Saturday

His Answer is You

<She always has a clip that keeps her hair back that she takes out right before the pictures>

The trees are a perfect backdrop. We went out during the afternoon to see some color up the canyon.
It's weird being back on these roads. In a lot of ways I feel like I went back in time 5 years, but now I'm married with a child. So I'm that old lady thinking she is still young and wild. I walked on campus wondering if I could still fit in there, but just thinking about being back in school gives me anxiety. I can definitely admit that my time has passed. Lots of memories around this town, and I guess it's time to make new ones with my family. At least for a little bit. Only a little bit, right Mr Smith?

I had a semi-emotional day when Mr Smith and I were at odds about my snappy attitude & I was at odds with my situation, when I later realized I left my battery & charger in the BYU library the night before just as I was rushing across town to take some pumpkin pictures just to find out I was without a memory card. There are moments when we lose a little bit of emotional control, as hard as we try to keep it contained, we just want an understanding shoulder. Just for a few moments. There are very few souls who I trust with my own. I love those souls who don't take sides in my marriage, who can be empathetic and add humor, who don't try to solve my problems or sugar coat things, who don't become depressed for you or make it a bigger deal (except for the sake of humor), who know how to just be there in the moments when you need someone to hear you and feel you at the same time. I know I need to be okay with Christ as my go-to person, but I always wonder if maybe His answer is You.

Life is so beautiful; you have to love it.







I recovered the battery & charger on the third try. I was elated for that miracle.
Mr Smith also got a hiking carrier for $25 today; so that's another win for the books.


Tuesday

It's Hard

It's hard. I'm never one to sugar coat anything. 

Alas, most everyone knows this about me and some wish I would just a little, but I can't. I don't deceive. I blogged about "fake" people many-a-times in my single days. I've never had the energy to hide what I'm feeling. And sometimes that's a personality con, but at least people know they can count on an honest and straight-forward answer from me and you can tell it's refreshing to some. Sometimes I'm silent, and that's me trying to be nice. Along with being a little frank, I don't judge people with absolute stamps like Mr Smith does. I have my opinion, but I know it's just that. I don't expect people to hop in my boat and I'm never offended when they don't. I'm just me - willing to admit when I don't know things and willing to call you out when you've gone overboard. And I expect to be friends with you, whoever you are. Obviously the goal is to be a good influence and ultimately bring us closer to Christ, who makes us better, but for the most part we are two people trying to figure out our worlds, which hopefully are different. Otherwise, we would just be unchallenged and therefore dead of growth. I like to grow in my relationships. Sometimes I like to be validated in my decisions, but who wants someone that agrees with everything you say and do? Very obnoxious. But that's just how I see it.

I know the goal is to become one. I'm not positive how that is supposed to happen. Maybe it has to do with using our differences to teach each other and lift each other. But how do you do that with people who always think their way is the best way? Maybe we just shouldn't ask their opinions. And they shouldn't share them unless we ask. But that's impossible with close friends & family, especially with your spouse (at least it should be). So maybe we should just say "I think this is a good idea" and people like my brother and husband will give you 50 reasons why you should question your opinion. Either way, I do appreciate it. Even if I'm initially upset because being challenged and growing isn't easy and we as humans HATE when we feel we're the only ones who don't know something. But the first mistake we make is thinking we know everything. (we grow when we validate truths we know, and we grow when we learn something new)

So that's basically how I sit with God, the Father of my spirit. I feel like I know what I want. And I feel like it's reasonable to have it. But what should I be learning during this limbo period? Or probably more correctly said, what am I not learning? Where is my hope? Where is my faith? Do I feel entitled? Me, miss independent, what am I entitled to? My theme of this year repeated in my mind and heart is that our mansions are in heaven. Pres Monson briefly mentioned that statement at conference. My Creator knows what I need to experience in order to become my better self. I want to accept that relationship; I want to trust I'm in the right place. I thought it was pretty frank when my husband lost his job. I've been on the other side trying to accept, battling this urge to argue. But in so many ways, I need to let it go and thrive where God places me. I guess I just fear we placed ourselves here and God had nothing to do with it. But that's foolish, isn't it? Maybe if we were unholy and foolish people I might assume that. But we aren't. Deep down I know we aren't. It's comforting to hear it's going to be okay, but immediately I just want to be like BUT HOW DO YOU KNOW?!

So it's hard. Doable. Liveable. Workoutable. But it's hard because it's confusing and I don't have the answers. It's hard because I have to give up some control. It's hard because we don't see the end from the beginning. It's hard because it isn't what I want in the way I want it. It's hard because we need to have a positive and healthy attitude even with all of the above. And that's the honest truth.









Wednesday

We Have Arrived

I'm becoming much the slacker these days even though I've never had so much free time in my entire life.  Funny how that works? Good news is, I've decided to waste your time today to give a little "we are still alive if breathing counts" post.

So ta-da, we made it to Provo! Almost like a magic trick except for the fact that ~42 hours in a car with a toddler involved no magic. That's a lie. We made it  a l i v e. Magic. Lexi was pretty good. Maybe one combined full hour of the ~42 involved tears of duress.  My car made it. I somehow drove for about 8 hours in a day before I could no longer feel my bottom or toes. For someone who HATES driving these days, I thought it was a blessed miracle. I didn't even have to eat all the snacks. I think stopping in  Dallas for a couple days helped us recoup. We got to see/meet these lovely ladies...







Mr Smith made it through Atlanta traffic with the truck & trailer, and bless his heart, we said goodbye to the south. He cursed the bumpy MS roads, but again, we're alive and moving on. Except to the dashed hopes of the in-laws, we are still here a week+ later.

I've only had a couple meltdowns since the millions of goodbyes (jk I don't know a lot of people but enough). One may have been the last Sunday in Hickory. I mean it's like when you fall down and people ask if you're okay, just that question alone makes you cry. There is so much emotion behind the "it'll all be fine, it's for the best, we're moving on." So because I can't really answer you, because heck I'm not sure what I feel anymore, I just cry a tear here and there. Scratch that, cried. It's in the past.

Because in reality, I did tell Mr Smith I would be okay with moving anywhere. I forgot to finish the paragraph with my list of conditions, but he ran with what he wanted to hear. Jk. He knows me better than I know myself and he knew I felt okay with UT. I'm just A LOT slower at transitioning worlds than he is. He's all black is the new white. And I'm smearing myself in gray. He said if it was him, he wouldn't have told anyone he was leaving; he would have just left. I'm not that kind of person. Sometimes I have to tell it to several people to see how it sounds. If they asked too many questions I didn't have answers to, I would cry. [Men and their lack of attachment] What's the point of living if we don't create attachments! At least to a certain degree. But that's that. 

All the boxes fill half of Mr Smith's parent's garage. We took over a basement bedroom. Lexi takes over another when Uncle Lance is traveling. My wonderful mother-in-law is looking after 7 people in her home, and 3 that might as well live here too. I bet she didn't think she would have more people in her home at retirement age, but alas, here we are. It's not too hectic, but we're still keeping the faith that "vacation" and the suitcase days are dwindling. I mean we might as well live up the care free life until it ends, right? We could stress every moment of our lives if we wanted to.

I'll post about UT soon enough. for me. 

Tuesday

Shout It From the Mountain Tops - Have I Been Saved?

I had a hard time falling asleep last night and I still woke up with this heavy heart and something more than a desire - a need - to share my testimony (I wrote this a week ago). Maybe it is because I'm leaving and I hate myself for leaving family, friends and a community where I didn't share what being Mormon truly means. The Bible belt we live in has long ago enlisted unwarranted anti-mormon propaganda that has made our way of life unaccepted and awkward to explain, even to close family. I have appreciated living in a God- fearing community with people who love Christ, but people talk when you aren't around and it isn't always easy to bring up the Plan of Salvation or dive into the Restoration, but now I ask myself how come? Nothing is more important to me than sharing what I know to be true with my family. So why have I failed them?

I've heard the world say we are not Christians. Apparently being members of The Church of Jesus Christ means we worship a different Christ than them [because that seems pretty straight forward to me]. I simply feel if they knew more "lds" members instead if hearing from the biased and those who were led astray, many people would begin to doubt the propaganda and see that we have more similarities than differences and that our differences will start to make sense too. How can something so supposedly "evil" teach such wonderful principles? 

Our clergymen are not paid. All the service within His church worldwide is just that, service. We talk of Christ, we find hope and forgiveness through His Atonement, we value family and our focus is sealing our families together for eternity. We talk of prayer, personal study & revelation, obedience to His commandments, which consist of things beyond The Ten such as serve God by serving your neighbors, love them, refrain from harmful addictions, be virtuous, pay tithing, have daily family prayer and scripture study, be baptized and receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, get married in the temple by the sealing power that binds families to the eternities so that death does not part us. These are the things we teach and you see them as inherently evil? You think my goal is to trick you? That I am brainwashed and can only think by the hand of my parents?

I know without a shadow of a doubt that the foundational principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ are true and the restored truth and Priesthood power can be found no where else. We have living prophets and apostles on the earth today to be the mouthpiece of the Lord in these latter days. It matters; the whole truth matters.

And if we have the chance to receive and live it in this life, how great our reward here and how much further ahead we can go in the next. We lived before this life as spirit children of God, this is our time for experience in mortal bodies and eventually we will all be resurrected through the grace of our Savior, but we cannot be exalted in sin. What we do here matters and if we want to live in the highest glory and truly become all we can be, as a family and with the potential to grow, we must live in strict obedience to the gospel of Christ. Christ gave us all potential… so much potential rests within us all. But we cannot be exalted on His grace alone. We have to be willing to sacrifice too, not to justify a debt but to become like Him. Christ suffered so that we will all live again and so that we can have hope in a happily ever after in the highest kingdom of God, but we must be confident enough to stand before Him unshaken by our living testimony built upon a life of charity.

From a logical stand point, when family members fear about whether or not I am saved, I guess I have to ask the question what does it mean to be saved? If it is to simply accept Christ as the Savior, then yes. But do I think that will save me? And do you think that will truly save me? If we can all be saved now, then why is there judgment day? It might be good to ponder over whether or not there is only one heaven and one hell. That lesson I've already discussed on my blog. I'm just not sure I've heard anything that sounds more satisfying and logical than the Plan of Salvation and degrees of glory. I just can't think that innocent children unbaptized are damned or that good, God-fearing people who haven't had the chance to accept the gospel will suffer the same. 

Dallin H Oaks explains the "Have I Been Saved?" questions really well here

Here is a popular BYU devotional on GRACE for those who want to understand a little bit more.

"Then I ask them a question that perhaps they have not fully considered: “Have you been changed by grace?” They are so excited about being saved that maybe they are not thinking enough about what comes next. They are so happy the debt is paid that they may not have considered why the debt existed in the first place. Latter-day Saints know not only what Jesus has saved us from but also what He has saved us for. As my friend Brett Sanders puts it, “A life impacted by grace eventually begins to look like Christ’s life.” As my friend Omar Canals puts it, “While many Christians view Christ’s suffering as only a huge favor He did for us, Latter-day Saints also recognize it as a huge investment He made in us.” As Moroni puts it, grace isn’t just about being saved. It is also about becoming like the Savior"


Sunday

6 Lessons That Influence My Life



#1 My passion, spirituality, love and creativity are spurred from my emotions. When I become negative, self-defeating or worse, pawn my negativity onto you, then you should help me dial back to my happy state. But simply feeling like something isn't right, when I'm unsure or shed a tear, just listen, hold me and tell me you'll be there. Most likely I just need a moment to think. But before that moment, I need to feel it.


#2 This lesson I need to embrace. I need to give up those greener pastures and window shopping. I need to skip down the freaking sidewalk and be okay even when questions are unanswered. I don't need to feel pressured into answering questions. I have today to keep believing, loving and enduring happily.


#3 Exactly. I try to share my story here. I try to share how completely average I am and how I'm okay with whatever comes my way, sometimes shining light onto the dark times. Even when things seem like trials or complacency, I'm confident in my faith and future.


#4 We are in charge of our attitude to any situation. The world owes us nothing. We owe each other everything. If we understood this, we would all get along.


#5 We can't keep saying tomorrow I'll get it right. Tomorrow I'll start being the person I want to be. Our decisions today affect tomorrow. And in many ways, today controls tomorrow and we will never have enough time if we live that way.


#6. This one is for Mr Smith. You don't want me fine. 

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