Thursday, October 31, 2013

Why I Want To Be Good And Scared On Halloween

I have a friend that runs this online scary story for children magazine, called Underneath the Juniper Tree. That friendship has brought me a deeper love and appreciation for all that is good about facing your fears real, or imagined.

The past year has given me many opportunities to do just that, and im glad for that, but Im having a little problem, because its halloween, and Ive yet to feel good and truly scared. Because I used to get scared so easily, this has kind of been a disapointment.

Now, before i go any further, let me clarify this ( yes, that is a ghost and mr. Chicken reference). I will never be a haunted house, or a gorey chainsaw movie kind of person, thats not what I am looking for. Also, those of you who recently watched movies with me know I still scream when things jump out, and hide behind my pillow in anticipation and fear of the horrible thing that I think is going to happen.

I enjoyed the movies Ive watched this year, but Im looking for something more, and heres why,..

In the past when I was scared so easily, I am quite sure it was because of how scared I was of my own life. Ive faced much of that now, and its harder to out weigh what I faced.

I think we all want to be scared to some level on halloween because we know its fiction, for one, and because we want to be able to stand back and say, well at least its less terrifying than reality.

I want to be good and scared at some point tonight, in a psychological way, just for that reason, and for the reason that i think its important to face your fears, because when you face them they become less scary.

I want to see something I know is fiction, and have it be more scary to me than my own life and nightmares so I can stand back for a moment and say, see self, reality really is quite managable, because its less scary than that.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Thanks For The Love

Sometimes, It can be hard to love yourself. Sometimes we look at ourselves, and all we see are the flaws, or even what we perceived as flaws, which aren't even flaws at all. Sometimes we don't let people love us, even though they want to, and we think we are doing them a service by denying them the privilege of knowing us better. Sometimes we hid, thinking ... if people knew the real me they wouldn't like it. Sometimes, we are just plain being stupid. Christ said "let your light shine."

 To all those who said you wouldn't let me push you away, to all those who said I was a good friend when I thought not,  to all those who have pledged that they are still and always will be my friend, to those who spoke up and shared stories to give me faith, and hope on a dark day, to all those who love me, especially when I am being difficult to love, Thank you. I know you love me, and I believe you. I will do my best to allow you the privilege of chillin' with me on caterpillar days, so we can still chill when I am a beautiful butterfly. I love you too. I have the best friends on the planet, and that is what the last six months have taught me.

 I'm still probably going to have bad days, occasionally I'll still try to push you away. I would be lying if I said other wise, and I hate lies. But because you loved me,  I believed you,  and because I believe you, I also believe God when he says he loves me too.  I think I struggled with that till this year, but some how, you made his message more clear. At times, life is like that, we all struggle to let someone near.

  Its hard to say, what a difference one person can make, when the image of  Christ, on a heart is engraved.  One persons words by the spirit prompted, sincerely and honestly spoken, can bring so much light to a life that feels broken.

 Christ heals us all, he is the only one, but sometimes, we are his hands, when someone really needs a hug. And lets face it, we all could use a hug. 

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Bitter Sweet Release''

Today I was released from two callings. Then I was called to two more. I will not lie, Being Primary Secretary was one of the most physically and mentally challenging callings I have ever had. I'd also say it was a spiritual challenge, as I spent a great deal of time running around the church on Sundays, and rarely got to hear talks, or sing songs. It was a lot to do. Considering I started out that calling both being Secretary and teaching CTR 6,  It was less exhausting at the end than it was in the beginning.

 I was released from both primary worker and Secretary today, so I am now out of the primary. Part of me- is pretty happy about this. I get to go to Relief Society, and I dont have to assign anyone to give primary talks. But another part of me is really really sad. I actually feel this calling was a really great blessing. Not having kids of my own, and not living near my neices and nephews, and having spent a good deal of my last decade in YSA wards, my experience, and confidence in working with children was near zero when I came in. 

 This calling has been a great blessing, because I have gained a lot of confidence in working with children, babysitting children, entertaining children, and appreciating children.You know whats great about kids? The can really just show you so much love when you need it. I love all the high fives I got, and sometimes hug attacks/ambushes when I was trying to get things ready for opening exercises on Sunday mornings. I loved being able to sit by someone who was acting out, and to just take a minute to listen to their simple problems- which were massive to them, and just help them feel a little better about life. its amazing, even the cute girl who thinks my name is "Sister Megan" just makes my day. She may not say my name correctly, but I know she looks up to me a little, and that makes me want to try a little harder to stand a little taller. 

  I as with all things, I think the Lord knows what he was doing. I think the timing of this release is just right, but I am grateful for the chance I had to get to know some amazing kids, and gain a little bit more confidence.  I am excited for my two new callings, as it seems the Lord always wants me to have two any more- ward bulletin person, and Single Adult Rep.  After talking to the bishop, we decided I can be called the "Bulleteer"  I think that's a much cooler name.  I finally feel Im in a place I can make a real difference with the Single Adults, because I am actually comfortable with , and participating in Single Adult activities, which are really incredibly great.  I dont know about being "bulleteer" but, Im sure theres something great I can learn from that two. It may be two callings, but maybe its a calling that will let me just breath a little, and I think I may need that now. 

 To my many many friends in primary- both  teachers and children, Im gonna miss working with you each Sunday. Its been my pleasure. I think some of the most incredible people are in the Primary, and they have become some of my greatest friends, and always will be. I think though, I may need to make a few new friends, and see if I can't help grow that single adult FHE so that so many people from Silverdale are going, that our stake can have its own Single Adult FHE. That would be cool.  any way, mixed thoughts and feelings today. I will miss the special spirit of primary for sure, but I may need a good RS lesson or two to fill my canteen a  bit.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Buying Tires, Like A Big Girl

I have always been a fairly independant person, except when it comes to dealing with any kind of sales person, or getting any kind of work done on my car in an actual automotive shop.

I dont like being pressured to buy things, or make important decissions with someone staring me down.  I never do anything having to deal with my car in a professional place without my dad, brother, or a male friend.

I have a confession to make right here and now. Im fairly knowledgable about cars, i can change my own oil, jump my own battery, and any other normal maitenance thing, but i have no confidence about it, and i get intimidated quite easily by people who know more. Considering i come from a family of car people, and car people and mormons pretty much sum up the groups of people i interacted the most with until i was about 20, and car people dropped out of that picture a litte, i should be brimming with confidence. I do know stuff.

I have always been afraid of getting ripped off in car places, because im a girl. Still have that fear, even though the person selling me tires today was a woman, and i totally did my home work before coming in to get said tires.

But, today is a big day, because courage is not the absence of fear, but the knowledge that something is more important than fear. Driving around safely, and in a timely fashion has become more important, so i am here. In a tire shop. By myself. And i chose my own tires. My dad isnt here to hold my hand and do it for me. Neither is anyone else.

It would appear, at three months from 32, I have finally grown up and become an adult. Good job me. Five gold stars, and yay!! New tires.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Hi HO!

Hi Ho, Hi ho, its off to work I go....

 So how do you feel about that Mandi?
Well, I'd like to start out by saying that last night one of my friends advised me that if I start conversing with myself, I should stop, because I dont need that in my life right now. But then we agreed as long as I dont do it in public its fine. A blog isn't public. Its quite private, so I will now interview myself about the shutdown, and the re-open.

 So, Mandi, Tomorrow you go back to work? what are your thoughts and feelings on that?

-Well Mandi, My initial thoughts and feelings on that are that I had plans for tomorrow, to mow my friends lawn in the fog shine, and play with my dog, inside. he's an inside dog. Im pretty sad that I now don't get to do that. As much as I love sitting in an office and paying my bills, the past few weeks have shown me what I really love to do is either work outside, by myself or with one other person, or translate french family history documents inside with one other person, or bake with one other person and maybe some small children around, surprise friends with goodies, or, sit on my bed cuddle with my dog and watch shows that have David Tennant or Tim Gunn in them. I also like to clean things, play guitar, learn things, sing, oh yeah, and sleep in until 8 or 9 am.  I like 8  to 9 hrs of sleep.

 Therefore, the thought of waking up at 4:30, leaving my cute fuzzy friend alone in the cold darkness, and getting on a bus or a ferry  so  i can sit in an office where im surrounded by people who may want to interact with me on a group basis, and at times in an over whelming fashion, while looking out the window at the sunshine that I dont get to feel or experience kind of scares me and makes me sad.

 But Mandi, wont you be relieved to have money in to pay  your bills?

 -yes. That is why Iwill wake up and part with my puppy. and that is the only reason I will part with my puppy, to buy us food and pay rent.

Mandi, is it true that this time alone might have made you a bit  crazy and unhinged?

- Seriously? I am interviewing myself in a blog. Also, I have lost the ability to focus on anything the last few days because  of stress, and I am pretty sure for the duration of this furlough (though it may have started before that) I CRY ABOUT EVERYTHING- happy? Cry,  Sad? cry, stressed? cry  Confused? cry.  every other emotion in between? CRY CRY CRY!! and then create something awesome.  yes, I am getttin a bit weird. Ok Yes, maybe I need to go back to work so that I can do things like- know what day it is, or remember to eat three meals, or learn how to interact with people, like big groups of people, without crying.

 So, Mandi, how would you sum up your feelings about returning to work tomorrow?

_Mixed. thats all. Mixed. And happy I saved my ten dollar starbucks gift card. Im pretty sure i will need a salted carmel hot chocolate tomorrow.


Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Freaking Out About Everything, and Trying to calm down.

This is a blog to inform you, that after two weeks without going to counseling, after two weeks of govt shut down, after two weeks of calmly and  patiently waiting and handling and enjoying life I am now reaching melt down, and I am freaking out about EVERYTHING no matter how stupid to freak out about it is, and I am now trying to calm down.

 Trying be the operative word. Actually, my freaking out, is kind of funny, because it comes with an inabilty to think or focus on anything productively. If you talk to me I may not here you. I went skating, and I think I just went in a circle most of the time, even though my coach reminded me that I can in fact skate,and should probably mix it up a bit. Im doing a lot of blank stares. If you get me to talk, its either going to be slightly negative, or I will talk a million miles an hour about EVERY little thing that is causing the littlest bit of stress or discomfort in my life

 To calm down, im going to continue to avoid my stress by watching the voice. Probably wont help, but I dont care, Im  watching. Im kind of hooked.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Jump Roping Barefoot

 Well, I'm still home. Actually in some ways, I have come to see this furlough time as a blessing. For the first time since the Furlough began, I decided to wake up and exercise. I've been Ice skating, that was awesome. Great work out, and very calming. I've done a fair amount of yard work, so I've been too exhausted to "work out". But, today is Columbus day, so I decided its a good day to work on all the things I haven't been doing because my friends are doing such a good job of keeping me busy (with the exception of weekends, which now surprisingly suck).

 Any way, as a figure skater, jump roping is something that we are encouraged to do. It builds those jumpy leg muscles that we need to use a lot. I'm horrible at jump roping. I've always hated it. Maybe its because I was a bit of a tom boy growing up, and jumping over a stupid rope and singing rhymes was just too girly for me. Or maybe its because I had no rhythm as a kid and I'd always get smacked in the foot and trip on the rope.

 Its amazing, how I have great hand eye coordination for some things, but not at all for other things. Jumping rope is / was one of those things. However, over the past year, I've gotten a lot better at jump roping. This morning I did my best ever. I jumped for a minute straight, and I only missed two times.  How is this possible you say? proper motivation.

 With cold bare feet, all it took was one time getting smacked in the toes for me to decide that no matter how tired I was getting, I would jump and be in the air when that rope came around. It worked. It worked really well. 

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Two weeks ago, I would have wanted to be home on a day like this...

I remember about two weeks ago, being in my office and looking out my window at the horrible rainny weather. I dreamed I could be at home, hot chocolate in one hand,book in another, with my dog cuddled up beside me.

 I guess I sort of got my wish. Im at home cuddled up with my dog on a rainy day. I have hot chocolate I could go make,  books I could read, but Im more worried about paying my bills at the moment, so a part of me would rather be at work.  Oh life, you are so funny.  Well, since what I planed to do is cancled, I guess I will go do what I dreamed of doing two weeks ago, and try to enjoy it. 

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Finding Rest For My Soul

  As this General Conference comes to a close, I am amazed at how every single talk had something for me. Almost every single talk seemed as if it was given just for me. And, when I think back to  only four months ago, I think many of the talks I loved the most would have made me possibly a little bit angry.

 As I've said a million times, this has been a rough year.  I feel like a wise and loving Heavenly Father has allowed me trials I didn't want, to degrees that tested my limits beyond what I thought was possible for me to withstand.  At some points I didn't think I could go on, or even live up to the standards I knew God wanted me to live up to.

 At those times, there were some tender mercies that came my way, but some of the most tender mercies were a good beating with the humble stick of chastisement,  and in some cases what I have come to refer to as God putting me on time out, and grounding me from some of my favorite people.  At times I let my anger rage, at times it all seemed so unfair, I asked so many whys. Why when I was trying so hard to do what was right did things just keep getting more and more ridiculous and hard, and unfair?

 The months that followed have brought me in a closer relationship with my Heavenly Father than I have ever known. My understanding has been deepened,  my faith strengthened, my weaknesses more apparent- which I hope has made me a little more humble.  I have learned to ask him for help, and when I do it comes, not always as I want, but always as I need.

 Some of the most painful experiences of this year, and of my life are things that I actually wouldn't trade, because I think they have saved me from things that would have been much worse. God needed to get through to me, to communicate his love for me, to help me to learn to trust the promptings of the spirit. It has been a difficult way to learn all this, and at times very painful. But because of how hot that refiners fire was the lessons I learned and the deeper testimony I have gained has been etched more deeply on my soul. The roots of my tree are more firmly planted,  and my heart has been softened, and my ears are now ready to listen, and hearken to what I needed to know.

 The worst points in this year, I felt so lost and directionless, yet they prepared me to receive and appreciate direction. I still have so much left to learn, but I feel like now I have greater faith and confidence and hope to learn it.  I loved this session of conference, because it made the past year make so much sense to me. It renewed my determination to continue on the path and changes I made a month ago at stake conference. I know when I trust God he will make of me what he wants me to be,  and it may not make any sense to me what soever,  but  he will help me to endure, and then he will heal me, and  then I have great joy.

 I loved the talks to day on marriage and family. Often those talks seem like a sources  of pain to me, they make me feel uncomfortable, misfitted, and some what alone and very frustrated, but today they gave me hope, peace, direction, and confidence in the decisions I have made for me and my life, decisions I had questioned just a few months ago.

 "ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith" the scriptures say. Well,  its been some trying months, and at points I feel I just bearly hung on, but  today I feel I received the witness that I sought.  I feel like I have been given so many places to improve upon, but I've been given the hope, strength and instruction I need to accomplish it.

 I am learning to rely on the lord. I am learning just how much he loves me. I love him, I love General Conference, I love the words of the Prophets and Apostles,  and like Paul  I am learning to "glory in tribulation."  I am glad my Heavenly Father loves me enough to let me learn hard things, even when it is painful, and  I am glad he sends his servants to deliver healing and strengthening and encouraging words in the midst of life's storms.  This conference took a lot of preparation for me to enjoy it to the level I did.  It was a long time coming, the preparation that God put me through, but Im gonna say it was worth it, because this weekend I found rest for my soul, and hope in the Atonement, and in the love of my Savior, Jesus Christ.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Anxiously Engaged In Many Good Causes: Furlough day 3

I started this day off with a scripture study about tithing, which helped me to put aside fears, and just have faith that this will work out for the best, and that God will have my back.

 In the Doctorine and Covenants it talks about how we should be anxiously engaged in good things of our own free will. Not wanting to get depressed, stressed or other wise bogged down, I decided today to go do something good. So I helped someone with some yard work, and she asked if I could also help with her geneology. I love doing geneology and I have nothing better to do, so I said yes.  As I looked at her pages to see what was before me I saw a whole lot of France and I got excited. I told her about my French speaking abilities and told her if she needed anything translated, I could do it no problem, and it would be fun.

 She then got really excited and told me she had documents, and she had a film that she needed some help with. Im so exiced, I get to help translate a film from French, and it will help someone I love!!! what a great day!!!

 Feeling pretty blessed.  Oh and last night, I started learning katy perry's The One That Got Away on guitar. Super excited for that!! and ,its conference weekend!!! pretty awesome stuff. Life is good, I have amazing friends, and God has my back.  A few things in life still are getting me down, but I feel confident God will help me out with those too, and it will all be ok in the end.  

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Facing The Furloug

Ok so I dont know if  I should call this day 1 or day 2 of my furlough.  I did work for an hour and fifteen minutes yesterday ,so today is my first full furlough day. Yesterday I was really really productive. I got so much done. Today, I dont know if its the weather, or the fact that they keep saying there is no end in sight or what, but I have a bunch of things I can do, and probably should do, but apart from getting out of bed, having an amaziing scripture study about hope, and spending 3 hrs visiting with my good friend Michelle, I'm kind of at a loss as to what to do next.

 I have a list a mile long of things I need to do, things I want to do, but which should I start with?  20 songs I want to learn on the guitar? painting? should I pick up the bag pipe chanter? try to get my childrens book published, should I  do more on my grad school applications, that just makes me upset because I need to take classes and dont have money to, and then i freak out because I dont know when I will have money, and all my family are govt workers, so what the crap am I going to do.

 See, now we are in melt down mode.  Maybe i should pick up those books my friend Emily let me borrow and figure out what season of clothing I am. I talked to Michelle earlier, and she thought fall. I like clothes colors better in the fall, but I think i was still torn a bit with summer.  Yeah, I had a break down at michelles and started crying because I didn't know what my season was for clothing. Do I dare to venture to understand that on my own? I still cant tell what my skin undertones are- are they golden or are they blue? I dont know!! who the heck knows that? I dont. I dont want to admit that I dont know that,but I guess I just did. Yup, I can't tell what the undertones of my skin are. thank you much. I feel like an idot, even more so that I spent a significant amount of time trying to figure that out and still didnt.

 Some of my friends went running. I should go running, but im freezing cold, so I dont want to. Should I turn on my heat? why? it will make my electric bill higher.  I could go work on  my car.I never changed that air cabin filter, and I need to fix my door handle.

Someone needs to weed whack their lawn, but its been raining and doesn't want to. Should I play with my dog?  well, at least i already patched my favorite pants, so I dont have to worry about that sewing project. Maybe i should make things and take them to friends and people I love. Service is great. Oh but that would take gas, so maybe I should conserve gas. I should make lunch. What should I make?  I should conserve food, how about a sandwich. Ok done.  I need butter. next time I go somewhere  i should include a trip to walmart to get butter, but when i go dont buy anything else. how can i go to walmart without buying a ton of crap i dont need?   I should at least finish learning to play linger on my guitar today. Im so close!!

  And that my friend is why I am siting in bed, kind of frozen in melt down mode, paralized by too many ideas, too much time,  and not enough money. Pick something girl!! pick something, anything, and do it. Don't play candy crush and watch movies on amazon all day. dont be paralized by fear of the unknown. just do SOMETHING useful with your time.  that is all. that is all. 

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Shutdown, but not shut off.

This morning was very emotional for me, honestly yesterday was too. I am a federal employee, and therefore am currently at home, waiting and watching, and trying to plan and live my life, with no idea of when I will be going back to work.

 This morning I went into the office to perform my necessary government shutdown duties. Most people didn't have to come in at all. It was a ghost town. A once vibrant and bustling work center was eerie and quiet.  There was tension and anxiety in the air for those of us that had to be there, or so it seemed to me. How do you plan your life when on any given work day from here on out, you could need to be back to work in four hours?  how do you plan when  this thing could be done in the morning and you could be back to work,  or it could be months.  

 How do you even figure out how to pay your bills at times like that?  What do you do with your time? do you play and enjoy it? do you get things done? do you eat doughnuts and chocolate and get fat and depressed?  Do you go protest the government in some way?

 I've never done this before. Monday I didn't think I would have to. I thought it would be like all the other times, they'd threaten and then cave. If I had money I could be taking classes I need to get into grad school so I never have to work for the government ever again.  I don't like working for the government. I like having a job. I like the people I work with, but the longer I work as a federal employee, the more years I'm at it to see what its like, the more I realize I get used constantly as a pawn in a multitude of political games.  I don't like living my life that way.

 Job security? I was told working for the government was a very secure job, in many ways it is. But how secure is it when at seeming political whims you can be furloughed or shut down with little or no warning?  I suppose one should just always be prepared, but when you don't make a ton of money, its hard to be able to do anything to prepare even when you can see crap is coming your way.

 I feel a lot of things to day, exhausted, disappointed, angry, tired.  Mainly I just feel tired. This has been the hardest year of my life. I don't think I can say that enough. I've gone through things this year that I never would have expected or volunteered for. This definitely isn't the worst or hardest thing that's come my way, its more like the straw that's going to break the camels back.  Its one more thing on an already overloaded and warn paper thin soul.  Sometimes I wish more than anything I could just give up on life, give up on all the changes I made the past year, just quit, something. Just because I'm sick of it and I want to quit. I don't care what, I just want to quit in protest of the fact that I'm sick of everything I have to deal with.

 But I am not a quitter. I can't even if I want to. Quitting just isnt' in me. It never has been. It never will be. And once a change for the better has been made, I can't unmake it and go back to how I used to operate, I just can't do it.  So  I may be shutdown right now. I may be spending time playing guitar, and writing books and blogs, and doing whatever, but I  will keep working to not shut off, to not give up on my life, to not give up on goals and dreams , and friends and family. ultimately we are all in this together.  I have no doubt that downtown Seattle is going to take a big local economy hit from all the people not at work.  But we can survive, and I can meet my dream to one day work in a job I love, where I'm not used by people for political games.      I think that's a good dream.