May 30, 2004

Can't say much; Olvia doesn't have internet (imagine!!) but we came to to the CE computer lab here at the Purdue U campus because of a tornado warning. We are all using the computers as we wait out the storm.

Man, there are tornados everywhere!!!!! And she's used to Hurricanes, but not tornadoes.

On a lighter note, I saw my cousin today:) Sean, hmm, I mean ELDER Murphy, was very excited to see Laurie and I. He even gave a talk today! A wonderful talk on member retention and missionary service. He started his talk with a joke; has the same sense of humor as his grandpa (my Uncle Mike). It was so cool talking to him about family and all that...and hearing about how much he is enjoying his mission.

The people are sooo nice here too! It's small because it's summer and many students went back home, but I remember a few of these people from when I was here during Christmas:) Very friendly, especially the guys. They are just so down to earth and really nice!

Well, I better sign off. I'll probably write more tomorrow night after I get home from our trip, or Tuesday after I get to Chicago.

May 27, 2004

I got flowers!!! Beautiful flowers from proflowers.com. I love the way they came; they are shipped directly from the grower, wrapped, and included are flower flood and an empty vase. Once you get it, you cut the stems, place them in the fortified water, and then watch them bloom. This is really cool because they last longer than your typical flowers from a florist:)

Jessica is such a sweetheart! She said she just wanted to thank me for helping her out 2 years ago. This is one of the nicest things anyone has done for me, and it really has made my day! :)

I don't have a camera with me, but I will bring one tomorrow and take a picture if they are in bloom by then.

May 26, 2004

I've been experimenting with some new recipes lately. Last week I accomplished making a fantastically delicious spicy chicken quesadilla, using Pepper Jack and Cheddar cheeses and bits of southwestern spiced chicken. The secret though is in the sauce. It is delicious! This week I concocted a simple, yet tasty Chicken pie that even my sister liked so much she asked for seconds (and she hates pot pies). I used fresh potatoes and a puff pastry which really did the trick; plus, of course, veggies. It was yummy. I even finally used my Chopper this past month and I fell in love with it; heck, I haven't even turned on the electric one yet. This one cuts up onions and veggies so nice and small -- just the way I like them, and it rinses clean away! LOL I know it was a gag gift from Jeremy, but it was probably one of the most useful gifts I received:)

I like trying new recipes, but I also like making my own dishes as well. I'm doing what I can to not use meat as the main focus in a meal; as in the previous recipes, I didn't use much chicken. I also found a new love -- Gatorade's Propel fitness water. I've tried several flavors already and I love them all. They are water with a slight flavor; few grams of sugar, and packed with vitamins. I love sipping on one when I'm at the gym or at work. It's a great alternative to soda (even diet soda), that's for sure. Plus I'm getting more water into my system, which it needs.

I mowed the lawn today because it was another gorgeous, cloudless day (and not too warm). After I was done, the sun had set, so I climbed up onto the hill and just layed there, breathing in the freshly cut grass, staring up at the moon, and thinking. The smell of summer is in the air. I also smell change. I can feel it. Unfortunately, some of it won't be good. Considering this whole terrorist threat thing; well, the fact that a friend of mine had predicted just awhile ago that this summer would bring disturbing threats that may succeed in being carried out; well, when I heard the news this morning you can imagine my shock. I will admit that I had been pondering that same thing beforehand, and a sense of foreboding had come over me. I just hate that feeling. I know we are in the last days; I know peace won't be achieved until the Prince of Peace himself rules upon the Earth, but still -- I just worry. I also feel edgy because despite who I am; despite the fact that I am absolutely nothing (other than some graphic designer with a keen, almost eerie sense of intuition) I feel that I must play an important role in these last days. Not directly, I doubt...but this is the sense I am getting. My family; my husband; my children -- and it just feels like that future (which is still a ways away yet) is beginning with world politics, of all things. Now how can that be?? I don't get it, and it's confusing, and I'm trying to make sense of how the spiritual fits into all this; because it also has a lot to do with building God's kingdom here on Earth (aka...sharing the gospel).

Well, I guess that's enough provoking thought for now. I better get some sleep. I know that all i have to do is remember what we have been taught in the past several General Conferences about preparation; those who are righteous and hold to the iron rod shall not fear. I have no need to fear. I just need to continue to prepare; continue to work on becoming healthier, wiser, more spiritual, more intuitive, more loving...these are the things I need to focus on.

May 25, 2004

Well, next week is going to be a busy and exciting week! On Friday my sister and I are leaving for West Lafayette, Indiana, to spend the Memorial Day holiday with Chiquita (Olvia), and, to celebrate her birthday with her and her ward:) We are coming home on Monday, and then Tuesday morning I'm hopping back into the car and driving down to Chicago for 4 fun-filled days and 3 nights in Chicago for the Mac Design Conference and Expo:) I got a hotel (Holiday Inn) right near O'Hare (same hotel where the pre-conference workshop will be:). Wireless internet again..woo hoo! A party on Wed night for all the Mac aficionados out there....just lots of fun stuff. My boss ordered my new PowerBook a few weeks ago, and I'm hoping it will come in this week sometime, but I doubt it will :(. Well, if that is the case my trusty iBook will have to do. I just can't do anything requiring lots of RAM or anything, but my work for those four days is attending the workshops, learning about Photoshop and finding out about all the new software and hardware out there that is Mac related:)

Work is going well. I keep hearing about how the Streaming Media website is gaining national attention. Since I designed it (along with the help of our senior instructional designer) I keep hearing all this great stuff. My boss is really happy with my work..a lot of people are:) Some of the other projects we are working on are going to also be on the same level. It is awesome knowing I work for an institution that is so well-known and is at the top when to IT in Higher Education. The people I work with are also nationally recognized and extremely talented. I am honored to work with them. Not only because it helps my own portfolio, but mostly because they are truly awesome people:)

Well, I'll be back in town Fri night (June 4th). The only thing that worries me a little is four days alone. I'm not great at making friends and I'm guessing many of the people at this conference are going to be older than I (well at least older than I feel :) I'm trying to find someone to come join me for a day or two and have fun! I have two free tickets to the Expo on the 2nd or 3rd..plus a pool and everything at the hotel. My Mom can't even come, and she's more of a Mac nut than I am!! But it's the last week of school and they have tests to administer.

Oh well. Maybe Laurie can get off for a day or something. We'll see. Today we actually had sun...my roses are still gorgeous but they are drooping from all that rain. Everything is so freakin' green! Storm after storm after storm...and more storms in the forecast. Good thing they were wrong about today! It was nice:)

Anyway, I better go now. No real reason why..just that I've run out of things to talk about:)

May 23, 2004

Well, today's lesson went well. We discussed Alma and his mission today; which was different from Abinadai's. Abinadai's mission was to warn, while Alma's was to teach. He taught in private while Abinadai didn't. Alma converted many souls, despite the imminent dangers of Noah's priests who were out looking for him.

I'm so glad that people are enjoying my teaching. I'm glad that I feel the spirit when I teach, and that I find myself enthusiastic about the topics. The main theme of today's lesson was that God keeps His promises. And that He does; I have faith and a testimony of this. Just as God promised that Noah would suffer death by fire; that the Nephites would be put into bondage by the Lamanaites, and that He would deliver them once they repented and turned to Him; well, God did these very things. He is "the same yesterday, today and forever". Enos tells us that "God cannot lie". The scriptures are full of testimony to the fact that God does not lie. it maye seem impossible, through the reasoning of men (just as the promise made to Abraham and Sarah seemed impossible) we must remember that nothing is impossible with the LORD! Oh how He loves us!

We also discussed our baptismal covenants. Part of our covenant that we made was that we would "stand with those who stand in need of comfort, mourn with those who mourn, and that we would stand as a witness of God in ALL times, and in ALL things, and in ALL places...". I love Mosiah 18:9. It is such a beautiful scripture.

Yes, we made covenants to help our fellow brothers and sisters out when they are in need of it; despite the sacrifice it may mean that we must make. We pledged to the Lord that we would do this thing! We also promised to stand as witnesses of God at all times, not just when it is convenient for us. We have to fight our fears...we have to fight indifference. Because we made these covenants, we are prohibited from being indifferent. Matthew 25 makes our duties crystal clear. Brother Ted Gibbons said it well, "In practice, our indifference is a denial of our faith." We CANNOT be indifferent about the suffering of others! We cannot be indifferent about the gospel! We need to accept is as the people of Alma, who "clapped their hands for joy, and exclaimed: this is the desire of our hearts." (Mosiah 18:11). We must accept every opportunity there is to serve and to preach the gospel. Fear isn't an excuse. "Therefore, verily I say unto you, lift up your voices unto this people; speak the thoughts that I shall put into your hearts, and you shall not be confounded before men; For it hsall be given you in the very hour, yeah in the very moment, what ye shall say." (D&C 100:5-6). I know that this is true. I know that when the fear in my heart threatened to overcome me, at fragile moments in my life when I was given the opportunity to share the gospel, the Lord put into my mouth the things I needed to say. Just as he does every week when I teach this class. I am still a little nervous every week, but it is lessening. My friend Tara even commented today that I was a lot more comfortable and less nervous this week than I was last week. Perhaps this was because of what I read and taught today concerning this very thing? Most likely. Heavenly Father has always been there to prompt me. When I get up to bear my testmony and have no idea what to say, once I reach that pulpit, it just comes pouring out those things I need to say. I know that through the testimony of others, and the lessons of others, I have learned profound things; their testimonies have touched my heart, and the truthfulness of their words rang clear in mine. I know that I, too, must have a similar impact on a few people; people who needed to hear a certain message, or know they weren't alone in their trials...it is just a marvelous thing that Heavenly Father has done. He has commanded us to share with each other, and bear each other's burdens, and testify to each other; and this is His way of helping us! He sends friends, family, companions, husbands, and wives to teach us, to help mold us, to offer companionship and love, to gently guide us in the direction we are supposed to be heading. Yeah, we all screw up sometimes, but I do know the love I have for the people in my life, and how much true joy I feel when I see them heading in the right direction! When I see their happiness from keeping the commandments, and listening to the Spirit. It must be true that others feel that way when they see me doing the same things.

I do have a testimony that God keeps his promises. I have a testimony of my baptismal covenants. I promised the Lord that I would serve, that I would "mourn with those who mourn", and that I would take every opportunity given to me to preach His word. I may never be able to do that on a full-time mission, but this does not mean that I won't be called to do so. So many people overlook the importance of member missionary work, yet our Prophet has said that the retention of members that came in through member contacts is extremely significant as compared to the retention of others who came in through different means. We are human beings; we are social by nature (yes, even I am :) We need that contact, that togetherness, that companionship...those people and families that are converted because of the love and example of a friend or family member have that instant compansionship as they begin their journey in the living and better understanding of the gospel. I know that when I get married, I want my husband and I to constantly be member missionaries; to seek out friends and family and share the gospel with them. I also want to live the kind of life with him that is an example to our loved ones. I know that by doing so, we truly can be instruments in the Lord's hands.

Well, I have to go now, my friend just called me and informed me that there is a tornado warning and several tornadoes and/or funnel clouds are being spotted. It's very eerie, since when I look outside I see everything is still, the sun is shining, and there are large patches of blue sky. I'll write more later.

May 20, 2004

Here are my roses:) Aren't they looking absolutely gorgeous?








Well, the symposium this morning went off without a hitch. I was rather surprised by my performance. I was a tiny bit nervous, but I delivered pretty smoothly. I had several faculty come up afterwards to tell me they really learned from my presentation, and that the way I presented it (showing before and after designs of webpages) really helped them to better recognize the importance of using color and graphics purposefully. I was even told I was an excellent speaker/presenter! Go figure; the woman with a lisp; the one who forgets what she wants to talk about half the time, and stumbles over words in large group settings...well, I guess I have it in me after all :)

It is so muggy outside! It's only 83 (well to me that's hot) but the humidity has got to be 100%. We were supposed to have strong storms but so far it's been only partly cloudy. The sun is unbearable. I have no money to go buy lighter clothes, so I have to re-use my Spring/Summer wardrobe throughout the week. Lots of skirts and sandals. Of course my favorite sandals have a 3.5 in heel, but since the sole is made of solid wood and it's a stacked heel, they are ok to wear. I can walk in them just fine.

Well, enough of that. I guess there isn't much else to say. Life is interesting. I was talking online to a guy yesterday (just finished his degree in marketing at BYU) and he had spent quite awhile in NYC before he went back to school. He was in Les Misérables! On Broadway! Wow. That's remarkable. Now that it's off-Broadway I will have to go see it somewhere else, but I do hope I can at least see Phantom of the Opera on Broadway before it, too, leaves.

Well, I have to get going. I might write more later.

May 19, 2004

Well, I will admit that this week has been much better. A considerable load has been lifted off my shoulders, and the beginning of a new friendship with Jeremy (or Brock, as I should call him) began. We both decided it was wise to move slowly, so that we don't hurt each other. I know I am a little apprehensive, but after some considerable prayer and inspiration, I realized that he never had wanted to hurt me; rather, there was much that I didn't know (although I had guessed intuitively what as going on, but I wasn't sure if it was true until he wrote those words). Our past is unique, I will say that...we went through a very difficult period. I know we have both learned from it, and to feel the Spirit again, concerning our friendship, and knowing that despite how difficult it may be for me (and probably for him too) it is what is supposed to happen.

I will say this again, I am so proud of his decision and his desire to serve the Lord. Oh how I wish I could do it too! I know he has always had this desire, and despite how painful it was, I am glad that my unconscious manipulation tactics didn't convince him to abandon the idea. I am glad he remained steadfast. Now I know how he feels. I have changed so dramatically in this department. I always loved the missionaries, but I always looked at them and asked myself how they could do it. I guess I wasn't truly converted.

But now I am! Now I understand! The message..it is so wonderful! Everyone should hear it! I really wish I could share it, and have a companion to share it with who felt just as I do about this work!

Well, there goes my enthusiasm again:) Kim, our Relief Society president, was in the parking lot when I got to my car yesterday. She took me aside and told me that she heard from several people that my Sunday School class was really awesome. I know I heard this from a few after the class, but I just thought they were token compliments. Mormons tend to be over-complimentary, so I take what most of them say with a grain of salt. But if they mentioned it to others, without me being present, well that's another thing entirely.

I'm very happy to hear this! I was very nervous, and my lack of eloquence really bothers me. If I could sit there and read from a script I would have no problems. But, this is an excellent opportunity to work on it. And, what is more important; that I be eloquent, or that I teach with the Spirit? Definitely the latter; and I'm grateful that I had the Spirit for my first class. I am sure He will accompany me in subsequent classes.

May 18, 2004

My mother just told me that my cousin Jason, who is in the Army and is in Korea, is being sent to Iraq, and will be there an additional year.

Why? Why does he have to go to Iraq? Why can't he stay in Korea? My poor aunt. Poor Alyssa! Oh this isn't fair. After all that has been happening in Iraq, my cousin gets new orders to be sent there?

I can't help it; I am upset. Haven't we lost enough of our troops? The Iraqis don't even want us there. They are assasinating our civilians, fighting with our troops, and screaming bloody murder.

I am proud of my cousin for his willingness to defend our country. I greatly admire and honor our troops over there and all around the world. I just wish they didn't have to be there in the first place.

I guess all I can do is pray. Oh how I hope they return safely. How I wish every last one of them would return home safely...but knowing this won't happen, all I can pray for is that we lose as few as possible in our remaining time in Iraq.

May 16, 2004

Today was a beautiful day again. It was a good Sunday. I was pretty nervous about my class today, and it turned out that I had like 30 people in there. 30 people! When I substituted for Jonathan in January, I had a small class. But then again, everyone was home for the holidays.

I decided I didn't want to "lecture", so I had everyone get in a circle to discuss. We discussed Abinadai and the exemplary missionary he was. We discussed the unseen missionary work, and the ripple effect. Abinadai was martyred, and willing to be martyred, not knowing if even one person was converted. Hey may have known that Alma believed his words, because Alma spoke up for him and was therefore cast out of his own kingdom. But Abinadai died with only that knowledge. However, someone did a study, and 23,707 people were converted because of Abinadai's mission. 23,707!!!!! It just goes to show that our examples and our willingness to share the gospel really makes a difference.

I encouraged the class to each ask themselves if they would be willing to share the gospel as Abinadai did. How strong are our testimonies? Do we really realize what this is about? What is the Atonement about? If we understand this, we truly would want everyone on this earth to know about it!

I guess I got a little enthusiastic cause people were smiling at me, but it was great. I was told by several people that they enjoyed the class. I'm excited about this calling, even though I am very lacking in the eloquence department. I just can't speak well. I get nervous. But this will be good for me.

I think I'm going to try and enroll in an night course on starting a business, cashflow management, or something similar, plus re-read some of my "Poor Dad, Rich Dad" books. I got very excited about some ideas last year but they kind of went to the wayside. I don't have a ton of time now, either, but it's all in how I manage my time, right? Brock has given me some ideas, and since he has such an amazing business sense, I figured his generosity in offering those ideas is something worth researching. I would like to get out of debt, but it's not going to happen anytime soon by just doing what I am doing. I have to use this mind that Heavenly Father has blessed me with, right? Besides, I have been still thinking about a mission. My enthusiasm for our discussion today in class surprised me yet again. Before Feburary I never had that desire! I just think it is simply amazing how I have changed in that respect. I just am so grateful and so happy for the joy that comes from the knowledge I have of the gospel...I just want to share it! I really do!!!

May 15, 2004

"I say unto you, I will not recall the words which I have spoken unto you concerning this people, for they are true; and that ye may know of their surety I have suffered myself that I have fallen into your hands, and I will suffer even until death, and I will not recall my words, and they shall stand as a testimony against you. "(Mosiah 17:9,10)

I am giving this lesson tomorrow. Mosiah chapters 12-17. After reading it over, I realized how much I truly admire Abinadai. He did have "beautiful feet" as Isaiah put it. The wicked priests of Noah tried to challenge Abinadai with the words of Isaiah: "What meaneth the words which are written, and which have been taught by our fathers, saying: How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings; that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good; that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth; Thy watchmen shall lift up the voice; with the voice together shall they sing; for they shall see eye to eye when the Lord shall bring again Zion; Break forth into joy; sing together ye waste places of Jerusalem; for the Lord hath comforted his people, he hath redeemed Jerusalem; The Lord hath made bare his holy arm in the eyes of all the nations, and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God?" (Mos. 12:20-24)

They wanted to trick him. They were saying that the words that Abinadai brought to them were not beautiful, or tidings of good, nor did they bring forth joy...but rather tidings of judgment. Yet those priests failed to see that indeed Abinadai's words were of beauty, of peace, and of love: The Atonement. We are promised that our sins will be remembered no more; that even though they might be scarlet, they will be turned to white as wool. As long as we continually strive to be obedient and to repent, and to keep on doing this, the Atonement is indeed a message of joy. It is not just for the "good" people out there; it's for everyone. It is actually created for sinners (which, again, is everyone). We have hard time feeling worthy of our Father and our Redeemer, but this is the ways of Satan! That is what the Atonement is all about! Picking ourselves up, brushing ourselves off, and starting fresh! As many times as we have to!

"But remember that he that persists in his own carnal nature, and goes on in the ways of sin and rebellion against God, remaineth in his fallen state and the devil hath all power over him. Therefore, he is as though there was no redemption made, being an enemy to God; and also is the devil an enemy to God." (Mosiah 16:5). By choosing to do evil, especially after we are so tired of trying, we want to give up, we say to ourselves "I can't do this, I keep on committing the same sin. Why do I even try? God will not forgive me. I should be stronger than this." By saying this, or by not forgiving ourselves, it is indeed "as though there was no redemption made".

We cannot allow ourselves to give up. All that is required is that we continually pick ourselves up again.

Abindai did indeed teach a lesson of love, and he gave his life for it. What a difficult mission! But he knew the truth; he felt it in his being, and he was willing to lay down his life for it. He was a messenger from God, with "beautiful feet" as Isaiah described. All missionaries can be described as having beautiful feet. We all can; we can stand up for this work, and teach it. It isn't a message of restriction and of destruction! It truly IS one of joy!
Well, I just got back from doing a little shopping. Well not really shopping (although I did pick up some funky new earrings) but I bought a rose bush:) Yes, an Oklahoma rose bush!

I don't know a thing about roses, but then again last year I didn't know a thing about fuchsias. I can learn. We'll see how I do with it. I was going to buy a bigger, larger tree, but I thought it would be foolish to spend the money on something that might die on me, so I just bought a small bush that was on sale for $10.

It is a beautiful day; although a bit chilly (58 degrees, but I love it that way), and hardly a cloud in the sky. I will have to take advantage of the rest of the daylight and go do some gardening. Then later I will go to the gym, and preparing my lesson for tomorrow.

Well, I am feeling a lot better. Things are never easy, mind you, and I'm a little wary, but I feel that I will be ok, and that is what counts.

May 14, 2004

Get this, I rejoined ldsmingle yesterday afternoon, so it's been like 36 hours, and 438 people have viewed my profile! Jeez, ldsso.com was never like that. And I have gotten like three times as many smiles and emails as I did yesterday. Man, I am brutally honest in my profile and the men seem to like it.

Of course I take it all with a grain of salt. Even have the imperfect body that I do (although it's getting better), I am tired of having to keep my windows rolled up while driving around town, or rolling my eyes at yet another online comment about my outward appearance. Sure, it makes a girl feel good, but there is more to me than that. But luckily, some of these men who showed interest didn't mention that at all. Some wrote amazingly intelligent emails. Heck, I even got an email from someone I met in person briefly a few months back ;)

I guess it is just a reminder to myself that I am desirable. I know I'm freakin worth it (I was that arrogant, too, in my profile), and it has very little to do with my physical appearance. Any guy would be so lucky . I'm tired of dealing with the low self-esteem, and letting men and their immature behaviors and fears dictate how I feel about myself. No more.

The only thing I do worry about though is what would happen if/when I lose weight. This little bit of extra weight is my shield, so-to-speak, and it has kept me humble. I'm sorry, but when I was on that phen-fen diet way back in 96 and lost all that weight, I was so freaking surprised by the body that was underneath all that time, that I went a little nuts with the short shorts, midrift-bearing shirts, and all that. It got me into a little trouble when living in Spain. I don't want to do that again. I don't want to be so conceited. It's not that I prefer to have a low self-esteem, but in the past year I finally became happy with myself, and decided to get healthy, not to "get gorgeous". Now that I can actually see that goal and the pleasant consequences that come with it in the future (not as some distant far off goal), I get a bit worried again. But then again, I'm getting old...I see the wrinkles forming ;) I'm no brazen 22 year old ready to conquer the world and everyone in it. I'm a different person now, with a different perspective on life.

But anyway. I have to watch myself and keep myself grounded. And I am not ready to let my heart go quite yet. But it is nice to make friends and to know that I am valued, appreciated, and wanted.
Holy crap! That comment on the last blog just floored me. I had no idea there was anyone out there who cared enough to defend my honor and to stick up for me (other than my own brother, but he doesn't get on the internet often). I've gotten to know James over the past few months and have found him to be a remarkable and extremely selfless man. He knows all the pain I am going through, but he still remains my friend despite my sometimes one-tracked mind.

Although, James, I think Jeremy already had his last chance. There is such a thing as forgiving; but there is also such a thing as preserving oneself. I thought I was strong enough to handle it, but I don't deserve this, and I never did deserve it. It would certainly take a miracle for me to trust again.

But James, you have left me utterly speechless. Thank you.
He doesn't get it. He's a nice enough guy, an intelligent enough guy, but he doesn't get it. (and no, I'm not slandering him...trust me, if I even wanted to slander anyone I know how to do it). I won't change my blogs. I am sorry, but this is a reflection of my life, and how others have affected my life. I rarely, if ever, mention last names. I could really be speaking about anyone.

I don't mind if anyone else out there creates a website devoted to hating Michelle Glenetski, and uses my name interchangably with cuss words in every other sentence. As far as I know, I do not have enemies (just people who are intimidated by me) but even if I did, that is their right. I know what is true and what isn't. I know that I can rest in peace, knowing very well what I had done that was wrong and what I had done that was right.

But no, this righteous indignation isn't about breaking up with me. It's about how he has handled it since then. I have agreed with him that we needed to break up. I do agree with that. What I don't agree with is his stubborness and desire to completely erase me out of his life. I understand his reasoning and I am trying to respect it. Well, it shouldn't be too hard from now on because he has really made me dislike him. I love him, but God knows I sure don't want to.

My "list" of worthy choices given to me by God isn't of my own creation. If he can remember clearly enough back to when we 'virtually" met, he will remember that he was not a choice of mine. In fact, I liked him well enough as a person..he really is a funny, sweet, charming guy...but I wasn't attracted to him (even though he was cute). My heart was in another place; a place of fear and mistrust, and still clinging to the past. I didn't willingly choose him. I sat down, and I said a little prayer. I asked Heavenly Father what He thought. I asked Him to help me find the attraction and love for this man if God willed it. I knew from a story that my bishop shared with me about his own daughter that this happens. Attraction and love can be a choice, and it can be made much easier if God wills it.

Well God definitely willed it. Not only did he will it, not only did he say "this is a good choice" but he told me specifically why...what I needed to do...and that this was the one to trust...the one I would marry.

I agree with him that there is no "One" in the sense that most people think of it. I also know that God is right now guiding another that he has prepared towards me. I also believe that once I meet that man, my joy will be full once I realize that I CAN completely trust him, that his love is celestial, and that he accepts me for all that I am, especially my imperfections. But as much as I will love him...and I will probably love him even more than Jeremy (just as I had loved Jeremy more than Jaime), I will always know that he was the 2nd runner up (or 3rd, or 4th....). I will always know that my son Isaac will not be the same person he would have been because he will have a different father, and therefore a different mission. Jeremy might think he was the 2nd runner up to Jaime, but that wasn't the case. I explained that all to him. If he didn't understand, then he didn't. There is nothing I could have done to convince him otherwise. But it is simple and clear to me. I know what happened; and I know what I've been told. I also know that I'm not crazy, and that I am not "inventing" things or making them up, because I have been told through priesthood blessings that this is so.

Well, I guess I'll start looking for my 2nd runner up. And if I find him, I will tell him all about this. If he doesn't mind, then he is certainly a special man. He will eventually become my 1st and my one and only. He will be my King; because he will be the one who takes me to the temple, and the one who gets to spend eternity with me. Jeremy has lost that. And this might sound arrogant, but I feel bad for him. I know what I have lost in him; something very precious indeed. But he doesn't know what he lost when he gave me up. He really doesn't.

May 12, 2004

Phew. I feel better. I really pushed myself again; I think I ran and cycled for 40 minutes. Ok ok, that's not a lot to someone who is used to this stuff, but it wasn't just the quantity of time, but the quality. I brought along my iPod and just closed my eyes and imagined myself running on the open road. I have always hated running; and therefore the machines are better for me (plus better on the knees; even though my feet seem to fall asleep sometimes!). But anyway, there I was, imagining myself at some point in the future; early morning, crisp autumn air, feet pounding on the pavement, no one in sight...just me and the road and the sunrise. It was a nice feeling, and it energized me and I pushed myself harder.

Now I don't know if I will ever be a runner, and I'm so far away from that right now that it seems doubtful, but in my mind I could actually see a goal being set -- that is me enjoying exercise. Enjoying being healthy. Fighting the genetics I was born with. I really, and I mean really want to be that person. It's not about weight loss or looking sexy in a leotard, but it's about health. I want to completely transform my life. I want to love exercise, love eating healthy, love following the word of wisdom, love cooking right for my family...I want to develop good habits such as waking up early and going to bed early (yeah...not happening so far ;) -- there is so much I want to do. But I know I have to start slow. That is the only way I can make these changes permanent. If I try to change everything at once, or go on a diet, or push myself to work out 2 hours 7 days a week, well I'm not ready for that yet. I will fail if I push too hard. But building upon some of the good habits I have already committed myself to over the past 2 years will help me eventually become that woman.

But exercise sure does help you clear your mind. We had a yoga class last night and that also helped a lot. I mean, my mind didn't completely leave my troubles or questions behind, but it helped me to focus on the peace that Heavenly Father has offered me and to focus on the knowledge that He loves me and wants me to be happy. It helps me to be better focused on my goals, lose sight of my distractions, and move forward, all the while recognizing my blessings.

Ok, so my post from a few hours ago is the opposite of this, but, well...I am sharing this roller-coaster that I call my life to remind myself later how I handled things and got through them. Taking care of myself and my body helps me put the rest of myself into perspective. Intellectually, spiritually, emotionally, socially and physically....I know to be healthy and well-rounded I need to work on all those areas, but at least I'm focusing on more than one (as I used to do). Bringing those areas closer to balance is sure helping out a lot.

Well, it is late. I better go. I still can't seem to get to bed before 12 or 1 AM, but at least I have been sleeping through the nights. Now if I can just get myself up early...
I was doing ok until today.

You know what? I don't care anymore. I have been trying to even convince myself that I'm alright; I've been trying so hard to change; to move on; to keep my feelings to myself, even on my own stupid weblog. I have been begging Heavenly Father to help me. I have been controlling angry thoughts; low self-esteem; I have been changing, learning new things...I have literally made more strides in my life in the past few months than I had in my entire life.

But sometimes my heart aches and cries out "for what?" I know the answer to that question. I know that becoming a better person is a righteous goal. Becoming the kind of woman who will be a good wife; a good mother, a good individual, a good member of society, a good employee...all those things are reasons to better myself. To get closer to the celestial kingdom, to return to finally live in rest and in the glory of my Redeemer. Yes, I know the answer. But sometimes my heart hurts too much. Sometimes the pain is too much to bear. Sometimes I just wish I had that rest now.

Ironically, although in all honesty not intentionally, I have become the very woman I needed to be in January, but I wasn't. The irony isn't lost on me as I look back. I am now the woman I wanted to be, too, except for the pain. I can't erase it. It doesn't go away.

I want to be fun-loving and carefree. I want to be the woman I am now; but I want to be humorous, always smiling, bubbly... and I try and I try, and I try.


I better go. I have to get my mind off all of this. I need to go to the gym.

May 11, 2004

You know, I've been doing pretty ok for the past week. Spring is in full bloom, and it is gorgeous. I love the smell of a fresh spring rain: I love the tangible renewal of the earth. I love how it makes me feel closer to God.

Yet, I still think about Jeremy. I have the question in my mind, and it's a question I wonder if he has considered. I still agree that we needed to break up -- and am grateful for what I've learned from it. But just because I recognize that as being the right thing to do, and just because I realize that if it wasn't for all that I (we've) learned, we probably should have only been friends, well, this doesn't mean that my feelings for him are so different, or that I am denying my own personal revelation. Does that mean I believe he acted in disacordance with Heavenly Father? No. And I hope he doesn't believe I have. I just recognize that anything that has to do with humanity equates to change and free agency, and I know that we don't always understand God and His ways in the manner in which we wish we did.

So what's the question? Did he break up with me, or fall out of love with me, because of who I am; because of incompatibility, or because of loss of attraction? Or did he break up (or fall out of love) with me because of circumstances; i.e., because he felt it was the 'wrong' thing at the 'wrong' time, because I distracted him from what he was supposed to be focusing on, because he had never experienced such emotions before, which in turn made him question what he really knew about love, or because of the profundity of the love I expressed to him? A fear of not meeting my needs?

And of course another question; why would he find it difficult being friends? I think that answers the first question, and I believe these answers will eventually elicit important information necessary for self-discovery and progression.

I know it must be hard for him, and I'm not wanting to make things difficult. I really want to be his friend; what I should have been all along. Hence the reason I'm continuing on with my life. But...in all honesty...things aren't as black and white as we sometimes wish they were. The answers to life are simple, and when we learn them we wonder what took us so long in discovering them. But it's the learning process; the life process that is challenging and not easily understood. God is willing to help us figure it out, but we have to be willing to listen to what He tells us, even if it doesn't make sense, or contradicts what we believed up to that point.

There are things I still don't understand; but I know the Lord loves me and will guide me, and will help me find the answers. From experience though, I know that those answers usually turn up in the most unexpected (and sometimes joyful) ways.

May 9, 2004

For Mother's Day I bought my Mom and Aunt Colleen a wireless router, so that they don't have to leave the main computer on all the time. Plus they can add a firewall for security measures and to prevent others from 'hopping' on their network. It will also give a much longer range. I took Mom out to the Macaroni Grill for lunch yesterday as well.

She spent the weekend cleaning Laurie's room (who consequently wasn't here). My Mom is weird sometimes. I took the opportunity to do a few things around the house that needed to be done. I put vertical blinds up over the main window in the living room, and it looks much better now. I tried to fix the screen (but still no luck). I assembled an etérgè for Laurie's bathroom, and fixed a few other odds and ends plus cleaned up around here, since no one else has been *sigh*.

You know, as every day goes by, I feel so much appreciation for my Heavenly Father and for Jesus Christ. I find my life changing; I actually feel more like a spiritual being than a human being, if that makes any sense. The bigger picture is easier for me to get a few glimpses at, and those seemingly "small" problems that one encounters on a daily basis just don't seem to carry such importance as they used to. Those kind of things would ruin my day before; but now I just shrug them off. I think back at how upset I got about Cindy breaking my blender -- well now I found that my best (and favorite) frying pan is missing. I didn't get mad though. I realize is has to be somewhere, or if she took it, she didn't mean to. It's no big deal, right?

Anyway, things make more sense to me. I'm eager to begin my new calling and to get set apart for it. I really love the Book of Mormon. I have read it a few times; not often enough, but now I will really have the opportunity to study it more in depth and really feel the spirit as I read and teach. I so look forward to that.

Heavenly Father has blessed me immeasurably. I know I'm depressed; I know that there are things I still need to work on. But Satan is winning less and less with me, and I know that is such a great achievement. There are still things that I wish would work themselves out; there are still things I do not understand. There are questions left unanswered, but I know that despite all this, I love my Father in Heaven. I will never deny Him, or the sacred, deeply special, personal revelations that He has shared with me. He has told me to trust in those very revelations; He has told me through blessings that this is how He talks to me, how He comforts me, how He guides me. My fears of misinterpretation; of insanity, of feeling "lost" have greatly subsided since my last blessing, in fact, they are almost non-existent. That was Satan's tactic, since his previous ones with me had failed. I know he will try something else, and I am prepared. I do not know what to expect, but I know that with Heavenly Father's love, and with the guidance of the Holy Ghost, I will succeed in overcoming anything.

May 7, 2004

"American Soldier" by Toby Keith

I'm just trying to be a father,
Raise a daughter and a son,
Be a lover to their mother,
Everything to everyone.
Up and at 'em bright and early,
I'm all in my business suit,
Yeah, I'm dressed for success from my head down to my boots,
I don't do it for money, there's still bills that I can't pay,
I don't do it for the glory, I just do it anyway,
Providing for our future's my responsibility,
Yeah I'm real good under pressure, being all that I can be,
And I can't call in sick on Mondays when the weekend's been too strong,
I just work straight through the holidays,
And sometimes all night long.
You can bet that I stand ready when the wolf growls at the door,
Hey, I'm solid, hey I'm steady, hey I'm true down to the core,
And I will always do my duty, no matter what the price,
I've counted up the cost, I know the sacrifice,
Oh, and I don't want to die for you,
But if dyin's asked of me,
I'll bear that cross with honor,
'Cause freedom don't come free.
I'm an American soldier, an American,
Beside my brothers and my sisters I will proudly take a stand,
When liberty's in jeopardy I will always do what's right,
I'm out here on the front lines, sleep in peace tonight.
American soldier, I'm an American,
An American,
An American Soldier

Note: I don't usually listen to country (except a few albums by Garth Brooks) but this is just one of those songs, like "Proud to Be an American" by Lee Greenwood.

May 6, 2004

Well, I thought I'd add a little QuickTime movie showing some pictures I have taken. Ok, so I'm not claiming that they are done with any artisitc flair at all; just me and a camera, but anyway my mother wanted to see my flowers, and because making a movie in iPhoto is so much quicker and easier than creating a webpage to display the photos, I thought I'd do it this way.

No logical order, no logical choice for the song (other than that I like it), but here it is. It's not streamed, and it's about 3.2MB (not too big) but it may take just a while before it loads.

Photos

If you don't have QuickTime (and most browsers DO), download the free player at QuickTime Player.
Well, tonight was a girl's night. Laurie, Cristina, Gilly and I watched the final episode of Friends, ordered pizza, and then Cristina pulled out all her Mary Kay makeup and announced that everything was half-price. So the three of us went all vulture on her:) I got a bunch of stuff for under $30.

I spent the day preparing for the symposium in two weeks. I keep changing my presentation, but I think I finally got it whittled down to 10 minutes. 3 principles of web design:
1)Use color effectively
2)Use graphics to enhance content
3)Organize your information

FINAL PRINCIPLE: Use good design to add value and clarity to your content.

Ok that sounds pretty general, but there is sooo much that I could talk about, and I do only have 10 minutes. I just want to get across that WEB DESIGN = GRAPHIC DESIGN + INFORMATION DESIGN. So many people think web design is either strictly artistic, or strictly informational. Most don't understand that you need to use BOTH to convey your message in the strongest and clearest manner.

Well, enough bringing work home with me. I guess there isn't much to talk about. I heard this song on the radio this morning, "8th World Wonder". I thought it was beautiful; and I seriously have to say that it sure reflects how I felt.

Well, I have to go check on my flowers. I think some of them are permanently damaged from the frost last Saturday night. It doesn't help that this past week has been in the 70s, either. That extreme temperature change can't be good on them.

May 4, 2004

You know, I have had so many seemingly endless days this year...sleepless nights when I just wanted morning to come. Yet ironically, I realized that it was already May. It's May 4th! So looking back, it seems to have gone by so quickly.

It's an even-numbered year. In my life, since 1994, I have noticed that the even-numbered years are full of more trials, more pain, more strife. The odd numbered years are more laid-back, and usually very exciting and happy things happen during those years. Well, it's just a coincidence; I'm not one to believe in things like that, but hey -- at least 2004 is almost half way over *ironic grimace*.

Well, I decided to accept the calling as the Sunday School teacher for Gospel Doctrine. I am actually kind of excited. I have been reading my scriptures a heck of a lot more over the past several months than I was previously. The book I am currently reading is the Book of Mormon, and I'm actually several lessons ahead of where I will teach. This is good; it's like I'm already kind of prepared:) I really will have to pray for inspiration and insight in knowing how to reach people; how to answer their questions; how to keep them coming to class...how to bring the spirit into every class. I know I can do it, but it will take a lot of effort on my part. This calling will require more of my free time than even being a Family Home Evening leader did.

Well, I mowed my lawn yesterday. It took me an hour and a half to put the lawn mower together, so the sun was almost down when I started mowing. I already bent the blade by accidentally running over a log (yeah, I know, how could I miss a log?). But it is still working. If I have time tonight before going to the gym I want to plant flowers around the tree in the front yard. I really would like to make the place as homey as possible.

Well, I better get back to work.

May 2, 2004

What a hectic and unusual morning. I woke up, and found, to my dismay, that it was snowing outside! I immediately rushed upstairs so I could bring all my freshly planted flowers inside from the frost, and found another shock -- Heath sleeping on my couch. Ok, it bothers me that she didn't ask permission for him to stay. It's not necessarily my opinion of him that makes him staying bother me; it's the fact that he is emotionally unstable and she has told me what happened to her when they lived together. Why would I want that in my home? Especially without my permission? I didn't say anything; the whole morality of the issue of this little triangle she has created already breaks my heart; but I told her I had washed my hands of it all, since when I tried being a friend and talking to her or giving advice she snapped that she didn't need another mother. So I don't mother her. I don't even share my opinion of her decisions. But when she allows one of those decisions to potentially affect the place where I call home, where I sleep, well that is AN entirely different issue. I'm not going to broach the subject; rather, I will see if she comes to me and offers an explanation. If she doesn't, I will let it pass unless it happens again. She's right; I'm not her mother. It is hard enough on me to see the people I love making poor decisions, but that is something I just have to learn to deal with and accept. Otherwise how am I going to know how to be a mother someday?

But the shock of this caused me to run through our screen after I opened the patio door. Needless to say, I broke it and I can't fix it. But I brought my flowers in.

When I got to church, after driving through that snowstorm, I sat down alone in the back. Our 1st counselor got up and bore his testimony. He bore it on the gratitude he has for challenges and trials. Well I couldn't help it; tears started to stream down my face. I didn't want to bear my testimony period, much less on that subject; after all, the last time I bore my testimony was in January and I was so elated and so happy and so grateful for the blessings in my life. But I got up there, because the Spirit prompted me. No one else was ready to go, so I did.

I blubbered my way through it. It was short. I did not share any personal experiences, but I did share my testimony. I referred to Paul and how he said that he would "rejoice in his infirmities and afflictions", after learning that God would not remove the thorn in his flesh. I shared my gratitude for such maginificent examples such as Job, Paul, Joseph Smith, Abraham...Jesus Christ himself. I shared how much I was recognizing the clear meaning of the Atonement when I learned about these wonderful men. How they never denied their God or their Christ; how they stood by what they believed and/or knew to be true despite the trials and afflictions that came upon them. And I said something odd, but since I was prompted to say it, I know it must be true: "I think that real joy comes from understanding that our trials and challenges are to refine us; to teach us to be more like Christ; to more fully understand His Atonement. Joy comes from being grateful for even the most difficult and heavy of burdens." I didn't say much else, but I reaffirmed my testimony of the gospel, and my gratitude to have it in my life. I then left, and I had to run upstairs because the tears where just flowing by that point.

When I got out of the bathroom, our Relief Society President was waiting there for me. She is a wonderful girl, but we aren't friends, meaning we don't spend time outside of church together. But she has such a big, compassionate heart. She just looked at me and she pulled me to her and just hugged me. I couldn't even try to be my usual stand-offish self. I just fell into her hug and sobbed. She spent the rest of the meeting talking to me; or rather listening. I didn't want to share my burdens. I didn't want anyone at church to know about them. But I told her anyway. When I mentioned my fear; or lack of faith concerning God's promises to me -- and that burdening question in my head about how could he promise anything contingent upon the free agency of another, she nodded in understanding. The more I meet good people in this church; the ones who really have strong testimonies, I learn more about people who have received personal revelation that never seemed to be fulfilled, or revelation that was denied because of another's choice. But they still remained strong. So can I. It was pointed out to me that I have already passed the most difficult part of this test of faith; I have demonstrated to my Father in Heaven that despite the outcomes of anything in my life, I will believe on His words and remain faithful to the end, come what may. She suggested that I record in my journal all the promises, the blessings, and the promptings that I receive from Heavenly Father. I haven't been doing that, and I think I will start after I'm done writing this blog. But it is easy to forget what He tells me, and then when fears and pain creep into my heart, I forget the peace, love and guidance He has shared with me previously.

Keith gave me a blessing during the next block of meetings. I won't get into details because yes, that is private and sacred, but basically, I was told that the Lord is pleased with me. Keith said I should eliminate distractions that hinder me from becoming a better person and distract me from my mission. In my blessing I was told that Heavenly Father is well aware of my current situation, but He will continue to send guidance and strength to help me overcome those reoccuring thoughts and negative feelings that have been controlling me lately. I was also told that the Lord does talk to me individually. Some people get advice or guidance from Heavenly Father through priesthood blessings. I do get some, but every blessing I receive tells me the same thing; that the Lord will guide me through personal revelation. I must trust that. I was also told again to serve others; and to find peace and joy in the Atonement. I was also told many other things, but I won't get into that here.

I missed almost all my meetings today because of all this. Because then during Relief Society, my bishop pulls me in. I haven't spoken to him since the incident at his house February 9th...other than to tell him I was fine (which at the time was not true). He told me that he wanted me to be the new Gospel Doctrine teacher. Well, I had been waiting for a calling like this, but I guess I was a hesitant to accept. Will I be reliable enough to do this? But the bishop told me he knew me, and he knew from experience that when I am given the opportunity to serve in an important calling, I truly shine, and the real Michelle comes forth. He said, "Michelle, you have so much to give! So much love, so much empathy, so much intelligence, so much testimony! There are people here who need you to teach them. " He then grabbed my hand, looked into my eyes, and said, "You are an amazing young woman. You need to know this, and believe it. Please trust me when I tell you that I am asking you to serve, to come to our activities, and to be more social for a reason. I am preparing you for motherhood. I am preparing you to be a leader in this church." I admitted to him that I hadn't been social at all for the past three months. I didn't think I was depressed, because I had found such peace in the things I had been learning. But after what Keith told me before the blessing, and during, and seeing the worried faces of my bishopric, my visiting teacher yesterday, and Keith and Kim today, well, I realized that I was indeed in a depression. Keith told me he was going to come kidnap me and make me be social. My bishop wants me to socialize. I told him it's hard, because I just don't trust anyone other than Christ. I love people, I really do; and I want to help and serve so very much, but I have to get over that hurdle of mistrust. I have just been hurt so much; too much. Forgiveness is not a problem for me, I told him. I don't feel hatred, or offense; no, rather there is indeed an increasing of love towards the person who had/has hurt me, just as the scriptures say there should be. But sometimes that increasing of love makes it all the harder to deal with; all the harder to trust.

But I know he's right. He was so adamant about how I needed to get out of my shell so that I will be a good mother someday and be able to teach those very things to my children. He is convinced I need to know how to be a leader. I know I have these qualities within me; I know that when I put my heart, spirit and mind into it; I'm a great teacher. I possess so many leadership qualities that I honed when in High School. As he said, it's time to practice those again. It's time to reach even further from myself than I am (even though I'm doing so much better now than I was before).

I think I will accept the calling. It's a very humbling and noble call. I know that I can affect the lives of many people for good; and learn so much from the process. But as for the part about being social; well that is going to be harder. I have larger hurdles to conquer there.

May 1, 2004

So, I decided to go buy a lawn mower today. We are in charge of our lawn, and it's getting pretty long, and dandelions are all over. I found one for $100 at Wal-mart. My sister and I split on it. It should do the job; considering we have a very small lawn.

While out, I noticed that the greenhouses were now open. I bought a fuchsia last year and absolutely loved its gorgeous colors, so I stopped in. I found a fuchsia -- the same kind I had last year! It has rich dark fuchsia-colored petals, with an 2nd flower inside, but those petals are an absolutely vibrant royal purple. It's just amazing the natural colors out there in the world! Heavenly Father is just the best artist!! :) Last year I had bought the plant not knowing what it was, and I almost killed it. Fuchsias are very delicate, need lots of moisture and warmth. Their branches break easily. Luckily I did research on it and after pruning it last year, I was able to save it. Unfortunately once I brought it inside for the winter I forgot to prune back the branches and it died. I will know what to do this time around, though.

You can also do bonsai with fuchsias. I bet few people knew that! I don't plan on doing that, because I like to see as many blossoms as possible, but it's an interesting hobby some fuchsia enthusiasts participate in.

I also bought a bunch of annuals -- petunias, centuries, pansies and others, for my four patio boxes. Then I saw it...an already budding lilac bush! Lilacs are my absolute favorite flower in the world. I love their rich scent and the beautiful light purple color. I was so excited at the prospect of having my own lilac bush! So I bought it, and it ended up being on sale for $20! Can you believe it???

Anyway, I know that I'm renting, and when I leave I will have to leave the lilac bush behind. But as my aunt said (who is an avid gardener), I can take some shoots from the bush when I leave and then plant those again. The sad thing about lilacs is that they don't stay in bloom for long, unlike the fuchsia, which blooms from April until October. Lilacs are around for about two or three weeks in May (in Wisconsin), and then the flowers go. Mine is already flowering, so I realize that in about a month it will probably be spent. But I do want to plant it by my patio door in my room so that I can have that wonderful smell waft in while I am sleeping at night. It is such a calming, familiar smell....I just love it.

I might buy a rose bush or two later. I know roses aren't easy to grow, but I'm up to the task. I really need a hobby, anyway. I have to keep myself busy to get my mind off things and memories. I would also love to take up professional photography, but the equipment is so expensive. I guess I could start by learning everything I can do with my digital camera. I don't even know what all the different flash settings are for, lol.

Anyway, I was feeling pretty badly this morning, but I spent 3 hours at Monona Terrace at the Madison Community Celebration where I manned the CCI booth, and I got three people to sign up for more information, so that is heartening. I then came home, and talked to my visiting teacher who came over. After talking to her and my Mom, my mood picked up considerably. When I went out to buy the lawn mower and then found all those lovely flowers, the excitement surged through me. Oh how I love to make things grow! How I love to see life...I love caring for my cats, the flowers, even my fish Nemo! I know I will be the same with children if I ever have any.

Well, I need to go buy gas so that I can actually mow the lawn tomorrow after church (if it doesn't rain again. Keep busy...that's what I have to do. So...bye, for now.