I'm Just Saying

In The Region Of The Summer Stars

I need to write tonight. I need to let go of what’s been swarming around in my head today. But not in the way you’re thinking. Not in the way that I usually do.

I need to write about the stars.

I love the stars. I love the night sky. I have written about this on my blog at least 854 times, and I am in no way ashamed to write about it again. There is something about looking up at the stars that makes me feel so incredibly close to God. It makes me feel so near Him, so loved by Him. I look at that massive sky filled with all of that beauty, and I know that He isn’t that far away.

Some of the most special moments that have ever occurred between me and God have happened while I was looking at the stars. It’s almost like a special secret language that we have. Just Him and me.

It always happens with a shooting star.

Without fail, I always, always, always see a shooting star at the exact moment I need it. And every time I always hear a small voice in my heart saying very simple words such as, “I know.” Or, “I love you.” Or, “Don’t give up.” Sometimes the shooting stars I see are just a reminder of the answers He’s given me before. A little bolstering as I continue on the right path.

Since it is winter, and the sky has been hiding, stars have been pretty far away for a while. I can’t even begin to explain how hard winter is on me, everyone. I’m serious. If I go too long without seeing the sun and the clear sky, bad things happen in my brain. But something very beautiful happened to me last night. Heavenly Father sent me a gift.

I had a dream that I was watching a meteor shower.

In my dream, I was standing on the balcony of a home and looking up at the sky, and it was filled with dozens and dozens of shooting stars. They streaked across the sky quickly or slowly, bright and vivid. Absolutely beautiful. It was so special to me. It was Heavenly Father’s way of sending me a message in our secret language even when I couldn’t see the actual sky. It was everything I needed this week. It was everything I needed to just remind me that He is there.

Today was an interesting day. I got to have a really great worship experience, and spend some quality time in a place that is very sacred and special to me. A place where evil can never reach me, and I am so close to heaven. And as I sat there surrounded by the Spirit and just praying in my heart, I felt a warmth and connection to the Lord that I have been aching to feel for several weeks now. It was spectacular. And I picked up the scriptures and flipped open to some verses that reminded me that Heavenly Father has already given me so many beautiful answers about my life and that I shouldn’t doubt them. And scriptures that told me not to fear.

And that got me thinking about my dream again. And the stars.

I never feel small or insignificant looking at the stars. I feel amazing and powerful. Like I could do anything. And completely astonished by their beauty.

Then later today I was speaking with my mom, and she told me that she’d gotten me a gift. It is my absolute favorite picture of Jesus Christ. I had told her in passing some weeks ago that it was my favorite picture of Him for personal reasons, and I had no idea starsshe’d get it for me. So my little sister brought it to me tonight.

It is a picture of the Savior standing in a boat and looking up at a night sky full of stars.

So I had these three incredible moments today. Moments that reminded me of this special connection I have with my Father in Heaven. Moments that spoke to me personally because of my feelings. Perhaps all of these experiences to do with the stars wouldn’t have meant as much to somebody else, but they meant the entire world to me. I can’t even describe how much. And to somebody else Heavenly Father would give experiences that would mean that much.

I just find it incredible. And I am so grateful for it. I am grateful for a Father in Heaven who really and truly knows me. For a Father in Heaven who never gives up on me. Who understands me in every way. Who is there for every high and every low. Who has given me beautiful moments and solid faith. A Father in Heaven who has never hesitated to give me astonishingly vivid answers about my life, and always been there to help me if the path got hard. Because the right path will always be hard. A Father in Heaven who arranged a day like today: one that helped me remember all of these things.

That is how much He really knows us.

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I'm Just Saying

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.

I'm Just Saying

Moments

My older sister Jessie just had a baby a little over a month ago. His name is Abraham Eli, and he is the most beautiful baby in the world. Jessie invited me over to her house today to spend some time with her and her boys. Even if I’m doing really well, a day with Jessie and her three boys is always exactly what I need.

I got the amazing opportunity to hold Abraham for a few hours today. Jessie fed him, burped him, and let me hold him for as long as I wanted. I also got to help bath him. He was all fresh and clean, smelling like powder and lotion, wearing pine green pajamas. He smiled at me a few times, looking up at me with his big blue eyes. I wonder if they’ll stay blue. He fell asleep for a little bit with his tiny hand clenched around his blanket. I probably could’ve stayed there like that forever.

While I was with Jessie today, having this amazing experience, she told me a story that was so special. I would even say sacred. She told me about how, right after she had Abe, she was sitting there holding him. Just staring at him. Living completely in that moment of holding her brand new baby. This life she had just brought into the world. And then she looked up and saw her husband watching them. Just taking in the scene of his wife and new baby. He smiled softly and said, “You are so beautiful.”

I wish there were words for me to explain how I feel about this moment. About being able to hear this story. But I can’t. It is completely beautiful. Incredible. Like I said, I would even go so far as to use the word sacred. This moment my sister and her husband shared after their baby came into the world. There was so much love in that room. So much beautiful, pure love in every form. That is where true, eternal joy lives.

It’s the kind of moment that everybody deserves. The kind of moment we were put here to have. The kind of moment that it’s all about.

I'm Just Saying

Something Happy

When my younger sister was about three or four (give or take a year or so), she had two favorite books. I remember that I used to love to read them to her. When she was little her red hair was crazy curly and always stuck out everywhere. She constantly wore stretch pants and white t-shirts. She was the most beautiful child in the history of the world.

coverOne of her favorite books was called “Tell Me Something Happy Before I Go To Sleep” by Joyce Dunbar. It is about a little bunny named Willa who can’t go to sleep and so her big brother Willoughby tells Willa a lot of very good and wonderful things. Then they can finally go to sleep. It is such a beautiful and cute story.

And for some reason, it’s been on my mind a lot the last few days.

I have been thinking a lot about those moments right before we go to sleep, and how crucial they are. You see, my powers of introversion are very strong (which is just a dramatic way of saying that I’m CRAZY introverted) so I like to stay up late at night so that I can be alone. I know that the rest of the world is asleep and that I am more alone then than I’ll ever be. It’s when I do some of my best thinking and creating.

However, I will be the first to admit that the thoughts that you think late at night or right before you go to sleep have the potential to be weapons. In my experience, a lot of the time you shouldn’t listen to any of the things that you tell yourself past a certain time of night. Your brain can start going in a million different directions and put in you bad places. That’s just the way it is.

On the flip side, though, sometimes those are the purest hours for thinking. You aren’t distracted by everybody on the planet. Your mind isn’t drowned out by the world. It’s just you in the middle of the night. willa

It can be so powerful.

In my experience, the thoughts that you think in the middle of the night, right before you go to sleep, are either your worst nightmare or the wisest thoughts you’ll ever think. The truest, purest, most heartfelt thoughts. There really isn’t any in between.

So pay attention. Pay attention to where your heart takes you in those beautiful, vulnerable moments. It very often will guide you to the places you need to be if you let it. You’ll see.

The best part about this children’s book that I used to read to Josie is that the thing that gives Willa the most comfort, the thing that makes her excited to go to sleep just so that she can wake up in the morning, is the knowledge that Willoughby will be there in the morning. Just like always. That’s the happiest thought for her. And I love that.

I'm Just Saying

I Am Here Now

I have had the urge to write a blog post for several days now, and no matter how many times I have sat in front of my computer or tried to come up with something to say it has failed. Even now I’m having quite the time. My creative juices have just been having some struggles the last few days. Which is frustrating, especially when I have this urge to write and get something out of my head and can’t seem to.

It has been a really wonderful week, though. I started the last semester of my undergraduate degree this week, and honestly, it has been really wonderful. I have so many stories of things that have happened to me this week, most of them a little outrageous. But it has been so much fun. I always thought that when I got to this point in my life I would outrageously scared and have no idea what to do next.

But I couldn’t be further from feeling that way.

I am so excited for all of the possibilities coming my way. Earlier today I discussed the possibility of going to London for a week with some of my best friends in May, and I couldn’t be more excited. I have been longing to go back since my last visit in 2016. It would be like going home. There are so many other things coming that I’m excited for as well. Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of uncertainties in my life right now, too. But I’m just so excited for all of it.

Life has been so interesting lately.

I feel like I keep using that word, and in general when I use that word it doesn’t necessarily mean something good. But that’s really the only word I can use to describe it accurately. And it has been good. Life has been very, very good to me lately.

There have been some hard things. And if I’m being honest, how I’ve been dealing with those things and how I feel about them now has me SHOOK. (To use a modern slang term.)

One thing happened to me this week that I’ve been thinking about a lot. My sister-in-law Kaylee, whom I love dearly, has been really revamping her life recently. She’s made a lot of changes that I’m super proud of. She introduced to me an idea this week. The idea is that no matter what we’ve been through we are here. No matter what pain you have endured, no matter what mistakes you have made, no matter what darkness you have faced, you are here now.

It did not break you. It did not kill you. It did not win. Because you are here now.

I absolutely love this. I love this because there have been so many times in my life when I felt broken to a degree that it seemed I couldn’t possibly ever be whole again. We all have moments like this. But no matter how many times you have felt that way, you are still here. You are here right now.

You have not been beaten.

It is never too late to be brand new. It is never too late to start over. It is never too late to remember what you really want and to commit to chasing it. No matter what you’ve faced before. It’s absolutely incredible.

Last night as I was doing my gospel study, I decided to go with an old technique that is very tried and true for me. I’ll begin with a prayer, pour out all that I’m feeling, and then I turn to my scriptures and let them fall open. And the first thing it lands on has always, without fail, been exactly what I needed in my life.

Last night I came upon Ezekiel 22:14. It reads:

“Can thine heart endure, or can thine hands be strong, in the days that I shall deal with thee? I the Lord have spoken it, and will do it.”

I absolutely love this scripture with my whole heart. It was everything I needed and more. One thing I love about this technique is that I often don’t know the context surrounding the verses I come upon. Sometimes I’ll read on and the context will help me even more, and other times it is just the one verse that makes the difference.

This time all I needed was this one verse. I love it because it reminds me that God’s timing is different than my own. His plans are different than my own. But He does not lie. Ever. Not ever. It reminds me that even when hard times come or I’m faced with a myriad of unknowns (kind of like now) that the Lord is always with me. He has a perfect plan for my life that I have always done my best to follow, and I always will.

This verse was incredible because it acknowledges that waiting on the Lord isn’t always easy. Being patient is hard. Trying to understand the twists and turns of life can be confusing. But God is always constant.

The very last phrase is the most powerful to me: I the Lord have spoken it, and will do it.