Monday, October 12, 2020

Pandemic Reactions

Seven months into the COVID-19 pandemic hysteria and I am actually doing okay! I'm settled. It's the new normal. It wasn't great in the beginning. Not even a little bit. For someone who thought she was so introverted, I hated working from home and being without other people. My entire existence was me, myself, and I... I like myself, but it was awful. The blessing of being invited to attend a Sunday worship meeting each week with a local family and what became a weekly gab session/movie night with a dear friend definitely saved my life (seriously). 

I'm apparently not as introverted as I once believed. While I fully get my peace and energy recharge from my solitude, not being able to have conversations or daily stimulation was gut-wrenching. Believe me, I feel like I've grown dumber during this crazy time. On a work call, it took me 3 tries to explain what was in my head and that's not my style. Trust me, I have no problem explaining what is in my head.

The experience taught me a lot about who I am at my core. There is more strength in me than I realized. Being lonely is never easy, and COVID really challenged my loneliness, but I eventually managed to find some peace. Starting in April, I was able to attend a weekly worship service with friends in their home and I'm still having a weekly movie night with a dear friend. She has literally saved my life. My two big trips for the year were canceled, but I was able to spend a week in Utah. I also got to complete my Pacific Coast road trip!

My relationship with my Heavenly Father and my Savior has grown as well. I didn't take a recess like a lot of other people seem to have done. I've not kept it up weekly as I should have, but I've had a lot of great study experiences and General Conference just a little over a week ago really cemented some things that I was already considering. Yet, I still feel a tad overwhelmed and figuring out where I want to start. Technically, I've started, but I feel totally scattered.

Meanwhile, I've updated my food storage, my 72-hour kit, flipped my mattress, swapped out my summer shorts/capris for more jeans (and then the temp rose back up to 85 - figures), reorganized my closets and pantry (for probably the 10th time), and I even started exercising again. Hopefully, I've also kicked my Coke Zero/Dr. Pepper habit! It almost feels like a new year. 

As always,
Single Mormon Lady

Sunday, May 3, 2020

Trusting in God & His Timing

I've been absent for a couple of months because in the shocker of all shockers, two weeks after my last post, I had the best date I've ever had in my life. What's even funnier, is that one week before that date, I had confidently told a dear friend that I didn't want to date. "I'm really happy where I am! I've got a great job, great family and friends, love where I live, and my ward. I've never been more spiritually centered than I am right now." BOOM - date.

The date turned to a relationship the very next week and we dated for 9 weeks before it ended and it was amazing until it wasn't. Yet, I'm actually okay! It was so beautiful but eye-opening. I learned so much about myself, my relationship with God, and what I want for my future. I am glad I dated him because it was the first time I'd ever had more than one date with another member of my religious faith (I don't count the efforts of flirting to converting in my teen years).

The first month was novel/film perfect. It was as if I had ordered him from a catalog. Everything lined up. I prayed and got confirmation that I was supposed to date him and see how things went as we moved along. As Jane Austen wrote in Pride & Prejudice, “A lady's imagination is very rapid; it jumps from admiration to love, from love to matrimony in a moment.” My confession that my mind did a little leaping into the future shouldn't come as a shock, but I was also pretty grounded in my leaping. I knew there was a lot of work involved. It knew it would take time.

Apart from my time with him, I did so much studying of the scriptures, general conference talks, BYU devotionals, and anything else I could get my hands on about dating and marriage. My brain exploded! There were things that I had never realized before and sunk deep. I even wished that I had seen some of it at 18 and maybe I would have done things differently in my life, but I also know I wouldn't have accepted it then so readily as I have done now.

When the difficult issues began to arise in the second month of dating, all of this education helped me to be in the frame of mind of patience, kindness, openness, vulnerability, trust, and faith. Praying about my relationship with this guy made such a big difference in how I treated him and reacted to him in various situations. I am sad that it ended. I am sad for the potential of what could have been. I can review my time with him and while I was by no means perfect, my behavior was above reproach. I did my best to be Christ-like and I am happy with how I handled everything.

I know that I am a beloved daughter of Heavenly Parents. I know what love and respect should look like and what it should feel like. I understand and recognize more the language of the Holy Ghost as it pertains to me. I have amazing friends that have been so kind, supportive, and loving. I have strengthened my relationship with my Savior and I know that what my Heavenly Father has in store for me is so wonderful. I can't wait to get there!

As always,
Single Mormon Lady

Friday, February 14, 2020

Just Another Day

Facebook reminded me of a post I wrote 3 years ago the day before Valentine's Day and it was an excellent reminder. I'm going to share it because it's just as meaningful and as relevant.

Valentine's Day is just another day on the calendar this year! I'm not even moaning about it being Singles' Awareness Day. Why? Well, I've been complimented a few times about my independence lately and it has made me think a lot.

In my faith, marriage and family are very important. I've been raised to have it as one of my life goals. Twenty years of my life have been spent trying to find the right person. I often feel like a failure and that I don't belong in the religion I was raised in.

However, I am not dead. My life is not over or incomplete just because I am single. I'm still a beloved child of my Heavenly Parents. This isn't Jane Austen's time period. While I might feel like a spinster, I have options. I cannot sit around and wait for something to happen. If there is something I want to see or do, I have to do it, even if it means doing it alone. I don't want to come to the end of my life and find myself with regrets!

In doing this, I'm reminding others that they can do it too. People really don't pay attention to the single person at the movie theater or a restaurant. You're not being stared at or whispered over. More than likely, if they even notice, they're probably wishing they could be that brave.

As always
Single Mormon Lady

Monday, January 20, 2020

Being All In

There is a fantastic podcast by LDS Living, which is a division of Deseret Book, called “All In” that I’ve been listening to for the past year. It’s an interview style where artists and authors and other notable people share their faith. At the end of the podcast they always ask, “What does it mean to be all in the Gospel of Jesus Christ?”

I always love to hear how others answer that question, what it means to them. Hearing "all in" often makes me think of poker, even though I've only ever played poker once in my life. A player is so fully committed to the hand, to winning, that they bet all that they have, knowing there's a chance they may lose everything. As I listened to an episode yesterday before church, I decided I would create a collection of all the answers and find a theme. There are over 60 answers, so this is just a highlighted list.
    • Let go and trust God.
    • Have a heart like Heavenly Father, loving as Christ would love.
    • Giving everything I am to sharing the gospel.
    • Being a witness for the Book of Mormon.
    • Be strong and valiant, but recognize I can make mistakes and know where to find redemption.
    • Stay in the covenant relationship.
    • Choose to believe and choose to understand I don't have all the answers.
    • It's okay to have questions and doubts and still be all in because I'm working to have a better relationship with the Savior.
    • Choosing to be a person of faith.
    • Being where God has asked me to be.
    • Doing what's right, right now, in the moment.
    • Allow myself to be vulnerable and teachable.
    • Take action every day in the basics of what I've always been taught: use faith, read, pray, and act.
    • Be willing to let Christ into my life so deeply that whatever is not godly love is burned away.
    • No retreat. In it for the good and the bad, when I'm at my best and at my worst.
    • Deciding ahead of time to do whatever is asked, whatever is required.
  • What does it mean to me to be all in the Gospel of Jesus Christ? I think it means everything: committing myself completely to Christ, following in His footsteps, but also knowing I won't be perfect in this life and that I have to use the atonement. I also like that someone else pointed out that I can be all in and doing my best, but still struggle, have questions and doubts. For too long, I was taught that I had to be perfect. It's not possible to be perfect in this life. As long as my heart is in the right place, I'm golden.

    As always
    Single Mormon Lady

    Sunday, December 15, 2019

    Progress & Prayers

    Ever since my trip to Italy, my spiritual study has been lacking. I recognized it and wanted to get back into it, but I could not find the motivation! Time Out For Women came to Kansas City in September and being able to attend sparked that motivation. I had a chance meeting with Barbara Morgan Gardner and since I had her book in hand, she offered to sign it! I'm not starstruck, but that was pretty cool. General Conference came a month later and the news that my city was getting a temple (Bentonville, Arkansas)! The excitement during the women's session at the stake center was crazy. I was so ready to study and ponder and further my progress, but life took a difficult turn afterward.

    My mother was taken to the ER a week after the conference and after getting her home, we all thought it was okay, but she was taken to the ER again the very next day. This began a 6 week long saga that I won't go into huge detail on, but I will say that I learned much about the power of prayer and of the priesthood. I had the most horrific two days of my life, thinking that I was going to lose my mom. My mom is my best friend and I've always thought I would be a total basket case and might never recover from losing her. There was a moment in a waiting room where I had to have a very frank conversation with God that it would wreck me if He took her, but I would be okay; that I trusted in Him.

    Prayers were answered. There's no way to deny it. If I ever doubted in God answering prayers before, I know without a shadow of a doubt now that He does answer prayers. It's been two months since the trouble started and a month since mom's been home (she's doing well) and I find myself back in a spiritual slump. However, my bishop reminded me that the gospel of Jesus Christ isn't just about checking off a to-do list of reading scriptures and praying. It's also about just living the gospel and I've been doing that - and it's okay.

    As always
    Single Mormon Lady

    Sunday, August 25, 2019

    Language: Beauty and Beast

    Language is the ultimate form of communication whether written, spoken, or expressed in movements of hands. It can be beautiful or ugly, inciting emotions such as joy, trust, and surprise or sadness, disgust, and fear. Language truly matters and allows for self expression, giving everyone the opportunity share thoughts and feelings. In 1993, Toni Morrison said in her acceptance speech for the Nobel Prize in Literature: "Language alone protects us from the scariness of things with no names. Language alone is meditation."

    I am in love with Patriot Act by Hasan Minhaj on Netflix. Yes, I'm a conservative, white woman from middle-class, gun-toting America (yet not a Trump supporter), but he is intense, funny, intelligent, and on point for current news. However, I stumbled upon his Deep Cut clips on YouTube where he takes audience questions and I was extremely disappointed to hear so much cursing from him and his guests. Don't get me wrong, I've heard him curse on the show, but the clips are a different story. On top of that, knowing he is a devout Muslim, it seriously bothers me that he uses the name of Christ so easily.

    The use of profanity in everyday conversation has become pervasive, especially with Gen Xers’ and millennials, but others as well. Far too many well-known celebrities and politicians use profanity in their daily dialogue. It seems to be a badge of honor for the Hollywood crowd.

    Part of the argument is that swearing allows someone to express themselves as individuals. Self expression is a key point of language but how about standing out as an individual with the ability to express yourself in better language? The claim is that we should stop putting importance on swearing because they're just words; we give the power of certain words to be bad. While that claim is true, words do have power and it is not possible to suddenly change the power of those words. The basis of profanity is the fact that the words are used in idleness. They're easier to use, come to the tongue more quickly, generally without thought of respect. Allowing yourself to be lazy in words brings your overall mind to laziness which can bring it into your daily life.

    I was raised in a Christian home, but with a rebellious nature such as mine, the desire to learn and use vulgar vocabulary was easy to complete. There were some periods of time where I used some profanity quite easily, but it never sat comfortably. Even today, a word might slip especially when I stub a toe and I have caught myself allowing a word slip here and there at work or with certain friends because of the current sway of popularity. I feel like I have to challenge myself to be different from the rest of the popular crowd - I don't want to be part of the ignorant masses.

    As always
    Single Mormon Lady
    P.S. Enjoy some of my favorite words below:

    Jane Austen, Sense and Sensibility:
    "I wish, as well as everybody else, to be perfectly happy; but, like everybody else, it must be in my own way."

    William Shakespeare, Sonnet 116:
    Sonnet 116

    William Shakespeare, Much Ado About Nothing:
    Benedick: Then is courtesy a turncoat. But it is certain I am loved of all ladies, only you excepted: and I would I could find in my heart that I had not a hard heart; for, truly, I love none.

    Beatrice: A dear happiness to women: they would else have been troubled with a pernicious suitor. I thank God and my cold blood, I am of your humor for that: I had rather hear my dog bark at a crow than a man swear he loves me.

    1 Corinthians 2:5
    That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.

    Sarah J. Maas, Throne of Glass:
    "Libraries were full of ideas ― perhaps the most dangerous and powerful of all weapons."

    Dead Poets Society:
    “No matter what anybody tells you, words and ideas can change the world.”

    Arthur Golden, Memoirs Of A Geisha:
    “The heart dies a slow death, shedding each hope like leaves until one day there are none. No hopes. Nothing remains.”

    r.h. Sin:
    she has the mindset
    of a Queen
    and the heart
    of a warrior
    she is everything
    all at once
    and too much
    for anyone who
    doesn't deserve her
    she is you

    L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables:
    “Tomorrow is always fresh, with no mistakes in it yet.”

    Sarah J Maas, Heir of Fire:
    "It would not take a monster to destroy a monster ― but light, light to drive out darkness."

    NF, Leave Me Alone:

    Jim Butcher, Proven Guilty:
    "When everything goes to hell, the people who stand by you without flinching - they are your family."

    Lois Lowry, Number the Stars:
    “And they are beginning to realize that the world they live in is a place where the right thing is often hard, sometimes dangerous, and frequently unpopular.”

    Stieg Larsson, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo:
    “Friendship - my definition- is built on two things. Respect and trust. Both elements have to be there. And it has to be mutual. You can have respect for someone, but if you don't have trust, the friendship will crumble.”

    Nora Roberts, Face the Fire:
    “I admire independence. The world would be a stronger place if we were all capable of handling life on our own. But being capable of it doesn't mean being unable to share and depend on someone else. It shouldn't mean being unwilling to. That's the romance.”

    Kate Quinn, Mistress of Rome:
    “I undertake to be burnt by fire, to be bound in chains, to be beaten by rods, and to die by the sword.”

    Maria V. Snyder, Poison Study:
    “Everyone makes choices in life. Some bad, some good. It's called living, and if you want to bow out, then go right ahead. But don't do it halfway. Don't linger in whiner's limbo.”

    Vanessa Diffenbaugh, The Language of Flowers:
    “Your behavior is a choice; it isn’t who you are.”

    Sarah J. Maas, A Court of Mist and Fury:
    “When you spend so long trapped in darkness, Lucien, you find that the darkness begins to stare back.”

    Amita Trasi, The Color of Our Sky:
    “The truth remains quiet inside us, floundering like a battered bird, desperately wanting to spread its wings and fly away.”

    Sunday, July 28, 2019

    Happily Single One Year Later

    During a recent Marco Polo catch up with one of my dearest friends, I had a couple of epiphanies about my life and I've been pondering them for a couple of weeks. A little over a year ago, I posted about being single and happy and guess what? I still am! In fact, I feel that happiness has only increased. There's a tendency for people to assume that if you’re female and unmarried that you must be unhappy. While there's nothing wrong with wishing I was in a relationship, it also doesn't mean I'm desperate or unhappy!

    Being single is quite literally a rather solitary existence. It's not always an easy lifestyle, whether chosen or not. All of the peers from my upbringing are married, most of them choosing to have children. Our lives are very different and unfortunately, there's some sort of unspoken rule that the difference is too great of a divide. It's difficult to stay in touch or be included, simply because our lives are so vastly different. I've been invited to activities before and while I'm happy to attend, I find myself drowning in conversations that are only about children. Once, I mentioned to my sister that very problem and her reply was just that it was their entire lives. I can understand that, but they're still people with hopes and dreams beyond their kids right? Maybe that's why it's a divide because I can't wrap my mind around that perspective. What happens when the kids are gone? Who are they going to be then?

    Most of the self-help guru talk says that being single means that you have more time to improve yourself, focus on career, hobbies, and health. I've done a lot of growing up past couple of years and I'm more mature and sure of myself. There's a level of confidence in getting what I want, like time to invest in things that actually matter to me: family, friends, traveling, and reading.

    Recently, I thought that my time would be wisely invested in getting a second degree. My company offers a degree program in business management for $1 a day and with my career path, it seemed like a wise choice. Unfortunately, six weeks in, it's not a good use of my time. I hated college the first time around and my loathing hasn't changed in the past 13 years since I graduated. Part of me was feeling like I'd let myself down, especially considering how many people I'd told about it, but then it hit me. Who cares? I need to do what makes me happy and school is not it.

    I'm allowed to make choices that make sense for me and I don't care what other people think.

    As always
    Single Mormon Lady