Saturday, October 17, 2009

What I Have Learned This Week in School

Two week vacations in the middle of the semester are fantastic... until you have to go back. I was amazed at how much school work I had just for this week. I was used to doing that much school at one point? Wow.

If you get really creative you don't have to buy the really expensive calculator for your statistics class. It might mean that the problems become harder and more time consuming, but you don't need to the calculator.

When Biology teacher says that page 116 has the answers, what he really means is that page 116 is useless and good luck finding the page he was referring to!

When reading through an assignment make sure to note the due date. It would have been really nice to realize (before spending 3+ hours) that the project isn't due for another 3 weeks. Well it will be really nice when it is done already but it was very time consuming this week.

Though a teacher may be your favorite, there class is not necessarily your favorite.

If you wait to start your other classes until after you have finished Biology, you might be waiting an eternity to start. Biology is just way too much fun... not.

The end of the semester is coming way too fast and I still have way to much to do!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


I have decided that I must have the worst luck in airports, at least while traveling alone. Well, maybe the alone part doesn’t matter. Anyway, the last few times I have traveled have been filled with bad weather or delayed flights or you name it. So this morning I am a little wary when I land in Atlanta. Sure we got here 37 minutes early. Sure I had at least 3 hours between flights. But I am just waiting for the hiccup somewhere. What will it be? Cancelled flight? Freak snow storm in Boston? I don’t know. But I show up and see that my gate has been changed from D2 to D3. Okay I can handle that. So I walk down to D3 and by the time I arrive my flight is no longer posted on the cool little flight schedule boards. Hmmm… not a good sign. So I figure out where most of my airlines flights are located and walk back to C. (That would have been where I started). So I wander back and ask an agent and she looks at me like I am stupid and tells me it is going to leave from flight D3. So I walk back and the flight that leaves at 9:30 is on the boards but not my flight. So I sit here trying to figure out if I am actually going to be on this flight that supposedly exists from gate D3. Wish me luck!!

P.S. As a side note, I made it home just fine and in fact everything was early today. I think the Lord knew that I needed that today.

Time Out for Women

Yesterday, before I left for my flight back home, I was talking to my Aunt about my blog. She said that she tried to look at it but sometimes would miss mine and I confessed that over the last few months she wouldn’t have missed much. I told her that since my promise to Melissa about posting more that I had done better but still wasn’t great about it. I confessed that I like to keep my posts comical and funny and sometimes it is hard to write something that matches the humor that was actually there. I told her that lately my posts had been much deeper and contained less humor. Well I have to admit, this is going to be one of those posts that is going to be deeper again.

I had an opportunity to go to Time Out for Women this weekend for the first time. IT WAS AMAZING!!! I went with my Mom and my Aunt and I loved every minute. I loved the talks and I laughed and cried and felt the spirit so strong. I loved listening to Kenneth Cope sing. I loved hearing these women and the strength and courage that they had. I also loved that the inspirations I got that day wasn’t because of the topic of the talk or even because of what the women said, but more where my heart was and the Spirit being able to touch it.

Before I went to Time Out for Women, I had spent probably the two most perfect weeks home. I loved every minute of my two weeks and it was wonderful to have it still feel like home. It still felt comfortable to be in my room, to help my Dad at the schools, and so many other little every day things. In fact, it was so perfect that I was having a really hard time leaving. Don’t get me wrong, I love my life in New Hampshire and I love the people there and I am happy there. But I was walking away from home and from Marc and getting ready to be a long distance couple for another two months. I will have a hard time leaving New Hampshire as well and have talked about it for months and how hard this will be for me but seeing how hard it was for me to leave home, made me realize how much more I will miss New Hampshire. Anyway, on my last night home I completely broke down and just started to sob uncontrollably at the thought of leaving home. I wasn’t ready to leave. I wasn’t ready to face the real world again. I wasn’t ready to say goodbye to those that I loved. So as I sat there crying in Marc’s arms, I kept thinking that there was something wrong with me. My heart has been in two places since moving back east and the more I realize that the harder it is. I also hate crying and I hate crying in front of people and here, unprovoked, I am sobbing uncontrollably. What is going on? I eventually composed myself and got my head on straight again. I think it shocked Marc to know how hard this is on me because I try to not let those type of struggles show. I can do this.

Anyway, I thought about that scene of me just sobbing the night before as I sat there and listened to the various women and the various songs and the thought hit me. We can’t be teachable until we are humble. The Lord sometimes needs us to fall to our knees and be completely at his disposal before he is able to work with us. Because of the humility of breaking down just 12 hours before I knew that I needed to have my heart open to the Lord. I also knew and have known for a long time that the Lord has a plan for me. There is a purpose in doing what I am doing and though I may not know it at the time, it is always for my benefit. I was reminded that I need to remember that. I have often told Marc that though the last 3 months have been really hard, that I wouldn’t change them for the world. I would do it the same way all over again. Yet, when looking at the next 2 months, I find myself dreading it and dragging my feet. Why the difference? I wasn’t focused in the right direction. Through the experience of the last 24 hours, I have found myself refocused, redefined, and redevoted. There is a purpose to me still being on the east coast. Maybe it is so that I can become a true expert on Tom and Jerry episodes. Maybe there is a life that I need to still touch. Maybe I need to become that much closer to my sister. Maybe it is just a lesson in obedience. Maybe I need to become a better nursery leader. Maybe…I mean the list could keep going. All I know is that I am incredibly grateful that I am returning today and that I have been able to have the experiences that I have had and that I can be the person I am today, rather than the person I was two days ago.

There was one woman, in particular, that truly touched me with her words. She talked about some of the deepest and most personal moments in her life. These were those moments that come to truly define a person. She talked about her struggles and her doubts and what got her through every day. I was amazed because she was talking to a room of almost 1,800 strangers and was telling her deepest feelings. The kind of strength that that would take is amazing to me. In fact, I have a hard time even picturing it. I have had those kinds of struggles. No I didn’t have my little brother hit by a bus, or had a child diagnosed with diabetes. But I have had those struggles of making it through the day. I have had those worries of most women and yet I don’t talk about those experiences. Maybe it comes from trying to give off a strong persona. Maybe it comes from not being comfortable with me or who I used to be. But yet as I stood there listening to her story, I didn’t have any thoughts of how inadequate she was or how far she had fallen. I didn’t judge the event at all. And yet, my biggest fear is that maybe if people knew the struggles that I had, that they would judge me or see me as being a person no longer worth looking up to. I learned in that moment that sometimes we judge ourselves so harshly because the women around us appear so strong as well. There are certain women in my home ward that I have a hard time believing ever struggled, or doubted, or lost focus, or made a mistake, or even had a bad day. In fact, I can remember one of my first times in Relief Society and one of them started to talk about her week and how hard it had been and the things she had struggled with and I just sat there in amazement that she had struggles too. She was perfect in my eyes. I wonder if we truly understand that ALL of us struggle, if we would be less critical of ourselves for having those struggles.

One of the women talked about the difference between SIN and WEAKNESS. I, like her, and kind of thought of sin being the big version of weakness. I put them in the same category. They don’t actually belong in the same category. Sins are from Satan and are put there as a way to trip us up and bring us closer to him. They are those things that we need to repent from. Weakness, however, comes from the Lord. He gives us those things so that we made become strong. If we never had opposition, if we never struggled, we would never grow. The Lord needs us to grow and to become more like him. In order for us to do that we have to have weaknesses. I think if we think of weakness in that way, as a way to grow closer to our Father in Heaven through our hard work and devotion as we try to overcome those weaknesses, then we would stop belittling ourselves for struggling. We will struggle and that is okay. It is through those struggles that we remember our Father in Heaven and our Brother who died for us on the cross and it is through those struggles that we grow and become the people that we need to be.

Another woman talked about how things we do everyday could be a miracle in the life of someone else. She talked about there were four families who had been asked to take a boy into their homes one day a week and let him do the things they were already doing in their home. They were asked to help him with his homework (they already had children of the same age that they were helping), and to feed him dinner (they were already cooking dinner for their family). They weren’t asked to do anything that they weren’t already doing but they were asked to invite this boy to join them and to be a part of it. By them doing that, they create a miracle in the life of this boy. His life was completely changed by that one act. I sat there and thought of ways that I could be a miracle in the lives of others by doing the things that I already do. I am still pondering it and know that the Lord will direct me to do what he needs me to do and maybe I won’t even know the miracle I am. Maybe the Lord is doing the same with you. Are you a miracle for someone?

They talked about the “Be There” principle. I was a little confused when they first started to describe this principle. She talked about how the women in our church are really good when a crisis happens. We bring a casserole. We have that covered. But sometimes, a casserole isn’t what is needed. Sometimes what those people need is sometime to just be there. They don’t have to say anything, or create a miracle by themselves but they simply must be present. Sometimes we just need to know that someone is on our side and that no matter what, someone will be there for us.
I could probably write pages and pages of the things they discussed and they way that they changed my life. In fact I already have. But I will end with one of the thoughts that is still very fresh in my mind. I have always heard that the Lord is molding me and, like clay, is shaping me into the person that I need to be. I never thought about what has to happen to the clay before it is in the shape that we want. I have learned, watching my kids in nursery, that sometimes clay (or in their case Playdo) needs to be pounded, smashed, rolled, folded, beat, scraped, and the list just keeps going. Sometimes I think I am going through those various stages of the clay being worked. When your life feels completely upside down and inside out, maybe your life is being “rolled”. When your life feels like you can’t take anymore, maybe you are being “pounded”. I think of the amazing sculptures that have been made through time and the amount of work put into the material used, and I think that I can only hope to one day be the sculpture that the Lord intended. I guess that if that is my goal then I have to accept that sometimes the clay will need to be rolled and sometimes it will need to be smashed and that I need to make sure that I have my life in perspective. What good will come of this? What is the Lord trying to teach me? I hope that I will be able to remember those things and keep them dear in my heart. I hope I will be able to not only grow myself but allow others to grow as I do.

My Weeks Home

My weeks home were perfect. It was everything that I had hoped for. I was able to lighten the burdens of my Mother which sometimes is really hard to do. She has been stressed with life, school, work, and being a wife and mother. So what do you do for a woman who already does everything? You cook dinner for her. Before I came out I came up with a menu and I stuck to it. I loved being able to cook and that was odd. I even got to teach my Mom how to make something. It was a blast for me to be able to see that one day I will be able to be a wife and mother and that I am capable of it on some level and it was a blast to be able to be that saving grace for my Mother.

I was also able to work with my Dad while I was there. I love working with my Dad. I love going down to the school and working on some project. I probably spent as much time at Territorial as I did my own home growing up and I love that. It was fun to work with him again and see that changes that he has helped make. It was fun to talk to him about life and how things have changed. It was fun to take pictures and make the bulletin board for the District Office. But most of all, it was fun to spend that time with my Dad. Those are the moments that I have always treasured in my life and I will treasure the new memories created on this trip home.

I was able to still feel like I belonged at home. Sometimes I worry about still fitting when I come back from being gone so long and yet it seems like I never left. Sure life has gone on but once we are back together we all fit and are able to move on together as one unit.

I was able to tease Mikkel. Now, this could quite possibly be my favorite pastime but it is totally worth it. I love just being around to tease him about the things in everyday life and having him just give it right back to me. I don’t know what I would do without that little boy, well not so little now. I am still just praying that I am still taller than him at my wedding and am slowly realizing that that will probably not be the case.

I was able to be back in sync with Marc again. Sometimes being in different time zones and living completely different lives, makes being in a relationship hard. We have been fine and there is nothing to worry about but it was nice to be back in sync with him and to be able to spend so much time with him.

I was able to see my older brother and to spend time with him. I was able to see him on multiple occasions and I loved it. I was able to go on a date with him, my best friend, and all of our significant others. I was able to try a new experience and much to the delight of all I liked sushi!

I was able to see my best friend and realize that though time has gone by that we can still be just as close as we once were.

I was able to see one of my favorite people in the whole wide world and that is my Aunt. She has been such a saving grace in my life and the life of my family and it was wonderful to be able to be back with her again and do silly things like going and seeing Fame.

I was able to realize just how lucky I am to have the family I do and to live the life I live.

I was able to go see the temple and spend time walking the grounds with Marc and be reminded of the promises that we will be making in February. I was able to see the look on his face as we walked around and just feel so close to him. That was how we spent the last little while together and I wouldn’t have changed that for the world. I think keeping the temple in focus for us will make the world of difference.

I was able to get refreshed and rejuvenated for what the next few months hold in store for me. I can’t promise that they will be easy but I can promise that they will always be worth it.