Sunday, June 10, 2018

What I Think and Feel at 25


To be quite honest, 25 has been one of my very favorite ages. It’s been a life-changer, for sure. Here are some of the highlights:
-        Ran a marathon to celebrate my quarter century birthday
-        Went to Europe for the first time
-        Went to Georgia twice
-        Went to Texas thrice
-        Started an online nutritionist program
-        Watched my sister give birth to her second daughter
-        Moved to American Fork
-        Welcomed a brother home from his mission
-        Watched another brother get married
-        Got my doula certification
-        Went to Europe for the second time (and drove on the left side of the road)
-        Led a choir

But, as I'm sure you could guess (because cliche and stuff), it really wasn’t these things that made 25 so great. I could make similar lists for when I was 24 and 21 and 17 and all my other ages. I think what made 25 so great was what happened on the inside.
I felt some significant shifts this year. Maybe it was my prefrontal cortex doing some developing? I think it was more than that.

A friend recently pointed out to me that F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote an essay called "What I Think and Feel at 25" when he was this age. I haven’t actually read all of his, so I wouldn’t say I’m recommending it. I’m just doing my own because how could I not?! You’re only 25 once.

What I Think and Feel at 25
I think about my childhood a lot, and about my siblings, and my family. It’s been an interesting 25 years with them... I’ll just leave it at that. Maybe we can pick up on this note in another 25 years.
I think forgiveness and love are the answers to pretty much everything. Easy to say, harder to do. I have prayed A LOT about these two things over the last 25 years, and especially the last five. For a long time, it felt like I was getting nowhere; like I was saying the same thing in different words over and over and over and over and nothing was happening. But I didn’t stop. And then, almost overnight it seemed like, it got me somewhere. At some point while I was 25, I realized that I was in a different place. I was forgiving and loving like I never have before. I feel deeply grateful to God for that.
Speaking of God, I think He is even better than I can imagine.
I feel nervous about taking the next step. I always have. But more than that, I feel certain that it's right, and that God is here to help me. So, I'm taking it.
I think we know less than we think we do. I also think we don't need to know as much as we think we need to know. And the more I think about that, the more at peace I feel with my life, honestly. I know enough for today. I am in the right place. I am going in the right direction. I think that's all I need to know right now.
I feel happy with where I am. I have a lot to learn and a long way to go, but I'm okay with that. I know that will come with time. I think 50-year-old me will look back at 25-year-old me and smile, knowing what's coming ahead -- what joys and pains and fears and victories and heartbreaks and triumphs I will face. Knowing that it will work out. Knowing it will be hard, but so good.
I think life is beautiful and worth it. 

Tomorrow I'm 26. I think I'll like being 26. 

Sunday, May 27, 2018

What I learned from The Family: A Proclamation to the World this month


If you know me at all, you probably know that I really love families. I always have. My siblings have always been my best friends. I always said I wanted to be a mom when I grew up. I studied families in college. I worked with families professionally. I love getting to know other families. I believe in the family.

In 1995, the presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints issued a statement they called "The Family: A Proclamation to the World." This one-page document is a declaration of the importance of the family in God's plan, and how we need to do our part to protect and strengthen families. (If you haven't read it, you can find it here).

My goal for May was to memorize it. I spent the month studying it and thinking about it and reciting it to myself, and guess what. Success! But if you want to hear it you'll have to take me to lunch so I can show you in person... :)

A couple days ago I read an old mormon newsroom article from 2013 called "Homage to the Home: Why Society Needs Strong Families" (you can read it here). The author discusses some of the implications (in society and otherwise) of deteriorating families. I particularly appreciated this reminder: None of us is born a mere individual. We come to this world with a network of pre-existing relationships, bonds and obligations, both familial and civil.

I just want you to know that I believe this is true. It can be tempting to focus on ourselves and our own wants, desires, talents, and goals. It can sometimes be easier to just do it on our own. Being in a family is hard! Even though I love my family, I can tell you that some of my very most heart-wrenching trials, my longest cry sessions, my sincerest prayers, have been because of them. But I can also tell you that some of my sweetest memories, some of my most joyful laughs, and some of my most important life choices have been because of them.

I am not a mere individual. I am connected to a family here on earth, and each of us is connected as part of God's eternal family. It's not a matter of social construct or culture. It's by divine design.

I choose to stand for the family, and I invite you to do the same.


Monday, April 30, 2018

What I Learned from my "Structured Social Media" Month

Originally, the goal was going to be zero social media for a month (referring to Facebook and Instagram). When I told my mother, she said, "But you're going to check the work page, right?"

Blast. In addition to work responsibilities on Facebook, I also have legitimate school responsibilities there that I must attend to.

So I renamed the goal: Structured social media for a month. Meaning, don't get on and waste time staring at useless junk. Get on, do what you need to do, maybe glance at the top three things that popped up on the feed, and get off.

This is a really big deal because I'm usually more of an all-or-nothing person (see March's goal). However, I don't actually believe in all or nothing. What I truly believe in is baby steps! Small and simple things bring about great things, my friends (see January's goal). This month was the perfect opportunity for me to see baby steps in action in my life.

I didn't make any mind-blowing discoveries, but I just have to tell you anyway for the sake of consistency (because btw, consistency is my number one strength according to StrengthsFinder).

Pop Quiz: What did I gain from this month of structured social media?

a) If I only look at the top 3 to 5 things that come up on my feed, and I only do that once-ish per day, I'm basically guaranteed a win-win.  I get to see my bff's engagement or new baby or new dog or new job or super inspiring article, and I also don't get sucked in and waste time and look at things that make me forget all the good in the world.

b) It is actually possible for me to let go of an all-or-nothing mentality and find joy in the balance.

c) Instead of scrolling through the feed, I spent time in the kitchen feeding my belly (in preparation for a future month's goal, so get excited). I made eggplant, liver and onions, two different kinds of enchiladas, meatloaf, and chocolate avocado truffles.

d) I tried out some podcasts! I've never been a big podcast person, but I found some worthwhile episodes, so that was fun.

e) I was happy.

f) All of the above

g) A, B, D, and E


Good luck.

(Here's a cute pic of me and the sibs right before I left on my mission and long before I ever considered getting into social media. Also, Lily did jump...which is crazy considering how tiny she is compared to that wall)

Saturday, March 31, 2018

What I Learned From Driving the Speed Limit for a Month

I had the blessed opportunity of spending the first two weeks of this month in Texas at my sister's house. Since I was riding in the passenger seat for those 14 days, I thought March would be the perfect month for my goal of driving the speed limit. (i.e. I would actually only have to do it for half a month and therefore have a higher chance of succeeding.)

Well. I started driving on the 14th, and on the 19th I gave up on my goal. Fail. So there you have it. I'm really good at speeding and I'm really not good at not speeding.

Here's what the month taught me:

1. Sometimes you fail at your goals. Oh wait. I already knew that. I've failed plenty of other goals. And that's fine.

2. If you're gonna set a goal, make sure it's one you actually want to do, or else you won't do it.

3. When you realize you set the wrong goal, just pick a new one!

Would you like to hear my new goal??

You may recall I started a holistic nutritionist program online last year and it's been a real treat. In one of my classes, we've spent a lot of time talking about what we actually want to do as nutritionists -- what kind of clients we want to attract, and what our niche will be.  Considering my background, you would probably think it was obvious what niche I would choose, but I honestly wasn't sure. I toyed around with a few ideas for a while, and eventually settled into this: Fertility, pregnancy, and postpartum.

It's been a couple months since that decision, which means I've had time to doubt and worry and reconsider and etcetera. Even with all of that, I still feel good about it. In fact, I feel great.

So, these last two weeks at work I've had the lucky opportunity to spend time with dozens of pregnant women in a similar capacity to what I want to do with my actual career, and guess what. I. Love. Pregnant women. And babies. And families. And everything about all of that.

It's been HEAVEN!! You guys!!!!! I've found my future. And it's not slow driving.

My new goal is to start taking real steps toward my transition into my nutritionist life. These steps include things like finalizing intake forms, getting a logo, getting a business license (or whatever you have to do...), etc. I want to start working with real people at the beginning of June. And I'm so excited. I think about it all the time.

Basically, March taught me that I've chosen the right career. I can't even wait.








Wednesday, February 28, 2018

What I Learned From Smiling 24/7 For One Month


When I was in high school, my English teacher introduced me to The Scarlet Letter. To be honest, I don't remember much of it. What I remember is the assignment she gave us: Choose a label we've been given in life, and physically wear it on ourselves for an entire day.

Guess what label I chose.

Ornery.

If RBF was a thing back then, I had it. I was told by many an adult, "You should smile a little more, Brittan" and "Hey, it wouldn't hurt to smile" and "Where's that nice smile?"

Through the course of several months, some good choices, some life-changing experiences, etc. etc. (story for another day), I rid myself of the dreaded ornery label and decided JOY was my course in life.

And I lived happily ever after.

And then some years passed and peaks and valleys and ebbs and flows...you know, that whole bit, and I woke up in January 2018 with a frown on my face. And I said to myself, "This just won't do."

So I set my sights high and decided February was my month for smiling. Now, I will admit that I did not succeed at the goal of smiling literally 24/7. But if I did, I would be perfect, and then what would I even do for next month's goal, right?

Here's what I learned from [attempting at] smiling 24/7 in February:

First of all, there are actual face muscles that atrophy if you don't use them to smile. Do not let that happen to you.

Second, my favorite time to choose to smile is walking around the store. In January, I would have walked around the store with my regular, average joe face on, basically avoiding people. But not in February, my friends! I walked around the store with a giant smile, and guess what! When people saw me, they would smile back. Pretty much every time, almost like magic.

My second favorite time to choose to smile is in the car.  Just try it. I promise you'll love it.

Third, it's not actually appropriate to literally smile 24/7. Not everything is happy and worth smiling over, and that's okay.

Fourth, compared to the investment, the return on a smile is absurdly large. It takes almost zero time, very little effort, no money, and no special skill. Yet so many times it is just what someone needs to brighten their day, lift their spirits, and inspire them to do good. When you see someone smile at you, you naturally want to smile back. When you smile, your brain is like, "Whoa! I'm happy!" and then you smile more.

Have you heard about the importance of smiling at infants? Apparently when moms and dads smile at their babies, their brains literally develop into healthy, emotionally intelligent, strong little brains. Well guess what I've decided: Smiling is important for the development of adult brains, too. When we smile at each other, we connect and we open up, and we be ourselves.

I also like to smile at myself. One of my favorite things to do is smile at myself in the mirror right when I wake up. I look hilarious, so it's not that hard, and it starts the day off right.

I think we underestimate the impact something as simple as a smile can have.

February is over, but I know what I'm going to be doing in March.



"The greatest self is a peaceful smile, that always sees the world smiling back."
-Bryant McGill




Sunday, January 28, 2018

What I Learned From Reading The Book of Mormon in One Month

I decided to start the year off right by reading the entire Book of Mormon. I finished this morning with 3 days to spare! Here's what I've decided:

1. It's easier than you would think to read it in 28 days, even with school and other books, and a brother getting married, and work and etc.

2. My favorite part is Mosiah and Alma.

3. It is crazy applicable to my every day life.

4. I really do know it is true and inspired.  Honestly, much of what I know about Jesus Christ comes from the pages of this book. In the dozen or two times I've read it, I have found more and more that it brings me to Christ.

Almost everyday this month, as I finished my reading for the day, I would say to myself, "Sooooo repent! Let go of my pride, turn to Christ, and let Him heal me."  It's an oddly refreshing reminder. In a world of pride and self-aggrandizement, it's not cool to submit to God and His will. It can be confusing to know what is "right" or if there even is a right. Page after page in this book, we are reminded that there is a truth, there is a right, there is a way to peace and happiness in this world. That way is humility and repentance through the Atonement and sacrifice of our Savior, Jesus Christ.

Listen to this:

Wherefore, redemption cometh in and through the Holy Messiah; for he is full of grace and truth. Behold, he offereth himself a sacrifice for sin, to answer the ends of the law, unto all those who have a broken heart and a contrite spirit; and unto none else can the ends of the law be answered. Wherefore, how great the importance to make these things known unto the inhabitants of the earth, that they may know that there is no flesh that can dwell in the presence of God, save it be through the merits, and mercy, and grace of the Holy Messiah, who layeth down his life according to the flesh, and taketh it again by the power of the Spirit, that he may bring to pass the resurrection of the dead, being the first that should rise. (2 Nephi 2:6-8)

Those verses are such a good representation of what the entire book is and stands for! It is a testimony of Jesus Christ. He is our Savior. Through Him we are saved through grace and mercy, one day to stand before God again. How important it is to make these things known!



If you are looking for that missing something in your life this year, I invite you to read the Book of Mormon. You won't regret it.




(If you need a copy, go to mormon.org, or send me a message and I'll be happy to get you one)

Saturday, February 6, 2016

A Tribute to Jenna H.


I once had a tradition of writing Jenna poems when she would go on dates. (I'm not going to link them to this post because who knows who would find that old blog and YIKES).

This one's for you, GP:

There once was a girl named Jenna H.
Quite the friend to have, was she.
She traveled all over the Eastern states,
And many a site she did see.

With a degree under her belt and a resume to boot,
She landed herself the dream job.
Great roommates galore, and her ward was a hoot,
There was nothing about which she could sob!

Until one day, God whispered in her ear,
And she realized where she should be.
It was quite hard, and she shed a tear,
But back to Utah she did flee.

Confused and alone and physiological...
She dreamt of her DC days.
Her return to Utah did not seem logical,
And she missed her job that pays!

Slowly but surely her life turned around,
And many great friends she did make.
Her pre-reqs went well, her spirit was sound,
Many leaps of faiths she did take.

With blessings poured down, and love in her heart,
She wondered what would be next.
Would she get into school, would this be her new start?
Or would it just be another test!

But with all of these things only time would tell,
So she decided to just do her best.
Then one wintry day, that was going quite swell,
She received a nice little text.

"What splendor, Jenna H. I've got news for you!
My wonderful friend is here.
He is quite attractive, with eyes so blue,
And for years he's been a great peer."

"But what could this mean?" Jenna thought in her mind,
"A date with a stranger again?
Well I guess I'll go, he could be a good find,
After all, he's a friend of a friend."

The fateful day came, David knocked on her door.
She wondered, "How will it be?"
But when their eyes did meet, their hearts did soar,
And all her worries did cease.

She saw then and there how her life would pan out,
How things past had led her to this.
Eleven months later, with joy they would shout,
For as husband and wife they would kiss.

But it didn't stop there, for that's never the end,
There is life after the wedding day!
They traveled to Syria, Greece and Japan,
Much good did they do and say.

Seven children they had, all with character and brains,
And desires for the good of the earth.
David and Jenna and their kids relieved many pains,
And helped everyone see their great worth.

Life can be hard, you might say, "Poor me,"
But don't you forget one thing:
From their example it is clear to see,
What good two people can bring.