Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Lessons from the Museum: Part One

It's Wednesday and, after almost five months, I still find myself missing the museum dearly.  Five years ago I decided to become a docent because by golly they could get me married--they had to have unmarried sons, grandsons, neighbors, coworkers, ward members. I stayed because my service became one of the greatest blessings in my life.  I wrote on my very last night that "My museum family has been an incredible influence in my life and words can't really describe how much I will miss them. Wednesday nights became my weekly pick-me-up and I always left feeling emotionally and spiritually fed." And it's true. There were hard days/weeks/months/years when I relied heavily on my time at the museum. In fact, I'm not sure how I would have gotten through some of those dark days without it. On more than one occasion, I would enter the museum feeling alone, angry, forgotten, or scared and would be required to testify of the goodness of the Gospel and the Lord. It was in these moments of testifying that I would be reminded of what I knew and more importantly, that I wasn't alone or forgotten.

As my service to the museum was winding down, I started making a list of the things that the museum had taught me. Slowly the list grew. And I am grateful to  have a list of those lessons that I can look back on when I need a little reminder.

Without further ado, presenting Lessons Learned From the Museum: Part One

One of the very first things we did at the museum was to tour the storage areas. Of all the artifacts in the storage units, what stood out was an Empire Penguin that a missionary brought back from New Zealand in the 1870's as a souvenir. For years that penguin was a part of the museum family. It showed up in displays, it was dressed up for holidays, but, once the current building was built that all stopped. Through some trying years, that penguin became a symbol to me as I felt very much like that penguin: unknown, forgotten, unused and unloved. I was reminded that while I thought that I was Mr. Penguin that wasn't the truth. Just like the archivist, who knew exactly where it was, I had a Heavenly Father who knows where I was too.

One of the things I tried to do was to find connections that made that person's story relevant to each of us. One of my favorite connection dealt with the story of the down and out company. Each spring, young men would volunteer to take wagons loaded with goods back East to sell and pick up those Saints that wanted to come West. It was a highly desired job as it meant they had the first look at all the new blood. There's a great journal entry from one of these newly arrived European Saints in which she talks about meeting the men of the down and out company and how clean and handsome they were and that she would never get married because she had nothing clean to wear and must look like a fright. I'm happy to report that by the time she reached Utah she was engaged. Awww. But, it was a reminder that in the midst of "the grim and the dirt" that good things will happen--which helped me through some of my dating "woe is me" moments. It also reminded me that I could draw strength from others who had been there before.

Again and again, I saw that the Lord does not work in coincidences. He's not just a God that lets things happen without some sort of plan. No, he is intimately aware of what we need and works on the details of our lives. In the scriptures we read about the principle of "two or three witnesses." On that June day in 1844, many of us forget that there were two witnesses to those events--John Taylor and Willard Richards. But, it goes a step deeper. These weren't just random men. They were two members of the Quorum of the Twelve apostles. One of their duties is to be a special witness of Christ. In that moment when the Lord needed witnesses to those deaths, he choose two men uniquely qualified to bear testimony.

I gave a lot of Pre-Trek tours. Sometimes dealing with a bunch of board teenagers wasn't very fun, but I found if I could connect the stories of the past with what they were dealing with, I had a better chance of getting through and actually teaching them something. One of the stops on the tours, was at the Nauvoo temple wall. In the museum it was approximately 17 feet high which was how much of the temple was completed when Joseph and Hyrum were killed in the June of 1844.  Before the Saints were driven out in February of 1846, they completed the temple. I still find it incredible that those Saints were able to finish the rest of the temple in such sort period of time considering that it took 40 years for the Salt Lake Temple.

Stopping at the temple, seems like an odd stop for a Pre-Trek tour as those handcart pioneers who never experienced the blessings of the temple before their journey across the plains--but I believe they came for the blessings of the temple.

Sarah Rich summed it up so perfectly: "Many were the blessings we had received in the house of the Lord, which has caused us joy and comfort in the midst of all our sorrows and enabled us to have faith in God, knowing He would guide us and sustain us in the unknown journey that lay before us. For if it had not been for the faith and knowledge that was bestowed upon us in that temple by the influence and help of the Spirit of the Lord, our journey would have been like one taking a leap in the dark. To start out … in the winter as it were and in our state of poverty, it would seem like walking into the jaws of death. But we had faith in our Heavenly Father, and we put our trust in Him feeling that we were His chosen people and had embraced His gospel, and instead of sorrow, we felt to rejoice that the day of our deliverance had come."

So what is our journey. For those Saints, their "physical" journey was to come to Utah and hence the blessings of the temple. They came because they understood that their journey required the protection of the temple.  And much like those Saints, our journey is to the temple. And we need the protection in an ever changing and scary world. In the end, we're both making our journey to the same place--the temple. And isn't that awesome?!?!! Like spine chilling awesome.

Thomas Evans and his wife joined the Church in England and became part of the second handcart company. Which isn't that unusual. But Thomas Evans was unique in that he had a wooden leg due to a mining accident and a pregnant wife. The Evans' began their journey and, while it was hard, they could do it until the reached the sandy plains of Wyoming where pulling his handcart became physically impossible. He reached the point where he couldn't do it anymore and told his wife to go ahead without him. She said, she wouldn't because getting to "Zion" was a family affair and they were going to get their together or not at all. They didn't see how they could make it and thought that their journey would end there in Wyoming. But, the company rallied around them and they got to Utah safely. It was incredible enough that he walked across the plains once on a wooden leg, but Thomas Evan did it FIVE time as he served two missions back to his native countries. I love this story for three reasons. First, it shows that our journey really is a family affair and that we have to help each other get there. Second, there will be times when we will need a "hand" from others and there will be time when we'll be the strong ones that will be offering others help. Lastly, its a great reminder that with the Lords help we can do things that we think are physically, emotionally, or spiritually impossible.

Monday, February 02, 2015

January roundup

Things that have absolutely rocked about January

Warm weather. I know I shouldn't be grateful for 50 degree days because of water needs, but I have loved not having to scrap my car.

Plays. A play a month does a heart good. Yeah for season tickets!
Jane and I at Barefoot in the Park

Spending time with this guy.  Not only does he take me to the Opera (brownie points), he humors me by trampling through cold weather and dealing with traffic so I can cross things off my winter bucket list. :)

The Pearl Fishers Opera
Freestyle Skiing World Cup at Deer Valley
Midway Ice Castles
Painting class. After years of doing art for work, it's fun to recapture the love of art for myself. Plus, I'm digging oils. And these are a work in progress, the top is going be beach scene and the one below is going to be a night landscape.

These shoes. They are gold and sparkly. What more do I need?

Call the Midwife. Seriously brilliant! It's heart warming and funny while tackling some very serious issues.

Style/Blank Spaces. This song has been in my head all month, but I'm not complaining as I love it.

Things that have not rocked about January

These little ones left. :(

 And I didn't get to see these ones at all. 

Someone left me this.

And I'm pretty sure January's warm weather is going to come back a bite me in March.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Winter Bucket List

I'm trying to keep my winter's bucket list to a much more manageable length.  I'm worried that the warm weather we're having though is going to make some of these impossible. Guess, I'm keeping my fingers crossed that we actually get winter? #MayBeTheFirstTimeI'veUtteredThoseWords

Monday, January 12, 2015

Bring on 2015

I love this time of year--the reflection on the events that have brought you to this point and the anticipation of the promise of things to come in a new year. To say I was blessed in 2014, would be an understatement. Yes, my life was not 100% perfect, but it was pretty darn good.

Probably the greatest lesson I learned in 2014 was to embrace the life I've been given and to love what it brought me--the good, the bad, and the ugly (and there was a little bit of all in the year). And here's how I did that.

Push yourself. Move outside of your comfort zone. Forgive others. Forgive yourself. Change bad habits. Establish new ones.

Trust your instincts. Trust your strengths. Trust your abilities. Trust your awesomeness.

Trust that He is aware. Trust that He knows. Trust that He answers.

Family, friends, and the Gospel.

Laugh more. Watch more sunsets and sunrises. Be spontaneous. Be passionate. Buy yourself flowers and chocolates. Cuddle babies. Sing loudly in the car.

Embrace new talents. Make new friends. Try something new. Strengthen old relationships.

Instead of looking at them as something to be endured, fully embrace what you're meant to learn.

Trust that above all, God has very specific timing.

Bring on 2015, because I've got this.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

This weeks wishlist

Saw some lovely things this week. Oh, to be rich! :)

1. Chebran shoes
2. Boden Flowershow Dress 
3. Michael Kors Hamilton Bag
4. Albion Poppy Swimsuit
5. Fine Grain tablet stand

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Now that I'm a year older

Now that I'm an another year older, and, of course, wiser too, I thought I'd give some of the things I've learned this last year. Especially, when it comes to finding your own happiness.

Be content with where you are.
No matter your stage of life all of us want something more. I want a house, husband, and kids. Instead I've got roommates, an 8x10 room, and 90% of my stuff in that room. I've been squirreling away stuff for the future--china, pots and pans, bedding, knickknacks. All good stuff to have one day, not necessarily good to have today. So I downsized from a queen to a twin and got rid of some of those "someday" stuff and it's been liberating.

Find fulfillment in your job. 
Being single, a lot of my identity comes from my job. And trust me, if you hate your job that spills over into the rest of your life. One of the best things I did for myself last year was to find a job that I love and that brings me joy and happiness. So, if you're struggling in your life take a good look at your job and, if needed, make some changes.

Be realistic in expectations.
I still want the fairytale ending to my life.  That fairytale ending may still have him riding in on a white horse, he's probably going to pulling a cart full of hurts and fears. And if I'm honest, I probably do too.

Don't give deadlines for when things will happen.
Each year I've put start dating someone/and or get married on my yearly to-do list and each year I feel like a failure when I didn't get that one "goal" even though I crossed everything off of my list. Getting married isn't on the list this year. Surpringly removing it from the list has meant one of my better dating years so far.

Have one or two outfits where you feel beautiful in.
It's so much easier to face family parties and dates feeling beautiful.

Find what works for you when it comes to being social.
Just because something worked for others didn't mean that it worked for me. I don't like large parties, but I have friends who thrive on them. Others won't do online stuff, but it's worked for me.

Cultivate and maintain great friendships.
I have some of the most incredible friends in the whole entire world. No, I'm serious. I won the friendship lottery.  They make me laugh and they heal my soul and I need them in my life.

Plan for the future.
While I'd love to think that I'll end up with a husband to take care of me, I'm also aware that I may end up having to take care of myself. I've moved from having a job to having a career. Things like 501Ks and health insurance are important to me. Not only do I have my yearly goals, I've now got a 5 and a 10 year plan (and am working on the 20).  Plus, there are still a lot of things I need to learn to be a better person 5, 10, 20 years from now single or married.

Take time for yourself. 
Get pedicures, splurge on expensive make-up, exercise, turn down social obligations, stay in for the weekend.

Make service a priority.
I get more out of my service at the Church History museum then I probably give. The thought of it all being over in October makes me sadder than I want to let on.

Give people the benefit of the doubt.
I'm trying to remember that every time someone who is married says, "You're so lucky to be single," "Enjoy it while you can," "I live vicariously through you," "She doesn't want to be in her 30's having kids," they don't mean to be hurtful in their comments.  Which, as my family can attest, I'm ubersensitive to comments about being single, but I'm learning how not to be.

Create a bucket list. Cross things off that bucket list.
I'm in love with bucket lists. I love trying things I wouldn't have been able to do otherwise. It's added depth to my life.

Try new things.
Be brave and adventurous. And that spirit is kind of attractive.

Put yourself out there.
Trust me. It's not easy. I've put myself out there in the last two months that I've probably done my whole entire life. It hasn't been easy. It's been a lot of work, but it's also been worth it.

Don't be afraid to make, and admit, mistakes.
I'd much rather give something my all and make a mistake then hold back a piece of me worry about "what if." Admitting that I'm wrong is whole different ball game. When I'm hurt it's almost impossible for me to admit that. It's liberating when I do.

Realize that you're tons more than your relationship status.
Some of the most incredible people are know are single. They serve, they have fulfilling jobs, they cultivate habits, they are spiritual, they are kind and generous and loyal. The label that gets put on them most often is "single" which is one, albeit important, aspect of who they are, in itself gives an incomplete picture of who they really are.


If you can change it, don't complain.
I've spent a lot of time over the last years bemoaning the fact that I'm single and guys aren't asking me out. There were a lot of things I could have done to change that situation, but I refused/didn't want to to do them. But if I'm not able to give it my all, I really can't complain when things don't turn out how I want.

Give it your all!
My biggest enemy is myself. I hold myself back all the time for fear of being hurt, rejected, disappointed.