Sunday, August 3, 2014

Never Alone

Good morning, everyone! It's possible many people don't even check here anymore because my posts have been so infrequent in the last couple years. But while I'm on break, I want to try hard to share a few things.

The last year has brought many changes, some good, some bad but changes nonetheless. In the midst of these changes I find myself sometimes feeling lost and alone. I've struggled to figure out where it is I fit, and I don't always know. Of course I always have a place with my family, but I also believe it's important to fit in places outside my family too.

One of my battles I struggle with on a regular basis is feeling alone, like I'll always be alone and worried nobody else understands me or where I'm coming from. I know that's not true and once the moment passes, I can see that clearly. It's mostly in the moment I have a hard time seeing past it.

Yesterday I was, once again, caught in a place where I felt completely alone. I needed something to help me know that I wasn't. So, I prayed with all of my heart for my Father in Heaven to help me know I wasn't alone. The answer came in a way I didn't expect, not as a phone call or text but in the words of a talk given in LDS General Conference in April 2009. The talk is called "None Were With Him" and was given by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland.

When words kept coming to my mind, I realized that was the answer to my prayer, so I looked it up and watched the talk . And it gave peace to my troubled heart. I realized that even in dark moments in my life, I am never alone because of my Savior, Jesus Christ and his ultimate sacrifice. He truly experienced what it was like to be completely alone, especially when his Father withdrew during the Crucifixion, so He would know what how we'd feel and how to succor us in those situations. And that's exactly what I needed to hear yesterday.

I've included a link to the talk, so you can listen to it as well, if interested. Here it is:

Happy Sunday, everyone! I wish you blessings and joy on a beautiful Sabbath morning. I also wish the comfort of a loving Father in Heaven and Savior Jesus Christ no matter what struggles you may be facing. May you always know you are never alone.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Letter to An Angel -- Part 2

Dearest Ashley,
As I sit here on the eve of the day when you would've been turning 17, my heart and my thoughts are turned to you once again. I can't help but wonder what you would be like right now if you had been permitted to stay. Would you be boy crazy with a line of suitors just waiting to take you out? (Knowing your mom's dating history and your dad's charm, I believe it's entirely possible that you would.) Or, would you be more the quiet type who likes reading and having fun with friends instead of going out all the time? I won't ever know, so it's left up to my imagination.

I have something so exciting to share with you, beautiful angel. This week I finished my first year of grad school! What an incredible journey it has been, truly one of the hardest and yet most rewarding things I've ever done. I've learned so much, been challenged in new and exciting ways and have made some wonderful new friends who also happen to be my classmates. I'm not sure exactly where this journey will take me, but I do know that it's absolutely the right decision.

I'd love for this weekend to be a celebration of both your birthday and of the completion of my first year of grad school. Since you're not able to be here, though, I guess I get to celebrate on my own and trust that you're looking down on me and are proud of your aunt for her accomplishments. You should be proud of your uncle too--he and I started grad school at the same time, and he is now finished. He and his wife moved to Texas for his new job a month ago. I miss them, but I'm so proud too.

Sweet angel, your family went on a great trip to Yellowstone this week, through somewhat miraculous circumstances. I hope you were able to be with them in spirit, to enjoy a special family place. I'm certain they were thinking of you too and wishing you could've been with them. The ache of losing one you love never truly goes away.

It's been a tough year for the family, beautiful girl, and I know of at least one time for sure you were near. Did you get to come and help take Aunt Judy home when she passed away? Or Grandpa EJ? I hope our loving Father in Heaven continues to allow you to administer comfort at the times it's needed most, especially for Grandma in her new living situation, Grandma and Grandpa who bear a lot of burden in caring for her and our cousins and uncle who mourn their mom's passing. You are, after all, our angel in heaven.

I miss you so much, beautiful Ashley. I miss your sassy smile, your teasing personality and most of all I miss your hugs of unconditional love. I'm still so glad you're at rest, but sometimes that doesn't take away the ache of losing you, especially on days like your birthday where we would be celebrating you.

A very happy 17th birthday to you, beautiful angel! I will be doing all I can to honor your memory this weekend.


Aunt Tammy

P.S. Here's me with all of your cousins recently. They say hello and that they love and miss you too.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

In which I make yet another big change . . .

I've been through a lot of changes in the last few months. Many of them were fun and exciting changes: getting into grad school, moving, increased dating opportunities and experiences, etc. Today I experienced one that wasn't so fun. It was my last day in my YSA (young single adult) ward.

I've been in singles wards for coming on 13 years now, and for the most part it's been a great experience. I've met wonderful friends, had many opportunities to serve and feel like I've established my testimony of the gospel in the experiences I've had. I love the excitement, enthusiasm and energy I always feel in my singles wards, and it's always different when I visit a family ward now, but not bad different, just different.

Within two weeks I will be having a "special" birthday, which means I have to find a new ward home. You wouldn't think so, but it's been a big pill for me to swallow. It left me feeling adrift, like I don't fit anywhere anymore. I'm not technically a YSA anymore, but am I going to fit better in a family ward or the mid-singles ward? It represents to me a decision I hoped to never hoped to make. What is the best opportunity for me to learn, serve and grow? This is a family-cenetered church I belong to, so what would it mean for me to go to a family ward as a single? Even though I don't like that I have to make this decision, I'm grateful that I get to choose rather than being told where I'm supposed to go.

I consider myself to be a proactive rather than reactive, so I've been trying to do my due diligence to figure out which decision is best. I visited both in the last month to decide which is the better fit. I was hopeful that maybe the mid-singles ward would work, but alas, it just wasn't the right fit for me. So, starting in just two weeks (because I'll be out of town next week), I'm going to be attending a family ward for the first time since I was 18. It's a big change, but I am hopeful for the best, and I feel good about my decision.

So even though leaving YSA land behind (without having accomplished the purpose of a singles ward, or finding an eternal companion), change is a good thing, right? I am excited to see what new experiences I will have and the people I will meet. And the other will still come, when the time is right of course.