Monday, October 17, 2016

Hello, Friends

Hi, friends.
It's been a while. 
And really, that's been a good thing.
Neglecting my blog is usually a really positive or negative thing. And I am so thankful that lately, it's been a positive thing.

There is so much I've wanted to write about. In fact, almost every week, I start a new post and get a paragraph in before realizing it just isn't flowing how it should be.
And I try really hard not to push publish on any of my writing that isn't flowing and easy to piece together.

I've wanted to write about my life, friendship ups and downs, religion, school, my kids, etc. I know I've covered all of those subjects before but every once in a while, one of them will feel like it needs to burst into formulated sentences once again and I'll try to find the time to come on here and write.

But, you know, time...

Extra time has been precious and practically non-existent.
Because there are a lot of positive, exciting things happening in my life right now and those priorities come before my writing.

But I digress---tonight, I am here. 
So hello. 

I wanted to talk about religion again since more times than not, those are the words wanting to spill over on this blog. Because for me, this year, religion has been a huge part of my life.

But today I want to talk about how religion has always been a huge part of my life.


If you know me, you know I was raised in the LDS church.
And if you don't know me very well, I was raised in the LDS church.

I was baptized when I was 8. I went to girls camp for six years. I went to mutual every Wednesday. I was married in the temple. I have held many callings in various wards from primary teacher to Relief Society presidency.
So many hours of my life have been dedicated to a church I once called my second home.

And I learned so many beautiful things from those various stages of my life. 

I can distinctly remember a few years ago, sitting in stake conference and the importance of family council hitting me so strongly.

We came home that day and got started. 

Weekly family goals. Scheduling for the week. Any topics to discuss before the week starts.

We've spent many Sunday nights since that day holding family councils together and setting our goals and schedules for the week.

Years ago, Andersen's weekly goals consisted of running faster or learning more about dinosaurs.
Last night, Andersen's goals included daily personal prayers and focusing more in school.

I've loved seeing the goals mature as my kids mature. 
As we finished up last night, it just hit me that there have been so many positive things as a result of how I was raised.
And I don't think I acknowledge those often enough. 

My life looks very different in a lot of ways now and yet, it is also very similar to how it used to be.

It has been 15 months since I felt strongly like I had found my place at a new church. Many things have happened since then but none of the experiences that I've had can negate the beauty that has come from growing up LDS.
And let me also point out that I am not saying it was all beautiful.
It wasn't. 
I'm saying that acknowledging the beauty has been helpful in growing and finding gratitude for my life.
It has also been the reason I've been able to find positives in the church I was raised, as the world has tried to point out so many negatives.

Because what I've learned from life is that it's a whole lot more beautiful when I'm able to focus on the positives.

So today, all I feel is gratitude. 
Gratitude that my parents raised me in a family-oriented church that taught me a lot about the type of mother I want to be.
Gratitude for the beauty God has placed in my life and in my soul.
Gratitude that I have a family to share these memories with, to learn and grow from each other.
Gratitude for a life that has turned out pretty amazing, despite some of the challenges that I used to believe would break me.

I am a work in progress.
I always will be.
But I am never going to stop growing and learning and becoming.

Because becoming the me that I want to be has been one of the most vital parts of my healing process these past few years.
That goal has been the magnet that holds me together and keeps me fighting when I feel like I want to stop fighting.
I am so grateful for my life and the freedom to be myself and to be loved by so many people as I am.

God is so good.
And the majority of people are genuinely good.

Thank you, my people, for being a part of this world's goodness.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

October 14th

Normally, October 14th is in my top 5 favorite days of the year. I've always loved my birthday and I have some pretty amazing birthday stories from various years.

But divorce stings a little harder on my birthday---even on the years where my friends and family have gone above and beyond to make my day special. It just feels a little heavier on holidays.

And this year, I dropped my kids off to their dad and the exchange wasn't very positive and that usually makes it harder to say goodbye for the weekend. Especially when it's my birthday and I'm waving goodbye to my two little buddies.

So the afternoon of my birthday, I found myself sitting in a parking lot, tears streaming down my face because sometimes good people say mean things and they hurt your feelings and you realize that it's still so damn hard to share your kids and co-parent and you're feeling lonely and just want to be a "normal" family.

And I don't bring these rough times up because I want you to feel bad for me.
In fact, I got to party with my friends until 2:30am that night and it ended just fine.

But I bring that up because I often get wrapped up in the perfection of various people's social media lives and I don't want to be that.

I try so hard to find a balance between "my life is so blessed and my kids are hilarious and talented and I'm practically superwoman for going to school full time, working, and being a single mama" and "my life is hard and my kids can be really mean to each other and to me and they have a lot of struggles and divorce has given me panic attacks and being single sucks".
Two completely contrasting thoughts---both are completely a part of me.

I think that's why I try to "keep it real" with my social media.
Because, inevitably, bad days happen to all of us. And there are days we all feel like we've failed at something. And some days, we might even be right about failing. We aren't always going to succeed.

Some days, when I'm exhausted from school work and my job and being a momma, I don't succeed at the end of the day. Some nights, I yell at everyone to get in bed after they come out of their rooms for the fifteenth time and I lose my temper and don't find it again until the next day.

And some days, I really, truly cannot see myself graduating from college even though I AM SO CLOSE TO FINISHING. It's like the end in sight has made it SO MUCH HARDER to be able to focus on my school work.

And then I sign in to Facebook and see pictures of families and of wives doting on their amazing husbands and I think, "What the damn?" and I get jealous and bitter and I start hating the world.

But then I talk myself down and realize two things:
---People are allowed to brag about their awesome lives. When my kids do awesome things, I brag about them. When I do awesome things, I brag about them. Someone bragging about their awesomeness doesn't make my awesomeness any less valid.

---Most people don't put the bad crap on social media. So even when it seems like they have a perfect life, the truth is that nobody has a perfect life. Life is not easy all of the time. It gets hard. And maybe the posts on Facebook are genuine, maybe they aren't. Either way, it doesn't change my life or affect me in any way.

My 28th year of life was one of my best so far. I accomplished a lot this year and am really proud of how far I've come.
And so instead of focusing on everything that went wrong, I'm going to remember just how many things are currently going right.