Finding Relief from Heavy Burdens

A Special Message of Faith

In December of 2012 I was asked to speak during my congregation’s sacrament meeting. This is one thing that is common throughout my church worldwide: that members are given opportunities to teach each other about the gospel, and how they are learning to apply it in their lives.

Here’s the message I shared:

When we realized back in 2006 that we had purchased too much real estate at the wrong time, sometimes all we could do to calm the raging storm was to turn off the lights, close our eyes, and let “Peace Like a River” CD soothe our troubled and fearful hearts.

We tried to focus on the Savior, and let Him assure us that in the eternal scheme of things, everything was going to turn out okay if we fixed our faith upon Him.

He showed us that no matter how heavy the burden, he had the power to do for us what He had done for Alma’s people as described in Mosiah chapter 24 when he told them:

“I will … ease the burdens which are put upon your shoulders, that … you cannot feel them upon your backs, even while you are in bondage; and this will I do that ye may stand as witnesses for me hereafter, and that ye may know of a surety that I, the Lord God, do visit my people in their afflictions.”

The Bible tells us to have faith in Jesus Christ, and to love one another. But until recently, I never really recognized an important connection between these two directives, and how it relates to the lift of our burdens.

At the time, I considered the peace I ultimately discovered to be a tremendous personal victory. We were still in a mess, but He taught us peace in spite of it. That all of that could be happening and that we could find peace anyway was a miracle to me.

As our difficulty stretched on, I felt that I could relate in a small way to the man who had been a part of the fateful Martin Handcart company who said, “‘I… pulled my handcart when I was so weak and weary … that I could hardly put one foot ahead of the other. I have looked ahead and … said, I can go only that far and there I must give up…’ ” He continued: ” ‘I have gone on to that sand and when I reached it, the cart began pushing me. I have looked back many times to see who was pushing my cart, but my eyes saw no one. I knew then that the angels of God were there… The price we paid to become acquainted with God was a privilege to pay, and I am thankful that I was privileged to come in the Martin Handcart Company.'”

As hard as it was for us over those last few years, I wouldn’t give up the testimony we gained through it – that God lives and is mindful of us and gives us strength.

However, while it’s true, that when things appear to be falling apart, a return to the Savior (pondering his life’s example, repenting of our mistakes, finding gratitude, and imagining his steady and unconditional friendship) always brings peace, sometimes it can be really hard to set aside personal challenges enough to be able to think about helping someone else.

But what I’ve been learning is that our needs are cared for when we focus on others.

This is probably a more complete and true exercise of faith in Christ. Not just believing that He is real and finding peace in our challenges, but taking it one step further… do we really believe that our needs will be met if we forget ourselves? Do we really trust that the Lord will carry us through our problems if we lose ourselves in the service of others?

I remember back several years when my husband and I were trying to be anxiously engaged in a good cause, but our investment problems were screaming so loudly that it seemed nearly impossible to carry on.

We had come to the end of all of our visible resources – our savings were entirely depleted, our credit was completely exhausted, and with only $200 in the bank and no paycheck in sight (with another $15,000 in bills due in the coming 2 weeks), the moment we had tried so hard to avoid was finally upon us.

It was our anniversary weekend, and so with no other solution in sight, we decided to at least enjoy a dinner together and try to rekindle our hope in the future, and our faith in Christ. During our conversation, it dawned on us that even though we were at rock bottom, we were still alive, still breathing, and still able to help others.

We asked ourselves, if we were homeless, could we still teach? Could we still help others? Would we? Of course we could, and would. So that’s when our conversation shifted. Instead of focusing on our immediate needs, we projected our minds forward and imagined where we saw ourselves in 10 years. Did we think we’d be back on our feet by then? Would we have figured things out and put our lives back together by then? That seemed easy enough to believe. So then our focus shifted, and we brainstormed on the things we could do right away to serve others better, and made those plans.

By the end of dinner, we felt hope again. We felt the Spirit confirm to us that although we were in a pretty ugly mess of our own, we were on the right track.

So we paid the bill and just as my husband was opening my car door, the waiter came running out to the parking lot after us with a voided receipt yelling,

“Since it’s your anniversary, the meal’s on us!”

In that moment, we experienced a little bit of what the Lord had taught his apostles. He had tried to assure them that as long as they would feed his sheep, their true needs would be met. We’ve heard it so many times: “Consider the lilies of the field…” “…trust the Lord with all thine heart” “…fear not…” but how it is possible?

To explain, let me share it the way Elder Jeffrey R. Holland described it:

After Christ was no longer with his apostles, in effect, Peter said: “Brethren, it has been a glorious three years. …But [it] is over. He has finished His work, and He has risen from the tomb. He has worked out His salvation and ours. So … ‘What do we do now?’ I don’t know more to tell you than to return to your former life, rejoicing. I intend to ‘go a fishing.’”

But, … the fishing wasn’t very good. Their first night back on the lake, they caught nothing—not a single fish. With the first rays of dawn, they disappointedly turned toward the shore, where they saw in the distance a figure who called out to them,

“Cast the net on the right side of the ship, and ye shall find,” —and with those simple words, recognition begins to flood over them. Just three years earlier these very men had been fishing on this very sea. On that occasion too they had “toiled all the night, and [had] taken nothing,”…. But a fellow Galilean on the shore had called out to them to let down their nets, and they drew “a great multitude of fishes,” enough that their nets broke, the catch filling two boats so heavily they had begun to sink.

Now it was happening again. [They] eagerly lowered their net, and “they were not able to draw it for the multitude of fishes.”

After a joyful reunion… Looking at their battered little boats, … and a stunning pile of 153 fish, Jesus said … three times, “Peter, do you love me more than you love all this?” Peter said, “Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee.”

To which Jesus responded …perhaps saying something like: “Then Peter, why are you here? Why are we back on this same shore, by these same nets, having this same conversation? Wasn’t it obvious then and isn’t it obvious now that if I want fish, I can get fish?

“What I need, Peter, are disciples—and I need them forever. I need someone to feed my sheep and save my lambs. I need someone to preach my gospel and defend my faith. I need someone who loves me, truly, truly loves me, and loves what our Father in Heaven has commissioned me to do.

“Ours is not a feeble message. … It is the work of Almighty God, and it is to change the world. So, Peter, for the second and presumably the last time, I am asking you to leave all this and to go teach and testify, labor and serve loyally…”

“If ye love me, keep my commandments,” Jesus said. So we have neighbors to bless, children to protect, the poor to lift up, and the truth to defend. We have wrongs to make right, truths to share, and good to do. In short, we have a life of devoted discipleship to give in demonstrating our love of the Lord. We can’t quit and we can’t go back…

To those who have not yet joined with us in this great final cause of Christ, we say, “Please come.” To those who were once with us but have retreated, preferring to pick and choose a few cultural hors d’oeuvres from the smorgasbord of the Restoration [of the gospel of Jesus Christ] and leave the rest of the feast, I say that I fear you face a lot of long nights and empty nets. The call is to come back, to stay true, to love God, and to lend a hand.” – Elder Jeffrey Holland

Now, on Christmas we were blessed to spend some time on the phone with our missionary son Jacob, and I asked him: What can we do for you? What can we do to help you?

He replied, emotionally, “I just want you guys to love each other. I want you to do your best to get along with each other. It’s so true that you don’t know what you have until it’s gone. I just want you guys to also stay in touch with me, keep writing letters, keep emailing me, keep me posted with what’s going on in your lives, the good and the bad…”

Our Father in Heaven – during our separation from Him – wants us to love each other, and stay in touch with Him through prayer. He wants us to go to him with the good and the bad, and let Him be a central part of our life.

And when we have burdens too heavy and worries too consuming to think outside of ourselves, I testify that we can put our trust in the Lord, hand him our burdens, …and as we focus on helping someone else, everything will work out just as it should.

I have a special journal dedicated to this – for when I have a concern or a need that seems to be more than I can handle, I’ll write “What I needed” on the left side, and then on the right side I write “How He helped”. After all, He has asked us to acknowledge his hand in all things – and this is one way I’m trying to do it.

(The following section is an excerpt from a letter I wrote to a friend, giving more details on this new journal tool.)

I felt the Lord inspired me to do something I hadn’t done before, when things were terribly overwhelming to me. The Spirit nagged me for 2 days until I did it… and that is this:

I got a notebook or journal that was specifically to be for one purpose. On the left side of the page, I wrote: “What I needed”, and I listed the things I needed to turn over to the Lord. I imagined angels being given permission to get to work on those items for me, because I was physically, mentally, emotionally unable to handle them myself at that time.  On the right side of the page I wrote: “How He helped” because I thoroughly expected Him to handle some of those things for me, and I wanted to document His hand in the process.

Within 20 minutes, I got a phone call that answered one of the pleas listed on the left.  Over time, it seems that all of them have been either checked off or making good progress. To me, it’s working better than a vision board ever did, because it’s more of a system for the purpose of fulfilling my life’s mission, and for handling the distractions that slow me down as well.

Once I put something on the “what I needed” side, I let it go and I get busy on something that I CAN make progress with, knowing that the other items are being handled.

And now, verily I say unto you, and what I say unto one I say unto all, be of good cheer, little children; for I am in your midst, and I have not forsaken you; (D&C 61:36)

Related: Do the Problems Go Away?

(Back now, to my talk at church…)

I know that God lives, that Jesus Christ is with us, He’s mindful of our heartaches, and ready to help. He is merciful. He loves us. He loves you. He knows what you’re going through; it’s not pointless.

May we exercise our faith in Christ not just by believing He is real, but also by trusting him – literally – to handle our burdens that feel too big, while we look instead for opportunities to feed his sheep.

This is my prayer for all of us.

Originally published on December 18, 2013

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When life is falling apart

Michelle posted the following question:

Hi, so my husband and I have been trying to live these principles for about a year now. We have seen it work in our lives, even before we read your books. We are saving money to buy your more advanced course. We are changing our thoughts and our language, which has not been easy for me, as I have lived with anxiety for the last 17 years. We are seeing a shift in our mental dialogue. We have some very lofty goals that we are excited to manifest.

The question I have has to do with changing the dialogue when you are in a job that you hate, doesn’t make enough money, and there is no space for promotion or increase of monetary value. My husband works about 60 hours per week and makes about 2000 every two weeks.

We have 8 children and our house is falling apart. My husband can do all the work to fix the plumbing problems, but he has no time. We can’t, at this moment afford to pay someone else to do it for us. We are both stressed out about it. He is very positive about it, but there are times where he can’t see a way to fix the problem. We have a very small set of skills between us. I have been stay at home mom for 17 years and we just had a new baby in December of this past year. My husband had to have back surgery a couple of years ago. He had a great job, but had to leave due to inability to do the work, because of his back, so now we make much less.

We tried to start our own business and don’t all our capital to do it, only to realize my husband has a difficult time doing jobs where people have expectations. He is amazing at everything, but he gets major anxiety. So, we are where we are at this point. I hope you don’t mind me messaging you, but we really want things to change. I know part of the change is being grateful for where we are.

Can you give me some insight? I am taking your Mindset Fundamentals course and that is helping a lot … but I am still stuck with this. It’s like I can see how we will be fine financially when I know we are going to get chunks of money, like tax return coming, but like you said in, I think lesson 8 of your course, it is so frustrating to get those bigger chunks because you want to make sure it goes to the right things, but when it runs out there is no flow, so you’re more stressed out.

We have ideas on creating flow, but are unable to see how to get there at this moment. I know it will come, but I know I need to trust I have enough now and be grateful for what we have. Any advice or inspiration would be so helpful. I know you probably don’t help this way, but if you do see this and you feel compelled to offer words of wisdom I would appreciate.

Life seems to be falling apart more the last couple of weeks that we have been investing in living this way than it has before. It just feels chaotic and overwhelming. Thank you for all that you have written and put together. We are extremely passionate about these principles and can see the truth of them in reading the scriptures and we know that Heavenly Father has led us to read your books to help us fulfill the plan for which he has placed us here. We are grateful for the future that has been created in us. I just need help to be grateful for where we are now.

Here is my response:

Hi Michelle, the good news is it doesn’t matter how chaotic or impossible things seem to be. God has a way of sustaining us and giving us what we need in the moment we need it as we choose to take a deep breath and trust him. It’s one of the hardest things you’ll ever do – it’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. And the only way to figure out how to do that is by trying and trying until you succeed.

You can’t do what I’m talking about unless life IS a chaotic mess… it’s the only path to discovering it’s true. Dare to believe that he’ll give you what you need today. As you get to the end of the day, look back and take notice of the things that went well. Are you still breathing? Are you fed? Do you have a roof over your head still? Look at that – he provided.

I would encourage you to listen to the podcasts if you aren’t already. There’s one that I’m trying to get published but it’s been held up in production called “Keep Calm and Watch What Happens”. Until that gets posted, try doing what the title suggest. When you feel the stress build, choose to be calm with the intention to see what being calm causes… keep repeating that to yourself “keep calm, and watch what happens…”

I dare you to test it. Let go of the need for things to be your way in your time. Practice being calm and let the Lord provide in HIS time, in His way. I promise you will see better results as you do that, than if you continue to fuss and fret that it isn’t already the way you think it should be.

Michelle replied:

That is exactly what I needed to hear. Thank you for your response. I had been telling myself, “Good thing, bad thing, who knows.” But I need to remember to be calm and watch. I will look forward to that podcast. I have been absorbing so much and it is bringing life into our lives. Thank you!

For more on this topic, visit www.prosperthefamily.com

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Going Debt-Free with Rare Faith

This stuff is real, folks.

Read feedback like this (below), and you can get some extra courage to test the Rare Faith principles in even more areas of your life than you might have previously considered. Check out this case study. Crystal writes:

I’ve struggled with the idea of money in this way, that if you choose a profession that makes a lot of money, you get it. If your passion is in a field that doesn’t make money, then you make do. That’s life, that’s how society works.

We live in a very affluent part of town… and so my neighbors, church friends, etc. are all medical or legal professionals. When we built our small home in the most expensive neighborhood (thanks to purchasing family land) I struggled with the idea that because my husband prefers not to work in the medical or legal profession, we were stuck.

So my inner battle began with why the Lord would make it so. Why do we have precious metals, diamonds, and luxury if all we were meant to do was survive and endure. My family growing up did ok, but not great. I felt a huge void and frustration, feeling the ‘piety mentality’ of our religious culture. I didn’t feel like anyone that did well was terrible, in fact, I believed all those I knew that had wealth were great and wonderful people. But somehow there was a disconnect with me, that I wouldn’t be a good person anymore if I had wealth. And then there was the guilt of feeling ungrateful that what my husband brought home wasn’t good enough. I am always grateful. We make double now than when we were in school, but we’d still be considered below poverty level on the national level.

In comes the game changer. We built our home in 2014, and it was a miracle of miracles on how that happened. In so doing, we had deferred loans from friends/family that would come due in 2015 that would be beyond our budget. In August 2015, my Stake President gave a challenge to get out of debt. He said to be out of consumer debt in 2 years and then completely out of debt in 5 years, because we can’t help others when we are in bondage.

We came home and immediately realized my husband’s income would need to double if we were going to make it. So logically, it would be impossible. And then I got REALLY excited! Because if this is a challenge from the Lord, HE would create the miracle and the means to accomplish it.

That same month, my mom called and handed over the family business. It immediately brought a little in that would pay the extra we needed for the family loans. Because of the family business, we were able to pay off $65,000 in 2 years. Completely unfathomable to our circumstances.

Then in April 2017, I found the missing piece to my puzzle. Both my husband and I are ‘number nerds’. Finance has always been easy for me to understand, and I found a platform and company that followed the same core values and interest in helping people. I had flexible hours, and could even work with my kids with me, and it has been an amazing journey. That was my first introduction to mentor-ship and leadership that cared. I felt like I was seeing in color for the first time, and everything in my life improved. My family relationships improved, my desire to be closer to God improved, and I was making money doing what I LOVED. The only hang up was that I was still struggling internally with the ‘piety mentality’.

I felt the abundance mindset take over [some] and that helped a lot … [but] I didn’t know what to do. I felt like I just needed to deal with it; however, I [also] knew [the piety mindset]… would be a major setback. …

Then a new entrepreneur friend talked to me, and she had been using a vision board for years and had success with her different businesses … We talked one day and she mentioned she just learned about a book called the Jackrabbit Factor. She had just started reading it with her daughter and thought it was pretty good. So I looked it up and lo and behold, I can access it immediately through a free download! WOW!

…I read it in two days and sent a huge thank you to my friend. She laughed and said ‘Wow, I’m still only halfway through, now I really want to get through it!’

Soon after I learned about the other books and read them. They filled in the void! They answered all my questions and silenced my fears / doubts / concerns. When 3 different sources explained the idea of the camel going through the eye of the needle and rich man scripture, I knew that the Lord answered my unspoken prayers through your work. I will be forever grateful that you followed through with the process and writing and sacrificing to share what you learned. And it’s a miracle to see how the Lord works through your efforts to bless SO many! Now with 2 years left, we know that we’ll be able to become debt free!!!

My mom came home from her mission to Brazil at the end of June and spent the rest of the summer with me. She is an incredible woman, but has dealt with a lot of hardship. She is my best friend, and when I read your works, I shared them with her. She is trying to reinvent herself (as most do in retirement) and I’ve seen a strength come through that hasn’t been there before. It’s beautiful to behold. The way you explain concepts, it resonates with her and gives her confidence to not give up and to continue to develop and create an impact in her new stage of life.

After learning the principles and laws, it was fun to reflect on past blessings / miracles / experiences and recognize that they followed the principles. For example, I have 4 brothers, no sisters, and I’m in the middle. I always dreamed of having a sister, but always wanted an older one named Catherine. That’s a tall order to give your mom! In 2012, my younger brother married a beautiful woman named Catherine, and she happens to be 5 years old than him, making her 3 years older than me! WOW!

Then we always wanted a play house growing up, but never got one. Then we have a house of our own, 4 young kids that would love one, but because we have goals to get out of debt, it’s not even close to the top of our list. It almost became one of those things that we didn’t think we would ever buy because there would always be something else that we’d spend our money on. Then our sweet old neighbors call me up one day and says ‘I saw the cutest playhouse, so I got one for your kids, it’s coming in a couple weeks’. I since learned her friend actually ordered it online because she doesn’t use a computer and didn’t know what our house looked like. I’m thinking its a plastic one. It shows up as a couple boxes of lumber, we get it put together, and it completely matches our house color, down to the same red door and color of our mailbox. My kids LOVE it and it’s better than anything I would have imagined.

Now I truly believe that we have miracles and blessings, I talk a lot about the Lord knowing the desires of my heart, even the unspoken ones, and fulfilling them. I really appreciate what I’ve learned from your books, podcast, and overall content. We are looking forward to doing your e-course and someday I plan to attend a 3-day course with my husband. I feel so empowered, and I see that in my mother.

I know I’ve written you a novel, but I wanted to thank you for working SO hard those years long ago, as you went through your own struggles and breakthroughs. I love to see how we can still bless others through our trials, it’s incredible. We also enjoyed the event your son hosted, it was wonderful. I feel a sense of urgency to figure out everything the Lord needs me to do, so that I can create the springboard for the intense positive influence our children will have in the world. Leslie, thank you for being you! All the best! – Crystal C.

Thanks so much for your amazing story, Crystal!

___________

Learn the Laws FREE at www.HiddenTreasuresBook.com

Do YOU have something to say? Comment below, or contact me here.

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Think Prosperously, Behave Frugally

Here is a question from one of my readers that I thought was worthwhile to share with you.

Question:

How do you think, especially speak, feel, and act as though you are rich, and…

A. not spend money you don’t have?

B. still give positive responses as though the money is here now to people asking you to do things you don’t have the money for???

How do you “feel” like the money is here now, when you see something you want to buy, and can’t responsibly do that?

My Answer:

You can accomplish the “feel” task during a quiet moment of meditation – a finite length of time. Sometimes I’ll just go lay down for a nap and let myself daydream and feel the abundance I’m hoping for, and allow my mind to experience its reality, even if it is just for a few minutes. That’s planting the seed, and turning it over to the subconscious.

Then when you’re back to life as usual, behave responsibly. Say no when an irresponsible purchase is tempting you. Determine the difference between an irresponsible purchase and one that may lead you to the solutions you are searching for.

If you have planted the seed, then you will be led to opportunities, and there may be a twinge of fear in taking advantage of them, but it is a different kind of fear than the kind that accompanies frivolous purchases. Deep down, if you have a clear vision of where you ultimately want to be, you’ll know the difference. If it’s the kind of fear that prevents your progression, then it is worth facing. If it is the kind of fear that protects you from making a mistake, then pay attention to it.

How can you know the difference? If you spend the time visualizing and feeling like I’ve suggested, then when the fear comes, you’ll know in your gut which kind it is.

Out of all I’ve just said, the part that most people will NEVER do is to take the time to daydream, visualize, and FEEL, and approach it like a task on their to-do list. Do it, then check it off, and watch for the opportunities to come. Do it, and notice how much more clearly it is to discern a distraction or trap from an opportunity.

When you get confused or fearful, do it again, check it off, and move your feet forward, expecting clarity to come as you go.

Be smart with your spending, only live abundantly in your mind, enjoying the “experience” of virtual prosperity, but then live life as normal. In time, circumstances will re-arrange themselves to open the right doors and bring you the right opportunities, until reality can reflect the images of your thoughts.

Optimism will lead you to financial solutions, but be smart and live responsibly in the here and now.

Above all, stick to sound principles. We got caught a big debt trap even several years after learning these principles, because we got too excited about changing things too quickly. It was a painful lesson to learn, so now I discourage you from using credit to purchase my trainings or products. I’ll tell you instead to read The Jackrabbit Factor FREE, and do what it teaches to obtain the money you need.

I strongly advise you to give 10% to charity and save 10% of your earnings as well, no matter what you make. If you can’t, then get another or better job, or cut back on your lifestyle. Yes, I just said that.

Build a solid financial foundation. Do the hard things now on the way to your dream. Establish sound financial habits that will follow you into prosperity. If you are careless with the little money, you’ll be careless with the big money. It happened to us. It’s pretty much a law of nature: human nature.

Pay attention to the market trends and don’t get caught up in the frenzies. There will always be ups and downs. And ups. If you missed a window of opportunity, just put your life and house in order so that you’ll be ready for the next one. Practice delayed gratification.

You might be surprised to know that we are not paying for our children’s educations – we’re teaching them that they will need to earn the money or get scholarships. We are teaching them to avoid debt like the plague, even for their education. So far so good. I hope they stick to it, even if it takes them longer to finish. I tell them to sacrifice, work, think long term, and watch the opportunities come. I believe God honors and blesses those who practice wisdom.

He also lets us do stupid things, so trust me – be wise. Be the weird one in your circle of friends who doesn’t have all the luxuries, because you’re working a long-term plan. As the old adage goes, the last shall be first and the first shall be last.

All the while, practice the principles of right-thinking. Have faith. Think optimistically. Create a vision for where you’re going. Trust in the Law of Rhythm, and the Law of Polarity, and the Law of Vibration, especially. Read all about these laws FREE, here.

When you’re out shopping with your kids and they beg you to buy something, don’t say, “I can’t.” Instead say, “I choose not to spend my money on that.” Speak to empower. Even if you can’t afford it, your mind will hear and feel the response “I choose” differently than “I can’t.” And it time, you’ll see the effects. When the words you speak are in line with correct principles, your life can’t help but begin to move in a better direction. Originally published September 12, 2006

Related: To Debt or Not To Debt. Learn how the way you feel about the purchase can also affect the overall outcome.

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#50: Why do my Finances NEVER Change?

In this audio, Katie Vrajich interviews me as part of her Healthy, Happy Women Summit, where she interviewed five different women about topics that women seem to struggle with most: body image, food relationship, money relationship, parenting, sexuality, and mental health/self-care. My topic was on the money relationship segment.

As Katie says: “When you’re slogging through trials it is definitely easy to lose sight of where we’re going and why! I feel a renewed desire to share what I know and lift all the rest of the people who are currently slogging.”

Participant Feedback:

“THANK YOU…!! The cure for doubt is action…:)!! God cannot steer a parked car… The solution to every problem is only an idea away… What is the one thing, to do today? Decide what I want, and put it into writing, and then imagine…THANK YOU Leslie and Katie…” -Tina

“That was wonderful! I really enjoyed the positive feeling today. I will go check out your books, and I look forward to writing down what I want and taking the next step toward it. I want forward growth, even with the backwards steps.” -Janelle

“Thank you so much for this. I love the help with understanding some of these laws. Especially the part about how one negative moment doesn’t kill the dream. And thank you for your amazing books!!” -Aimee

Resources Mentioned:

The Visual Aid that Changed Everything – free video

Hidden Treasures book – free download

Jackrabbit Factor – free download

(Also in Freebies section at the bottom of this blog)

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