Feb 29, 2004

I told Tara (my old roommate, a good friend, and my visiting teacher) that tonight wouldn't be a good night to visit teach me. I wasn't feeling badly or anything, but everytime she has asked me how I have been, I've told her I'm great, and she seems to be seeing right through me. Well, It's not a lie, I'm doing pretty good despite everything -- I have a peace that I didn't have before. Ok so I'm not jumping up and down ecstatically and smiling from ear to ear, but I'm really ok. I'm not depressed, just a little glum sometimes. But I'm not depressed because of my faith in my Savior, and the peace he has given me is such a miracle.

But she came over anyway with a note and a candle. I asked her how she was doing and she told me the past two months have been difficult for her, and she's had a case of the winter blues. Then she asked me again how I was doing. I told her the truth this time; I told her I was ok. Then she looked me in the eye and said, "Michelle, you say you are great, but I know something is hurting you." I just shrugged. Then she asked how Jeremy was. I looked at her, and my eyes threatened to tear up, but then I just smiled. The tears went away as quickly as they had come, and peace filled me heart. I told her I wasn't sure, but I hoped he was doing well. Then as tactfully and as I could I told her what happened. She gave me a big hug, and knowing me as well as she did (we lived together for a year) she just mentioned how far I had come.

You know, I didn't want to tell her anything. But I know I said it in a way that was righteous and truthful -- no resentment or bitterness at all. There are no victims and no instigators. But peace did warm my heart as I shared as quitely and as peacefully as I could what I had been going through, but I did tell her how grateful I was for the experience as well.

When she left I realized that I was grateful that she came over. I hadn't wanted her to; but I have been kind of avoiding my friends lately because of my desire to keep my peace and control and to NOT talk about it, but sharing as little as I did with her really helped. I was also grateful for her friendship, and a light flickered inside of me and reminded me of why the visiting teaching and home teaching programs had been instituted to begin with. It helped increase my budding testimony on these programs. Tara is a return missionary, and I then told her excitedly about my missionary experience on my way to Jacksonville. I told her I finally understood what all the fuss was about, and why Jeremy wanted to serve a mission. I had had such bad experiences sharing my testimony in the past; Jaime always dismissed me as if I was crazy and so had others. It just really had hurt me so much that I was sure I would never be a good missionary. But this time I had had a good experience, and it really confirmed to me the importance and the beauty that lie in serving the Lord in this fashion. It was only then that I actually wanted, with all my heart and soul, for Jeremy to serve a mission...and I even wanted to do one myself, but if I couldn't do that, I could do what I could to support the missionaries here and those who were serving and who would serve. I could also be a member missionary.

I never had a testimony on missionary work. I always admired those young men and women and I had always had a soft spot in my heart for them, especially after helping them out when I was living in Spain, but I never had a testimony of it because of my previous experiences. But I do now. It's still budding, but I see what joy comes from it. I am so proud of Jeremy that he wants to serve in this capacity, and that he did not allow my foolish immaturity to detract him from his goal. I didn't know then...I really didn't understand. I actually thought his reaons for serving might be selfish. I didn't like hearing that he would give me up so that he could serve. I know I told him otherwise, but that thought really bothered me.

Now I know that it was the Adversary working on me. My true desire to fall in love with a man who put the Lord before me became solid. It's too bad it happened after the fact; but at least I now know that this is the number one quality that I look for in an eternal companion. I know my insensitive and immature actions caused an utterly regrettable rift between Jeremy and I; but I am so proud of him that he wants to serve. I am just so happy for him.
I wish everyone at church would stop asking me how I was. I'm glad I didn't tell hardly anyone about what happened; for once in my life I just feel that it is better to not complain and feel sorry for myself and look for solace from others. Besides, I wouldn't know how to broach the subject without making sure that they, although well-intended, did not automatically feel bias towards my point of view. I've learned in the past that even when I present a conflict and voice my own wrongdoings and try to not paint myself as the victim, my friends still conceive in their minds that this is indeed the case, and then the man-bashing starts. Jeremy is a good man, and I will not allow my feelings of pain or loneliness voice themselves and in turn feed my own selfish ego which in turn creates internal anger, or to tarnish his reputation here among my friends and family, and even my ward. My family loves the guy and they recognized in him what I saw in him. So did my ward, especially my bishop and his wife. I was at their house that Monday when Jeremy called me, and my bishop's wife told me as I cried about my lack of faith, that her husband thought the world of me; and considered me to be one of the most faithful persons he had ever met. That surprised me, because I was sure I had to be the most faithless Latter-Day Saint in the world. My bishop also told me that he knew Jeremy was a good man. He did not advise me as he had done with Reid and even Jaime, whom he told me to forget about. (consequently, my stake president had told me the same thing). Jeremy was different. When Jeremy had said, during his testimony, that he had found his true love, the bishop, not even knowing the young man, felt those words and knew they were true.

A few days later I told the bishop that it was over and that I had accepted the fact. I'm glad he hasn't pressed me for details. This is the first time in my life that I haven't willingly offered them to anyone other than my own mother. And my mother is a wonderful woman who realizes that what happened had to happen. I'm glad she realizes that, although I know it pained her to see my heart literally break, but she really likes Jeremy and she also understands that we both need to grow. She doesn't give me any false hopes, but she's a constant reminder to stay strong and faithful and to ask the will of the Lord, and what He would have me to do. I'm grateful that she is grounded where I am a little flighty, and she helps me to keep that delicate balance that is so vital during these moments in my life.

Feb 28, 2004

So what is with that Quizno's commercial anyway? Those spongmonkey things are really scary. Who wants to hear some kind of rat-like thing sing about food? Talk about deranged....but, I must say, genius advertising.

Not that I watch too much TV anymore. I don't know, but I have been changing in a lot of departments. Maybe I'm just getting older, I dunno, but I rarely listen to the radio anymore; and I find myself listening to classical or modern opera music. As for TV, other than a few favorite shows I have, I just keep it off. I'd rather be reading, or listening to an audio book, or listening to/reading the scriptures.

Speaking of change, that reminds me of something that a co-worker said to me last week. His comments just floored me. We were talking before a meeting, and I asked him how Lela, his wife was. Bahman and Lela are from Iran, and they are a wonderful couple. They invited me over for dinner last year. Anyway, Bahman told me Lela was doing well. Then he said that she had asked about me, and he told her how much weight I had lost. She wanted to know my secret! I just stared at him. I didn't realize I had lost weight in the past year. I sure don't see it when I look at myself. But the working out and the cutting out of a TON of sugar really must have made a big difference. I used to drink like 3 cans of sugared soda a day, until one day I decided to wain myself on the soda. I knew I still craved carbonation, so I switched to Diet. After I got sick on May, I switched to Caffeine Free Diet. Little by little, I am changing my diet. I find myself now, after talking to Jeremy and his ideas, drinking more water and even less diet soda. I am walking a lot more. I am eating less red meat. I know it's just little stuff, but I know that what I want to do is make a lifestyle change, not go on a crash diet, because diets never work. Lifestyle changes, however, do.

I am finding that when I take things step by step, I am able to accomplish a lot more than when I try to tackle it all at once and get overwhelmed. I am actually changing a lot about myself much quicker this way than I would if I had done it any other way. I'm grateful for the people who have encouraged me to do what I needed to do to become a better person. I am especially grateful for Jeremy; again, that man has really encouraged me in so many ways and he doesn't even know. He might of thought he had little influence on me, but he has made a great impact. I will always be grateful for that.
As I was walking back to my car from work last night, I really took notice on all the beauty around me. I felt so alive! I looked up at the 150 year old church that I pass everyday on my way to work and back, and I was reminded of all the beautiful sights I have seen in my life. How truly blessed am I to live in this beautiful world, to have the experiences I have experienced, and to have the people I have in my life. How truly blessed am I to have the gospel!

I stood there for a few minutes, looking into the clear night sky, staring up at Orion, and I began to feel lighter. I smiled, and I thanked my Heavenly Father for giving me the capacity to love. It is true what the scriptures say; to love is such a greater blessing than to receive it. How grateful I am that the Lord has allowed me to recognize the utter joy that comes from loving someone!

Loving Jaime taught me that if I had the desire, I could develop unconditional love. When Jeremy entered my life, I realized that I had always loved him; and that that love always was and always will be unconditional. I am so grateful and so joyous that I asked the Lord for this miraculous blessing; and in turn I am able to experience a joy that is unknown to many; namely, loving someone for who they are, too see them as God sees them; and to love them for and despite all their weaknesses.

Feb 27, 2004

Well, I'm staying late here at work for no real reason, other than I just don't feel like going home. I'm not in a bad mood or anything, but I am just feeling jittery again. At least this time I know we won't be snowed in; the high tomorrow is 52 degrees. All of our snow has melted. But knowing Wisconsin weather, we'll have another snowstorm or two before Spring comes.

You know, I know I can move on from this relationship. I remember thinking that I would never be able to "move on" from Jaime, and indeed it took me awhile. Dating Reid, even for that short time, proved to me that I could enjoy the company of another man. Falling in love with Jeremy proved to me that I could fall in love with another man.

However, not only did I fall in love with another man, I was given a miracle. I was scared of it but when I finally heard the words, "let go of Jaime", I did it. Then a few weeks later I realized that as much as I had loved Jaime, it was Jeremy who I had loved all along. It was always him. Since that October day in 1995, it was only him. All the tears and the pain and the aching loneliness that I went through were for him. I was promised it would be worth it; and the Lord finally blessed me with the miracle I had so hoped for and had faith in.

So this is one reason I'm so indecisive about sending him his stuff. It is his, and I will return it to him, but right now I just can't do it. It means so much to me. He told me to let go and move on, and in all truth, with my life I AM moving on. At a far quicker speed than I had ever imagined possible. I'm experiencing growth and joy in serving others, and it's amazing. But as for my heart, as for my spirit -- it just doesn't feel right to let go of him. I know what the Lord told me. I know it. I cannot deny it. Jeremy can deny it all he wants, and that bothers me more than I let on, but I also realize that I cannot do one thing about it. It's ok though; I've been prepared for all of this. I would not be able to endure this if it hadn't been for what I've been through the last 8 years. But I can endure it, and I can endure it amazingly well. I have surprised myself. I know I would surprise Jeremy. He left me with this image in his mind that I was not the woman he thought I was; and he told me this. I didn't object -- how could I? My actions at the time had validated his reasoning. I knew that. But the truth is, I AM the woman he thought I was. He fell in love with the woman who bore her testimony and wrote her innermost feelings right here in this blog. I have nothing to hide from anyone, and the REAL me is indeed reflected more in this blog than in any conversation, argument, action, etc that I particpate in.

This is me. I have foibles, and many, many weaknesses. But I am a strong person. I am a daughter of God. I am persistent, resilient and tenacious. I don't normally talk myself up, but I know I'm a diamond in the rough. And when the time comes, when someone finally recognizes the beauty and preciousness that lies within me...when someone takes the time to lovingly polish me with his patience and help shape me to be the person both he and I know I can be; well...then he will know how I feel about Jeremy and how much I truly love him.

Feb 26, 2004

Hmmm, well my feelings are kind of mixed today. I'm excited because I figured something out at work that we've been wanting to get for awhile now; basically, I figured out how to dynamically create a text box in a Flash file so that the text box would resize according to what text was filled in, and the table would dynamically generate. Ok so it doesn't sound THAT COOL, but it is. For those of you who are Flash aficionados, check out: National Pediatrics Cultural Competence website. Those little "concept viewer" boxes are all Flash, and if you click on the "Examples" tab you'll see what I mean. That whole thing is dynamically generated!! Cool beans!

Of course, there is also a flip side to everything. I'm still trying to get over my slump. Ok, so I will admit I'm feeling better today, but man, I really realized on my way to work this morning more reasons for what I'm going through. I love praying when I'm walking; it just makes me feel so much better. One thing I realized again was that my children are so important to this work. They have to be raised just right. I'm not scared at the prospect; rather I'm exhilarated and humbled at the same time. But it reminds me to continue to ask the Lord what his will is for me.

I wish I could talk to Jeremy. I want to tell him everything that has been going on in my life. I want to share with him like I used to, and have him share with me. He wasn't just someone I loved romantically, but he really was my best friend. We were so compatible on every level -- and I still feel that connection even though all this has happened. I miss him.

Well, enough for now. I better get back to work and get these tables working perfectly.

Feb 25, 2004

Ok, I have been doing a really good job at being upbeat despite everything, but I just can't help it today. I am so down. I went in early this morning to get two estimates done on my car, and of course the cheaper one (at $1350) doesn't include a free loaner car, and of course that is the one that my insurance company will go with. So that means I'm out of pocket $250 plus about $100 for a three-day loaner.

I guess it's just that on top of everything else that is bringing me down. I am missing Jeremy a lot right now, and I just don't understand how he shut off his emotions so quickly. That really hurts. He thinks it was just infatuation, but I know that is not the case. I understand that perhaps he doesn't understand exactly what love is, but I know he loved me. That's why it hurts so much. With Reid it was easier, because he didn't love me, and I didn't love him. But Jeremy did, and I do. He bore his testimony of it. So did I. This is how I know.

I know I'll bounce right back up again, and I know I have to, but it's so hard sometimes. I just wish I could get some good news for once...this month has been really difficult and although I have made amazing breakthroughs, I guess it's all suddenly weighing me down and unfortunately I'm allowing it to.

Well, I'll keep praying for strength and keep reminding myself of all the things I'm grateful for. It has helped me to this point. I know I can't rely on external things/conditions or people to make me happy -- that comes from within, and from my knowledge of the Savior. But some added joyful "bonuses" sure wouldn't hurt.

Feb 24, 2004

Well, there isn't much happening in my life right now. I did meet with Penny from CCI last night, and now I know what I can do to start finding families who would like to host exchange students. I have a great connection in my church, and we have 5 wards here (well 4 family wards) so that alone will probably provide prospects, but my connection to the university will probably prove valuable as well. I'm excited to do this, because it will give me great experience and basically allow me to get my foot in the door and learn about how this kind of non-profit functions, so that later in life, when my family has the money, we can begin something like this. That is really one of my biggest dreams.

As for my future, other than a few answers, I do not know what God would have me to do. I would still love to serve a mission, but do not know how I could possibly accomplish that. I'd also like to go back to school, but is that what I should be doing? I honestly don't know. The only thing I do know is that the learning process that I'm going through right now is absolutely essential. I know why it is too, but as for everything else in my life, I am pretty much unsure.

I love the Atonement. Ok, I'm getting into spirituality again, and I used to not mention it too much on my blog until last November. I know there are people out there who read this who must think I'm just some crazy idealist, but I don't care what they think. I just find that writing my feelings down, especially concerning spirituality, is very cathartic and it helps me to better understand things and give things a more eternal perspective.

Anyway, back to the Atonement. You know, I think I have a better understanding of it as each day passes. That better understanding is also helping me to overcome problems I've had my entire life. I know I'm guilty of not truly allowing the Atonement to work for me in many cases. When my guilt would get the better of me and I would feel like I was about to enter a despairing state, then after the suffering, when the Spirit finally would whisper that it was okay to come back, to let go and to know that I've been forgiven, I actually would hang on to the guilt and the pain longer than I had to! I refused to believe that Heavenly Father had already forgiven me for something that I had trouble forgiving myself for. Then, when he would bless me abundantly, I would actually think I didn't deserve those blessings, and I know many a time has come to pass where I would actually turn them down. Now how ungrateful is that! Jeez, what was the matter with me?

So this time I decided I wasn't going to do that. Being grateful before, during, and after sin, adversity, blessings, joy...that is the only way to go. Taking special heed to that still small voice and letting go when he tells me to is the only way I will be able to truly accept the Atonement, and it helps me to forgive myself. This is why I've decided that it's so vital to not live a life of regret. And I don't. I think back over my life, and sometimes wonder, would I change anything if I had a chance to live it over again? You know what? I really wouldn't. "Thanksgiving for all the wrong moves." Yes, I believe that. I believe that when we sin or make a wrong move, God works with us to enable us to still learn and grow from the experience. Why would I regret that growth process? All of it has made me who I am today and is helping me to become who I will be someday. I used to think that strength=less sin and weakness=more sin. I seriously believed that those who sinned less were stronger, and those who sinned more were weaker. What an absurdity I realize this to be now. Strength comes from resisting temptation -- yes I know this is true, but it ALSO comes from overcoming our sins and transgressions. Just because we succomb to temptation or our weaknesses doesn't mean that we are weak individuals. As long as we are willing to keep working on overcoming them and despite how often we do them, we continually strive to "kick the addiction" and we humble ourselves before the Lord, we will find an amazing power and strength that we didn't know we had. There must be opposition in all things; indeed, without being weak, we could never become strong.

So I find being grateful for everything in my life, especially adversity and "the wrong moves" is such a healing balm. Gratitude helps us to better forgive ourselves and others. Gratitude really is the balm of Gilead. I have a testimony of this.

Feb 23, 2004

Well I'm about to head out to a CCI meeting to find out what I need to do to become an area coordinator. I found out today that I will have to pay a deductible, even though the accident was not my fault, of $250. I'm not very happy about that, but there is little I can do, so I just have to accept it.

I read that 50 Marines arrived this afternoon in Haiti to help with the problems there. I also read that the 24th MEU is going to go through some heavy training over the next 6 months until they deploy. I do not know what unit Jeremy is in and I do not know where he is. I hope he's alright and able to stay home and finish his classes for the semester, because I know that's important to him.

Feb 22, 2004

I just wanted to mention how grateful I am to the Lord for his wisdom, for his mercy, and even for my trials and adversity. On my way home from church today, I was thinking about how grateful I am to have the gospel in my life. How truly grateful I am! I don't know how people live through this life without it, because I know I would be a mess without it. Knowing, not just believing, that there is a Heavenly Father up there who loves me, and knowing that through faith all things are possible -- it is just such a precious gift! Take the philosopher Humes, who stated that men cannot rely upon empirical evidence to "prove" anything -- that everything is filtered through our senses, and therefore there is no source of perfect truth. Well, he is right on one part -- even science...everything in this life is filtered through our senses. Even science cannot be "proved" through some ultimate source of truth -- even science requires faith to believe it. But...knowing that there is indeed perfect truth out there, that it exists in our Creator, and we can grasp unto many of its principles -- having that perfect knowledge is such a blessing!

I'm grateful for Jeremy. I am so humbly grateful that he broke up with me. I did not understand it at the time, but the woman I have become is exactly what I had been asking the Lord for. I wanted to become a better woman. I wanted to become the kind of woman Jeremy needed and that I needed to be. I begged the Lord to help me, because I just wasn't "getting" it. Now I get it. I know I have to still apply what I have learned, but God truly did answer my prayers. This is not to say that I'm glad Jeremy and I are separated; do I love him? Yes, with all my heart and soul. Do I long for a second chance? Yes, with all my heart and soul. Do I believe what the Lord told me? Yes, with all my heart and soul. But I am utterly grateful for this time and for the lessons I have learned. I finally found the source of happiness that was missing from my life. I have finally found a source of inner strength and patience that was unbeknownst to me beforehand. I have finally realized what the Lord wants me to do. I finally have a burning desire to serve Him. I no longer have a need to be so self-absorbed.

These are just a few of the many things I have learned in the past week and a half (has it only been a week and a half??) but I am so grateful to the Lord for his wisdom. I am getting through this trial remarkably well, especially in comparison to my previous trials. I am not murmuring at all. I do not feel bitterness or resentment when I see others have what I so longed for. I am genuinely happy for them! I feel peace and am filled with patience and hope. I am truly becoming the woman I needed to become, I am becoming the woman I knew was inside of me.

I love the Lord. I love that he chastizes me and cares so much for me to take me to such great lengths to become the woman he knows I am.

Feb 21, 2004

The Lion King. I just thought of The Lion King. The part that makes me cry every time I see it...when the baboon leads Simba to see his dad, and Simba is jumping and leaping with joy at the thought that his Father was still alive. How bitterly disappointed he was when he found himself looking into his reflection in the pool of water! Yet the wise baboon told him to look again, and this time Simba saw his father in his own reflection.

"Simba, you have forgotten who you are," his Father gently admonished his young son. "In doing so, you have forgotten me."

I cannot forget who I am. I cannot forget who my Father is. I cannot forget the gift of His son's Atonement. How grateful I am for this knowledge.
Murphy's Law: If something can go wrong, it will.

And I'm related to the Murphy's.

So I decide to actually go in to work today so I'd get stuff done, rather than doing it from home, where I kept drifting off to sleep. So I get ready, get my stuff, and decide to stop at the PDQ to pick up some Diet Rite. I pull in and open my car door, and then this black Civic pulls in like at 20 mph, and almost swipes my entire door off. Well, if it had been open any wider he would have. If I had stepped out of the car a second earlier, he would have hit me.

I closed my door quickly and looked into the car. Just by looking at the guy I knew 1) he had no insurance and 2) he was here illegally. Ok, so that might be a stereotype, but I know from experience that most young Mexican men driving around fourteen year old Honda Civics are exactly that. I motioned for him to get out of the car and I asked for his insurance information. I was pretty upset. He just shook his head so I said to him in Spanish, "Do you speak English?" Of course he didn't. So then I angrily proceeded to tell him that it was illegal for him to drive around without insurance, and how did he plan on paying for my car? My car is polymer, not metal. It's not easy to fix. I told him I'd have to call the police, and I asked him if he was here legally. He told me he was, but asked me to please not call the police - that he'd figure out a way to pay me.

So I asked him, "How do you expect to pay me? Do you realize this will cost at least $1000?" I mean, the handle ripped right off the driver's side door and I can't even open it without squeezing the two broken levers together with both hands. I wasn't sure what to do. He was willing to pay me in installments, but how could I trust him? Besides, I don't have that kind of cash up front to get the car fixed to begin with, and I knew that in this kind of weather snow and water would leak in. It's the same damage that happened to my Dad a month earlier (consequently my OTHER car...and also hit by an uninsured motorist - boy my insurance company is going to love THIS). Well, it turns out that the woman at the desk in the PDQ made the decision for me, and called the police.

I asked my sister to come as well. So they we were, explaining to Angel and his friends what was happening, and then we found out yes, Angel was indeed here illegally. Well, when the police came, they asked us for our ID's and Angel doesn't have a driver's license! Then it turns out there are two warrants out for his arrest, so there I stand, with my mouth open, while the police read him his rights and handcuff him.

So what is the deal? Is it my mission in life to send young illegal immigrants from Mexico to jail? This is the second one! I felt bad for him, but I assured his friends that although he will pay hefty fines, never be able to get his license in this country, and my insurance company would go after him, that he wouldn't be deported. How do I know? Because my roommate's boyfriend wasn't. It's too much work for the police to deal with.

Anyway, my sister and I translated for the police and got the information they needed from him. I felt bad looking at Angel in the back seat with his arms cuffed behind him. I told him I was sorry and didn't mean for that to happen -- but what else could have been done about it?

So anyway...I got to work late and I'll be here until early evening. But there isn't much else to do. I'm a little frazzled and I know it will take a lot of time to get the estimates done on my car, and then get the money so that I can get the car fixed...and in the meantime I'll be driving around in my very own ghetto cruiser.

Then I find out my sister is going to Spain next month. My heart just sank, because I haven't been there in three years, and I haven't been able to do my "annual" March vacation for two years. I need to get away so badly, but unfortunately time does not permit it. I found out a few weeks ago that I actually have 3 entire weeks of vacation starting June 15th, rather than just two, because our union contracts changed. This is great news, but what will I do with three weeks??

At least my sister put everything into perspective for me, after I heaved a loud sigh and said "can it get ANY WORSE than the past two weeks?" She reminded me that it can. Her friend just had to put down her 5 year old cat this morning, after paying $600 at the emergency vet last night after the cat seemingly suffered from some kind of liver failure. They weren't sure what was wrong with her, and they didn't think they could help Thelma (the cat). Poor Thelma. Poor Suzanne. If I lost Beau or Vader it would break my heart. So I looked at my sister and I smiled and I was like, "you are right." Count my blessings. I have a million of them, and I am grateful for every one.

Feb 20, 2004

Ugh, a snowed-in Friday night. I managed to take the car for a spin (literally) and cruised around Wal-mart, but found myself at the self check-out lane buying a filter for my aquarium and a box of Honey Bunches of Oats. Hmmm...yeah, I'm bored.

I'm frustrated too. I have had that too-anxious-to-eat feeling at the bottom of my stomach all day. Usually I get that when something significant is going to happen, or I'm really excited about something. It's grating on my nerves, especially since I've been trying to do the whole cool-as-a-cucumber karma act. I was doing pretty good too; to work on my patience I decided to take it one step at a time. I'm forcing myself to drive in the right-hand lane behind slower people, and even when I'm alone in the car, I make sure not to even think cuss words. I mean seriously, why am I in a hurry all the time? Why have I been so anxious to get to that undefined point on the timeline of my life? I have spent so many years living in the future, gazing longingly at that point, and now I find myself 28 years old, way too introspective for my own good, and wondering where the past 7 years of my life went. Ok, they were well-spent learning a foreign language while living abroad, in school, and beginning my career. But socially and emotionally...where have they gone??

Dang, here I sit, wishing with every beat of my heart that I knew three weeks ago what I know now. Hindsight is almost always pretty much useless, isn't it. I know I'm that much a better person than I was then, yet at what cost? Ok, I don't need to get so melodramatic, but I'm just so frustrated. I'm still grateful for what I have learned and I know I wouldn't have learned all of this any other way, but I feel incomplete. I don't know...I just don't know.

I really dislike snowed-in Friday nights. Grrr.
My, I'm quite "chatty" this past week. But, I find it more cathartic writing here then speaking with people about everything -- and that's a first for me. I just feel this time I shouldn't be speaking about it too much.

Anyway, the movers won't be here until 1 so I'm sitting here again with little to do. I have one box and it's packed, and even though I'm only moving like 50 feet away downstairs (this building is tiny!) I'm still going to have to go up and down those narrow stairs with boxes full of files and stuff. Well, at least the movers will get the computer equipment and stuff, and I don't have to worry about THAT!

I am so glad I met with my VT companion and one of our sisters on Tuesday. I thought I knew all there was to know about faith, yet I was so wrong about how it worked. Knowing that when I'm confused or uncertain...exercising that particle of faith is all I need to do. Why didn't I get this before? Cause I'm a blockhead sometimes:)

Well, time to cut this short. I gotta try to get something done before I move:)
Well, I just got home from Chicago, and it's 2:30 in the morning. I should be sleeping, but I'm wide awake! I have a fluffy black kitty purring next to me, and as I bend to kiss her head I realize how blessed I am to have such wonderful, furry companions who love me for who I am. She sleeps with me every night and showers me with kisses (albeit smelly ones ;). What more can you ask for?? ;)

I am glad I went tonight. I was pretty much silent all the way down to Chicago, but I had forgotten what a quirky sense of humor Jess has, and she made me laugh. By the time we were in the city, my mood had rapidly shifted and I was in much higher spirits. The concert was awesome. Enrique played in the Arie Crown Theatre, which is considerably smaller than your usual concert venue. We had really close seats, and it was wonderful. He was very amiable with the crowd, sang and talked to us, and wow, what an absolutely gorgeous man! Not too many men can pull off tight leather jeans but he sure can:)

I felt pretty good too; I have lost like 10 pounds in the last week alone and to treat myself I went and bought a sexy fairly low-cut sweater yesterday. I have to admit that I looked pretty freakin' hot. For who...no one but myself, but you always feel a good when your clothes are loose and you know you look good. When you know you look good, you attract men more than usual. It's a nice feeling, even if shallow at best. It's not like I'm interested in attracting anyone anyway. When Enrique pulled that woman up to the stage and sang "Hero" to her, and then sensually kissed her at the end, I wasn't even jealous. I was thinking of someone else I'd rather be kissing at that moment. *sigh*.

Yesterday I went to see a psychologist, just because I want to get my meds evaluated and to make sure I am doing ok, since I had been more controlling and more anxious than usual over the past month. I told her about what I did last week, going down to North Carolina basically "uninvited", and I asked her if that was psychotic, because that's what Jeremy told me. She laughed. Impulsive, definitely. Spontaenous, yes siree. Psychotic, heck no. Even PFC Dodd, on the way down there, told me it wasn't psychotic. I wanted to save my relationship. I loved this man. It was romantic and spurr of the moment....not psychotic. Heck, if I had broken up with him, I'd have really been touched if he had done the same thing. I couldn't think of anything more romantic.

Ok...I will admit I was getting way too demanding and clingy...and now in hindsight I don't blame Jeremy one bit for feeling suffocated and and scared. I know I will never do any of THAT again. But I didn't go down there to make a scene or purposely embarass him. I am not that kind of person. I went down there because I knew stress and fear had overcome both of us and confused us. I went down there because I had to, knowing well what the outcome most likely would be. I think that was why I was very calm during the whole trip. And you know what, I don't regret it. I'd spend all that money and time again because Jeremy is worth it. I went down there simply for that reason -- I love him. I had to try. I don't give up. I do not believe in it. If I gave up or had let fear and confusion dictate any more of my actions than they already had, I knew I'd live to regret it. I had to swallow my fears and make a bold choice to take action. I refuse to live life in fear and regret, and I've found that living life the way I do might be uncertain and scary at times, but I always have the Lord there helping to guide me to make decisions. My faith is a better compass than any fear could ever be.

Well, I guess I should get to bed. I'm moving my office tomorrow, so at least I'll have something to occupy my time :) And then it's another lonely weekend. Oh well, I'm used to it. This time around, however, I'll use the time to do some of that volunteer work. Maybe check out some programs at BYU. I'm thinking of two degrees right now; MA in Education (yes, teaching...still unsure about it but my life seems to have been guided towards it since I was a child...LOL maybe my mother was right after all) or a MA or PhD in Family Counseling. I have the gifts to do both. I wouldn't be able to start until fall of 2005, but that gives me some time to take the GRE and to think and pray about it.

Feb 19, 2004

Well I'm up early. I'm working from home this morning, because it is just more efficient than going in for two or three hours. At 1 we are leaving for Chicago to go to an Enrique Iglesias concert. I love his music, and I'm surprised I'm not as excited about going as I should be. But...I'm sure I will enjoy myself with my friends. We'll be home late tonight -- I hope I have the energy to wake up tomorrow morning and get to work!

My website was down for 8 hours last night, and I was not pleased. But I guess it doesn't really matter anyway. It's not like I'm selling anything or providing important information, right?

I don't know, I'm pretty bummed right now. I miss talking to my best friend in the world. I miss talking to the only person I can tell everything to. I really do love him, even all his foibles, they are part of what makes him who he is, and his desire to overcome them makes him the man I knew I wanted to spend eternity with. I miss him. I love him, and I forgive him.

Feb 18, 2004

I am feeling very jittery. It's hard to concentrate on anything at work (besides, they haven't given me anything to do for the past week and so I have too much time to think). I am surprised that my faith has been pretty solid the past two days; but I refuse to let the Adversary scare me with doubts. I know I am doing the right thing, and it is sooooo hard, and it is so very difficult keeping my heart from literally weighing me down, but the faith and the hope is there.

I am not wanting to go to Chicago tomorrow evening to the Enrique Iglesias concert. My friend bought us tickets like three months ago, and I know I should go and just get my mind off things, but it means getting home late on Thursday night and then coming into work on Fri. I'm not looking forward to another weekend where I have too much time on my hands to think. I need to do something. Maybe I can start work on finding families for these exchange students.

On a more spiritual note..

"The study of the doctrines of the gospel will improve behavior quicker than talking about behavior. "
—President Boyd K. Packer

I love going to lds.org and reading the quotes. Wow, this is so true. I have noticed a complete 180 degree change in my own behavior since I have been studying the doctrines of the gospel. I've also made such dramatic changes since my break-up with Jeremy. I didn't believe I was capable of learning and changing so quickly -- usually it's a long process! I mean, I still have to apply all that I have learned, and that is always a process, and I have to remember it too -- but I just thought it would take more time to learn it than it did.

I love how the Lord enlightens our minds when we truly ask for His help. I love how the Lord teaches us correct principles through trials and adversity, but also through scripture study and earnest fast and prayer.

I love faith. It is a hard thing to possess sometimes, but what a priceless gift it is! It truly can support you through any trial! I love hope, and knowing that God's promises are sure. I love humility, and learning that the Lord can use us to help each other. I love charity, and knowing that by exercising it, one truly gains a testimony on love and learns how to gain unconditional love.

I love knowing that the Lord loves me, and just as I have faith in him, he has faith in me! He has asked me to endure a very challenging trial, the most challenging I have had to deal with yet, but He has meticulously prepared me so that I would be victorious. Somehow, this knowledge brings a strange peace to my soul, and it makes this trial seem easier than it was the first time I went through it. I know I'm the only person in the world who can accomplish what the Lord has asked me to do, and I know I will succeed. I have a greater desire to follow the commandments of God, and a greater desire to truly love unconditionally. I am grateful for the Lord's wisdom and for the way He has dealt with me; and I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that the promises he has made to me are true.

In shallah, yol bolsun. To eternal increase.

Feb 17, 2004

"But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed." James 1:6

"And now, I Moroni, would speak somewhat concerning these things; I would show unto the world that faith is things which are hoped for and not seen; wherefore, dispute not because ye see not, for ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith." -Ether 12:6

"Wherefore, if a man have faith he must needs have hope; for without faith there cannot be any hope." - Moroni 7:42

"Behold I say unto you, Nay; for it is by faith that miracles are wrought; and it is by faith that angels appear and minister unto men; wherefore, if these things have ceased wo be unto the children of men, for it is because of unbelief, and all is vain." - Moroni 7:37

"And now as I said concerning faith--faith is not to have a perfect knowledge of things; therefore if ye have faith ye hope for things which are not seen, which are true." - Alma 32:21

Since faith was the visiting teaching message for the month, and it is something that I am really striving to cultivate now, I thought I would do a study. The three of us during our VT dinner this evening discussed what exactly faith is.

When reading James 1:6, one might be a little intimidated. How is it that we can have faith unwavering? Is that possible? Since my faith wavers all the time, I was certain I would never be the faithful servant I so wanted to be. Yet, we know that with an absence of uncertainty, faith does not exist, because then it is a perfect knowledge, and Alma said so wisely himself that "faith is not to have a perfect knowledge of things."

So here was the connundrum. How can we have unwavering faith but still not have a perfect knowledge of things? Doesn't that negate itself?

Hmm. Why hadn't I thought of this earlier? Yet...my home teacher told me a story this past Sunday about when he was at BYU. A GA had come to speak to a small group of students. During the Q&A session, one of the students asked the General Authority, "so, what's it like to be so near to God? What is it like to have faith come so easily to you?" The General Authority chuckled and said that that was a giant misunderstanding. So many believed that as we grew closer to the Lord, faith became easier. This isn't the case. The closer we draw to the Lord, the more the Adversary works on us, and also, the more we know about the ways of God, and all the possible outcomes, and therefore it is all the harder to exercise faith.

I think the answer to the connundrum lies in this wise and unexpected statement. Developing faith is a process. For each and every thing we need to have faith in, whether it is faith in the Book of Mormon, or faith in God, or faith in the Atonement, or faith in a personal revelation...whatever it may be, we go through the same process for each thing. As Alma describes it, "But behold, if ye will awake and arouse your faculties, even to an experiment upon my words, and exercise a particle of faith, yea, even if ye can no more than desire to believe, let this desire work in you, even until ye believe in a manner that ye can give place for a portion of my words." (Alma 32:27). It starts by desiring to believe. It grows, like unto a seed, when it is nourished, and it is not cast out because of our unbelief...it begins to enlarge our souls, and begins to enlighten our understanding, and become delicious. Yet..."now behold, would not this increase your faith? I say unto you, yea; nevertheless it hath not grown up to a perfect knowledge." (Alma 32:29). We keep nourishing this seed and letting it grow until it does become a perfect knowledge, and then we can say we "know". Yet, it is important to still nourish the plant so that it does not perish. Our faith needs constant nourishing.

So when does it get to the point when it is "nothing wavering"? Well, I believe that starts in the beginning with our desire to believe. I don't think we can equate "nothing wavering" with "no uncertainty." Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. To have faith means there is some uncertainty. Yet, to have unwavering faith must mean that we do not doubt that the Lord will provide and help us develop that faith. We cannot doubt in the Lord, because if we do, we then lack hope, and without hope, there is no faith.

I have to draw a similarity to love. I believe love grows and is nourished in the same way that faith is (aha -- do I see the link between faith, hope and charity now??). Uncertainty will most certainly exist while it develops...and even at those times when we seemingly have a perfect knowledge, or "pure love"...because without constant nourishment, it begins to fade and whither. If we do not "cast it out because of our unbelief" it will continue to grow. If we exercise the "pure love of Christ", which is charity, after our faith and our hope, we will begin to have that perfect knowledge of love. Charity on its own is an act of faith! "And charity suffereth long, and is kind, and envieth not, and is not puffed up, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil, and rejoiceth not in iniquity but rejoiceth in the truth, beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things."

"Wherefore my beloved brethren, if ye have not charity, ye are nothing, for charity never faileth. Wherefore, cleave unto charity, which is the greatest of all, for all things must fail--But charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever; and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with them (Moroni- 7:45-47).

WOW. I never made the link before! It all begins to make sense! Faith...hope...and charity...lead to a perfect knowledge of things. But all three still must be nourished to keep that perfect knowledge. "Faith unwavering" is simply believing in Christ and in his Atoning sacrifice, and knowing He is there for us. It does not mean no uncertainty; because that is what makes faith what it is. Love is like faith; it needs to grow. It takes faith, hope and charity to turn love into a perfect knowledge, and therefore unconditionalizes it.

WOW. I love the Lord! I love that I can still learn! I love that things make more sense! I love knowing that uncertainty and fear do not mean I am unfaithful! And as Moroni said in verse 37: "it is by faith that miracles are wrought;". I believe in miracles. I believe that many, through men come to pass. I have faith in the promises of my Father in Heaven...and this is enough to sustain me.
Here are the lyrics a beautiful song by Josh Groban. I highly suggest buying it from the Apple iTunes music store or getting a copy of it. It is beautiful.

When I am down and, oh my soul, so weary;
When troubles come and my heart burdened be;
Then, I am still and wait here in the silence,
Until you come and sit awhile with me

You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains;
You raise me up, to walk on stormy seas;
I am strong, when I am on your shoulders;
You raise me up...
To more than I can be

You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains;
You raise me up, to walk on stormy seas;
I am strong, when I am on your shoulders;
You raise me up...
To more than I can be

You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains;
You raise me up, to walk on stormy seas;
I am strong, when I am on your shoulders;
You raise me up...
To more than I can be.
In shallah, yol bolsun.

Feb 16, 2004

Writing is so cathartic. I write when I'm happy, and I write when I'm sad. It's the same with praying. The times when I forget to pray are when everything is so-so. I have to work on that.

Well, I'm doing what I can to move on. I am still in the repentance process for my part of everything, but I know this had to come to pass. This had to happen. I know the Lord would still bless me with another, but I also know that the Lord DOES approve of our union, although we were both told it would be extremely difficult, as it has proven to be. I just didn't believe that Jeremy would quit so easily. I truly believe in that young man, and this just wasn't him. I know I pushed him...and the more I pushed, the further away he went..and I regret that tremendously. It's almost unbearable recognizing what I have done. But I also have strengthened my faith through this process and have learned invaluable lessons, and I believe the words that Ezra Taft Benson said, "when you follow the principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ, nothing can go permanently wrong." I have faith in that statement. I know happiness is mine to have, and I know by serving the Lord and by doing what I can, I will find that.

However, I hurt so much. I cannot deny what the Lord told me, yet I recognize that free agency plays a gigantic role in this. Jeremy chose the opposite that I did. I cannot change that. I know Jeremy believes that my desire to be a wife and mother influenced what I believed the Lord told me, but this is not the case. And I told him so on my birthday. I am guilty of doing that when it came to telling him I didn't feel he was to serve a mission, but I knew with all my heart, because of the furtiveness of the answer, what the Lord told me concerning our eternal union. I was afraid of finding my eternal companion so quickly. I had spent the previous year coming to terms with my singleness and accepting, and even embracing it (and now I have to go through that process all over again). Jeremy was the one who told me he loved me way before I was ready to hear that. I didn't know that I loved him. I didn't know that I still wasn't in love with Jaime. It scared me a lot. But on that morning of my birthday, the Lord told me to let go of Jaime...that this was the one he was preparing for me. The Lord comforted me, and told me to trust this young man, and that it was alright to love him, because he would take me to the temple someday. This is the truth. However, I chose then and there, because the Lord encouraged me to, to love Jeremy. I didn't love him until I actually made the conscious choice to do so. And when I made that choice, and let go of my fears of betrayal and rejection, I really understood what my experiences with Jaime and everyone else was preparing me for. Now I understand more than ever. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that Jaime was not meant for me. I love him eternally, but he is not my husband. I never saw him as my husband, I just had faith that somehow it would be. However, I will always love Jeremy eternally too, but the love I have for him is celestial as well. For the past month I haven't felt what he calls pathos for him, but that is because I asked the Lord to help me to control those feelings. But that doesn't mean they aren't there. Jeremy was to be my husband. The love I decided to give him that 12th day of December became celestial. I made a covenant, even though not in the temple, that I would love him no matter what. I chose to make that covenant. I chose to make it celestial and eternal. I shared with him my life, my heart, and my soul...I shared with him things I knew I would only share with my husband.

But he has made his decision. And because of the deep, celestial love I have for him, I respect his free agency to make that decision. I will no longer be the controlling, manipulative woman that I was last month. I cannot make him choose me. I do not want to make him choose me. I want him to be happy. I want him to find love. I want him to enjoy the journey. I want him to be free. And as much as that pains me, I know I do love him more than I love myself, and I can do so.

I hope someday he finds peace in this knowledge. It pains me that he did not believe I loved him enough to not hurt him. It pains me that he thought I would send someone after him to hurt him, or that I would slander his name, or make a gigantic scene. Did he doubt my love that much? I told him I was not like his mother; my love was indeed celestial. I would never reject him. I would never intentionally hurt him! He fears that I will not move on, or that I will be bitter, or I will lose my faith in the Lord. When I am upset I say bitter, unfaithful, angry things, but the truth is, I am not angry. I do not hate him. I am not the least bit bitter. Those are lessons I learned from Reid...and I will never be bitter again. I am pained because I see something celestial dying, because I pushed too far and he is yet unwilling to overcome this trial. I really developed a burning desire to support him and wait for him while he served the Lord. I even want to serve the Lord myself. There is nothing I wanted more.

But, I am moving on. Instead of burying myself in my depression, I am forcing myself to live. I am going to work, and I am doing what I can to be unselfish and to serve. I spoke with my VT companion, and we may already meet with one of our girls this week. I am excited about serving as an area coordinator for a foreign exchange organization. I will eventually get out and date if the chance arises, but it may not be for several months. I am not ready to date, to be married, or to have children. My heart may literally ache, but I will not give up trusting and loving. I cannot do so, for that would be unChrist-like.

I am doing what I can to become the woman I need to be. It is so difficult waking up every morning, and doing what I can to control the tears and the pain. But I have to do this if I want to center my life on the gospel of Jesus Christ.

I wish now I could serve a mission. I never had a desire to. Yet now I actually have a desire. If I had a wish to make, if I could make my greatest dream become a reality, it would be what a couple I know lived -- what Tom and Joy did. They dated, and knew they were to be married. Tom then realized he needed to serve a misison. Tom left, and then Joy decided to use her time waiting to serve one as well.

That would be my dream come true. My dream has changed from what it was even a week ago. I realize the impossiblities and improbablities of it, but that is what I most want right now. To serve the Lord, to wait for my husband, and to then be married eternally. It would take a miracle, but this is my greatest desire.

Feb 15, 2004

I am so ashamed of myself. I cannot believe what I have done. I have always had a deep desire to do the Lord's will, but the Adversary used my controlling nature which took over this past month, and of that I am utterly ashamed. I tried to manipulate the Lord's will to match my own. I pushed Jeremy over the edge. I did not hearken to or respect his priesthood. I made him question himself so much that in the end, I pushed him to deny the most precious answer the Lord had given to him. He testified across the pulpit, in front me, my bishop, my entire congregation, and our God, of his desire to serve a mission, and of his eternal love for me. I pushed him so far, that I made him question both, and in the end, deny his love. I cannot believe how selfish I was. I would not love the woman I was, either. I was a manipulative, selfish, controlling woman who let the Adversary control her. I did not know what I was doing, though - I did not mean to be that person!

I did not understand any of this until I met with that young Marine, PFC Matt Dodd, and shared the gospel. I only then understood how joy comes from truly doing the Lord's will -- and by service. I now understand my whole part in this entire trauma...and I am so very sorry. I pushed the man I loved way too far, and I wish with all my heart and soul that I could take it back. I know I will never do it again, but now it is too late, and I might have to live with the consequences of my transgression for the rest of eternity. I know that my God will forgive me, but the man that I love, that man that fell in love with the real me, the man whose trust I have nearly abolished...the one who then fell out of love with the woman who took over this past month, the woman who I hope someday he realizes is NOT the real me...will he ever forgive me? Will he ever trust again? I do not know.

Feb 13, 2004

This past week has been terribly difficult. I have learned a lot. Breaking up with Jeremy, however, and seeing his face last night...I suddenly realized exactly what I had learned from everything..especially the break up and going to see him. I want to tell him so badly but I told him I wouldn't contact him.

I have never had more desire than I do now to serve the Lord. I have read Enos Chapter 1 (there is only one chapter) and this is me! This is my answer!!!!!! I cannot serve a mission because of my debt, but suddenly I realized what I really want to do: I want to serve. I understand Jeremy's desire and passion to serve a mission now. I feel it too -- and I have already started by volunteering for the Center for Cultural Interchange as an area coordinator. I want to better magnify my callings at church, and serve my friends and others who are in need.

I wish I would have learned this earlier...this is where the joy of life will come. This is what will fill up that need that I demanded Jeremy to fill. That need doesn't come from him, how selfish of me to demand such from a young man who was only wanting to serve the Lord and do His will, and only asked me to be a constant friend and companion. I do wish I could go back. I understand now what I was doing to him...and now I know that I need to fill that need by service, by giving, and by being patient.

I am not ready to be a mother or wife. I have a lot of growing up to do. It will take me a few more years, if not more, to get my life in order and to put my priorities where they need to be. Right now, what I want to do more than anything is be a support to those who need it. I want to offer my love to all who will take it. I will keep loving and supporting and forgiving...even to those who don't know I am there offering to them only that which I can offer. I will learn to become the soft-spoken, slow to anger young woman I proved to myself I could be on Wednesday night. That is my future -- that is the woman I will be in a few years. Selfless, soft-spoken, patient, meek, and humble...plus industrious and intelligent to boot. I will support my family and loved ones and encourage them to do the Will of the Lord, and my selfish desires will no longer be quite as important. Only then will I be ready to serve the Lord as a mother and a wife, but until then, I have a lot of stuff I need to do.

Feb 9, 2004

He lives to grant me rich supply,
He lives to guide me with his eye,
He lives to comfort me when faint,
He lives, to hear my soul's complaint!
He lives to silence all my fears,
He lives to wipe away my tears,
He lives to calm my troubled heart,
He lives all blessings to impart!

I just want to bear my testimony that I know my Savior lives. I know he suffered for me on the cross. I know that the horrible pangs I am feeling right now he felt...he felt that very piercing to the core, the kind of pain that racks your whole body with torment, the kind that is not from sin, but what comes from life and what comes from grief...and what comes from experience. He bore the suffering for our sins too. He bore the suffering for every thing we have experienced and will experience...and he did it all for each one of us. And if it was just me on this Earth, he still would have come and died for me. If it was just you, he would have come and atoned for only you.

I want to bear my testimony on love. I have learned that love is a gift, but it is also a choice. We can choose to love and we can choose to not love. I know that it is false to think that we cannot control the feelings of the heart! I know from experience, that if you want to love you can. How many marriages succeed when the couple knows this! It is a sad world that love does not conquer all, when in fact, if we chose to allow it, it would...because God is love. I've always known the pain and bitterness that love brings, yet despite all that I have experienced in my life, I would never, ever, stop loving. It's the rare power within ourselves...the only power that we, as humans, have in common with our God. We share that power and capability. So few people exercise it. So many people are afraid of it. And all of us are hurt, tortured, and betrayed by it or the lack of it. Too few recognize the beauty and the preciousness that lies within it. Seldom do people see the power they have when they exercise it, and the terrible damage they do by not accepting it or rejecting it. Sometimes an individual might feel he does not deserve love, because love is the greatest blessing of all. "Adam fell that men might be, and men are that they might have joy." Yes, even after committing sin. Through repentance and the suffering that accompanies it, we are allowed to experience joy. God wants us all to know what love is. He wants us to share it and embrace it. And we all deserve it, because God loves each and every one of us. He never asks us to do more than we are able to. He never asks us to bear more than we can bear. His love is all around us, shining down on us. Through the people in our lives we experience only a taste of what Godlike love truly is.

Love means accepting and being willing to fight until the end. It means never giving up. Love is not always pleasant. It's not always butterflies and happy endings. Love is what bears the burden when we are so weary we feel we cannot love any more. Love is what ignites us to live. It is at the very core of what urges us to serve others. But most of all, love is what enables us to truly be remarkable. It is selfless and merciless...it means true forgiveness and acceptance. It means, when everything seems like it's going wrong, when there seems to be no way out -- love is there to rise us above and remind us of our inner deity and our marvelous potential.

To be loved by someone who knows this, and knows how to love, is the greatest blessing the Lord can offer to us while on this Earth. This is the reason and the foundation of the family. Without the family, God's work cannot continue. Therefore our thirst and our desire for love and acceptance is a gift from God; it ensures not only that we continue to multiply and replenish the earth, but it also lends hope and faith to the knowledge of eternal increase, and to being humble enough to recognize our errors and our sins, to repent, and then to recognize that God made us that we might have joy. Yes, even in this life . God wills us not to unwittingly suffer...he does NOT require us to punish ourselves. Through his grace and through the Atonement, all necessary steps to repentance are already given. What an err it is to believe that, even after we have repented, that we are still responsible for our sin! What err is it to believe that we are never going to be good enough because of our past transgressions! This is a blatant slap in the face of the Atonement - how dare we do this, after all that Christ has done for us? He is truly our advocate to the Father. In recognizing this, we realize that not only must we repent for our mistakes, but then it is a commandment that we forgive ourselves.

I love the Lord. I do not understand all things; I do not know why things happen the way they do. But I know He does not lie to me, and He will never lead me astray. I also know that I will always, always support my husband, my family, and my friends in their walk with the Lord. I am gravely hurt that some might think I would not. My experiences in my own life have not lead me to become the woman I am today...to sit there and cast judgment on another. If I at first question, or don't immediately have a sudden prompting that the choice a person has made is right, I only do this to encourage my loved ones to make sure they are indeed walking with the Lord, and not the Adversary. I do not question or murmur righteous desires. I just feel it is necessary to be absolutely sure. Once that is the case, I no longer question. Even during my questioning one might think I am not being supportive; but the truth is, in my questioning I'm being more supportive than I would be if I just sat idly by. If I love someone enough, I want what is best for them. In questioning and encouraging them to ask the Lord if their choices are indeed right, I am actually encouraging them to truly walk with the Lord. To me, this is perfectly clear.

I am in great pain, but Christ will deliver me. He can truly feel my pain. He has been there. He has encouraged me to continue along the path I have chosen, and I have been told that God is pleased with where I am and where I am going. I am making correct choices, and I am walking with the Lord. I know the promises the Lord have made to me are true and sure, and although I was told in a blessing that things don't always work out as I expect, the promise is still there, and it is sure. I have faith in this. I have faith in the Lord and in his guidance. I have faith in the Holy Ghost. People can slander my name and I can walk this earth alone for the rest of my life, but I will never, ever let my integrity be taken from me. I will never deny that which I know to be true. I will never deny those sacred gifts of promise and revelation that I have received. Even as I spoke with my bishop, tears streaming down my face, anger threatening to tear me apart, I recognized the Spirit whispering to me a message of peace and hope. "Oh ye of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?"

My life will never be easy. I yearn for rest and for joy, but that is not mine to have at this moment. Yet I know my potential and I know how the Lord sees me. I know of His love. I know what expectations he has for me, and I know He, The Lord my God, trusts me enough to get through my second Abrahamic trial. And this one is just beginning. Yet as I sit here, a gentle calm has settled over me. I am more determined than ever to not let Satan win. I will not let him win. I cannot speak for anyone else, but as for myself, the Adversary might as well as go find someone else. He's going to get bored real soon. Because this time, with the help of the Lord, I'm taking control.

Feb 1, 2004

I'm such a loser sometimes. Ok, I don't need to dwell on it, because that will make me all the much more loser-ish. I do not know what is wrong with me sometimes! I know I have a chemical imbalance and suffer from depression, but I have been taking Zoloft to deal with that. Maybe its effect has worn off...I'm not sure...or maybe the dosage isn't enough. It's not been so much being depressed that has been my problem lately, but rather the anxiety disorder rearing its ugly head. I finally came to peace with the prospect of Jeremy serving a mission, and I am so proud of him. I know I didn't make it easy for him, but I hope that he understood that beneath my tears, my desire for him to serve the Lord rang loud and clear. I am a murmurer, and this has recently come to my attention (about a month before meeting Jeremy). I know it's a trait of mine he dislikes, and to tell the truth, I dislike it too. But I have so many things I want and need to change about myself, and every day it seems I recognize even more changes that are necessary, and I'm beginning to feel swamped and under an extreme amount of pressure just to live up to my own expectations. However, one good solid strength of mine is, after the murmuring and the crying and the feeling sorry for myself...after all the selfishness, I pick myself up, take a deep breath, and then I say, "Ok! I can deal with this! The Lord is my strength! His will be done!" And finally...after doing this for awhile, I get that peace I had been searching for.

I know Jeremy was hoping that I would happily tell him how wonderful it was that he made this decision. When he first mentioned it...back in December, I encouraged him to do the Lord's will and I said I would support him. I know my actions have seemed contrary to my words, but they really aren't. I will support him...and I am supporting him. I just have to fight off my own demons before I can completely and totally be selfless and have the strength I need in order to do that. But despite the inner turmoil that engulfs me all to often, deeper down, beyond that turmoil, is the knowledge of the gospel, and my burning desire to live a celestial life. That burning desire is greater than all my selfish needs or desires, and it is that very thing that keeps me persevering, and determined to seek the will of the Lord and accept it as well as embrace it.

He has noticed this. He knows that I "freak out"...and it scares him (it scares me too!) before I get to that point of giving up the seflish addictions and/or desires and truly accepting the Lord's will and following in faith. But I still freak out. I pray to the Lord for strength to overcome this..because the last thing I want to do is be a burden to this wonderful young man. He needs me and has asked me to support him, and to not make things more difficult, and I'm not sure if he knows that the burning desire within me wants to grant him this with all my heart and soul. I would die for him...I would literally do anything for him. I love him that much. Yet sometimes I seem incapable of fulfilling the smallest requests...and it torments me to know that if I can't get a hold of this now, I could prove to be unbearable and he would have no other choice than to break it off, even if temporarily, until I get my head on straight.

His time in Cuba and on a mission are probably great blessings in disguise. I really thought I was ready for marriage. And for the most part, I am. I always thought, "well, I have this independence thing down pat. I won't be the clingy sort of girlfriend that drives guys away." Yet I have to face it: I am. It's also a blessing we don't live anywhere near each other. Why is it that suddenly I have a man to love and who loves me...and I can't seem to get through a day without talking to him? And if I don't, I start to panic...thinking something bad happened to him, or he decided he didn't love me anymore...why do I go through these panic attacks? It is quite difficult, because all the while I know logically that he is fine, or that of course he loves me. Yet I can't seem to get these worse-case scenarios out of my head...and I pick up that phone and dial or I write that email. Why do I do this? I know part of the answer: 1) Trust and faith in love. The truth is, with Jaime, I was always optimistic...and when I thought things couldn't get worse...they actually did. The worst-case scenario always played out...despite how optimistic and hopeful I was. I can't count how many times my heart literally dropped to the floor because worse than the worst actually would happen. I frustrated Jaime, too...because of the drama queen I am...and although that is not why we broke up (I became a drama queen only after I broke up with him)I know that his continued friendship with me must have been difficult for him, because he didn't understand why it was that I was so upset when he would introduce me to his new girlfriend or whatever. Then when Reid pulled that crap at New Year's last year...I was reliving that all over again, even though Reid and I hadn't actually dated exclusively. In hindsight I know it was a blessing in disguise, but at the time I felt like I was reliving those scenarios with Jaime all over again.

I'm not making excuses for my actions or my dramatics, but I can recognize how my anxiety disorder got to the worsened state it has. I didn't know I had it in high school, but I did. It didn't affect relationships because I wasn't in many, but every year I missed at least 20 days of school because of it. I didn't know what it was at the time, and I'm very lucky that I got the A's that I did because I was gone all the time. But that feeling that I was being judged by everyone..that people were always looking at me...it was difficult to deal with and it literally made me sick. I would start having bladder or yeast infections and to the doctor's surprise I usually had no relevant problems. Psychosomatic illnesses, I suppose. My aunt Maureen suffered the same. Yet at the time I knew logically the feelings I was experiencing were not real...I could not separate the logic from the emotion. The emotion always won.

These days, the logic wins more often, but I am often struck down by the emotions. I have to admit that since starting the Zoloft, I have not had one yeast infection or serious bladder infection. This has convinced me that it was truly psychosomatic. But when my nerves start getting frazzled and the fear starts filling my heart, my health suddenly goes awry. I know why.

I do not want this to affect dear, sweet, patient Jeremy. I do not want this to affect my children. I never, ever want to be that kind of mother that drives her children insane with the constant barrage of questions.."where were you? What where you doing? I was worried sick about you!!" Concern is good and important, but going ballistic or fearing my child has been in an accident because he simply forgot to call and check in will drive me, and my family, insane. I simply cannot allow this to happen, and for that very reason I need to find a way to control this better. I have improved 110% since beginning the medication, butI still have a long ways to go. I do not want Jeremy to fear that I will not be ok when he leaves for his mission. I do not want him thinking that I will go completely bonkers when he is out of town on business for a few weeks. I do not want him to worry.

I want to get well. I need to do this for me, and now that I have someone in my life...for him. I have got to find a way to not allow the adversary from taking advantage of my disease. I need to focus more on the logic...and find a way to quench those feelings of despair and anxiety. I need to remember that yes, this man DOES love me...and that there is no need to have constant reassurance daily from him. It really is a matter of faith...but even more so because I literally have to not only overcome the natural man (or woman) but also a chemical imbalance that makes it all the more difficult. But I know I can do it.

D&C 6:36: ?"Look unto me in every thought; doubt not, fear not." This is my new motto. I will not allow this to control me...but I will control the disease. I will do some research into health. I believe what Jeremy has told me, and I know that if I can find a way to change my diet and also incorporate more exercise into my life...this will also help me tremendously. I need to give more serive...boy do I need to focus on this! I have the desire to serve others, but what am I doing about it? Not much. I really need to get out there and do something about it!

I hope Jeremy knows that I love him, and I am trying my hardest. I want to support him, and I want him to support me. I need him to be patient with me while I go through this learning process. I need him to, at least in the beginning, give me those daily assurances of his love. They don't need to be big...they don't need to be long emails or 4-hour conversations, but a simple "I love you" text message or email would suffice. I also need him to constantly let me know when he is having a tough time as well...which will remind me to be compassionate and empathetic and recognize that I am only adding to his burden and not lightening it. I want to lighten it...not add to it. This is not only my duty as his future wife and as the woman who loves him, but it is also one of my greatest desires. I know, however, that I will be victorious. I have been promised this literally by my Father in Heaven. I will become that selfless, patient, humble, meek, teachable, submissive, charitable woman that I want and need to be. Becoming such does not detract from the strong qualities I have...it only adds to them.

I love the Lord...and I love my (future) husband. I am grateful that he is so patient with me, yet tells me like it is. It hurts to be chastized...yes it does, but it makes me teachable and more desirous to become a better person. I pain at the thought of my sins and my weaknesses, but I rejoice in my strengths and in the strengths that I will someday have...those that I gained from overcoming my weaknesses. There is joy in trial and tribulation. If I can remember to count my blessings, and to remember those truths that have been manifested to me both by people who love me and also by a Father in Heaven who loves me....I know I can overcome anything .