Sunday, November 22, 2015

A spark of freedom

Got into a very heated... "conversation" (I won't call it a full blown argument, because I never cared that we were in the conversation, but the other party may have felt it was a full throw down) with someone tonight. I had never met this person before. And for the record, he started it.
He made it very, very clear that he has strong political feelings about all refugees being evil. And how we shouldn't allow them into our country when (and I quote) "my buddy has to wait 4 months to get glasses at the VA hospital."
He was quite adamant that "all those liberals who say let them in, let them in" are fine with the government paying for it, but would "never let them into their homes."
(I silently laughed on the inside that I was being called a liberal. That was a first, for sure.)
I told him that I would be more than happy to allow refugees into my home. I told him how much I have donated and given to refugee aid programs.
His response was colorful. He provided a few interesting ways that he is superior to others because of the good deeds he has done. And then basically challenged me to prove that I both "walk the walk and talk the talk."
It comes down to this- in the heat of the "conversation" I've never been more grateful for the opportunities that have come my way to serve others. I am grateful that I can proudly stand up and say that I don't just vent and complain or protest. But that I have gone out there and served and worked to solve problems.
The other person wasn't happy. He certainly didn't expect my response. He didn't back down. But it sure felt good to know that I have nothing to be ashamed of. I've done my part. And always will.

Alma 60:27-28
 27 And I will come unto you, and if there be any among you that has a desire for freedom, yea, if there be even a spark of freedom remaining, behold I will stir up insurrections among you, even until those who have desires to usurp power and authority shall become extinct.
 28 Yea, behold I do not fear your power nor your authority, but it is my God whom I fear; and it is according to his commandments that I do take my sword to defend the cause of my country, and it is because of your iniquity that we have suffered so much loss.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Old Dog, New Tricks

I started a new nearly full-time job about 5 weeks ago. It has been a very crazy five weeks. On the same day I got the job offer and a book contract. Both of which required a lot of time and focus for me. I hit the ground running with my new job, and within five days of being hired put on my first big event for them. You know how when you start a new job there is a little bit of lag time and slow periods while you ramp up and learn your new position? There has been none of that with this job. Instead, every day I get asked if I'm overwhelmed (yet), and how I'm coping. I admit, I much prefer jumping in head first like this, rather than weeks of boredom. 
I get home from work, walk the dog, and immediately jump into some big huge project. Whether it's writing my own book ("When Books Fly" - which is now finished), editing a client's book, or keeping up with the never-ending duties of being the young women's president. Every single day of the last five weeks has been an exhausting marathon. 
(And I love it.) 
I passed a kidney stone (for the zillionth time) last week. My new local doctor gave me Percoset. I truly hate taking Percoset. I'd much rather take Lortab. Percoset makes me hallucinate, nauseates me, and more. I really hate the stuff. But I have to admit, taking it meant being forced to slow down and take things easy for two days. (While I mostly stared at the wall and had bizarre hallucinations about chicken and duck eggs. Don't ask. The hallucinations never make sense, but I always remember them later. Wish I didn't. This time I was afraid my car was going to get filled up with eggs. Which is slightly better than the time I hallucinated that the doctors from MASH were trying to operate on me and take my kidneys from me. It wasn't pleasant.) But I digress. 
Being back in an office, juggling clients, and managing teenage girls and their mothers, has been an all-new experience for me. I'm learning to work with personalities, keep my cool, and not give sarcastic answers in a way I've never had to control myself before. It's good for me, I think. I'm really having to focus and make an effort to be kind, polite, and yet a strong leader, without resorting to being sarcastic and flippant. Which is all to say, apparently you can teach an old dog new tricks. 

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

When Books Fly!

We have a winner! My next book will be out May 10, 2016!

I am more than a little happy to say that my final manuscript is finished and handed off to my editor. It's all Chelsea's problem now. I'll get to see the edited copy in a few months for a final review. But otherwise, this book is out of my hands. I look forward to seeing it next spring! 

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Help Me Name My New Book

HELP! I need a new book title for my new non-fiction book.
Here are the titles currently under consideration-
These are all Title then Subtitle. For instance, When Books Fly: Sell More Books With Social Media Marketing
When Books Fly (title):
A Guide to Social Media Marketing for Authors
Sell More Books Using Social Media Marketing (My favorite)
Social Media Marketing for Authors
How to Sell More Books Through Social Media Marketing
Sell Your Story (title):
(same subtitles)
Got anymore suggestions or ideas for me?
The publisher is looking for something catchy and witty. I've never been very good at titling books. This is definitely not my strong suit. I can write a book, but I can't write a title to save my life. 

Thursday, October 08, 2015

When the going gets tough

Things have been tough lately.
I feel like I've started off way too many blog posts with those words. Unfortunately, that doesn't make it any less true.
I don't just feel like things have been tough, they have been tough. And as usual, I'm not truly at liberty to share much about it except my own feelings.
I haven't had much control over many of the circumstances in my own life. That alone is hard for me. I'm a very independent, strong-willed woman. Unfortunately, I can't say that I've been self-reliant lately. I want to be self-reliant, but I've had no choice but to let a lot of other people be a part of my life, and control major details.
There have been people in my life that are just plain difficult to deal with, be around, and accept. As much as I wish I could cut them out of my life, that hasn't been an option.
And then there is my job situation. Let me make something clear, it is NOT easy being a writer. The pay is inconsistent and not dependable at all. I am very grateful that I've had some part-time work for the last several weeks. And now that work has changed into full-time permanent work. I am very excited to have a job again, and get back on my way to self-reliance (at least in this one respect).
I am also very grateful and happy that I just got a new book contract! A non-fiction book that I submitted a few months ago to my publisher has been accepted. So it's time to start the publishing process all over again. (I'm going to be really busy between the new job and the book!)
I wish I were at liberty to dump all my problems out there in detail to share. But I'm not. I know it would make things worse and not better. But writing is how I express myself, and that makes it hard for me to not share.
The issues of late have had me on edge, constantly on the defensive, and exhausted. So many things that I normally love have become a huge burden. I've had to really rely on my faith to get through much of this ordeal. My prayers are constant pleas for patience, kindness, forgiveness, and love. Not to mention, the strength to endure this constant trial.
And yet, through all of this, I have never before felt such a closeness with my Heavenly Father. I have a firm belief and understanding that I was meant to be here to endure these trials. That is not all a big mistake. I have been prepared and strengthened for all that is happening, and I need to hold to that knowledge so that I can be strong enough to endure.
I know that many of these trials are not mine to bear. I have learned to let others help me, and trust them to do their parts. It's not easy, and it really isn't pretty. But I've learned to accept that this is how things must be for the time being.
I don't know that I have yet reached the point where my broken spirit can say I am grateful for these struggles. And it might be a really long time before I ever can say that. But for now I can say that I am grateful for a faith strong enough to accept this new reality.
And I can pray for the strength and faith to endure what I cannot yet handle. 

Sunday, October 04, 2015

Elder Oaks, I Am Not Afflicted. I Am An Asset.

Dear Elder Oaks:

You broke my heart tonight. You compared my beautiful life to disease, disability, and depression. You called my marital status an affliction. I have never been so hurt before. Your words hurt me in ways I didn't know possible. As difficult and lonely as my path may be, it is not an affliction.
I know that you meant well and that your words were meant to be ones of comfort. You spoke of the Atonement and how Christ knows my pain. You explained that the Savior often walked alone and knew and understood what it means to be lonely. I agree and I believe. I am grateful for the intent of your words. It is why I am not offended or angry.
Just truly broken-hearted.
Imagine a mother finding out that her child is considered disabled. Or a person finding out they have a disease. How crushing it must be in those moments. That's exactly how I felt when you called my life an "affliction."
I know there are many who took comfort in your words. There are plenty of singles who were grateful to be acknowledged for their pain. And I am very happy for them. It did mean a lot to hear a General Authority acknowledge the challenges of being single with more than just routine commentary about dating. I am grateful that you respected and spoke of the pain we often feel. But again, I am not afflicted with singlehood. And it hurts me to be labeled as such.
The diseased and disabled and those with afflictions require extra service and attention. They are not able to give as much service and sacrifice to the Church [without considerable assistance from others]. Singles should not be put into the same category or consideration as these special demographics.
I am the Young Women's President in my ward. I have been in several YW presidencies. I am a temple worker. I have been a Primary worker, a Relief Society teacher, a ward missionary, and conference co-chair.  I give more of my time to the Church than your average person. And I always have.
My marital status is not an affliction. It is an assistance and blessing to others. It has never held me back. It frees me to serve and help others in ways that a married parent cannot do. I am an asset to others.
I am, however, afflicted with people who do not understand or relate to my situation. I've always found that odd. Weren't we all born single? How is it so hard for married people to remember what it was like to be single? I am afflicted with people who give bad advice. I am afflicted by people who think that being single is a choice, or that dating should be the same at 40 as it was at 20.Where is the advice for dating over 30? Surely when you were dating your second wife you must have noticed that it wasn't the same as dating when you were in college. Why has no one ever offered anything other than comfort to us? Why has no one ever acknowledged that singles are an asset to the Church? And that our lives are just as full of joy as they are of pain? Why is it so taboo to acknowledge that singles can have happy and fulfilling lives? If you don't want us to feel afflicted, acknowledge our contributions and potential.
I am afflicted with a great deal of pain every time I am treated like a second rate citizen at church. For instance, the time I had to sit through a YW lesson about female role models, that by definition excluded me as a role model because I am single. (Ironic that I am the YW president, but not considered a role model.)
I admit and recognize that loneliness can feel like an affliction. I do not belittle that fact.
Being single can be hard. But it is not a disease. It is not a disability. It's not an affliction. It's simply a state of being. Your words came on a day where I was feeling more pain and loneliness than usual. I found no comfort in your words. Instead, this new label made me feel worse, like I had no purpose or meaning. I had no idea people thought such an awful thing about me. And it hurt more coming from you, than anyone else. After all, you are the one Church leader who experienced singlehood and dating later in life. I always thought you understood us better.
Please reconsider calling singles "afflicted." Acknowledge us for all that we give the Church. Acknowledge that we are assets. And that we do it alone. We do just as much, if not more, than our married counterparts, and we do it without a support system.
I am grateful for your words of comfort. "Sometimes His power heals an infirmity, but the scriptures and our experiences teach that sometimes He succors or helps by giving us the strength or patience to endure our infirmities." These are words of comfort for many things. But please, do not call my marital status an infirmity. I am so much more than that. I am an asset. And I am a daughter of God.

Thursday, October 01, 2015

Gift of God's Grace

"With the gift of God's grace, the path of discipleship does not lead backward; it leads upward." - President Dieter Uchtdorf

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Come Unto Christ

"If you feel small and weak, please simply come unto Christ who makes weak things strong." - President Dieter F. Uchtdorf

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Good Works and Salvation

"Thinking that we can trade our good works for salvation is like buying a plane ticket and then supposing we own the airline." - President Dieter F. Uchtdorf


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