Mental Health · Uncategorized

And So She Was Brave

Photo cred: Dmitry Bayer

I always try to avoid saying I am making New Year’s resolutions. I feel that I am constantly having to reevaluate where I am in life. I have to sit down every so often and check in with myself and my goals often or I might wander…in fact it happens constantly. So usually I make a big deal about how how we don’t need to make resolutions once a year we need to keep making goals and aiming for things throughout the year.

This year was a tad different for me. I found after this holiday season of constantly focusing on EVERYONE else, that I desperately needed to reset and refocus. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed making all of my gifts. It was fun and worth all of the seconds spent on it. But when the mood of giving shifted more towards the new year and making goals, I was excited to get back on track with the things that have come so important to me. My writing had been slipping during the holidays, but I also rediscovered how much I love to paint. I knew I wanted to find a balance there.

So I decided to create a vision board. And that was just the tipping point. I listed out a few things I wanted to focus on this year: Getting my finances in better order, work on my writing and painting, travelling, my health (particularly I want to hike and do more yoga this year), and become closer to the Savior. So I found all the pictures and some scriptures that went along with my goals and I printed them out. I didn’t get it put together until this last Tuesday, but it’s done. And I am super excited about the motivation I have right now. As the year progresses, I know I will have to revisit and recommit to the goals I have set, but that’s life.

One thing I am super excited about is a goal that I didn’t even mean to make a resolution this year. It just happened, and it’s actually the one I am MOST excited for! And I am going to tell it to you in fair maiden fashion:

It happened a couple weeks ago when there was a job posting the fair young maiden was not going to apply for because she was TERRIFIED. In fact she let the deadline pass, thinking she wasn’t even remotely good enough for it. She could tell us every reason she  shouldn’t have been even considered. The deadline for the application went by and the following day the maiden’s employers opened it up again asking for more candidates. All morning she agonized over whether or not she should go for it. She constantly asked her peers and friends if they thought she should do it; for it wasn’t a question of whether or not she COULD do it, but whether or not she was BRAVE enough to try.

The more she thought about it, the more she realized she could do it. More than that, she realized she needed to show her employers she had self confidence and drive to make more of herself. Manda sought her dear friend and coworker’s advice. Her honorary life coach advised her to go for it. And how lucky was it that the maiden had just updated her resume not even a week prior.

With anxiety and fear making her shake, the fair maiden went to her computer and printed out the application. With a trembling hand she filled it out. Her stomach was in a knot, because all she could hear were the ten thousand reasons they might NOT give it to her. Then something amazing happened; as she began to tell them why they should consider her, she began to realize she was ACTUALLY worth considering. There were weaknesses, sure, but in that moment she KNEW she could overcome them. Manda knew she could overcome anything. So she finished the application, had her manager approve it, and anxiously awaited the interview invite.

Much to her surprise, the interview was set for the NEXT morning. Her nerves settled slightly and she began to plot her interview outfit. With her hair straightened and her makeup on, she set off to work filled with confidence. The interview went well. She went in relaxed and was her complete self. At the end of the interview she looked the manager right in the eye and said, “I can do this.” To which the manager emphatically agreed.

This was such a confidence booster! Even if she didn’t get the job, she killed the interview and that was a huge feat. To celebrate, her best friend urged her to commemorate the event by only spending 5 dollars. Manda didn’t know how she was going to do this, but as her carriage she fondly referred to as Charlotte, took her past the nearest Barnes and Noble. After she got some grub, the maiden wandered into the glorious bookstore, perfectly willing to splurge and spend more than $5. However, it being the new year, she found a beautiful little day planner for only FIVE DOLLARS.

She suddenly felt inspired and knew how she would commemorate this day of overcoming her fears and pushing herself out of her comfort zone. It is to be her bravery book! She determined that every time she did something brave or something that stretched her outside her comfort zone, she would document this in the planner. Readers!!! This was so amazing! Little did she know just how much this would spur on a new outlook and a new resolution. One can’t simply buy a planner with this intent and NOT endeavor to fill it out. Suddenly she wondered, “what will my life look like if I just make a commitment to be MORE BRAVE?”

Now, Manda did not get the position, but what a glorious revolution. There was a whole new world sitting right in front of her because she chose to do something that terrified her. And it made her question things. Like, what else in her life was holding her back because she was scared? She decided to let her stomach guide her a little more. If it felt scary, she vowed to seriously analyze where that fear was coming from and act on it if it was something that could only improve her circumstances. Her book has been getting filled with little things, but also some REALLY BIG things. There comes a time in every fair young maidens life where she realizes that being stagnant is part of complacence. Not acting, is being complacent. Not acting on something because of a fear, could be the very thing holding a person back from accomplishing anything their heart desires. And friends, let me tell you, the fair maiden did some strong things. She said things she thought she could never say and did things that were good for her even though it terrified her. She knows it’s going to work out, because she is taking control of her destiny. And how cool is it that this resolution to be more brave just came about? Her other goals are honorable and worth her time, but this new little goal just might change her life forever.


Happy Birthday Dad

Today my dad turns…old…at least another year older. I can never remember his exact age and I hate math, so there you have it. I wanted to take a minute and acknowledge my daddy and wish him the biggest happy birthday ever!. From the minute I was born (so they tell me) I was a daddy’s girl. We just clicked…isn’t that the way it goes with little girls and their dads? Especially since I was his first girl…which obviously means I am his favorite.


So I want to say cheers to this man. He is the reason I love Shakespeare, the outdoors, and music like Led Zepplin, James, Taylor, Paul Simon, and Vivaldi. When I was five years old there was a picture taken of me holding five fish I caught “all by myself.” I have always been proud of that picture, thinking it was so neat that I could fish like a pro at age five. Of course, now I realize, my papa san must have been the one doing the heavy lifting. As any good father would, he let me take the credit. Credit I willingly took until probably today as I thought of the memory.


When I was a baby my dad owned a skunk. I don’t remember the skunk obviously, but there is a picture, somewhere in the universe, of me in one of those walkers and a little skunk nearby. I am sure I knew then that my daddy was super legit. If the lore I recall is correct, I believe the skunk had had its scent glands deactivated somehow, possibly removed. At least that is how I choose to remember the stories told to me about sharing a living space with a skunk.


My dad has taught me to crave adventures. When I was little I received a set of cross country skis. We only went one time. And even though it was bitterly cold, I hold it as one of my fondest memories. One of those Arctic winds had blown in. And my grandpa drove us up to Brighton ski resort and then picked us up at Solitude a couple miles down…the order of the resorts may be backwards or entirely incorrect. However the fact remains, we cross country skied for what seemed like a freezing eternity. When my grandpa picked us up at the lower ski resort, I don’t think I could move my face because it was so cold. But grandpa had chili and hot chocolate waiting for us in his mauve-ish tan Oldsmobile (that may have been my favorite part of the adventure). I think dad felt bad for it being so cold, but thanks to him I have a pretty cool story to tell and I wouldn’t trade it for anything!


I have so many memories of him trying to instill a desire to experience life through the outdoors. When I was 12 my dad paid for me to take scuba diving lessons. I never got certified because I had asthma, but I did scuba dive in Murray High School’s swimming pool. I was younger then that when he put me on a horse. I fell off on my first ride with my sister, but he taught me to get back up again. We were in Cedar City that weekend visiting the Shakespeare festival. The outfit I was wearing when I rode was stolen from my mom and I had to sit through Julius Caesar with a cold cloth on my face to ease the sting of the scratches from the sagebrush. He gives me so many stories of adventure to tell even now with trips to Moab, instilling a newfound love of Opera, and encouraging me to chase my dreams.


Without my dad, my sisters and I probably wouldn’t be as competitive as we are (or as stubborn for that matter). This makes for some really entertaining game nights. All of us trying to win sure makes life interesting. And sad for them, because they always lose, because I am a champion; thanks dad. I have memories of playing games like Monopoly, where the competitive man would move his piece about the board only to knock yours over intentionally if he passed it. A tradition I happily noticed he is demonstrating when he plays games with my nieces and nephews.


When I was a teenager, well into adulthood, he and I butt heads like no other. Getting along was difficult since we were both always right. I am so grateful for the relationship we have today. I have two amazing sisters who are twins and they are so close. We all love each other and my envy for their closeness is easing with each year that I get older. Last Christmas I was lamenting that I did not have Joshua, a younger brother close to my age, whom we lost when he was only an hour and a half old. I told my dad that I wished I had a friend like my sisters had for each other. My dad sweetly told me he IS my friend. And it is so true. Papa San, you are my dearest friend and I love you so much. Happy Birthday! I hope your day is filled with nothing but happiness and love. I miss you and wish you lived closer. XOXOXO


Where were you?

I know I’m not the only one who can recall exactly what I was doing on September 11, 2001. Usually I have a ton of conversations each year, discovering where my coworkers were and what their reactions were. Today I started a new position, so my focus was completely on learning new tricks to my new trade. I mean I knew what day it was, I gave it thought. But I didn’t connect with anyone about it. It wasn’t until I was driving home from work and saw the flags at half mast that I really took a moment to remember. We promised to never forget. But I can’t help but wonder if we are forgetting; or maybe it’s just me. I don’t want to forget, but last year I didn’t even post my traditional picture I took when I visited ground zero in 2009. And this year I didn’t even talk about it. I live alone, and work was filled with work things, so I decided to use my blog to express my thoughts.

I remember I was getting ready to work, curling my hair. I was listening to the radio and the morning show on this particular station often did pranks. When they announced the first tower fell, I thought it was a joke. It wasn’t until their serious tone carried on for a bit that I started to realize something terrible was really happening.

With the TV now turned on, I sat on the couch in complete shock as I watched footage of the first tower falling. I remember crying in disbelief as I watched it unfolding before me. When the second tower fell I was watching it on live television. I can’t remember if the footage of the poor people jumping from the towers to escape the heat of the hellish consuming flames was seen live, or if it is burned into my brain from all the footage that aired all day, and so many of the days after, but I remember it just the same. I am not sure how long it took for the initial astonishment wore off. And as I am writing this, I am not sure it has ever completely worn off. Because as I write this, my eyes are brimmed with tears.



At the credit union where I worked, there was a hushed tone and a solemness hanging in the air. The employees and the members who were forced to do business that day. “Can you believe it?” people would say choking back tears and even sometimes spilling them. I worked the drive thru that day. We, along with the rest of the nation all paused for a moment of silence. We closed the teller windows and put a sign up notifying our members that we were pausing to remember for a full minute.

I remember that every break and lunch we congregated in the break room to stare in horror as more and more information came in about who was responsible. The footage was repeated over and over. After work was spent with friends and loved ones on couches watching the story unfold. My dad was working in Qatar at the time. People who didn’t do it were claiming they had. I remember being so terrified.

There was something else I remember. I remember our nation banding together. We were a country under attack. It was a tremulous time and together we stood united. Every person felt this devastation of the assault. While I know the families of those suffered infinitely more, I know the loss was felt by us all.

When I was in New York City in 2009 my friends and I visited Ground Zero. The place where I cried the most, where all of us cried the most was actually in St. Paul’s Chapel. It is a historical church that dates back to colonial times, so I was already super 


enthralled. St.Paul’s Chapel is where the workers who dug through the rubble rested in between shifts. Inside the chapel there is memorabilia. It is covered in letters and banners from the entire country expressing their condolences, their support for the volunteers. Thereimg_1784 is a huge banner from Oklahoma stating, “To New York City and all the rescuers, keep your spirits up. Oklahoma loves you!!” There were memorial pictures of rescuers and others who died. I cried as I walked through the displays. When I visited again in 2011 with other friends, I cried again. They were tears of mourning and remembering. They were tears brought on by remembering the compassion we showed for one another in such a terrifying time. We really must never forget

Please comment if you feel like you need to share your thoughts and feelings about this day. I would love to read them.

Humor · Mental Health · Uncategorized

Once Upon a Time

Once upon a time there was a fair young maiden. Well, maybe not so young, but she wasn’t old really. In fact, she was more “mid-single” as her religious culture might deem her. She was a strong woman, who had gone through many trials, not unlike any other normal human being. But alas, she was blessed with a sensitive soul and her trials affected her deeply. Her sensitivity was a gift and a curse at the same time. Her big heart was a great comfort to her friends and family, sometimes it got her into trouble, but mostly it helped her grow and become stronger than she ever imagined possible.

Alas, the trouble she got into would leave her heart broken from time to time, but she persevered. Each time the fair maiden fell, she got back up again. With every incident she became a little stronger and wiser. One day the woman realized that through the course of her trials, she had gained a lot of wisdom and perspective that others found comforting. Her advice was sometimes sought and the wisdom she had gained, not only gave her her own sense of comfort, it helped those in her life. Some people even deigned to call her witty, as her ways of telling her  tales with a flare of humor often left people in stitches.

Aside from this ability to entertain with words and wit, there was a desire in her heart to express the ideas and trinkets of wisdom gained throughout her various life lessons. On her journey through life and on her quest to value her own self worth, she realized she had a lot to offer and even more to say. She could see humor in her daily life. Her life was filled with adventures and funny yarns about her crazy nieces and nephews, and her occasional attempts at cutting carbs out of her diet. And it is with this knowledge, that she had something to offer and something of value to say, that this blog has been created.

So stay tuned for the adventures of the fair young maiden whose Fairy Tale in Progress is sure to elicit all of the feels and possibly all of the giggles one can muster.