Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Dear Girl on the Train

Dear girl on the train,

Last week I rode the train and sat across from you. It was kind of late and you and your friends were doing homework--in between your discussions of boys, and classes, and life in general. And you reminded me of me once. Especially when you said "it doesn't matter what I major in because I won't have to worry about supporting myself. That's what a husband is for." When I was 19, I said much the same thing. I choose my major because it was a "good stay at home major." But what I'd tell my 19-year-old self, and you, is "That's not true."

While this may seem like a foreign concept, and something that will never happen to you, not every girl will get married. Some of the most kind, capable, smart, beautiful, spiritual women I know are still single. They want to be married and have a family. They long for sleepless nights and messy houses.  They hate going home to empty houses and making decisions alone.

They definitely didn't plan on having a career.

And that's my advice to you.

Plan on a career (whether or not you ever have to use it). It may not seem like it now, but, there is a difference between a job and career. A job is what you do while you're waiting for your life to take off. A career is when you build that life.

Find something that you'd love to do for 5, 10, 20, or even 30 years. If you remain single, much of your identity of who you are will be tied to your job so make sure it reflects who you are. There was a time I HATED my job and that stress and feelings of frustration spilled over into every part of my life.  

Find something that allows you to support yourself just in case that husband never shows up. If he does show up, that doesn't mean that you may not have to support your family. Divorce, illness, untimely death are sending many a mom back into the workplace.

Don't be afraid to make a change when things aren't going well. Don't stick with a job that you hate or isn't pushing you forward in life. No job is perfect and there will be times you like it more than others. But, I've seen too many women (myself include) who stayed at jobs long after it was healthy for them to do so. Trust that if you have something worthwhile, other companies will see that.

You major isn't your biggest decision--but it is a big decision. It will guide your paths and opportunities and make your dreams and goals easier. I don't work 100% in my major field, but, my major allowed me to the opportunities I needed to end up where I wanted to be.

My last piece of advice, take a business class or two. No matter where you end up, it'll be a helpful background.


Someone who has learned most of these lessons the hard way

Monday, February 01, 2016

Looking for the light in winter

I appreciate winter's beauty, but I am not a winter girl. There is something about the cold and the darkness--especially the darkness--that I just don't like. I know that darkness isn't going to last forever, but sometimes, in the throw of January or February it's hard to remember that.

Many of my most trying times have also come in the middle of the winter. When they've come, I needed something that could bring me hope, and peace, and light. In my searching, I've found some beacons.

My absolute go-to is this talk, However Long and Hard the Road, by Jeffrey R. Holland. I found it during my first winter and over the years, I've returned to this talk time and time again and it's brought me peace. I don't understand all, but I do understand the promise that, "You are laying the foundation of a great work—your own inestimable future" and I trust that it will be inestimable one day.

This talk, The Sustaining Power of Faith in Times of Uncertainty and Testing by Elder Richard G. SScott, was an answer to prayer when it was given in 2003 as I needed to remember that "God will respond with what is best for you in His eternal plan." He gave a follow up to this talk in 2010 called The Transforming Power of Faith and Character. " 

In 2012, I was feeling very much like the Lord has forgotten me. I was hurt and angry and I felt far from the Lord and it scared me. No matter what I did, there was this cloud that I just couldn't seem to lift.  In the General Relief Society Meeting, Sister Reeves gave a talk called The Lord Has Not Forgotten You in which talked about an experience from her past and the anger, hurt, and loneliness she felt. It struck a chord. If she could get out of it so could I. Slowly, I did.

Over the years, I've had a lot of time to think about what an eternal marriage looks like. Elder F. Burton Howard (Eternal Marriage) said something that has guided my relationships and shaped my decisions. He said, "If you want something to last forever, you treat it differently. … It becomes special because you have made it so." I've come to see how true those words are. Real and deep love is more sweet, more pure, more wonderful than I could have ever imagined.
And you can bet because it's taken it's sweet time to get here that I treat it differently.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Friday 5

1. Ever since Matt and I have started dating, his Master's Thesis has been a major part of our relationship. Not anymore. He defended his Thesis on Monday--and he passed! Happy dance all around! I've never been more proud of him than watching all those pieces he's spent the last year working on come together into something mighty impressive. Bonus: even though his topic was dealing with radiation stimulation for the Apollo Missions, I understood 95% of what he was talking about. 

2. Sunday dinners with the family. Sunday dinners are not the most demure affairs. There's a lot of laughter, jokes, and crazy stories that get passed around the dinner table.

3. Heat and hot water. Over the last two weeks, our heater and hot water has been out of commission. It was only for a few hours each time, but, still in the middle of winter a cold shower or a cold bedroom is far from fun. I know there are many people who do not have these two basics which makes me all the more thankful that I do.

4. Instagram purges. I have a hard time purging friends on Facebook, but Instagram is whole another story. I have no problem purging people who I no longer find what they post interesting. People who feel like they must post every single moment of every single day. Or my personal pet peeve, when they're overly pushy about selling me some type of product. If you fall into any of those categories, bye bye.

5. I am thankful for the peace I can find at the temple. Things may be swirling around inside, but the temple is the one place I can find clarity and understanding.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Friday 5

I'm a little behind on the game for last week. Oh well!

1. In the happiness of having a day off in the middle of January, it's easy to take for granted the struggles of all who have contributed to freedom, democracy and equality. Each year I'm glad for the reminder that change can be accomplished without hatred and violence.

2. Sometimes it's the silliest things that mean the most. Due to a series of plans falling through on MLK Jr. Day, we found ourselves at one of those nickel arcades. We spent the next few hours playing silly arcade games and trying to beat each other. Our favorite though, was this game where you throw balls at baby gophers. We were struck by how absurd we felt throwing all those balls at and trying to get them killed.

3. There are days when laughing with good friends is heart healing. I don't know how I'd ever have made it through all these lonely and tough single years without the most amazing group of friends.

4. I'm grateful that I've mostly missed the two weeks of death flu that Matt and various members of my family has had.

5. I'm enjoying trying my hand at something new and getting my creative juices flowing in my glass jewelry making class.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Friday 5

Sometimes, it still shocks me how quickly time goes. I feel like it was just yesterday I was having to remember to write 2016 on everything and now, we're half way through the month.

1. I've been making my bed--properly. I love the look of a well made bed, but most mornings I either don't make my bed, or I haphazardly pull up the blankets and throw the pillows on. Spending those extra couple of minutes has made a difference in my day. When my bed is properly made, I realize I'm more likely to make sure everything else is too.

2. I spent way too much time looking for my favorite fingernail polish. Due to being left out in the cold, my very favorite fingernail polish NYC Park Avenue, broke. No big deal I thought. I'll just grab it on my next trip to the grocery store. Wrong! I tried one store, than another, and another and still was coming up empty handed. At which point I was starting to panic. Which is crazy. To panic over a super cheap bottle of fingernail polish. But I did, because well, it's my favorite! I was getting so desperate, I was almost willing to pay the $20 bucks for a $2 bottle on Amazon. On store number 5, I found two bottles and promptly purchased both and it felt like a MAJOR win.

3. Christmas cards came down. During the month of December I eagerly check the mailbox for Christmas cards. I love catching up on people's adventures and seeing their lovely faces on my fridge. I hate that moment when they finally have to come down.

4. I've been running again--it's time to start tri training. The worst part about doing any race is the preparation. There are many mornings when I'd rather stay in my warm bed, then get up and start running. Once I do I love what my body can do. (Plus, I'm motivated to make sure I get my fitbit steps in)  I've been a slacker when it comes to working out, so I was very happy that I ran 1.5 miles this week without stopping.

5. I finished The Great British Baking show and can I just say, that's what reality TV should be all about. It was a show that highlighted talent, seriously, they were amazing, without making people look dumb or stupid. There was no cat fighting--just people who liked each other. It didn't matter who went home each week, I was sad to see them go.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Friday 5

One of my 2016 goals is to get back into blogging. Which is going to take some work as sometimes having to write seems so daunting. Yet, it's the only journal of my life at the moment and I want to remember the things I did/thought so here I go. Starting with my first Friday 5. 

1. I finally put away my suitcases from holiday travels. Now, I know there are some people who just have to put away those suitcases as soon as they are home. I am not one of them. Putting away the suitcase signals the end of vacation and that's the last thing I want. Especially as I had some great travels this holiday. Can someone say Disneyland for Christmas!!! More about that trip coming up. There does come a point though, no matter how great that trip was, having a suitcase in the middle of one's room poses a problem. So away it has to go.

2. I've survived one week in glasses. Now if I can just survive three more weeks.... I'm not a glasses wearer. 99% of the time I hate them. I never feel I can see quite as clearly when I'm wearing them. Dang astigmatism. If in 3 more weeks, they say I'm a candidate for Lasik all of it will be worth it.

3. I took a ride on a Greyhound Bus. Do to some scheduling, I found myself on a Greyhound to the middle Wyoming. 90% of what you hear about the Greyhound is true. It has the most interesting people, but, it also had some very kind people who were generous to those who were less fortunate than themselves even though they didn't have much. People who looked out for me and worried about me being dropped in the middle of Wyoming and being killed by an ax murder. People who were starting on new adventures and knew how lucky they were for the opportunities. It also showed me how good I had it. I am not fighting with mental illness or addiction. I have not been dealt a hand that is hard to overcome. I have security and opportunities and a pretty darn good life.

4. I've gone 2 weeks without Facebook on my phone and I can't say I miss it. I deleted the app for Disneyland because I wanted to be present in line and make memories with my family. Instead of being on our phones we played games, we laughed, and we talked.

5. I bought a new London bag because the first week of January always makes me a little homesick. It was 13 years ago that I began one of the best adventures of my life. Of which, you can read a little bit more here.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

The things I'm thankful for

While I have so many things to be thankful for in my life, I'm not always the best at actually acknowledging what they are.

This guy. Having him in my life has been a blessing.

My family. They are my greatest source of strength.

The Gospel. It adds such meaning to my life and allows me to have peace and comfort when life gets overwhelming.

Travel. To be inspired by the world around me.
Good health. My body is amazing and I'm grateful for all the things it can do. 

True friends. They make the bad moments bearable and the good moments even better.

Adventure. I'm grateful for those things that allow me to push myself.

Laughter. It can change any situation for the better.

Answered prayers. For those small moments that have reminded me that I'm not forgotten and that Heavenly Father has a plan for me.

Safety and security. I am indeed grateful that I have enough for both my needs and my wants and that I don't live in constant fear and worry.

My job. I love having a job that makes me feel valued.

Technology. It brings far away family and friends closer.

Sunshine. Rainstorms. Ice cream.