Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Supermarket Flowers

Ed Sheeran wrote the song about his grandmother who passed away while making his newest album. July is a hard month for me. My mom died July 4th. My dad got remarried a year later towards the end of July. Well, I guess the whole month isn't hard, but those two life changing events happened in July.

Anyway, every time I listen to this song, I think of my mom. It makes me a little sad. Mostly because she's gone and all the memories I have of my mom are fading. There are tiny snippets of moments I shared with my mom that I hope will never fade. I probably should write them down in my journal...

I look at the relationships my friends have with their mothers and I wonder what my relationship would be like with my mom if cancer didn't take her. If I wonder too much or too long, it hurts a little bit because I know it'll never come to fruition. I thank God, though, that my relationship with my mom ever existed at all and will continue after this life ends.

And one of these days I'll write a not so down in the dumps post.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Dear Mom,

It has been 18 years since you left this earth for a life without pain. A life without the hazy cloud of pain killers. A life where you are healthy. A life where cancer doesn't exist. I'm not going to lie; the past week has been hard. I've had a hard time trying to keep my emotions in check while at work. I had an assignment for my English class where we had to choose a personal experience that changed my life. You are part of my story and I cried at the memories that I had neatly stored away.

I have these walls up to protect me from being hurt. There have been precious few people who have seen the walls completely down. I was ill equipped for life after you. Instead of asking for help, I built walls. Sometimes I wish I was more of a wear-your-emotions-on-your-sleeve kind of person, the kind of person who was a little less reserved. I don't wear my annoyance or are-you-kidding-me faces ever. You could always tell what I was feeling even though I was hard to read sometimes. But I am grateful that you didn't push me to be extroverted that way. You let me be me.

You were my safe place, my safe haven. I could always, always count on you. I lost trust in people for a long time because they weren't as invested as you were.

I wish I could remember the sound of your voice. I wish I could remember a lot of things about you. There are random little memories that pop up and it surprises me how much I still miss you. If I let myself sit still long enough, I can almost hear you, but it is always just out of reach.

Mom, I wish you were here. I wish so many things to be different, but I know that I am who I am because you aren't here. I've learned to have more compassion for people and believe in their humanity because you believed in me. I learned that sometimes going without a comfort item isn't the end of the world because you taught me through the example of your childhood. I learned that family is everything. They are everything.

I love you.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Where Did The Time Go??

I had made a goal back in August to journal/blog more. Then school started. I took 5 credits and my classes were online so I thought I'd have ample time to devote to things that are important to me. Like leaving behind a written history of my time here on earth. Nope. Didn't happen. School completely and almost entirely consumed my time. For three and half months, I didn't really do anything. I mean, I did go to two baseball games with my friend Janae. I may have gone to a few movies with her, too. But really, since September, nearly all my time was spent on this damn laptop doing homework. There was SO much reading. I've been to college. I've had homework. Somehow, though, this was more than I've ever experienced in my college career. I'm happy that I get a break though and I'm looking forward to next semester, but I really hope that there isn't nearly as much reading. 

Anyhow, I'm in Lincoln, Nebraska sitting in a hotel room while my family sleeps. I should really be in bed 'cause heaven knows my nieces and nephew will wake me up before I'm ready. My brother is graduating with his PhD on Friday. I can't remember what it's in, but he is officially a Doctor. Thank goodness he isn't insufferable because I don't know if I'd be able to call him Dr. Hanamaikai for the rest of my life. 

Oh, and just so you know, Wyoming is a boring drive. So. Boring. 

Monday, August 1, 2016


I've been listening to Gretchen Rubin's podcast for the better part of the year. There was a little break mostly because my commute to work was cut down from an hour to 10 minutes. I swear I got more done during my waking hours when I was solely dependent on public transit than I do now with a vehicle at my disposal. I wonder why that is. Actually, I know why it is: I'm lazy and my job leaves me utterly drained - emotionally and physically - at the end of the day that the only thing that I want to do when I get home is get my socks and shoes off and not think.


Gretchen has written a book called "The Happiness Project". She took stock of her life and came to the conclusion that while she was happy with her life, she wasn't happy in the sense that she wasn't making conscience choices to do things that brought her happiness. She was simply floating through life making choices just because they were routine or they were kind of already halfway made for her.

I can't remember if she came up with her manifesto before or after she started her Happiness Project, but I liked it so much that I'm going to share it with you. What am I talking about? It's a manifesto; of course she came up with it before her Project. To have a manifesto is to have a specific aim towards a goal; a mission. Anyhow, here's her Happiness Project Manifesto:

  • To be happy, you need to consider feeling good, feeling bad, and feeling right, in an atmosphere of growth. 
  • One of the best ways to make yourself happy, is to make other people happy; one of the best ways to make other people happy, is to be happy yourself. 
  • The days are long, but the years are short.
  • You're not happy unless you think you're happy. 
  • Your body matters
  • Happiness is other people.
  • Think about yourself so you can forget yourself. 
  • "It is to easy to be heavy; hard to be light." G.K. Chesterton
  • What's fun for other people, may not be fun for you, and vice versa. 
  • Best is good, better is best.
  • Outer order contributes to inner calm. *I can completely vouch for this. When my anxiety is high, it helps to have things clean. Something as simple as doing the dishes and smelling the soap eases the chaos.*
  • Happiness comes not from having more, not from having less, but from wanting what you have. 
  • You can choose what you do, but you can't choose what you like to do.
  • "There is no duty we so much underrate as the duty of being happy." Robert Louis Stevenson
  • You manage what you measure.
  • Loving actions inspire loving feelings. 
  • The opposite of great truth is also true. 
I'm writing about happiness because I think it's something that I struggle with all the time. I am an obliger; my thinking is “I do what I have to do. I don’t want to let others down, but I may let myself down.” Outer expectations are easy for me meet, but when it comes to making myself happy, the motivation to keep making conscience choices/decisions is hard. I think that putting this on the internet will put a permanent reminder somewhere I look often during the week. 

Anyway, I have something in the works for myself. I'm going back to school next month through BYU-Idaho. It'll be one of the online programs seeing as there is no way in hell that I'd ever move to Rexburg, Idaho. No offence to anyone who has the desire to live there. I am not cut out for 7 months of perpetually windy winters or an all uphill campus. I'm also going to work on my version of a happiness project for myself. 

Stay tuned. 

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Dear Mom

It has been 17 years since you've been gone. I think about you all the time. Especially when things are still and my mind has time to wander. I wonder what would be different if you were alive. I can't imagine anything really being the same if you were here to influence my decisions. Maybe I'd be a little more extroverted. Maybe I wouldn't crave alone time as much as I do.

I am glad, though, that I like the quiet. I like the quiet because it gives me time to think about you. It gives me time to dream, time to think if I'm capable of achieving those dreams. Those dreams are often influenced by the thoughts I have of you. How much you'd love my happy place nestled in the mountains. How much you'd be happy that I finally know what I want to do with my life. My passion to help people, to help educate them about living a healthier life comes from you. I am me because of you.

Maybe it wouldn't have taken me so long to figure things out if you were here. Maybe I wouldn't have taken so long to decide what to do with my life. Maybe I wouldn't have taken the long way 'round. There are so many different outcomes to life that would have been different if you were here. But if there is anything that I've learned in life it's that we have a choice in how things turn out.

I do know that you were the best mother for me. I firmly believe that. Even though life as I know it would be different if you were still here, I believe that you gave me what you could to either sink or swim. For the the majority of my adult life, I've felt like I've been sinking because you left me at such a crucial time in my life. A point where you would have taught me how to balance a checkbook, how to apply to schools, how to figure out what I want to do with my life, how to be an adult. I've had to figure things out on my own, for the most part, and it has been hard. It's taken me a long time to trust myself to know where to go, what to do.

In the end though, I am me because of you.

All The Things

So much has been happening in the world the past two weeks. Especially in the United States. I'm not one for politics. I have my opinions, but everyone around me has these huge, big shout in your face opinions about politics and what's going on in the US that I really don't want to participate. All I really want to say is if you're one of those people that say "F*ck the police/military! They just want to kill innocent people." To you I say, it's because of them that you have the right to say that. Because of them and the laws of this country, you have the right to vote, state your opinions without the fear of being executed. Yes, there are a few individuals that get power hungry and take things too far, but it would unfair and unjust to lump all police/military into the same horrible group that you're putting them into. I could just as well lump you into the same horrible group that needlessly make things harder for them, who throw cement blocks on their heads just because you think it'll help. As for the whole hot button of Black Lives Matter: yes. They matter. It's unfortunate that there are officers of the law that unjustly racially profile black members of our society. It's the same as putting those who contribute to their neighborhoods to make them better, who are upstanding, educated members of society, who want to make sure that our future (children!) don't fall into the same path as those who are creating harm and violence in the same group as those who are breaking laws, who are violating basic human rights of others, who don't have a conscience of what is morally right and wrong.

Okay. I'm glad that's out of my system.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

About Religion

Okay, I'm going to preface this blog with a little warning. I rarely talk about religion. I'll bring God up once in a while, but I don't really write about my faith and religion here. Today is different. Today I am writing about my God, my faith, and my religion.

You've been warned....for lack of a better word.

My dad came home from babysitting my nieces and nephew for a week and a half and needed a break. I was all too happy to oblige. I like sleeping in my bed and waking up when I want to. Anyway, a weekend at home meant that - after being in Ogden for almost three months now - I got to go to my actual ward.

There are few things that I tell people about myself. If you don't ask, I don't tell. People NEVER ask about religion. Most people don't know I'm Mormon. I'm a Mormon. Like Gladys Knight and the Osmonds. If you don't know who those people are, do you live under a rock or were you born in the last 15 years?

Anyway, I've been struggling with my faith for a while or rather having things connect like they used to. I'm pretty convinced that we all go through a drought of sorts when it comes to religious faith where things don't connect as well as they used to. What you know in your brain to be true doesn't connect in your heart and vice versa. I had a Sunday School teacher say it's the longest 12 inches.

I suppose I should give you a little background. I went to church every single week for years. The only times I didn't was when I was sick - which was hardly ever. I graduated from early morning Seminary. I kept all the commandments of the church. Tithing. Word of Wisdom. Law of Chastity. I attended numerous service projects. I did my visiting teaching. I made it easy for my Home Teachers to come to my house. I served in many callings. I wasn't perfect, by any means, but I was faithful in what was required of me. When I moved to Oregon, not going to church became easy. I didn't know anyone. I didn't have a car. My roommate at the time didn't want to take me. There was no bus service anywhere near the chapel I needed to go to. There were so many excuses that I used that made it easy to not go. Things didn't go as planned in Oregon and I moved back to Utah in 2012. Up until last summer, my church attendance has been spotty, at best. I was like a Catholic version of a Mormon - Easter and Christmas church attendance with a few special occasions that warranted church attendance was about the extent of how often I went to Church. I will always watch General Conference, though. I know. Weird.

Anyway, my church attendance has been on the upswing, but I haven't gone to the ward I'm supposed to go in almost a year. Well, until today. Everything that was taught today was exactly what I needed to hear. It was like Heavenly Father was saying, "I've been trying to give you this. I've been trying to get you to feel something for the past 4 years." I firmly believe that Heavenly Father doesn't forget you. He won't turn His back on you. The blessings of the Gospel might stop coming in, but He is ever mindful of you even if you've turned your back on Him.

In my efforts to be receptive to anything today, I read a talk from this last General Conference by Bonnie L. Oscarson titled "Do I Believe?" It was like I was reading about my life. I had learned about the blessings of the temple and that families are forever in Primary and Young Women. I was taught every Sunday that I am a child of God that He loves me. I knew it, but did I believe it? Did I believe everything that I had be taught about the temple, the eternal truths about the family, the blessings of being a full tithe payer, the blessings that come from following the Word of Wisdom and the strength that comes from following the Law of Chastity? Did I believe? As if I was being drenched with spiritual thirst quenching water, the answer was yes, I do believe! This spiritual drought has been the longest I've experienced to date. All I needed to do was seek to have my heart changed and show a willingness to exercise faith.

The hard part for me is consistency and daily effort and repentance. There are years of inactivity and one pesky, hard to overcome on my own sin that I need help with from my Bishop. Asking for help has never been easy for me. Being an intensely private person, asking for support from friends and family isn't easy, but if I learned anything today, it's that no one is ever left to deal with things on their own. There is help and healing to be had if you ask. Things don't need to be so hard.

There is a quote from Elder Jeffrey Holland that gets me in the feels every time I read it. It says, "Don't you quit. You keep walking. You keep trying. There is help and happiness ahead. Some blessings come soon, some come late, and some don't come until heaven. But for those who embrace the Gospel of Jesus Christ, they come. It will be all right in the end. Trust God and believe in good things to come."

I say something similar to a client every day: Don't quit. Keep going. Keep trying. Why is that so hard for people to believe for themselves? We all have the potential. We all have the divine nature in our souls to be like our Heavenly Father. Whether you believe in the God I do or not, we have such HUGE divine potential. Forgetting that - for myself - makes me a little sad that I've wasted years on unimportant things. Forgetting my divine potential makes me sad. But! I am so happy that I'm starting to remember what it's like to sit in the Light of my Heavenly Father. I'm starting to remember what it's like to have a relationship with my Savior. My Brother. The man who sacrificed His Life so I could live.

Do you believe? What's stopping you?