Friday, November 11, 2016

Change is Good

It's amazing what a little perspective can do. The house I bought is in different ward (what we call our local church congregation). When I moved to Georgia I was once again in the Waycross 1st Ward, the congregation of my childhood. While house hunting, I looked specifically at homes that would keep me in the ward, and able to attend church with my mom.

In April I suspended my search. There was nothing that I was falling in love with in the boundaries I had set. Then, two days later, a coworker asked if I was still looking to buy a house. She was planning to sell and looking for a buyer. The only hesitation I had was that it was in 2nd ward boundaries.

In spite of that, everything in this proposition just worked; it felt right! And it fell into place SO quickly. I had so many experiences in the time span of a few weeks that let me know I was making a right decision, to let go of fear, and trust the Lord. Truly, this has been the biggest blessing in my life.

We had a women's meeting last night and as I associated with these amazing women, I was once again filled with joy at the blessing they, and this move, have been in my life! I finally feel like I belong somewhere, something I really haven't felt in a few years. My friends and family in 1st ward are wonderful, but it was time for a change. In a time when I felt very alone and almost forsaken, Heavenly Father created this blessing for me specifically. I hope that I'm able to do a portion of good for someone else here as they are doing for me!

Embrace the change. Change is the only constant in life. And I'm beginning to learn that change is good!

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Finding my Voice

I've been silent for a long time. I've been holding in many of my thoughts and feelings, knowing that by sharing any of them I open myself to feeling ALL of them, something I've been trying to avoid. A few times over the past couple of months the weight and pain have washed over me and I feel like I'm being pulled by a strong rip current to drown in these thoughts and feelings. A bit dramatic? Maybe (ok, totally), but I'm learning to respect and own my feelings. They are there for a reason.

I shared a particular story tied to these emotions with two different people in a scary but vulnerable moment. I NEEDED someone to know what I was feeling, to share that side of me. The first person reacted with questions as to the validity of my concerns, doubts that I should feel anything that I said I was feeling, and showed a surprising lack of understanding that I desperately needed. The second person listened openly and without judgement, she felt the weight of what I shared and did so without judging. I told her that I felt ridiculous to have these feelings regarding this incident (basically internalizing the responses from person number one), but she acknowledged the sense of pain/loss I was expressing and validated me.

It was interaction number two that helped me see that closing myself off to the feelings isn't the right answer, and it isn't healthy. Even now as I've accepted and am trying to own them, they wash over me with such force that I can't hardly control the tears that inevitably come. Because of person number two I don't feel broken or ashamed. I don't have the answers or reasons person number one suggested I needed, thoughts I had myself prior to sharing with her. The first conversation validated my personal fears; the second validated me.

That's what I needed, that's what we all need. To feel validated in spite of our fears. Nelson Mandela said to make our choices based on hope, not fear. I've been acting in a hopeful manner lately, trying to act in faith despite the pain. Because of person number two, I've started sharing again and I've started finding my voice.

While I have no intention of sharing the exact experience and cause of the pain I've been dealing with on this blog, I do hope to continue to use my voice as one of motivation, of encouragement, of hope. I want to once again read my own posts and feel joy as I once did. I want my testimony and the light of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which gives me hope, strength, and courage, to shine through my writing. There will be troubled waters ahead, but it is Him who will calm the sea and allow my voice to be heard, if only by me.

I'm Home

Well, little neglected blog, I'm here. I reread a previous post that eluded to a "big announcement", and for the life of me I couldn't remember what it was. Then I remembered:


It was, you know, a fairly significant happening in my life and then I promptly forgot to return and report! 
I've been home now since June and it is wonderful. For the first time in my life I've put down roots of my own. I'm here to stay...until it's time to go somewhere else (which I have no plans for now, I've just learned not to say never). For now, I'm right where I need to be and I feel so blessed.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

I'm Worth a Lot

I've hesitated writing a post like this but it's something that has been on my mind for quite some time, is often the topic of conversation (not always of my choosing), and is something I feel very strongly about. I have had some wonderful conversations with other single women about their stance on it, mostly to see if I'm off base. Turns out we're all 1) a little stronger-willed than we may have realized and 2) confused by what society tells us.

I've gratefully been raised to be a strong and independent woman. I'm not even sure when I realized that as my identity. I'm definitely a woman of action and I'm tackling some very big things right now (big announcement coming soon!). I have goals for my life and I'm actively creating the person I want to be. Interestingly, society agrees that a woman should be independent and "successful" (quotes only because I feel there are too many definitions of success, not all of which I feel are accurate). In the workplace a woman must be strong-willed, competitive, and show no signs of emotional weakness (or any other weakness for that matter). We're supposed to "keep up" with the men (another tirade altogether).

Then we return to our personal lives and our (or at least my) feeble attempts at dating and relationships. All of a sudden, I'm supposed to be "needy": need a man to carry something, to fix something, to keep me company, to provide for me, etc. The men I've interacted with have all expressed a desire to be needed, and I get it. I also appreciate it, but I don't know how to accept it. And the thing is, this "need" goes far beyond traditional gender roles and stereotypes. Then I think of the men and feel they may have the same type of conundrum in reverse (oh my brain...chill out!).

If you're reading this, expecting some conclusion, sorry, I'm still working on it. (If you're still reading, bless you!)

I will however leave you with the following story that probably should have been left here without my rambling. It states far better what I'm thinking than I can write. I found this little gem on Facebook a couple of weeks ago (yes, that's how hesitant I've been to put this out there), and promptly forgot to get a good source reference. I think it's right on target with how I should be thinking. I'd love to hear your thoughts.

In a brief conversation, a man asked a woman he was pursuing the question: "What kind of man are you looking for?" She sat quietly for a moment before looking him in the eye and asking, "Do you really want to know?" Reluctantly, he said, "Yes."

She began to expound, "As a woman in this day and age, I am in a position to ask a man what can you do for me that I can't do for myself? I pay my own bills. I take care of my household without the help of any man... or woman for that matter. I am in the position to ask, 'What can you bring to the table?'"

The man looked at her. Clearly he thought that she was referring to money. She quickly corrected his thought and stated, "I am not referring to money. I need something more. I need a man who is striving for excellence in every aspect of life." 

He sat back in his chair, folded his arms, and asked her to explain. She said, "I need someone who is striving for excellence mentally because I need conversation and mental stimulation. I don't need a simple-minded man. I need someone who is striving for excellence spiritually because I don't need to be unequally yoked...believers mixed with unbelievers is a recipe for disaster. I need a man who is striving for excellence financially because I don't need a financial burden. I need someone who is sensitive enough to understand what I go through as a woman, but strong enough to keep me grounded. I need someone who has integrity in dealing with relationships. Lies and game-playing are not my idea of a strong man. I need a man who is family-oriented. One who can be the leader, priest and provider to the lives entrusted to him by God. I need someone whom I can respect. In order to be submissive, I must respect him. I cannot be submissive to a man who isn't taking care of his business. I have no problem being submissive...he just has to be worthy. And by the way, I am not looking for him...He will find me. He will recognize himself in me. He may not be able to explain the connection, but he will always be drawn to me. God made woman to be a help-mate for man. I can't help a man if he can't help himself."

When she finished her spill, she looked at him. He sat there with a puzzled look on his face. He said, "You are asking a lot." She replied, "I'm worth a lot".

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Foundations and Fingerprints

There is a lot going on right now and many big decision are being made. I've been doing a lot of pondering, planning, and praying and taking my best shot, believing that if I'm not on the right path, Heavenly Father will redirect me.

I had come to a decision about one of the weightier matters and then last night, as I sat working on homework, doubts and fears began creeping in. I said a silent prayer right then and there that if this was still the right decision that peace would return.

Almost instantly the following lyrics to a beloved hymn came to mind. It is the third verse of "How Firm a Foundation"

Fear not, I am with thee; oh, be not dismayed,
For I am thy God and will still give thee aid.
I'll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand,
Upheld by my righteous, upheld by my righteous,
Upheld by my righteous, omnipotent hand.
That was His plea to me, fear not! That is His promise, He is with me! I continued with my homework last night and am moving forward with my plans today. I'm seeing miracle upon miracle unfold in my life right now. I'm truly seeing evidence of the Lord's hand making things happen for me, yet another answer to my prayers.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

The Parable of the Selfie

Today in Sacrament meeting the speaker was telling a story about how, while on vacation, his son helped him improve his selfie taking skills. He said he had listened to the bishop a few weeks ago share that almost anything could be tied back to some sort of gospel-centered lesson. As I considered his experience I realized I could tie it to a little lesson.

To start, though, we have to go back a few many years. I was probably 18 and home from college. As a family we decided to go to Cracker Barrel for dinner. After dinner, as we always do, we walked around the store. That day they had a number of hats and my sister started putting them on me. Before long a male employee came over and was joining in the fun. At one point he grabbed a mirror and was holding it in all sorts of different positions so I could get a better look, all the while making silly comments. (This is the part where I'm told he was flirting with me but, as usual, I was completely oblivious!!) He took the mirror and held it above me and said that that was the way God saw me, from above.

Okay, fast forward to the present day. When I take a selfie I know the proper placement to take what I feel are the most flattering pictures of myself, whether that's true or not I can't be certain. That view is from above, or at least at a higher vantage point than what I normally see myself in. As our flattering friend would have said, it's the way God sees me.

I believe a loving Heavenly Father does see me in the most positive way, but I don't always see it. The picture I regularly take of myself is from every other angle really; some from eye level, some from the right or left, some from below. I need to remember that as a child of God I have every right to see myself in the same way He does. It's not in a self-righteous way. It's in line with my understanding of my eternal worth.

So as I move forward and continue taking my selfies, I hope to always live in such a way that they will always reflect the way God sees me.