Thursday, January 30, 2014

To Be Found Peculiar Among the Peculiar People: A convert's story part 1

To have the Weirdos thing you're weird, now that's sayin' something!

I think there are just a few in the Church that don't quite fit in anywhere, outside or in. And I'm one of them. I have found there are several factors that make up an Outsider on the Inside. Being a convert is one sure way, but not the only way.

I am one of these Converts. That's right! I'm a Mormon. I was an Outsider the moment I stepped through those doors. Not only did I have tattoos and body piercings, I had a Past...and some of those people knew it. Others just assumed I was bad because I had "that look". And they were right! All of it was true. I wore my Past on the Outside. You may not know exactly what "it" was, but "it" was there and you could just feel it.
Okay, not THIS bad, but you get the picture

By just looking at me, I had the kind of Past that you grab your children and hold them tight while bearing your teeth. That was until I opened my mouth. I would talk and let people in let them know just about anything they wanted to know about me. I never kept my Past hidden BUT you had to be brave enough to ask me and not just judge and assume.

here are a few crazy Singles
Many well-established members did take up the challenge. It wasn't until I learned about and experienced the Single's Ward that I truly started to bloom and feel accepted. A church building filled with 18-30 year olds who were confused, sure of themselves, brave, and scared all at the same time were my kind of people. These Church members asked questions of me and of my life like a child--wide-eyed, anticipatory, and surprisingly accepting despite what the world may think of this group. And once I was able to have some sharp points smoothed, learned the lingo, and understood more of the Gospel, I was more capable of communicating my Past properly.

Communicating my Past wasn't simply telling all the gory and lurid details, it was more of how I learned from it, how it shaped me, how I am a better person because of it all.
Leah (blonde) and Me (not blonde) lol

Friday, January 24, 2014

2014 Resolution (or Theme) Update

Since the announcement of this year's theme I've been anxious to get on with it. (Maybe next year should be about Patience) I knew I would have to forgive and possibly forget: forget hurt feelings, forget hurtful words and actions. It may (or may not) surprise you to know that Forgiveness does not come easily to me. I tend to remember everything and I have worked hard over the years not to be so black and white in my thoughts and actions.

So with all that weighing on my mind I wasn't sure if I was ready to Let Go, but Heavenly Father knows me better than I know myself...thankfully. But His methods always seem to catch me by surprise. I know He seems to start small and gradually get more involved, I just don't catch on until the big stuff really gets going. But this is different. Last night while meditating (you should try it, it's so wonderful) I received my first item to Let Go. Like always, I was caught off guard because I had anticipated Letting Go of the big things. I thought I had already done away with the smaller thoughts and feelings that got overthrown when the bigger events started taking precedence.

I thought, release and Let Go lots of things...
Instead I was asked to start with one...
One little thought, but it was the very first thought at the very beginning of EVERYTHING. It was so small and so First Thought that I never even mentioned it. I never even mentioned to Ben! But that Thought was what I was asked to Let Go.

It makes me think of the Sound of Music:
      ♪♪ Let's start at the very beginning,
            A very good place to start ♪♪

Alma 37:6 ...but behold I say unto you, that by small and simple things are great things brought to pass; and small means in many instances doth confound the wise.

Monday, January 20, 2014

The Purpose of Denial

**WARNING** This post is going to be filled with platitudes but please don't shy away. This post is really about growing from the experiences of pain and sorrow and moving towards acceptance and peace.

The other day I was reading some training material for volunteers working in hospice. Something that caught my eye was The Purpose of Denial. The purpose? To "give ourselves time to adjust to a new reality."

WOW! Profound! So profound to me that it made me stop and think. I thought about our move, my theme for this year, my fury friend's passing,  pretty much EVERYTHING that has gone on in the past five years...

And I thought about the way I handle it all, the way I push things and thoughts out of my mind in hopes of moving past the situation. But it never works for me! Now I understand why...
I never did this^ I would push past the pain, past the grief so I could hurry on to peace.

I know you must be thinking "but you said you liked moving!" I did! But there was a lot of grief with the move as well. I left my home, my family, my friends. There was stuff (literal stuff) that we had to leave behind because it wouldn't fit in our truck and we only had time and resources for one trip. Leaving behind that stuff was just made worse because of all the other stuff I had to leave. The move was good but it was hard, too!

You may think "well, it's been almost five years. shouldn't you be over all the things that almost happened?" My response to that: NOPE! For some the grieving process is short, for me it's longer. And although there was no actual death, there was certainly deaths of other sorts.

Then there's the cat. "But Blythe, it was just a cat!" If you know me at all you know I have a huge soft spot for animals (and if you don't know me, well then, just hush! :-P ) You may know that I don't deal with Death very well.

Putting all that aside, the heart of the matter has been I never had to adjust to a New Reality before! My life and my situations seemed to stay the same. Nothing ever really changed. Sure, I had lots of things happen to me but the situations and outcomes seemed to always be the same...and then we moved.

The problem with pausing for thought and giving myself Time is that it opens my mind and thoughts to all the other times I didn't do this for myself. Thus the long post...

BUT I'm finally ready for the acceptance stage!

I'm ready to finally turn the page on my life and see what comes next.


And finally, Peace.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

I'm Leaving Funkytown!

I know I've written/talked/bragged about my move to a distant and strange new land, but it has meant the world to me! I was sad to leave special places and friends, but I left behind something that has made me happier than I have been in YEARS!

I have been in such a funk for almost eight years...ever since my first miscarriage. My mood grew steadily worse as the years went by just to finally peak about four years ago (you'll have to start at the beginning of this blog to understand why).


Something strange and wonderful has been happening to me ever since we moved to Idaho. I have been feeling more welcomed than I ever have before...

I have been feeling more loved than ever before...

I feel I have more purpose here. I feel something good is going to happen instead of feeling a sense of doom around every corner. I am no longer letting FEAR rule my life!

Now, I'm feeling the love and seeing the promises of my Heavenly Father. I feel like a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Idaho Update: Slower Pace

When we first moved to Idaho our California friends asked us what we thought of the Slower Pace we were sure to be experiencing. I didn't understand. I wasn't experiencing anything slower than before...except the Internet speed.

But then the Slower Pace hit me like molasses in January!
I finally noticed the Slowness of it all. When we needed to have a few windows replaced on our home, the guy said he would be back to install them "later". Now, in California "later" means within a few hours BUT "later" in Idaho means sometime in the next couple of weeks!
So what I've really come to find out is that people here in Idaho aren't time Nazis like me. (I have several Japanese friends that wouldn't survive here...) Idahoans live in the moment. They don't have locked in schedules (for the most part).

Pretty much the Idahoan time philosophy-------->

Thursday, January 2, 2014

I Dreamed A Dream

Do you believe in alternate realities? The jury is still out for me, but I think of one “alternative” life out there if this theory is true.

At the young age of 25 I was offered a job of a lifetime: to be vice president of many up-and-coming franchises, make more money than I have yet to make, be fit, healthy, and admired. But I didn't take it. I left near fame and fortune (no joke) for poverty, poor health, and the most love I have ever felt or given or could have comprehended.

"Why?!" you may ask. Because of all that I gained. I carefully weighed the pros and cons of that situation during the time. I thought long and hard. I prayed and fasted. It came down to this: I could see myself having the life of my would-be employer, and I did not want that. Plus, my employer would have been my sister and we don't get along now (I haven't seen her in 12 years). I was hoping if we worked together, things would be different, but I knew better.

What I received instead of this life was an incredible alternative filled with the most exquisite joy and pain that I wouldn't change for anything! I honestly believe my life is better where I am than where I could be.

As far as that alternate reality, I think of alternate me and what her life is like right now.

She's probably still single (too busy for a relationship, or too hard to have a relationship with). Maybe she's been engaged but she canceled it. She's fit and healthy (the bane of my real life). She's met celebrities, been on TV, in the newspaper, traveled to exotic locales, and...and is probably one of the saddest people you have ever met. Sad because she probably isn't going to church (one of THE things that brings me joy). She probably isn't very close to her Heavenly Father, at least not as much as she would like to be. She may even have the better relationship with her sister, but it's still not quite the one she was hoping for (due to personal reasons).

Why do I paint such a sad picture? How do I know it would be so bad? I've lived a part of this life in my reality. I sampled this one for a short while and found it extremely difficult to live in the environment I would have been. And most convincing was the personal revelations and affirmations from God that showed me just about everything my life would have been.

When I think about Alternate Me, the song, I Dreamed A Dream from Les Miserables enters my mind.

   I dreamed a dream in time gone by, When hope was high and life worth living

   Then I was young and unafraid, And dreams were made and used and wasted
   There was no ransom to be paid, No song unsung, no wine untasted
   I had a dream my life would be, So different from this hell I'm living
   So different now from what it seems, Now life has killed the dream I dreamed

Now, instead of living the Miserable life, I seem to be living something more like the Muppets...kind of crazy, some big turmoil in the middle, then ending happier than ever hoped for.