Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Say whaaaaaat?

So this is going to be a tough one.

I have thought about, scrutinized, debated, and tried to narrow down what I want to say here. This is a subject that is so vast, so sensitive, so easily taken offensively that it's hard to even put into words the things I want to say without causing an outrage on either side.

What could this subject possibly be?
My opinion. (gasp)

Now, before we begin, let me give you a background.
I'm a Mormon. I would consider myself more of a "left wing" Mormon, but I'm a Mormon nonetheless. I grew up going to primary, mutual, seminary, institute, etc. I never questioned the only religion I had ever known because I never felt like I had to. I just did it because I knew it was good and right and I never really thought twice about it. I have no qualms whatsoever with the way I was raised or what I learned in all of my years of attending church. I consider myself incredibly blessed to have the beliefs that I do and that I have never doubted what I've been taught. The gospel of Jesus Christ and its principals just make sense to me.
However, there are certain opinions I have on things that would put me in more of the "liberal" side of the church. Like, I have no problem with gay marriage. I personally believe that if you love someone you should be with them regardless if your the same gender or not. I think that women should be in charge of their own bodies and that they have the right to do what they want with it. I also think that regardless of who is voted in as president, we're all screwed.

Now, with all of that out of the way, here is the reason I've decided to put this out there and share with you my recent thoughts on some things.
Recently, I've had a lot of discussions with friends and family on where we all stand on the whole religion front. I hear lots of comments like, "I feel like I've been lied to", "I'm just not into it right now", "I'm just going through the motions" and many more under that same vein. Unfortunately, when talking about this, most of the opinions happen to be more negative than not.

I am not going to sit here and tell you about how perfect I am because I've never questioned my religion or that because it comes naturally to me that I haven't done things that I'm not proud of. I definitely have done things that I'm not proud of. I don't love going to church most of the time. I actually can't stand the Mormon culture. I think that some Mormons are some of the biggest hypocrites I've ever known. But, just like you and me, we are all trying our hardest to survive.

We live in a time that kind of sucks. There is hatred like we've never seen before coming from all directions. People feel the need to share every thought and feeling about anything and everything and if you don't agree with what they have to say, you're the bad guy. Everyone has an opinion about everything. Children are growing up with social media that is crippling their social skills and taking away the need for actual human interaction. We are developing complexes where if we don't get a certain amount of "likes" on a post or picture, it makes us question our own self worth. We are on a dangerous spiral and the future honestly scares me.

With all of this going on, it has become so easy for us to disregard our own thoughts and feelings on things and follow what seems to be "normal". For some of us, when we hear other's opinions or views on a subject, it's almost like whoever wrote it or said it knew exactly what we needed to hear. It's hard to form our own opinions on things because there are a thousand different voices from a thousand different articles and blogs that are almost telling us how we feel about something. For the record though, that is not my intention here. You can read this blog and love it or hate it, it makes no difference to me. My only intention is that if you do read it, that you remember that regardless of where you stand on anything, we are all in this together.

In a few discussions that I've had over the last couple of months, I've been hearing a lot of how religion just isn't playing a part in our society anymore. Most of us really are just going through the motions. I'm definitely one of them.
Being older, not married, childless, and currently on a journey of self discovery.......again, I have a hard time going to church and listening to lesson after lesson, talk after talk about the joys of marriage. I am so grateful for my parents for giving me the opportunity to be with them for eternity but that's about as far as it goes for me. It's like someone telling you how amazing their piece of cake is. They just keep talking about how yummy and delicious it is and they just go on and on and on telling you how if only you could have a bite of this magical cake, you would really understand just how delicious it is. But, you can't have any of this cake because you're diabetic. After a certain point, you start to feel like there's something wrong with you and most of the time it's totally out of your control. It's not very fun.

I understand being over something. Not feeling it. Not wanting to deal with it. Not being excited about it. I get it.

I don't care how you live your life. I don't care if you agree with what I have to say about anything. I don't care if you think that I'm insane for believing that there was a 14 year old boy in the 1800's that saw God. I don't care if you believe whether or not there even is a God. There are a thousand things that we can disagree on.

We are all struggling. We all have our vices. We all have bitterness towards something or someone. We all have opinions that we are afraid to share because we know what can happen if someone disagrees with us. We've all been burned. We've all been lied to. We've all been hurt more deeply than we care to admit. We all have problems. We are all flawed.

There is one thing in this life that I know to be true: God loves you.

Regardless of whether or not you go to church, don't go to church, if you're a saint or a heathen, He is still there and He will always love you. I am a living breathing example of the blessings of the sacrifice that Jesus Christ made for all of us when He suffered and bled for each and every one of us. Whether or not you believe that that actually happened, I'm here to tell you that I have witnessed the comfort that comes from turning to Him and giving Him the pain and the guilt that can come from turning your back on what you know to be true and falling so hard and so fast that you don't think that you'll ever be happy again. The Atonement is no longer a theory or an idea to me. It's real. I KNOW that it is.

Now, to those of us that are "going through the motions". We have the opportunity in this day and age to be examples. We, as Mormons, are a peculiar group of people with some weird history that some of us are ashamed of. There are so many closets with so many skeletons in them and some of us feel like they should have just stayed there. We are at a crucial time when it's up to us to be the ones who make waves. To everyone, don't be afraid of asking questions. Don't be afraid of failing. Don't be ashamed if you're the one that disagrees. Don't be quiet about what you believe. Don't be angry anymore. Don't be offendable. If you have been offended, figure out why and move on. Don't be afraid to admit that you make mistakes. Don't be afraid to be upset that you feel betrayed. Embrace the things that bring you happiness. Be a force for good. Be an example of perseverance. Be a trailblazer. Forgive others. Forgive yourselves. Read articles. Read blogs. Find out what works for you. If you feel like you need to be on a different path, follow that path. Embrace life as it comes. Let's put aside our differences and make the best of it.

I didn't intend for this to be a religious post. But honestly, I'm glad that it did. For all of the bad in the world there is so much good. For every wrong there is a right. For every devil there is an angel. I'm so glad that I have a foundation that taught me that I can be happy no matter what's going on in the world or in my head. Whether or not we agree on what it is, we all know that when we break things down, when we find out what makes us happy, we're all a little bit easier to handle.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Flying Solo


Solo. Separated. Unattached. Lone. Only. Secluded. Private. Simple. Strange. Singular. Odd.

How can such a single word have so many meanings? (sorry, I had to).  How can it make one feel so alone? To some who are recently divorced, or have just lost a spouse, or just gotten out of a relationship, it may seem like being "back on the market" is the never ending nightmare to an already terrible situation.

I recently read a blog about a wife who had lost her husband. It is truly a heartbreaking story and I wouldn't wish that situation on anyone. There was one post though about how being "single again" was something that she had always dreaded. Granted she had children and suddenly she was all alone in raising them and although I don't fully understand what it's like to be in that situation, and I would never want that for me or anyone else, I couldn't help feeling like being "single" was one of her greatest fears.

In reading that post, it really made me step back and try and figure out what it was about being "single" that was so terrible. Why was she so afraid of it? Why is it such a bad thing? Or is it a bad thing?

I recognize that we as humans are not meant to live this life alone. We are sent down to all kinds of families and all kinds of cultures and lifestyles. We all have a mother and a father and whether or not we spend our lives with the ones that created us, we still have them. The history of the world is filled with stories upon stories both fiction and non fiction of finding a person that completes another person and falling madly in love and blah...blah...blah. I am however, not deluded enough to think that there is just one "soul mate" for anyone.

A couple of years ago my sweet Nana passed away leaving behind a loving husband who was her best friend and caretaker for many years. He was devastated. He spent a couple of months just kind of existing because even though he wouldn't admit it, he was heartbroken and lonely. I saw that big strong man cry in the sadness of her loss and shed tears of happiness and gratitude for the love that he shared with her as his wife.
It didn't take long for him to gather up the pieces and start looking for a "lady friend" as he called it. He is a very generous man and in talking to him, he told me that he just wanted someone to "take to the movies or go on a car ride. Nothing serious."
Well, he found someone and after a few months of car rides and movies, they were soon inseparable. It was like this 70+ year old man was suddenly a 16 year old boy just head over heels in love. All we heard about for the better part of a year was how sweet and amazing the new lady in his life was. And she truly is. She has brought so much life back into my Papa and I truly know that they were meant to be together. She too had lost her spouse and to see the happiness that those two bring to each other makes me so incredibly grateful. They were married last weekend and now I have even more family and I'm so thankful for that.
Just because my Nana passed away after 50 or so years of marriage, should my Papa have given up and said "well, that was a fun ride, guess I'll just hang out now until my time comes"? No. He did
exactly what he should've done. He found another "better half".

Whether it's a death, divorce, being single,  or whatever life brings you, it is and can always be a learning experience. Sometimes we are stripped of the things that we have worked so hard for and have sacrificed everything to achieve. Sometimes no matter what we do, we never receive the things we want so badly. Sometimes even though we think we know best, 100% of the time, there is someone that knows better.

We need to get back up on the proverbial horse and choose to be OK with the hand that life has dealt us. We have no control over other people's choices or actions and even though sometimes those choices and actions directly effect us, we have to choose to rise above. If the one we thought was "the one", and they aren't anymore, then you know what, they probably weren't. If we tragically loose someone, there is someone else waiting for us that will make us just as happy.

The hand that life has dealt me thus far is certainly not the one I thought I was going to get. I have had the greatest happiness I have ever known, and just like everyone else, at times I have to wonder if what I'm going through at a particular moment could be any worse. Pretty normal, right? But just like everyone else, I have to get up, get out of bed, put on my happy face, and try my hardest.

And I do it all by myself. Single. Alone. Unattached.

These words don't define me. They strengthen me.

I refuse to let the fact that I'm SINGLE reduce me to a stereotype. I'm not a stigma.

In this past year, I have come to know a lot about myself. I'm not afraid of being alone. I actually kind of like it. I'm strong. I'm confident. I have weaknesses. I have strengths. Although we all need to grow and progress, I'm comfortable with who and where I am. Sometimes I know what I want and sometimes I don't. I'm not afraid of the paths that are in my future. I get up everyday, I live my life, and I have nothing to complain about.

I'm taking this opportunity to say that if you're single, alone, lonely, unattached, abandoned, forgotten, removed, ignored, EMBRACE IT. You are stronger than what you're going through. You are far greater than you could ever imagine. Figure out who you are. Find out what you like about yourself. Face what you don't like about yourself and change it. Make yourself better. What makes you happy? What makes you sad? Can you look at yourself in the mirror and honestly say that you like that person? If you don't, change. Get to know yourself a little better and maybe someday, someone will be lucky enough to get to know you too. Make no apologies for who you are.

If you find yourself in a crappy situation whether it's self induced or not, take the opportunity to make it a learning experience. Instead of saying "what's wrong with this person or that person" turn inward and ask "what's wrong with me and how can I make ME better?" I am a living example that this works. There are a couple of people that are still living thanks to this little process. Believe me it's hard but you will learn so much about yourself and it will carry you through things you didn't think were possible.

We are all individuals. Single human beings that may or may not find another single human being to be single human beings together. We are made to be individually great and together, even greater. Be worthy of yourself and who you are meant to be. Realize that being a SINGLE, extraordinary, excellent, superior, uncommon, special PERSON starts with one.

This is one of my favorite songs.          Relient K Up and Up (acoustic)

Here are the lyrics:                                

Was not quite what it could've been
As were most of all the days before
But I swear today
With every breath I'm breathing in
I'll be trying to make it so much more

Cause it seems I get so hung up on
The history of what's gone wrong
And the hope of a new day
Is sometimes hard to see
But I'm finally catching onto it
Yeah the past is just a conduit
And the life there at the end
Is where I'll be

Cause I'm on the up and up
I'm on the up and up
And I haven't given up
Given up on what
I know I'm capable of
Yeah I'm on the up and up
Yeah there's nothing left to prove
Cause I'm just trying to be
A better version of me
For you
A better version of me
For you

Now I have all that I could ever need
The confidence of knowing there's still time
Time to make amends and try to build a better me
And to take the right steps as this road unwinds

You see I'm finally catching onto it
Yeah the past is just a conduit
And the life there at the end
Is where I'll be

Cause I'm on the up and up
I'm on the up and up
And I haven't given up
Given up on what
I'm not capable of
And I'm on the up and up
I'm on the up and up
And now there's nothing left to prove
Cause I'm just trying to be
A better version of me
For you
A better version of me
For you

You never cease
To supply me with
What I need
For a good life
So when I'm down
I'll hold my head up high
Cause you're the reason why

I'm on the up and up
I'm on the up and up
And I haven't given up
Given up on what
I'm not capable of
And I'm on the up and up
I'm on the up and up
And now there's nothing left to prove
Cause I'm just trying to be
A better version of me
For you
(Trying to be a better version of me for you)
I'm just trying to be a better version of me
For you 

Monday, June 9, 2014

I get by with a little help from my friends....

Let me start this with a disclaimer. I have a tendency to ramble, as I'm sure you've come to realize.
There has been a lot of learning recently and I'm trying to articulate what I've learned the best I can.
Here it goes:

Friends. We all have them.
Some have stood the test of time and some have not. Some have been an influence for good and some have influenced me to move on. Sometimes, your mom is your only friend...no judgment here.
Whatever the case may be, I am so grateful for each and every one of them.

Sometimes we meet people that are meant to be in our lives for only a short period of time. This has happened to me many times and without those people, I would have never learned the important lessons I needed to. Sometimes we meet people that maybe we didn't get along with at first but then they become the nearest and dearest of friends. Sometimes we meet people and we have no desire to ever see them again. We have all had these kinds of people in our lives.

In the many comings and goings of such people, I've learned a lot about myself.

Recently, I've discovered that I'm an introvert.

If you want to know what that is, here's a link

Now, I don't fall under every single category but if you really know me, I think you would agree it's pretty spot on. (#11 is actually my parents to a T. Between the two of them I got a pretty good mixture of the different personalities so I've got that going for me.)

Despite the fact that I don't love being in massive groups, I do love meeting new people and finding out their story. Where they're from, how they got to where they are, their ideas on things, etc. The small talk, not so much but I'll have a deep conversation any day.

Now that I've discovered the why's and how's of how I deal with things, I've done a lot of reading on this particular personality.
My whole life I've enjoyed my "alone time". I was getting a pedicure one day, by myself, and I came across this picture
It all made so much sense. Just like my girl Audrey, I love my alone time. It's my sanctuary.
I am by no means a recluse, or an agoraphobic, but for me, when I want to be with people I want it to mean something. I want my time to be filled with good things and good people.
Along with this whole introvert thing, I'm more of a listener than a talker. If you and I are having a conversation, I will most likely listen to what you have to say and I will share my opinion but if I feel like you just need a listener, you'll get one.
On the other hand, you will rarely hear me talk about myself...and my feelings.
There are very few people in this world that know my true thoughts and feelings. Few have seen me cry. I don't keep things from people because I have something to hide, and I will never judge you for your "skeletons in the closet". To be completely honest, I don't know why. I guess I just don't really feel the need to lay it all on the line with every conversation that I have.
I guess you could say that trust plays a big role in what kind of conversation we may have. I love talking to everyone, a trait I inherited from my mother, but don't expect a detailed history of well...anything, a trait I inherited from my father.
Where am I going with this?  Well, again because I'm my mother's daughter, probably in circles, 
(love you mom!) but let me go back to the friend part.
There are people in my life that have come and gone and some that have made a lasting impression. I cherish them all and they have shaped me into who I am today.
To the ones I knew as a kid: if you know what the "dirt trails" were and how to make a rainy day turn into a swimming pool, I'd say we couldn't have asked for a better childhood.
To the ones in my high school years: I could not have asked for better friends to share those amazing years with. We had some good times and I have the videos to prove it! You all made that experience the best it could have possibly been and I will cherish those memories forever. BSB for life!!
To the ones on my mission: thank you for your examples. I don't see many of you very often but we will always share that experience. I literally would not be the person I am without you.
To the ones after my mission/my SLC family : you know who you are. You were there for me in a time when I was awkward and you didn't care...or you didn't know I was awkward and in that case I'm ok with it. You were there at a time in my life where I was trying to figure myself out whether you know it or not, you all played a part in making me more awesome.
To the ones now: Thank you. Thank you for believing in me. Thank you for being there for me. Thank you for thinking I'm great. You have put up with my shenanigans, my mood swings, my pensive-ness, my energy bursts, and my coma-like lethargy. Thank you for thinking I'm funny and for being the type of people that make me feel good about myself.
From someone that has a difficult time expressing my feelings out loud, writing (or I guess typing) all of this down has given me an opportunity to share things that I haven't been able to articulate.
The good news is, it's taken me a while to put all of this on here so by the time I'm done I will be fully "refueled".
Let's Party!
"True friends are families which you can select."
                                                            -Audrey Hepburn

Friday, April 25, 2014

The lesson I learned from a pizza

I went to lunch with my friend today. We go to lunch a lot together and with limited options, we usually have a hard time deciding on where to go. We finally decided to go to a new restaurant in town and I new it was going to be good because I had been there before. At that point I was starving so pretty much anything sounded good.
When we got there, we started with our usual conversation: how's work? how's life? did you know that so-and-so said such-and-such, and on and on.
As we looked over the menu, trying to find something to "hit the spot" was hard to do in between talking and texting but we finally decided to get a pizza and I won't lie...it was delicious.

First, the dough was the perfect amount of fluffiness, it had alfredo sauce instead of the regular marinara, there were mushrooms, bacon, chicken, tomatoes (which I loved and my friend picked off), spinach, and the perfect amount of cheese. We also got a salad and some breadsticks and they were delicious but the pizza really hit the spot. After loading up on some serious carbs, we were both full to the brim so we asked for a box and ended up taking half of the pizza and some of the breadsticks with us.
I went back to my job and she went back to hers. It was chilly outside so I figured I could just leave it in my car and it would be ok.
I finished out my very long work day and by the end of it I was hungry again. I've never understood how you can eat until you almost puke and then somehow, however long later you're hungry again. Anyway, when I got back into my car, I could smell that pizza and I couldn't wait to get home, warm that sucker up, and chow down.

My commute to and from work is about 20+ minutes each way so needless to say it taunted me the whole way with it's delightful smell. Mushrooms...tomatoes...cheese....chicken....by then my tummy was growling.
As I got about 3/4 of the way home, I got stopped at a stop light. As I sat there, I looked over to my left and I saw a woman probably in her late 40's wearing a hoody with a jacket over it and she had the hood tied tightly around her head obviously trying to keep warm. It had just started to rain a little bit and the wind was relentless so I can only imagine how much fun sitting outside would be. With her was a younger girl, possibly her daughter, around late teens to early 20's and she was holding a sign. The sign was just a piece of cardboard with marker written on it that read "hungry and broke. anything helps."

Now, I've been around my fair share of homeless people. It may sound insensitive but having lived in and visited bigger cities, you tend to look the other way when people are sitting or standing with their signs asking for money. However, there was one I saw in Las Vegas that was really funny. It was a guy that looked like he had been at it a while and his sign said "too ugly to be a prostitute." It was pretty clever I thought.

As I was trying to turn a blind eye to those two ladies sitting on that corner, I started thinking about my pizza. The smell was still taunting me and my stomach was still growling.
Then I thought, you know what? I don't NEED that pizza. As with most people, I realize that I could stand to eat a little healthier, and by that time it was about 8 pm and I knew I shouldn't really gorge myself on all that bread that late anyway (not that that stops me most of the time).
I thought, it's probably going to just sit in my fridge and if it does get eaten tonight, I might not even be the one that gets to eat it (it's a full house over here so you've got to take what you can get).

Somehow with in the few seconds it took for that light to turn green, I had had an inner battle that ultimately decided that I would give my pizza to those hungry women. By then I was down the street a little ways so I made a U turn and headed back to where they were sitting. I pulled up next to them and said, "so I have half a pizza in my back seat if you guys want it." They looked at each other like, who is this broad and why is she being so creepy? After a second the younger girl asked, "are you sure?" "of course I am", I said. "I was just heading home and I figured I wasn't going to eat it anyway." I got out of my car and gave them the delicious delight that I had been dreaming about up until that point. Both ladies were very nice and I hoped that they would enjoy that pizza just as much as I had.
As I drove away, I could see them open the box and they were smiling.


They were sitting in mid-April weather, outside, in Idaho, with maybe a couple of blankets to keep them warm , the wind and rain picking up again as it had a hundred times that day, some random stranger had pulled up to them, offered them some leftovers, and then drove off.
And they were happy about it.

With another 10 minutes or so left on my way home, I thought about that.
I thought about all of the times I had taken my leftovers home fully intending on finishing them later, but never got to them and then they got thrown away. I thought about the money I spend everyday on lunches and how I take for granted that I can just hop in my car and go wherever my stomach takes me.
I thought about those two women and how a simple half of a pizza, not even their pizza, was quite possibly their only meal that day, and how they looked as I drove away.

Now, let me tell you something. I am not a "save the world" enthusiast. I buy Tom's shoes because I love them and I figure it's an added bonus that for every pair you buy, they give a pair of shoes to a child in Africa or somewhere. As long as they keep making them, I'm going to keep buying them and as long as they give to the children, the less I feel bad about it.

But for real, it's a good cause

I will say that I do take it upon myself to recycle whenever I can but it's definitely not all of the time. I believe in keeping the earth beautiful and it does drive me crazy when someone has those big exhaust pipes on their truck which they are obviously overcompensating with.

I am however a "save the people" kind of person. Having served a mission, I realize the importance of salvation and the need for spirituality in your life. I've seen people light up when you tell them that there are bigger and better things in this life and in the life to come. I've felt the Spirit testify that God lives and He loves us. I wish I could say that that knowledge dictates my feelings towards others but I'm not perfect in that area and some people just drive me insane.

I understand the responsibility we all have to take care of each other whether it's donating clothes or just listening to someone when they are having a rough time.
I understand that we aren't all blessed with the comforts and luxuries that life has to offer. Some of us have fallen on hard times, whether temporal or spiritual, and we may feel like we'll never get out of the hole we have dug ourselves into.
We are all here for the same purpose. To learn and to grow.
Whatever path we are on, whatever choices we have made, we are where we are for a reason.
I truly believe people are put in our lives to help us.

Sometimes they are there to help us realize that there are much crazier people than we thought, and so those who we thought were craziest aren't so bad.
Sometimes they are there to help us realize how we should or shouldn't be treated and how valuable we really are.
Sometimes they are there to help teach us patience, both with them and with ourselves.
Sometimes they are there to make us remember that the things we take for granted, other people are forced to sit on street corners with a homemade sign asking for the very thing we have sitting in the backseat of our car that may never get eaten.

I will never see those two women again. I hope with all of my heart that they are doing well. I hope that they have a warm place to sleep and a roof over their heads. I hope that they understand that that pizza was something I wanted but they needed more than I did...and I very happily gave it to them Not because I'm a saint, but because I realize that maybe I was put in their lives to help them remember that there is something out there that wants them to know that they aren't forgotten.
Don't we all need that sometimes?

Through all of this, I hope that I remember how good it felt to give. To put myself in situations where I can be a vessel for good. To forget about the things I want and realize that when I feel like nothing is going right, I have zero reason to complain.
To keep a smile on my face because I know that I'm being watched over and that I may not always have the "things" that I need, but I will always have a way to find something even better.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

"Rejoice with your family in the beautiful land of life." -Albert Einstein

So tonight I sent my sister a picture that I had taken of myself earlier today that was not flattering...to say the least. I pride myself on being somewhat photogenic but not this one. It was pretty bad.

Well, this started a pretty hilarious chain of picture messages that was a glorious collection of some of the nastiest faces we could pull.
(we are really pretty. Luckily my mom and Ivy got to save themselves the embarrassment of having their nasty face blogged about)

If you were to ask me what kind of family I had, my reply would be that I have the best family anyone could ever ask for.
When we get together we laugh. We cry. We fight. We tease. And well, we mostly laugh.
There are no "hidden under the rugs" or "skeletons in the closets".
We are straight up, in your face, what you see is what you get kind of people.
And I love everything about all of them.

I have always been taught that you put your family first. We have always supported each other in every dance competition, basketball or football game, wrestling match, mission, marriage, child birth, heartache, achievement, screw-up, and anything else you can think of.
At times some of us have fallen off the path and there has never been any doubt that we wouldn't support each other through it with a firm but loving "get your crap together or we'll kill you" kind of nudge.
I truly would not be here without that support.

I know that family is central to God's plan for us. We were not meant to be alone in this life or the life to come. We are meant to be surrounded by people we love and who love us back. And that could be any type of "family" we choose it to be.
Not all of us will be blessed to have children or spouses of our own. Some of us haven't been blessed with them yet. I'm one of them. And like I've said before...that's ok!!
I have never and will never say that I'm alone. I know that I was sent here to the greatest family anyone could ask for as have so many other people.
I have many friends that don't have the best family or home life. They fill certain voids with wordly or temporal things. They are grasping for anything that will let them know that they are loved.
All I can do for them is let them know that I know that they are loved and that I think that they are great. It is not my place to make them feel judged or ostracized just because their life or their choices are different than mine. And sometimes that's all we can do. Sometimes all we can do is let people know they are great. That they are loved. That they can find happiness.
My sister sent this to me a while back:

                                                         Well Meg, I think you're great.

In this current journey of self discovery, I've decided that I'm going to focus on the things that make me happy. The things that make me grateful.
Today, it's my family.
Earlier today I listened as my little brother stood and told a congregation his testimony of the Savior. It blew me away. To hear such a strong, simple testimony come from a 20 something kid was just awesome.
I spent most of the day hanging out with my other brother, his wife and baby, and my parents. We video chatted with my sister and nephew in UT and my nephew had to tell me about all the random things a 3 year old tells people.
For the most part it was a lazy day. But it was an amazing day. It was a day I spent with my family.

Am I going to say we are perfect? No. We have had our knock down drag out fights. But, those usually end with someone releasing some bodily gas...to put it nicely, and someone laughs and we end the fight with hugs and kisses all around.
I have always known that no matter what is going on, you have to let the bad things go. You have to enjoy what you're doing and if you don't, find something that you do enjoy...or just suck it up and make it enjoyable.
I could go on and on about the life lessons and the fact that my family is amazing but I'll stop it there.
Here are the things that I will say:
You're never alone.
You have a family, whether by blood or by choice.
Whoever your family is or whoever you've chosen them to be, love them. Unconditionally.

I'm so happy that I have these crazy people I call a family and whom I love more than life.
I'm so grateful to know that my family is eternal and that my Heavenly Father's plan for me is to be with them forever.
No matter where I am in life, I have them.
And if that's all I ever have, that's all I'll ever need.

Monday, March 31, 2014

"Cameron Frye, this one's for you..."

I'm home sick today.
I don't mean like when I was in high school and I faked a headache or a stomach bug just to get out of as assignment or something. I mean like straight up I don't want to get out of bed sick.
This is the kind of day when my impressive movie collection comes to good use. Throughout my adult life and lack of cable or satellite in the places I've lived, I've become a pro at digging through the $5 movie bins and finding some real gems. I have everything from Baby Mama to the Harry Potter series, The Holiday to Hocus Pocus, and Pretty in Pink to Hairspray. Its random but I love it.
In trying to keep myself entertained, I once again found myself debating on which movie to watch. The one that popped out at me was Ferris Bueller's Day Off. A true classic that never disappoints.
For anyone that hasn't seen it, I'm embarrassed for you. Not really but you're really missing out. It's one of John Hugh's classic 80's comedies which I seriously love. It's a story about a high school student, Ferris, his girlfriend, Simone, and his best friend, Cameron. Ferris pretends to be sick to get out of going to school (a scenario I know very well) and the 3 embark on an adventure I don't know if I would have the guts to attempt.
Throughout the movie, Cameron is constantly worried about getting caught. At one point, they are sitting in a cab and Cameron says that they need to get back before they get into trouble. In an attempt to make Cameron forget about getting caught Ferris asks him, "what have you seen today?" Cameron then says, "nothing good" which of course offends Ferris and he lists off a list of things they had seen that I for one am jealous of.

This got me thinking.

When things are happening around us, whether good or bad, how are we reacting to them? Are we the one that's reveling in the experiences or are we the one in a panic because we are worried about the bad that might happen? Are we the one who sees the beauty and take it as a learning opportunity, or are we the one that is so worried about the future that we aren't embracing the present?
I can sometimes be both. I tend to live in the past, present, and future.
My life is nothing like I thought it would be. I'm 30 years old, single, living in my home town, working a full time at a job I never thought I would have, and in a weird way I am loving it.
Most people my age, and younger, are married and have babies. Would I love to trade places with them? In a heartbeat.  Would I give anything to be in their position as a wife and a mother? Absolutely. But I can't.

All I can do is live my life.
Should I sit around and cry because my prince charming hasn't ridden in on his white horse to rescue me from the village "single"? Should I curse the heavens because I don't have a husband or children? Should I walk around with a scowl of my face just because I don't have the things I thought I would have by now? No.
Being an LDS single adult is no easy task. Especially where I live. The average sized, predominately Mormon town I grew up in, is sometimes a difficult place to re-invent oneself.
I served a mission in an area where Latter-Day Saints were very few and far between and the average marriage age was between 30-40...if not later.
Being 21 and 22 at the time, I thought, dang, I'm practically a baby whereas back home I was hitting "spinster status".
Well, those days are long gone and after a full-time mission, 2 years in Salt Lake and 6 years back in my hometown, here I am. "Spinster status" has come and gone and now we're getting into "Cougar territory".

A couple of weeks ago, I was talking to some friends that are in the same situation that I am in. 30's, single, working, and tired of the stigma.
What stigma? I'll tell you.
Again, being an LDS single adult is not easy. It doesn't matter if you're divorced or never been married. This is an awkward category to fall into. When you have a conversation with someone, older or younger, especially if you know them, the questions ALWAYS comes up. "So, are you dating anyone?" "Are you doing anything besides working?" or my recent favorite, while looking at my ring-less left hand, "I see you're still not married, what are you up to these days?"
Seriously? Does my life's happiness or the fact that all I really have time for is work, have anything to do with the fact that I'm not married? Sometimes I want to say, "well actually, I've traveled the world, I can spend as long as I want by myself,  yes pretty much all I do is work but I get weekends off to do whatever I want, holidays are my favorite because I can buy myself all the presents I want, and I can pick up and go anywhere I want, whenever I want with no one to tell me otherwise. So yeah, I'm single and I love it."

Now, even though it may sound like I'm arrogant, bitter, or angry about my status...or lack thereof, I must clarify.

I want nothing more in this world to be a wife and a mother. I want to see someone light up when I walk in the door. I want someone to promise to be mine forever. I want to see those little faces and hear those little voices call me "mommy". I want to be the shoulder to cry on, the one to kiss the boo-boos, and the one they call to when they have a bad dream.
I want all of those things more than I can explain. But you know what? I don't have them yet. I don't know those feelings yet. And that's ok. I can wait.
My testimony that my Heavenly Father does not and will not waiver just because I'm not married. I can have those awkward and annoying conversations with those people because I know that I'm not now, and will never be alone.
If I were to chose to be single for the rest of my life (which I don't) I would not want it to be in any other place than where I am right now.
I have a mom and a dad who love me, brothers and sisters that love me and have given me the cutest 2 nephews and 1 niece on the planet (seriously, the entire planet), and a Heavenly Father and Savior that I know will never let me feel alone if I do my part and seek for the comfort I need. And I know they will be there.

                             (If you thought I was kidding, here's proof of the cuteness)
                                                                  Brixon Lee 3yrs.
                                                                Ivy Mae 8 months
                                                            Gavin James 10 months

Back to Ferris Bueller. Soon after Cameron says that he hadn't seen anything good that day, Ferris highjacks a parade and shows him what it means to see something good. That parade scene is by far one of my favorite moments in any movie I've ever seen. Thousands of people join in on singing and dancing that I seriously can't help smiling when I watch it.

Here's the epic parade scene that will make your day
In that scene you see Cameron dancing and from there on out, his attitude about life changes. He gains the courage to stand up to people and has a journey of self discovery. He's probably my favorite character in the whole movie.

On days when I feel like I'm being a "Cameron", with a negative attitude, or worrying about the future, I always try to think, "what have you seen today?" If my answer is "nothing good", I hope that I can revel in the beauty around me. I hope that I can gain that courage and have my own journey of self discovery.
I have always tried to see the beauty in life. When I'm feeling sorry for myself I list off the things I'm grateful for:
Family. Friends. Gospel. Job. Home. Being an aunt. My precious alone time. The beauty I've seen all around the world. Peace. Quiet. Learning. Everything.

I am happy. Really.
I am waiting for my turn. But while I do, I'm certainly not feeling sorry for myself.