Tuesday, February 17, 2015

What it means to be 27 and single...

This is a topic I've been thinking a lot about lately.  Not only have I been thinking about it but I've had three separate conversations about the topic. Naturally, being my true self, as I should probably be doing homework or sleeping right, I've decided now is the best time to get it all out there.

Over the past two months I've become more and more focused on the whys and what ifs of my dating life.  Why don't I go on dates? Why can't I find people to meet? What if I had done things differently at certain points in my life? Mostly the questioning boils down to, why am I not married? What is it about me that excludes me from the ultimate club?

Most of the time I'm pretty content at my station in life.  I have a college degree, a good job, I recently started an MBA program, and I have a great group of friends. Sometimes though, I begin to feel a creeping sense of inadequacy or maybe it's more guilt that I'm not married. Inevitably following in this line of thinking is a downward spiral of negative and extremely unproductive thinking.

I'm 27 and single.  A lot of my friends are married and have a child (or children in some cases). Why oh why is singleness the path for me?  I did everything stereotypically right in life. I went to church, got my Personal Progress, graduated from Seminary, got into and graduated from BYU, and am currently working on advancing my degree while continuing to be active in my ward to magnify my calling. This gives me some kind of pass to marriage right?? I mean that's what all of these things are for right?? The lessons they taught me in Young Women's and Seminary were only to prepare me to raise kids and upkeep a house right?? The single's ward is just a place for me to find an eternal companion right?

Oh I've been so very wrong.  The programs of the church aren't instituted to help us be the most eligible singles around (although being perfectly honest they actually accomplish this goal).  The lessons I learned in Young Women's were about making me more independent.  Learning how to cook and clean and (sort of) sew wasn't all about making me the best wife I could be.  It was teaching me how to live on my own so I could survive the stress and chaos of college life without having to worry about learning those on top of the other myriads of other life lessons that college life brings. Seminary was to teach me to love the scriptures and the lessons therein.  It was a way to get into the habit of studying the scriptures so that the scriptures could be a constant source of strength in my life.  I do understand that single's wards were created to provide the optimal environment for people to be married.  Trust me, that fact has not somehow passed my understanding.  Do you know what else I've learned in a single's ward? I've learned about love, compassion (two things I so desperately needed to learn), and leadership.  I continue to learn more about myself with each and every calling that I have. 

In the end, all of these things have combined, along with all of the people who put up with me along with way, to make me the me I have become.  In the end, being single and 27 isn't a sign that I'm damaged or lost or that I missed the boat.  It doesn't mean I'm worth less or that the sacrifices I've made have been in vain. It means that I have to trust in the Lord's timing.  I think this trust happens in everyone's lives at one point or another.  It may be that you are waiting for a child, you're waiting for a new job, you're waiting to get into school, or maybe you're waiting for something new and exciting in my life. There is always and always will be a need for us to trust in the Lord's timing.  This doesn't mean  however that I can sit back and wait for good things to come. I will never know what the best course of action will be until I take some step in some direction or have something to work towards.  Faith is a principle of action not a principle of waiting.  When you have moments of doubt or discouragement do you stand still and wait for some miraculous event to occur or do you do something about it and move forward in life?

In the end the message is this: Being 27 and single means that I have time to become my best self every day.  One day, I'll have the chance to become my best self with someone else.  Until that day, there is plenty of work to do.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Pace Yourself....

I had hip surgery a couple of weeks ago and it gave me a lot of extra time to think.  The first week the thinking was a little bit blurred by the pain meds but after that I actually got constructive thinking done.  Those who know me best, or at all, know that I'm sort of an all or nothing kind of girl.  I've never been very good at pacing myself.  I want everything I want and I want it now. Throughout the recovery process, I had to learn more about pacing myself.  Getting up for the first time after surgery my immediate reflex was to use both of my legs to gain balance, of course this was a horrible idea and I fell back to the bed that I just gotten up from. Over the next few days, I had to take small steps to adding weight back onto my injured leg.  There was only so much I could do in a day.  In other words I had to pace myself.  It was a frustrating process.  Luckily, my time on crutches was very short, but I am still in the process of recovery and learning more about pacing myself.  The day after I got off crutches, I felt all sorts of home free so I pushed to do all the walking that I could.  By the end of the day I felt the stupidity of all of the extra walking.  There was and is still work to do and it's actually harder work since I know longer have the crutches which were a very tangible reminder of my limitations. 

Now to what I learned.  I realized through this process that life also about pacing yourself. We've all heard the phrase "life is a marathon, not a sprint".  I think sometimes we get so caught up in the what's next that we lose the what is happening now.  I remember going up and thinking about my future.  Anytime I had to make some sort of expectation for the future it was in the form of a checklist.  I'm going to do this and this and this and this.  Now that I'm considered a partial grown-up (as confirmed by my 4-year-old niece this week) I realized that life is more about moments than about the checklist items.  Don't get me wrong, checklist items are important.  We need direction and we need goals.  We can't just sit around and let life happen to us. It's when those checklist items don't work out the way we want we panic and start running through life trying to accomplish those items on our checklist.  When we outpace ourselves trying to accomplish something that either isn't supposed to happen at this time or isn't supposed to happen for us at all, we lose sight of things that Heavenly Father has in store for us.  Trying to force our life in a certain direction will cause ourselves to feel spiritually, emotionally, and yes even physically exhausted.  Our Father in Heaven, who knows us perfectly, has given us a plan. That plan includes a pace (also called timing) at which certain events will unfold.  Our Father in Heaven is the ultimate pacer.  Through scripture study, prayer, and patriarchal blessing we can learn a little bit about his pace for our life.  There is little need for us to outpace ourselves when we, through a little diligent effort, can get the next portion of the map. 

Heavenly Father won't give us all of the map at once, otherwise there would be no need for faith or agency in our lives.  He will give us pieces of the map at time and allow us to keep moving forward until we seek further guidance from Him. It's our responsibility to keep our lives in such a way that our Father in Heaven, with the assistance of the Holy Ghost, can be in constant communication with us.  It is also our responsibility to recognize when we are running faster than we are able. If you are in a situation where you feel like you are chasing down some kind of checklist item in your life, it might be time to re-examine whether that checklist item is unnecessary or if the timing just isn't right for that checklist item.

Who says you can't learn anything during recovery??

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Transplant Day...

I know it's been three and a half months but I finally have the time (and let's be perfectly honest, the motivation) to write this out. It's also been a little hard to write because of the emotion of that nearly 30 hour moment of my life.  So I will start at the beginning.  I had reached my turn to go and visit my parents in Texas.  I was supposed to go the weekend before but my dad's family found that that was a better time to visit and so I moved my visit to the first weekend in August.  Before I went I joked that every time someone went to visit my parents something big happened, and boy did it. 

Saturday was an extremely rough day for both of my parents.  My mom had had little sleep the night before and things were getting pretty scary for dad both physically and emotionally.  I had never seen him that sick and I could tell that things would be changing very soon, either for the better or for the worse.  My dad and I had some good bonding moments in the day and were able to watch the "Top 50 Plays in BYU Football history" special online while Mom went to take a nap and take care of other life needs.  I was glad I was there and sad that I could only stay for a short time.  We spent the day together Saturday and then around 7 I decided that I should probably find something to eat.  I left for no longer than 30 minutes and came back to a flurry of activity in the room.  My mom immediately came to me and told me there was a possibility that some organs were available.  From my previous post, you can understand that I was trying to keep my expectations down since organs promised are not always organs given.  So many factors go into determining if organs are viable and if they are viable how they are used.  It was clear that my dad was in desperate need of the organs and had just been cleared to receive the transplant after a bout with an infection that temporarily off the list. 

So, the waiting began.  Soon the surgeon came to start the discussion and the paperwork.  With heaven's intervention the Elder's Quorum President from the local ward had planned a visit to my dad that night.  With a quick call my mom asked him to bring someone else along and they were able to give my Dad a blessing.  It was a sweet and tender experience that reaffirmed God's hand in this trial of our life.  After the blessing, Mom decided she would stay with Dad for the night.  She drove me back to the apartment where I slept for the night (somewhat miraculously I dare say).  The next morning would begin one of the longest days of my life.

I arrived back at the hospital on Sunday morning to the chaos of transplant preparation.  Nurses were constantly coming in and out and monitoring.  Doctors were also checking in.  I was also greeted by some bad news.  Due to dropping blood pressure and rising white blood count, people were getting nervous about going through with the transplant.  Around 9:30 the hepatologist on call came in with a grave expression.  She didn't say much and was immediately followed out the door by my Mom.  This wasn't a good sign.  This woman had been pushing and praying to the transplant to happen and she was discouraged by the recent blood tests.  Around 10, Dr. McKenna, one of the transplant surgeons came in and said he was thinking the transplant was a no go.  This was not good news.  And I could feel that little hope inside of me deflating.  He said he would discuss the situation with his colleagues and Dad's other doctors and then make a final decision.  The time it took for him to leave and come back may well constitute the longest hour of my life thus far.  Somehow I knew that the transplant would happen although I wasn't sure how.  In this moment I felt totally alone.  If these organs didn't end up going to my Dad I'm sure that emotional devastation would I have followed and I was in no way prepared to deal with that on my own.  Luckily, Cami, got on a plane, not knowing what she would find when she got here, to come and help.

With the looming possibility of a "dry run" at the transplant again we waited for the doctor's to return.  Around 11, Dr. Kim (the surgeon from the night before) came in and said they were going to do the transplant.  He had been an advocate of it from the beginning and I'm so glad he was there that day.  Hope had returned again.  Dr. McKenna came back to tell us that he had no reason to do the transplant other than a gut feeling and the fact that Dad looked more "bored" than sick.  Little did Dr. McKenna know that that boredom was actually fierce anger and determination.  Whatever it was I'm glad my Dad showed it in his face!

We still had a flurry of activity happening around us.  Blood transfusions and continuous monitoring accompanied by that uncomfortable waiting period were our life for the next hour and a half.  Finally the anesthesiologist came in and it was our moment to leave and begin waiting.  We left the hospital with, I'll be honest here, a little bit of a "see ya later" attitude toward Dad and headed to the airport to pick up Cami.  We told only those in the immediately family and Dad's family since the surgery still wasn't a go until they started cutting.  We waited for the call to tell us that the surgery had begun and then we cried. Well at least I did....but I basically cried on and off during this whole experience so maybe that doesn't mean anything.  Once again showing that someone else is in charge, we got the call that the surgery had begun right at my parent's home ward headed into sacrament meeting.  In that day, fast Sunday no less, so many people in that room were praying and fasting on my Dad's behalf.  It was amazing that they were able to get the news right as it happened. 

Then we waited.  We took Mom's phone away so that she could sleep and we just waited.  We sort of didn't know what to do with ourselves.  We went to the hospital for a status update around the time they finished the kidney and had started working on the liver.  We went back around 10:30 when we knew the transplant was around ending time.  Finally Mom received a call from Dr. Kim saying that it was over and everything went as well as could be expected. 

We didn't really get to see Dad until the next day and even then he was sedated.  At that moment I just relished in the miracle.  I know that things don't always turn out the way we want them to.  I think the life after transplant hasn't been what my parents thought it would be either but we keep moving forward, knowing that what we have is a gift.  There are so many people who have prayed so hard for my family during this time and those people should know that those prayers were felt by us all during this time.

Remember that sometimes our Father in Heaven pushes us to the point where we feel that we cannot go any farther and then the blessings come.  I have felt that before in my life but never to this extent.  In the end, I know that Heavenly Father has a plan for me that I don't always understand but I know will ultimately be for my good.  It's in looking back on the trials that I think we learn the most!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Life of a transplant patient's daughter....

Over the past month and a half life has gotten a little more than crazy.  In May my dad got the flu and just couldn't quite get over it.  After a couple of weeks and I'm sure many many calls to the doctor my Mom decided it was time to take Dad to Dallas where he could get the best medical care for his condition.  For those who don't know the transplant process let me explain why they had to go to Dallas.  Since Albuquerque doesn't have a transplant center my parents had to register at transplant facilities in other places.  After a false start they ended up in Denver with a highly recommended doctor there.  They were soon also listed in Salt Lake since that is close to most of the family.  The transplant doctor in Denver moved to Dallas and my parents went with him.  So every year my parents would make a trip to Dallas and a trip to Salt Lake to check in.  For years and years my dad pushed past the illness.  The doctors were always amazed at how much he worked and how much he could do.  This time it was a little bit different. 

The hospital visit in May was supposed to be an anticipated event.  Not the exact moment of course, but eventually I knew that my dad would get sicker.  I just didn't expect it so soon and so suddenly.  One day I was talking about him having the flu and the next the doctor was telling us it was transplant or die.  It was a surreal experience. My dad was admitted to the hospital and the hurry up and wait game began.  As my dad was admitted and his liver counts rose, my siblings starting getting calls from the transplant hospitals to make sure that their contact info was still the same.  The first few days seemed like forever.  My siblings and I started to communicate about travel plans for all of us to go to Dallas.  We decided that was too overwhelming for the moment and sent the nurse down to take control of the situation.  I'm glad we sent her first.  She was able to get more of a grip on the situation and we were able to make other plans.  Other siblings made plans to go down in shifts so that Mom wouldn't be alone.  Once that was settled we just had to wait for a liver. 

With the scores so high my dad quickly climbed the transplant list, which is score based and not time based.  While he was in the hospital we had two almost-transplant moments.  Before any of us went down to Dallas, I was at Shelly's house when, at 11 o'clock, we get a call from Nikki wondering if we have heard from mom or know which hospital dad is in.  The transplant team at a neighboring hospital in Fort Worth was calling around saying there was a liver available.  For some reason we couldn't get a hold of Mom...it was a pretty scary moment.  What if there was a liver and we couldn't get a hold of them in time?? Eventually, after much Google searching, phone calling, and texting, we got a hold of Mom and we learned that the organ wasn't viable...so our first false alarm.  So we went back to waiting.  Another day, as I was getting done with work, I get a call from my brother.  There was a liver in Dallas....someone had come into my parents room and started asking questions.  They soon found out there was a liver and we prepared ourselves.  There were a million thoughts running through my mind.  I can't imagine what it was like in the room.  This liver turned out to be a false alarm as well.  Apparently this is pretty common for transplant patients. People can't get as close and being surgically prepped and under anesthesia and the liver will get pulled for someone else.  It's such an emotional roller coaster. 

Speaking of emotional roller coasters....during this whole experience I was certainly on one.  I was constantly on the edge of tears.  I never knew what the next few hours would bring and if you know me at all you know that made me crazy.  During this time, I felt the support of my siblings.  They, especially Shelly, had to step in and be my parents for a minute (you know since my car was being special during this time as well and I would usually call my dad). I felt the support of my coworkers and friends.  They were amazing during this time.  I'm sure I was a bit crazy but they all managed to put up with me.  I also felt the support of so many prayers offered on my and my families behalf.  The power of prayer is so real! I felt it as I went to work and could focus on what was going on.  I felt it when I would start to worry at night and something would tell me that everything would be okay. I realized that I had to get through and prayers helped me do that.  My dad was released from the hospital around Memorial Day and was able to come home...I was so grateful.  Luckily my turn to take care of the parents came while they were on the way home.  When I saw my parents I just burst into tears.  I knew the journey wasn't over, but I was able to at least gain a little sense of peace and quite honestly just hug my mommy and daddy. 

Like I just said the journey isn't over.  Just last week Dad was admitted back to the hospital in Dallas.  Once again we wait.  Not knowing exactly what to pray for I can only pray the Heavenly Father's will be done.  I am grateful for the Gospel in my life.  I don't know how you would go through this experience without the knowledge that families can be together forever.  Knowing that Heavenly Father has a plan makes everything just a little bit easier.  Until that plan is fulfilled we sit and wait and hope for a liver......

Sunday, April 28, 2013


Remember when I used to blog...that was fun right?? Well I know it's been nearly a year, but I just haven't felt that inspired to write anything lately.  Until recently anyway.... Over the past few months I have come to appreciate my siblings more and more.  In that spirit, I would like to tell the universe why I love each of them.  We'll start with the closest to me in age and work my way up.

Chad--My brother makes me laugh harder than anyone I have ever met. Growing up I'm pretty sure I annoyed him to death because we were just far enough apart in age that we had very little in common.  However, he didn't always throw me by the wayside (probably because my mom made him but I love him for it nonetheless). I learned to appreciate him more when he went on a mission and in the years since.  I love how hard he works to provide for his family and how much he loves his wife and kids.  I'm so grateful he is able to work at the same place as my dad...it makes me a little less worried about something happening and no one being there for Dad. 

Cami--Cami is the greatest time-juggler that I've ever met.  Every time I go to her house she always has one million things going on.  Through it all she manages to keep her kids happy and take the time to appreciate each of her kids for who they are. She is always the loudest cheerer at her kids events. Even if they don't always appreciate her enthusiasm, she continues to work hard to help them be successful in the things that they do.  I've always wanted to be as socially graceful as Cami is.  She always develops good friends and keeps in touch with them even as she or others move around. 

Shelly--Shelly is simply the nicest person I know.  She is always looking out for everyone else around her before she looks out for herself.  She always checks in when she can sense something is wrong and invites me to Tooele when I need a little get away.  She is amazing at her job and still manages to be an amazing mom as well.  She also goes to a million events and smiles through them all.  She is always the first to plan an family get together and is always willing to sacrifice her time to come out to other people's houses for those parties.  Mostly I love that she is always willing to watch cheesy Hallmark movies with me!

Nikki--Nikki is my second mom.  Not like my second mom, but is my second mom.  When I moved up to Provo she took me in and gave me a place in her house.  When she moved houses she even made sure that I had a room so that I would feel comfortable there. (which I very much do!) I am always amazed at her cooking skills.  Maybe someday I will cook as well as she does!  She works hard to keep her crazy creative girls busy as well as all of the kids in the neighborhood.  There is hardly ever a time when I go to her house and there isn't an extra child or two that she is taking care of.  She is amazingly generous to everyone that she knows, including myself.  I always feel like I can talk to her about the things in my life that are going crazy.  Plus she gave me a job outside of the MTC, so you know, I gotta love her for that!!

Anyway this is just a brief glimpse of why I love my siblings.  Mostly I love that we all love each other.  When something happens to one the rest of us do what we can to help out.  (I feel a little bad for Chad on this one....he just lives farther away so it's a little more difficult but we are with him in spirit!) Being the youngest (by a chunk of years) I wasn't always super close to my siblings, but I'm glad that I have had that opportunity in the last seven years.  It certainly has changed me for the better!!!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Oh how life has changed....

Well I probably should have updated the blog sooner with my life progress but things just got a little crazy and since I'm up past my bedtime tonight anyway I thought I should write a blog post instead of sleeping....so smart I know. So life in Murray continues on.  I got a job about a month after I moved at the Intermountain Central Lab. For all of you who know my feelings about needles and blood can rest easy I just do billing in the lab.....no contact with blood involved.  I do all of the Medicare billing for the lab which brings it's own set of unique challenges.  I like the job so far and I am very blessed that I was only jobless for a month.  I definitely would have gone crazy if I would have had to wait much longer!!!!

Dropping everything in your life and moving to a new place (even if it is just 30 minutes away from your old life) brings challenges that I'm quite sure I was not ready for.  As I've seen less and less of my Provo life, I really wonder what I am doing here. Because I know I'm suppose to be here,  I'm sure that some direction will present itself if I keep moving forward....until then I just take everything day by day.

The hardest transition has been with the ward. Living in Provo for 6 years I am used to everyone in the ward living within the same apartment complex (or a complex really close), it's a little different when your singles ward covers the area of three stakes (even if Utah Stakes are small that's a lot of distance). The distance makes it a little more difficult to get to know people in the ward, especially since a lot of people grew up with each other and already have the friend group thing figured out.   The first few weeks I was reluctant to join in.  I didn't mind missing going to my own ward and go back to Alta or to one of my sister's wards but I was soon reminded by my dear roommate and I will get out what I put into the ward (P.S. Jessica deserves a medal or something for dealing with my craziness).  Along the way in my trying I was giving up...I was just done....and then the Lord worked in His mysterious way and I got a calling....in the Relief Society Presidency...yes shocker I know.

This calling has given me a reason to be a part of the ward which is important because I had one foot out the door....I really wasn't going to leave church I was just ready to be less engaged in the ward.  I have met so many amazing girls in the ward and I'm glad that people listen to revelation!!! Still with the calling some days are better than others....luckily there are good times to counteract the times when I feel totally awkward and dumb and unable to carry on a normal conversation.  It comes down to the repeating story of my life....I struggle to make friends for a while and then hopefully the pattern continues when I find excellent friends again....I'm really ready for that upswing to happen. Until then...I just keep keeping on....

Sunday, April 15, 2012

A Leap of Faith....

I moved into my first big girl apartment yesterday. Leading up to the move I had so many emotions. I was excited, nervous, apprehensive, terrified, and just plain scared. As I looked for apartments I realized more and more that my life was changing in a big way. As the realization struck that my new location and my old job wouldn't exactly work together I was slightly beside myself. I always like to hold on to the past and keep it a part of me until I fully step into the future but it won't be as much the case this time. I'm not getting thrown out of my old job but I see the days coming to an end and it scares me. I grew up at that job. The people there helped me to grow. I would be no where without them. But all little girls must grow up.

In the past week I have grown more emotionally than I thought I would. I started applying to jobs for the first time ever and trying to set up cable and utilities and mail changing and started packing. I was too busy worrying about logistics to feel the emotion of leaving everything behind. When I woke up this morning (or yesterday morning as the case may be) it officially hit me. I have just left everything behind and I'm walking into the great unknown.

This is the moment in my life where I hope what I have learned will pay off somehow. This is where faith comes in. I always believed that I had faith but it was a guided guarded kind of thing. Now, as I sit unable to sleep because of the many many decisions ahead of me, I realize that this is the leap of faith they talk about. The Spirit tells me this is the right move. The only thing holding me back is fear. Everyone is excited for this great change for me but right now all I can do is fear. Eventually, as I move forward, that fear will fade. I will get a job, I will find new friends (there isn't anything wrong with the old ones, trust me), I will start a new life. There will be happy times and sad times. There will be good times and bad times. All I know is that I'm moving forward into the dark, taking that big leap of faith and hoping that I've made the right decision.

Something inside tells me that I have.....