Sunday, December 7, 2014

Depression and Blessings

As many of you know, I am working my husband through school. This is necessary because the program he's in is like a 50-60 hour work week. However, he will be done soon, and it will be worth it. Taking on the job of the bread winner with a kiddo is no easy task and I'm sure you've seen in my previous posts.

The Wednesday prior to Thanksgiving last year I walked into another day at a job I thought I was pretty happy at. It was one that I could see myself finishing out Tyler's school career there while we waited for him to land a decently paying job post graduate school. I sat at my desk and opened up my email to check in on the days events. I can still see the email in my head informing me that they intended to close the current location down and relocate all to Chicago. They were planning on the last day for my position being April 1.


I was in shock and the depression hit me. Thoughts of doubt and anger flooded my mind for weeks after. 

How am I going to provide for our family if I'm getting laid off? I only have until April 1 to find a new job, I'll never be able to find one. Why is this happening? Why? WHY?!

The holidays were not fun with me. I was depressed and stuck. I didn't know a way out and I felt the walls slowly closing in on me. It took me about 2 weeks to actually start applying for jobs. Then another week before I found some blessings in all of it.

Blessing #1: My options were open to get a job where I didn't have to worry about working weekends or holidays, so I could really go where ever.

Blessing #2: I have until April 1. That was almost 5 months from the time they gave us the news. How fortunate was I to have that much time to find a new job in the middle of a lay off?

Blessing #3: An offer of my cousin watching E during the days meant that I could find a job with day hours. 

Blessing #4: This also meant that I could see my husband. 

Blessing #5: Plus it would also take some stress off of him to not have to rush home from school or miss out on important workshops post class that could help him in the long run.

After I applied to 3 jobs, I got a call back for an interview and within 3 days of the interview I was offered the job. I was offered the job with more than what I was making with my previous job, but with better hours and not too far from my cousins house so she could watch E. Plus the job was pretty sweet (and it still is). I was offered the job the Friday before Christmas which meant I could go into Christmas feeling relieved. However, then the guilt set in for me that I had robbed Emma a fun holiday because I was stressed about finding a new job. Instead of trusting in the Lord to help me find a new job, I feared. I feared what was ahead. Which I know is only human, but that's the point: 

We need to not allow our mortal selves determine our spiritual selves. 

Our spiritual selves already have the desire to follow the Lord and listen to him, but our mortal selves are like a magnet to a compass, they get in the way of our direction and detract from our ultimate destination.

At risk of sounding like Carrie Underwoods song: As with all things in life we need to make sure who is in the drivers seat of our lives. Is it our fears that are driving us? Is it our mortal desires driving us? Or is it the Lord driving us? Let's remember who ultimately handles us all in all things, whether we allow Him to drive or not. At a time that was so dark in my life, and fear and unknown set in, the Lord was still there. Just like the star that guided the wise men to the manger the night Christ was born, so the Lord did with me in my life and still continues to do so.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

I have the perfect marriage

7 years ago around this time I got a front row seat to watching my parents marriage end. A marriage that I thought was a pretty good one. They seemed to love each other. It did a number on me. I swore up and down I would never EVER get married after that. I decided that I would only date and have fun, but that I would never get married until I could say for certain that he was THE one and that I could guarantee my marriage would be perfect, which I knew I would have to be at least 25 to know and accomplish this... if only I could see into my future. haha!

Let's fast forward to 2 years later from then, a wonderful man was on one knee asking me to marry him. How did we get to this point, in a short 2 years?

One could say it was a miracle. Which yes, the Lord certainly works in mysterious ways. However, I would also say that it was trust, and choosing over and over and over again to love him despite what my experience had told me, which was to run and that this would only end badly. Now am I saying that's all it took? No. There were a lot of tearful nights after arguing, a lot of making up, a lot of learning and growing together, and as always -- a LOT of forgiving each other for our missteps. A marriage is never ever 50/50. It is always 100/100. The reason for this is because if each person invests 100% on it, then you will get a 200% return on it, regularly. Who wants just 100% back when you can get 200% back?


So what does it take to have the "perfect" marriage? I'll give you a secret, it only takes 1 thing! It takes for the relationship to be written by Walt Disney (no offense to those Disney lovers out there, because I love Disney too!). Or to be played out by Ward and June Cleaver in a 50's sitcom. Do you see where I'm going with this?

The absolute perfect relationship does not exist.

Each relationship has it's struggles, especially marriage.

Marriage is tough work. If you think marriage is this amazing walk in the park-- you could be right, because sometimes it is. There are so many days it is absolute bliss. You have the handsome husband who walks through the door at the end of the day and the cute wife greets him with a kiss and dinner in the oven. The kids are perfectly sitting on the couch with clean faces and hands.....like I said, only exists in a 50's sitcom.

However, this bliss doesn't come from the daily grind of things: church, work, school, kids, your family, his family, etc. This bliss comes from the support and love you give each other through the daily grind of things. To have someone that you can call during the day when you're having one of the worst (or best) days and to share in the joy with them.

I was not planning on becoming the "typical Mormon girl" marrying her husband at 19, but I was. There was a reason for it though. I knew it was right. There are times that I need a reminding, but just as our testimonies of the gospel need constant attention so the "weeds of life" don't creep in, so does your marriage and relationship.

As I sat there in the temple with him in the sealing room, I knew that despite what the world would tell us, what we were doing was 100% right. He was what was missing from my life, and what I needed. He is my calm voice in the craziness that is my life.

Marriage is consistent hard work. The moment you let your guard down thinking that you've got it figured out, something else comes up. You've got to make sure that you pick your battles, don't fight over the little things. However, make sure not to push things under the rug. Deal with the issues, but don't feel that you have to fight about everything that comes up.

For things that I would have missed out on if I had let my 17 year old self decide my future, see below:





 







Marriage is a fun, and crazy roller coaster ride. I'm glad that I didn't let my 17 year old self decide my ultimate future, because then I would miss out on some of the craziest times of my life. Marriage IS worth it, if you can find the person that you want to give that 100% to and support through the day to day stuff.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

What is beauty?

Last week, there was a day when I woke up late (okay what am I saying, this happens too often). This meant my hopes for showering went out the window and I had to rush to do my hair. A basic pony and make-up won. I get to work and just about every person who saw me told me how great I looked.

Wait... what?

I felt disgusting, and got ready in a rush. The days that I spend a long time getting ready, 0 compliments, but the day that I feel gross and rushed to get ready -- tons of compliments? How does this work?

This got me thinking and down about myself. I'm not amazingly gorgeous by any means. I will never look glamorous. I usually have stuff in my hair from my lovely toddler, or I would rather spend time with those I love than spend time worrying about how I look. That doesn't mean that my confidence doesn't take a hit whenever I see pictures like these, especially of these gorgeous women:

 

Now then, does that mean that I'm not beautiful? I feel like it. However, this is not the case. Beauty isn't determined by one big group of people. It's determined individually. There are things that I find absolutely beautiful that some would argue are just pretty, or alright. I'm sure the same is for you! Beauty isn't found in magazines (usually), it's found in the daily grind. The days that you feel your worst, try serving someone else, I'm sure it will help you feel a little more beautiful.

Isn't it what we're all taught as children? That true beauty is on the inside? Being beautiful doesn't mean you have to be in a make up ad, or a Victoria's Secret catalog. It means that you are being YOU! Don't lose sight of yourself for someone else's opinion of what beautiful means.

Here are some photos of things that I think are beautiful!






Yes, that last one, I shared. I feel like I am ugly as all get out because I had just been in labor for 29 hours (and pushing for 5...). All that aside, this photo means the world to me as it was the first moment with my daughter.

You are amazing, you are radiant, and yes, you are beautiful!

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Weekend thoughts


More on the wonderful Women's Conference from this weekend when it's available in text and I can directly quote it, and not just what's in my notebook. Hope you all had a fabulous weekend!

Honestly,
Sharon

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

To-Do lists

"Life is just what happens to you, while you're busy making other plans." -- John Lennon

I am a list maker. I have notebooks FULL of lists that I've made. This list is a prime example of the daily lists I make.




Usually things are added and rarely taken off. I find myself feeling so far behind on everything. Might I note, how sad it is that I have to add play time with Emma to my list? Shouldn't that just be apart of the normal? Feeling like a terrible Mom Mom of the year.

How often do we get everything accomplished on our list? How do we feel when we don't? Are we hard on ourselves and see the things that we haven't done? Or do we see the many many things we've done? Let's take Monday of this week for an example.

This is how Monday went if I'm going to choose to be hard on myself:
-Envied a co worker because of how cute their outfit was that day.
-I wasted valuable time on my lunch that could have been spent making phone calls by chatting it up with one of my best friends.
-Emma made a disaster while helping me make dinner that I had to clean up later
-While at Costco picking up somethings that I forgot Emma ran up to several different people and embarrassed me in the store-- why can't I keep my kiddo under control? People are a lot more forgiving than they should be.
-I waited almost an additional 15 minutes each time Emma got into her car seat, why can't she hurry up?
-I didn't get to see my husband until 11 PM, after not seeing him all weekend, because someone decided not to do their part in a group project. That's not cool.

This is how Monday went if I'm going to choose to look at the good that happened:
-Complimented a co worker on her cute outfit. Her self esteem was feeling a little low, which she told me later, so she was grateful for the compliment.
-I went to visit a very good friend who needed a visit on my lunch.
-Emma helped me make dinner and I started to teach her the importance fun of cooking.
-While at Costco picking up some things I forgot we needed, Emma made 5 people smile and laugh. These people were frowning and stressed prior to seeing her smiling face.
-I taught Emma independence by allowing her to get into her car seat by herself and buckling herself in.
-My husband covered for someone who is having a hard time right now by helping him do his part in a group project.

Which version of today will you choose to see? Will you see the things you didn't get done on your to do list? Or will you choose to see the many people that you served today? Look for the little things in your day that you have done, whether it be people you serve or kind words you speak to others.

This post is stemmed from the video below and I encourage all to watch it.



Honestly,
Sharon

Friday, July 25, 2014

Choice & Accountability

We've all made choices today. What to wear, hitting the snooze button too many times, choosing to go (or not go) to work, when to take breaks from whatever you're doing and how late you're going to stay at work. Even the simple things we choose -- what to say, what to think, who to talk to, what we're having for lunch. Some choices are not that easy, who to marry, when to have kids, when to buy a house, when to say enough is enough in a bad relationship, these are the tough choices.

Every second we are making choices.

Some choices are big enough that immediately affect our future. Some choices build upon other choices that affect our future. Either way, each choice you make every second, every minute, every day, affects your future. So with that being said, it should be easy to always make the "right" choice right?

WRONG. It is not always that easy.
(especially when you're craving chocolate and you're supposed to be on a diet :) )

All choices are not plain black and white. The majority of the "hard" choices are grey. It's a matter of choosing between what's good, better, or best. So how do you decide how to make the "grey" choices? It's something that you should take some time on. Don't rush those decisions. Take sometime on your knees, or meditation and contemplate what each outcome could be. I like to do a lot of journaling during this time.

How do you decide on the choices that I call "best vs. best"? Meaning, both choices will get you a similar but different outcome, typically positive choices? (example: choosing between 2 great companies to work for) Same as above, sometime in prayer never killed anyone, neither did time in meditation, or the temple for that matter. We are given the ability to choose for a reason. We have to learn and grow.

If we have someone to make the decisions for us, how will we ever learn from our mistakes? As you know from previous blog posts, I've made some mistakes. However, I have learned a lot from them. It's been hard. The learning and growing process never stops here. It's a never ending process. While it's important, at times it can be a huge pain. Just when you think you've made the best choice, something happens and you think you haven't.

However, if you made the choice, own up to it and love it. "Yes I chose to wear these heels today, and I fell flat on my face while doing so. But aren't they cute?" Kind of a superficial example, but you catch what I'm getting at.


This puts me at my next point:

Living with the consequences of your choices.

Consequences aren't always bad. Sometimes if you make a great, sound decision, you're left with peace of mind. That consequence is great (unless you don't like peace of mind). If you make a sound decision with your head in the right spot, it is something that you should stick with and don't doubt that decision.

Sometimes consequences suck. Emma was playing outside and decided to act silly while jumping and running around. A consequence of that action was she fell and skinned her knee up pretty good. That consequence, as a parent and as Emma, sucked. Sometimes consequences are bigger. The consequences from those big choices, can stick with you for a while.

Here's the good news though:
You can choose to learn your lesson from that mistake and move on. Don't dwell on it. Yeah it may feel like this huge big mistake you made, but really, it's just a jumping off point for you to do better and grow more.

With all of this being said, what's the next choice you're going to make right now? Keep surfing the internet after reading this, is that really the best choice for your time? It could be. Or could maybe getting off of here and spending time with friends or family be a better use of your time?

The choice is yours, as it always is.

Honestly,
Sharon

Friday, July 11, 2014

Forgiveness and Letting It Go

I have had some amazingly beautiful things happen to me, as a child, as a teenager, and as an adult. I have also had a lot of terrible things happen to me, as a child, as a teenager, and as an adult. Things that I don't really like to talk about, things that I only bring up if I feel that it is important to help someone else. The beautiful and the terrible things are just apart of life right?

So why, why do we hold onto to just the terrible?

The terrible is only going to weigh you down. The terrible will fester, and you will forget about what was so terrible in the first place. You allow yourself to sit in this terrible hell, which is so much harder to get out of after even days of festering (imagine how hard it will be after years). If you let things go and become quick to forgive, instead of sitting in this hell, you allow yourself to be surrounded by this amazing heaven. This heaven is full of no one to be mad at, or hold grudges towards. Sounds heavenly and not exhausting right?

Now, am I saying to just let people walk all over you, and let them off the hook? No. Not all the time. Be the judge and pick your battles. However, make sure that you address the problem with that person. By addressing it with that person directly, you avoid rumors, gossip, back biting, and other forms of hateful speech. I pray that everyone in their life has someone to act as their confidant and clear their head, get a second opinion. To be able to go back to the person who has offended you, state your peace and forgive each other. (For me that person is my husband)



Stop holding on to that grudge, and let it go. Whether you've had this grudge for a week, a month, a year, 6 years, or 20 years, let. it. go.

One of my favorite songs by Michael McLean is called "Let It Go" (yes this came out years before Frozen). See the lyrics below:

"There’s so much of life that can’t be lived
If you’re holding on to hate and anger deep inside
Let it go

Letting go
It opens up the heart
There is a new day that’s hungry to start

Well you can’t change
What has hurt you so
But you will heal if you’ll just let it go

All that’s wrong in your life
Let it go
All that is worth saving
Is love

Love will hold you tight
Love lifts the burden
And love shines the light

Only love
Nourishes our soul
If it’s not love
Simply let it go"


 know all of this is easier said than done.

However, by allowing yourself to let it go, you're allowing yourself to be free. Free from the shackles of grudges and anger. You're freeing yourself to have more room for happiness, and love, and things that are so much more healthy for you.

Honestly,
Sharon



Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Jealousy, envy, and counting your blessings

The green eyed monster. 

We all have it at some point or another. At least when we're little kids phrases like "Sally has the better toy than me" are pretty common. As we get older, this mentality only makes things worse and you start focusing on the negative. It becomes like a slow cancer like negative tumor that eats away at the positive vibes you might have in your life.

Feelings like:
"They have a nicer home than I do." "Look at their family, they are all so perfect, they all get along, and don't fight at all!" "They had a better wedding than I did." "Look at their relationship with their spouse, it's so perfect and mine isn't."

So, what if they had a better wedding than you? Or a nicer home? Or a better relationship?

Sometimes I find myself complaining about things that I know that other people would love to have. Like an amazing husband who is supportive of me and pushes me to be and do better. A darling daughter who yells "Mommy" every time she sees me. A car to drive and a nice home to sleep in. Some pretty great friends and family. This list could go on.


Yes I may not have been born into a family that can have their parents pay for mine and my spouses college, home, or even a luxurious wedding. However I do have a wonderful marriage that is more beautiful than my wedding was (which my wedding was pretty beautiful). I have a husband who will someday build me (and our kiddos) a wonderful home. I have the gospel and the peace of mind that it brings counts for so much.


On top of all this, you aren't with them in their day to day life. You don't know the nitty-gritty. You may not know the pressure that might have come from family members to have that expensive wedding. You may not know that secretly that "perfect couple" fights for hours every night. You may not know that nice home is breaking their bank account. It's sad to even mention this, however no ones life is perfect. You can certainly strive for perfection, and I'm sure one day we will all achieve it. However, we all are still learning and growing and failing and succeeding.


If you look at your blessings over someone else's, you will realize how much you truly do have. I challenge you, the next time you start to get jealous or start to envy someone else's life, choose to count 5 things in your life that are blessings. You will feel so much better, I guarantee it.


Just a thought too: if you're envious or jealous of someone else's life, how can you love them?

Honestly,
Sharon


Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Fitting In

**Warning: This post is full of awkward/funny photos of me and a lot of my friends from high school**



I've moved 15 times in my lifetime. I have lived in 4 different states, 15 different homes, and 15 different wards. The biggest thing I hated was feeling like I was losing friends I had. I had a lot of really great friends in elementary school, some I'm still in touch with today. Then, I was home schooled all through middle school. Talk about cutting off your friend supply. It was both a good and a bad thing. I really got to know people in the ward, and did some self discovery that is normally associated with a lot of peer pressure and feeling out of place for girls that age.


Then just as I started to feel like I was fitting in with people in our ward, we would move. This continued until I was the one to move out to Utah after I graduated high school. I realized that a friendship is only as good as much as both sides are willing to work on. I have so many friends great friends from high school that I stay in touch with, not nearly as often as I'd like, but we talk at least once a quarter, and we seem to pick up right where we left off.

It was the hardest thing for me to leave that safe place, and move out to Utah. Knowing I had all those people to back me up and would be there for me at a moment's notice in Florida was almost like a security blanket. Well I moved, and since then (6 years now) it's been extremely hard for me to make and keep friends. I still keep in touch with a lot of my friends from high school, especially since so many of them live out here now. I have a few really great friends I've made since I've lived out here in Utah, but I feel like I just don't fit the mold of what people expect me to be.

I grew up in an interesting home, the youngest of 6 siblings, but really treated like the middle child of 3 to an older set of parents. I have witnessed and lived through a lot, people passing, weddings, different cultural events (Indian weddings, etc.) watching people gain a testimony of the gospel, witnessing people lose their testimonies, a divorce, financial struggles, etc. this list could go on. I went from being the only LDS girl in high school to it being normal and okay for me to talk about temple marriages, and what my calling is with my co workers and at school. I'm not used to it, still. It's not my normal, nor what I was raised with, and it's weird for me. This is why I find comfort in those who aren't members of the church, because I feel at home with them. Not because I'm a "jack Mormon" or anything, but because I'm so used to setting an example and to try and baby step them into the gospel.

I'm still not used to the fact that an entire ward can be made up of a distance of a small block, and you can drive 5 minutes in any direction and you will probably be in a different stake, or temple zone.

What I'm getting at is that I'm used to always feeling like I have a role or a place to fit in, however recently the only place I feel that I fit in is when I'm with Emma or Tyler. Outside of that I just feel like this huge awkward mass walking around.

Then I found this quote:




And then I realized, that I'm not meant to fit in right now. To fit in would be so nice, and so easy. But life is not meant to be easy. If it was, we wouldn't be here. It's meant to test us. So, currently while I'm trying to find my footing, still, even 6 years later, and adjusting to life in Utah, I will learn to fit in by standing out.

To all you girls desperately trying to fit in, or thinking you need friends to survive but have found that you're not succeeding:

it's okay to not fit in.

Find your band of misfits and run with them. You will look back on your "band of misfits" as your best friends. If you can't find a band of misfits: do some self evaluation and work on yourself. Working on yourself and discovering your talents and how amazing you are is something that is priceless.

I am so grateful for all of my friends, older, younger, friends for years, friends for a few months, and friends that are really family. How blessed am I to call so many my friends?


Honestly,
Sharon