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.

Always. 

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.