Saturday, July 23, 2011

needing each other

I'm not sure how coherant this post is going to be, considering I slept from 4am to 8:30am. Really, it's the embarrassing lack of sleep in my life that induced me to write this post, so just consider yourself warned, I suppose.

As I told Chris the other day, I regularly value people over sleep. If there is strength to be acquired - or offered - through the company and conversation of another person, I want it. Even if it's one or two (or four!) in the morning. Looking after other people is just what I do. Because when I reach a point where I actually ask someone else to take care of me, it's usually because I'm dyin'.

But mostly, it's because the Holy Spirit prompts me to reach for another person, for my sake or theirs. Or both.

We are all imperfect, broken, shortsighted, and...lost. But we are also improving, healing, seeking, and inspiring, and more often than not, it takes another person to bring that out of us. There's no fear or shame in that. I can't expect someone else to succeed completely on their own, because I sure don't do that! That's why families are the central unit of society, of the gospel: they work. They are not just useful; they are necessary for our perfection.

Isn't it amazing how smart God is?

Thursday, July 21, 2011

the spoons

A long time ago, Cindy taught me the metaphor of the spoons. It's a pretty neat concept, and pretty handy for Cindy to explain her energy level to people. I use it as a tool in considering my emotional energy. So, I'll explain it to you, too...

Let's say that on a typical morning, you wake up with 10 spoons. The fact that you got up late, and then the traffic that made you even later, takes away 2 spoons. You realize you have waaaay more to do today than you thought and spend your whole morning feeling a little frantic-- that takes away 3. Fortunately, you have a fantastic lunch, and that gives you back 1. The rest of your workday is much better, so it only takes one spoon. So, you go home with 5 spoons to spend on your family for the evening.

Lately, I have woken up with fewer and fewer spoons, largely because I have allowed myself so little sleep. Today I think I woke up with about 4 spoons, compared to my usual 10. This makes me funny and uninhibited, but (as I discovered while on the phone with an uninformed-yet-stubborn customer) leaves me with a short temper and a shorter attention span. By the end of the phone conversation I was ready to throttle the poor lady, and had to work pretty hard not to use my snappy "I refuse to speak to idiots" tone of voice.

I'm not that person, I swear! I am a sweet, composed, funny, generous person...who has been making poor choices with her sleep. Poor choices with my nutrition quickly follow, as do poor choices with my words. Then with my attitude. It's bad news, yo.

Yesterday I went over to Chris's to de-stress a bit, and it was wonderful. At the same time, I recognize today that it doesn't fix the problem; I still need sleep. Furthermore, as one half of a committed relationship, I have a responsibility to take good care of myself so that I have enough spoons to take care of Chris, too, if he needs it.

Or, better yet, if we both have plenty of spoons, we can be joyful and tranquil together. I like the sound of that.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

new ingredient; renewed hope

I've found a new ingredient in my recipe for happy. His name is Chris. And he's my boyfriend.

I realize that in this post, I risk sounding overly sappy - and like I'm getting ahead of myself. But hopefully I can invite you, readers, to come a little closer to Heavenly Father as a result of experiences that have brought me closer to Him as well.

I met Chris after a knock-down, drag-out couple of months. One by one, every piece of my life had came undone. In the midst of these experiences, the Lord would often remind me that all I really needed to do was stay connected with Him and take care of myself -- in that order. Throughout 2011 I had concentrated on doing what makes me genuinely happy, regardless of who I left behind in the process. I told myself every day I need to to trust myself as much as Heavenly Father does. I worked hard to be at peace with a quiet life, sans academia or fulfilling employment or dramatic dating experiences.

Enter Chris. He's pretty much everything I've ever wanted, in addition to a few things I didn't know I need. He's smarter than I am, which reminds me to stay humble. And yet he's got a speech impediment, which prevents his awesomeness from intimidating me entirely. He's so funny - simultaneously goofy and snarky, much like yours truly. He also has this secret emotionally intuitive side that loves poetry and art. And me.

That, perhaps, is the strangest thing of all. I told him today that I'm just not used to being on a pedestal. He gave me a classically Chris "you gotta be kidding me" look and said, "Just because some guy isn't trying to climb it doesn't mean you aren't on one, Sara."

I've always known that, in one way or another. Some days it's been harder to believe than others. Some days people have tried to pull me down. But in the end the fact still stands: I am a chainbreaker. And as such, I am a future mother in Zion, and a teacher, and a disciple. As such, I am pretty great. It's just strange that now, I'm not the only one who gets how great I amStrange and wonderful. I am so, so blessed.

So, readers. Don't give up. There will be days when it is just. so. hard. Days when your purpose seems impossibly distant, or worse, days when you question whether you have a purpose is at all. But don't lose hope. I testify that Heavenly Father knows us individually - not just who we are now, but what we need now in order to become the people He wants us to be.

Even if that means going through really hard things, to prepare us for our birthrights of joy.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Speak project, pt. 1

"Acquainted with Grief"

"Acquainted with Grief" detail sketch

"Looking Up"

"Voices from Beneath"

Friday, July 1, 2011

living in the hard moments

This year has proved to be singularly hard in -- well, not in unexpected ways. I guess I've always known that these issues have been ticking time bombs. Now they've finally exploded, and here I am, cleaning up the mess. It's one of those stories I would hear and say "Oh my word, she is just so amazing. I don't know how she does it."

Except that it's me. This is not a book, not someone else's life. It's my life, and somehow, I have to figure out the nitty-gritty, day-to-day details of it, and somehow remain cheerful and energetic enough to see outside of myself, too. So lately, I soak in Sundays like plants do sunshine. I wrestle with my heart until I can seek nourishment from the scriptures, rather than the band-aid answers I crave. I pray, often in spirals until I finally manage to say what I really mean.

And I look my anxiety in the eye and tell it to shut up. 

The right thing is still the right thing no matter how I feel about it. Sometimes the right thing seems really selfish. Or ridiculous-- illogical-- fatalistic. But it gnaws and scrapes and pulls at me. The right thing refuses to be ignored. I can convince myself it's not the right thing, but really that just means I'm putting it off. I think that's how the Spirit works when you live righteously. It won't leave you alone until you give in.