Sunday, November 22, 2015

The Good Ones Are Taken…….


WAY TO SOON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

And, honestly it is SO unfair!

I found out this week my cousin’s husband passed away. Now to clarify before anyone who reads this freaks out, by blood she is not my cousin but my whole life she has been considered my cousin and I see it no other way. I spent many days up the mountain at her house and I love her and her family as if they are truly blood related.

My cousin was married 6 years ago I believe and has a little boy. Shortly after their son was born her husband found out he had leukemia. He beat cancer 3 times in the past 4 years and was recently diagnosed a fourth time.

I did not know him very well but I would follow their blog posts and facebook updates as they went on this journey. He always impressed me with his faith, courage and unwavering determination even through the hardest of times. Often times I was buoyed up by their posts and my testimony of faith and endurance was strengthened. There have been numerous posts since his passing of people commenting just as I am. He truly seemed like a remarkable man.

Right before she got married I ran into her at an LDS temple I was volunteering in and we chatted for a time and I then offered to give her a ride home. She was meeting up with him later that evening to head to Idaho. Although my meeting with him was brief, less than 5 minutes I knew at that moment she had found a special man. My thoughts were confirmed at their wedding reception. They seemed like the perfect match for each other.
But now he’s gone! WHY???? Why was he chosen to bear that burden? Why was she chosen to be his partner through that time? Why does their son not get the chance to be raised by both parents? So many WHY questions and not very many answers.

As I have thought about this since finding out the news on Wednesday I think of all the people I know who have been taken too early from this life. My parents have had many friends pass away in the last few years and my parents are not that old. They are still considered young with many years to live. So why were their friends taken? Why are babies born to shortly leave this world? Why is a 31 year old man gone?

All of these people I am thinking of who are gone to soon have the same characteristics as her husband. Strong, faithful, determined individuals. Unwavering in their faith and a desire to always do good. Always an example to the rest of us.

I don’t have the answers nor think my thoughts are the perfect answers but as I have pondered each of these deaths I have a strong confirmation that God truly has a bigger plan than we realize. I honestly believe he is preparing something huge and he needs these faithful servants on the other side to help him with the preparation. He knew of their hearts and intentions and unwavering faith and knew that is what he needed to help him. Even though I feel they were taken WAY too early, I believe even though it is hard to accept, God took them at the exact time they were suppose to go. In his mind they left this earth when they were supposed to, to help him in his preparations. I believe God operates on a perfect timetable and through a perfect plan. I know one day I will look back on these experiences and it will make perfect sense.

Does this ease the pain or make the pain go away? I don’t think so. I can’t even begin to imagine the pain, the sorrow, the heartache she and others go through. I can’t even fathom the appropriate words to say during times like this. I just know that God knows and he will provide the comfort needed. But I honestly feel for me, I need to take these examples and strive to live my life like theirs. All of these people who have passed on taught us through their example of how to live, how to endure, how to show unwavering faith and have reminded us we can do hard things and press forward in steadfastness so that we can live worthy to see them again someday.


Some of these people I didn’t know personally just like him but I have learned so much from these individuals and even though they are gone to early they are certainly not forgotten and I thank them for their examples.  Thank you for teaching me important life lessons and reminding me the importance of setting an example because there may be someone I don’t know very well who might be looking to my example of how I endure, how I demonstrate courage, and how I show unwavering faith. 



Sunday, November 15, 2015

Magic 8 Ball

Hey you!
Yay you!
        The ten year old little girl with the magic 8 ball!
                        Did you get the answers you were looking for?

Oh how we thought that little ball had the answers to the deepest questions of our hearts at the time!
        Does Peter like me? Does he even know who I am?
        Am I going to get an A on my math test?

Some of those questions looking back were the silliest questions of all time. But what if, seriously what if that little ball was more like a glass ball that foretold the future.
What if you shook that little ball and it revealed……

Your teenage years would be the hardest years of your life. That you would hide out in the library in junior high to free yourself from ridicule of others. That none of the girls in your grade in your neighborhood wanted you to be their friend, didn’t want you to share the tent with them at camp because you were not “cool”, made fun of you for being a “good girl”.

That you would get a college degree and actually go on to get a masters degree as well?

That you would serve a mission for your church and it would be one of the most trying times of your life and you would question your ability to succeed? But with determination and faith you will finish honorably and that it will become a defining moment in your life that will shape your life.

That you will meet the guy of your dreams, that cowboy with a truck, a farmhouse and even horses! The guy you dreamed about for years. And everyone around you will say he’s the type you have always wanted. The guy you will go on drives with through the mountains and he will let you drive his new big truck to distract yourself from worrying about your mom in hospital having surgery. The guy who will bake you the biggest cake from scratch that you would ever receive for your birthday. The guy who simply adored you.

That you will break this guys heart when you realize it is not right and you have this pit in your stomach telling you, you still have so much to learn and to do and it is not meant to be and you must walk away and move forward and so you do. And when you have a fight and he tells you, you never appreciated him the way he deserved and you secretly know it is true and he moves on and finds his true happiness and as you move to Utah your heart breaks as well seeing his broken heart but you stuff it all away and move on.

That years later when you and your mom will randomly bring him up one day you both will simultaneously admit the one thing you always admired about him is that he is the only one in your life that has loved you for you. He had no hidden agenda, he didn’t want to be around you until something better came along in his life, that he was real, genuine, and only wanted the best for you. And that is one thing you will always appreciate about him.

That one day you will fall completely in love with someone and give four years of your life to this person who will eventually fill you with false hopes and dreams to walk away without any explanation. That you will cry for weeks and it will take you a long time to get over this and build up your self esteem and self worth again. That one day the apology you will get is, “I’m sorry I hurt your family the way I did.”

That you will have the craziest career path known to someone in their twenties and thirties and see and hear things you wouldn’t wish on anyone else your age and it begins to give you a jaded perspective of life but that, that career path will lead you to a path that you will come to love which ironically is being back in Junior High. Ya, Junior High the place you desperately wanted to get away from. And that you will develop this sincere and deep desire to help these teenagers to overcome the trials of teenage years and become successful adults in this crazy world. That you will feel you a deeper understanding of what it means to combine career and passion and love the opportunity you are having to experience this.

That you will one day open your heart again after overcoming your broken heart to hear the words, “Where do you see yourself in my and my boys lives” and feeling ecstatic to hearing two days later, “Just kidding I went back to my girlfriend I had broken up with. I know she doesn’t love my boys and questions her love for me but I moved her to Utah so I need to continue with it. It is my obligation.”

That one day your brother will challenge you to run a marathon even though you have only been running for a few years and not very fast. That you will spend a year working full time, going to school working on your Masters, and attempting to train for the Marathon. And even though you are not getting “fast” everyone else around you who you have inspired are getting faster and with each of their accomplishments and congrats you give them you begin to feel worse about yourself. That one day the Marathon will arrive and you start out with leg, feet, and hip pain and then because mother nature is funny you will also have to deal with your time of the month starting early and you barely make it to each porta potty for the first 9 miles silently screaming inside because of cramps and lower back pains. That your brother will leave you at mile 13 and that you will continue on. That you will go across that finish line not as the fastest person but determined to accomplish the task you sat out to complete and the joy you will experience as you are surrounded by your friends and family.

That one day you will decide at age 34 you really want to start meeting people and getting out more so you will challenge yourself to do on line dating again and going to parties and activities. That through this nine month process instead of moving forward it affects your self esteem and self worth and self confidence as you experience rejection after rejection and ignored continuously that it will then take most of the summer and the fall of your 35th year to actually begin liking yourself again and seeing yourself positively in the mirror instead of cringing at your every fault. And it will take a lot of mental self talk to say it’s okay if they don’t find you funny, skinny enough, athletic enough, not impressed you have a career and bettering yourself with going back to school, that they actually don’t like you have stayed strong to your religious beliefs and that you desire what your religion teaches you, that they don’t view you as a priority and cancel your date they agreed to go on with you because they made other plans at the exact same time they agreed to go on with you but made it a point to attend other events mutual friends planned.

That you will meet people who will think it is funny to make fun of the fact you have big breast and comment about it in front of other people and other people who will make fun of your big butt to the point you continuously struggle with self image because of those two things and every day you now become self conscious of them whereas before they didn’t bother you as much because they were not readily pointed out to you.

That one day you will come to love the title AUNT and look forward to seeing those kids any chance you get because they melt your heart and make everything seem alright again.

That you will have a health scare at age 16 have it taken care of at age 18 and have it return at age 34 and you will have to spend the next two years having following up appointments because the doctor doesn’t feel like surgery is the answer this time like it was at age 18.

That you will realize you are 35 and will come to the realization that rocking the single life might be the path you are going to travel on for longer than you ever expected and will have to come to be okay with that realization and continue to move forward with happiness and light in your life. That you will realize if you let yourself dwell on that realization it will bring you to a despair you don’t want to be in. That every day as you come to accept this feeling you keep receiving that you begin to see SO many blessings in your life and even though you don’t like this feeling you in turn have a deeper trust and faith in things not yet revealed to you but know you are still cared and loved and one day you will look back with a greater understanding for having to walk this path.

So what if? What if you saw all of these things in your life plus many more? Would you continue to move forward?

There are times when I wish I would have known some things because I think I would have reacted differently. I wouldn’t have waited to accomplish some things; I would have had more confidence in me and my abilities and been okay with moving forward and not “waiting” to have experiences.

But for the most part, I am thankful that magic 8 ball didn’t turn into a magic ball that revealed my life to me. I am thankful for every good and hard and sad and heart breaking experience I have had. It is through those experiences that I have come to be who I am and I am striving to become. Each of these experiences have built upon on each other and taught me more than I could have ever imagined.

So little 10 year old girl with the magic 8 ball shake it all you want and ask those silly questions and move forward with the blind faith you were given because each step into the dark unknown reveals a growth, a stronger conviction to brighter days and days of sunshine and smiles and a thankfulness in your heart for each situation you have pulled yourself through. You will have greater appreciation and respect and love for your life and the person you are and becoming from each unknown.


P.S. in case the magic 8 ball didn’t tell you: Peter didn’t like you or really know who you are and your brothers will tease you about him for years so accept your silly little crush and endure the teasing with a smile. J


Friday, December 5, 2014

Life Changing

Do Unto Others As Thou Desirest Unto Thee

Such a Simple Phrase, really

But do we truly understand the deep meaning of that phrase?

I experienced a few events recently that have given me the opportunity to ponder this phrase a little more. Events I would like to share with you. But first I must share some background information to help you understand the significance of this phrase for me.

The back background

Let’s begin back in time. Growing up you could say I was a bit of a loser and a loner. I was the outcast to most of the girls my age in the neighborhood and only one of them would play with me in grade school. Junior High came and I found myself in the library hiding from the teasing and the torment and the ridicule s of Junior High life. In High School I was smart enough to be with all the cool kids in the honor classes but never cool enough to hang out with them. I could count the number of friends I had on one hand.

But despite it all something inside always told me to press on, turn the other cheek, and follow the golden rule. But what I didn't know at that time my heart was also slowly closing in on a true definition of love, kindness and selfless giving. At a young age it was becoming jaded. But move forward I would. I would give unto others, show kindness and try to show people how I wished to be treated.

There would be times when I would think I get this give and take but to eventually find out others would take and take and take of my kindness and generosity until it no longer benefited them and then I was tossed aside like yesterdays garbage. My view becomes a little more jaded.

Now don’t get me wrong, I have met a few people in my life who defy these definitions I have seen in my life and I truly love and admire them. Their example of purity, kindness, and selfless acts of service is what keeps my heart open. Keeps me from giving up on mankind all together. But this is not easy. I have become very closed and sheltered and I question things. If I have asked you for help it has taken A LOT of courage on my end to ask. It is not easy for me. I worry how it will later affect me. There have been a handful of people I have had to rely on in my life and I hope they know my true heartfelt thanks. But there have been other times when I asked for help and a person will make a snarky comment about me asking another person for help. Questioning my motives in asking. When this happens I feel embarrassed, ashamed, and wishing I could hide in a hole. Again my view becomes jaded and I frighten over the thought of asking that person for help again. Sadly the person who helped me usually has no clue and I’m sure they find my future reactions a bit odd. I find myself avoiding and apologizing for even bothering them. But I am truly indebted and grateful to the handful of people who put light into my heart.

The background

Now to switch gears a little but only to help you understand the experiences I want to share. A few years ago I endured 3 foot surgeries in 2 years. During this time I decided to pick up running. I often wonder why because honestly I am not a runner. I do not possess the athletic ability of an athlete but I decided to attempt running anyway. I year ago I was challenged to sign up for a marathon. 26.2 grueling miles!!!!  I accepted the challenge and began preparing for this feat. At the exact same time I decided to run a marathon I decided to begin a Master’s program. My year became a year of going to school, working full time, fulfilling my church calling and attempting to run whenever I could. With the demands of life, I wasn't able to prepare for the run the way I wanted to but I pushed forward anyway I could. The end of June I began experiencing pain from my hips to the tip of my toes. I figured it was due to the fact I was running and preparing for the marathon and keeping up with my busy life.

With horrible excruciating pain I showed up to run the race. I had come this far and I didn't want to back down. Everyone knew I was preparing for this race and I couldn't let them or myself down. In fact some of the people I mentioned previously who have shown me true kindness were there to cheer me to the finish! The race was one of the hardest things I have ever endured. Many times I wondered if I would make it to the finish line. But I kept the finish line forever in my mind and pictured myself crossing the line and picking up my finishers medal. I wanted that medal so badly. I wanted to prove to myself that I did it. That I set out to accomplish a goal and I fulfilled it.

I eventually made it through the finish line and received my medal. Tears still come to my eyes as I remember crossing that finish line and seeing my family waiting for me. The medal has hung in my cubicle at work since the race. The medal has come to mean more to me than a tangible reward. On the back it is engraved Finisher. To some it is just a “Finisher Medal” and means nothing more. To me that word means everything. To me, it means I am a finisher! When life is hard or I feel defeated or wonder if I can endure one more thing I see my medal and realize I can because I am a finisher in this life.


The experiences

Three weeks ago I brought my medal home to share during a church meeting. The night I brought it home I had picked up 3 of my 5 nieces and nephews for a weekend of fun. Upon returning from a night of fun and laughter I received a text message the lock to the door to my house was broken. Just as quickly as I received the message just as quickly I was left alone in the cold with 3 little kids to fix the problem. I got stuck handling the landlord and the locksmith while attempting to keep the children warm and occupied all by myself. One of the kind people I have mentioned previously just happened to be around the corner and text me to enjoy my weekend I had been anticipating for a few weeks now. I relayed the story of the broken lock and how I was trying to juggle it all by myself. Her and her husband came to my rescue to give a much needed and grateful hand. While they had an eye on the children I decided to quickly grab the children’s bag and the items I was going to share in my lesson on Sunday. Just as I shut the door to my car I felt my medal slip out of my arms. In the dark I quickly put everything down and searched frantically for it. To my dismay under the piles of leaves was a drain and my medal fell in. Gone! All I had worked for GONE! We grabbed a broom handle and it didn't even touch the bottom. There was so much water and leaves and the smell was horrible. All I could do in the moment was sit down and cry. Now some may laugh I cried over losing that medal but that medal had come to mean so much to me on a deeper level. I was devastated to say the least.


The Monday after losing my medal I ended up at a new Doctor’s office because the pain I mentioned hasn't gone away. I was told I have stress fractures. Cracks in my bones in my legs!!!!!!!!! Both legs! I was informed I did the marathon that way. I was also told of other feet problem I am having. I didn't even have my medal to show what I endured either.

I shared my story with a few people not thinking anything of it. I was bummed out and just wanted to talk about it. It’s not like there is anything they could do. My medal is at the depth of some scum filled sewer pit and the race is long over. So I thought…..

Two weeks ago I was talking to my Bishop (leader of my church) and he asked me how I was doing since losing my medal and what thoughts went through my head when I lost it. I told him I was sad but what else could I do and I told him he didn't want to know what my thoughts were the moment I realized it was gone. Not a moment I am most proud of that is for sure. Then all of the sudden he tossed me…… MY MEDAL!!!!!
And asked if this would cheer me up. I sat there stunned, shocked, and at a loss for words. I was so overwhelmed and touched by the gesture. After he heard my story he relayed it to the city public works guy and he came out and suctioned all that water, muck, leaves, and horrible nasty smell out of the drain until my medal came up. My heart was opened and I was humbled.

However……. The story continues on. As I retold this experience I found out my neighbor in Idaho who encouraged me to run the marathon called his son for the race director’s number. My neighbor then contacted the race director and retold my story. He got me a new medal. My neighbor was going to surprise me with a new medal over Thanksgiving but I ruined the surprise unknowingly when I excitedly told him about my Bishop. My heart was opened and I was humbled.

The story continues……. I then found out my sis in law who documented this feat with pictures was devastated after I told her about my lost medal and the stress fractures. She later told me I was sick to my stomach that something you worked so hard for was gone. She called every number she could think of trying to get me a new medal. She finally got through and the person said, is she the one who lost it done the drain? Uh…yes she replies. The person said her neighbor here in Idaho has already taken care of it. My heart was opened and I was humbled.

The story continues on……. The director of my division after he heard the story went on line and was in search of finding me a new medal. My new manager was doing the exact same thing then found out our director was. Our office specialist told her husband and they were both so sad for me he was trying to find a magnet heavy enough he could send down the drain. My heart was opened and I was humbled.

The story isn't over……… SO MANY PEOPLE expressed heartfelt sadness for me over losing my medal. They genuinely cared and were saddened f or my loss. Many expressed I thought it was gone like you and didn't think there was anything else we could do. Just those showing me this love and kindness were more than enough.My heart was opened and I was humbled. 

DO unto others as thou desirest unto thee…. It is a simple phrase. But with a meaning much much deeper. I have never received such kindness and thoughtfulness as I have in the past few weeks.  Some times in our lives we, well in my case any way, I often wonder do I matter? Do people really care about me or am I just a passerby who is unnoticed? If I was to die tomorrow (which I sure hope I don’t) but if I did would anyone come to my funeral?

Well that small act changed my whole outlook. I realized that people knew how much something as insignificant as a medal meant the world to me. They knew I worked hard to accomplish this. It was the ultimate act of kindness. True Christ-like kindness and now whenever I look upon my medal or I should say my 2 medals they will have a deeper meaning, a more significant meaning. Thank you for showing me the kindness and generosity of others. Some of these people I don’t associate with on a daily basis as in my close circle of contacts but to them little me meant something.

Even though I struggle with true heartfelt kindness from others because I haven’t always seen it in my life my thought process has been forever changed. Just because some people take advantage of my kindness and giving to them, just because some people make snarky comments and I feel embarrassed afterwards this is NOT the whole world. There are more than a small handful of people out there who are genuine, who are kind, who know what it means to mourn with those who mourn, and above all who daily live and has taught me to continue to:

Do Unto Others As Thou Desirest Unto Thee

It Matters!

It’s Real!

It has forever changed me!


Saturday, July 12, 2014

Difference

All day I have been in one of those exhausted modes but I can't sleep and I think I am a little dehydrated but not enough energy to do more than sit on my butt and stare at the ceiling. I keep reviewing the days event and the moments that led up to this and decide to share the journey.

 A few years ago I decided I was going to start running. My older brother picked up running to help him through his divorce and a year later I ended up nursing a heart break that I didn't know could hurt as bad as it did. I had invested four years of my life into something that not only backfired in my face but slapped me right on the ground to pain I don't ever want to experience again. I was in a bad shape and had hit a low that took A LONG TIME to recover from. I had seen my brother run a race and decided my goal would be to go back home and run that same race a year later.

 My sister in law was at my side the entire time and coached me while my older brother documented the experience. There were times she had me run and there were times she had me walk. Through both I was able to not only accomplish my goal but beat the time I had set for myself. I had signed up for the race with another person and when we finished and people would congratulate me she would pipe up and say, I ran the whole race. I ran the whole way and I didn't walk once.

 By this time I had already undergone two feet surgeries so I thought it was just great I had made it through the finish line. But little did I know those words would come to haunt me. After those comments I started to value my worth on ONLY if I ran. For awhile it was a motivation and with time I was running non stop through 5K's and then through 10K's and even though I was not the fastest I thought it is okay, I ran and with time I will get faster. And with time I did start to get faster. Then I tore all the ligaments in my right ankle and then I endured another foot surgery. This resulted in 3 foot surgeries in 2 years. Ever since the last surgery my running ability has declined tremendously. I can still run but I can not get back up to the speed I was at. With every move my body hurts worse.

 Last fall my older brother talked me into signing up for a full marathon that will take place in 7 weeks from today. I have been training and even though I am getting the distances in and I am running I am running so SLOW. Because of this I have beat myself up emotionally over this and have begun to think I am of no value because I am not fast and at times I don't run the entire time because I have achy feet or charlie horses or pains in my back. I keep at it though because despite the pain I don't want to let my brother down and I want us both to be able to accomplish hard things. But my emotional state turns into a self defeating turmoil. I will hear how fast people are running or I will hear comments that I could run faster if I really wanted to and each time I sink into deeper despair. There were always people who keep cheering me on through my self destruct but I was struggling to snap out of it.

At times I would actually voice my frustration and I would say, When I run I am running the fastest I can. At times my arches are literally on fire. Charlie horses are like a knife being taken to the back of your leg. At times my back hurts so bad it takes my breath away. I was not born a runner. I have never ran but despite my limitations I am doing the best I can. I know exercise is good for me and I know I will get through this race but man it is hard at times. Then there are times I run and no aches and pains ever.

 I knew a good way to test myself and to see where I was for the full marathon was to sign up for a half marathon. But because of my negative thoughts I have been really SCARED for this day. I am not going to be any good. It is going to take a long time. I am not going to be like the other runners. blah blah blah. Well last week I went to visit my parents after not being home for a few months and I was able to have some awesome conversations with my mom. We discussed my involvement with my church youth girls and how much I love serving in this capacity. Then we talked about my job and school and some major decisions I have to make. Both conversations went well so the next time we were able to talk I voiced my emotions and how much I was beating myself up. My mom can be competitive at some things so I didn't know what I would expect from her. What followed was a moment that changed my life.

She gave me the neatest and best pep talk ever. She reminded me of my worth and that the only competition was against myself. She told me I know my limitations and why beat myself up to fit into a running mold that I may never be in because of my limitations. She encouraged me to do my best, challenge myself by going the distances with the half and the full marathon but it doesn't matter what others think or how others do but how I succeed with what I have before me. After talking to my mom it was like this burden was lifted off my shoulders and I was actually excited for today.

 So here is the run down of the day:

48 hours prior 

all the music was erased from my Ipod and thanks to Facebook friends I was able to download enough of their suggestions to make it through the race. Whenever a song came on they suggested I dedicated that portion of the race to them because they inspired me. 

 24 hours prior

I bought awesome new shoe laces and socks and picked up my packet. By 845 pm I had everything packed and laid out so I could be up by 330 am to get ready. I was in bed by 9 pm and tossed and turned all night long and finally the alarm went off. I dressed, grabbed my items and was out the door by 415 am. 

 445 am 

the bus started the longest ride (my co-worker warned me of this) up the canyon and to distract myself I struck up a conversation with the girl next to me. I never got her name but she became my buddy until the race began. 

 515am 

we arrived at the top of the canyon and it was cold. I ate my breakfast and drank my water and tried not to freak out. 

 6 am 

I walked about 400 yards further to the porta pottys but realized everyone else had the same idea. After the longest line I was feeling much better and headed back down to the welcoming tent. 

 625 am 

realized I needed to use the restroom again but also knew the race would start in 5 minutes. I thought maybe it is nerves and it will go away. 

 630 am 

the race began and I thought oh crap I am running a 1/2 marathon today. 

 Mile 1 

I REALLY needed to use the bathroom and thought someone said there would be one at mile 2 

 Mile 2.......

And no bathrooms and I thought there is no way I can do this. Ran a little bit longer than paused ran up the side of the mountain popped a squat and was quickly on my way again. I never thought having to learn the art of popping a squat hiking with my brothers would come in handy. 

 Mile 4 

I thought wow what a beautiful canyon and I am all alone 

 Mile 5 

Started to get passed by an old woman and she was OLD. I said do you like to run a lot and she said of yes. I said this is my first and she said the beauty of the first is that you never get that back. I said how long have you been running and she said I started 15 years ago and this is my 94th race! And I thought seriously Sarah this is enough to stop you from beating yourself up. She said the older I get though the slower I get. I said I feel that some days and she said dear it doesn't matter how you cross the finishing line just as long as you finish upright. Probably best comment EVER :) I soon passed her and continued on my way. Passed a few more people. 

 Mile 6 

Looked down and realized that if I was just doing a 10K I would have set a PR for myself today. This boosted my spirits and away I went. We turned on to the actual canyon trail and encountered some crazy steep hills. I wondered if I was going to make it to the top of them. Along the trail I passed a few more people 

 Mile 8 

My hands were so swollen (new thing the past 2 weeks) that I couldn't close them. 

 Mile 9 

It was hot and I could feel my body wanting to be done 

 Mile 10 

I cursed my brother for wanting to do a marathon and thought dang that is far and if I was running it now I wouldn't even be half way lol   

Mile 11 

The volunteer looks at me and says only 2 more miles its easy. If I wasn't beginning to feel delirious I might have thought he was. 

 Mile 12 

I almost kissed that mile marker and began to pick up speed and then the pains began in the back of BOTH legs 

 12.80 

I saw the High School insight and thought I had never been so happy to see that school 

 12.90 

Turned the corner and two amazing friends were there to cheer me on despite the fact I came in WAY later than we estimated. They cheered and ran beside me 

 13.1 

I crossed through the finish line and have never felt more exhausted, relieved, and excited all at once. I did it!!! I just completed a 1/2 marathon. I pushed my body as hard as I could, challenged myself a little, but knew my limits and did the best I could. I did this race for me and man did it feel great 

 Highlights of the day: 

still laughing over the fact I popped a squat during a race
met an amazing lady with a great perspective
accomplished a goal I had and I did it Sarah style. :) 

Today was an amazing day and it gave me a glimpse of what the marathon will be like. I want to do some things a little different and now I have 7 weeks to prepare. How will it all be accomplished??? I am not sure quite yet but I know it will be in a way that pushes me but in a way I know I can do it. One thing I do know though is on August 30th 2014 I will proudly start a 26.2 mile race and at some point I will proudly cross the finish line of that race claim my participant medal and know despite my limitations I didn't back down and pushed through accomplished the goal and I will have done it for me, just like today. 

Thank you Hobble Canyon for giving me 13.1 miles to experience life through a whole different view :)

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

RESULTS

My friend took me last weekend to this cutest boutique show. So many cute things but unsure what to buy type thing. Well while there I found a saying that now I wish I had bought because it pretty much sums up my life: "If your dreams don't scare you then they are not big enough" There is so much truth to that. I have been on pins and needles the past 7 weeks. Also with me everything worthwhile that I want to accomplish definitely doesn't come easy. I always have hoops to jump through. Here is the run down of the last 7 weeks:

Orientation Week: I show up with NO voice! Ya try introducing yourself and telling everyone why you want to go down this route. lol

Week 1: Assigned a 7 page paper written in APA format and a 10 min presentation due the next week. Every single night that week I had something going on plus I was working the weekend. On top of that write a paper??? In APA format????? It's been YEARS since I had to write a paper. Missed my race that I had gotten a free entry to :( that Saturday and last minute got someone to cover part of my shift on Saturday. Had one amazing friend help me understand the assignment, pulled an almost all nighter (went to bed at 3 am and was up doing church stuff by 9 am), had another amazing friend critique the paper, and another friend Tuesday help me spice up my presentation.

Week 2: Showed up in a bundle of nerves thinking I might hurl lol and gave it all I had. No response from teacher how things went. But told week 4 I needed to turn in a 13 page paper and give another 10 min presentation. Knowing I was going to be busy with work and church I went home holed up in front of the computer for an entire weekend and hammered out a 13 page paper.

Week 3: Teacher was suppose to sit down one on one and go over first paper. Actually excited for the critique. Want to know what I did good and what I did bad. Doesn't happen. No feedback. Do role play in class. My partner and I did it wrong got some feedback but honestly was still very confused. Mentioned in class I had started my next paper hoping teacher would comment if I was doing it right or not. Not much of a response yes or no. But 3/4's of the class after the teacher dismisses us early "Wow, you already working on 2nd paper you seem to have it together. Where did you find your resources? How did you  do your paper?" Left feeling very dejected wondering if I was doing anything right, on the verge of tears. Carpool friends buoyed me up and reminded me not to give up. Amazing friends listened to my sobs. That week amazing friends reviewed paper a few times and gave feedback. Bestie reviewed the presentation and let me practice in front of her until our eyes were burning with exhaustion. During this time developed major heartburn wondered if I had an ulcer.

Week 4: turned in paper and gave presentation in front of class plus 3 teachers critiquing me. I was nervous. Gave it all I had. Realized I stumbled a few times and lost my train of thought briefly when I realized my time was almost over. Next day with the help of my amazing presidency for church pulled off Young Womens in Excellence. Prayed constantly to God that I would be able to give my talk with not having much time to prepare it.

Week 5: had one on one session with one teacher while the other two teachers critiqued. Tried to show compassion and empathy but not sure if my point was being made. Nodded and smiled a lot and showed I was truly interested. Left with still no feedback. No feedback at all through this whole process. Pulled off a dinner with my awesome youth group and co-workers two days later for opinion leaders of Utah county. Showed the video my youth and intern and one other co-worker had been working on for months. Hosted 17 of the opinion leaders and had a grand total of 62 people there.

Week 6: Showed up today for feedback. With not only one but TWO cold sores on my lip. Never had two before. My lip is on some serious fire!!! Driving there in HORRIBLE traffic I had time to reflect. This past 6 weeks have been insane with this, church, and work. I have had BIG things to do in all areas of my life. But I can honestly say I gave my all and I was able to do it all. It wasn't easy but I showed I was determined to do well. If I was denied well at least I couldn't say I didn't try. If I was to be accepted then I knew I could handle physical and emotional ailments at once and that with amazing support at my side I would be able to make it through. This past 7 weeks I have prayed my guts out pleading for help and not once was a left alone. God was at my side through it all as well. Show up to the room a chair in front of panel of 3 teachers. Gave me some positives gave me some negatives that I was thankful for to learn from then the words............... Congratulations you passed the entrance class and officially accepted into the program!!!!!

Most exciting words all day! I am actually doing this! Thanks so much for all the love and support and for blowing up my phone tonight! Seriously, you made me feel so loved and supported. I honestly feel right now I am on the path that I am suppose to be on. I know the next few years won't be easy. I know I will  have huge assignments at work. I know Church will keep me hopping (which I love) I know I will be up to my eye balls in writing papers in APA format, giving presentations, reading, and group work but I know I will be able to get through it all. I know my body is going to fight me and bring me down but in the end I will have accomplished one of my scariest dreams out there. I will have shown it that I wanted it and gave it my all.

Tonight I am thankful for dreams, for the desire to chase them even though they are scary, for my amazing support network, for my work and church experience to help push me in this direction and giving me the confidence I needed to take a stab in the dark and for promptings that reminded me I am on the path God wants me on right now!

Tonight my heart is overjoyed! :)

Monday, November 25, 2013

FORWARD

Today my friend and I went to price check items for some upcoming activities we want have planned with the youth at our church in December. My friend has this great idea for an amazing dinner so we priced check the numerous types of dishes we would need. Boy did I learn a lot today and so excited to learn more in a few weeks. After we price checked all that we headed over to Costco to price check this delicious meal she thought up as well. Man is it going to be good. I was just enjoying my afternoon chatting with her and learning more about her and having a great time.

After we were done she says, "I love Costco food you want to grab something to eat?" I thought what a great idea. We went up to order and she so sweetly says "I'm totally paying for yours." Then the cashier tells her check or cash only. She realizes her cash isn't in her purse so I go to grab mine and a total stranger next to us says, "She can't find her cash? Totally put their bill on my tab." I was like you really don't need to do that and she looks me in the eye and says "yes I do, I need to do a good deed today."

I have been thinking about that for the rest of the night. I am so thankful for sweet people like that and I thought what if we all had the attitude of needing to do a good deed today. Maybe it's as small as showing our love to a child or a family member. Maybe its offering just a smile to someone. Maybe its showing gratitude or maybe its even paying for someone else's lunch.

I often hear the phrase of paying it forward but it seriously has a domino affect if you allow it. I really wanted to go out and serve another person today. I wanted to give back what was given to me. Sure I gave someone extra items when they asked me for resources to help them quit and I freely gave the sister missionaries a ride but I feel it wasn't my act of paying it forward because I felt the things I did today was every day things you should do. But maybe it was just my kind gesture that was sufficient.

Bottom line though, paying it forward should not be just a sought out specific item but something that is ingrained in our soul that makes us want to be a better person. Something that enables us to say without a second thought oh let me pick up the tab or let me do whatever it is that we feel we can do to help another person in need.

I am grateful for the kindness that was shared with me today and hope I can strive to be that type of person every day.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Fast Lane

I knew deep down in inside that I shouldn't have committed myself to writing my thankfuls every day on the blog. I can never get to the blog daily. Life is just so crazy and the last couple of weeks were no different. Which is probably why I am feeling blah today. Usually when I am super exhausted is when I notice the not so "ideals" of my life. For the most part I am super happy with life but then there comes a day when it all comes crashing down on me and today was my day. Plain and simple today I was feeling lonely. It's that loneliness that no friend can fill. I know some day that will all be in the past and someone will be here. I have been reassured multiple times and I have been told that it will all happen in God's timing and I get it, I really do. And yes, I even believe it. I know it will happen but on days I am so tired of all I do in life I see couples helping each other through the hard times and buoying each other up and I realize how hard it is at times and then its in those moments I feel lonely. Lonely and an ache that I am super good at suppressing comes to the surface and I have learned I just have to let the emotions roll with the tide that day. It does no good in masking them and usually its quiet moments of tears. Today was tears at church, then it was tears walking home from church both times I was there today, and then it was tears while I cooked myself dinner. But just as the emotions come they quickly go as well which I am ever so grateful for. I don't like when people dwell on their woes and I try really hard not to. It's like the tears swept the emotions away and now I am ready to let sleep take me away so I can be refreshed tomorrow with a bright outlook on life once again. Because honestly I have so much to be thankful for which is what I plan to sum up briefly since I have been slacking. I did the things on the list I was given but didn't record them. Here is my thankfulness from the last two weeks:

DAY 11: I was encouraged to send thank you notes to 5 people who deserve a little recognition. Well, this was done on a different day and it wasn't done in notes form but I am truly grateful for the presidency I get to work with at church. They really go out of their way to shine at their callings and for the young women we oversee. I have told them a few times this month how much I appreciate them individually and I hope they really know I mean it. I have also told some co-workers how grateful I am for them. They have been my right-hand through some recent projects along with our interns. I don't survive without them. :)

DAY 12: Enjoy the people around you! I watched my neighbor get our meals ready for the day. I know at times she feels stressed but she always sees that our needs are met. I watched each class member that night give their presentation and as I watched each of them I was able to compare from previous presentations. I saw some improvements in some from the other time and I was so proud of them. I saw others shine just as well that night as they did before. I saw how each of them have a true desire to help others and in that moment I felt so lucky to know each of them. I appreciated the comfort and cheers and reassurance I received as I presented as well.

DAY 13: Focus on one sense! Today I focused on what I could see. Today I was grateful for my sight. Through that I was able to see the young woman try their best to show their talents. I was able to see the young women leaders bear testimony of their love for them. I was able to see the leaders put together an evening that demonstrated their love by the way they decorated the room and displayed the desserts. They really wanted the night to be special. I was also grateful I could see the boys in my class as they struggle through life and cling to smoking as their only hope of survival. I was grateful to see a couple of them think a little more about the choices they are making.

DAY 14: See the world through the eyes of a child. Today was a long day as I prepped for next weeks event and I had tobacco checks in Provo that took a long time. But as I thought how a child would I was grateful for everything. I was grateful for people who actually RSVP. I didn't realize how important it was until I was crunching numbers. I was thankful for a boss who took a moment to listen to my concern and help me crunch numbers as well. I was grateful for an intern who was willing to keep up with the million assignments we both had to do before next week. I was grateful for a teenager who was willing to work and an officer who was willing to take on a big city alone even though it made our checks longer. I was grateful for small talk during the long ride that made it not so long. I was grateful that even though I wanted to sleep that I was given strength to keep going to accomplish all that I needed to. I was grateful for a friend who let me come over and helped me with my project for next week and that I was able to literally see the world through her children's eyes. They were so excited I was there and loved seeing themselves in my video camera and laughing. It really is the little things in life. I was grateful for conversation. I know I talk a lot but not always is it having just a conversation about life and in the important it was just what I needed.

DAY 15: Make an effort to live life with a positive outlook. This is something I try to do regularly but today I tried even harder. I appreciated people even more for helping me with my project I was working on. I willingly took food to a person in need for my neighbor who didn't have time. I appreciated the moment to meet someone new and to talk with them briefly.

DAY 16: Pick 3 friends you see regularly and view their actions. Today was a perfect day for this challenge because I got to see my co-workers outside of work because one of our other co-workers was baptized into the religion majority of us attend. As I watched them I was grateful for each one of them in my life because even if some of them don't practice this particular religion they are all good good people with good hearts. They teach me to look for the positives in life and to keep my chin up. They try to help others around the office, offer support within and outside of work. I am blessed to know great people.

DAY 17: The challenge has changed may perspective thus far because it has reminded to go back to the basics of my happiness challenge this past year. Be grateful for the small and simple things in life. It has taught me I need to remember that little things are what bring joy. It has reminded me to follow the positive examples of others and that will help me be a better person.

DAY 18: Appreciate yourself. This is always hard but today I appreciated myself for wanting to try new projects and to learn how to make new things. I appreciated myself for following the example of my parents in being a hard worker. I appreciated myself for wanting to be an active listener and wanting to help others.

DAY 19: Stand in the mirror and focus on five things that you love about yourself. SO HARD. But I did it. In the end I realized that I like my blue eyes, I like my smile, I like that I have been teaching myself to laugh more, I like that my hair holds a curl, and I like that God gives me strength to get up every morning to start the day with a fresh start.

DAY 20: Today I feel grateful for others who believe in me and tell me so. I tend to doubt myself A LOT. But there are others who see things in me that I struggle to see in myself. I am grateful for those who believed in my movie project and pushed me to keep working on it. I am grateful for those who saw it actually liked what I did and supported it. I am grateful for the confidence I was given last night when I was so nervous. My new friends as I call them encouraged me all the way to the door and were waiting for me with the same encouragement when I left my terrifying interview. I know I need to have the same confidence in myself that others see in me.

DAY 21: What makes me lovable??? Seriously focusing on myself this week while trying to accomplish huge assignments has been interesting. I think I am lovable because I truly care about people and when others lash their anger out at me I take it personal. That happened to me this morning and I tried to not let it affect my whole day. I have an interest in others lives and I want to hear their stories. I am open to their ideas and willing to teach them. I had 8 teenagers at my house last night to learn how to make muffins. Even though they were loud and crazy there were some who really wanted to learn and it was great. I appreciate myself for not giving up and not giving up on others who I know have a potential for greatness.

DAY 22: Have confidence in all the choices you have made today. Actually today I just want to sleep. But as I cleaned up from last nights event I had to have confidence that I did the best I could last night and that I tried my best. I had confidence that the projects I was working on today will sell next weekend and I can be a little more financially prepared for future items I will need to buy such as computer etc etc. I have confidence that the emails I sent out today with my job will result in positives returns that will only help my youth grow into the confident people they have the potential of becoming.

DAY 23: Thank you note to myself. I am thankful that I took this challenge and I am thankful I took a moment to look more closely at myself even though it was painful at times. I am thankful I have been given moments to realize the importance in having confidence in myself  and to always look for the positives in life. I am thankful that I have amazing examples in my life to learn from and to pattern my life after as I attempt to be a better person daily.

DAY 24: Reflect on what the challenge has done for you. Well, it has made me realize that life really isn't that bad and even though I had a hard moment today it doesn't mean that every day is like today. The challenge has helped me to appreciate others more and to realize they are trying just as hard. It has helped me see the importance of giving confidence to others and to once again appreciate the little things. It has helped me see how things such as my bed or tuna fish sandwiches can help me be grateful for so much. It has helped me to see that as I focus on my gratitude list that my sadness will eventually go away again and that like I learned in church today I can be grateful for the sad moments, the hard moments, because through them I can come to appreciate the good moments even more and look forward to happy moments that will replace the sad moments we experience in life :)