Sunday, March 4, 2018

Warmer Days Ahead

It snowed a ton here last night and this morning. It's March 4th and I am REALLY ready for spring. Nothing makes me question my life choices (of moving back to Utah) like snow in March. (Just kidding, snow in May does. ;) )

A phrase has repeatedly come to mind recently. It's this: 

"...winter will surely give way to the warmth and hope of a new spring." (Dieter F. Uchtdorf)

I'm really grateful for that truth. No matter how long the cold, dark, bitter, winter - spring WILL come. No matter how many crazy bitter storms, warmer days ARE ahead. It's a truth we know. We know spring will come after winter. 

I've thought about this truth in life. I've experienced it. Some seasons last longer than others. My "winter" of job hunting lasted three years. There were some bitter, cold, dark days during those years. But deep down, I did know that spring comes after winter. I knew my winter would end. I knew (and still know) that the sun always comes out. (Read this post here.)

And, even in the midst of cold winters, we can find beauty. As much as I really dislike winter, I love the glistening snow on the trees. It's beautiful. We can find beauty in the "winters" of our lives. 

After winter comes new life. Things come alive again. There's so much hope in this knowledge. As cheesy as it is, after job hunting for three years and now having a new job, I feel alive again. I feel like a new person. 

Spring is symbolic of rebirth and renewal - specifically our Savior. I'm grateful for Him who is the hope of all things. Because of Him the winters of our lives WILL end and warmer days are ahead. If you are struggling, I can promise you that things will get better. 

"...bad days come to an end, that faith always triumphs, and that heavenly promises are always kept." (Jeffrey R. Holland)

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Dream Job

Confession - I've never seen myself as a "career woman." I've never aspired to be a CEO of some major company or even a manager, to be honest. When I was in elementary school, my dream "career" was to be a secretary, actually. As I got a little older, I realized my dream career is to be a wife and a mother. 

I started my new job yesterday and someone recently said, "Carrie's got her dream job!" I have to admit, it felt a little off. There are so many benefits to this job and I am super excited about it. I do feel like I'm living a dream. I got a raise. Maybe I can start saving for a house now. I've had all of these great thoughts about what I might be able to achieve now. But none of that is as important to me as being a wife and a mother. None of that matters as much to me. I'd quit in an instant if I had the opportunity to live my dream to be a wife and a mother. Hopefully one day I will. Until then, I suppose I am a "career woman." :) 

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

In God's Time

"To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven." (Ecc. 3:1)

Tonight as I was cleaning out some papers, I came across a folder with a job description in it. Now, over the past three years I have printed out A LOT of job descriptions in preparation for interviews I've had. This one, though, is particularly special. It's for a job I interviewed for a year ago. 

The job was for an opening with Deseret Digital Media. I had two interviews. I felt really good about it. I really thought I was going to get the job. But, I was crushed when I learned that they had given it to an internal candidate. I moved on, but honestly, that job was still in the back of my mind. 

Fast forward to this past December. I saw the job posted again. I was so excited! I was determined. I wanted that job! I had my roommate forward my resume on to someone who knew someone. Within a few days, as I was sitting at work, I got a text from the person I had interviewed with a year ago. He wanted to talk to me right then. Ahh! I went out to my car and we had a good phone chat. He remembered me. 

I had a couple of in person interviews after that. There was some time in between all of these and it was KILLING me. I prayed SO hard for this job. I had an ARMY of people praying for me, too. One day before one of the interviews, as I was sitting at my desk, I had the thought - "bring donuts to the interview." It was the funniest thing. But, I totally did it. And the team I interviewed with loved it. So, when I say I did all I possibly could to get this job - I really mean it. 

The night before I was to find out if I got the job, I struggled. I was so done. I just felt like I couldn't do it any more. I couldn't handle one more rejection and one more day at my current job. I received a priesthood blessing that night and that brought me a ton of peace. 

The next day I got the amazing news that I got the job. It is such an incredible blessing for which I am so, so grateful. 

The past three years have been very challenging. I was prompted to move back to Utah and I guess I thought things would just fall into place. But, they didn't. But, I remember when I felt prompted to move back, I had the thought that it was so I could "grow." I must say, I have definitely grown. 

God has His time. Rejection and after rejection, I wondered what was wrong with me. I wondered why I stunk at interviews. But, honestly, somewhere in the middle of my job hunt, I really felt that it wasn't me - it was God's time. I do know that's true. When we do the very best we can, He makes up the difference and He makes things happen in His time. 

A few years ago as I was driving home from work in Arizona, I heard a song that I've come to love - "In God's Time," by Randy Houser (go look it up). Some of the lyrics I love: 

Oh, but no one knows
Not you or me
It might be tomorrow or it might never be
Oh, but don't lose faith
Put it in His hands
'Cause it might be that He might have a bigger plan
Than you had in mind
Miracles happen
In God's time

Miracles DO happen in God's time. For whatever reason, this job wasn't right a year ago, but now it is. I SO look forward to the future. There is happiness ahead. 

There are a lot of things I don't know. But, I do know God is real. He's there. He cares. He wants to bless us. Sometimes He makes us wait A LONG time (I'm still still waiting on that certain blessing ;)
...). But there's so much learning and growth that comes from waiting. 

I'm extremely grateful to all of the people who reached out to me in kindness during my trial of job hunting. It has been so humbling. It has made me want to be kinder and more thoughtful. And, I truly believe (and hope) that one day I'll use this experience and what I've learned to help others. 

God is good. The best is yet to come. 

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Keep Dreamin'

Seemed like an appropriate picture - as it's such a dreamy scene. :) 

The other day as I was sitting at my desk at work having a moment when I just wondered if my life will ever change, the following phrase entered my mind:

"Keep your eyes on your dreams." 

It comes from a talk by Jeffrey R. Holland. And there's more. More goodness. :) He says:

"Keep your eyes on your dreams, however distant and far away."

I have dreams. I have big dreams. I dream of having my own family - of having a husband and children. I dream of having my own home - of not having to label my food after 14 years of roommates. ;) I dream of having my own photography business on the side while I raise my kids. Yes, I have dreams. And, at times they seem VERY distant and far away. 

But, I know God doesn't want me to give up hope. I know that He's a God of miracles. 

I am grateful for my Savior, who will make it all possible. These words have been very comforting to me the past few years: 

I believe in Christ; he stands supreme!
From him I’ll gain my fondest dream;
And while I strive through grief and pain,
His voice is heard: “Ye shall obtain.”

I know it's true. And so, my friends, let's not give up. Keep dreaming. Keep believing. Even if those dreams seem SO far away. 

I am grateful for a loving Savior and Father in Heaven who remind me when I'm going through "grief and pain" that one day I WILL obtain. 

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Be Kind.

"Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle you know nothing about."

#LightTheWorld today is about comforting those who need comfort and mourning with those who mourn. This saying has been on my mind. I'm not perfect and it's so easy to focus inward. But when I see others this way- as if they have a battle they are fighting- my whole perspective changes. Maybe the guy who honked at me this morning was late to his important meeting at work. Maybe the store owner I work with who is completely rude to me is dealing with deep personal pain. I don't know. But God does. And it's my job to love them no matter the case. Maybe they need my comfort. As hard as that is sometimes.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Seek the Light

This past weekend I attended a conference with 7,000 women. That's right SEVEN THOUSAND. There were so many women they had to turn the men's bathroom into a women's and there were still long lines for both!

I've been wanting to attend Time Out For Women for years. But, it's never worked out. Didn't have the money, was busy that weekend, or couldn't find someone to come. This year, I decided to just go. And I'm so glad I did. I am a better person because of it. 

The messages were all about light. Light in this crazy world of darkness. Sheri Dew said, "seek the light so you can be the light." I love that. Cade Cheney, a blogger, talked about a trial he went through for nearly two years. I'm actually going through a similar trial and for about the same amount of time and could really relate to his words. He said at that dark time of his life he felt God say to him, "Just hold on and look for the light in the darkness." 

All of this talk of light really got me thinking. This year has been the hardest of my life. And I absolutely know the only way I have gotten through it is because of light in my life, in the following ways: 

The light of the Gospel 
There is a hymn in the LDS hymn book that really sums up how I feel about this: 

1. The Lord is my light; then why should I fear?
By day and by night his presence is near.
He is my salvation from sorrow and sin;
This blessed assurance the Spirit doth bring.

2. The Lord is my light; tho clouds may arise,
Faith, stronger than sight, looks up thru the skies
Where Jesus forever in glory doth reign.
Then how can I ever in darkness remain?

3. The Lord is my light; the Lord is my strength.
I know in his might I’ll conquer at length.
My weakness in mercy he covers with pow’r,
And, walking by faith, I am blest ev’ry hour.

4. The Lord is my light, my all and in all.
There is in his sight no darkness at all.
He is my Redeemer, my Savior, and King.
With Saints and with angels his praises I’ll sing.
Text: James Nicholson, 1828–1876

I can't imagine going through life/trials without the help of my Savior. I have been carried by Him. When I've been tired, stressed and worn out - somehow, I'm able to go on and push through. When I want to quit, I know I can make it because He will help me. The Gospel of Jesus Christ has brought so much light and happiness into my life - this year especially. 

The light of friends
I've been pondering lately how extremely grateful I am for friends. What a lonely life I'd live without them. God has blessed me so much with incredible people in my life. As I look back at this past year, it's amazing to me how God has placed people in my path to brighten my days. I can tell you of a handful of times when I've been somewhere and I run into an old friend I haven't seen in years. Coincidence? I think not. I know God has know that I needed that in my life. He knows that makes me happy and will bring sunshine into my life. I am grateful for friends who care, who listen, who make me laugh when I need laughs the most, and for friends who randomly think of me and send me a text. 

The light of family 
I have to admit, my first thought here are my nieces and nephews. They have been an incredible light in my life this year. I can't tell you how much joy and happiness it has brought me to just feel of their genuine love - the pure love of Christ. I love their laughs, their smiles, their kisses, their hugs, their kind words. It brings so much light into my life. It has been what I've needed on the darkest of days.

The light of music 
Another thing that has brought incredible light into my life this year has been good music. I feel closer to God through it. I feel more peace in my life. Work is stressful for me and good music has brought tremendous peace. 

I know that it is possible to have light in our lives, even when our lives are crazy. Even when the world is full of so much hatred and darkness. It isn't easy, but it's possible. And life is better when have light in it. 

Dieter F. Uchtdorf said, 

"There may be some among you who feel darkness encroaching upon you. You may feel burdened by worry, fear, or doubt. To you and to all of us, I repeat a wonderful and certain truth: God’s light is real. It is available to all! It gives life to all things.1 It has the power to soften the sting of the deepest wound. It can be a healing balm for the loneliness and sickness of our souls. In the furrows of despair, it can plant the seeds of a brighter hope. It can enlighten the deepest valleys of sorrow. It can illuminate the path before us and lead us through the darkest night into the promise of a new dawn."

I totally know that's true. I've felt it in my life this year. I'm so grateful for light in my life which gives me strength to move forward every day. 

I also want to strive to be a light in other's lives. I know I can work on that. I'm super excited for an initiative by the LDS Church coming up this Christmas season called, "Light the World." There are some awesome ideas and ways we can bring light into other's lives. 

Sunday, November 5, 2017

The God I Know

This weekend I took a little road trip by myself to Twin Falls, Idaho - three hours from Salt Lake. It was amazing. I had been tired and stressed and needed some serious rejuvenation and pondering time. I really just needed to get away and spend some time alone and with God. 

I got into town and headed straight for Shoshone Falls. I climbed down the stairs to a little viewing area and was immediately overcome. It was spectacular. Pictures don't do it justice. An incredible feeling came over me. It was like God was there with me saying, "Look at this! Look! I love you. I've created this beautiful earth for you!" I was the only one around when I first got there and it was perfect.

The next day I spent some time in the Twin Falls Idaho Temple. Gorgeous as well. There is a mural of Shoshone Falls in one the rooms, which I loved. I had a special experience there where I felt God's love.

I did a variety of other things on my trip - enjoyed good food, swam in the pool, relaxed in the hot tub, went shopping. It was so good. There are some things that totally stink about being single. My solo trips are not one of them. 

I've spent some time this weekend thinking about God. Who is the God I know? Because honestly, sometimes I feel forsaken. I know I'm not. I know I'm incredibly blessed with so much. But it's easy to fall into the trap. It's easy to, for a split second, feel like God doesn't love you when year after year you're just not getting what you most desire and what you're praying fervently for. 

But I know God is real. He's there. I do know He loves me. I know He has a plan. I don't know why life seems unfair at times. I'm not sure why a friend my same age has six kids and I struggle to get a date. I'm not sure why a friend of mine was taken earlier this year and I get to live and enjoy this beautiful earth. That doesn't seem fair.

For a while now I've been praying for answers. I've been praying for guidance for my life. And nothing has seemingly come. The answer has always been, "Wait. Hold on. Endure." Sometimes that IS the answer. Sometimes we just don't want to hear that AGAIN. But that's where faith comes in. That's where we have to trust that God knows what's ahead. We may not understand why our prayers don't seem to be answered, but God has a purpose. 

And so, sometimes we just have to keep on keepin' on. The words of Jeffrey R. Holland come to mind, "Hope on. Journey on. Honestly acknowledge your questions and your concerns, but first and forever fan the flame of your faith, because all things are possible to them that believe."

The God I know doesn't forsake His children. The God I know loves His children SO much. And one day, however far away that day may seem, He'll bless us beyond our wildest dreams.