Everything Happens for a Reason

-11In a couple of my previous blog posts I mentioned an accident that my sister was in. I made this video recently about her. The music in the video is music that she actually composed. Her story has touched many people and proves to us that angels were watching out for her that day. On the day of the accident as we sat in the hospital waiting to hear something. I looked at the keys to her car that I held in my hand. Her key ring said, “Everything happens for a Reason.” At that moment, knowing that it would take a miracle for her to live, that message seemed to remind me that God was in control.

Here is her story.

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Off we go on an adventure!

I remember when I was a little girl, going into our storage room and just standing there looking at all the food. I would imagine that we fell on hard times and had to ration the food to make sure it was going to last. Eventually that would lead to daydreaming about Ethiopia. As every kid knows Ethiopia is where are the really poor kids are that would be happy for your oatmeal mush. I would day-dream that I would go there with nothing but a handful of corn and little by little I would work my way into owning a mansion and employing dozens of locals and completely changing the village that I lived in. That’s what I day dreamed about when I was nine years old and supposed to be doing the laundry.

Yesterday, I got some exciting news. I am going to Uganda. Not with a handful of corn and not to make my fortune but to hopefully make an impact in the lives of the women who live there. I am going to be working with a company called Musana that is dedicated to helping the women of Uganda better their lives by providing work and an opportunity to learn some new skills. The wanderer in me couldn’t be more please with this opportunity to once again embark on a journey outside of the country. The story-teller in me couldn’t be more satisfied with the plethora of stories that I will undoubtedly have to tell about the people there, their experiences, and my life there as well. I am excited for all the ways that I know I will grow and for all the friendships that I will make. This experience is going to change my life forever. There are just three things that I am worried about.

imgres-2The first as you might guess is money. As a student it is not something that I have just lying around waiting for me to decide to take a trip to Africa. The university will give me a scholarship that will help but I am still going to need to come up with about $2000.

url-2The second thing that I am concerned about, and this might seem silly to most of you, but it’s not silly to me, it’s very VERY real and very VERY scary and well…it’s SPIDERS. icky, wiggly, hairy, leggy spiders. What if they crawl on me in my sleep? What if they… well I don’t know exactly what they could do but I know that just by being there crawling in their creepy little way its scary. And what is even more scary is that they might not be so very little. I picked the least scary, most harmless looking spider I could find because even seeing one on my blog is terrifying.

My last concern is without a doubt the most difficult and the only one that really gives me pause about going. And that is my dad. When I was little I remember my dad having breakfast with us when it was over he would roll up his bib cross the ties across the top put his hat on his head and say “that’s all folks” then he would do a little jib as he walked down the hallway through the kitchen and just before he turned the corner he would lift his hat to us and say see you later alligator!

The other day after dinner he finished eating and told my mom he was ready to go back to his room. slowly he turned his legs toward the side of the chair and my mom held on to his hands and pulled him to his feet. He stood there a little shaky trying to get his balance before he slowly shuffled from the room hanging on to her arm. As I watched him go I thought of my old “papadoplous” and his funny little jigs, and his playful attitude. I thought about him going off to work everyday to provide for us and I wondered if I can really go for three months not knowing if he will still be here when I get back. Saying goodbye is going to be difficult no matter what the circumstances but I don’t want to say goodbye when I leave for Africa and have him die while I am gone. I want to be here with him during his last days.

To be honest I don’t want him to go at all. A girl just shouldn’t have to lose her dad at my age. I’m not ready for that and I don’t think I will ever be ready for that. But…I also don’t think he would want me to continue to live my life in fear of him going. I don’t think he would want me to turn down opportunities. So I am going. I will pray that he will be ok. That I will come back and get to tell him all about my adventures there. He will probably even think that he went with me!149692_449132820657_467824_n

In search of the worst date ever…

I thought this kid was so cute. And his face looks like how I felt hearing this story.

I thought this kid was so cute. And his face looks like how I felt hearing this story.

As many of you know, after my last bad date, I decided that I think I am done going on bad dates. At this point I think I am going to be more choosy about who I am going to allow to set me up and who I agree to go out with. My old philosophy was, what do I have to lose, the worst that could happen is that I could have a really great bad date story. I might as well go. My new philosophy is Don’t go unless you want to. I no longer feel like I need to put myself through that for the sake of feeling like I am doing my part.

The only down side to this change of heart is that (hopefully) I will have no more bad date stories to share. So since it seems that so many of you actually really like reading about bad dates I decided that I will just change my focus. My new mission is to find the WORST date story. And wow have I heard some doozies. My favorite to date is one that my friend told me, I believe it actually happened to her uncle, (We’ll call him Joe)

This date took place on the Heber Creeper, a local historic railroad. The 95-year-old train takes passengers on a scenic little ride around the beautiful Heber Valley. Not a bad date idea actually; and the date wasn’t going too bad. Until the train made a quick stop. Suddenly Joe was “struck.” Anyone who has ever been struck needs no explanation of what I mean here; but for those of you who don’t know, let me just say that being “struck” is what happens when the contents of your colon all decide at exactly the same second that they are going to make a mass exodus from your body. At that point regardless of your potentially amazing powers of sphincter control, nothing is going to stop the avalanche of outhouse input from exciting…quickly.

So, our friend Joe got struck. He got struck bad. And as he was waiting not so patiently in line to get off the train and only hopping that he would make it safely to the mens room he lost the  battle to keep his insides…well inside.

As it ran down his leg, Joe ran down the steps and left his date behind. Frantically he ran to a gift shop looking for something, anything to change into. He found a package of sweats and bought them. Just at that moment he heard the train whistle blow, signaling its imminent departure. Rushing as fast as the rather awkward situation in his pants would let him, he reboarded the train and went straight to the bathroom to clean up and change into the sweats. Maybe his date wouldn’t notice or at least wouldn’t ask.

poop_pants22He took off his pants and underwear. Standing in nothing but his shirt he looked around the small room, wondering what in the world to do with the mess. Finally, he had an idea. It seemed the only option so he opened the window and threw his pants, underwear, and all of their contents out the window. He opened the package and found to his dismay that the sweat pants he had purchased were not sweat pants at all. It was a sweat shirt.

Joe hid out in the bathroom until the train came to a stop and everyone left. Then he quickly put his legs into the arms of the sweatshirt, covered himself as best he could and made a mad dash for his car. No one ever knew what happened to the poor girl who was the unfortunate other half of this date, but I bet she has a story of her own she has been telling over the years.

All I can say is better her than me 🙂

Feel free to share your bad date stories here. I love to hear them.

Passion for Life

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I never thought that I would be that person questioning what the purpose and meaning of life is. I’ve always been a very religious person. I’ve always believed in God and known that I was his daughter. It seemed pretty straight forward that the purpose of life is to become like God.I knew that, that would involve difficult experiences and trials and figured that the challenge was to get through those in a way that would make me become a better person.

Recently I’ve been rethinking some of that. Not that I question any of those things that I believed, rather I question if I really believed them. Let me explain. I was talking with someone the other day and trying to explain why I seem to be having such a hard time with sadness in my life right now. I explained that I had lived my whole life looking forward to being a wife and a mom and I imagined myself spending my time at home taking care of little kids. Instead I find myself at the ripe old age of thirty-one, single, still in school, and facing a lot of uncertainty about my future.

This person asked me if I would be surprised to find that those feelings are much the same ones that people on the other end of the parenting time of life often feel when their children leave home and they find themselves empty nesters. They too struggle to find meaning for their existence.

And that’s when I had my ah ha moment. I have always felt like life leading up to marriage was all about preparing for it, and I never thought much about that time after children were gone. I started thinking that maybe I was wrong, maybe I had put too much emphasis on being a wife and a mom. Not, to down play that role or its importance but it made me wonder if I truly believed that it was my purpose in life.

So I thought, if not being married and not having children left me feeling as though life has no purpose and no meaning than doesn’t it follow that I believe the purpose and meaning of life is marriage and children? Somewhere along the line I had given those things far more importance than I should have. There is a good twenty or in some cases thirty years or more before those things even become an option. Then, after the children leave there is another 30, 40 or even 50 years left to live. Surely, there is more meaning to life than being a mom.

So I decided that I need to change my thinking a bit. I need to refocus my attention on the true purpose and meaning of life. To just say that it is to become like Heavenly Father seems a little out there for my finite mind to grasp so I need something a little closer to home. Being a Mormon, one of the first things that came to mind in my quest for answers to this question is a quote from the church’s founder Joseph Smith, who said that “Happiness is the object and design of our existence.” That seemed a conflicting idea to one I have always believed; which is that life is about facing our trials, and dealing with them so that they will make us better people. That didn’t seem like happiness, that seemed more like surviving the misery until you get to die.

When the answer finally came to me I was shocked at its simplicity. I was also shocked at how well it fit with everything that I already believed.

I think that the purpose of life is learning.

Right now I am learning a number of things. I am learning things that I will need for my career, I am learning to work hard and to provide for myself, I am learning to be alone and be ok, I am learning how to leave my comfort zone and interact with others, I am learning about relationships. My purpose right now in life, is learning those things, and the “object” of learning them is to be happy. As life goes on, the things that I am learning will change but the purpose and the object never will and ultimately what comes from learning all of those things is that I become more like Heavenly Father. images-5

So, it’s not that I need to just survive this trial so that somehow the simple act of surviving will make me a better person, and it’s not that this time is just a preparation time for what is to come. This time is NOW. This time is what it’s all about. This time, this singlehood, this loneliness, this everything that I face right now is MY time to learn something. To learn something and to find happiness in the learning. To find purpose and meaning in the experience of today. Elizabeth Elliot, a woman who I look up to and admire, wrote in her book Passion and Purity “Let not your longing slay your passion for living.”

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I will begin today to make learning my new passion for living.

Signs of a Crazy Psycho Date

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I went on a couple of dates this weekend. I always thought I had nothing to lose by going on a date because even if its a bad date, at least it will make for a good story…

After this weekend, I think I will be a bit more particular. So after doing an analysis of all that made this date, less than fun this is what I learned.

My first mistake: Agreeing to go on a date when my gut feeling was that I would rather stay home with my senior citizen parents and watch old reruns of bonanza than go on a date with him.

His first mistake: Asking me on a date and then informing me that he doesn’t have a car and asking me to come pick him up.

My mistake: IN an effort to keep conversation going, talking about places in the world that I would like to travel.

His mistake: Telling me where he would take me if we went on a honeymoon.

My mistake: Agreeing to go on a date just because I didn’t want to say no to a Jazz game.

His mistake: Asking me every five minutes throughout the entire game if I was ok, if I was cold, if I was hungry, or if I was tired, and then commenting on how he wanted to take care of me. It was awkward, and a little overwhelming.

My mistake: Thinking that maybe if I suggested we get some ice cream he might stop asking me if I was ok. I thought he might just really want to do something for me.

HIs mistake: Letting his ice cream melt all over his hands and drip all over his pants and the floor.

My mistake: Slipping on the ice while we were walking back to the car.

His Mistake: Asking me if he could hold my hand. In my opinion you don’t ask. If you KNOW that she wants you to, just do it. If you don’t just leave it alone. But don’t ask.

My mistake: Getting on facebook after I got home.

His Mistake: Posting what an epic time he had with me and including my name in his status. And then messaging me trying to tie me down for a second date.

My mistake: Trying to let him down easy by telling him that I had a good time but I just didn’t see it going anywhere so I didn’t think we should go out again.

His mistake: Going postal on me and telling me that it was not very christ-like of me to judge him without giving him a chance, that his first mistake was taking me out in the first place, and that he regretted spending a single dollar on me.

At this point I ignored him and he continued to message me telling me that he wondered what his neighbors would think of the way I treated him, and saying that for a Mormon girl I sure play a good game.

At that point I unfriended him and blocked him on facebook. At which point he proceeded to send me text messages with scripture references telling me that you can’t judge the righteous and that you have to hold out and let the lord show you, and telling me that he knows what he did that freaked me out.

I woke up feeling as though I needed therapy. But I did learn that somethings are not even worth dealing with for the sake of a good story.

Fortunately for me, my date the following night was filled with genuine laughter, a good time, and watching a performance by one of my favorite musicians. I left feeling as though my faith in the dating world was somewhat renewed.