Finding Strength in Unholy Places

Finding Strength in Unholy Places

I started this blog around 5 weeks ago. As stated in my first blog, I wasn’t sure why I started it. I am still not sure. I think it was a need to get my thoughts out instead of holding them in to fester. For some reason, typing them out was easier than just talking to someone in person. I think because if I suddenly spewed all of these thoughts out on a person they’d be overwhelmed or at the very least, avoid talking to me again. I’ve probably over shared in some of my posts, inadvertently. You see, my posts are very much just an idea that my stream of consciousness runs away with.  I’ve learned recently that I should at the very least, not publish all of my thoughts. Live and learn right?

So back to my current thought, finding strength in unholy places, I’m sure that title seems strange. It is, in the sense that unholy is subjective, but the strength is real. So what do I mean by that? Well, I mean that my life is very much unorthodox when it comes to most LDS, married women’s lives. I’m sure I’m not the only one with my circumstances, but I’m the only one I know of.  I haven’t always found strength, in fact until recently I would just buckle. I suppose that was easier, or at least I thought it was. Quite frankly, it only seemed easier at the time.

 

As I sit in my living room, the night before fast Sunday, fasting for the first time in years, my thoughts are on strength. I’m looking at the pictures on my walls, which is a Hodge-podge of pictures such as: a gorgeous picture of Christ with a child on his lap with the quote from Matthew 28:20 “For Lo, I am with you Always” inscribed on it, family photos, a picture of the Manti Temple and the Las Vegas Temple, posters from the suicide prevention website, “To Write Love on Her Arms”, my brother’s eulogy, the Proclamation to the Family, Football memorabilia, Motorcycle paraphernalia,and a large painting of a motorcycle club that my husband belongs to, among other things. I realize the things that are important to me. My family, first and foremost, Christ, my deceased brother’s memory,  music and the biker lifestyle. Pretty eclectic right? I have always felt comfortable (at least after I got older anyway)  in most situations. I am adaptable to most things. I can be comfortable sitting in church on Sunday by myself and also comfortable  hanging at the bar later on. I am comfortable listening to (and I love) rock and roll, #aerosmithisthegreatestrockbandever, country, punk, alternative, underground bands, etc. You name it, I am probably comfortable hearing it. I don’t flinch at curse words the way some people do. I am comfortable letting strangers sleep on my couch (well, strangers to me, my husband usually knows them or knows someone who knows them) but still strangers none the less. So when I say, strength in unholy places, I mean places where the spirit generally doesn’t dwell. My house for example. The spirit dwells there temporarily, but never permanently, by virtue of external factors that may come into my house.  I love the life I have. I think maybe a few months ago I might not have said that. The lifestyle catches up to you at some point. But, having reevaluated how I deal with the situations, I find that I do love my life. I love the bikes, and the noise, and the friends/family, the smell of cigarette smoke and whiskey. I love the loud music and the lyrics and the feeling. I love the company that stays at my house at a moments notice. I love riding on the back of my husband’s Harley in a pack of other Harley riders, heading down the road with the wind in my face and tunes blasting in my earphones.

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What I have found, is that I can stand alone in these places, in these situations, and I can still be me. That I don’t have to buckle under them to make things easier. I used to think I did. But now I know I don’t. So I find strength every time I go to a bar and I stand alone. I find strength every time I find the joy, the pleasure, and the fun in the situation that others may find cringe worthy. That yes, I can even laugh, dance, and make jokes, and that I don’t have to buckle. The strength comes from within me, regardless of the holiness or UN-holiness of the situation. What I lacked before was the faith in myself that I could stand alone. I always stated that I didn’t lose my faith in God. I really didn’t, it was faith in myself that I lost.

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I get that it isn’t a lifestyle for everyone, and not everyone could exist in it. But this is my life, this is where my journey took me and it’s chaotic at times, and it’s loud, and it’s atypical, but it’s perfect. Yet, I also find strength in the scriptures, in the church hymns, and the talks and lessons in church. I find strength at the temple, just walking around the temple grounds. I find strength in friendship and in music. I find a lot of strength in music I think. It grounds me, regardless of if it is rock and roll or if it is a beautiful piano solo of a well-known hymn. I think that everyone should find what brings them strength and figure out how that fits in your life regardless of how typical or atypical it is. I truly believe that the Lord understands each of us individually and understands that different things strengthen different people. I don’t feel like there is a one size fits all recipe to finding strength in the gospel. So whether you find it at church in a pew, or on the back of a motorcycle, or in playing music or singing music, or however your strength is revealed, remember that you can find strength in any situation because the strength is within you because the light of Christ is in all of us and we all have the ability to feel that strength. We just have to reach inside ourselves and find what triggers that strength in us. You can always stand in holy places, even if you stand alone and even if the external environment is unholy because the holiness and the strength lies within you.

All Roads Lead Home

All Roads Lead Home

I was lying in bed this morning and suddenly I just started thinking about how all the roads I have taken have led me here. It seemed miraculous really. So I started thinking, what if all roads lead here? What if no matter what road I’d taken, I would end up exactly in this place. Exactly where I’m supposed to be. Lying in bed next to the man I love. What if no matter how much we screw up. How far off course we get, we still end up back home, meaning back with our Heavenly Father. What if?

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It’s an intriguing thought, again this is just my opinion, and I’m not spouting doctrine here. But honestly, the thought came so clear to my mind this morning that all roads lead home. That was such a comforting thought to me. I think, well, rather I know that sometimes we all get bogged down in this quagmire of life and trying to live the gospel and do the right thing. Sometimes we get so focused on doing the right thing and following the path we think is the right path, that we forget there is more than one path. It’s true, there are many paths before us and sometimes we get so caught up in following someone else’s path that we forget we have a choice and can follow our own and that taking that path may not necessarily be wrong.

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I know, that sounds crazy right, but stay with me here. If any of you have followed my blog you’ve been clued in somewhat to my journey. So what do I mean by taking another path might not be wrong? Well, if you grew up LDS like I did, you likely were told that there is one path, maybe not in that way but basically you probably got the idea you go to church every Sunday, you pray every morning and every evening and before meals, you read your scriptures daily, you get baptized at 8, you go to young women’s or young men’s meetings and all of the camps and functions provided. You graduate high school and go on a mission or go to college for a year and then go on a mission. You go to BYU! You then marry a returned missionary in the temple and you start a family within a year. Am I close? Yeah, that’s the path right? That is the only path that can get you back to Heavenly Father. Right? Wrong! Okay now before I start getting messages from people who did follow that path saying how wrong I am, stay with me. Your path was not wrong. I’m not saying that. I’m saying, that path isn’t the only path. I’m saying that for many people who chose another path, that their path leads to the same place. So I’m not saying your path was wrong. I’m saying your path isn’t for everyone and there are many path’s that will lead back to salvation and back to Heavenly Father.

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So, I know, I kind of give Utah Mormon’s a hard time, for that I’m sorry. But, I feel like being a Utah born and bred Mormon that I absolutely have the right to point out some of the flaws. In other words, I’m not some outsider who never lived there. I grew up there. So, forgive me for being a little harsh here, but suck it up because while it doesn’t apply to every Utah Mormon there are enough Utah Mormon’s that it does apply to who warrant having it pointed out. Furthermore, if the idea that I’m pointing this out bothers you, you might want to ask yourself why you are offended by it. Is it because you are from Utah, or is it because deep down you know it’s true? Either way, it isn’t meant to be malicious, it’s meant to make people take notice of the fact that people are leaving the church, leaving the gospel because if you take a different path than the standard path mentioned above, people make you feel like you are less than worthy somehow. It is a real problem in my opinion and again, this is just my opinion. So if we as faithful members of this great church can recognize that maybe we get a little to self righteous, that maybe we get a little to judgemental, so much so that people would rather leave their faith than be in a church building with us, then maybe we need to think about teaching or speaking about the plan of salvation and about the plan God has for us in a much different tone. One that includes everyone and not just the one’s that follow the standardized path to exaltation.

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Okay, so now that I’ve offended half of Utah, again sorry, but not sorry, let’s talk about how every path leads back to Heavenly Father. It really does because I can’t count how many different paths I’ve taken. Too many to count, and yet I end up here. I end up writing this blog and realizing for myself that Heavenly Father loves each and every one of us unconditionally. Think about what that means? Unconditionally? Meaning, he doesn’t care how we got here. I’m sure he shed tears for us and was concerned for us on our Journey, but the point is it is our journey. He let us find our own path for a reason. One could argue if I had taken the clearly marked path ahead of me with all the signs and followed the herd so to speak all the way to the pearly gates without deviating that I would have had a happier life. Maybe that’s true, maybe it’s not. We will never know. But I want to disagree, for me, I don’t think that my life would have been happier doing it the standard way. I really don’t. Because I wouldn’t have known what real happiness felt like, because in order for me to know what that felt like, I had to feel real pain and real sorrow and real regret so that I’d recognize it when it finally arrived. I had to take all those paths so that I would recognize the right one as the right one when I got there. I think this is true for more people than not.

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All roads lead home because God did not design a plan where most of his children would be destined to fail. Heavenly Father is a genius of epic proportions. He is perfect in his love and he is perfect in his judgement and he is perfect in the plan he designed. So, the good news is that there are many roads home and most of us will likely make it there. Imagine that. Most of his children? That is a lot over the history since Adam and Eve and beyond. All of us will take our own paths, we will make our own ways, and some of us will figure out a lot of it here on earth but a lot of us will not until after we are gone, but the paths continue after we are gone, so even though we take some paths here, we will still be taking our journey after we are dead and this is where, all roads lead home!

Amazing!

Amazing!

Have you ever just woke up feeling amazing? If you haven’t then you need to figure out what in your life is missing because I just realized I’ve spent far to many years not feeling like this, and guess what? I’d rather feel amazing. How did I get to this point in my life? Well, to put it bluntly, by doing all the wrong things first! Now, that is not a strategy I recommend to anyone, if you are able, please figure it out sooner and then you’ll be happier sooner. I’ve always felt like I have a testimony of the things I believe in. For those of you who are LDS, you know what I mean. I believe that this church is true, I believe that we have a prophet on the earth today who guides us. His name is Thomas S. Monson. I believe that Joseph F. Smith translated the Book of Mormon by the power of the Holy Ghost and restored the true gospel to the earth in this dispensation. Yada, yada, yada. Right? Everyone has heard that testimony. That is the testimony I have, the fundamentals. The other part of my testimony was gained by doing all the wrong things and then figuring out after the fact that I was wrong. So in other words, the hard way. But you know what? I really don’t think I would change how I got here. Even if I look back at all the decisions I’ve made all of the things that have happened in my life, all of the heartache and suffering, I really don’t think I’d change a thing.

I am almost 43 years old. I have been a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints my entire life. Born and raised in Utah, no less. So how does someone who is born and raised in the church, parents married in the temple, given a blessing at birth, baptized at 8, went to Seminary, etc, all the things that every good “mormon girl” does in Utah, and well everywhere else I guess, how does that person go astray?  It’s simple, you can be born a member, raised a member, watch countless members abide by the culture that appears to be “Mormonism” and yet watch them not really live the gospel. So as a young adolescent, seeing that even in my own home, starts to make you think, I don’t want to be a part of this hypocritical crowd. Like how fake, right? I used to joke that I had to come to Sin City to find true LDS people. People who walked the walk and talked the talk, because from where I grew up, I just didn’t see it. Now, I’m not saying every LDS person in Utah is fake. Not by any stretch of the imagination. I haven’t met every person in Utah so how could I say that? I have members of my family who are very faithful members of the church. So I don’t want to paint all of Utah in that light but, quite honestly, there is a mormon culture in Utah that just is very different from the rest of the country or world. It’s true. I think just because so many people in Utah grew up as members of the church that it was sort of expectation. Sort of a given that you would be this very faithful member of the church just by virtue of being from Utah. That is not the case. Every person, whether born in the church or whether becoming a convert later has to be converted in their own right. You can’t coast on someone else’s testimony for your entire life. It just doesn’t work. But I digress.  So I sort of consciously but unconsciously chose to become in active as a member when I was probably 16 or 17 years old. I just saw this hypocrisy within the realms of my small existence, my small little corner of the world, where I determined that was the whole of the church. Obviously a very immature and adolescent way of thinking.

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I went about my life, thinking, I am so independent and I don’t need anyone’s help in life, because I’ve got this. Fast forward 3 years and I had just ended a long-term and long distance relationship when I met my Husband, Bob. This was after I graduated high school and I’d just turned 19.  We got married in 1995 after living together for 2 years. I was still in active and my husband isn’t a member of the church, but one would argue, if I had not went on the path I went on, I never would have met him. I’m so glad that I did because my life wouldn’t be what it is without him. I remember driving home from work one day and thinking (mind you I had not been to church or done anything church related other than get married in a church) since I was probably 17. I was now in my 20’s probably about 24ish I’d say. So I’m driving home and I get this thought that just comes to my mind that was a question really. My thought that just randomly entered my mind was, I wonder where a LDS church even is in this city? Like very weird out of nowhere. I thought nothing of it, when I got home there was a voicemail on my answering machine from someone in the Cedar Creek Ward saying “hi, this is so, and so, from the Cedar Creek Ward, I just wanted to let you know that we received your records and wanted to make sure you knew where the church building was and what time we meet?” So he proceeds to leave that information on my answering machine.  Whoa! Right? I had literally just had that thought driving home. So next thing I know I have a visiting teacher stop by my house to introduce herself and she invited me to a relief society function. So that is how I ended up coming back to church. Back in the sense, I went every Sunday, or as many as I could. Then I found out I was pregnant with our daughter probably a year or so later. I remember deciding I was going to raise this baby in the church because it was all I knew.  So I went to church more regularly. Still never quite converted myself, but I went. I remember walking up at the temple grounds while I was like 6 months pregnant, just pouring out my heart saying that I promised the Lord that even if I never fully repented or fully came back I would raise my daughter in the church.

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Fast forward a few years and I moved into the Palmyra Ward. Mikayla was 4 years old and a very rambunctious, loud, toddler. I remember that I loved the Cedar Creek Ward so much because I saw what real LDS people behaved like. I saw that they weren’t fake and that they lived the gospel as best they could and were just really great people.  So I was a little afraid of moving into a new Ward. But the Palmyra Ward turned out to be even better. I remember first thinking, I don’t belong here because all these people seem so together, like they have it all figured out and as funny as it sounds, I noticed the manicured hands and pedicured feet on the women, thinking, wow, I don’t belong with these people, they are far to classy. But I couldn’t have been more wrong, because they have all been super wonderful to me and my family. As you can see, my progression was just very slow. I did what I could at the time. I didn’t actually go and see a bishop to start any kind of repentance process until probably 2009 or late 2008, not sure. It took that long. Meanwhile, Mikayla was baptized in 2008, my brother passed away in 2009. I finally received a Patriarchal Blessing in December of 2009, and then in 2010 I got my temple recommend, which I have previously talked about before. Pretty miraculous right? Obviously I’m leaving out a lot of gory details about my own personal journey, but that is because those details don’t matter really. They are just events and things that happened in my life that are part of my history but don’t make up who I am as a person.

So yay! I made it to the temple, took out my endowments and went to the temple that first 2 years as often as I could. Then, in probably 2014 middle of 2014 I’d say, I made a choice to step away from the church again. I know, what? Why? It’s simple, and I just figured it out. I wasn’t fully converted. I wasn’t. I had walked the walk and talked the talk, but inside I didn’t feel it. Not really. I had problems with feeling the spirit except maybe in the temple which I always did, but it’s like the spirit didn’t speak to me personally all the time. I couldn’t feel it. It was hard for me to determine what was the spirit and what wasn’t. I didn’t fully understand that myself then. I didn’t understand that until recently. I had repented, received a patriarchal blessing, went to the temple, and I couldn’t feel it. Something was just missing still. It was a personal testimony of the Holy Ghost, of personal revelation. I was missing the point really.

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So over the last 4 years, I went astray and went back to my old life. I remember a few years ago a friend of mine saying “I don’t understand how someone can grow up in the gospel and basically have the same up bringing I did, and yet they totally went a different direction and didn’t stay in the church” (something to that effect). Since I have personally been there, I said, it’s easy really. I think she didn’t really understand that because she’d never really strayed. But if you have strayed, let me tell you how easy it is. It’s as easy as breathing, or walking. The reason it’s easy for some, is because they don’t feel it. It’s easy when you don’t have that amazing feeling with you all the time. It’s just easy. It was just easy for me, even after going through the temple to say, yeah, I’m just going to not do this anymore. I’m going to go back into the big and spacious building because I just don’t feel it and at least in the big and spacious building there are lots of people there. Maybe I’ll feel something over there. It really is that easy.

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So now, today, in this moment I feel alive, I feel the spirit, I just feel again. I finally feel what I think I didn’t feel before. Have I made my way back to the temple yet? No, have I made my way back to the Bishop’s office yet? No. Will I? Probably, but what I also know, is that I took that long road there before, and I’ll likely have to take that long road back and I’m not in a rush to do it. Not because of fear or anything, because I feel like there is a process for myself. I feel like it has to be the right time, much like it had to be the right time last time. I believe that maybe I was meant to go to the temple in 2010 for various reasons, and I also feel like I was meant to step away again. Because the Lord knows that for me to learn a lesson, I have to actually live it. I can’t just be told to do this or don’t do that, I am actually someone who doesn’t learn that way. I learn by doing. By living. By sometimes taking the wrong path and having to back track my way back. If I didn’t do those things, I would not be the person I am today. I would not feel the amazing feeling I feel right now. I would not be writing it down in this blog, completely unashamed of who may or may not read it. This moment was orchestrated. The people I’ve met were supposed to meet me. The people who’ve entered my life were supposed to be there. The people who left my life were supposed to leave at the times they did. Nothing is by accident and it’s all part of a plan. Does this mean that I won’t take a wrong turn again? Of course not. Does this mean that my life will be easy now that I feel this way and I know these things? Of course not. Because I don’t do things the easy way. But that is the beautiful part about it, it’s my life! I choose freely how to live it with the Lord as my captain, but I still have the wheel. I’m still steering it, but I know, no matter what direction I take, he always has my back. He always has a plan for me. Don’t worry, because it all works out in the end and it’s Amazing!

The Calm

The Calm

People are probably getting a headache or a stomach ache reading my blog. It’s one big roller coaster ride isn’t it? Okay maybe that’s just how I feel about it. So last Monday I posted about the darkness I was in and by Friday I was telling the world to bring it on. I know, make up my mind right? Well, something happened yesterday that was just so profound, and so eloquent. It literally brought the roller coaster to a screeching halt. Where I was able to step off the roller coaster and stop the spinning, and the turning, and the up and down and swerving. It was just calm.

Yesterday was Sunday and I had been out really late with my husband and his friends. I think I got home at about a quarter to three in the morning. I got to sleep about 3:15 am and then got up at 8 am to get ready for church.  I was so tired. But I had resolved myself to make it to church anyway.  Now before I get to the awesome part of my church story, I have to say that I had abstained from drinking any alcohol the night before while out with our friends.  This was huge for me. Not because I am a big drinker anyway, I’m not and I really don’t drink much anyway, but the fact that I was out so late with a bunch of other people drinking and I didn’t drink anything was just a big win for me. It’s hard to explain, I guess you had to be there. Anyway, so fast forward to Sunday morning. I get up feeling like death cause I’m so tired (another great win that I wasn’t also hung over) and I drag myself to the shower and get ready.  I get to church just in time.

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The first speaker was a youth speaker and he spoke about depression, about this girl he had heard speak at a conference who talked about her depression and how serving others is how she coped with it.  It brought me to tears. If you personally know some one that you care about immensely that has a depression, you’ll understand. Just how he had described this girls life, how she lived every day in that state of depression was heart breaking to me because I do know people very close to me that have that issue. It touched my heart.  Of course, the first speaker and I’m already in tears.  The next two speakers were very good as well and I wish I had the presence of mind to write something down about their talks because I remember a couple of things hitting home to me as well. But regardless it was an uplifting and spiritually inviting meeting. After the first meeting was Sunday school. The lesson was on the Holy Ghost.

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Now, admittedly, I have a hard time with hearing the Holy Ghost and having personal revelation from it. I just do. For whatever reason,it’s hard for me to discern my thoughts from the spirit’s thoughts. So this lesson was great because it talked about how you feel the spirit, how you hear the spirit, what the spirit does. But also I shared in the class how those things are hard for me. After the lesson we went to relief society where we are reading the teachings of President Hinckley, love that man. Anyway it was about having an attitude of happiness. Which is so great because I think we all get bogged down in the world and forgetting that we are in control of our own destiny, our own happiness, etc.

After relief society, I went to go to my car to leave. I heard and felt a distinct thought that said “go back inside”. I stopped dead in my tracks because it was so clear. I stood there for a minute, and then I started walking to my car again. When I opened my car door, I heard it again, “go back inside”. I was like this is too bizarre. So I closed my car door and started walking back inside the church.  I didn’t know why I was going back inside but I thought, what the heck, it doesn’t hurt to walk back in. So I go inside, I start walking around the halls hoping something would jump out at me as to why I was there. Nothing did, so I went to the lobby and just sat down, thinking maybe it will come to me. So I sat there, and sat there, and sat there. People were leaving saying Hi’s and goodbye’s, but nothing was jumping out at me. Shortly after just sitting there a friend texted me and I told my friend that I was still at the church not knowing why. My friend suggested I pray. So I prayed and I got the thought that I was not supposed to go home yet. Okay, so again, I’m supposed to be in the church, and not go home yet. Alright, even I’m starting to think I’m nuts at this point. So a little before 1:00 another friend came out of the bishop’s office and it was the person who taught the lesson about the Holy Ghost. So she asked why I was still here, so I told her. We talked for a while about the prompting I’d gotten and a few other things. So I was like, okay, maybe that was it, maybe I was supposed to talk to her. So she left and then I got up and left and came home. No prompting to stay or not to go home at that point. When I got home, my husband was on a conference call but he stepped out and just said, I was worried about you, everything okay? I said, yes I just got hung up talking to a friend. He said okay, just wanted to make sure. But his demeanor was very soft, and very much different from what it had been the last week. He was very sweet.

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So what I gleaned from this situation is that the Holy Ghost was testing me in a way to see if I could hear him and if I would listen and also, I think by just following that simple instruction of go back inside and don’t go home yet, it was allowing me to see another side of my Husband, or Heavenly Father was performing a minor change in my husband’s attitude. Because normally, if I came home from church or anywhere else an hour late, he would have “jokingly” given me a hard time about it. But this time, he didn’t, he was just happy I was okay, and that was it. Sounds like a small thing, I know, but it really was kind of huge, because, I heard a prompting and I followed it which is like almost impossible for me. So that was, I think, the whole point.

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Anyway, after that I got home and just went to sleep for 4 hours because I was so tired from the night before. When I woke up, I felt this calm, this peace, this feeling that everything was going to be okay and everything was exactly as it should be right now. I wasn’t worried about my next 100 steps, or my next thought, or really anything. I was just able to be in the moment of this calm peacefulness. I can’t describe accurately how good that calm felt after the roller coaster. It was so amazing! “When the moment arrives, that you know, you’ll be alright!” (Aerosmith, Amazing). That is what that moment felt like. It felt like, everything’s going to be alright and it’s all good. The calm is great because it’s not riding a high. Because when you are riding a high, you know you are going to come down at some point. That’s true whether you are talking about drugs, alcohol, or just an emotional high where you feel so good and you are all jacked up on adrenaline, or even a spiritual high. When you are high you know you will always come down eventually. That’s the bad part about any high. So what was nice about yesterday, was it was not a spiritual high, it was a calm. Just peace.  Just comfort. That was it. Even in my perplexed state of not knowing what I was doing back at the church just sitting there, I was confused but calm.

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So now, my focus is keeping the calm. I think initially I was chasing a high, but now I’m just trying to cultivate the calm. So now I am starting to read the Book of Mormon from start to finish, which I intend to get by with a little help from my friends. Because reading doesn’t come easy to me. But I have a support system and I feel like I can do it this time. Bottom line is this is my life, it’s time I started living it my way. Keep calm and keep the calm.

 

Bring it On!

Bring it On!

So I know I’ve not written in a few days after my last very dark post. But I’m back today with a whole new attitude. I feel amazing today. That might have something to do with the fact that I got a full nights sleep last night for a change. Sleep is my friend. I have had a strange week. First there was Monday, which we all know what Monday was for me. Dark and dreary. Then Tuesday I felt a bit better. By Wednesday I had gotten my groove back. I went up to the Temple Wednesday afternoon after my afternoon appointment. I listened to some conference talks that had been recorded for me. I sat at the temple in my favorite spot, in the back by the fountain. I had my earphones and I just listened.  First was our Stake president speaking about the Book of Mormon and he, as he always does, put out the challenge to read the Book of Mormon daily. Great message as always.  Then there was another President speaking about Fast Sunday and the blessings of living the law of the fast (which I personally have never been able to fully do). Great talks from them as always.  Then came the Temple matron’s talk. I love this woman, she and her husband taught a temple prep class that I took years ago and they are just the nicest, most genuine and helpful people ever.  Her talk was about the temple and how when she was a young mother she had decided to make the temple a priority.  Great stuff and I thought it was awesome that I was on the temple grounds to hear that message.  Then her husband spoke, and he also spoke about the temple. I can’t pin point exactly what about his talk struck me, I really can’t. But I suddenly had this overwhelming feeling that made me shake. I just had this, almost need really, to decide to make my way back to the temple.

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So, just a bit of history, I took out my temple endowments in October of 2010. It was a special day. I personally never thought of myself as a temple going person even though I’d grown up in the church my whole life. I just always assumed it was not something I would ever do. So without going into too much detail about how I got there, I finally had my recommend given to me in July of 2010. I didn’t go and actually take out my endowments until October because I wanted to wait until I could go when we took my Brother, Ryan’s name through the temple. He had passed away on September 29, 2009. We had to wait a year before doing his temple work. So in that time I had received my recommend but chose not to use it until I could go when Ryan’s work was done.  So that is how that happened. I remember going to the temple often after that and feeling the piece that I felt there every time I went. In probably 2014 my recommend expired and I didn’t renew it. There is a story behind that as well, but perhaps a story for another time.

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So here it is 2017 and I still have not renewed my recommend and a lot has happened since then that will require some additional work to get my recommend back. So, back to the story, I was at the temple grounds this past week and I had this overwhelming feeling just come over me that I needed to get back to the temple. But, I also had the thought that it would not be an immediate thing or maybe even something that happens this year. I know, somewhat conflicting ideas right? Anyway, there I was having this very spiritual experience on the temple ground, literally ugly crying outside. I’m grateful that no one was around, or honestly, if they were, I didn’t notice. I was sort of in my own little island. It seemed isolated. I suppose, if I’m honest, there could have been people around and I’m not sure I would have noticed.  I cleaned myself up and left because I had to pick up my daughter to take her to singing lessons. So I went home, sort of on this emotional and spiritual high. I wasn’t sad, even though I was crying. I was just overwhelmed. So I picked Mikayla up and we went to her lesson. During that time I was scrolling through Facebook and finding all of these inspirational quotes, video’s and talks that just helped me make sense of what I was feeling.  After her music lesson, we went to my friend’s house to practice a song and then after that I went home, still on this high.

You know how when you get so high up, that the only way to go is down? Well that’s sort of what happened when I got home. While it was no one’s fault, I was somewhat irked by some things my husband had said (which of course, I know he didn’t mean) but they sort of brought me crashing down into this very defeated place. Where I had once had this hope it was dashed by these inconsequential comments.  Funny how that happens isn’t it? It’s funny how some people can just push the right buttons to instantly deflate you at a moments notice.  My husband is the only person who knows how to do that. Quite literally no one else has that ability. It’s sort of his super power.  But I love that he is the only one who carries that much weight in my life. It’s the way it should be I suppose. Anyone else could have said far worse and I would have just brushed it off because those people don’t mean anything to me. So I was up late Wednesday night literally giving way to much attention to this exchange between he and I that I know he probably didn’t think that much about. It literally probably didn’t faze him at all. But he didn’t know that I’d just been on this roller coaster of emotional high so he wouldn’t have known that what he said would bring me down. Totally my fault.

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Yesterday, I woke up late and had to be at a meeting at 10:00 in Henderson, so I got ready fast and left. Went to my meeting, and then had to meet someone about some marketing for my business. After that I realize, I have 2 reviews that are due tomorrow that aren’t done. So I rush to my other office and get those done.  Meanwhile, that night my husband and I were planning to go out for a belated Valentine’s dinner.  Meanwhile, I hadn’t showered because I woke up late. He texts me and asks if I can pick up dinner for our daughter on the way home oh and by the way we need to leave by 5:15. So I’m like, I haven’t showered and was going to shower before we left.  So he said he would pick up her dinner so I could shower. Thank you! I was starting to feel stressed out. So I get home and get ready. We leave the house and head to The Edge Steakhouse at the Westgate. It was a somewhat tense ride there. I think he sensed that maybe he had messed up the night before. I just kept saying I was fine and I really was. Anyway, things got better, we talked a bit and had a nice dinner and ended the night with just cuddling on the couch, which I fell asleep! I was so tired from this week. I fell asleep in his arms.  He went to bed and then I woke up and went to bed not to long after that and slept through the entire night!

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I know, so what is my point. My point is that I managed the ups and downs this week but what I found was that  I needed to sleep, just really sleep. Now today, I feel like I can take on the world, so to that I say, world, BRING IT ON! I got this.

Hello Darkness my Old Friend

Hello Darkness my Old Friend

So this is literally what I felt like upon waking this morning. Just endless thoughts of what is the point of my life. Not just that but just this sick, unrelenting feeling and these sick unrelenting thoughts of doom, and despair, and just darkness that were all swimming in my head.  I have no idea why. I had a perfectly fantastic weekend in the trenches of the Supernatural Convention 2017.  Saw some great speakers, spent way to much money, pictures with the super awesome, super gorgeous Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles. So why wake up to this feeling right? It makes no sense, much like me sometimes. I just make no sense. I am this strange complex person who, apparently is fine one minute and filled with darkness the next. Yay Me!

So what’s my point? I wish I knew. I wish I could give this feeling a name, or a description. I guess darkness is the closest thing to an accurate description I can think of. I want to be so quick to just say, oh it’s the adversary filling my head with this stuff, but I think that would be a mistake. I think it would be a mistake to just blame it on Satan and be done with it. It seems to easy to just do that. I have written a lot about some very intense and trans-formative feelings I’ve had recently, mostly in a spiritual and light-hearted way at times. But I feel like I just can’t get their today. Like I can’t just spin some spiritual thoughts and poof I’ll suddenly see the light again. I’m not sad. I’m not mad. I’m just here.  Like in the song “Amazing” by Aerosmith (greatest rock band in the world by the way) it says “in the blink of an eye, you finally see the light.” I keep blinking today but there is no light. I have a wonderful husband who loves me. Sure he has his faults but so do I. No one is perfect. My daughter is absolutely amazing and she is perfect just as she is. So why can I only see darkness today?

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Like have you ever had the thought that you just didn’t want to be here anymore. Like you just wanted to go away or run away. Think about it. What if I just woke up one morning. Packed a bag and left? What if? It’s a horrible thought for sure and just even typing that out is hard. It’s hard to read back. I wonder though, how many mothers or women in general just feel like enough already? Like I said, I have no particular reason to feel this way at this particular moment. I had an awesome weekend. My husband got home from his trip last night and everything is good. So why? Why feel like running away? Why feel like you wish the end was here? I think that’s why I thought of the song “Sound of Silence” because it starts out “Hello darkness my old friend, I’ve come to talk with you again.” It sort of perfectly sums up my feeling. And why is darkness my friend?

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Maybe it’s a feeling that things are going good and so you think to yourself things shouldn’t be going good, let me look for my old friend darkness so I can feel horrible again. But I don’t think so. I don’t think I sought it out. I think it’s just there. Always lurking in the shadows, waiting for me to feel good so that it can come and claim my soul for its own. I have no idea what I’m saying and I’m fairly certain this blog is taking a very dark turn and probably will cease to be interesting anymore.

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Here is the thing about me. Most people who know me, know I am a very optimistic and generally up beat person. I’m not Eeyore in Winnie the Pooh who is perpetually sad, dark and gloomy. That just never was me. Today, I feel like Eeyore. Like it all just doesn’t matter anyway so why bother? That is just my general mentality today. I hate that I feel that way, it isn’t at all a comfortable feeling for me. Some people who have that general gloomy disposition most of the time might find it comfortable in the darkness. I myself prefer the light. So when I wake up feeling drowned in a murky cloud of darkness it leaves me perplexed. It leaves me unable to really function well. Now, normally, I’d blame something like this on hormones or whatever. But it doesn’t feel hormonal. It doesn’t feel like what that roller coaster of emotions feels like when you are in that state. This feels eerily calm. Like I’m not freaking out needlessly or just riding that roller coaster of imbalance. I’m calm and yet I’m enveloped in this darkness. I think it’s the calm that bothers me. The fact that I’m in this state and I don’t care. The fact that I can have some of the very dark thoughts I’ve had and still be calm. That it could not faze me in the slightest.

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So, now that everyone who might read this blog is thoroughly depressed now, I suppose I should stop bringing the world down. I don’t know what any of this means. I don’t know why it’s happening. I don’t know what I’m going to do about it. But hey, here is this blog right? I guess I’ve disturbed the sound of silence enough. Maybe silence is better.

Lost and Found

Lost and Found

I was torn on what to write about today, because the ideas just keep coming. I know #bloggerproblems right? Just kidding, I’ve never been a blogger before now so I wouldn’t know if it is a problem for others or not. However, today I have just felt extremely good about everything, for no reason. I kind of hesitate to write that down because it’s like Murphy’s law, if you say it out loud you jinx it. Anyway, too late.  Over the course of the last 2 weeks I’ve went through a lot of very deep diving emotional and mental breakthrough’s, it’s been exhausting to say the least. So why the title “lost and found”? Well, because that is sort of like what the last couple of weeks or, if I’m honest, the last 4 years, have been like. It’s been like I found what I had lost, except that before I found it I didn’t really know it was lost. I guess in a way, I kind of did, it’s like scotch tape or the scissors in your house. Do most of us know where they are most of the time? I mean, we know we have tape and scissors somewhere, but could we actually tell someone where to find it in the house if we had too? Well, maybe some very organized people can, but I can tell you I can not.  I might be able to say, I saw it in the general vicinity of the kitchen,  maybe start there.

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So, like the scotch tape and the scissors that I know I have in my house somewhere, I felt like my faith and my spirituality and my emotional and mental health were somewhere inside of me. Like I knew it wasn’t just gone, but like my tape and scissors, I probably couldn’t have told you where it was or what happened to it.  So when I say it wasn’t really lost, I mean, I knew I had it, I just didn’t know where I put it. So I suppose a better term would be misplaced rather than lost. But lost sounded better in the title. I mean misplaced and found sounds silly.

Now maybe you are one of those people who always knows where you put everything. You know, everything has its place and everything it its place so to speak.  You are probably one of those people who has a label for your label maker right? You have a cute holder for your scissors or your tape that you made off of Pinterest right? Well, for that person I say, good for you. That is awesome that you are such a tidy person.  So being that type of person you probably would never misplace your faith right? Let’s hope not. I’d hate to think that you could keep track of scissors but not faith. Okay, I’m totally making fun of organized people now. But it is all in good fun and I don’t mean anything bad by it. I am truly in awe of your organizational talents.  Come to think of it, I used to be a very organized individual and at work I still am, but when I’m at home I have essentially given up the organization fight.  But I digress, so back to spirituality and faith. How does one misplace it? That is the million dollar question.

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For a lot of people it is probably gradual, where they just sort of stop using it. When you don’t use something very much it’s easy to lose track of its whereabouts, where as something that is used daily, like your cell phone, you don’t lose track of because it’s likely permanently glued to your hand.  But the scissors or the tape only get used occasionally so it’s easy to forget where you last left it. The same can be said for your faith, your spirituality. If you stop using it, you lose it.  So by that I mean, you stop doing the things that brought a spiritual connection to you. Maybe you used to pray daily and you stopped. Maybe you used to read scriptures daily and you stopped. Maybe you used to go to church every Sunday and you stopped. So if you stop doing the things that exercise your faith, then you start to forget where it is or how it made you feel.  You let life happen in its place. Now again, I am truly awe inspired by those individuals who consistently exercise their faith because they are more likely to not misplace it. I, on the other hand, am very prone to complacency and very prone to be arrogant enough to think that I could stop exercising my faith and still know where it is. I am wrong. I am wrong every time I do that and yet, I keep doing it.  Just like I’m wrong every time I say I’ll just set the scissors here, I’ll be able to find them again next time, only to have to tear the house apart looking for it when I go to wrap Christmas presents every year. I swear, I never learn.

 

Over the past 30 days or so and more specifically the last 2 weeks, I have undergone some what of a spiritual overhaul. Sounds pleasant doesn’t it? It’s not. I mean it is but it is emotionally and mentally draining. So I uncluttered my psyche, and in the process found where I had left my faith and spirituality, turns out it was right in front of my face the entire time. It’s always the last place you look though. That doesn’t mean that I don’t have a lot more clutter and organizing to do still, but I found the core of it at least. Like a scattered puzzle, I found the box with the pretty picture on it,  I’m just looking for all the pieces now.

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Part of my journey I really think started late last year, but I didn’t realize it.  Possibly even half way through last year. I was having problems in my business and with my family and just with everything in life including my health. I think everything was manifesting itself in my left eye. Cornea infections are not fun, let me tell you and I am still having left eye issues. I was searching for something but didn’t know what. I had even hired business coaches and life coaches to assist me thinking that would help. I know, me, life coaches (nothing against life coaches) but I was seriously that desperate and the fact that I was paying life coaches was just, eww…like made me want to gag. Because I’ve never been that type of person. Now I’m not saying life coaches are bad. I know plenty of them and they do add value to a lot of people’s lives and businesses, so don’t start sending me hate mail. It was just something that I never thought I’d do. Anyway, the point was I had done this trying to find answers. The answers were in me all along. I had just misplaced my faith. What I was searching for was God. He never left though. I just closed the door on  him and forgot which door I left him standing behind. But he was still there, when I found that door and opened it, there he was. Never moved.  Just in the same spot I left him. The wonderful life coaches I hired didn’t know I’d left him behind a door. How could they. So they couldn’t help me find the door he was behind because they didn’t know he was there.

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What I needed was help from someone who actually knew he was there and that I had left him behind. So, God, in his infinite wisdom, because he couldn’t get a hold of me, started calling on some friends to alert me to the fact that I totally forgot about him. Luckily, eventually the right people answered the phone and he sent them to the rescue. To remind me that hey, I’d slammed the door on God and left him just standing out in the cold. He didn’t do it for himself though. He wasn’t like, how dare she do this to me?! Just forget about me like that! He was concerned that I hadn’t come back after I closed the door. His concern was for me. So he sent a posse out to find me to make sure I was okay. I am so thankful that he did. Because now, today, even though I’m still finding pieces to the puzzle, I feel amazing. I feel connected. I feel again. I think I had stopped feeling. So here I am writing this ridiculous blog about tape, scissors, and faith, but I feel amazing doing it. I have a lot of unanswered questions right now and I’m even unsure about some drastic events that may or may not happen in my life right now and somehow, I’m okay with all of it. I’m so okay that I’m actually happy, giddy, excited about life again, regardless of what that life looks like now.

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The bottom line is never lose hope, never think that something or someone is so lost they can’t be found. God doesn’t quit looking, he will stand there at the door knocking for eternity until you finally find the right door again. He will call reinforcements to help you. He will never quit. You will always be found! Now, the tape and the scissors is another story, that’s all on you, but rest assured that tape and scissors can be easily purchased again so don’t sweat it.