Sunday, September 13, 2015

Hide Away

"Where do the good boys go to hide away? I'm a good girl who needs a little company. Searching high and low, somebody let me know where do the good boys go to hide away?"

Daya girl, you nailed it! Seriously though? I know this is an age old adage of where have the good men gone, but for real, where are they? Give me about five minutes and I can compile a list of single men who: live at home, are unemployed, have achieved high records in video games, or who may have a job, but are making minimum wage with no end goal, and really no reason to succeed. This is not to say that I also don't also know some fabulous men, who are living their dreams, chasing their goals, and who seem to be pretty stable (financially, and mentally). but guess what? Most of the time they are taken. Tis the story of being single in 2015. I am sure you have heard it time and time again. I'm not here to complain, or pull at your heart strings, or beg for sympathy, I'm here to tell you to
STOP asking when "it's going to be my turn,"
STOP telling me "don't worry it will happen when it's right."
STOP assuming I'm just being too picky.

Times have changed.Women are in the driver's seat more often then not, and while I love being an empowered woman, that unfortunately makes men back down, and cower in a corner...or so I assume, because nothing is happening, and I literally don't see them fighting for anything. No dates, no texts, no effort. I have my fair share of blame in the effort department, don't get me wrong, but I almost feel like I have been forced to give up because there are just no options, and my dating life is pretty stagnate.

Guys, stop being intimidated by women who know what they want, and take control. Wouldn't you want a woman who can fend for herself, but will be more then happy to let you kill the spiders and save the day? Is there a happy medium?

I was talking to another member of the independent single ladies club recently, and she recounted her story, of being divorced twice now, and not shopping around for a third at any point in the horizon. I asked if she believed that two people could be truly happy together, and she said emphatically YES! Both of her children are married to amazing people, and she sees true love in their eyes.Adorable right? Are they problem free? Of course not, but do they have open communication to work things out when the going gets tough (which it always does)? ABSOLUTELY!

Another thing we discussed was specific characteristics of our (as of yet) fictional Mr. Rights. She asked me to pick only ONE characteristic. My one characteristic is reliable. I want someone who is where they say they will be when they say they will be there. Someone who is on time. If we make plans on Sunday for the next weekend I don't want to have to check in mid-week, then again Saturday afternoon to confirm our dinner date. I feel like this is the most illusive of all the characteristics, and could be why I am having so many problems finding Mr. Right. For some reason humans are not reliable. In the olden days people had to be reliable, there were no cell phones to text or call and cancel. You did what you said you were going to do. Our favorite hand held devices have unfortunately destroyed people's ability to commit and follow through on plans. If I had a dollar for every time I heard "that sounds so fun! Let's do it", only to get canceled on, rescheduled or forgotten. The awesome thing about cell phones is that they have these amazing calendars in them You put something on your calendar, it saves it, AND it even reminds you! There is no excuse for not following through.

Here are the quick statistics I did in my head: *note I am a far cry from a mathematician, and numbers may be slightly exaggerated*
Take the whole world, the percentage of people who possess the reliability gene is about 15%. Before you fight me on this one think of the world as a whole, and culturally. Most cultures are late to everything, and have zero regard for time in general. Okay now we're at our 15% of the world, then we divide that in half, because half of those would be men, so now I've got 7.5% of the world I could be happy with. Okay that's fine, I only need one. Then we take that number again and divide it into a 19th because I want to get married in the temple to a worthy priesthood holder who belongs to the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day saints. This people is where my math gets a little shotty, but according to my calculations there are about 20 men in the WORLD who fit these two qualifications. and that isn't even accounting for men who are already married or dating someone. So let's say I now have 9 men who aren't taken, and would be absolutely perfect for me...WHERE ARE THEY HIDING? Are they even American? This ladies and gents is where I am at a loss. I know my Mr. Right is out there, but help a sister out! Where is he?

As I am about to give up on the pursuit,I ask myself, why do people of my generation give up so easily? Did the pioneers give up in heading out west to settle Salt Lake? NOPE! Did our founding fathers give up in building this great ole USA? NO WAY! Why are we so quick to throw in the towel and go take a nice hot bubble bath, and have our Mothers tell us we are special, and we can do anything? Don't get me wrong, I do believe that we are all special, and we can do anything we put our minds to, but that will not happen if we give up at the first chance of failure, or the second we feel scared, we throw in the towel and pull the sheets over our heads.  Forging new paths is scary. No one has ever been down a brand new path before, there is no instruction manual, or google to help navigate which direction you should head. Each of our lives is a brand new path. No one has traveled down exactly the same road as us. It's not all roses and sunshine. The road to success is not a linear path, it looks more like this:

I digress, I won't give up. I won't give in to the fairy tale road to success. I'm on a bumpy path, and it will take time. I'll need to take a break to refuel, work on me, and keep the end in sight, maybe Mr. Right is just around the next corner, I'll put on my big girl panties, lace up my shoes, and get on with my life. Mr. Right will find me, because after all I don't want a guy I have to find hiding under a rock, so why would I ever for one second be that girl? 

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Forever is a long time and I wouldn't mind spending it by your side

Hiking: sweat, heavy breathing, dirt, bugs, wild animals, scratchy plants, branches in your face, sunburns...worth it? No. 

I have never loved hiking. I am too much of a get it done person, and not enough of a stop and smell the roses person. Hiking while not taking your time just leaves you out of breath and sweaty. That is no fun! You have to take your time to enjoy the hike. Last year I hiked ensign peak all alone just to prove to myself that I could do it, and to see if I really did hate hiking. I took my time, and took frequent breaks and tries to enjoy nature and my surroundings, it was the best ensign peak hike I have even been on! Why because I had all the time in the world and didn't have to worry about keeping up. Have I wanted to do it again since? Eh, not really. Definitely not my first choice of activities. For me, I think solo is the way to do it though, I hate to be the one in the group to ask to stop! So embarrassing!  The only problem with solo hiking is that is it's not safe. hiking for me! Darn! 

Every time I do go hiking the people on the trails are so happy and friendly, I on the other hand am just wondering when it will be over. Don't talk to me, don't look at me just keep moving. I don't mind nature...if it is covered in sunscreen and bug spray, and music. At that point I might as well just go to the pool! Now that is my kind of nature! 

Another weird thing I was realizing is people always talk about how the view at the top is worth it. For me a view is a view. After hiking halfway up Bells Canyon to watch the fireworks on the 4th of July I realized that the view over the Salt Lake Valley is the same on top of a mountain, as it is driving up any of the tall hills that overlook the city. Next time I opt to drive up somewhere high, not hike! Bleh! The view was good, but worth it? Not really. Plus I was all red and sweaty at the top! Gross. 

Another thing about the view. I can get the same breathtaking feelings looking at a picture, and that way I don't physically have to loose my breath! I love photography, and that is all I need to feel satisfied! So hikers, take pictures of your amazing views, and I'll give it a like on Facebook, but please don't make me go hiking with you! Thanks!

Monday, March 16, 2015

We don't have the time to be sorry, so baby be the life of the party

The Church of Jesus Christ
I belong to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
I know who I am.
I know God’s plan.
I’ll follow him in faith.
I believe in the Savior, Jesus Christ.
I’ll honor his name.
I’ll do what is right;
I’ll follow his light.
His truth I will proclaim.
Words and music: Janice Kapp Perry, b. 1938. © children's songbook 

I have been singing this song since I could talk, and the words have never rung truer to me until recently when faced with many friends who claim to live the gospel of Jesus Christ, and simply do not. There are so many people member of the church, or not who question the church, and it's truthfulness, or wonder if they can believe everything but that one controversial topic. My personal answer is no. "Who's on the lord's side who? Now is the time to tell." (LDS Hymn) we cannot be standing on the fense. We are either in or out. If we truly understand the gospel we would be able to make a choice, and accept the whole gospel. If we think we can believe only certain things we are not a true disciple of Jesus Christ. I was talking with a client who said "I could never practice a religion where I am told what to do." My response was simply, she must not understand the religion because The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is all about freedom, and choosing for yourself! Ignorance (and satan) would tell us that practicing religion leads to bondage. 
Sunday someone brought up the story of the kites as told by Patricia Pinegar in the October 1999 conference report. The story tells of a dad flying kites with his young son. They let the string out bit by bit and the kite soared higher and higher until eventually they ran out of string. The boy begged the dad to cut the string so the kite can go even higher, and be free. The dad explains that if he did indeed cut the string the kite will crash to the ground. It's the string keeping the kite in the air. After much persuasion the dad cut the string to appease his son, and sure enough the kite dive bombs to the ground broken in many pieces. 

Well cute story, but what does the kite have to do with the gospel? The string along with the tails keep the kite flying high and in control, just as the commandments help us live happy and protected lives, close to the spirit, and away from sin. The strings represent following the lord's commandments. If we cut the string, or stop keeping the commandments we are no longer in control, we give up that agency to sin, and temptation, and spiral downward towards satan. 

It breaks my heart to hear people who view being a member of the LDS church restrictive, or stifling, I view it as freeing. There is no one forcing me to believe the things we learn in church, or general conference, It's all my choice. If I don't like something or agree with any point of doctrine I can research it on my own. If I don't agree I can leave at any time. It's all about making a stand, and following your passions! For me, my passion is living worthy of returning to God one day, and in order to do that I have to take the higher road, and rise above temptations, and the vein things of the world. Exchange the temporary satisfactions for the eternal life and happiness. 

It's so infuriating to me when people don't stand up for what they believe in. Make a stand. Latter-day Saints are different. We are supposed to be. If we conformed to everything the word (aka Satan) wanted us to do our entire belief system would crumble. Our doctrine and beliefs are unchanging because we live God's eternal law, and are proud to do so! I am so grateful for my belief in a non-conformist religion.
I know the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is true. I know that by following its teachings we will find a happiness we never knew existed. I know God's plan for his children is to be happy, and by following his plan, and living his gospel we will be much happier then living the way the world suggests we live. I know Joseph Smith restored the gospel in this, the latter-days. I am so grateful for his work in translating the Book of Mormon so that we could now read and learn another testament of Jesus Christ. I know the book of Mormon is a true account of ancient prophets on the American continent. I am so grateful for the Holy Ghost in my life, and the guiding light it has been, and continues to be. I know that President Thomas S. Monson holds all of the keys of the gospel and leads and guides this church as the mouthpiece of God. If we follow the leadership of the church we are doing God's will. I am so grateful for my membership in the church, and hope to always be an example of my savior Jesus Christ. I love him, and am so grateful for his eternal sacrifice making this whole earthy existence worth while, and atoning for my sins, as well as every single person who has ever walked the earth. I'm so grateful for his mercy, and understanding of our mortality. It is never too late to repent, and start or continue following our savior. We are allowed to make mistakes, and hopefully those mistakes make us stronger, and lead us back to Christ with a renewed belief, and faith in his teachings. My hope is that we can all be better examples of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and shine so bright that there is no doubt that we follow our savior Jesus Christ. 

Friday, March 13, 2015

Sexy beaches

A resounding theme throughout my life has been "he's just not that into you." Not to start a little pitty party or anything, but I usually go for the guys who like me...wait for a really good friend. If you aren't my friend you have no idea what you are missing! I'm a fabulous friend! If you are my friend, you know. Years ago in my early 20's (wow! That's weird to say! I'm so old!) I read a book called He's Just Not That Into You (I'm going to reference this dating bible quite a bit, so from now on I will refer to it is "HJNTIY") by Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo. As with most books, motivational talks, ect, after I read HJNTIY I was utterly empowered, then slowly I lost sight of the wisdom I had once gleaned from its pages. Recently I, and a few friends have had some boy experiences that made me want to scream from the hidden corners of my memory "duh! He's just not that into you!!!!" Lately I have been feeling like every girl needs to read this book, and just Incase you feel the need after reading this post here is the link to buy it on Amazon. Best $8.70 you will ever spend! I promise!

I have fallen into the trap lately of making excuses for my crushes not calling, not texting, not asking me out. 

He's too shy to make a move.
He doesn't want to ruin the friendship.
He must not know that I like him.
He is probably intimidated by me.
He doesn't want to seem to eager or needy.
He just got out a a relationship.
He's scared.

The truth? He's just not that into you. I am THE WORST at making these assumptions. Luckily, being the independent, straightforward woman that I am, I have mastered the simple "do you like me, because I kind of like you text." The interesting thing is, the three plus times I have had to bust this texting tactic out because I am "so confused, and nothing is happening." The answer has been unanimously no. I could have saved myself so much time obsessing if I would have just read the signs! 

"Classic single woman scenario: you really like this guy, but he's giving mixed messages. You make excuses, decide he is confused and afraid of commitment. Stop kidding yourself! He's just not that Into you. Let go, and look for someone else who is."(HJNTIY) The truth of the matter is even in my own experience when a guy hasn't asked me out, 100% of the time he isn't interested! It's crazy how much the female mind can rationalize someone else's emotions.
"If a sane guy really likes you, there is nothing that is going to get in his way. Despite your good intentions you are wasting your time. Men are not complicated, there are no mixed messages" (HJNTIY) 

Unfortunately being an independent woman today is a lot more difficult then in days past. Now we have to compete with content bachelorhood, halo parties, and parent's welcoming basements. Sadly a lot of men who are of a dating age are just not interested in dating period. That leaves us eligible women even farther behind in the rat race to find our happily ever after. "The Hardest thing for a woman in this day and age to do is nothing. We like to scheme, make phone calls, have a plan...most women who date...don't have men throwing themselves at her every night of the week. Sometimes there's a long stretch during which nobody's asking us out. So when we see a guy (who) might be a romantic possibility it's even harder for us to take a back seat. The opportunity might not com back for a long time." (HJNTIY)

Wow! Could words hit even closer to home? I think not! It is so true! Instead if jumping to conclusions, and sending "what's going on here?" texts we need to simply be better at reading the signs. "If they want you, they will find you. If you don't think you gave him enough time to notice you, take the time it took you to notice him, and divide it by half. Unfortunately guys are too terrified to ever directly tell a woman "you're not the one," but their actions absolutely show how they feel. When it comes to men, deal with them as they are, not as you'd like them to be." (HJNTIY)
"If you have to be the aggressor, if you have to pursue, if you have to do the asking out, nine times out of ten, he's just not that into you. Men like to chase and you have to let them chase." (HJNTIY) How many times in this feminist world do we hear the words "women should be able to ask men on dates!" It's true, women should be able to ask men on dates, and they do. I myself have asked numerous men on dates, but not a single one of those dates has ever resulted in him asking me on a second date. It's not the way men are hard wired to work. If your goal is to simply go on dates, then by all means ask guys out, but if your goal is to be dating, and eventually in a relationship with a guy, let him come to you. I cannot tell you the number of times I have asked men "do you like it when a woman asks you out?" Each time the answer is a resounding "yes!" Duh they like being asked out. It's the same flattering feeling we get when we get asked out by men. Being asked out by a woman, and wanting to start a relationship with the woman who asks them out are completely different things, and usually (in my experience) unrelated. So hard as it is to let go of that control, we have to let the men come to us. 

"If men are asking you out, if men have to get your attention then you, in fact, are the one in control. There's no scheming and plotting." 

I am a huge fan of fairy tales, and Nicholas Sparks plots, I will be the first to jump aboard the perfect fairy tale-happy ending train. Today in order to get there us ambitious independent women need to learn to take a back seat, and remember if he is into you he will find you. No matter what, no excuses, no plotting, no scheming necessary. If we find ourselves wanting to pick up that phone, drop it, and tell yourself "he's just not that into me!" Discouraging as it may seem now, rejection after rejection, there is that guy just waiting around the next corner who is perfect for us. He, ladies is worth the wait, (Or so I am told!)

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Thanks for the lemonade

I have been trying to have a more grateful heart over the few years, and have used a few methods to help me become more conscious of how blessed my life really is. The first thing I did was last year I did 364 days of  having a Thankful Journal. I would write five things each day that I was thankful for. After I reached my goal of 1,820 things I was grateful for daily in the past year I kept going till the journal was full. 2,058 things filled my heart with gratitude last year. Some of those things were: Sunny days, art, pictures, cozy clothes, baths, lotion, tips, lazy days, pool time, chevrons, freedom, friends, iphone, advice, girl talk, pink ombre nails, pinterest, wifi, perspective, sales racks, Costco, Missy Higgins Pandora, education, lipgloss flashlight, smiles, hugs. Just to name a few, those were what filled my heart with thanksgiving, and helped me to realize that God loves me, he wants me to be happy.

This year, instead of recognizing God's hand, and thanking him, I have been thanking people who have taken the time to make my life easier. It has been so great! I have never been much of a thank you card kind of person, but it feels so good to receive thank you cards! I have been learning that it also feels great to send them! To recognize someone who did something they may have thought of as insignificant, but really affected my day. It has seriously been amazing to get feed back from people I have thanked!

I have a long path still ahead of me to discovering true gratitude, but I will continue to try daily to acknowledge those who have helped me along my way, and more importantly my heavenly father who blesses me with so much!

Forever is a long time, but I wouldn't mind spending it by your side


This clip made an amazing impact on the way I view trials! I have since been sharing it with others who have come to me with similar problems. This happens in our lives more frequently then not. It leads us to question if we are really following the spirit or not when things don't work out the way we think they should. I know that we have a loving Father in Heaven and I know he loves me, and he wants to show me in a way that I can understand what he wants for me, and my life. By going down the wrong roads as in this clip we can know 100% that that is not where we want to be. We can also know the right road once we have turned down the wrong path. I can't wait to "hear him say 'I told you with would be okay, I told you it would be alright.'" We just need to keep going down the path with as much faith as we can muster that God indeed knows us, he knows our struggles, and he knows what makes us happy. We are his children and he wants nothing more then for us to return to his presence. He also knows that we have to want to return to him, and we will not be happy in his presence if we do not truly want to be there. As much as that pains our beloved father he loves us so much that he is willing to let us make mistakes, test our wings, and try to forge our own paths. He sits quietly on the sidelines and waits for our return, just like the prodigal son when we finally do make the choice to return he orchestrates a feast and runs to us with open arms. He never gives up on his children. Our loving father in heaven does not want us to be lost or confused, and if we follow his amazing leaders, and look to the prophets and apostles we will never be led astray, and our questions will be answered.

My beaYOUtiful Life!

Besides the obvious blessings of working in the temple, my favorite part of temple service is my little old lady friends! Seriously they boost my self esteem, and make me feel amazing! I love them! Two of my favorites are Sister Court, and Sister Webb, these two are definitely my bff temple ladies! We always find time in the shift to touch base, and it is an added bonus if we get to eat lunch together! I seriously love them! I just love the spirit of sisterhood! Some people I just know I knew in the pre-earth life, and we were thick as thieves! These two ladies are definitely among those pre-earth buddies! Apparently all I have to say are little snip-its of thoughts! haha

Inspire me higher

Ipod shuffle is a magical thing! It can aggravate, enlighten, cheer, or soothe. One day I was shuffling it up, and they lyrics to the Lemuria song Yesterday's Lunch totally hit me! They ring with so much sad truth: " You never feel successful until all your friends have failed...Everyone wants more when there is only enough." 
These lyrics are so true! Why is it so hard to handle the success of others? The more others succeed the more it pushes us to succeed, and therefore makes the world work.It is so sad that our society, and even worse our "friends" are rooting for us to fail. Are we all climbing the latter in this rat race waiting for those around us to fall? Most of us have enough, we have amazing lives, and rich blessings, but we want more. How much more is there to give? I am a total advocate of fighting for what you want and making your dreams a reality, but not at the expense seeing everyone around me with less then they deserve.Is it really winning if everyone else fails?Just something random I thought about during and ipod shuffle sesh 

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Live by the sun, love by the moon

Alright, alright, I will be the first to admit that I do not have the best attitude about missionary work. My idea of a perfect congregation is not necessarily a chapel full of the most elite gospel scholars, but a room full of people who want to be there, who want to hear God's word, feel his spirit and draw closer to him. People who want to continue down the path of righteousness, and who consistently at least have the desire to repent, and move forward. Unfortunately that is not the plan, nor the purpose of the church. The purpose of the church, and organizations of wards is to bear one another's burdens, and to lift the down trodden, and be a refuge for those in need. Crushing my ideal congregations are those people who simply don't know where they stand, and those who joined the church for the social aspect, or because a friend did, and now they are lost, and might have even fallen away from the church. My main thought is that we cannot FORCE these lost sheep to come back to the fold. Some do not want to be a part of the fold anymore, and some just need time, and they will come back when they are ready. ANYWAY that being said I have a hard time especially with reactivation. If people don't want to come to church who am I to force them? If they aren't going to come for the right reasons (IE faith, a testimony, ect), then do they really need to come at all? Like I said, BAD attitude, definitely not super Christ-like.

I have been working on that, and thanks to Elder Ballard's talk on missionary work once again was my final breaking point. I prayed for something I have been afraid to pray for...missionary experiences. Now I did not just vaguely pray for an experience, I put a lot of thought into this, and I prayed specifically to be led to someone who is seeking the gospel. I am not about to be a pusher, I want to help someone who is lost, and seeking. I know there are tons of people out there that God has prepared to hear his message.

Small tangent before I delve deeper into my experience, we had the digital missionaries speak to us on Sunday (some of you might be very confused by this new term, I totally was! Basically it's people spreading the gospel through social media). The meeting was amazing! One girl talked about how her grandma had grown up with a close Mormon friend (we'll call the grandma Judy, and the friend Sally because I can't remember their real names...) The Sally quietly lived her religion; declining trips to the beach on Sunday, and wearing modest clothing. Judy later reflected that she often thought that Sally had something figured out that none of the other girls in the group did, the Judy just didn't know what it was. Once the girls had grown, married and moved away Judy was having a particularly trying day trying to figure out life, and handle her kids and the house, and life in general. While her husband was at work when the missionaries knocked on the door. Because of the example of Sally, Judy was super excited to talk to the missionaries, she just knew that she was finally ready to figure out what Sally had known all of those years ago that had made her so happy. Of course the story ends with Judy and her family getting baptized, and now thanks to Sally and her example the granddaughter giving the talk was born into the gospel, all because Sally lived her religion. AMAZING! I loved that simple lesson. People are looking to us to be the example. Do we practice what we preach?

Okay, so time for my prayed for missionary experience:
So I was talking to one of my clients while I cut his hair, and just the usual: how have you been? What have you been up to? Then randomly he asked me if I went to General Conference. I told him I watched it at home, and asked if he had ever seen it. A religious conversation ensued from there, I explained to him the purpose of conference, and that the most amazing part of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is that we receive revelation through our living prophet from God. We hear thing that we need to work on, and usually come away with resolve to do better. After talking about different aspects of the gospel, and answering a few questions, I asked if he was religious, he is Catholic...Christmas Catholic. haha. Suddenly I felt prompted to ask him to come to church with me. Inside I started FREAKING OUT! He is my client! I don't want to lose him as a client, and I don't want to make our relationship weird, or awkward, then I remembered my prayer about being led to someone who needs to hear the gospel. I sucked it up, and prayed for help in A. not sounding pushy, B. not sounding scared, and C. courage to go through with it. I told him we should do a church swap! Easter is coming up, so I can go to Easter Mass with him, one week, and he can come to church with me another.
WHEW! I did it! He actually sounded pretty interested until he realized it was three hours! haha I told him, he could just come to sacrament meeting which was an hour, making it a fair trade. I gave him my number and told him to let me know if he really wanted to because I really do want to go to a Mass. We shall see what happens. Even if it is nothing I was able to plant a seed, defend my religion, be an example, and also be courageous enough to share the gospel. It was a great experience!

I am so grateful I do not have a silent God. I have a God who is very involved in the details of my life. He guides me, and helps me when I need his grace, and light. I am so grateful for the miracles of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I am so grateful for my membership in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day saints, and I am so grateful for great parents who brought me up in the gospel, and led me down the path of righteousness and obedience.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Who I am makes who I've been

I have always heard of amazing people joining the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and turning their lives around, but over the last six months I have witnessed an acquaintance totally do a 180 and go from complete inactivity and disregard for the church and the word of wisdom to blessing the sacrament today in church! Watching this process, and transformation has really been enlightening about not only what the gospel of Jesus Christ can do in a person's life, but also about persistence, and the will of a person to change, and let go of bad habits. It's really inspiring. 

Watching this particular person has been really interesting I have seen the change, not only in demeanor, but in the whole way they carry themselves. Seriously I have an enormous testimony of what the true gospel and teachings of Jesus Christ can do in a person's life! I love our amazing heavenly Father who is always there for his beloved children! If you want to learn more about how this amazing church can change your life Visit, or meet with the Mormon missionaries! 

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Sippin on sunshine

*DISCLAIMER* Some of the views expressed hereafter are in no way doctrinal, but simply the bemusings of a 25 year old girl trying to sort out this crazy mixed up life.

I am going to try to organize my thoughts the best I can, so it will make sense to everyone. Before I get to ahead of myself, let's review (or perhaps learn for some of you) The Great Plan of Happiness, also known as the Plan of Salvation. I found a super cute perfectly illustrated plan!
Hopefully this diagram makes sense to you! Basically we lived with our Father in Heaven (God) before we were on this earth, we had the same spirit we now possess. Our Father in Heaven sent us to earth to gain a body, and learn. Our goal is to return to him perfected. We will be judged of our works, as well as the intents of our hearts, then we will live for eternity in one for three kingdoms of glory: Celestial (highest kingdom of glory where we can live with God and Jesus Christ), Terrestrial, and Telestial. Okay now that you are all up to speed, now my thoughts will make a lot more sense!

First off I want to start with a quote "It's like I'm participating in the Hunger Games, but I have forgotten why I volunteered." Anyone else feel like that sometimes? This life is hard. It is meant to be hard. It is a test. We each are given a tailor made maze to complete as we journey throughout this mortality. We have specific challenges God blesses us with in order to learn the things we need to learn to overcome our weaknesses.

The truth of the matter is, we all chose to come to earth, and be tested, or we would not be here. Just because we were "pro-earth" does not mean that we are home free. Now we have to prove that we truly wanted to come to earth to be perfected, and become as our Father in Heaven and his beloved son Jesus Christ.

Sometimes it seems like some chose God's plan (earth) simply because it sounded better than the alternative (Satan's plan, no growth). Our trials on earth are truly the refiner's fire. If we make it back to our loving Father in Heaven after weaving our way through our specific maze of life, making it through the bumps and bruises, and learning what we are supposed to learn, then we truly deserve to live out eternity as Gods and Goddesses in the presence of or Father in Heaven.

If we don't quite make it through life choosing perfection, the beauty of the plan is there is still a place for us! If we really did just choose earth life because our BFF chose it and we fail to pass our test, make it out of our maze, we will end up where we belong (one of the lower kingdoms). If we can't quite beat our the habits we form on earth (the ones we know are not in line with the Gospel of Christ) we will end up where we are comfortable.

"Who's on the Lord's side who? Now is the time to tell!" God knows the intents of our hearts, he knows what we want out of life. He will help us the best he can, but he also knows that we have to want salvation for ourselves. We will not become perfected beings if we do not endure this life, trials and all.
Elder Neal A. Maxwell gave an amazing talk called Why Not Now? back in 1974. So much of this talk rang true to me! Seriously, read it if you have a chance! One thing he says is:
"...when we tear ourselves free from the entanglements of the world, are we promised a religion of repose, or an Eden of ease? NO! We are promised tears, and trials, and toil! But we are also promised final triumph. The mere contemplation of which tinges one's soul."
Another portion of that talk reads "And, if you sense that one day every knee shall bow, and every tongue shall confess that Jesus is the Christ, and our Lord why not do so now? For in the coming of that collective confession it will mean much less to kneel down when it is no longer possible to stand up!"

Oh man this talk gives me chills! Elder Maxwell's words are so powerful! I love it! We cannot be luke warm in the gospel of Jesus Christ. We have to take a stand. We cannot simply glide through life not making important decisions, or learning from our trials. We cannot allow ourselves to wallow in self pity and play the "why me?" game. We have to get up, dust ourselves off, and try to figure out what the Lord is teaching us through our trials. It is most definitely not easy to do in the middle of the difficult things we must endure, but retrospect is a glorious thing! We must use the spirit to learn from our mistakes, grow from our trials, and endure to the end to be worthy of one day meeting our maker, and living an eternal life of happiness.

For some reason the thought our life before earth has always intrigued me. I have learned that we have the same personalities we had before, we also have the same strengths and weaknesses. We were not perfect beings before, but we must become perfected through Christ's Atonement. Our Father in Heaven does not expect us to be perfect, but he does expect us to try our best to be our best. In closing I'd like to leave you with some of my favorite quotes about fighting the good fight.

"For nearly six thousand years, God has held you in reserve to make your appearance in the final days before the second coming. Every previous dispensation has drifted into apostasy, but ours will not...God has saved for the final inning some of his strongest children who will help bear off the kingdom triumphantly. And that is where you come in, for you are the generation that must be prepared to meet your God...Make no mistake about it-you are a marked generation. There has never been more expected of the faithful in such a short period of time as there is of us..Each day we personally make many decisions that show where our support will go. The final outcome is certain-the forces of righteousness will finally win. What remains to be seen is where each of us personally, now and in the future will stand in this fight- and how tall we will stand. Will we be true to our last-days foreordained mission?"-Marvin J. Ashton

"You are a royal generation. The heavenly grandstands are cheering you on. The Lord is our coach and manager. His team WILL win, and we can be a valiant part of that victory if we so desire. Why would you ever want to spend one minute on the loosing team when you could choose victory and eternal life? Rise up oh youth of Zion! You hardly realize the great divine potential that is within you."-Ezra Taft Benson

"Be strong and of good courage. You are truly a royal spirit daughter of almighty God, and you are a Princess destined to become a Queen. Your own wondrous story has already begun. Your once upon a time is now."-Dieter F. Uchdorf

"In the gospel of Jesus Christ you have help from both sides of the veil and you must never forget that. When disappointment and discouragement strike, you must remember and never forget that if our eyes could be opened we would see horses and chariots of fire as far as the eye can see riding at reckless speed to come to our protection."-Jeffery R. Holland

"Our deepest fear is NOT that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are POWERFUL BEYOND MEASURE. It is our light, NOT our darkness that frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous? Actually, who are you NOT to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does NOT serve the world. There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. You were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us, it's in EVERYONE. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically LIBERATES others."-Marianne Williams

"I know He lives. I know He loves us. I know we can feel His love here and now. I know His voice is one of perfect mildness which penetrates us to the very center. I know he smiles and is filled with compassion and love. I know He is full of gentleness, kindness, mercy, and a desire to help us. I love Him with all my heart. I testify that when we are ready His pure love instantly moves across time and space, reaches down , and pulls us up from the depths of any tumultuous sea of darkness, sin, sorrow, death, or even despair we may find ourselves in and bring us into the light and life and love of eternity."-John H. Groberg

Champagne for my friends, real pain for my sham friends

The definition of friendship according to my favorite source Wikipedia is: "A relationship of mutual affection between two or more people...A World Happiness Database study found that people with close friendships are happier."
Wiki also listed certain characteristics commonly found within friendship: Affection, sympathy, empathy, honesty, selflessness, mutual understanding, compassion, trust, enjoyment of other's company, ability to be oneself, express one's feeling, and make mistakes without fear of judgement.
Wiki also said friends tend to share common backgrounds, occupations, interests, or have similar demographics

To this list I would add for me personally friendship is: Loyalty, making time for one another, good conversation, ability to have fun together.

In a 1975 study Bigelow and la Gaipa found that expectations for a "best friend" become increasingly complex as a child gets older. They did a study which sampled 480 children between ages six to fourteen. They found three stages of development in friendship expectations:
Stage One-(baby)
*sharing activities
*geographical closeness
Stage Two-(child)
*emphasized sharing
Stage Three-(teen+)
*desire for similar attitudes

I found this fascinating, as we grow and develop our social skills our need for certain friendships characteristics change. I have seen this at work in my own life. People I thought would be my friends forever have slowly faded into only memories. It's also interesting how people come into your life for a time, then just as quickly move on, and out of your life. I believe that each person who comes into our lives is there for a purpose. There is something we need to learn from every person we meet. There is something special about all of the friendships of our lives. I know I have not only learned how I want to be treated in a friendship, but how not to treat my friends.

The friendships that have stuck around in my life are super important to me. I have come to deeply regard friendship as a two-way street. I will do anything for my friends, but if said friends won't do the same for me, they do not belong in my life. I have wasted so much time, and energy on people who do not treat me equally. I have learned that it is TOTALLY worth it to just cut them loose. It's like that saying "If you love something set it free. If it comes back to you, it's yours. If it doesn't it never was."  This principle is tried and true in my life. I have let quite a few people go, some have come back, others never have. It's really the only true way to test a friendship.

One thing I cannot stand is a freeloading friend. This is a friend who really doesn't put effort into their own friendships, but keeps you around because you put effort into mutual friendships. This freeloading friend seems to always be around when you plan something with a mutual friend you don't see regularly. Back to the two way street, the thing about friendship is it's reciprocated. People can tell if you make time for them, and if you truly want to keep them in your life, or if they conveniently just happen to be there, or come when you plan something and invite them. There is a HUGE difference.

I've done a little experiment with one such freeloading friend. I have been planning my own outings with mutual friends, and not telling said friend. For the past sixish months freeloader has just let the friendships die out, but miraculously freeloader has reached out to one friend on their own! MIRACULOUS! This is a very important lesson for freeloader, you have to work for the things/people that are important in your life. You cannot count on others to do that for you.

The thing is, friendship takes a lot of time, and hard work, and I will be the best friend I can to those who will give me that time and work, but I will not tolerate freeloading, energy sucking, one way friendships. When I am in, I am all in, and I will be there for my friends for life! I love and appreciate the friendships in my life so much! I am so grateful for all that I have learned from my friends, and all that I will continue to learn from them! Thanks to all of you friends! I love you!

Friday, February 14, 2014

Brightest Morning Star

A few years ago we had the most amazing lesson about our individual talents! I have had a list of Talents I possess hanging in my room ever since. I figured it was about time to retire the list, but I don't want to just throw it away, so BLOG! haha! So these are the talents I have noticed I possess:


2. Hair design 

3. Organization

4. Braiding

5. Outgoing (people skills)

6. Assertive

7. Fast at texting (this was on my good ole blackberry! Good times!!!) 

8. Photography

9. Optimistic (happy)

10. Leadership

11. Listening

12. Hugging

13. Planning

14. Observant

15. Compassion

16. Prioritizing 

17. Loyal

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Happiness is a warm gun

I was talking with a group of friends recently about happiness vs sadness. Without even thinking I blurted out "Being happy is just SOOO much easier then being sad. Sadness takes all of these draining emotions, you have to cry, your demeanor changes, you feel pain...not fun! Happiness just comes naturally, and it's contagious!" After the words escaped my mouth I immediately regretted them. What if happiness isn't as easy for the whole world as it is for me? What if some people have to work really really hard to be happy? What if some people are just faking it till they make it in the happiness department? Is happiness a state of mind? A predisposition? Are there different forms of happiness? Man, this really got me thinking! What is happiness?

I am very into words and definitions, so delving into my research the first thing on the list was a Wikipedia search! The definition of happiness according to Wikipedia (which of course is gospel!) is as follows: "Happiness is a mental or emotional state of well being characterized by pleasant or positive emotions ranging from contentment to immense joy." I loved that! Immense joy! That sounds euphoric!

Another thought from Wiki is that happiness is so fundamental to the human condition that we deemed it an unalienable right in the declaration of independence "Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." Obviously this whole happiness thing didn't just come up, it has been an uphill battle from the get go of humanity! I am reminded of a scripture: "Adam fell that men might be, and men are that they might have joy." (2 Nephi 2:25) The fact that we focus so much on having or obtaining joy in The Gospel of Jesus Christ goes to show that it is not something that necessarily comes easily. It is something that must be worked at or obtained.

So how much of happiness is predisposed or genetic? We have all seen "happy babies", as well as colicky miserable babies, is that any tell tale sign of how happy the child will grow up to be? According to Sonja Lyubomirsky in her book The How of Happiness 50% of a human's happiness level is genetically determined, 10% is affected by circumstances, and 40% of happiness is subject to self-control.To me those statistics mean that even in the worst case scenario, with the most unhappy genetics, and worse circumstances we still have the choice to be happy with the remaining 40%. Being dealt those particular cards in life, we would obviously have to work a lot harder to be happy. We would have to somehow turn that 10% of circumstance from a negative to a positive, just to be able to make out our genetics equal to our circumstance and self control, however it is possible to be at 50% happiness, even in the worst of cases!

According to psychologist Martin Seligman humans are happiest when they have:
1. Pleasure (warm bed, tasty food, baths, ect)
2. Engagement (or flow the absorption of an enjoyed yet challenging activity.)
3. Relationships (Social ties)
4. Meaning (a perceived quest or belonging to something bigger)
5. Accomplishment (having realized tangible goals)
*More studies conclude that happiness is also linked to serving others, as well as active participation in an organized religion.

Research shows that happy people live 14% longer (which equates to 7.5-10 years longer)

According to researchers Hills and Argyle happiness is directly related with extroversion. I found this fascinating! They found that the more extroverted a person, the more easily they deal with negative affects. Extroverts are more positive, and emotionally stable. This really makes so much sense! I feel like being an extrovert myself I can relate, one of the things that makes me happiest is being around my friends. People to lift me up, and reach out, and encourage me.. Another thing that these two researchers found is that happiness is more prevalent in extroverts because they are more likely to go out and find happiness, for example, being around people makes them happy, so they create more social occasions to be around people and thus becoming happier. Another study I found was by Ashton, Lee, Paunonen "...the core element of extroversion is a tendency to behave in ways that attract, hold, and enjoy social of the fundamental qualities of social attention is its potential of being rewarding. Therefore, if a person shows positive emotions of enthusiasm, energy, and excitement, that person is seen favorably by others and he or she gains others' attention. This favorable reaction from others likely encourages extroverts to engage in further extroverted behavior."

 Basically it's a cycle, one I have often found myself in the middle of. I like people, I have a party, I miss people, I have a party. I totally agree with this study, it is basically how my brain operates. I love the positive emotions, and validations of others, therefore I seek situations in which I can gain them.

Another interesting study by Kuppens found that when extroverts and introverts experience feelings of enjoyment, they engage in the emotion is different ways. "if everything is going well in an extrovert's life, which is a source of pleasant feelings, extroverts see such situation as an opportunity to engage in active behavior and goal pursuit, which brings about an active, aroused pleasant (or enjoyable) state. Yet, when everything is going good for introverts, they see it as an opportunity to let down their guard, resulting in them feeling relaxed and content."

Another reason to marry an extrovert eh?

 Okay, enough with the research and definition side of happiness, basically in conclusion happiness is totally different for everyone. Something I had never really realized. For some people (like me) happiness is something inanely there. Happiness is my cruise control setting. Others have to work far harder, and put in way more effort. To wrap it all up I will leave you with some random insights (complete with pictures) about the types of people I have encountered, and the forms of happiness they exude:

The Disney-This person is obliviously happy. Happiness is just there, no rhyme or reason.(perhaps they haven't experienced enough sorrow to actually know true happiness.)

The Eeyore-This person, no matter how hard they try, keeps getting knocked down by life. They fail to see life's beauties (ie a butterfly) as a blessing, but rather relate them to a curse, or sign that something bad is about to happen (ie about to destroy your house). This person tries to be social, and outgoing, but after being knocked down so many times cannot seem to find the energy to be positive, or seek out the positive in life at all. (These are the people whom you often encounter that seem to have negativity surrounding every aspect of their lives. They cannot seem find the happiness in the simple things they are blessed with.)

The Scrooge-This person has basically lost hope, and it will take a visitor to show them past, present, and future to recover. They are so far gone down the path of sadness and despair, that they have begun to lash out to those who they love and need most. This person is most definitely not fun to be around, and honestly does not want to be around you at all.

The Amelia Bedelia-This person constantly misunderstands everything and everyone, getting most everything in their lives wrong, and using their own innocent interpretations to take direction. Somehow this person manages to keep a positive outlook, and always seems to be happy regardless the circumstance. (Ignorance is bliss right???)

Bob the Builder-"Can we fix it? YES WE CAN!" This person takes the time to identify the problem, and come up with a solution. They do need encouragement from an audience of course, but this person always comes out on top with a little bit of hard work, and some positive reinforcements.

The Rome- "Rome wasn't built in a day," therefore happiness cannot be achieved over night. This person values the time it takes to prefect something, and while being happy is a constant battle they have the optimistic hope that one day they will reach their reality of true happiness.

The facebook-This person is socially happy, (extrovert syndrome of happiness I talked about before). This person needs social praise and approval of others, therefore posting a funny status, or great picture which elicits strings of comments and likes are all this person needs to be careful though, it's an endless cycle, and constant need for approval can be exhausting. This person also might have a problem with comparing their happiness to those around them. Remember you are uniquely you!

The Mother Theresa-This person embodies the above quote about spreading love. This person lives to make the lives of others happy, and by so doing is one of the happiest people there is.

Back to the statistics, if a person is genetically happy, (50%), circumstantially happy (10%), and self-imposed happy (40%) a person has the ability to be 100% happy! I hope that we can all achieve this kind of happiness!!!

It's not like I'm not trying, I'll give anyone a shot once

Here is the difference between boys and girls: Girls will give any boy a shot, boys refuse to take girls out they are not attracted to.

Lately this has been made overwhelmingly clear to me as I've observed a few different scenarios:

1. I was asked if I would go on a date with a boy who is not attractive to me at all, and has a voice defect making his voice higher then normal, after some internal debate I thought, you know what? Why not? What's the worst that could happen?

2. A friend was trying to set a another friend up, and asked a guy friend if he would take her out. The guy friend then asked for a picture, took one look and said "nah, she's not my type."

This poor girl in scenario two has had the same reaction by two different boys. What is it with men of my generation? Why do they think they are God's gift to the world. I can't speak for the first boy that didn't give her a chance, but I know for a fact guy number two is definitely not a 10 in the looks department, he doesn't have his life together, and should definitely not be so picky. It's so disheartening to see guys react this way. It's all about looks for most men. Women on the other hand generally will give any guy a shot once. What's a girl to do in a world where men overlook her, and even when she tries to take things into her own hands, it never works because ultimately it's up to the man?
This picture is so true! Men think they are hot stuff when they obviously are not, and women are just as hard on themselves as men are on them! Ridiculous! 

Switching gears a bit I was thinking and talking out (again with Laurel last night) how crazy it is for us to be 25 and not married while some of our peers are on third and fourth children. I started thinking how amazing it is that I am single, and how much more I know, then I would have known going into a marriage young.

1. People are the best version of themselves while dating. Anything that bugs you now will be magnified when you are married and living together.

2, Talking about intimacy/showing physical manifestations of love is CRUCIAL before marriage, especially if it is important to you. I just thought that all men loved sex no matter what, so I don't know that I would have ever brought up an awkward sex conversation if I had gotten married young, but now I realize that it is super important, and needs to be discussed, if we are truly in love it won't be an awkward conversation

3. Going to all three hours of church really does matter. It shows your commitment level to the gospel, not going, or skipping out early is a huge red flag because to me not only does it signify lack of commitment to the gospel, but other areas as well

4. Loyalty is the most important attribute to me. I want to be able to count on my partner. I want us to be able to talk about anything and everything, and we have to be able to trust each other, and be there for each other

5. Temple attendance ESPECIALLY in SLC where we have so many temples so close is SOOOO important to me. It is another tell tale sign of commitment, and priorities.

6. People can change. I have two clients who have tragic stories of their husbands changing years down the road, this is still something I have not completely overcome. Probably my biggest hold up in marriage. I am picky enough as it is, to think that I find a man who meets me criteria, only to have it all be an act. When he gets tired of the charade then I am high and dry either in an unhappy marriage, or on my own with the kids

7. Ability to communicate, talk things out is key in any relationship. If you run and lock yourself away in the face of confrontation, nothing will ever get solved in your marriage. You have to take the bulls by the horn, and actually talk about things with your partner, even things that may be hard or touchy.

8. The love languages are real! In order to truly feel love/show love to your partner you have to figure out how they receive love!

9 Motivation, goals, drive and ambition are super important to me. I want someone that not only succeeds, but who pushes himself to be the best he can be to provide for his family. I never thought that I would have to specify that I want a man who can provide, but seriously this world is scary! So many men living in their mother's basements with no jobs playing video games perfectly content with their lives. There are men with motivation, good jobs, education, and career goals too, and I want to find myself one!

10. I want a man who is a leader. Someone who can preside over the home, someone who holds the priesthood worthily, and who does his home teaching, holds and fulfills his church callings, and who can take charge and lead.

So far that is my list of lessons learned while being 25 and single. Seriously the list grows almost daily! I know I am where I am supposed to be in my life today!