Friday, May 20, 2016

The story behind submitting my story

One of my lifelong dreams/goals since I was younger has been to get published in one of the LDS Church's magazines. 

When I was probably 10 or 11 I wrote something and submitted it to the Friend magazine. I was crushed when I got a rejection letter. (Yeah, they actually mailed me one via snail mail back in the day.)

I've still just really wanted to get something published since then. I even put it on my "30 by 30" list. I had a lot of experiences I thought about writing about. But I always wondered if I was a good enough writer.

Well, three years ago I had a special experience in the Mesa Temple. When I left the temple I had the thought to submit my story to the Ensign. Immediately I thought, "No. It's way too personal." But the thought to submit it persisted all the way home. I ended up staying up really late that night and putting it all on paper (well, you know, Microsoft Word). Honestly, I felt I was guided to know what to say/how to word things. I hit submit late that night.

For the next several years it was always in the back of my mind, but I figured they must not have liked it/wanted to use it. 

Imagine my shock and THRILL when one afternoon just before Christmas in 2015 I got an email from someone at the magazine asking me to review my contribution for accuracy. I was SO excited. He said it'd probably be published in June.

So, I've anxiously waited. 

Back in March when I visited Arizona I attended my previous ward. My former Bishop told me the Ensign had contacted him right after I moved (so, in October of 2015) to make sure I was a good person before they published my contribution. Haha. I thought that was so interesting.

Talk about a timetable here! THREE years.

I am so excited to have accomplished this goal. I realize it's only a couple of paragraphs. So, it's probably really silly how excited I am. But I am really, super duper excited (which is why I can't keep quiet about it!).

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Those Who Want To Improve

So, I hate commuting. It's rough. But I can't deny how awesome it has been to spend two hours a day listening to church talks and the scriptures, inspiring music and or pondering. (Ok, and daydreaming. Some of that time is definitely daydreaming. Good thing I'm still a safe driver.)

One thing that has been on my mind a lot lately is:
"The Lord blesses those who want to improve."
(Jeffrey R. Holland, "Tomorrow the Lord Will Do Wonders Among You," April 2016.)

I've realized I fall into that category. I think that's one of my biggest desires. (I mean, we're here to grow and progress, right?) I haven't realized it as much as I have lately, thanks to the Spirit enlightening me and kind of saying, "Hey, that's you."

As I mentioned in the last post, I want to be perfect. And I am not. I realize so much that I am not. Sometimes I leave church feeling so overwhelmed at how much I need to improve and be better at. Sometimes I look at myself in the mirror and get so sad that I am not what I want to be. I am not where I want to be with my weight. I am not the sister, daughter and friend I want to be. I am not as smart as I want to be. I want to be better in so many ways.

Good thing Heavenly Father loves me. And good thing the desire to improve is a good one. And thank goodness for the Atonement of our Savior Jesus Christ, which covers all inadequacies and imperfections. I am forever grateful for that.

Sometimes we need to stop and look at how far we've come. A few years ago I made the decision to improve my health. The picture on the left was me at my heaviest - 35 pounds heavier than I am today - the picture on the right. I'd say that's an improvement! I'd say Heavenly Father is happy with how far I've come. (I couldn't have done it without His help.)

I've come so far in my spiritual progression in the past few years too. I've improved in a lot of ways. But somehow, satan gets me to focus on everything I am not.

I'm thankful for the Spirit's gentle nudges and reminders of how far I have come and how I am doing ok. It's ok I'm not perfect today. I've just got to do my best and keep moving forward.

As Elder Holland said,

Keep loving. Keep trying. Keep trusting. Keep believing. Keep growing. Heaven is cheering you on today, tomorrow, and forever.