Um…Comedy?

I apologize for the lack of posts. Dealing with an overwhelming amount of work right now, plus the worst migraine headaches you could imagine which makes writing a little difficult.

Saturday night, our ward held a talent show. I had a terrible migraine and slept most of the day. This isn’t BS here: I actually had fifteen minutes of rehearsed and well-scripted dialogue for that night, but it was all for not. Due to the headache, I totally ad-libbed, hence the crossing of the legs and the variety of ‘Um’s’.

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Welcome Love and Kindness

Last night, my husband and I had dinner with another couple whom we hadn’t seen in a couple of years. All seemed to be going okay until the conversation shifted to mutual acquaintances. There was an abrupt comment made by the wife as if to basically shut the conversation down.  I was about to respond when I felt the immediate urge to close my mouth. In my mind I saw the sentence: “It isn’t about you. I was about to take her comment personally and counter-attack with lady like venom and prestige. (As you do.) Yet, having the immediate urge to not speak and take a minute-I saw the statement made from her perspective. It wasn’t towards me or my husband at all. It was a statement, pure and simple. Nothing more. Nothing less.

Creating drama in our lives with snappy words and harsh comments is a symptom of resistance. We are resisting relationships and are robbing ourselves from seeing the good in people. This type of drama is baseless and a waste of time. Words should always be spoken to lift others up, not bring them down. When we’re always ready to be on the offensive by what words are thrown our way,  it’s time to take a step back and think for a few seconds before reacting.

It isn’t always about you.

One of the things I’ve found to help me keep this thought always in my heart is to begin each day with a plan to love. If I’m about love and kindness then I will attract love and kindness. Even if I find certain words spoken by others to be rude or hurtful, by coming from a place of love and kindness, my first assumption would be that they too are coming from the same place.

It’s easy to find a way to twist words around and make them into something they’re not. If we resist love and kindness and strive for drama and chaos, then that is what we’re going to get.

Love and kindness are two wise attributes for a person to have. True kindness is described by the apostle Paul in Ephesians 4:32:

“Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”

 

It is in kindness and love I write this post. If you do not get anything from this post other than the fact that you can finally say you are reading a blog created by a half Puerto-Rican, half Hillybilly who is a recovering alcoholic with a mental illness who converted to Mormonism and lives in Alaska…then I’ve done a great job.

You’re welcome.

*Charm and wit were also included in the writing of this post…and again…you’re very welcome.

Service Shouldn’t Be Stressful

I’m a little stressed. Ha! I kid, I kid. I’m more than a little stressed…I’m a lot stressed! There isn’t enough time in the day to get what I need done and by the evening I’m exhausted. I haven’t exercised in weeks, my house has seen better days in the clean department, I  have writing assignments, school work and there is a list here with a million and one other things that have yet to be checked off. Having a daycare in my home is a tremendous responsibility and I love it, but there isn’t  time for anything other than taking care of the children I’m paid to care for. People tend to forget this fact and think because I work from home then I’m not busy.

Which to be quite frank: Annoys the everliving crap out of me.

In the past, I would say yes to anyone who asked favors from me. Now, because of my time factor, I’m more likely to say no than yes. Which is difficult because it isn’t that I do not want to help people, I do, but there comes a time when a person needs to keep things in the proper perspective and realize-despite all the good intentions in the world-they can’t do it all.

When I do say yes and offer assistance it is after careful thought and prayer. It is a huge blessing for me to serve others, but I have to make sure I’m serving for the right reasons in which resentment and frustration will not overwhelm the blessings given when serving. When we burden ourselves with an overload of activities with the premise of ‘serving’ we can actually find ourselves depleted and tired. It isn’t about the people we’re serving anymore…it’s about us and our martyr facade.

There is a happiness through service, this I believe. I also believe with service there comes a responsibility. Taking time to pray to communicate with our God brings the spiritual power and wisdom for us to serve others properly. And in doing so we not only serve our God, but we reap the blessings of true service.

Book News: My Book I’m Writing

I wrote a book.

And now…I’m writing another one.

Details:

I’m in the sixteenth revision of Scriptures and Tattoos, A Most Improved Life. As of right now, the book has been reviewed by a few people in the literary world and it seems after this final revision it will sent off to a few publishers.

From there…we wait.

How I’m Feeling About People Reading This Book:

In my bio on this blog, I write that I’m not Mormon enough for most Mormons and not non-Mormon enough for non-Mormons. This will not be a book you will find being promoted by Deseret or probably any other Mormon.There are curse naughty words. There are some situations in which I write about that are not ::ahem:: Mormonlly. This is a book about mental illness, alcoholism, addictions and dealing with being a Mormon convert when life isn’t so kind. It isn’t a sweet story or even a pleasant one. But it is real.

In one of the first drafts of the book, one person commented by saying it sounded as if I was venting. In the later revisions, I was told the story is compelling and haunting. A few weeks ago, I was told it was not only compelling, but inspiring. I hope it will remain inspiring.  Being mentally ill with all the other ‘stuff’ isn’t beautiful or fun. It’s ugly and cruel. However, I’m this little woman with a southern accent with a husband, kids, a dog and work a real job and studying for a real education. I’m your sister. Your daughter. Your next door neighbor. Your fellow soccer Mom. I want to shatter the stigma attached to mental illness and alcoholism. I want to blow the sucker up, because it shouldn’t apply. l

That lady next to you at church…what’s her name…Molly Mormon? Always at church and never turns down an assignment. Yet, she holds a secret. She’s depressed and sleeps eighteen hours a day. No one knows this because she’s afraid to tell people because …::gasp:: what would people think?  Would they tell her she needs to only pray a little harder and all that yucky sadness will go away? Will she even be taken seriously? Or will she be judged and stigmatized?

If you find yourself wondering why  I wrote Scriptures and Tattoos think about the questions above. You’ll have your answer.

What I’ve Learned:

This process has given me endless opportunities to work on patience and keeping still so I can listen to my conscience. There are many times in which I had sat down to write Scripts and Tatts and think of it as a complete waste of time. I didn’t want anyone to know how crazy being crazy is and here I am writing about it?! And I want it published? Not only that, I’m talking about addictions and alcoholism and then I’m throwing marital and family stuff in there along with being a Mormon.

Yeah, well, in my defense…I did say I was crazy.

Joining the Church for me was a huge blessing and I’ll never regret my decision. However, by converting, my life did not magically become like the days depicted in a Summer’s Eve commercial. (Yeah, I wrote Summer’s Eve and I know what it is. I’m only trying to keep you focused. It worked, right?)

Writing a Book is Harder Than Blogging:

I don’t view blogging as work. It energizes and relaxes me. Here I am on my own soapbox and there are people seeking this blog out to read what is on my mind. How could that be work? It’s not. It’s pretty darn awesome.

Writing a book is a conveyance of information and has to be (in my opinion) perfect. It’s going to be read by people who probably would never read this blog and people who do read this site and will expect the book to be the same tone of writing as I write here. It won’t be. And that may make some a little irritated with me.

What You Can Expect in Regards to Having Your Own Copy:

I feel strongly the book will be published in 2012. You heard it here first. However, I still have a lot left to do:

  • Add in those pesky mundane details that require a lot of research.
  • Read it with fresh and clear eyes in a few weeks as if I’ve never read it before…which I’m dreading… then make the necessary edits and rewrites.
  • Send it to my editor with the hope that all will be golden and we can proceed.

In other words…

Stay Tuned. 😉

Take 5 Friday Quick Notes (3)

-1-

Oh look!! It’s Friday again and this is the third installment of my carnival: TAKE 5 FRIDAY QUICK NOTES. No playing members of yet, but I will not be discouraged. I realize the lack of players are mostly due to my lack of commenting on other blogs and not participating in carnivals hosted by other bloggers. I’ve been a blogger for eight years, I know the drill. However, in my defense, reading blogs is a luxury of mine…and one in which I do not like to ‘skim’ or read in haste. Plus, I try to comment in a very considerate manner and sometimes have the same thoughts and feelings as expressed by other commenters which feels redundant when I comment. WHICH let me tell you as a blogger who gets giddy when I receive comments…it doesn’t matter!! Comment on my posts that grab your attention, make  you think, make you angry…happy, sad, etc!

Comment and let me know! 

I will make a goal to participate in carnivals that I find interesting and if you’ve noticed on my sidebar, I’ve already decided on one already. You’ll get the first post later today. 😉

-2-

This weekend, I will be attending the Alaska Writer’s Conference. I have actually never been and have only joined the guild a couple of months ago. I have to tell you…I’m a little nervous. I’ll be attending the conference solo. I am very excited as I booked time with two of the speakers concerning my own writing projects, but this also leaves me with a stomach of fluttering butterflies.

I also find myself nervous about my wardrobe. (As you do.) What does a person wear to these things? ::shrug:: When it doubt…go with sequins and feathered boas. Am I right?

-3-

I found myself saying, “Limit your complaints and count your blessings” to four toddlers today. They did not appreciate the advice and promptly threw themselves down on the ground and screamed. Freaking Drama Queens, I tell you.

-4-

I have found that homeschooling a sixth grader who has the get up and go as a snail to be the most difficult task I’ve ever encountered. The first week there was this sense of ambition and a passion for learning that I thought to myself, “This is going to be awesome! This kid and I make such a great team!”

Fast forward to the third week and he’s sneaking upstairs to nap under his bed when he’s supposed to be reading from his Science book. He’s also having intestinal problems because whenever it is time to do actual school work  he has the immediate and dire urge to use the bathroom which has him in the bathroom for a good hour.

-5-

This weekend marks the tenth anniversary of 9/11. I have purposely avoided the television and reading the news in regards to the anniversary because of how sad it makes me. My youngest son was only three months old and I remember trying to grasp the extreme contradiction of watching individuals jump to their deaths at the same time as I was nursing my infant son. Same planet, two different realms, complex emotions. It was surreal.

I read earlier today that our God is outside of time and so I’ve been praying for not only the survivors of 9/11 but for the victims and peace during their last moments on Earth. It may sound silly…but I like to think that prayers…no matter when uttered…are still powerful.

 

Below is a linky list if you’d like to add a link to your own TAKE 5 FRIDAY QUICK NOTES

  1. Make sure the link you submit is to the URL of your post and not your main blog URL.
  2. Include a link back here.

 

Take 5 Friday Quick Notes (2)

— 1 —

Better late than never, right? It’s after 10pm on Friday night and I’m just now able to blog. This has been a hectic week, but that seems to be the norm nowadays. The day starts for me at 4:45am and I’m not getting to bed till sometime after 11:30PM. I haven’t worked out in almost two weeks and I can feel myself becoming all sloshy and soft. Regardless of the fact that I’m not sure if sloshy is even a word, I am sure that it is the most descriptive word EVER to explain how I feel. Sloshy, that is.

— 2—

My daughter turned fifteen last Friday and we had a fantastic birthday party…although the entire day everything that could go wrong…did. Which if you’ve read enough of my blogs, you’ll know that’s pretty much the norm in my world.

I went with the theme of Hollywood and even had trophies and sunglasses for souvenirs. I had a blast with my friends Betty and Sara decorating the house for my daughter’s party. I couldn’t have done it without Betty, her husband Jarod and Sara. Betty did my daughter’s makeup and Sara took some wonderful photographs.

I had a small budget to work with but was able to borrow and buy a lot of cool stuff to turn our house into Party Central. All the kids seemed to have a really great time and I hope Kid #1 knows I’m pretty darn proud to be her Mom.

Especially during the hours of 10pm-5am when she’s asleep.

— 3—

I’m not hallucinating…I’ve actually accumulated a good deal of readers and subscribers for Mormonlly Speaking. I’m tickled about it so pardon my optimism with creating a blog carnival this early in the game. I know last week’s debut of Take 5 Friday looks pretty grim with no players…but it’ll catch on. I know it will. Carnivals are fun. So bloggers…especially those with fairly new blogs…let’s link up and share each other’s blogs with our readers.

How it works is you use the logo for my Take 5 Friday Quick Notes and write your own Take 5 Friday Quick Notes and encourage your readers to do the same. (Make sure you link it back to my url of this post.)  Then add your name and url to Mister Linky at the bottom of the post. Make sure it is the url to the actual entry of your Take 5 Friday and not the home page to your site.

— 4—

Have you heard of Meal Train? If you haven’t…you’ve been missing out! If you are involved in Compassionate Leadership, or part of a Meal Ministry this site is a must! The meal train is the act of organizing meal for a family or group during a life changing event and the website eliminates the confusion when dealing with a big group of volunteers.

From their website:

With mealTrain.com:

You eliminate confusion by creating a shared calendar and answering questions in advance like; What do they like? When are they available? What have the already had?

MealTrain.com includes:

  • Real-time meal calendar
  • Ability to customize dates, times, and meal preferences
  • Invitations via e-mail and facebook
  • Reminder emails
  • Add booked dates to a personal calendar automatically

Ensure that everyone has the necessary information so they can focus on supporting friends with meals.

Oh yeah, did we say that it is Free!

— 5—

I have to give my friend Nichole a shout-out. Nichole and I met last year at a political fundraiser, but we had known of each other from the blogging world and mutual friends. She also read my book which of course, being that she was one of the tens of people to actually read it…she became a friend for life.

My family and I have changed our lifestyle dramatically in the last couple of years and opt to live frugally. I’m still very much a beginner in the art of couponing but I’m learning. I still try to catch the good deals around town and via the Internet.

Nichole really doesn’t need my plug…and she didn’t ask me to do this. However, I find myself depending on her site a lot and wanted to share it with my readers. (All six of you!) If you want to be in the know of great money saving deals and the best coupons… then Nichole’s site is a great resource. Here you go: Good Deal Divas.

And because she’d kill me if I didn’t mention her…Betty did Nichole’s website and also designed Mormonlly Speaking as well. (And this website too.) Betty and Nichole both rock…which is understandable considering I chose them as friends. (Yes, I’m humble and modest.)

And is it just me or are you as excited as I am about the three day weekend?

You’re Not Helping

Sometimes I find myself thinking: “I do not have anyone helping me!”

Okay, I kid. It isn’t sometimes…it is practically all the time.

The Husband is a neat freak but lacks organizational skills. I’m pretty relaxed with housecleaning chores in the sense I do not see the need to dust the same piece of furniture five times a day. However, I’m a stickler for having things organized. I like things to be in their place…but with six people living in a small house, that’s not always the case.

Yesterday, I found myself in a mood of frustration. The kids and their friends were in and out of the house, dishes were piled in the sink, none of the kids had done their chores and I had a list of things I needed to do before The Husband got home. I was feeling overwhelmed and I started to whine to God: “I need help!”

Immediately, the thought of a conversation I had with my visiting teacher came forth to my mind.

VT: “Jaime, is there anything I can do to help you?”

Me:”Nope! I’m good!”

The same conversation with different people asking the same question came forth like a slide show with my answer always being the same: “Nope! I’m good!”

And there it is.

The truth hit me hard. It wasn’t that I didn’t have help…it was I wasn’t being humble enough to accept the offers of help given.

Pride and being stubborn were the biggest reasons for my declining help. Believe it or not, I’m a private person when it comes to my space. I’m also a tad of a control freak with a dash of laziness. I have a routine and anything that shifts from this routine or has me giving up control makes me want to climb back in bed and pull the covers over my head.

It dawned on me as I was sweeping my living room for the fifteenth time that day...not because of cleaning OCD but because it truly needed it…that my stubborn inability to delegate and my snobbish pride had been blocking me from receiving the blessings of having help AND preventing others from receiving blessings derived from being able to serve.

Who hasn’t enjoyed the feeling of serving someone and knowing in some small way you have made an impact on their lives in their time of need?

I have denied help from people because I didn’t want to admit I was not ‘Super Woman” and couldn’t do everything on my own.There is also this discomfort when I veer off from my routine, even when it is for my own benefit.

Is it just me or are there others who find they have difficulty asking and accepting help? What ways have you found that has helped you get over it?

Being Humble in a Humble Way

“I can’t believe you’re Mormon.”

“I can’t believe you still think that hairstyle looks good on you.”

I’m not good at being tactful. I do try though and there are these moments in which I surprise myself with how amazingly subtle I can be. However, my being subtle is usually premeditated in regards to getting some much-needed information from a teenager.

Lately, I’ve been struggling with a few irritants of my fellow siblings in Christ. Before I joined the Church, I thought I’d never fit in because HELLO! MORMONS ARE FREAKING HAPPY AND PERFECT. My happiness usually stems from kicking back watching a UFC fight with The Husband. Obviously, not exactly ‘Mormon Mommy” behavior. Yet, not long after I joined, I realized, rather quickly, that Mormons are not perfect. They were not always happy. And I knew some to let their hair down and even shout: “Oh my heck!” You know, all ghetto like.

With the realization that my fellow Christian siblings were imperfect, I found myself torn with my feelings. On one hand I was relieved. I didn’t have to try to be something I wasn’t. Yet, on the other hand, I was disappointed. If they were perfect and their life was filled with hot cocoa, rainbows and jelly beans then I had a shot at having that too. I mean, C’mon? Who hasn’t wanted to have a little part of their life resemble the children’s cartoon Little Bear? Tranquil days filled with talking animals who normally would want to eat you, but have decided to be your friend because…YOU GUESSED IT: you were Mormon.

Being a convert is a challenge, especially when you’re married to a non-member. A friend of mine who is a convert in another religion told me she has the same feelings of inadequacies as I do.

“I always feel I have to know a little more church history than anyone else. I feel like I’m going to be tested on everything…which is silly, because the main reason why I joined my church was to develop a better relationship with Christ. My religion doesn’t teach or even condone the things I find myself feeling.”

I could relate.

Last Sunday, I had a meeting with my Bishop and I confessed to him my lack of testimony concerning callings. In the LDS church, ‘Callings’ are assignments or positions in which church members are asked to serve. In our church, we are asked to serve one another. We are taught that these callings are important and prayed about before the callings are extended. Usually, a calling for a person lasts a few years.

Usually.

But not for me.

I’ve had five callings in two years, none of which have lasted more than a few months. With the exception of one calling, I never have felt it fit me or was a benefit to anyone else.

You don’t choose or request your calling (even though I do mention what I’d like to do to anyone in the church who will listen.)

The thing is I have seen and felt good about others’ callings and felt it was divinely inspired. But just not with me.

And this is where the insecurities begin. I couldn’t help but wonder if the reason I wasn’t asked to having a calling that was more “my style” was because I was a convert with a non-member husband. Perhaps I couldn’t have a calling that I felt was important because I couldn’t handle it…being that I was all a convert and watched rated R movies. (It’s okay though. They were violent R-rated movies. Not sexual. See? I’m doing so well.)

More than anything…how could I inspire anyone when I couldn’t even inspire my husband to embrace the Gospel?

I had been invited by another ward last year to speak to the young women about chastity and modesty. I speak at other churches sharing my story with mental illness, addictions and letting go of the past. I can’t help but question why I’m not asked by the members of my own ward to share my talents. (Which is talking…if you haven’t guessed that already.)  Why am I not benefiting others in my ward by what I know how to do instead of being asked to bring a jello salad to a church gathering when I have no idea what a jello salad even is?

In my prayers yesterday, I started out by whining to my Heavenly Father. “Why, why, why? So not fair. Blah…blah…blahblahblah.” On and on I vented about how unfair it is to be a convert. How terrible it is that not all my children want to go to church. Why couldn’t God slap some faith into The Husband so I didn’t have to be at church spouse-less?

Mid-whine, I felt the Spirit and the words: “It isn’t about you. It’s about Me. It’s about your brothers and sisters.”

That’s what I would call being slapped by The Spirit upside your head.

Being truly humble and serving others with a whole heart isn’t your spotlight moment. It isn’t about how great and caring you are. It’s about the persons you are serving. It’s about God. It’s about His Son, Jesus Christ. It’s about love.

I started to think about my past callings and I realized that I could see how in even the smallest way, I was a benefit to at least one person. It may not have been huge or seen by anyone…but God showed it to me.

Today, I’ll be thinking about faith. I’ll be thinking of others and how I can meekly serve them with a humble heart and a giving spirit.

It’s not always about me. But it is… always about God.

Scriptures to Ponder On:

Fight the good fight of faith. – 2 Timothy 4:6-7

Glorify God by good works.- Matthew 5:16

Hold up God’s light. -3 Nephi 18:24