A November Post in December

I’m probably breaking some cardinal rule of blogging by posting about gratitude after Thanksgiving, but here we go.

In recent years I’ve noticed that social media is really just a highlight reel that showcases everyone’s best moments, but come December, everyone’s like, “This year has been the worst. I can’t wait for it to be over.” This leaves me, an outsider looking in who only sees pictures of vacations, expensive purchases, and cute kids, feeling a little confused. This year has been a little different, though. Pretty much everyone I follow has been very candid about how rough this year has been. I think that as a nation we’re having a Britney Spears 2007 moment. All of a sudden she doesn’t seem so crazy, right? It’s okay, though, she made it, and we will too.

I have not been as candid about this year has been because I try to be a glass half full kind of person online. I’ve been thinking of the Light the World campaign, and about how I can add more light to the world instead of more darkness. As I started thinking of all the good that has come out of this year, I realized that pretty much all of my blessings have been an indirect result of something hard we’ve gone through. It’s like God is trying to teach me something. Without further ado, a short list of the ways 2016 has not been a dumpster fire, as the Internet has lovingly dubbed it:

  • The most dramatic thing that happened to me this year, my car accident, ended up being kind of a blessing in disguise. Even though I loved Coco, upgrading to a car with all wheel drive that doesn’t hydroplane when it hits a puddle has been a game changer. I’m excited to see how Mindy does in the snow, and I’m super grateful that I never have to wonder if she’s going to start in the morning.
  • Tyson lost his job in October, and we were left feeling upset, shocked, and anxious. However, we realized that we’re way better connected now than when we were first looking for jobs in Logan four years ago. Within a week, Tyson had interviews lined up, and a week and a half after he’d lost his job, he had started a new one. He’s now working at the same company I work for, and we’re able to have lunch together every day.
  • Besides my weekly migraines, I’ve been pretty healthy this year *knocks on wood, burns sage, throws salt over left shoulder, etc. just in case.* I’ve started eating vegetables a few times a week, and now I don’t get sick if someone coughs a few streets away.
  • My job has been a huge blessing this year. I started a five year journal at the beginning of last year, and it’s been really rewarding to see how things have changed for me at my job.
  • In an effort to simplify our lives by simplifying our schedules, we stopped taking Institute classes twice a week and decided to just take one for this semester. The class is especially for married students, and is held at the church building in front of our house. I thought I would feel distant from God in some way, but I’ve actually felt less stressed and more at peace than I have in the last few years. After receiving a few promptings to read the Book of Mormon, I begrudgingly took to 1 Nephi 1, thinking I wouldn’t be able to get anything out of it because I’ve already read the beginning of the Book of Mormon so many times. I was almost instantly bombarded with revelation. Getting back to the basics has been huge for us this year.
  • When we first moved to Utah, we thought we’d be the odd ones out that would be missing out on everything that was happening with our families in California. Since then, both my brother and sister have moved to Utah with their families. It’s been a huge blessing to have family nearby, and to be able to visit our family that isn’t so close during the summer.
  • This year has been a really good book year. I joined two book clubs, and ended up reading some books I really loved that I might not have read otherwise. I also started a book review instagram, which had been a dream of mine for a while: @readingrightalong.
  • The friends trip we took in March carried me through most of the summer. Texts and facetiming carried me through the fall. Long and short distance friends have enriched our lives in so many ways this year.
  • This might seem silly, but getting Lagoon passes turned out to be a highlight of the summer. Tyson and I have very different taste when it comes to fun, but we were both able to agree that Lagoon is where fun is. For Tyson, it means riding roller coasters and taking pictures. For me, it means finding a shaded bench to spend some quality time with my Kindle and occasionally riding some floor rides. Either way, we were able to spend time together and both have fun at the same time.
  • Tyson had his first interview with the airline he wants to work for. It went well, and we are so excited to see what comes from it. His schooling has at times felt like a long and dark tunnel, but we are finally starting to see a pinpoint of light, so we’re walking towards it. I’m really glad that Tyson is able to study something he loves, and that he will be able to make a career out of it in the near future.
  • Something to look forward to: We’re driving to California for Christmas! We’ve been flying the last two years, so I’m actually really excited to spend 30+ hours in the car with Tyson, my Kindle, and maybe some podcasts and audio books. Any recommendations?
  • Of course no gratitude list of mine would be complete without me talking about Tyson. I’m reminded of something Elder Holland said about his wife. He said, “To me she was larger than life.” That’s how I feel about Tyson. Even though we’ve been married for almost five years, I’m still constantly amazed at his goodness, his patience, and his tender heart. He takes such good care of me, and has made the last year more than just bearable.

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I could probably keep going all day, but there are books to read and laundry to do, so I’ll stop here. In the words of Anne Shirley, “I’m so glad I live in a world where the are Octobers.” Just kidding, though she did say that. She also said this, “Open your doors to life… and life will come in.” This is me opening my doors.

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