I'm Just Saying

What A Time

It is now past midnight as I’m beginning to write this post, and that means that I leave on my trip to London tomorrow! I know I’ve talked about this the last several posts, so many of you are probably really excited for me to just go on the trip. But I wanted to post one last time before I leave.

Obviously, I’m excited. I haven’t been to London since August-September 2016, and I’m so grateful for the opportunity to go back to the city and revisit my favorite spots. I have also written lots of letters to lots of people, and now I’ve been given the crazy wonderful opportunity to visit a place in Westminster Abbey that is usually closed to the public. I am absolutely thrilled.

I’m thrilled about a lot of things. I’m thrilled to be back in a city that feels like home to me. I’m thrilled to tour my new grad school. I’m thrilled to be a tourist again and completely look like it. I’m thrilled to see places I didn’t get to see last time. I’m thrilled to take touristy photos and explode all my newsfeeds with my adventures. I’m even thrilled to not get free drink refills at restaurants. (Apparently, that’s just an American thing…)

But something has happened to me in the planning and preparation for this trip that I didn’t see coming. Honestly, I really should’ve seen it coming, but I didn’t. As I’ve been planning and preparing for this trip, I have been thinking constantly about the last time I was there. I think that’s normal. But the part I was unprepared for was the kinds of things I’ve been remembering.

There are various things about the person I was then, things that were going on in my life, that I have been thinking about so much. It’s been interesting.

I just want this trip to be the most amazing thing ever. I’ve been dreaming of going back to London for nearly three years. I am excited to see how it will be different from and the same as my previous trip. I am excited about all of the experiences and insights.

I am so different now than I was then.

But at the same time, I am still just me. The same person that I have always been. I still love all the things I’ve ever loved. I still want all the things I’ve ever wanted. I just feel as though I’ve gotten better and stronger. I guess that should be the goal with time.

I'm Just Saying

flying, flying, flying

I have been having this really weird form of writer’s block lately. It’s not really writer’s block, actually, but I can’t think of another way to describe it. I have had my blog on my mind so, so much. And I keep having this feeling that I need to write. And even more than that, I have come up with several different ideas for things I want to blog about.

And then I get here, write a few paragraphs, and know that I absolutely can’t post it.

This has happened to me every night for the past three or four nights. So, the conclusion that I’ve come to is that there is something specific that I am supposed to be saying to somebody in particular. And I figured that when I was supposed to know what that was I’d be able to blog again successfully.

So here we are. Maybe tonight’s the night.

The last week has been absolutely crazy at my apartment. I’m not kidding, and really not even exaggerating. Some things have happened to my roommates and other people I’m close to that have been insane. And to be honest, for a few days it was really overwhelming and I could only deal with it one moment at a time.

There are two concepts that have hit me very hard during this time: courage and love.

I have seen love overcome incredibly insurmountable odds in the last days. I think that we all at least want to believe that love can do that. But honestly, it can sometimes be hard to believe. But I’ve seen it up close and personal the last few days. Love does overcome things. Big mistakes, big hurt. Heartbreak. Things you never thought you could fix. Real love does fix it. It does overcome it. It has been amazing to watch.

For love to work like that, it takes courage.

So much of life takes courage. Real courage. True, true courage. One thing I’ve witnessed a lot through this is that things look different from moment to moment, day to day. On Saturday morning I spoke to a heartbroken roommate who only saw one option moving forward. And at the beginning of that conversation, I thought she was perhaps correct. But things changed rapidly. Because of love and courage. And tonight things are so, so different than we would’ve ever thought. Because of love and courage.

Life takes courage.

It takes courage to do the things that you know will bring you true joy and lasting happiness. And sometimes those things are very, very hard. And they seem so different from what you think you want at the moment. But true joy and lasting happiness are worth more than temporary contentment.

I think that can be a hard concept to wrap our heads around. A bigger perspective is something we don’t often have in 2019, let alone an eternal one. But love and courage in their real sense help us have that perspective and help us to make the decisions that we know are right. They help us through those moments when we think we can’t overcome things that have happened so that we can continue fighting for what is right in our lives.

I'm Just Saying

Dress

My dress for the opera came in the other day. It’s absolutely beautiful. I video chatted my older sister to show her, and her two-year-old Gus said, “Jord! You look so beautiful!” (My family very often calls me Jord, but my sister Jessie semi-recently changed this to JoRd. Essentially you just round out the o-r in a very exaggerated manner. So Gus actually said, “JoRd! You look so beautiful!” Either way, it was absolutely adorable.)

So the dress is pine green with a long skirt and lace sleeves. I’m so excited to wear it! We’ll be going to the English National Opera. I could die I’m so excited. My trip to London is in 12 days. I honestly have to force myself not to think about it too much or I am incapable of doing pretty much anything. It’s going to be magical.

I wholeheartedly believe that people come into our lives for very specific reasons. I wholeheartedly believe a lot of things about people.

I have had a lot of different thoughts recently, about life and about people in my life. Life has been incredibly interesting lately. That is honestly the only word that I can possibly think to describe it. Not interesting in a bad way. Just interesting. Things have been very different than I thought they would but in a great way. There are a lot of things that have fallen into place very weirdly in my life in the last months, and I have a feeling that that kind of thing is going to continue happening in my near future. I’m not exactly sure what that means, it’s just a hunch.

But I have learned quite a bit about myself recently, and one thing I’ve learned how to do very, very well is to trust my hunches. My superpower. I’ve written about this at least 753 times. I just have this weird ability to know things. And I’ve gotten much better at listening to that, acting on it, and using it to benefit myself, others, and my relationships. I’ve learned not to doubt my superpower.

I’ve written a lot about connections on this blog, and no doubt will do so in the future. I believe that connections are intense, perfect, meant-to-be things. There are certain connections that are just. Wow. You know? These special ones don’t come along often, and when they do they are absolutely phenomenal. Do you have one of those in your life? A person that you connect with just so much that it’s insane? You’re basically the same person? You can feel that connection even when they’re not with you?

Can I just say that I’m so, so, so excited to wear my opera dress? I think I’ll practice my hair tonight. I’m going to do it up and wear small stud earrings. The dress can speak for itself, for sure. The place where we are staying in London is in the best location you could ever ask for. It’s right by Victoria Station. It’s about half a mile from Buckingham Palace and three-quarters of a mile from Westminster Abbey.

Real talk: I’ll probably go to Westminster every day, maybe more than once a day, while I’m there. I can not wait to go back. I can’t wait for the feeling that’s going to wash over me when I step off the plane. I can’t wait for the bit of humidity in the air. The stone streets. The smell of the Tube. Just all of it. I’m thrilled.

The last time I went to England, almost three years ago, I got to spend a few days in Stratford-Upon-Avon. I got to go see two plays at the Royal Shakespeare Company, one of which was Cymbeline. Now, I could probably write so, so, so many words on Oliver Johnstone and the white suit he wore in the play, however, that’s not where I’m going with this. There is one part in the play where they play an absolutely beautiful song. It’ll probably be playing over and over in my head for the foreseeable future.

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.

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Sweet Creature

To The Person I Was On February 19, 2017,

Today is going to be one of the best days of your entire life. Today you’re going to learn a lot of things that don’t seem real. They are. You’re going to learn that dreams do come true. You’re going to learn that love is real. You’re going to learn that you’re worth it. You’re going to learn that you can look in somebody’s eyes and know you have found the home you have always dreamed of finding. You’re going to learn that Heavenly Father doesn’t lie. That He is constant and true. And He will not give you answers that will lead you to nowhere.

In the next seven weeks, you will experience happiness you never even knew existed. You will know the feeling of having found that one person who wants you for time and all eternity. My advice is very simple:

Don’t you dare look back. It’s going to be scary. And there will be so many unknowns. If you have a concern or a thought, please don’t hold it back. Share it. Try and work things out if they get hard. But jump. Okay? Don’t be scared. Beautiful, incredible, even sacred moments are about to occur in your life. And I want you to be truly present for all of them.

Heavenly Father has given you so many answers. And He will continue to do so. And I’m here to tell you now that a lot of them aren’t going to make any sense. But please follow them anyway. Please don’t give up.

Today you are going to learn that God has a plan. And that His plan will always come to pass. Today you are going to learn that what is meant to be will always always always find a way. And there will be plenty of times in the next two years, even today as I’m writing this, that you are going to think about this concept and spit at it. But I promise you that God is more powerful than anything you know. He is more powerful than any dark moment. More powerful than any earthly weakness or temptation. And His work is not frustrated. That’s not the way it works.

Today is going to be one of the best days of your life. I beg of you to please cherish every single second. And all the seconds to come. Jump. And don’t look back.

I love you.

I'm Just Saying

Brave & Strong

One of my best friends in the entire world, Adele, just had a baby a little over a month ago. The most beautiful baby girl that you’ve ever seen in your life. Her name is Scarlette. This last weekend, my friend Haley and I got the chance to go to L.A and visit Adele, her husband Tanner, and to meet little Scarlette.

I am so in love with this baby.

She is absolutely perfect in every way. She’s so tiny. At 7 weeks, she still fits perfectly in one of your arms. Her little legs still curl up. She has loads of dark hair that sticks up a little bit in the back. Her eyes have a blue tinge right now, but they’ll probably be very dark. She’s gorgeous now, and she’ll be gorgeous when she’s older.

I got to spend a lot of time with Scarlette. Just holding her. Just being with her. Talking. She really loves me. I could quiet her down instantly any time she got fussy. She really is the most beautiful baby. I told her how much I love her. How I’ll always be there for her. How brave and strong she is. It was wonderful.

And being with my friends was wonderful.

What’s funny is that I have two different groups of friends, and in both groups, there are three of us. But both are very different. There is a different dynamic in both and we talk about things so much differently depending on which group I’m with at the time. With this group, Haley and Adele, I get to talk about spiritual things a lot more.

I get to delve deep into the really deep stuff in life. I get to confess things to them I have a hard time telling anybody else. Because they understand all the different layers that go into it. With me, and with a lot of us, there is always more to what we say than the actual words. And Haley and Adele always know everything I’m trying to say without me having to explain it much. I love that about them. It was so refreshing to be with them and to just have fun.

What was interesting about the weekend was that it wasn’t free of trouble. I went away for five days to a beautiful place that was nice and warm. I basked in the sunlight endlessly, held a beautiful baby, laughed with my friends, went to fancy dinners, got dolled up, and did all the things we never get to do unless we’re together. But even though we did all of these wonderful things, I didn’t leave all of my troubles behind me in the ice and snow.

I think it’s because I was with my close friends, and I could let go of some of the things that I’ve been avoiding. So there were moments that were hard when I felt sad or upset about things. But it never lasted long because I was with them. I consider them my sisters. And we always know how to be there for each other.

Our last full day there, we went to the mall. We bought a few new things for Scarlette and a dress for Haley. Early on in this shopping trip Adele went to the restroom to change and feed Scarlette and Haley went browsing, and I got a text from my sister. And the conversation that followed was not an easy one.

I got some news about my family that was really hard to hear. That hurt me a lot. And shocked me. I was far away from home, hearing this family news much later than everybody else, and I felt so, so alone. If I’m being honest, I went into a kind of shock. I couldn’t really think straight for probably an hour or so, and then for the rest of the trip I just kind of put it out of my mind. With great effort.

But that moment was so hard. That space of time when I wandered around the mall with my friends just in shock. So in shock, in fact, that a not-so-old habit kicked in, and I pulled out my phone to call somebody. I went to my frequently contacted list, where their name still lives, and was about to press their name before I remembered that I couldn’t call them.

That was so hard.

The shock had stuck me in that moment, and right before my thumb hit their name I remembered that there are consequences to actions. And that even if that moment turned out great, even if their voice put everything back in place the way it always has, there is a reason I don’t hear it every day anymore. And that isn’t my fault. Lots of other things are my fault, but not that. Like how I dream about that voice. How I pray for it. How, in the middle of the night, when I’m all by myself and alone with my deepest self, I dream of hearing it again. Always accompanied by this understanding that everything looks different in the light of day. That’s why I save those thoughts for midnights.

Anyway, so I didn’t call them.

I told my friends, accepted their hugs and love, and helped Haley find a dress. And that was enough. It helped. Being with them healed me just enough until I could talk to my mom on the way home from L.A.

Adele hugged me tightly, with this new mom energy she possesses, and rubbed my back. Haley hugged me, too, and made me laugh. I hope that all of you have friends like them. Friends that can fix things just like that. All three of us had a moment during the weekend when we were our most vulnerable with one another, and the other two got to be there to be the strength. Or the happiness. Or whatever was needed. And it was beautiful.

I'm Just Saying

If You Leave The Light On

It has been about a week since I’ve blogged, and I have a lot on my mind tonight. Surprise, surprise. If I’m being honest, that actually happens to me a lot. I get on my blog pretty much every day, just to check and see how everything is and to peak at the blogs I follow. And sometimes I look at my blog and think, “All is well. I am pleased.” And then I continue on with my day. And after doing this for a few days, I’ll suddenly come on my blog and it’s as if my brain explodes with all these thoughts, feelings, and ideas that I absolutely have to get out and it’s as if the creator in me screams, “How have you been waiting around with all of this in your brain for eternity?! Write something, you fool!”

So here I am, writing something.

Like I said, I have a lot on my mind tonight. And if I’m being honest not a lot of it is positive. I have been having a great 2019. That is no lie. Wonderful, amazing things have happened to me so far this year and it’s only February. And there are so many more incredible things to come. But that doesn’t mean I haven’t had my off days. It does mean, however, that when I do have my off days I get frustrated. I just say to myself, “Um, self. What the devil? You’re actually doing super great so … get it together.”

Today is not, in fact, an off day. But I have had a few in the last week or so. And they haven’t been bad days. Just off days. Days when negativity comes seeping into my head and I can’t figure out why it just won’t leave me alone. Days when the people closest to me have felt like they were falling apart and I had to help hold them together. Those kinds of days.

I think it was last November, I was having a really, really, really bad day. I felt so alone and lost. I couldn’t figure out what to do with everything that was happening in my life. I was trying to hold everything together. So late one night I got in my car – wearing the classiest outfit I’ve ever put together mind you: Christmas pj’s, a sweater, socks, and flats. Class, class, class. – and I just started driving. I went to a very peaceful spot and called one of my good friends. She helped a lot. And then I started driving again. And I drove and drove and drove. All around my town and to my old town and around my old high school. And the entire time I listened to “Home” by One Direction on repeat. And somehow that helped.

Truthfully, every single time I am having a hard moment, no matter where on the scale of hard moments that it falls, I always come back to the same conclusion: trust God. He has a plan. Everything is going to be okay.

Several weeks later I went and spoke to one of my very trusted spiritual advisors and told him some of the things that were going on in my life. I had some pretty heavy issues I needed to discuss with him, and I was scared. But it was an incredible meeting. And I wish I could say that he said all of these wonderful, groundbreaking things and introduced all this truth I’d never thought of before, but he didn’t. In fact, he let me tell him some very hard things from my past, and a few things in my present, he let me shed a few tears, and then he said, “Did you know that Heavenly Father is in charge?”

And for whatever reason, it hit me right in the heart. And I couldn’t stop smiling.

I just started beaming from ear to ear. I couldn’t have stopped smiling if I’d tried. It is something that I have always known. It is something that I take for granted, actually. But for whatever reason, the truth of that sunk deep into my soul at that moment and it was exactly what I needed. He continued on telling me about how everybody’s life story is different and rarely does life ever go the way that we think it will. But God is God. His truth is unchanging. He cannot lie. He will not tell you something that isn’t true. He will not lead you down a wrong path.

A few days ago, my little sister Josie, who is one of my best friends on this earth (pretty sure I’ve blogged about that a million times), sent me a Youtube link. She does this often: sends me videos and pictures and all the things. And since I have this habit of not actually viewing them they are usually accompanied by a passive-aggressive, “Please watch this.” Well, the link she sent me the other day was accompanied by:

“Please listen to this song. I freaking love it. It might make you cry.”

I couldn’t decide if I was happy that she knew me this well or frustrated that she knew me and my life this well, but I did indeed listen to the song and it was beautiful. It did not, in fact, make me cry, but I responded, “I am not crying. But I feel like she spied on me.” You know those songs?

Anyway, it was very sweet. And I promise that there was definitely a point in telling you all of these very random and seemingly unrelated stories. But at this precise moment, I can’t remember what it was. But they do relate, and they are all very important to me. And they show that we aren’t alone, ever. And they show that life takes twists and turns but that what’s meant to be will always find a way.

Because God is always in charge.