Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Balancing Act

My entire life has been one big balancing act. I try hard to stay on the Well side of this scale, but too often find myself teetering between the two...or all the way on the Sick side.
Today I feel like I'm right in the middle. I have a sore throat, ear that slightly aches, and a mild headache. I don't feel on my deathbed sick, but I'm not feeling healthy as an ox either. At times like this it's hard to know how to react. Any one thing could tip the scale one way or another. If I try to do too much I could find myself sliding towards illness. If I go to the doctor and catch an illness before it hits to hard I would be headed for healthier days. However, I am not one to go to the doctor unless I really feel like there is something they could do for me. So, for now I will spend my time right in the middle of the scale. I will drink lots of OJ, spend all day on the couch watching movies, take some ibuprofen, and hope things get better before they get worse.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Strengths and Weaknesses

Have you ever been sitting in an interview and been asked to tell them some of your strengths and some of your weaknesses? I have and I struggle with finding an answer every time. Why is it so difficult to admit our weaknesses and to acknowledge our strengths? This question applies to all of life as well, not just in an interview.

I believe we all need to take a step back and really own up to our weaknesses. We need to clean out the closet and humble ourselves enough to realize that we aren't perfect and that's okay, we weren't meant to be. Once we humbly admit our weaknesses we can find a way to push past them, work around them, and most importantly let God turn them into strengths. As I talk about recognizing our weaknesses I do not mean that we nit pick every little thing we don't like about ourselves and end up with a list a mile long and still growing. This is not a productive recognition of weakness, it is a way of beating ourselves up and will ultimately only drag us down emotionally.

A few of the weaknesses I see in myself are the fact that I am very shy when I first meet people. I don't like to be the center of attention. When I'm in large groups of people, especially ones I don't know very well, I would much rather sit back and observe everyone rather than get up and participate in whatever is going on. Because of this I tend to miss out on a lot of the fun. I am easily overlooked and forgotten about because I kept myself on the sidelines and not in the limelight. Another weaknesses of mine is that I am constantly worried about what others are thinking of me. I worry that I will do something stupid and everyone will make fun of me. I worry about being criticized or judged by my peers. I don't live the life most people think I should be living at my age and since I criticize myself for that I imagine that everyone else is as well.

Not long ago a good friend and I were discussing the topic of personal strengths and he asked me to tell him a few that I saw in myself. I struggled to come up with some. After seeing my struggle he gave me an assignment to go home and list as many personal strengths I could come up with. Then ask two of my family members to give me two strengths that they saw in me. After talking with family I was then to ask two of my closest friends to also tell me a few strengths they saw in me. When I was all done I was supposed to send him the list of what everyone had said.

I found it very interesting that my friends and family came up with things I had not thought of myself. Why is it that others can see the good in us that we don't see in ourselves? I learned a lot from this experience as I pondered on the things they had said and spent a lot of time praying for the ability to recognize those strengths in myself. It took some time, but I am proud to say that I found those strengths. I saw them and was grateful for them.

I am a loving person full of kindness for others. I am very non-judgmental of others and accept them as they are. I'm a good listener and am always there for others when they need me. I'm very thoughtful of others and spend time planning and executing ways that I can cheer someone up or help them get through a rough time. I have very vivid mind and a talent for writing. I communicate much better through writing than any other form of communication. When writing I am truly able to express my thoughts and feelings in a way that makes sense. I also have a deep and abiding testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ. This gives me the ability to remain strong in life and faith even when life seems to hit me hard and throws challenges my way that seem impossible to overcome.

Owning up to my weaknesses and recognizing my strengths helps me to understand myself a little bit better. I can't think of a better person to get to know better than myself. That may sound like a very conceited thing to say, but I firmly believe it is true. Once we come to know who we really are we are able to face life with a sense of confidence and purpose. We are able to see the good in others just as we see it in ourselves. We are able to love ourselves the way our Heavenly Father loves us. Knowing what makes us who were are gives us a special kind of power to face life head on and enjoy every minute of it.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Looking Forward

This is a time of year where many people start looking forward as they set goals for things they want to accomplish, and changes they want to make. I do this as well to an extent. I plan goals and imagine what I would like my life to be like a year from now. However, at this point is is easy for me to stop, turn around, and look back at where I've been and where I am right now. I know the things I want to change and accomplish but I inadvertently end up allowing the past to rule my future. I let the mistakes and failures of my past tell me that I won't be able to make the changes I wish to make in the days ahead. Once this thought is placed in my mind I lose my gusto to start any new goals.

This is where I have to take the time to get on my knees and pour my sorrow and frustration out to the Lord. I know that on my own I probably will not be able to change the things I'd like to change...but...with the Lord by my side I can do ANYTHING!

In order to make sure I have the Lord's guiding hand in all I do I know I must always do the basics. I must study my scriptures daily, pray daily, serve others, attend my meetings, etc. If I don't exercise my faith in Him then His hands are tied and He can not bless me the way I need Him to. He stands ready and waiting for me to come to him. It's all up to me, it's all my choice.

Here's to a great New Year!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

The Ending of a Year

Even though we are all probably still writing 2011 down when we have to date something and may do so for another week or two, the year 2011 is officially over. I sat down earlier today to just ponder and reflect on what 2011 brought to my life. I hope you don't mind if I start of the first post of the new year by taking a little trip down memory lane...

I had a lot of fun times in 2011, crossed a few things off my bucket list, and made a bunch of awesome memories. Here are some of the things I did this past year:
  1. Spent an awesome night with my brother going to dinner and then going to see Brian Regan perform live. It was epic!
  2. I was able to go with my sister when she received her patriarchal blessing. What an amazing experience that was! She has such a strong spirit and is so loved by her Heavenly Father. I am very lucky to have her as my sister and best friend.
  3. I was given a new calling that was fun but also stretched me to my limits. I learned that it's not as easy to plan ward activities as it may seem. I also learned that the Lord gives us callings to help us grow and develop not because we are perfect at the task he's asking us to do.
  4. I yelled at an ER worker at Ogden Regional Hospital when they wouldn't let me in to see my sister who had just been brought in by ambulance after falling and breaking her ankle. I'm usually not the aggressive type but when you come between me and my family the claws come out and I will do whatever it takes to take care of my family. It was actually kind of fun, and taught me that the "stand up to anyone, no matter what" part of me is in there when I need it.
  5. Stayed at my mom's house to help my sister with her broken ankle. Despite the difficult situation we all had a lot of fun together. I even discovered I have a hidden talent! It is probably one that will stay hidden except to family and very close friends. haha!
  6. I went cliff jumping for the first time this summer. I know with my health jumping off cliffs probably isn't the smartest thing I've ever done, but I really wanted to do it. Now, I can cross that off my bucket list! It was an exhilarating experience. Scary and fun all at the same time. In doing this I learned a little bit more about overcoming my fears and jumping into life with all I have. I also learned the power of friends. The first time I jumped I was quite nervous but a good friend of mine stepped up and jumped with me. She didn't come up and push me off, or tease me until I jumped out of spite. She simply stepped forward as a support helping me to do it on my own. I love her for that.
  7. I got to go on a small vacation to St. George to see a few plays at the Tuachan and spend some quality time with my mom and sister. We had such a great time! It was the perfect end to a less than ideal summer.
  8. I had the opportunity to volunteer with an amazing organization for teen girls called The Ivy Girl Academy. It was a wonderful event and I know it blessed the lives of the girls that were there as well as my own. I hope to be able to work with this wonderful organization again. PS. If you have teen girls and live in Utah, Idaho, or Arizona check out this link and get your girls involved in this program...
  9. I was able to meet three wonderful Aussie women and attend a Time Out For Women event with them. It was great fun and very spiritually uplifting.
  10. I developed a few new obsessions such as Pinterest, One Tree Hill, and Swagbucks.
Life is a bumpy road and the past year had plenty of up's and down's. As I look back though, I am just as grateful for the nights I stayed up all night laughing my head off, as I am the nights I cried myself to sleep because life was just too hard. Each of those moments brought something into my life. They brought joy and growth. I learned how wonderful it feels to let go of the stress and have fun. I also learned that I am stronger than I thought I was. I can do hard things.

Now I look ahead to 2012 and wonder what is in store. I wonder how many times my heart will break and how many times it will smile. I wonder what grand adventures are in store for me and those I love. I wonder what new memories I will make and treasure for the rest of my life. I look forward to whatever is headed my way; to the good times I smile in anticipation, to the bad times I say "Bring it on!"

I hope you all have a wonderful year ahead of you as well!