds toddlerhood just dreamy. It is perfection. I can't even deal.

I am also a cosmetologist and a writer. It's an exquisite myriad of introverted and extroverted talents that make my creative heart soar. I'm getting my sequel ready to release. Book one, OG, has been a hit. I'm so glad people like it. I love doing hair. It makes me happy. I think I'm good at it, but I'm putting more time into my writing right now. It makes me happiest!!! (Next to MOTHERHOOD of course)

Things I like about winter?
(Chirp)

Lol, jk. I am such a sun bunny. I live for summer. But with my kids, it is fun to watch them get excited about snow. I also had the most magical Christmas I could dream of. Both mine and my husband's birthdays are in the winter. That makes it fun. And all of the holidays. Being with family, hot chocolate!!!!! With my marshmallows. My favorite food group.

And that concludes Weeks 48&49 or the 52 Weeks of Gratitude Challenge!
Just so happy to be alive and be blessed the way I am. 
Xo
By
Brittany Shannon

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Your Zen Mama

Hi friends!
I am delighted to share with you my article, titled "How to be Sexy as a New Mum" featured today on YourZenMama.com.

I LOVE this site and the community the founders have started. It is all things "parenting" and "mama".

Check out their site and my article in the Mom Love section for some giggles and mommy love. Follow Your Zen Mama on social media for updates, advice, and articles about having little humans around.

Thanks and I hope you enjoy!
By Brittany Shannon

Sunday, December 11, 2016

52 Weeks of Gratitude Challenge: Week 47

Tomorrow begins week 47 of the 52 Weeks of Gratitude Challenge!
I decided to combine the prompt with a Vlog, for Documenting Brittany (Vlog 20)
Opportunities You Have Been Given.


It's kind of an "artist" thing...this absolute and inherent compulsion to CREATE. On top of that, an artist needs their creation to be seen, heard, appreciated-even in anonymity. That's the whole goal of an artist. To influence. To inspire. To express. To share. To help. It isn't to be "known".

Being a performer is not about being the center of everyone's attention. It's an expressive way to release energy for a grander purpose. Some purposes have pure motives, while others do not. Performers can be introverts or extroverts. What they have in common is the irrepressible urge to take nothing and build something and have it affect someone else with emotion, response, and retention. Wanting my work to be recognied is not the same thing as "wanting to be recognized". I could be nameless...faceless...penniless...but if you LOVE my art, I will sleep well at night.

As many of you know (and for those who don't) I have been trying to model my life after Jesus Christ, making small, daily improvements to bring me closer to Him, and my Father in Heaven. I have tried to dedicate my time and talents to Him, in hopes that my art and my passions and my creativity may reflect Him, and all He stands for.
I haven't always been this way, and at times I may fail. But my joy is in combining my love for the performance arts with my love of God and Christ. I've found that when I pursue the act of entertaining, in all it's forms, if my intentions are good and I am in it to serve, to help others, and to share a meaningful message, then I am happier in general--and the project has a greater impact. Things go well for me in my life when I follow the true and righteous path, versus when I use my talents to express entertainment of "the world".

God blesses me when I use the gifts He gave me in a righteous manner. As I continue to take these steps, becoming part of projects that administer the same message I want to send in my personal life, other opportunities are presented. Not everything has to be "spiritual" but I want it to be of good nature. I want to be part d the community that constructs healthy entertainment, even if it is less popular, less lucrative, less esteemed. To me, it is happiness.
Whatever it may be, whether I'm singing, dancing, basket weaving, or zit popping, may it be an expression of who I am: a growing daughter of a King on high.
I'm grateful for this week, for this prompt, for my talents and the many opportunities I've been given.

Thanks for watching!
By Brittany Shannon

Saturday, December 10, 2016

52 Weeks of Gratitude Challenge: Week 46

Week 46 of the 52 Weeks of Gratitude Challenge is: Technology!!

Ugh. What a love/hate relationship!
Haha...
It's like the ex-boyfriend you don't love anymore but you get jealous over whenever you see them with someone else. Or maybe it's not...maybe it's just a big problem because advanced technology can be to blame for some of the greatest and worst epidemics of our generation.

To be grateful for technology, I should mention the things I use it for and how it benefits me. I super love the ability to write and "type". I am grateful for my laptop so that I don't have to hand write all of my books. Also, I get to upload my blog posts to my website! 

I am in LOVE with photography. I'm not a professional by any means, but I just love taking pictures. Like by the thousands. Usually of my kids. I enjoy a selfie now and then, when I'm feeling great. I love talk. Pictures of nature and our adventures. I basically try to capture every moment and make it permanent on film-maybe too much? :-)

I love movies and art and music. I'm grateful for the usage of technology and how it allows me to partake in the performance arts.

I am grateful for cell phones in the even of a disaster. If I get in a car crash, I can call 911! That's something to be grateful for.

And that concludes week 46 of the 52 Weeks of Gratitude Challenge!
Thanks for reading. 

By Brittany Shannon

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

52 Weeks of Gratitude: Week 45

Week 45 ya'll, and it has officially Begun snowing here...
This week's prompt for the 52 Weeks of Gratitude Challenge is What You do for fun!!

Well besides being the FUNNEST person I know, who enjoys doing just about ANYTHING, unless it's annoying, I have started playing more with makeup.
Now, I'm a licensed and professional cosmetologist but cosmetics has been my weak link. I'm not good at doing my own makeup, let alone other people's. Plus, I like a really "natural" look. I don't like wearing too much. If my face rubs off on my kids' clothes, I have a problem.

If I wanna feel fancy, I add a colored lip. Today, I used ELF Wine lipstick, I absolutely love how it feels on my lips. Like silk! 
I also recently bough Younique foundation from my cousin. It is the perfect shade! How many of you buy six different store brand foundations just to mix and get the perfect color?
I love the feel of Younique. It has a powder feel once it's set. LURV.

And as many of you know, I also WRITE for fun ;) The sequel to my novel, OG, will release in 2017!!!! If you need a gift idea this Christmas, you can buy OG for your reader friends.

What else do I love to do for fun?
I love playin "house" with my daughter.

I love taking pictures.
I love cooking.

I like singing and acting and playing the piano.
I exercise. For fun. Yep I'm one of those freaks.

Oh, and my favorite winter activity is going back inside. :) 
Te he he.
That concludes week 45 of the 52 Weeks of Gratitude Challenge!
Thanks for reading.
Brittany Shannon

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Meet the Characters: Conquest of Canaan: OG

Welcome to the interview of Og's three main characters.
In today's interview we will be getting to know the three main characters in Brittany Shannon's novel,  OG, book one in the Conquest of Canaan series.
If you have any questions for the characters, please comment below.

Who wants to go first?

"Me."

"Of course, you do, Rebby," says Kaya.

"In fact, I'm not even sure why we are here. Rebby thinks this whole interview is about him," Travin adds.

"How's my hair?" Rebby asks.

"As shiny as your ego," Travin quips.

Interviewer: "Alright, you three. Let's get to the questions."

"Let's," Kaya states.

"Question #1: who takes longer to get ready in the morning?"

Travin and Kaya answer together, "Rebby."

"Travin takes a long time to shave," Kaya giggles.

"When the hired help is shearing my face like a lamb," Travin replies.

"Question #2: who would you rather fight to the death?"
Travin: "Kaya."

Rebby: "Travin."

Kaya: "Wait, why me?"

Travin: "Because I would kill Rebby, but I would rather let you live."

Rebby scoffs.

Kaya grins.

"Question #3: what is your most embarrassing moment?"

"What is this embarrassment you speak of?" Rebby demands.

"Oh, geez," Travin sighs. "My eighteenth birthday. Kaya was drunken with wine and she made me dance with her."

"Trav, you have seriously got to learn the definition of dancing," Kaya laughs.

"Question #4: what is the scariest thing you've ever done?

"By far, jumping off Moxie Falls", Kaya replies.

"About five minutes before Jumping off Moxie Falls," Travin says.

"When I was six, my father made me go into the market and return a chalice I'd stolen from a woman named Ruth. 


Travin and Kaya both slowly turn toward him.

"That is your scariest moment?" Travin guffaws.

"Ruth was a very attractive woman," Rebby rejoinders.

"You were six," Kaya says wryly.

"And I ruined my chances with her forever when I admitted to thievery. It was very traumatic."

Travin rolls his eyes.





"Question #5: if you could do one thing before you die, what would it be?"

All three pause. It is the first time they are speechless.

Kaya speaks first, hesitantly. "I would want to see the world at peace. And I think I want to be a mother..."

"Wow," Travin responds, his eyes gleaming. "Honesty, from Soldier Lucan.

"Don't call me that."

"I'd go back in time and tell Ruth my heart's deepest desires," Rebby States confidently. "And maybe kick Travin's butt in Grab a few more times."

Interviewer: "Travin?"

His eyes mist over and he gazes off into a distant memory. "I'd spend more time with Maleah. I would love to see the woman she would become. She would make a wonderful Aunt."

Kaya nudges him roughly. 

"And I would, without a doubt, give Kaya anything she ever wanted," Travin adds.

Rebby imitates throwing up. "Bluah."

"Question #6: if you could tell the world one thing, what would it be?"

"I'm single," Rebby replies immediately.

"Kaya, more honesty?" Travin smirks.

"You first." She winks. "I dare you."

"Have faith in deliverance," he says, not moving his eyes from Kaya's.

Interviewer: "Are you telling Kaya? Or the world?"

Travin: "They're one in the same."

Kaya blushes.

We all do.

Kaya leans over and nuzzles Travin's shoulder. Then she glances up at me.

"Travin writes me poems."

Travin's jaw drops.
Rebby bursts into laughter.
Chaos ensues and the three friends are no longer capable of sitting still and answering interview questions. They agree to a second interview in the future. Please let me know what questions you would like to ask them! 
Thanks!

Monday, November 21, 2016

Writer's Digest Book Pipeline Competition

I'm a big dreamer. And when I say BIG, I mean astronomically HUGE.

I've been dreaming about this project since I was little, and I've been ambitiously pursuing publication, and book-to-film adaptation, ever since finishing this novel.

Conquest of Canaan: Og is my first written and published book. A historical fiction written in a magical and modern voice, retelling the true events that take place in Joshua, in the bible.

Now, I have sworn that I would not let my motives for being an artist get corrupted. I have stayed true and NOT checked the stats for my sales since week one. I know that is CRAZZYYY but honestly, I'm not in this for "stats". What I am in this for is creating a unique, emotional, artistic movement for readers and writers alike.

As I read reviews of Og, my heart swells with pride. Everyone is eating it up. Loving it. Dying for more. Falling in love with the characters. Begging for an ARC of book two. It is more than I could dream of.

What else is more than I could dream of?
Og becoming a book-to-film adaptation.

So, I entered my novel into the Pipeline Competition.

Of course I'm not the best author, and my story is probably not the best in the entire universe (but feel free to let me believe it is) Nonetheless, I KNOW this novel would make an EPIC movie.
Adventure, romance, spiritual confliction.
What more could you want?

Below is the synopsis of Og. Take a gander.
Also, if you haven't already, pick up a copy for yourself and let me know what you think!
(Available at King's English Bookshop and online Amazon, print & eBook)

Og is an imaginative fiction that combines adventure, romance, and spiritual confliction in a gripping retelling of biblical events. Led by the famous military genius—Joshua—the Israelites embark on the barbaric conquest of Canaan, including the pivotal abolition of Og, King of Bashan. This multiple POV saga illustrates ancient times in a magical yet modern voice, bringing to life far-flung settings, historical politics, and the immortal tribulation of love.
Abandoned by her mother, and orphaned by her father, Kaya Lucan is as impartial to existence as her hometown is to politics. A haunting past and a mundane life of indulging in wine, caring for animals, and tolerating her (only) two friends—Travin Shelomo and Rebby Daan—characterize the witty misanthrope. But when their pompously neutral village, Avoca, is destroyed by diseased rebels, all of its inhabitants must flee.
The year is 1406 BC. Psychological warfare has consumed the spine of Canaan. Rogue rebels run rampant. The disease kills what the sword does not. With Avoca uninhabitable, Kaya Lucan is forced to seek refuge in the wilderness. She follows Avoca’s escaping inhabitants to the nearby village of Taavetti. The Avoca survivors congregate in the tabernacle, including Kaya’s closest childhood friend, Travin Shelomo and his naggy girlfriend Bronwynn. Before any plan for search and rescue can be made, the village is descended upon by a massive Israelite army.
Led by fearless commander, Joshua, the Israelite military has been crusading across the spine of Canaan, conquering kingdoms. Tales of Joshua’s victories frighten the wicked Canaanites, and encourage and strengthen Joshua’s loyal soldiers. Unbeknownst to Kaya, Travin and his charming, best friend, Rebby Daan, joined Avoca’s secret combinations as kids—a scandalous organization covertly offering instruction concerning all things warfare—and have been training for this day for years.
Travin’s aspirations of triumph, and salvaging a tarnished family name, propel him into enlisting at Taavetti. Joshua 1:16: All that thou commandest us we will do, and withersoever thou sendest us, we will go. With the threat of extermination lingering, Kaya recklessly accompanies the draftees. After all, she is an expert at running from her problems. She’s also an expert wine connoisseur. Although Travin and Rebby enthusiastically improve ranks in Joshua’s brigade, and excel in their new profession, violence and religion require a fierce personality adjustment for Kaya.
While camped at the Israelite stronghold of Shittim, Kaya drowns her woes and numbs her nightmares with wine, slacking in her veterinary duties while dedicated soldiers prepare for the impending battle against Og, King of Bashan. Travin, on the other hand, favors the Israelite customs. Having grown up under the shadow of a disgraced family name and an abusive father, Travin distances himself from the Shelomo reputation by succeeding as an honorable soldier. Although his relationship with Bronwynn is an emotional hindrance, he exhibits a natural talent for combat, earning rapport among Israelite officers, and one by one overcoming his insecurities with the help of his charismatic sidekick, Rebby Daan.
The three friends are taught the ways of the Israelites, including war strategy, weapons handling, simulated combat scenarios, and religion. But famed cynic, Kaya Lucan finds their laws confining. Her heart is blackened by pain and ill-fated incidents, and she doubts the idea of God, love. . . fate. At Shittim, she encounters a subsequent distraction: comfort in the arms of attractive soldier, Westin Fahim.
Sparks fly, but the flame takes a dangerous turn.
It is not the only fire burning.
The daunting crusade of growing up parallels the intensity of battle. A charismatic Rebby, a gentle-hearted Travin, and a self-destructive Kaya unearth the complexity of tactical brilliance, faith, and survival. Captivity and torture plague the young friends, with Westin becoming a permanent prisoner of notorious Canaanite ruler, Vaclav. The climax unfolds as the bloodthirsty Vaclav and his Canaanite army pursues Joshua, resulting in an epic battle during the crossing of the River Jordan. Victorious in this battle, the Israelite army sets up camp at Gilgal to prepare for yet another siege against Jericho.
Having stared death in the eye, Kaya nods at the desire to embody the righteousness of her friend Travin, to overcome both physical and mental demons. She is offered a marriage proposal by an amicable confidant, Rajmund, who gives her the glimpse of a stable future she’s always dreamed of. Although exceedingly talented and handsome, Rebby bears the brunt of a self-serving officer’s power-struggle. Travin becomes one of Joshua’s most trusted and skilled recruits. He wants to fight for the Israelite cause, he wants to make the Shelomo name proud, and he wants to save the woman he loves. It isn’t Bronwynn.

Conquest of Canaan: Og
By Brittany Shannon
OG Copyright © 2016 by Brittany Shannon Lemmon All rights reserved.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

52 Weeks of Gratitude: Week 43

I'm actually surprised and quite pleased with myself for making it this far!!
I made a goal on January 1 to be more grateful and I took on this 52 week challenge. Now I'm on week 43? It's just crazy.

Time flies!
This week's prompt is Favorite Holiday.

My favorite official holiday is the Fourth of July. I'm not just saying that because we just had elections and everyone is in a patriotic frenzy. My dad is extremely patriotic and raised us to be really aware and educated concerning our country. Of course, that has little to do with why I love the Foueth of July. Fireworks, hello??

First, it is the dead of summer which is my favorite time of year. July is my favorite month. I love heat. I love fireworks and fairs and churros. I love the American flag and singing pTriotic songs. I've actually sung the National Anthem a few times, twice for the Fresno Grizzlies baseball team. I get emotional each time. Then I suck because it is hard to belt a high C while crying ha!

I'm so grateful to be an American.
I know this last election was HUGE. It tore many people apart. Regardless of the outcome, I am one of those people who believes this is my beautiful country. I will STAY here. I will hope for the best and do my part to make it better. We are Still arguably the greatest nation. There is SO much to be grateful for and proud of. It saddens me that Americans will fight one another over politics and kill one another over a difference in beliefs. That's why this country was founded! For freedoms and diversity.

Anyway, the Fourth of July is my favorite holiday.
My favorite unofficial holiday is MY BIRTHDAY!! Which is on Thursday this year. Yes, that is Thanksgiving. You better not forget about me!! :) 

That concludes week 43 of the 52 Weeks of Gratitude Challenge.

By Brittany Shannon


Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Dear Lucky Agent Contest

Today, I entered the "Dear Lucky Agent" contest, hosted by Writer's Digest. This is the 27th contest and the theme is Women's Fiction.
(For info, click here: http://tinyurl.com/jje3qaw)

I entered for my novel, Fueled: Shifting Gears.
Read the short submission below!


Fueled: Shifting Gears is a thrilling novel about an average, Christian LDS girl caught in the crossfire of mobsters in Fresno, California.
Sample excerpt below:

Ayden’s eyes honed in on Chet. 

He was the solitary blonde one, standing subtly behind Gage’s broad shoulder. He was watching the ocean. The breeze tousled the tips of his long hair. It covered most of his face, so she couldn’t tell what color his eyes were. It was an unruly, surfer style somewhere between dirty mop meets Albert Einstein. It gave him a mysterious, masked crusader appeal—one who never reveals his true identity.

Every inch of his lean build was toned taut and his skin had that kissed by the sun glow. Plain, black board shorts adorned his legs, and his thumbs were tucked casually in the waistband so that they hung just a little bit too low. A mist of fine, blonde hair trailed provocatively down from his navel and disappeared south. Ayden was spellbound, daydreaming about Point Break.

Chet’s head jerked up suddenly, tossing the fringe out of his eyes. It startled Ayden. He stared down at her from a six foot height, and he had the most interesting story in his eyes. There was an electrifying twinkle. Or was it a shadow? An indecipherable secret… They were gemstone blue.

The corner of his mouth quirked up illusively as his eyes travelled the length of Ayden. His gaze raked over her with a faint pressure, the way fingertips might graze a wrist when checking for a pulse. If he’d felt her pulse, he’d have felt it quickening. If she’d have been a car, the alarm would have sounded and the trunk inadvertently popped open. His tongue slid out, skimming his lower lip in just the tiniest movement. The reflection of the sun dazzled off a silver piercing. Ayden swallowed hard.


By Brittany Shannon

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Online Book Club review of Og

I got my review back from Online Book Club for OG.
My novel got a perfect 4/4!!

Read whole review below:

The story is told in the first-person narrative that switches perspectives with each new chapter. We get to see the story unfold before us through the eyes of a few different characters throughout the book. The two main characters are Kaya and Travin who are currently adults and have been friends since they were young children living in the peaceful town of Avoca in the land of Canaan. The bulk of the story takes place after both they and others flee from their town and become part of the growing Israeli army that is beginning its march through Canaan on towards the Jordan River. Though the advancement and fighting of the army is a big part of the book, the main thrust is actually found in the relationship between the two friends who have slowly drifted apart as they grew up. Through the testing of their newfound war and the myriad of new and old interpersonal relationships, we see Kaya and Travin ebb and flow in their respect and devotion to each other as friends. 

Though the book is based on Biblical events, it goes beyond the Good Book’s narrative to fill in the parts of the conquest of Canaan that were not recounted there. It is not meant to be precisely accurate to the actual occurrences either, but for the most part it stays pretty faithful to the original telling from the Bible. This was something that I originally was a bit concerned about, yet the author did a nice job in keeping true to the spirit of the Israelites in that period of history. Also, the filling in of more specific actions and events in relation to the history was something that I really enjoyed reading about throughout the book.

I can say that there wasn’t really too much that bothered me about the book. One thing that I got frustrated with was Kaya and how she acted and reacted often towards those around her. It made me want to shake the book to wake her up at times. A few peripheral things that happened during the story were kind of left unexplained in the end, but they were not so glaring as to truly detract from the story as a whole.

Overall, I give this book a 4 out of 4 stars. It was a nice flowing read that took me back into the history of Israel as it began to claim its new home after wandering the wilderness for 40 years. I think that any reader who likes historical or religious fiction will truly enjoy reading this story. Those who like a little bit of intrigue with some romance lightly sprinkled on top should also find it a good read.

http://forums.onlinebookclub.org/viewtopic.php?f=63&t=39430

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Writer's Digest Short Story Competition 2017

Entry
The Daughter of a King
by Brittany Shannon


This is the short story entry for the Writer's Digest Short Story Competition 2017.
I've never written a short story before. In fact, 1500 words is daunting to me...because it is SO short. That's a typical journal entry for me.
Nonetheless, I'm always up for a challenge. I decided to share a nonfiction story. MY OWN.


I do this a lot. My life has few secrets. I'm not ashamed of this, but I will prepare you for the ugliness.
Disclaimer: Adult Content


The Daughter of a King



By Brittany Shannon

Confusion was my first conscious thought, as I came to and realized my right arm was dangling in the toilet bowl. My cheek was smashed against the toilet seat. Music thumped against the closed door. The stench of my own vomit was convictive.
I was choking.
My brain sent the message to my throat to cough up the bile lodged in my throat, but my body’s reflex would not comply. I was incapacitated. The odor encompassing me was putrid, exaggerating my queasiness. Poison fought its way out of my belly, burning into my mouth and nose. I gagged.
Is this it? I wondered. Is this how I’m going to end?
The music was loud. A party continued on outside the bathroom door. It must have been the middle of the night, for the last time I had seen the clock it read two-thirty AM. Who knew how long I’d been laying here in my own filth?
A bang on the door startled me. I coughed, coaxed my throat into dislodging the hot substance. Spitting into the toilet, I tried to raise my right arm out of the bowl. My boyfriend called my name. He banged on the door again. I wanted to respond. I tried. The noise of my own voice, bubbling and gurgling against the toxic liquids, frightened us both. He kicked the door in.
That’s the last thing I remember of the night that should have been my last.
Step one. Admit that you of yourself are powerless to overcome your addictions.
Let’s go back in time. I was seventeen. I was a good kid. 4.0 student who never stepped out of line. I was on my high school’s competition dance team which required fierce discipline and plenty of sleep. I grew up Christian and knew about Jesus Christ and God, basing my decisions on the strengths and testimonies of those around me. I’d never personally felt moved by the Spirit of the Lord. No burning in my bosom. No warmth. No premonition of a hand patting me on the back. But it didn’t matter. People I trusted believed in God, so I did, too.
I met a boy. It was a head-over-heels phenomenon that struck my seventeen-year-old heart unto devastation. My parents were not happily married and, in fact, had a sick relationship of who could hurt the other the most. The thing I wanted most in life was to live Happily Ever After, with the man of my dreams. At nineteen, I’d found him. ‘If you’re a bird, I’m a bird.’ I said, “I do” for time and all eternity. And I meant it.
I knew he’d had a pornography and sex addiction from the age of twelve, but it didn’t matter to me. I loved him. We would carry one another’s mortal burdens. That’s what marriage is. Two imperfect people helping and supporting each other. His parents were caught up in their own addictions. His father was a kind, gentle, drug addict. His mother was the poster-child for codependency and suffered discreetly from the obscure, but real, disorder of being sexually inappropriate with her children. I did not believe anything sexual had transpired between my beloved new husband and his mother, but they had strange interactions that belonged in a marriage, rather than a parent-child relationship. Nonetheless, I looked past the imperfections, for all humans are fallible. I wanted the fairytale, and I was not going to let anything stop me.
Life was great. For four months. On the first Valentine’s Day after we were married, I found out my husband was cheating on me. I’d thought we had a great sex life and wondered what he could possibly want from someone else. He came clean about the sex addiction, which had nothing to do with me…but felt every bit my fault. It was the “excitement” of cheating that he loved. The pornography addiction expounded as well. Viruses corrupted every one of our technological devices. He spent hours beyond hours a day, at work and at home, watching porn. He created artificial profiles on social media sites, dating website, and hookup websites. He also starting going to a church where single people were attending, and would ask girls out on dates.
I was humiliated. It was the most brutal attack to my naïve heart. Summoning my Christian roots, I prayed for help. I sought guidance from Christian leaders. I worshiped all the time and begged God to save my marriage. I was willing to give up anything to have a husband who loved me.
In the short course of a year and a half, my husband’s addictions blew up. Abuse poured from his soul, in all forms of physical, mental, and sexual. I grew up taunting young women on television, who sat on Oprah’s chair and confessed that they still loved their cheating, beating husbands. Who would stay? I’d think. Those girls are pathetic. Then, years later, as I wake up in the night to my husband humping me from behind without my consent, I realized I was that girl. That I loved this man. I would let him harm me, choke me, slap me, call me every foul name, and yet I would do anything for him.
As a strong believer in the Almighty, I am also a strong believer in the Adversary. The contentions within my marriage got so bad that I could feel the devil walk into my home. I knew my husband was home from work before I saw him. I felt it. It frightened me. I began to lose sight of everything. My body shut down. Numbness overtook rationality. It was a living nightmare, and I was the walking dead.
I do not remember what went on from November 2008 - February 2009. It’s funny how the mind is smart enough to block out what it knows the body cannot handle. Somewhere in that time frame, I was in a play. Peter Pan. My role was Wendy. One night, I was too afraid to return home from a rehearsal. “Peter” asked if I wanted to stay at her house. I did. I was sleeping at random houses every night. Her husband, who had never met me before, asked if I wanted him to say a prayer for me and ask God for a special blessing. I conceded. I do not remember a single thing this stranger said, except the words, “Guard your womb.”
That March, of 2009, I left. This time, my bag stayed packed. I grabbed my dog and some dog food, hopped in my Saturn, drove to the auto store to pick up antifreeze, and drove two states away. I’d left before. This was nothing new. But I was not going to return this time. This was the end of my marriage. The marriage I’d battled to save, surrendered every part of me to rescue, killed each inch of my soul to salvage. And I left everything I owned, and loved, in that house. I never saw him again.
God saved my future children from a narcissist and family line of abusers. He did not save me from the mountain of trials I would not face. My marriage was just a hill. Pain subdued me. I was lost in a negligent abyss, and began drinking so heavily I poisoned myself several times a week. My heart would flutter in the mornings. I wouldn’t remember a thing. It was a bizarre place for a Christian girl to be. I knew God was there. Why didn’t he help me? What couldn’t he hear?
My pleas were soon heard. I was beseeching the Lord to take away my desire to drink. I knew I was killing myself, but I also knew I was meant to be a mother. God would not have told me to guard my womb if it was not in my destiny. The consequences of a single glass of wine became such a physical ailment that intoxication lost the frivolity it once held. I was able to get clean. I’ve lived sober for three years.
I have two beautiful children. Their father is the man who broke down that bathroom door. He broke down the walls of my heart. We welcomed God into our life together. Sought healing and comfort. Christ had not abandoned me. I had abandoned Him. It is hard to feel the Spirit of God when you’re numb. You cannot hear the promptings of Jesus with crude music blaring.
My life has been changed. Purified.
Post-traumatic stress is real, and the therapy is hard. But I wouldn’t change it, and the opportunity it provided me to meet God, for anything. I don’t know who that girl was, with her arm dripping with her own vomit, sunk beneath the water of the toilet bowl. But I know who I am now. The daughter of a King.


Thursday, November 3, 2016

52 Weeks of Gratitude: Week 42

Week 42...Favorite possession!!!

I want so bad to be vain right now and say SHOES!
I literally have over 100 pairs of shoes. And I love them all.

But I'm going to pick my laptop as my favorite possession because I can accomplish ALL my work with it.

I'm grateful for my new laptop that my husband bought me a few weeks ago. I can write, upload all my pictures, get on the internet quickly. It is light and flexible, and is reversible into a tablet. So it is super convenient. I can slide it into my diaper bag and take it anywhere. It's pretty much the coolest!

I'm grateful that I even have the money to purchase a new laptop. It isn't the most expensive one, but it gets done what I need done. Boom.

And that concludes week 42 of the 52 Weeks of Gratitude Challenge!

Goodbye Fall...Winter is knocking.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Growing up with Conference

Book Review
by Brittany Shannon

Book:
Growing up with Conference
Emilee Reynolds, Cassie Lytle & Tiffany McDaniel

Hello, friends!
It's Brittany Shannon here.
I just finished reading the book, Growing up with Conference.

To summarize, this delightful read is a compilation of planning, organizing, and crafting suggestions for anyone interested in making LDS General Conference a unique, fun, and memorable experience.

I admit, I grew up watching conference. My parents definitely made us watch each session, and as a kid I remember it being fairly boring. Of course, as a young child, you don't absorb much information. However, my parents did their best with intentions of having us learn. The fun thing about the book Growing up with Conference is it gives parents with families, and kids of all ages, ideas of what you can do during the hours of conference. Even if you're traveling!

Some of you might be thinking...I'm not that crafty!

That's okay. There are other ideas.
If you decide to give crafting a try, there are a couple options in the book with links to the website,
where you can find printables. That makes the crafting so much easier for newbs.

The ideas about shadow boxes and files for each apostle can seem a bit daunting. I have a two year old and a one year old, and neither have the capacity to remember everything about each apostle. YET! The great thing is, you can start with one apostle and do one file a year or so. This way, you don't feel overwhelmed trying to make them all at once. As your kids get older, your collection of files will get larger. With your child's ability to memorize getting better, and their interest in learning (and staying entertained during LONG conference talks) expands, you can teach them about the contents in each file.

I thought the traveling ideas spoken of in this book were fantastic. I've heard about magnetic trays. It seems like a fun and easy thing to do to add "conference themed" magnets to these magnetic trays. Then, as you drive, little kids are entertained and the grown ups can listen to a little bit more of the talks.

I love the idea of taking notes. Personally, when I was middle grade age, I thought journaling was the dumbest thing ever. Who knows how other kids feel, but I thought it was stupid. I laugh now, because I read my journals from elementary school and they're, "I'm bored. Mom is making me write in my journal. It's Sunday." For almost every entry! I kind of wish my parents had explained a little bit more about the importance of journaling, because I want to encourage my kids to take notes. Not just, "I'm bored, watching conference," but thoughts and feelings they have. I think it's wonderful that Growing up with Conference encourages parents to teach their kids to identify feelings, to write about them, to discuss them.

This book also incorporates family home evening ideas. Since the book starts out at a 15 day countdown to conference, you have the opportunity to do a family home evening centered around General Conference. You can talk about all the activities you have planned. This book also has a recommendation of doing a snack table. I thought this was cute. You get to fill your plate before conference, and then in between sessions. This gives kids something to look forward to because they get more snacks. I would probably make mine a unique treat the kids don't get very often so they look forward to it. I'm not a huge candy fan, so I'd like to use granola bars, like the KIND bars, or CLIFF bars.

All in all, I am really excited to try some of these ideas with my family. Even though my children are really young right now, my toddler does enjoy crafting. She will like making little stick figures, or Easter Eggs with the apostles names on them come spring time. By then, my son will be a bit older and might try his hand at crafting...instead of just snacking!

I definitely recommend Growing up with Conference by sweetlymadejustforyou.com.

All families will find something useful in it.

Check it out for yourself!
Thanks.
Brittany Shannon

Friday, October 28, 2016

The Single Life

Poem
(My First)
The Single Life
by Brittany Shannon

Have you ever wondered, why one of God's commands
Is for a woman to be married to a man?

In order to return to our Father above,
We are required, through better and worse, to love.

Some people look forward to marriage growing up,
They dream of forever after and such.

What many don't know until they've said their vows,
Is the commandment they've entered is much harder than dreams allow.

Being alone with one person to please,
You don't feel such weight, such stress, such grief.

To care about another is much more than just romance,
In God's eyes, marriage is a dance.

The music is love,
And you need to play it loud.

The choreography is service,
Which must not be done proud.

Each step is an act of kindness,
You sometimes make at the expense,

Of everything you ever wanted,
And everything you'd expect.

You see it's much harder to be selfless and put first others' needs,
Than it is to be single, wild, and free.

God tells his children to covenant in marriage,
The storybook says next comes a baby carriage.

The truth is hardship and struggles will enter,
A long line of wishes with hope at the center.

It starts when you bring home a little pink bundle,
Trust will be broken and romance will crumble.

Together you realize what you don't want in life,
The heartache and loneliness cuts like a knife.

You pray and you search for what should be done,
And hope with the next bundle the battle's are won.

Many years go by, and you remember the years,
When you were single, you shed so little tears.

Compared to now, when the real value of your soul is tested,
The single life was nothing but play, choice, investments.

It would seem your marriage has been more down than up,
When the two of you beg God to bring back your love.

You glance at your children, the full life you've lived,
The sacrifices you've made, all the time that you give.

What has been a mountain of trials to climb,
Now produces blessings, all revealed with time.

You love your family with all of your heart,
Your marriage, the work, it's all been an art.

Sometimes it's messy and you have to start over,
But you're still dancing together, the music's just slower.

Instead of a jive, with just two partners in speed,
A family must waltz, the parents in lead.

Notes will be strummed, you'll try and succeed,
But sometimes you fail and the note is off-key.

All the while your heart has grown,
In the many ways the  love of God has been shown.

What he's asked is not simple or easy at times,
There will be days you envy your single life.

But not one person who has experienced both,
Will tell you they'd give up their family-based hope.

A marriage is meant to teach us more than a war,
We learn things, we do things, better than ever before.

Patience and loyalty are imperative leaps,
As you dance through hell, a remarkable feat.

To become like God, we must do all that we can,
To escape the mortal weakness of man.

Giving up ourself in the place of another,
You learned what it meant to be a father and mother.

Serving in sickness, you grew to know Christ,
For the pure love of charity  has transformed your life.

It might be easier to be single, even after kids are born,
For then a relationship with a spouse and the responsibility is shorn.

You can do what you want, eat what you please,
Discipline children and handle finances with one-parent ease.

A marriage between two is a God-given trial,
One that proves over time to be worth while.

In the midst of commandments and effort put forth,
God changes humans, he alters their course.

A hard heart is softened, betrayals let go,
The family bond strengthens all that you know.

It isn't meant to be easy, Christ said so himself,
He never left us alone, He is here to help.

When you put faith in God and give Christ the power,
Your marriage will be sustained, every minute, every hour.

It won't always sparkle or be breezy and fun,
Sometimes the music is only a hum.

If the instruments fail, if the strings break
One must keep singing, for that's what it takes.

In the end, you'll feel gladness and joy,
For all of your efforts have proven God's ploy.

You love marriage way more than you ever loved single life,
There's nothing greater than being husband and wife.

By Brittany Shannon

Monday, October 24, 2016

52 Weeks of Gratitude: Week 41

Week 41!!! Eeeee it's so much closer to week 52 which is the LAST WEEK OF 2017!

This week's prompt for the gratitude challenge is: favorite hobbies.
How do I narrow it down!? Lol

Let's see...I came out of the womb singing and dancing and spent a good portion of my life involved in both. I love the performance arts with every inch of me. 

I LUUUURRRRVVV to write. I have a gift with words and want to use it to reflect Christ. I have written five novels, the first of which "Conquest of Canaan: Og" is doing very well. The sequel will be released in 2017. Then the third following that. Once those books are out, I will work on publishing the other series which is a crime/thriller women's fiction.

I like music. I play the piano and compose "film score" style music. I gave the Taylor Swift sound a go, but it just wasn't my thing. But I can write a 9 minute long orchestral saga in a flash ;) ( Not saying it's Hans Zimmer or anything)

I am a cosmetologist and have had a very successful career. I love doing hair. It's part of my artsy fartsy self. Although I completely suck at makeup. Wth?

I think I'm a pretty good chef. Cooking is my specialty. Still workin on baking. I think I get it from my uncle.

I love to exercise. Joining a competitive gymnastics team by the age of five, I learned how to discipline the body and mind very young. I am so grateful for that. It has been so much a part of my life that I don't really know what it's like to not eat healthy and work out regularly, other than my surgeries and after giving birth. Even pregnant I kept at it pretty steadily. I've learned that you appreciate what you have so much more when you work your butt off for it rather than cheating... like having an eating disorder to be "skinny". There's nothing special about skinny. Lots of people can do it, and many do it to the extreme. To me this is a mental disorder. I have mastered the mind and live to eat lots of food, and then burn it off in crazy good workouts.  My body has muscle tone but it is also very healthy on the inside. Hopefully my bones and organs will hold up for many more years :)

I'm a big movie buff. I like watching movies (first to listen to the film score and then to watch the actors and cinemetography) I have an eclectic taste from blockbuster Michael Bay to Indie films to Quinten Terrantino.

Lastly, I like making friends. I try my hardest to be nice to people and extend the olive branch at the earliest convenience. I like to be there for people when they've gone through something rough: I love to stop by unannounced with goodies. I like to have play dates with our kids. I've made so many new friends just this year and it has brought me a sense of peace, as this year was emotionally turbulent for me. 

And that about sums up my week 41 of the 52 weeks of gratitude challenge! Wow...see you at week 42!!:)


Healing from Trauma: Conference for Women

This last weekend I had the opportunity to go to a women's conference in St. George, Utah called, Healing from Trauma. It was put on by The Moments We Stand. There were many speakers and all gave presentations on their life's journey, including the truth, trials, and triumphs.

The adversary tried very hard to keep me from attending this conference. I had driven all the way down there and arranged for babysitters for my kids, but struggles kept arising. I didn't feel very positive and was regretting making the trip to St. George. I was upset that I had bought a ticket and was going to miss out on part of the event. I woke up Saturday morning and almost didn't go...I thought about just packing my kids up and heading home. I was sad inside. I thought to myself, "I don't belong with these women. They don't want anything to do with me. How can they possibly help my situation? No one will even notice if I don't go."

The conference started at 9:00am and I decided to go a few minutes early and "check in", and ask if it would be a problem for me to come and go. I've never been to one of these events, and I didn't know if I would get locked out running to and from, to check on my kids. So, I got dressed and drove down there at 8:45am. I had every intention of checking in and then leaving. As I watched the seats fill--rapidly--and caught a glimpse of a few of the speakers, I started to feel strongly...STAY.

I called my parents and asked what they were doing. They said they weren't doing anything at the moment and so they could help watch the kids for a little bit. I felt guilty knowing it wasn't what they wanted to do, but I knew I had to stay and hear this first speaker. For some reason.

The conference began. The first speakers were the Terry's. They are a couple who lost their healthy daughter, Kycie, to a freak accident. Brain trauma caused by a totally unexpected diabetic coma. They showed a video with home footage of Kycie's journey, before, during, and after the coma. Kycie was "not supposed to live" after the coma. But when she opened her eyes, her parents knew she would live. She had to learn to hold her head up, roll over, walk again. Five minutes in, and I was sobbing. Real lip-quivering sobbing.

Something about this story touched me so greatly. Probably because the parents had such a positive outlook on the situation. Kycie eventually did pass away, after coming down with a chest cold. She was in the hospital four months after her coma, returned home for six weeks, got the cold and returned to the hospital. After a week, she was released and doing much better. However, three days later, she passed away. The Terry's both said that privately they each received a confirmation that Kycie would be leaving them. They were so positive about her passing, and now use her story to help others. Watching that little girl in the arms of her mother penetrated the core of my spirit. I just kept thinking of my daughter and what I would be like if I went through that.

The next speaker, Mindy, talked about mountain running and related an experience she had running up a mountain in Utah, during a winter blizzard, and how it felt when she reached the top. I feel like I am halfway up that mountain now, cutting my own trail, and exhausted and frightened. And yet, after this conference, I feel a sense of relief. Like just for a moment, when these women were speaking, they were cutting the trail for me. It has been eased a little.

I had to leave to check on my kids at this point, and returned in the afternoon. I caught speakers Rachel, Dawn, and Ashley.

Rachel gave an incredible, in depth presentation on fear and how the human reacts to it. She referred to our "fear bubble" as the cause for how we react to the world, how we fit in the world, and how we see the world. I saw myself in many of those situations, and I also saw some of my close family members in that "fear bubble". Although I cannot control other people and how they react, I know it is time for me to pop my fear bubble and step into "my freedom."

Dawn's presentation...mic drop.
I have no other words.
Her story is so complex I will need to write an entire separate blog post just to cover it all.
However, the most profound moment to me, that I will NEVER forget, was when she said, "You know you've hit rock bottom when you're holding a shovel."

Want to know why she was holding a shovel?
Well, by the age of 18, Dawn had lost pretty much everything and experienced every heartbreak God has allowed to inhabit this earth. I'm not joking.

Dawn was holding a shovel because her baby boy (who I believe was just shy of 3 months old) had died. She woke up to find him gone, lying beside her in bed. She had been robbed and abandoned in Arkansas, a state she did NOT live in, and was staying with someone else while waiting for her ex-boyfriend to drive down from Iowa and pick her up. When her son died, she did not have any money to pay for anything. She buried her son in a Styrofoam cooler, in the dirt. My heart broke a thousand times hearing her speak of this loss. So much more than the abuse she endured growing up, living homeless from the age of 14-18, having two children and the father abandon her, and then one of those children dying....it was just so much PAIN! And yet, Dawn stood up at the front of that room, a healthy, happy, beautiful woman, and spoke about change and the power of choice.

Ashley concluded with a presentation on her life. Her husband had been murdered by the spouse of his secret mistress. Ashley learned her husband had been shot and killed--and had been having an affair with his paralegal--all in the same moment. She then endured months and months of trials, investigations, and judgement. Oh, and did I mention she was 28 years old, widowed, with five kids? This girl was a powerhouse. She spoke of the abuse, the "feeling of never being good enough", an earlier struggle with an eating disorder, and learning to find happiness again. It felt like I was watching myself. Well, my future self. We have been through a lot of the same heartaches, although I have not had to experience being a widow to five kids. She was tall and beautiful, she stood proud and spoke loud. I cannot wait until I have that confidence and have healed a little bit more from my own PTSD.

All in all, this conference was truly a blessing. I know I needed to be there. It changed me for the better in SOOO many ways. I hope if you ever hear about this conference near you, YOU WILL GO! It is so worth it. TRUST ME!
To learn more, visit www.themomentswestand.com

By Brittany Shannon

Friday, October 21, 2016

Do Mormons Hate Homosexuals?

My thoughts this evening are inspired by a story my sister shared with me.
A girl private messaged her on social media and asked her, "Why do Mormons hate homosexuals?"

In short, my sister responded, "They don't. Some people-Mormons and non Mormons-bully homosexuals."

The girl responded, "I've had Mormon people come up to me with their bible and Book of Mormon and bash me for being homosexual."

My sister said, "I've never known a Mormon in all my life to do that." And something like, "I'm sorry. That person is a bully. What is the purpose of you asking me this?"

And the girl never responded.

It hurt me too hear that this girl, who is thirteen by the way, would feel so shamed by being a homosexual and that she has had a negative experience with Mormons. Either that, or she's making it up....But let's take her word for it.

Let's break down her experience.
Girl is homosexual and is bashed by a bible-blaring Mormon.
She felt the need to contact a random LDS girl on social media about it.

I wonder if this girl has forgotten, as most of the world has, that all Christian religions are based on the Bible. That is NOT unique to Mormonism. Second, a fundamental belief of Christianity is that acting on homosexuality is a sin. However, leaders in the LDS church have clarified that there is a difference between having a weakness and acting on it. These discussions clarify that being homosexual, for instance, is not a sin. For "unto man did I give weaknesses" (as stated in the scriptures.) So, while it can be hard to swallow sometimes, Christianity considers homosexuality a weakness. It is NOT a sin, unless acted upon. 

Now, somehow this has been way blown out of proportion in the last decade...causing MAJOR friction between Christians and homosexuals (bisexuals, pansexuals)  And somehow, MORMONS have been secluded in this group of Christians, my guess is because they have a reputation of being really uptight and judgemental.
Bullying is OUT OF CONTROL these days, and lives are ending because of it.
I will mention a gay guy friend of mine once said (and I quote) "transgenders are disgusting." So, beware. Not all hate is from straight people on homosexuals..it's everywhere.

The truth is, a lot of ignorance surrounds same gender attraction. I'm not qualified to make the remarks I'm going to make, but I want to share how I feel about this topic because it is near and dear to my heart. 

If what the Bible says is true, that God GAVE MAN WEAKNESSES, then we must recognize that people born with the same gender attraction tendency must have been trusted with it by God. Yes, I said TRUSTED. 

Straight folks: Have you ever asked yourself what it would BE like to have love, to be capable of love, to be driven by the single most powerful human emotion, and be told you CANNOT act upon it? 

Or do you think people just want to "rebel", or that they must "not believe in God" because they're in a same gender relationship? 

I've put myself in the shoes of my dear, valued friends who are openly homosexual. I've spoken with those that still live Christian lives,, and I feel for them.
To think, every day, "I am a walking sin...I am not good enough...people think I'm disgusting..." You know where I would turn? Probably suicide.

You know, there are ALSO really, happy, kind gay people who don't think of suicide. They're normal people living normal lives. Doing a better job than me.

In my heart, I am a Christian, If  same gender attraction is a "weakness"...that God gave, he must have given it to  his STRONGEST soldiers. He gave them HUGE hearts and MIGHTY spirits andLOVE, LOVE, LOVE....and yet, commanded them to not partake in this sin. Remind you of the Garden of Eden? Here's the part "straight" people forget: pride is also a sin!! In fact, it is mentioned in the Bible over 100 times. Way more than same gender attraction. Lying is a sin. Murder. Stealing. Adultery. (Hello--Mormons! This is HUUUGE in our community...including pornography) What about abuse? In all forms? Emotional abuse is more damaging than physical, and a lot of church-going Christians eliminate themselves from the sinners pool because they think they're not doing anything wrong. Words are like weapons. The axe forgets, but the tree never does.

To pacify any Mormon-haters: there is a rumor that when Christ comes again, He will cleanse the earth starting with the Church. Don't worry. They have what's coming...

Many things are weaknesses of mortals. And ALL of us mortals are going to partake in these weaknesses, thus leading us into "sin". So much shame surrounds the word "sin" and yet we are all sinners, committing sin on a daily basis. They vary, based on our weaknesses given to us by God, but none of us is exempt. And none of us is better than the other. God loves us, values us, and roots for us. Each and every one. We are give a PERSONAL refiner's fire that only the individual can truly walk through and experience. To judge someone from the outside, and say you would or should do better, is absolute nonsense. Plus it is a "sin"....

"Judge not that ye be not judged."

Did you know it says in the Bible that you will be judged according to how you judged others? I LOVE THAT! Isn't it a testament to God's care for His children? That He not only desires but requires us to love everyone despite different weaknesses? 

Sometimes I envy people who have faced harder struggles than I have. How strong must they have been in the premortal life (and in this life) to be trusted with such trials?
They must have been a saintly soldier. I was probably just the hairdresser, adjusting halos to fit the perfect "Do".

In conclusion, I want to add that even though I have Christian beliefs, I would never force those on my beloved friends and family, or anyone else. I don't think homosexuals or same gender attraction people need to "change". I would never spend my time judging them or worrying about whether they were in a same gender relationship or not, that's not why we are on this earth. Trust me--if I was born with same gender attraction, I guarantee you I would rather be in love and be loved than live a life of loneliness and isolation. You would too, believe it or not. Even if only once, we fall.

One of the Ten Commandments is Do Not Bear False Witness (number 9) and every one of you have told a lie...even if it was about the Tooth Fairy....

Trying to justify that? That's because it's YOUR sin. So much easier to call someone else a sinner than ourselves.

Some of the most wonderful people I've known were my gay guy friends. My grandma's partner Faye was one of the kindest people my mother ever knew. I still hear stories of Faye.

I cannot imagine living a life where people told me that to love would be a sin...it just breaks my heart. But I do know that judging and being prideful is a sin, and I know I take part in both too much! How could I possibly look at someone else and think I was more righteous? I could never look in the mirror...
Can you imagine having the compulsion to steal? Everywhere you went? From the store, from families? Cleptomania is real. So is the compulsion to do drugs, or commit adultery. Oh man. I'd so much rather be a happy lesbian wife!

I hurt because this topic has caused such a huge wedge between Christians and the LGBT community. Mormons specifically. I have felt close in my heart that a child near me (soon) is going to need my love because they will be born with same gender attraction, I hope to never make the mistake many religious people do, and shame them or turn them away from God. I want them to know they are unique and valued, like everyone else. I will teach them truth, from the Bible.

I apologize if any of my comments translated offensively. I was nervous writing this and didn't know how it would come off..and I totally accept people feeling differently about it. I was just very consumed with this topic today. My head and heart are full of questions and Why must we go through this wonderings. I wish I had an easy answer and all the solutions. I don't know everything, but I do believe in God and Christ and I believe if they "gave unto man weakness" then they can "make weak things strong". (Bible) We are ALL partakers in weakness. May we judge less, extend the olive branch further, and help others see that Mormons DON'T hate homosexuals.

I LOVE THEM!