Saturday, March 31, 2012

2 years!

The whole Church is celebrating my 2 year anniversary of being home from my mission! Oh, wait, no – that’s General Conference. Oops! J Watch it here.

For any readers who are not LDS, General Conference is a twice-a-year event in which all members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints gather to listen to the leadership of our Church. We believe that, just like in New Testament times, Christ’s Church is led by ordained Prophets and Apostles. This is our chance to hear what the Spirit has revealed to them that we need to hear to help us in these times, with our own personal trials. It’s amazing! The Spirit is so strong during Conference. Check it out! Or for more info on what I believe, click here!

Today marks two years since I came home from spending the best 18-months of my life serving the Lord in the best mission in the world (Florida Jacksonville!). I learned so much, felt the guidance of the Spirit every day, met some of the best people in the world, and strengthened my testimony of Jesus Christ more than I could have in any other way. I still miss it every single day.

I can’t believe it has been two years that I’ve been home. It certainly doesn’t feel like it. I can’t help but look over the past two years and think about what my life has been like since serving Christ as one of His missionaries.

In the past two years, I:

Went back to Florida to visit my mission twice. Once about a month after getting home and again this past Christmas to see the baptisms of a wonderful friend and her son who I taught while serving in Lake Butler.

Fell in love with my best friend’s daughter, Allie. She was due the day I came home from the mission, but was 11 days early – I can’t believe she’s two already! Love her SO much!

Went on a cruise with my awesome sister, Sarah, to Key West Florida and the Bahamas.

Went to San Diego to see a dear friend get married.

Saw Wicked – a dream come true.

Received training to work on a huge research project at BYU, the Flourishing Families Project. I had previously helped out by doing data collection in Seattle before my mission. This time I did behavioral and relational coding for some of the taped interviews. With this, I also made some amazing friends who I now miss dearly.

Started my senior year at BYU.

Also worked at the Dean’s Office in the School of Education. Made some great friends here too, and got used to wearing business casual to work. Good thing, since I’ll be doing that forever.

Studied and took the GRE. EWW! I’m SO glad that’s over. I did about averagely on the verbal and quantitative sections, but did pretty darn well on the writing section.

Applied for graduate school at BYU and University of Houston – Clear Lake.

Got invited for interviews at both schools and went to both.

Got accepted into both programs!

Decided to go to UHCL. Oh man, that was a hard decision!

Went to the Houston Rodeo twice – saw Rascal Flatts the first time, and Blake Shelton this year. (Oh yeah, and I finally bought my first pair of cowboy boots for the rodeo this year!!)

Learned how to belly dance with my roommates!! It was a blast and I miss it a lot! But let me tell ya, these hips don’t lie! J

Spend some time at my parent’s cabin in Island Park, including a little vacation with some of my friends from the coding lab. So much fun!!

GRADUATED from BYU in Marriage, Family, and Human Development. Oh yeah, and I graduated Magna Cum Laude!! All that hard work paid off!

Started graduate school to get a Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy.

Got hired as a TA for one of my Professors, still doing that til May.

Made lots of new friends, both at school and at church, who I love.

Got called as a Relief Society teacher.

Got officially diagnosed with a chronic illness and started treatment (more posts on that specifically to follow).

Had 5 weeks off for Christmas (compared to the usual 2 at BYU) and my first Spring Break since graduating high school in 2005.

Started seeing clients in Practicum, and have already terminated with one couple!

WHOO! That’s all I can think of right now, though I am sure there are a lot more. Though the past two years have been really hard in many ways, they’ve also been great. Life hasn’t given me what I expected, or wanted, but I know that Heavenly Father knows what He is doing. He has a bigger plan for me than I have for myself and all of these little things, expected or not, are shaping me into the person He wants me to be. I am truly blessed!

And now, I’m goin’ to Shipleys before the next session of Conference starts. Again, you can watch it HERE!!

Happy Saturday, all!

there is no reason for this picture, other than that it cracks me up... :)

Friday, March 30, 2012

The Experiment

I have a love/hate relationship with this here blog you’re reading. I love the last few things I’ve written on it, since starting grad school. I hate the fact that I’ve only written 4 times since then. I love the idea of having a blog, but I hate how I feel inadequate to have anything to say most of the time. I love writing, or at least want to love writing, but I hate…writing. (How does that even make sense?!) I love sharing my ideas with people but I hate feeling like a failure when I go 3 months between posts. See my dilemma? It’s a doosey.

As some of you may have seen a few weeks ago on Facebook, I stayed up til 4 am my first night of spring break reading blogs. Oops. See, I’ve always heard people talk about all the great blogs they read and thought, “how on earth do they find these blogs? Cause I can’t find any.” Then I stumbled upon Hopes and Dreams through pinterest. And she linked to C. Jane and NieNie, so I found them too. And I think I might be a little bit addicted. Just slightly though…I haven’t stayed up til 4am again. That’s good, right?

I always thought that I couldn’t have a real blog because I’m single and in school and am too busy to do a ton of fun things. My perception of blogs was that they are there to share with family and friends all the fun things you’ve done with your husband and kids and how wonderful and perfect your life is. Well, that doesn’t really work for me. Because I have no husband or kids, and sometimes my life is kind of boring because I’m working hard in school to become a Marriage and Family Therapist.

Then I discovered these blogs. And yes, the writers are all married. And they all have kids. And they all do fun, exciting things. But, that's not the only thing their blogs are about. In reading I came across posts that made me think, “huh – I could write something like that…” All these ideas came into my mind about how I can use my blog and have fun with it and not feel inadequate because of the stage in life I’m in. So, that’s what I’m going to do.

And here’s why. In reading those blogs, I have seen myself in these other women’s experiences and thoughts. They’ve got me thinking about things and about myself and about the world in ways that I wouldn’t have thought on my own. I gained strength from them to help me in my hard moments. I have more thoroughly found myself in their writing. That’s kind of weird sounding, but I am loving it!

So, I want to do that for other people. I think there are thoughts, ideas, experiences, trials, that I have that might be able to help someone else. Or just entertain them. Or make them grateful for their lives. Or make them think about things from a new perspective. That’s exciting to me.

Here’s the experiment. I am going to be an active blogger for the next 3 months. It’s my trial period to see if I like it, if I can come up with things to write about, if I feel like people are reading and being helped. Three months, then I’ll reevaluate and decide if I want to keep it up or let it go.

So, here’s where you can come in. If you like what I write, if you want me to continue writing, let me know! Either on facebook, in comments, or send me an email. Click that follow button at the top left side of your screen. Because though I am doing this for myself, if I’m not reaching anyone at all, I’m more likely to stop when my experiment is over.

Thanks for sharing this journey with me!