12.29.2016

Drama Llama and NYR

I just googled "how to deal with drama" ....

Are we not adults? Can we not just learn how to deal with drama? I include myself in this. The internet is a cesspool of drama! And I am tired of it! I think most of our lives are busy enough and taxing enough without inviting into our inner psyches so much of the world's problems and turmoil.

Here are a few ideas that I have curated over the years, and have curated recently from the internet, about minimizing drama when it presents itself in your life.

  1. Ask yourself if this event will matter in five years. If it won't, then don't worry about it. If you're not sure if it will matter five years from now, it probably won't. If you think it will matter a year from now, read #2. 
  2. Stop trying to react to everything. Sometimes observing is enough. Give yourself a break from reacting to everything, and let things happen without an inner or outward reaction from you. Let the event settle before writing your diatribe on social media. Ponder on it, give it a second. Anchor yourself in what is and not on what might be or what should be or anything else before selecting your course of action (for more on this, please read this book by my friend: Count it all Joy).
  3. Think of this quote from Mother Teresa (aptly quoted by Queen Elizabeth for the 2016 Christmas message [to which I say, "God save the Queen!"]), "Not everyone can do great things. But we can all do small things with great love."  Be kind and loving in whatever way you can. If drama presents itself as a worldwide issue, think of what little things you can do among your circle of influence to alleviate the problem. And if drama presents itself in your personal life, think about small things with great love that can be done. 
  4. Write down your frustrations about the drama in a journal. I used to be really good at this (working on it!!), and it helped me channel my energies into a space where I could be completely honest with myself.  It also releases pent up thoughts and feelings. And it's better than talking to somebody about it because your journal won't spout back at you ideas for "fixing things" --- your journal just listens. You also don't run the risk of being judged by whoever your friend is who listens to you. Let your journal listen to you. 
And that, friends, is how to tackle this Drama Llama that looms so strongly before us. 

Jeffrey R. Holland once wrote, “In the gospel of Jesus Christ you have help from both sides of the veil." (“For Times of Trouble,” New Era, October 1980, 15.)

I want to anchor myself with an eternal perspective about the tools I have to confront the mental and emotional challenges I face, including drama. I believe in angels. I believe in Jesus Christ. And I believe that many times we are knee-deep in mortality, and forget to see the bigger picture. Let things settle, let things be. And utilize the tools you find to navigate through this fleeting life with joy.

11.09.2016

On Ignoring Facebook During this Election

I deactivated my Facebook account for election week. And it. is. awesome. I might just never go back.

Facebook seems to create emotionally charged atmospheres. I think that whoever we are friends with, we should be civil, but nonetheless, that doesn't mean that one's opinions and beliefs won't be challenged or questioned in that social space. You have to be very prepared to let that happen. And if you're not, sometimes the opinions of friends or family could lead to hurt feelings, or putting up defensive walls rather than really talking about issues.

I'm gaining some great insight into the virtual-Emily that exists via different social media channels. I like the persona that I put out on Instagram and my blog, but I don't really like the virtual-Emily that tends to come out on Facebook. And that's a problem. It's not that I wish I could rescind every political or ideological post I've shared, it's just that I wish the entire platform felt like a fun place to share things with friends, and I no longer feel that way. I don't really want to share about myself on Facebook anymore. I want to keep it for the utility of maintaining contact with specific groups of friends/acquaintances, but nothing else.

This seems to me like a very millennial conundrum. I'm part of a generation that got on the Facebook bandwagon in high school (2006), so Facebook has been part of my entire adult social life. It's the way I got in touch with Ryan after he and I connected at a party in summer 2014 (thanks Facebook!), but I don't like what it has become in sum total through the News Feed (and I do plenty of "unfollowing," believe you me!).

This might just be one symptom of the election year, but I think it might be a smart move all around, to just deactivate the FB account. And did you know that if you deactivate but don't delete your account you can still use FB Messenger?? I mean, if the only thing I used on FB was FB groups and FB messenger, I think that would be sweet. I could stay in touch with who I want to, and follow group news that actually matters to me.

Facebook, it's like a battleground of ideals! You have to share your morally correct positions and vie for them at every turn. And that's not actually how I am in real life, but it seems to be the bulk of what I've been posting for the last 2-3 years. So why do I become that way when I engage on Facebook? A few reasons come to mind.

1) Facebook lends itself well to text-based sharing, which leads to either long or short snippets of opinions being shared all the time (not as short as Twitter, but I don't actually use that social media channel). There are also many links to articles that you find there. Not so on a personal blog or on Instagram.

2) A few years ago Facebook started including "trending" hashtags or topics, which brings to my attention news articles and other things that are not normally news that I would seek out. There are also many sponsored ads. Facebook seems like a public forum rather than a private one, although I can make my personal information as private as I choose to.

3) Facebook has become a place where we can endorse political candidates.

I know that I'm going to avoid Facebook for the rest of the week, but I don't know beyond that point. We'll see how things go, but so far, I am really enjoying my break!

11.05.2016

Seasonal Decorating

I found that having designated spaces for seasonal decorations makes me happy. 

Place #1: The front door. 

This is my favorite place to seasonally decorate. Especially because wreaths and door hangers can be found for AMAZING prices at thrift stores. In our first year of being married I found a scarecrow hanger, pumpkin hanger, turkey wreath, and made a peony wreath (from supplies at the Dollar Store) and a Christmas wreath (from items found at Hobby Lobby). These kinds of decorations, I can get behind. And I splurged once and bought a rustic wreath from Etsy. They don't take up too much storage space, but they still remind me as I'm coming and going that I have my act together, and help me mentally change when the seasons change. 

Place #2

My dining room table. Since Ryan and I are the only ones in the house, we only sit at two chairs on a square table, which leaves a lot of table left that isn't being used. Last fall I found some super cute fabric at Joann's and made table runners for Halloween, Thanksgiving, and New Years. I also bought a summer table runner from Burlington Coat Factory (I've found some great things there!). Then I rotate different decorations on the table runner. 


11.03.2016

Why I like blogging, and why I'm going to get back into it.

I like blogging because it helps me to write out the everyday experiences of my life and to be grateful for them. I used to have a goal to write here monthly, but it's been taken by the wayside. I'm going to try to recommit to spend the time that I'd normally spend scrolling through Facebook by coming here and writing the experiences I'm having (which I wouldn't normally elaborate on a Facebook post or other social media outlet). 

I want to write this morning, briefly, about my experience of going to the viewing for Julie Mugleston Karren last night. She has battled breast cancer for four years. I didn't know her--- mostly I knew her siblings and parents from my growing up years in the Soundview Ward. Amanda texted me and asked if I'd want to go with her up to the viewing. During busy school times like these, it's easy for me to find excuses not to go. But something told me to go and lend some support.

I am so glad I went! Not only was it great to see the Muglestons (although under sad circumstances), it was also nice to spend time with Amanda and get caught up on the details of her life. I could feel the spirit and the calm reassurance of the Plan of Salvation as I spoke with Carol, Mark and a few other of their family members at the viewing.

In the end, the kinds of experiences that I'll remember long into the future are times like that where I get outside my comfort zone and live in kindness rather than selfishly guarding my time. 

Last year for Christmas, my Grandma gave me a framed copy of a quote that has hung in her house for decades. The quote is from her grandmother. I look at it often and wonder if I'm doing the kindnesses now that I should be doing. And truthfully, being kind is a selfish thing because you feel very good after being kind, or giving service.

"I shall pass through this world but once. Any good, therefore, that I can do or any kindness I can show, let me do it now. Let me not defer or neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again."


10.22.2016

Gospel Doctrine Lesson Videos

Hi! I don't even know if anyone reads my blog anymore. I don't post nearly as often as I used to.

My most recent exciting thing in my life is my new calling-- I'm a gospel doctrine teacher! I am teaching my second lesson this Sunday, on 3 Nephi 8-11, which is very intimidating, but very exciting. I needed a place to put all the neat videos that I might want to show during class.

Obviously multimedia is not what makes a good lesson, but as I've been pondering this lesson I've been drawn to a lot of these resources to either sum up some material or to pull out from the Book of Mormon what themes are pertinent to us right now.

Here are my videos:




Here is the link to the simplified children's song "One by One" --- this song keeps coming back into my mind.

Also, recently Studio C was interviewed through LDS Face2Face, and Whitney Call gave the most beautiful answer to what the Atonement means to her.  I was very impressed with this.

Elder Uceda's talk about praying to the Father, and listening to His answer, also speaks to the mercy of the Savior, how he welcomes us with open arms, no matter what our sins. I love this talk very much. https://youtu.be/C3qWWf5PZ-k?t=1h18m35s