Just yesterday I decided I wanted to paint a picture of the world. I pulled out a canvas and started sketching and then got my daughter's watercolors and went to work. I am not the most talented artist, but I realized that with hard work and believing in ourselves we can do anything. Part of my story has been trying new things. 

~Ayn Rand

It's family history month, and I'm all about sharing stories-I love stories, fiction and nonfiction alike. Both are exciting and intriguing, usually with a lesson learned. There are so many stories to be told, many people, I realized didn’t even think they had a story. I love what Viola Davis told to Brené Brown in an interview. “There’s an unspoken message that the only stories worth telling are the stories that end up in history books. This is not true. Every story matters. My father’s story matters. We are all worthy of telling our stories and having them heard. We all need to be seen and honored in the same way that we all need to breathe.” As a struggling thirteen-year-old I remember reading the words of Anne Frank. “I want to be useful or bring enjoyment to all people, even those I’ve never met. I want to go on living even after my death.” Wow, reading that statement gives me chills, even now. To think a young girl writing in her journal would reach thousands, her words have impacted so many around the world. We may seem so small, but by sharing our stories and experiences we may give strength to another.

So, what makes a story worth telling? JK Rowling said is perfectly. “No story lives unless someone wants to listen.” We all have stories to tell, but sometimes we feel that there is no one to listen to us. My Great Grandma Viola wrote her Life Story and had it printed into a book. The book contained stories of her husband, pedigree charts, her life story and pictures of the family. As a new mom, I became fascinated with family history and began reading her book. Since that day I have read through her book, and reread it a half-dozen times. One passage she wrote really stood out to me. “My children and grandchildren might ask ‘Why hash over all these things, just the facts are sufficient.’ Not for me. The unknown or heretofore untold parts of my life are the moving forces that motivated my actions and my thinking; made what I am. We are all products of our background and our thoughts. ‘As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.’ (Proverbs 23:7) Anyway, to write my true story many things must be written that probably would be best left buried, but without which no one would really know my story nor me. I only hope they can serve as stepping stones to my posterity as they see it is natural for others to doubt, to stumble, but that no matter what befalls us, we can pick ourselves up and overcome. Yes, day by day overcome, until at the end of life one can finally say, if strength and courage survive, ‘I have overcome the world.’ (John 16:1)” Our stories do not consist of only joys, but trials and heartache. Those are the things we learn and grow from. Those pains are what make us who we are.

“Life is very interesting,
in the end, some of your greatest pains
become your greatest strengths.”
~ Drew Barrymore

We are living our own family’s history right now. We go through hard times and can influence others as we go through these trials. “Make use of adversity. Our trials help us discover and prepare for the work Heavenly Father has for us. Alma explained, ‘After much tribulation the Lord made me an instrument in His hands.’ We can gain knowledge gained from difficult experiences to lift, strengthen, and bless others.” John C. Pingree Jr. said just a few days ago. I just loved that!

I have been working on this project #heartsaroundtheworldproject for several months. I was trying to think of a new blog post several months ago and while on social media saw a friend from another country share something. I realized in that moment we are all so unique, we may live thousands of miles apart, but in our hearts we are so similar. We want the same things in life, happiness, love, peace… the list goes on. I decided at that moment that I needed to hear stories from women around the world and show that we can all learn from one another. 

Dieter F. Uchtdorf said, “… Swim upstream when needed. No one else is responsible for your personal journey. The Savior will help you and prepare the way for you, but the commitment to follow Him and keep His commandments must come from you.” As I began the interviews I had no intention of bringing specific religion into this, but every single woman expressed their love for our Savior Jesus Christ and how through Him, they were able to get through their trials. I am excited to start sharing parts of their stories, and hope that you can learn as much from them as I have.

“The world is full of wonderful things you haven’t seen yet.
Don’t ever give up on the chance of seeing them.”
~J. K. Rowling

I realized that there are many unsung heroes alive now who haven’t told their story. They have so much to share and teach others. These stories I am sharing are stories that made me cry, they helped me look at my own life and I love all these women. Some I have met and others I will never see face to face, but I love them. They show kindness, faith, love, and they learn to love their self. One of my favorite things that I learned from a woman named Michele was her love and ability to forgive. She had all the reason to hate and she didn’t. “I could never forget, but I began to forgive.” We can’t change the past, we are here, because of choices made by those who came before us. We will go through experiences that may affect our descendants as well. Embrace your enoughness, be you, and keep on going. Don’t forget to share your story. You never know who it may help.

“I avoid looking back. I prefer good memories to regrets.”
~Grace Kelly