Month: April 2019

fractured, meditations

Gratitude, Fear, and Perspective

Having less often means that you are more grateful. Isn’t that silly? I just heard Brene Brown talk about how when we are really happy and things are going really well, we usually are expecting something horrible to happen. We don’t let ourselves feel joy. We don’t let ourselves be truly grateful for the absolutely amazing things we have. It’s okay to be grateful. It’s okay that you have a lot and that you recognize that. Life is unfair–but sometimes that works in our favor, and we can recognize the absolutely amazing blessings we have.

Fear makes us do stupid things. I get scared of getting tired, and so I don’t do anything (and I feel tired). I get scared of being sick, so I don’t fully engage in life or take care of problems when they happen. I’m scared of talking to people, so I end up being super awkward. Fear isn’t rational. Fear doesn’t lead us down good paths.

Sometimes, it has been useful to me to zoom out on my life. We can get so stuck in avoiding those small moments of pain that we totally forget about the big picture. It’s good to remember the good picture: everything goes away. Right now is all we have.

my life

A look back

(This was written around January 2018, two month before I moved away from Wyoming.)

When I first came to Wyoming, I was unimpressed. It was dull and windy. I came on a particularly lousy day, as I found out later. It felt isolated and confusing because it was different than anything I was used to.

But my husband had been looking for a good job for literally years and this was finally a really good offer. It allowed him to progress in his career and support our family.

He was excited. I begrudgingly said yes because I didn’t feel there was any other option. I moved to Wyoming.

I will be forever grateful for story time at the local library, a program that ran for a very short time. I showed up and I met so many people who had daughters the same age as my daughter. I wrote down their names and I searched them on Facebook when I got home.

I had something unexpected: friends and a community. I even had some neighbors.

We moved there in March and by the time my daughter went to kindergarten in August, she had many friends. She gained many more. I started going to PTO meetings. And school events. And I met more and more people.

A year later, a preschool started in town right when my son needed it, giving him the friends and experience he needed.

We had the community of the tiny town we lived in, and also the community of the bigger town where we went to go to church and do our grocery shopping. They had a little once-a-week preschool I took all my kids to and then did the shopping after. We visited the library there too, and spent time making friends wherever we could.

I put myself out there. I walked up to people and introduced myself. I showed up. I tried. Sometimes I failed. But I tried.

When I moved to Nevada, I was optimistic, but the experience turned out to be extremely difficult. We survived.

When I moved to Wyoming, I was pessimistic, but the experience turned out to be wonderful in so many ways.

I don’t think my expectations had much to do with it. But I am hopeful in new adventures.

I gained so many friends. I will have even more friends in the future as we go to more places.

Thoughts over two years later:

I knew we wouldn’t be in Wyoming long. I could feel it, though the two years we were there seemed too short. It was sometimes difficult to live there, but it was also totally amazing. I miss it. But I’m okay with where I’m living now too. I have made new friends, like I always do. And I know that new adventures will come, over and over again, and new difficulties will come, and there will also be so much joy along the way.

fractured

The Lie of Happily Ever After

Marriage isn’t about true love. It’s not about finding the perfect person. It’s about finding someone who has potential and a person we can grow with and improve.

It’s okay to marry someone with different strengths and weaknesses, even if some other people might feel that they are marrying up or down. Sometimes we just don’t understand and that’s okay. We don’t have to.

We all have rough patches and we shouldn’t be judged by them. We all have really good moments too.

We can stick with each other in mistakes and trials. Life is not a happily ever after. No one has the ideal life. We all just keep working and trying our best.

(written January 2018)

do something, essay

Praise

I have never been praised for my singing voice, except for some mild positive comments. I view this as an entirely good thing.

You see, when we get praised for something, particularly when we are young, we may start to build up our self-imagine around that thing. It becomes part of who we are. But the thing is, we may not actually be particularly good at it in another setting. And we usually always have room for improvement.

When we get praised, we often will start to build our ego and self-worth around that thing. This is dangerous, because our self-worth shouldn’t really be based in what we do; it’s just who we are, and it is still there even when we can’t do something anymore, or we can’t do it as well as we thought.

We shouldn’t stop praising people, but we need to be careful with our children and praise in the right way. So that they know they have self-worth even if they realize later on that there are millions of people who are smarter than them, and stronger than them, and better than them at doing certain things.

Instead of saying, “You sing really well,” try, “I love to hear you sing.”

Instead of saying, “You are really smart,” say something like, “I really am proud of how hard you have worked in school.”

Sometimes we do things whether we are good at it or not–we do it because we enjoy it. And that’s much better way to be, doing things independent of whether we are better than someone else, doing something because it feels right, instead of doing something to inflate our ego and make us feel better about ourselves.

And stop praising yourself too–you don’t have to BE a good writer or a good singer or good at anything. You just exist. You DO. And that’s enough.

(Written January 2018)

fractured

Things that have helped me through doubt

  • Remembering good experiences
  • Relying on my heritage and the faith of others
  • Remembering what faith and hope is
  • Continuing to obey the commandments
  • Writing things down
  • Doubt my doubts
  • Realizing I don’t have to have all the answers
  • Embracing questions
  • Serving others
  • Seeking the wisdom of God
  • Relying on love
  • Knowing God loves me
  • Priesthood blessings
  • Wanting to believe
  • Writing down reasons to believe
  • Searching out balanced sources, and trying to avoid heated ones
  • Trying to do God’s will instead of my will
  • Seeing the good in the things around me
  • Learning the stories of my ancestors
  • Reading my scriptures
  • Reading general conference talks and studying them.

(Note: I’m going through post ideas from long ago that I never finished and posting them up for the next few days.)

essay, inspiration

Seeking help

Often I have pleaded for help from God, but I have often been too proud, too ashamed of my struggles, to reach out to help for others.

The other day, I was dealing with a difficulty in my own life and I wanted better solutions. Though I had prayed, fasted, and talked with my husband, I still didn’t have the answers I wanted.

So I took all my feelings and I wrote an email to my mom, asking for advice.

She wrote me back with exactly the words I needed. Revelation came through her, and then was confirmed and enhanced through the Holy Spirit. I was not able to solve my problem on my own (though I had tried through lots of internet searches). God answered my prayers through others and only after I asked for help.

Sometimes God does not give us the answers in the way we want. We have to do our part in seeking help from others. I’m not saying that we put all our problems out there for everyone to see. Sharing private and personal problems publically can cause hurt and distress. Instead, turn to the Lord first and then share with trusted family members, friends, and others who are put into our lives to help us and guide us.

You don’t have to do it alone. But often we persist in figuratively locking ourselves in a room to deal with our problems, hoping someone will break down the door to help us. We might even shout for help in a vague way. But to receive the help we are entitled to, we have to actually unlock that door and open it through questions and requests for help from the people who already love us and want to help.

That can be so difficult. But it is necessary to receive the full help and blessings that God wants us to have. He will help us know who to reach out to. He can help us know what to say. And He will help us know who we can help when others struggle.

We are not meant to do it by ourselves, even if we want to. We are much better off helping each other through life, but that can only happen if we strip ourselves of pride and unlock the door.

I realized recently that my instinct when I was having a hard time was to isolate myself. Whenever I have hurt and cried, I wanted to be far away from others. It’s still a struggle. But I just started imagining crying while being held by someone else and what that would feel like. That act of visualizing helped start to heal something inside me. I did not have to be ashamed of my tears.

Success in life is not always about knowing the answers; its learning to ask the right questions.

Life is full of struggles for everyone. We need real connection with each other. We need vulnerability, honesty, and trust. When we ask for specific help, we will find it. But often we have to ask first.

essay, fractured

dichotomies of life

Sometimes I have a difficult time staying happy. Sometimes I am really happy and I feel blessed and life is so very good. And then other moments, I feel like I’m falling into a hole of melancholy where nothing seems quite right.

Some of this is related to being a mother. It’s emotionally draining. And there is a constant battle of being unfulfilled on one side and feeling immense guilt on the other. I want to do my own projects, to create and learn on my own, but I end up feeling guilty for not doing enough for my kids.

And add in the regular isolation that happens as a mother. I am a little bit more isolated than a lot of people, as I live over a half hour away from any other family. I want to feel a part of something, and a lot of times I just end up doing it all by myself. Then when I’m around people, sometimes it’s gets exhausting and I just want to go home.

I have a lot going on and I feel incredibly busy in some moments, but then in other moments I have absolutely nothing to do and hours to fill.

Sometimes I just want stability, but that isn’t life. I hate things and I love them, often at the same time.

The only thing to do is to keep trying. But that’s enough. Trying is enough. Because the day starts over and over again, and no matter how many difficult moments there are, I know there is still happiness ahead.