Saturday, July 10, 2010


Right now I'm realizing how important it is to remember the things that we love about ourselves. So right now, I’m going to do just that. I want to reflect on all of the things I learned and felt at Live Big. Sadly, I’ve allowed myself to be consumed by the world and my own self pity and have forgotten the things I discovered about myself. So here is my list of some things that I love about myself. There are lots of things I love about myself... these are just a few.

-I love that I am a kind person. I feel like I truly do care for others and their feelings. I sincerely want those that I love to be happy.

-I love that it is easy for me to get along with others and to make friends.

-I love how easy it is for me to feel the spirit and the love of my Heavenly Father.

-I love how important it is to me that I follow my heart, regardless of the pain it may bring.

-I love how it has never been a challenge for me to admit my mistakes. I don’t feel I am a proud person, although I have had my moments.

-I love that I have a desire to be obedient.

-I love that I am easily pleased and that it doesn’t take much to satisfy me.

-I love that I am good with children and that I truly love being around them.

-I love that I make people feel comfortable to talk to me and that my family and friends know that if they need someone to talk to that they can count on me.

-I love that I am a good listener

-I love how much I laugh. I guess this goes along with being easily pleased. I am easily entertained and very light hearted and easy going.

-I love how quickly I take action when I feel I am doing something that isn’t right.

-I love that I have a desire to be a better person and to improve myself.

-I love how much I love my family.

-I love how funny I think I am…regardless of what others tell me!

-I love that I find joy in little things.

-I love that people feel comfortable around me.

-I love that I can get someone to open up to me in just a short time after meeting them.

-I love my desire to be successful and to do well.

-I love that I see the good in people and being able to see other’s potential and greatness inside them.

-I love that I am a grateful person.

-I love that I know how to entertain myself.

-I love my willingness to serve.

-I love how easily it is for me to give support to those I love.

-I love that I love to have fun and although I might not be a creator of fun, I think I am a contributor to fun.

-I love that I am an understanding person.

-I love that I put people above results.

-I love that I am a giving person.

-I love that I am optimistic. (although sometimes I’m a little too optimistic)

-I love that I am content and happy when others are happy.

-I love that I have a testimony and love for the gospel. I truly feel blessed to be a member of the only true church and I am so grateful for the knowledge and power it brings me in my life.

-I love how amazing I feel right now after writing this list. I feel beautiful.

The world really has a way of bringing you down after you have realized the greatness inside yourself and after you have learned to love yourself. This last little while life put to test everything I learned and discovered at Live Big. I wish I could say I held my own perfectly and that I always put into action the things I learned, but very sadly, I didn’t. In just this short time since Live Big, I had already forgotten who I am and that I don’t need others to feel loved or certain and that I have everything I need to feel that inside of myself. There were times when life felt like it was crumbling me and I allowed myself to be consumed by the circumstances and made myself a victim of the situations. But the difference this time, is I was able to recognize it and change my state of mind and hold strong, recognizing that I create the results in my life and no outside force can affect the way I feel on the inside. I am fortunate enough to have amazing people in my life reminding me to shine bright and allow my glorious divinity to shine through; always remembering that everything has a purpose and even though it’s sometimes hard to see the big picture at times, everything works out exactly like it’s supposed to. Every challenge, every detour, every opportunity, every person is put into my life exactly when it’s supposed to , to teach me exactly what I need to learn. I just have to remember who I am, especially during those times, and put my life into perspective. It’s just a matter of holding on to who I am and having gratitude for the things I have learned and gained and focusing on right now and to shine bright.

Life is great. It’s hard, but I think that is what makes it great. The fact that I have the ability to stand tall during times of hardships is what makes life great. How awesome is that? Satan will try to bring you down in every way possible, but just holding on to who I am and remembering to turn to my Heavenly Father during those times is the greatest blessing of all. If these last few weeks can’t bring me down, nothing can. I know I will be just fine out in the “real world” as long as I remember the greatness inside of me and remembering that everything has a purpose and even though I may not see that purpose right away, the key is to just be patient. Eventually, I will see how everything falls into place perfectly. Everything works out just as it is supposed to and I love that.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


This will be a long one, brace yourselves. Last weekend, I was so blessed and so fortunate to go to a seminar called “Live Big” put on by Gerald Rogers and Garrett J. White. Holy guacamole, was this seminar amazing! It was a motivational seminar where I learned to connect with myself on such a deep level. On the first day, we are all sitting in this room and Garrett is asking us “Why are you here and what do you want to get from Live Big?”, then going around the room and making random people answer the question. I answered the question in my head. I wanted to feel loved and feel like there is some sort of certainty or stability in my life. Later they asked us a series of questions. First one was what our biggest fears were. My biggest fear was losing what I love; that the people around me would realize how amazing they are compared to me and stop loving me because of that. I know I am blessed to have amazing people in my life, and I was so scared that they would wake up one day and realize that I’m not that great and stop loving me and I would be alone. I knew what aspect of my life needed transforming. I needed to create a better relationship with myself. The other question was “What are we most afraid to find out about ourselves?” To this I answered, that I really wasn’t good enough. I pretend to be all these things; smart, pretty, talented. But what if it just wasn’t enough and I really wasn’t all those things. Okay, now I am not telling you all this for you to feel sorry for me. I am telling out all this so you can see how my transformation happened and how huge it was.
The first night, Garrett had us meditate and took us to this beautiful garden. He told us he was going to take us to a place of our ‘sacred selves’ and our ‘shadow selves’. I was imagining my garden. It was beautiful! As I was sitting in my garden, I felt so much peace and love. When I saw my sacred self, I saw someone with so much light and happiness. I saw someone great. I saw someone who knew who she was; she was certain of who she was. In her was so much love, for others and herself, there was happiness, excitement, success, and talent. She was beautiful, inside and out. There was a great light that shined through her. There was a sparkle in her that I have always wished I had in me. I didn’t believe this beautiful girl was me. As I grabbed her hand, I felt a deep connection with her, like I knew her. And then, tears came to my eyes as I embraced her and realized that IS me. This glorious person lived inside of me.
Afterwards, we were told to visit a dark place where our shadow self resides. When I was in this place of darkness and chaos, I saw myself as someone who hated herself; a girl who had fallen into a worldly trap. She let the world tell her what beauty was and in doing so, she lost that divinity within her. She didn’t love herself, she didn’t know who she was; she was lost. I felt so much pain for her. This girl did not feel loved or happy or successful. She felt alone and scared and unworthy. She was focused on what others thought about her. This shadow self of me had no light within her. She had no self worth or self confidence. She was just lost. I felt so much pity for her. I wanted to tell her how great she is and how much potential she has. The one word I kept seeing in relation to my shadow self was the world ‘lost’.
Then, we went back to our garden where both our sacred self and shadow self were. As I looked at both my shadow self and my sacred self, I saw a portion of who I once was in my shadow self and a lot of who I never want to become. And in my sacred self, I saw who I want to become. I looked at my shadow self and felt pity because I knew she was lost and didn’t love herself. She didn’t know who she was. And I looked at my sacred self and felt comfort and peace knowing she was happy and loved who she was. We all three embraced and I realized I needed both of them to be me. You cannot have light without dark. I needed both of them. I could not have my sacred self without my shadow self. I was able to forgive my shadow self for her mistakes and love her because without her, I couldn’t have my sacred self. I accepted both of them and embraced both of them and allowed us to bind together and become one.
Okay, so I knew what was in my sacred self, and that she was in me, but I didn’t understand HOW she was that way. How could she be so happy, and feel so loved? How did she have this great presence and this light shine through her? I saw she was so beautiful, inside and out, but I didn’t understand how she was that way or why. So the next day, Gerald took us back to our garden–I love my garden, it’s beautiful! I was sitting in my tree swing, watching and admiring the beauty. I looked out into the horizon, and saw a bright beaming someone coming toward me. As they got closer, I felt their presence stronger and stronger. I felt their greatness and their divinity and power. It was radiating from them. When they got closer, I realized that great being was my sacred self. She looked at me with such love. We were told to ask our sacred self one question we desperately wanted answered. So I looked at my sacred self and saw her beauty and her great divinity and asked her how to love myself and have the greatness she has. She looked at me and smiled and said, “Look inside yourself. Look at your heart. You ARE beautiful, inside and out. You are powerful and courageous. You don’t need to rely on others for happiness, certainty or self worth. It’s all in you.” As I thought about her answer I realized I have always looked to others to find certainty, love, happiness, etc but it is all within me. I do not need to be dependent upon others to feel that. I have that power within me. This feeling and realization was awesome. I felt amazing and at peace with myself.
When they gave us to homework to ask ourselves “who am I?” seven times before we went to bed, I woke up and had nothing. I wrote on my paper “I am Alyson Cook, a daughter of Heavenly Father” That’s all I could think to write. So we start talking about strengths and gifts, and I couldn’t come up with a thing. Not one thing. I didn’t know who I was. I went the whole day trying to figure out what my strengths and my gifts were but I just didn’t feel like I had any real strengths. This was really frustrating and a bit disempowering to me. In fact, I even text some friends and family to ask what they thought my strengths were, they all text back these really nice and sweet texts, but I didn’t believe any of them to truly be my strengths. I felt like I had taken a step backward. I had felt so great and connected with myself the day before and now I couldn’t figure out what my strengths were.
When we came in the room, we sat in our chairs and began to go to a state of meditation and in this state, Garrett told us to come up with three words about who we were. At first, I couldn’t think of anything. This is what I had been trying to think of for the past 24 hours. So I concentrated and the word ‘caring’ came into my mind. I thought, “Okay, fine, I‘ll just roll with it.” So then I concentrated more and the word that came to my mind was ‘courageous’. Not sure I believed that, but I just needed one more word so, again, I concentrated to come up with my last word. That third word I thought of was ‘beautiful’. I definitely wasn’t sure how I felt about this one, but I had all three of my words and I didn’t want to concentrate anymore to think of more words. Once we had our three words, he told us to place those three words in between the phrase “I am a” and “man/woman”. So my phrase was “I am a caring, courageous, beautiful woman.” Now, they told us to start saying it out loud while keeping our eyes closed. Everyone began to say it out loud and as we kept saying it, everyone got louder. I could tell everyone was saying their phrase with such power, but I still didn’t believe my phrase so I wasn’t saying it with much power. As we continued to say our phrase and keep our eyes closed, they moved us into a big standing circle, everyone connected with our hands on each other’s shoulders. I noticed the more I said it, the more powerful I was saying it. I actually believed what I was saying. At the end of the exercise I sat in my chair and I was a little confused by what we had just done, but as people got up and starting talking about their experiences, I realized, I knew the answer to the question, “Who am I?” I am a caring, courageous, beautiful woman. I learned that not only was I a divine daughter of Heavenly Father, but I have so much within me. I am that sacred self that I saw in my garden; divine, worthy, kind, smart, caring, courageous, beautiful –inside and out –with a sparkling countenance, and the light of Christ shining through.
One of the last exercises we did was called “Lifeboat”. Those of you who were at Live Big and are reading this are probably smiling and shaking your head right now. I can’t necessarily say I loved this exercise, but I guess I can’t say I hated it either. It definitely had a HUGE impact on me and opened my eyes big time. We were all in the room and Garrett took us to a meditated state where we were on a cruise ship with everyone in the room, and all of the sudden “BAM!” (I literally jumped out of my seat when he yelled this). So he took us through the scenario of the ship sinking. The ship was sinking and there was one lifeboat left, with four spots on it. We had to get up and declare why we deserved to be on this lifeboat. Honestly, my first thought was, I don’t deserve to be on that lifeboat….there are other people who are much better people with much more potential in this room. So that part of the exercise was difficult for me because I hadn’t convinced myself I deserved to live and be on that lifeboat. Anyway, everyone got up and declared why they deserved to live. Some said they would step aside and let someone else take their spot, and some got up and told everyone why they truly deserved to survive, while others, like myself, got up and said something they didn’t believe as to why they should survive. After everyone gave their reasons why they should survive, we were put into 4 groups. Everyone was given 3 Popsicle sticks. We had to go around our circle and choose 3 people to live and give them a Popsicle stick. To everyone else, we had to look them in the eye and say “you die.” When you were given a Popsicle stick, you were to hold it up, shout your name and say “I live!” This part of the exercise was difficult for me also. I did not like when I was given a Popsicle stick. I felt guilty, thinking others deserved it more. So I would meekly raise my Popsicle stick and say “I’m Aly, I live.” After everyone was done giving their Popsicle sticks away, Garrett had us count our sticks and then find out who had received the most sticks. There were 4 people up at the front, each had received 7 to 9 sticks. He then asked those 4 which of them gave themselves a stick, 2 sat down. Then Garrett asked those remaining 2 standing, how many sticks they had each given themselves. One gave themselves 1 stick; the other gave herself 2 sticks. He told the one who gave herself 2 sticks to have a seat. Out of the 30ish people in the room, only 1 person had given herself a stick, while still giving what she had left to others. Only 1 person gave herself a stick. Only 1 person believed in themselves that much that they gave themselves a stick. He had us gather around in a circle around this one person and yell out what message we wanted her to take back to our loved ones who would never see us again. This part was where it hit me. Because I did not see myself worthy of a stick, I would not be able to see my family again. I would not be a mother or a wife or accomplish any of my goals. I would not change the world because I did not feel worthy to live. I started bawling, which I guess doesn’t take much for me, but this was really a slap in the face to myself, from myself. I had realized all these great things about me over the weekend, but when push came to shove, I still felt undeserving. We left the room, and when we came back in we sat down and Garrett told us to close our eyes and listen to the words of the song “Dream Big” by Ryan Shuppe and the Rubber Band. Even more tears came to my eyes as I listened to this song. I knew I deserved to dream big. I deserve nothing short of the greatest.
Now for the last exercise we did, we were told to line up the chairs in 2 rows so the chairs were facing each other. We each took a seat and for 30 seconds, told the person we sat across from the greatness that we see in them. Then after 30 seconds we switched and they told us the greatness they see in us. After both partners had gone, we would switch. This activity was awesome. Not only did I love listening to the greatness that people see in me, but even more than that, I loved telling people the greatness I see in them and seeing the tears in their eyes as you told them. I loved looking in their eyes and connecting with them on such a deeper level. There was one turn we sat down across from the person and then were immediately told to switch. Gerald explained to us that we miss out on opportunities to tell people how great they are every day. And there was also a turn when he told us not to say anything, just to look at them in the eyes and tell them with our eyes the greatness we see in them. This was my favorite. I loved looking into my partners eyes and seeing her beautiful soul. Tears, once again, filled my eyes as we did this. Also, I loved that everyone said such similar things about me. Everyone saw the same greatness inside of me. I loved “the greatness I see in you” exercise. It made me feel a whole lot better about myself after the “Lifeboat” exercise!
To those of you who were not at the event, these activities may seem a little strange and nuts, but it truly changed my life. A week ago I didn’t know who I was, now I dare you to ask me that question. I promise I will not only give you an answer, but I will believe it with all my heart. I have so much to give. There is a greatness inside of me that is untouchable. I love who I am.
Dear Gerald and Garrett,
I want to tell you both thank you so much for opening up my eyes and helping me to see who I am which has allowed me to feel this powerful and amazing feeling inside. I never want it to leave. I truly love myself and I have you two to thank for that. You are both two people I greatly look up to and I hope you don’t mind if I think of you both as two of my heroes. Thank you for shining so bright at your natural greatness and allowing others, including myself, to see their natural greatness because of it. I know who I am. Thank you.
A caring, courageous and beautiful woman

Saturday, December 19, 2009

2009 in Review

Summary of what 2009 has taught me

Rather than tell the events that happened all year, instead I'm writing what I learned from the events that happened in each month this year.


I learned how much I love cutting hair. It was my first semester on the lab floor and I love it. In high school I always wanted to be a psychiatrist but I'm glad I decided to fix what's on the head rather than what is in it.

February's definition of family: any group of persons closely related by blood. My definition of family: the ones you love to be surround by. The people who, no matter what, will love you for who you are.


I realized money can't make you happy. Growing up, our family never had lots of money, but I don't look back at my childhood as being deprived just because we never had the biggest and best. We had what mattered. We had a good, strong, loving, happy family. We always had fun, regardless.

What doesn't kill you life, can only make you stronger. But only if you let yourself build and grow from your mistakes. Otherwise, what is the point of mistakes if you can't learn from it, then get back up again and allow yourself to grow... You can't let life or yourself get you down.


Four hundred years ago, an English guy had an opinion on being alone, John Donne. He thought we were never alone. Of course, it was fancier when he said it. "No man is an island entire onto himself." Boil that island talk down and it just means that all anyone needs is someone to step in and let us know we're not alone. And who's to say that someone can't have four legs and lick my face every time they sees me. Someone to play with, or take on walks, or just hang out.


Although moving away from home is very liberating and made me feel very grown up… I will always miss home. I realized when I moved out how much I love being home. That’s something I wouldn’t have learned had I not moved out.


Saying goodbye to people you love is the hardest thing I’ve ever experienced. There’s a constant hole in your heart that, no matter how hard everyone tries, just can’t be filled. I’ve only experienced this feeling twice in my life, thank goodness. It truly is a feeling words cannot describe. And although this feeling sucks and I wouldn’t wish it upon anyone, it helps you realize how much you love a person and how grateful you are for them. I wish it didn’t take leaving for me to realize how much I need someone in my life… But sometimes you have to be apart from the one you love. Doesn’t mean you love them less. And sometimes, it even makes you love them more.


July was a month for learning and changing. I learned that it’s okay to be alone. I learned more about myself in the month of July than I have my entire life. Being alone isn’t always a bad thing. Sometimes it can be a really good thing.

The most important thing I learned in July: Aly Cook was NOT meant to be blonde. Ew.

July taught me that no matter how hard we try to ignore or deny the truth, the lies fall away. Here’s the truth about the truth… it hurts.

Why is it the ones who hurt us the most are the ones who love us most? And the ones we hurt most are the ones we love most? That's just the way it is. It sucks. And I didn't learn this next part until a few months later, but we can more easily forgive the ones we love. Those who love you will forgive you no matter what. This is actually something I learned throughout the whole year, not jsut in July...


Moving in with your 2 best friends can be the most fun thing ever and the most tiring thing ever! Only because I don’t think I slept the whole month of August and September. We would stay up all night talking and laughing. If you’re moving in with your best friends, don’t anticipate getting much sleep!


I would love to be an astronomer. It takes too much math for my brain, I know that, but there's always been something about charting stars that appeals to me. On a really dark night, you can see between 1,000 and 1,500 stars, and there are millions more that haven't even been discovered. It's so easy to think that the world revolves around you, but all you have to do is stare up at the sky to realize it isn't that way at all.

Everyone deserves to go on a cruise. Definitely the most relaxing, fun and exciting week! Best part of my cruise? Karaoke at the end of every night. Completely hilarious and so entertaining to watch drunk people make complete idiots of themselves. Karaoke night always made me feel a little bit better about myself. Next best part of my cruise? Dressing up and getting up on stage as Cyndi Lauper. Maybe someday I’ll post that video on here as my most embarrassing/fun moment ever. Probably not though. So the most important thing I learned in September is that I love cruising. We are already planning our next one. Cannot wait!


I love kids..they're the closest thing you can find to perfection in this crazy world. I hope to have lots someday and be a good mom and raise them the way I was raised. It scares me though to think that I will someday raise children in the world. I hope and pray I raise them right. My biggest fear is that I won't

This is when I learned that as crappy as it is to be hurt by the ones you love, it doesn’t even take a second’s thought to forgive them, no matter how much you would like to be mad at them, you can’t. You just love them too much.


Being grateful means recognizing what you have for what it is. Appreciating the small victories. Admiring the struggle it takes simply to be human. Maybe we are thankful for the familiar things we know. And maybe we're thankful for the things we will never know. At the end of the day, the fact that we have the courage to still be standing and fighting is reason enough to celebrate.


Who gets to determine when the old ends and the new begins? It’s not on the calendar, it’s not a birthday, it isn’t a new year. It’s an event, big or small, something that changes us. Ideally, that gives us hope, a new way of living and looking at the world, a way of letting go of old habits, old memories. What's important is that we never stop believing we can have a new beginning, but it's also important to remember that, amid all the crap, there are things worth holding on to.

Life has been good these passed 12 months. I've changed a LOT, I've had hard times and I've had great times, and, of course, made a lot of mistakes, but it wouldn't be life if I didn't. I’ve learned lots from the great times, but even more from the hard times.

Sunday, April 5, 2009


I have lots and lots to catch up on! I've been slacking off, I don't even know where to start!

Cole and I made a roadtrip down to Vernal for a few days during spring break to look for jobs for me if I move down there for the summer! I applied to a lot of places and had fun spending a few days with Lizz, Grant and the boys. We got to go to Alek and Jayce's soccer game right before we left too. They were cute. Jayce was a good goalie and Alek did great at tying his shoes every few seconds! Haha. It was fun to watch them!!

When I got home from Vernal, I went to Provo to hang out with Mar, James, and Jerr and we went up to the canyon and roasted marshmallows and hot dogs! It was so much fun and got me so excited from summer! Hopefully we get to go camping and hiking at least once before James and Jerrica move to Wisconsin.

Last weekend Cole and I went up Little Cottonwood Canyon and built us an igloo!! Well...half an igloo. We'll planning on going back up and finishing it later, but it was pretty cool when we left it. Hopefully it will still be there when we get back!! We had to hike up the mountain a little ways which would not have been so bad if the snow weren't so deep! that made it hard. But I still had fun!! Thanks Cole :) the best part of the last few weeks is my puppy that Cole got me as a replacement for when he goes on his mission! I love her. We're thinking of naming her Stella. But if anyone has any suggestions, let me know!! She is an Australian Shepherd Terrier mix. I'm so excited. I think she is so adorable!! Thank you so much Cole!! She's perfect.

Friday, March 6, 2009

My Temple

I had the opportunity over the weekend to go to the Draper Temple dedication at the temple. We got up at 5:30 in the a.m. and headed up to watch what would become one of the most amazing experience of my life. Due to some fortunate events, we ended up in the Celestial Room and were able to watch the whole thing in living color. I cannot explain the feelings I experienced there. The spirit was overwhelming and I could not help but shed a few tears. Watching President Monson dedicate the temple and seeing the power he had was unforgettable. My life changed in that Celestial Room. I will never forget what I experienced that day. I cannot wait to someday go back to what I truly feel like is "my temple". I am so grateful I got to be apart of something so much bigger than most people realize. We have been blessed with so many beautiful temples near by to remind us of His love for us and the importance of an eternal family. I am grateful for my family. I wouldn't be here today if they wouldn't have raised me in the right way. Thank you to my family and of course my friends, neighbors and leaders who have also changed my life. You all know who you are. Thank you. I wouldn't be who I am today without all of you.

Thursday, January 8, 2009


Okay...I think this picture needs explaining. I find it my goal to try to fit my mouth around things like bottles, cups, etc... So, during the line for Tower of Terror, I may or may not have been a little bored so I started to shove my empty bottle of Orange Juice in my mouth...not realizing, as always, that I was in public. While standing there with the bottle in my mouth, I tune in to the guy behind me saying, "Holy crap!" I turned around and the whole group behind us was looking at me shove this bottle into my mouth. It was really embarrassing. So we took a picture to capture my embarrassing moment. And now I'm posting it because it's a little funny.... Please disregard how ugly I look.. ha.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Christmas time is always hard for our family, but we look at the many blessings that have come to our family because of our trials and know we would not be the same without them.