Sunday, January 27, 2013

happily ever after (& what it takes to get there)

Lately I have just felt like... lame-sauce. 
Yep, lame-sauce.
It - (the mysterious "it" that represents my life) - has been tough, recently!
However, as hard as it has been, 
and as long as it's felt like it's taken to pull myself out of that lame-sauce pit,  
 it sure has taught me some valuable lessons.
If it (yes, "it" again) were a story, this is how it would be told.

Once upon a time, a girl found herself deep inside of a lame-sauce pit. 
She found herself feeling alone, and carrying some heavy burdens, 
and worrying about the future, completely confused and fearful and losing hope. 

As she looked mournfully at the walls surrounding her in this pit, 
there were things telling her that she couldn't get out, and that this is where she belonged.
However, she knew in her heart - 
down in the very core - 
that she did not want to be stuck in this lamesauce pit for the rest of her life.
She did not belong there.
That pit did not represent who she was,
and there was something - some light - glowing inside of her
that told her that she belonged to a better place
and that she could find a way out.
So, she decided to listen to this voice.
She had listened to the voice before, in pits that were different then this, 
and she knew that the voice would give her the steps she needed to get out of that pit.

So she started making changes. Little changes.
The steps she took started out pretty rough.
Her little legs had grown weak from staying in the pit,
and so she would make a nice big step, but then just slip back down and fall on her bum.
"Why on earth can't I just get out of the pit already??" she would think to herself
It seemed to be taking forever!

She was tired, and discouraged from trying again and again
when the steps didn't seem to be getting her anywhere.

However, she trusted that little voice inside of her. 
She knew it didn't lie.
 She didn't understand why she didn't immediately see the results of what it told her to do,
but she trusted it, and decided to never, ever give up.

So she kept going.
Again, and again, and again.
Gradually, her little legs started growing really strong from all the work they were doing.
Instead of falling on her bum, she started to finally stay at the point of progress she had made.
Her legs had to take a rest and stabilize before the next step,
but they stayed!
Her steps also started really meaning something.
Instead of steps to just get out of the pit,
They were steps that were teaching her and changing her
and making her enjoy the steps!

Pretty soon, she was so busy learning from the little rocks and pebbles and roots along the way
that she forgot to look down to see how far she was coming!
Instead of thinking about the pit, she was absorbed in all she was learning
and what the next step was 
to take her to the round hole at the top with the sunshine leaking through, 
where she knew all her work was taking her.

Finally, she reached a point where she could feel the warmth of the sun on her face,
cheering her on to the very top.
The excitement overwhelmed her, and her arms and legs - 
now strong from the long ordeal up the sides of the pit -
surged with adrenaline.
She scrambled up the side to the very edge of the pit, 
and, oh, beautiful day, she was out!!

She couldn't help but dance and sing in the glorious sunshine
and soak up the feel of the grass and the breath in the fresh, refreshing breeze.
She had made it!!
As she got used to the bright world around her,
she looked down, and saw herself in the daylight.
She saw how strong she had become - how each and every step along the way
had changed her, and molded her, into something as beautiful as the sunshine
and she saw she had become quite changed from that weak little girl she was at the bottom of the pit.

She thought about it, and she realized that this beautiful person she was now
was inside of that weak little girl all along, 
but that beauty and strength couldn't come out
until it had been tested and tried and grown in strength from the steps she had taken to get out of the pit.

Every single little step and struggle had been necessary to become the woman she was now.
Instead of looking at the pit as the horrible ordeal she had thought it was,
she saw it, in a way, as a blessing
Because she couldn't have gained the strength, the compassion, the humility and wisdom
from any other way.

After that lovely discovery, she continued her walk along her path, to greater, happier adventures -
with greater purpose, and knowledge of who she was, 
and what she could do to help others come out of their pits,
and gratitude for the incredible lessons she had learned,
and she continued her way to her happily ever after.

Isn't that wonderful? I have grown thankful for my trials. 
They were given to me in such a way that I had to change to get out of the pit. 
I was forced to become a better person, or else I would be stuck there!
There was no getting out unless I started changing.
Boy, I'm definitely not out yet!
But I am so blessed to be able to finally see how the steps I'm taking are changing me for better,
and what a great blessing this trial has been.
Another thing I've learned is that nobody could climb out of that pit for me.
They could be there to help, to encourage, to love, and to help lift me.
But I had to be the one to take the steps. 

To finish off, here's one of my favorite quotes that has helped me alot recently:

It is your reaction to adversity, not the adversity itself,
that determines how your life story will develop
-Pres Dieter F. Uchtdorf

From the talk "Your Happily Ever After". (read here)
Probably one of the most comforting, inspiring I've ever read - and it's changed my perspective so much. So grateful for the apostles & the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Alrighty, Happy Sunday!

I know that's true! Keep this quote where I see it every day to remind me.

Writin' letters. Serving others helps soften your heart, so you feel compassion and love and humility and joy. It helps you love others more, and I think it helps you love and accept yourself too.


Wednesday, January 16, 2013

heart writings & rainy days

I’m just sitting in my cozy little dorm on the top floor, 
all cozied up with warm herb tea, rain pouring down the window outside, 
listening to smooth, sad songs, and feeling tired but warm. 
Rain always makes me feel so… melancholy, and hopeful,
 and just like the world is a mysterious but beautiful place. 
Something about it makes me think of my life in a lovely, whimsical, tragic way – 
expectantly waiting for something simply wondrous to happen.

I saw a picture of these bandaids recently, and they had written on the top 
(where the cool superheroes usually go) 
what happened to cause the owwie. 
They had these awesome things, like a shark bite, ninja attack, ect.

But it brought me this random thought – 
what if, on your heart, you had written the things caused you pain?
 Or made your heart hurt? 
Whether that is feeling alone in this world, or feeling afraid and sad because of someone hurting you, 
or losing something or someone you love dearly, if only for a time. 
If only we could see the things people had written on their hearts –
 I think there would be more kindness and understanding in the world.

I thought that to myself, and then I thought about how sad that would be.
 And then I thought about how, instead of just those sad things, 
what if we still had written those hurts, just in small scribbly cursive script, 
not focusing on them more then we need to - 
and then had written more detailed and elegantly and boldly
(because these are the things that deserve to be focused on)
the strong and beautiful the things that we did and received that let us overcome those things anyways?

Like the courage to go on and hope for better, 
the strength to see the good in the trials that come, 
and the wisdom to know that things will get better if you just hold on… 
and the humility to still love and serve and see how much beauty is still in the world. 
Wouldn’t that be inspiring? Despite the evil in the world, the good never ceases to inspire me, and the wonderful truth is that good will win, and bad things & hurt will cease, in the end.

And that is what rainy days make me think about J

This week I have worked so hard. And it feels so good.
Stayed on top of homework, learning so much, working, job hunting, making new friends 
(sometimes this is hard work for me, haha),
 and keyed up my running workout to 5 miles when I go. Woot woot!

Work makes me so tired, but it makes my relaxing and having fun just for the joy of it so much better!
And, that is what I’ll do tonight. Cozy up with my music, a thick homemade quilt from my mama, 
lovely daydreams in my mind, a cup of herb tea, and a book to read just for fun (not studying).
Life is good J

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

silly faces and first days of school

…. and this sums up how I feel about being back at school.

It was unbelievably nice being home
chillin’ with my family and friends, sleeping in, working out whenever I wanted, 
painting and watching movies and reading all day…
So, so relaxing.
But now it’s time to hit the books again. And wake up early. And work hard.
And actually be productive! With 5 classes on alternating weekdays, and 3 on the others, it's a busy schedule. Especially with work, and homework, and working out, and trying to have a social life.
The transition from being a total bum to suddenly having this much to do....
It's tiring.

Plus the first few days of school are always so weird, getting back in the swing of things.
However, this time around has been the… least weird I’ve had. 
By far. 
It’s been much better then this first day of school… and this one.. Haha.
So that’s good. SVU really is amazing. I am super grateful to be here. J
When I get re-energized and re-motivated, school will be pretty sweet.
A relaxing break is perfect, but if it went on forever, I would do nothing with my life besides paint and dream.
So school is good, haha.

Some of the best parts so far are....

  • -          My art history class. My professor is incredible. Such a bubbly, interesting, energized lady – and she painted in the Louvre… she’s amazing! I also love the subject, of course.
  • - Reason & Self. Which is studying philosophy – including comparing famous thinkers to Joseph Smith’s writings. Fascinating stuff. My professor in there is also awesome, and makes class super interesting.
  • -       Marriage & family. We get to study all kinds of interesting, fun things J I actually get absorbed when reading the textbook, which is cool.
  • Institute!!!  D&C, with Brother Rasmusson. It's already fantastic. (:
It’s good to see my friends again as well.
So many people left for missions, so there are many more new people then I thought there would be, which is fun. And odd! It feels like I’m coming back to a different SVU. But it’s great.
This is going to be a great semester.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

taking chance (for the troops)

Tonight my parents and I watched this movie. 
I recommend it.
It's hard to say exactly what I want to, without sounding trite or cliche.
But it just opened my eyes, yet again, to the sacrifice so many men and women make, 
for their country, for freedom, for their families, and for their fellow soldier, their brother, their friend.

I've been thinking of ways that I can serve, and give more of my life to help others.
 After watching this, I felt one way I could is to sign up for a penpal program to write letters to a soldier.
So I did!
I wish I could do more to support them and help them.
Someday, when I can give more, I will.

I'm so grateful for the sacrifice they give, and their families back home
all give some; some give all.

This is a thank you.... 
I won't forget.