I'm Just Saying

Strong & Clean

I feel like I have started my last several blog posts talking about how I have a lot on my mind. And then I proceed to spill everything in the world into the post and hope that it changes something. It usually doesn’t, but for a while, I feel a little bit better. And the views on my stats bar fluctuate a little. And then everything goes quiet once again, and then I wait until it’s time for me to write the exact same thing that I write every single time I blog.

At the beginning of this year, I wrote about how I felt clean. I wrote about how I chose the word “clean” to describe how I felt at the beginning of the year, and as a word I wanted to encompass the rest of my year.

I thought that I would give all of you an update on how that is going.

In general, it has been very good. I have made so many exciting plans for this year. There are a lot of unknowns before me as well, but even those are exciting. There are many things that have happened in my life in the last several months, some of them fantastic and some of them hard. My newest nephew, for example, is the most amazing thing in the world. When I hold him I feel like I am holding the entire world, and all of the wisdom in it.

I also get to visit London in May. I couldn’t be more excited. I’m going with my best friend and her mother and sister. We’ll be there for one week. It will be filled with visits to all of the places that I love, and so many experiences I have been longing for. I’m finally going back home. I’m absolutely thrilled. I also finished my application to King’s College London recently, for the Medieval Studies graduate program. Should I be blessed enough to be accepted, I’ll also be touring the campus while I’m there in May. There are so many exciting and beautiful things!

But there have been a few hards things, too.

And if I’m being honest, that has been really, really frustrating for me. Not that hard things have happened really, because hard things are going to happen no matter where life takes us. But that I haven’t been as strong as I would’ve preferred. There have been a few personal struggles that I’ve been juggling, and some family struggles as well. Like I said, I understand that there is always going to be something. And honestly, strength comes in many different forms. Remember that.

Another interesting thing that I’ve been experiencing is where my spirituality is at. I have always had a very close relationship with my Father in Heaven. And the present is no exception. It’s always been interesting to me because even if I am struggling reading my scriptures all the time, or saying official prayers regularly, or even attending church as often as I should, I always have a connection with heaven. I can always feel the Spirit with me no matter what. My connection with heaven is always there.

Like I said, now is no exception.

But something is different. I usually have a very clear picture of the future in my head. A clear idea of what God has planned for me and what is coming. And in many ways I still do, but it’s hard to explain. I also feel as though I am surrounded a bit by fog. Mist. Like I can’t see any further than one step ahead of me. As I have prayed about this, I have gotten this sense that everything is okay and that I am where I am supposed to be. I have also gotten the sense that there is something wonderful waiting on the other side of that mist, but that right now all I need to do is focus on one step at a time. I have to trust God and trust His plan.

So that’s what I’m trying to do. Even though it isn’t easy.

I hope that your 2019 is going well. I hope that you are following the path God has planned for you, and aligning your will with His. I promise that that is what makes the difference between fleeting earthly happiness and true eternal joy. I hope that you still feel strongly about the word that you chose and that it is still serving you. I hope that you never stop trying, especially when trying is the most important.

I'm Just Saying

At The End Of The Day

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!!!

Hello, everyone! And Happy Christmas Eve! If any of you have been around my blog for a while, you understand how I feel about Christmas. I love Christmas so much. And this year I am actually more excited for Christmas than I have been since I was a little girl.

Every year I try to write a Christmas post about what Christmas means to me and how special it has always been for me and my family. And every year I do this and it’s great. But this year I want to do something a little bit different.

I have had so much on my mind lately, and a lot has happened in my life very recently. And if I’m being completely honest, a lot of it has been shocking and also exciting. I discovered recently that I am more than my fears, even my very biggest ones. I also discovered that no matter what, at the end of the day, God is always, always, always in charge. We may not understand the twists and turns that He puts into our lives, but He has a purpose always.

One thing I love about Christmas is how absolutely magical it is, and that we get to end the year with that magic. I think it’s a way of reminding us that no matter what we’ve been through and experienced that there is always magic at the end.

Looking back on my 2018, it has been incredibly amazing. I got to travel to many different places, visit old friends, go to concerts, and overall: my life completely changed. It was a phenomenal year. I’ve loved every second of it. There have been some lows, and they have been hard, but the good has outshined them so spectacularly that I can hardly remember what they felt like.

I know that we have all had moments in our lives where we think, “If only I would have said this…” And that’s an idea I want to touch on for a bit. I find that every single time I have a very serious conversation when I look back on it I realize I said everything I meant to. But there are bits and pieces that were the most important, the most from my heart, and those are the bits and pieces that I hope that person remembers the most.

You see, I think we have it in our minds that if we would have just said whatever it was we felt like we didn’t say then things would be different. But that isn’t necessarily the case. I have learned that you can say everything in your head and in your heart, and even though it might mean the world to somebody else, it isn’t always going to change anything. Like I said before, God is in charge, and even though we don’t always understand the paths He puts before us, one day we will.

I also learned this year that hope is never, ever lost. I went through several experiences this year, some of which are ongoing, in which it would have been very normal for me to feel like all of the hope in the world was lost.

But I don’t feel that way.

In spite of everything in these situations with some very important people in my life, I am thinking of two in particular, I have come to feel that there seems to be even more hope than there was before. In fact, I will even confess to you that I actually feel closer to these people now than I did before.

You know how we have emotional connections to people? I feel mine in my heart, almost as if there is a rope that connects my heart to the hearts of the other people in my life. For one specific person in my life, this rope should have been completely severed about two weeks ago. And for reasons I don’t entirely understand and therefore cannot explain, the rope feels stronger than ever. It feels like I could reach out and touch them. For whatever reason that this connection still exists, I know that it does.

I know that the future is bright. And I know that no matter what happens, there is always hope. I know that we are bigger and stronger than our worst fears. I know that there is a plan for each of our lives, and as confusing as it can be at times, it will bring us ultimate joy.

God bless you all. Merry Christmas.

I'm Just Saying

when the sun came up

it all seems so simple
As human beings, we are completely obsessed with endings. We are constantly asking about what is going to end up happening when we will reach a sometime we’ve been waiting for, or what tomorrow or next year brings. I know that I do this. I am always wondering about what’s around the corner. And as we spend our days obsessing over the future and wondering about the ending, we forget one very, very important thing.

It isn’t about the end.

Life is made up of seconds, moments, hours, days. Life is made up of each angle that creates it all. And ultimately, life is about the process. People are always saying things like, “When you are on your deathbed do you want to look back and think…” or “Twenty years from now do you want to be able to say…” These phrases capture just. Just a little. It is not about the end.

It is about the process.

And sometimes the process of life is messy and dark. And it hurts. And other times it is clean and bright. And beautiful. There are times when you understand the things that happen and times when you don’t. But that’s only normal because you are, after all, a human. And no matter where life takes you there will be never, ever be a moment when you understand absolutely everything.

One day, we will all die.

And depending on your beliefs, it will be an end in some way. If you believe that there is no life after death, then it is the ultimate end. If you believe that there is life after death, then it is the end of your life on this earth. Either way, it is an end. Death is inescapable, but it isn’t the purpose or the point. Isn’t the point to become something? It isn’t about the fact that you got from Point A to Point B. It is about how you got there. That is life.

the monsters turned out to be just trees
We spend a great deal of our life in fear. And that’s because life is scary, and there is so, so much about it that is totally unsure. No matter how sure we are about anything, there is going to be insecurity. In fact, the times in my life when I have been the most confident about what I was doing have been the times when I was the most frightened.

I think we all have one thing we the most terrified of.

I am deathly afraid of spiders. And most insects, really. I don’t do well with scary movies at all. I’m also very, very afraid of pretty much everything to do with the ocean. And space. There’s too much just … something out there and the expanse scares me. You probably couldn’t pay me enough money to go into space or on a boat by myself in the middle of the ocean. Really, I’m absolutely terrified of it. And we all have these things. And we have things that we are most seriously afraid of. Like ending up alone. Or never knowing love. Or going without. Or any number of countless things that are completely real and so, so scary. But what if you were to face this thing, this great big thing that scares you the very, very most? The thing that you are sure would end you as you know yourself. What if it was there? Happening right in front of you?

And what if it didn’t hurt at all?

What if you realized that you are bigger than this fear? What if the only feeling was this feeling in your chest that was like the sensation of falling mixed with a very hot fire that very suddenly cooled and left you sitting on the top of a green hill? Silent. Peaceful. And clean. Finally clean.

so we could dance
I was talking with my mother recently about a lot of things. Mostly some family issues. We were talking about the concept of “letting go”. Overall, I think this concept has merit. I mean, it exists for a reason. But as we discussed it and thought it over, I had a bit of an epiphany. I’m going to do my best to explain it so that I don’t discount the very real thing that “letting go” is.

I realized that life isn’t about letting go.

First of all, if we just walk around letting things go all the time then we’ll end up empty. The point is to gather things inside of us and let them become a part of who we are. “Letting go” is, I think, more about the bad things. Let hate go. Let fear go. Let doubt go. Let insecurity go.

But please hold on.

Hold on to laughter. Hold on to sunlight. Hold on to memories. And, most of all, hold on to love. I cannot stress this last one enough. Love is never, ever something that you should let go. It is never, ever something that you should forget. It is never, ever something that you should get over. Love is the most beautiful, perfect force that we have on this earth. Don’t ever let it go.

baby, i did, too
If I stand back and look at life, I mean really, really look at it, the only thing I see is me standing before God and Him asking the question, “Do you trust me?” It may seem incredibly simple, but it’s true. Because if God is real, and He does have a very specific plan for each of our lives – which I know to be the case – then really the ultimate lesson in life is one of trust. Trust in the process.

i was looking at you
There is another thing that I think we have to learn, and again I’m going to do my best to explain it lest I lead the world down false paths. But honestly, it’s pretty simple.

I am not in charge of my life.

There are a lot of things that I can control. A lot of choices that are completely up to me. A lot of things that I am accountable for because it is, after all, my life. But I am not in charge of it. There comes a moment in the life of every single human being when they realize that they cannot control the things that happen during their own process. There is so much that simply happens to us. There is so much we are not in charge of.

you were looking at me
But along with all of this is another truth. We may not be in charge. We may not ultimately be able to control any of the things that shape our process. However.

What’s meant to be will always find a way.

God reminded me of this fact recently. He reminded me that there are things I can’t control, but that that’s okay. There are things that happen, but ultimately He is in charge. He reminded me that what’s meant to be will always find a way. No matter what that means. No matter what Point B that gets you to. It’s about the process and trust. And love. Always, always love.

I'm Just Saying · Just Writing

What Happens After “The End”?

For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to change things. I have always wanted to be able to make the world different, or at least make somebody’s world different. And since writing has always been something I have considered myself at least adequate at, I have always imagined that it would be through my written words that I’d be able to help make these changes. 

I’m honestly not sure if this has ever been the case. 

In fact, I realized the other day that I am 23 years old and if I disappeared tomorrow it is very likely that nothing would happen. I have made no significant changes in the world. And this thought didn’t necessarily come to me as something depressing, but it did make me think. It made me think about a lot of things. Mostly, it made me think about complexity. 

Have you ever wondered what happens after you read the words “The End” on a page or movie screen? What happens after they get home from their epic journey? What happens after the guy runs after the girl and they go off into the sunset? 

Well, I’ve got a few thoughts about this. 

I recently finished a novel in which (spoiler alert) the main guy goes after the woman he loves months after they’ve been torn apart. And honestly, the scene is very sad. You can tell that even after all they’ve been through and everything that has happened, they love each other so much. But they are both terrified. And she tells him that. And he responds with, “We’ll be brave together.” 

And even though it’s true, and very beautiful, what I don’t tell you is what happened later. About how it was very hard for her to ever trust him again. About how it tortured him every day that he had hurt her like that, and how he was worried it might happen again somehow. And I don’t tell you about how even though they loved each other very much there were still obstacles to overcome. There were still moments when they fell into old patterns and she was terrified and the emotional connection between them felt frayed. 

I don’t tell you that there were moments when she wondered if he really would be happier without her. I don’t tell you that he struggled wildly, too. 

I don’t tell you that there is so much more to “The End” than we all think. That “The End” is hard. That “The End” is really just a new bend in the road. That “The End” is just another way of saying, “Let’s start over.” 

But I think that the point of “The End” is to hint at all those things the creator doesn’t tell us about. The point of “The End” is to say that the storm has passed and whoever has faced it is stronger or happier or, if the story is wildly depressing, at least this one storm is now over. 

The point of my “The End” was to tell you that both characters were very, very aware that the future before them wasn’t an easy one. But that they would rather face it together, because they have discovered through all of the not being together that they were meant to face the storms side by side. And it doesn’t mean that it will be easy. It doesn’t mean that everything is now fixed between them. It doesn’t mean that it is all riding off into the sunset. 

It means that they found what they truly wanted, deep in their hearts, and fought for it even though they knew it wouldn’t be easy. It means that they decided to be stronger, even if they didn’t feel like it. It means that they decided to be brave together because it was worth the fight. 

The End

I'm Just Saying

Hide & Seek

As number eight of ten children, I have played a fair amount of hide and seek in my lifetime. There would be games where there were six or seven of us all playing hide and seek together throughout the house. And let me tell you, even though hide and seek sounds like a tame pastime it was not. It got wild. In fact, at one point my mother had to officially ban hide and seek in our home, and from then on we had to ask permission to play it.

boardwalkMy brother’s favorite hiding spot was in the very top of the linen closet in the hallway. It was a giant closet full of the ridiculous amount of linen it takes to maintain a family of 12. And he would climb to the very top and hide among all the blankets and sheets.

We had a window seat in the hallway with a bench you could climb into. That was a popular hiding spot if you could get somebody to help you rearrange all the cushions and pillows back on it after you hid inside. The sock basket in the laundry room was also a very popular spot. It was exactly what it sounds like: a gigantic basket full of the number of socks it takes to maintain a family of 12. (We have long since upgraded to a different method when it comes to socks.) But again, that took cooperation from your fellow players.

Can you see now why my mom banned the game? I never got it until I was older.

It was usually fairly easy to find the first few people. But my older siblings were always the best at hiding, of course, and so if it ever began to take too long to find somebody we’d have to shout, “Give me a hint!”

It was then the privilege of whoever had picked such a good spot to make whatever noise they deemed necessary to lead us to them. It was usually some variation of a high pitched hoot.

I’ve been thinking for some time now about all of this, and about how life can seem very much like a game of hide and seek sometimes. I think that, as humans, we tend to get caught up in the fact that we’re all looking for things. And how we can’t always seem to find them right away.

And the entire world is stuffed to the brim with cliches about how life isn’t about always seeking and you should enjoy the journey and blah blah blah. Not that I am knocking these cliches. It is my firm opinion that cliches exist for a reason. So don’t disregard the cliches.

However. The older I get, the more I come to realize how individual life is. We are all lighthouseconnected in so many ways, I believe much more than we know. And yet life isn’t a “one size fits all” type of thing. It just isn’t. Everybody’s story is different. I believe that there are lessons each one of us needs to learn. But we all learn them differently. And thus, nobody’s life is exactly the same.

Another thing I have learned is that in so many situations you have to do what is best for you. That could mean a lot of things, but at the end of the day, you have to live with yourself. Your personal wellbeing is what is really important.

I think that in today’s world this idea can get over exaggerated to the point of selfishness. That’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about living the life you’re supposed to live and waking up every morning knowing that you’re right where you’re supposed to be.

And the thing about life is that we all make mistakes. We all do things that we sort of regret or really regret or crazy deeply regret. But that’s just the way it is. Our tendency to do human things doesn’t change the truth of what is really in our hearts and souls. We are so much more than a bundle of substances. You only have to look deep into somebody else’s eyes to see that.

I can’t even begin to tell you the number of times I was the worst seeker in the hide and seek game between my siblings. It seemed like it took me hours to find everybody. And life feels like that sometimes, too. You feel like you fail over and over again to find something or get somewhere you think you should be. But the reality of it is that you’re just living your life, walking down your own path. And that’s going to look different for you than it does for others.

I heard it said once that if we could hang everybody’s troubles up on a clothesline you would choose your own every time. I have always found this very interesting, and yet very true every time I really think about it.

As a general rule, I think that we tend to be our own worst enemies. And that isn’t fair.

I was told recently that a lot of my views would only work in an ideal world. It hurt me pretty deeply until I thought about it some more. And then it was pointed out to me: shouldn’t we be striving for the ideal? We are imperfect people in an imperfect world, italybut shouldn’t we always be trying for something better?

And I think that’s the key. You may feel lost or you may feel that you can’t find your way. But if you do your best, whatever that might be from day to day, then you’re striving towards the ideal. And it isn’t always enough to tell yourself that everything is going to be okay. Even though it absolutely will be. You are okay and you are enough today. Right now. Just as you are. Any steps you take should just be in order to illuminate what is already beautiful.

I'm Just Saying

Darling, Just Hold On

I have drafted this post probably ten times. Each time gets more confusing and way more wordy than it needs to. The idea I’m trying to convey is not a complex one. But for some reason, it has been hard for me to accurately explain myself.

There is a trend in humanity that I am not fond of. I have thought about it quite a lot, and collageI can’t decide if it is a product of our times or if it is a product of being human.

It is the idea of cutting people out of your life.

To be completely truthful, I almost can’t go a single day without seeing something posted somewhere on social media about how people are toxic and you need to cut them out of your life. About how people wrong you and make your life horrible so you need to cut them out of your life. Good grief, I could probably write a novel on all of the things that people say about other people and how they aren’t good for any of us.

Please don’t misunderstand me. I have a fairly long list of people who used to be in my life who are no longer actively in my life. I understand that this is a thing that happens as a product of living. We grow apart from people, we don’t live nearby them, life takes us in different directions. Whatever the case may be, there are a million things that happen. But this isn’t what I’m talking about.

I’m talking about that moment when you look at your relationship with somebody and have to actively decide whether or not you are going to keep them in your life.

Of course, many of you are probably thinking that I am referring to romantic relationships, but this can apply to any relationship. I have at least three people on my mind that this post applies to, and all of them are very different people and have very different places in my life. So apply it freely. Take my experiences for what they may be worth in your life and realize that what has proven to work and be true for me may not be what you need. I understand that, too.

But sometimes we just have to hold on. darling

Because haven’t we all been there? Haven’t we all been the toxic one at least once? Haven’t we all been the one that our friends or partners or family probably would’ve been happier without, even for a little while? We all make mistakes because we are all human.

There are times when walking away is completely and totally the overwhelming answer. There are experiences when it is the best thing for you to do, the only thing that will make your life better, happier, and more fulfilling to live. I’ve had experiences like that, too.

I guess what I’m saying is that you need to know the difference. You need to be completely sure. Know when you need to walk away, and know when a person is absolutely supposed to be in your life regardless of the hard times that may develop feel like homebetween you.

There are going to be times when people do things that hurt us. There are going to be times when it feels like it might not be worth it. But for the right people, the people who bring a foundation into your life or the people that help throw back the curtains of clouds to let the sun shine or the people who feel like home, it is always worth it.

So, darling, just hold on.

Just Writing

The Grace House

The Grace House

below the little house
at the top of the hill
are cottonwood trees
that cast shadows
across the silvery road
and for a moment they
hide all of the reasons
that I am driving
to the house

• • • • •

my sister’s hugs
have always been
the perfect balance of
fortress and lighthouse
comfort and strength
when I walk in the door
her excitement is soft
and she smiles

• • • • •

the guest room is
full of rosy light and
plump, gray pillows
Lucy wags her tail
and crowds my feet
as I leave all the reasons
in my suitcase

• • • • •

William has a red box
full of small Legos
that we dump out all
over the master bed
red, yellow, and blue
against white blankets
and he always wants
a house or a bike

• • • • •

Gus wobbles on tiny legs
sometimes giving up
to crawl even faster
other times he hugs
my legs tightly for
just one moment as
he walks by me in a
small second of needed
love amid play

• • • • •

two dainty, white cups
live beside the stove
after bubble baths and
bedtime stories my
sister fills them with
steaming water and as
the peppermint steeps her
husband smiles goodnight

• • • • •

our words mingle
together with the tea
and the cups make soft
clicking sounds
we’ll do this more than
once in the calm of the
night and unpack all
of the reasons

• • • • •

I have reasons for coming
and she for asking me to
but they all gather close
in a cup of herbal tea as we
transfuse both wisdom and
a special love that exists in
the realm where others don’t

• • • • •

she is older than me
but often asks for wisdom
I simply wish that
I could hold the soft
strength and love that
she protects me with

• • • • •

in the cool grace of her
home my sister repacks
all of my reasons
but now they are rose gold
instead of midnight blue
I help her weed the beds
of her reasons and reposition
the sun

• • • • •

she planted bits of lavender
that quietly spread until the
garden mists with purple sprigs
she presses her hands together
tightly and smiles proud and
happy excited for the growth
William does that, too

• • • • •

she holds a depth that is
similar to my own
a universe attempting to
fit inside flesh and bone
the spaces have collided
but know now that they
extend one another