Getting My M.R.S

IMG_3898I remember in elementary school when I would lay on the bottom bunk bed with my blue and white starred comforter thinking about the day I would get married. I had so many ideas to make my wedding day the best day in all the lands. I had planned a huge bonfire in the backyard for roasting marshmallows and a slip in slide for the guests. I would wear a white swim suit with rhinestones spelling out BRIDE on the behind. I had the idea to rent out a movie theater and have the infamous “line” go directly into a movie theater of their choice. Obviously, I thought about it a lot. I have had 24 years to think about all of the details. Often that is how I would fall asleep, is dreaming about the extravagant wedding that I would have one day.

Last night I sat in the family room with my mother and sisters and they watched me open up my “wedding capsule.” We had made them for young woman’s in 2004 when I was 14 years old, such a great idea. It was full of magazine clippings of what I wanted my wedding to look like, the groom’s qualifications, the cake, and the ring. It was so fun to see how I swayed from the extreme wedding plans, because once I met Mr. Bird, none of that matter, only he did. It doesn’t matter that the shades of coral don’t match just right and that yellow is the color everyone hates with a passion. It is not going to be the end of the world when someone gets upset because they can’t find a parking spot. I know I will be very anxious and so my stomach will probably hurt all day, but still that doesn’t matter. What I have come to learn is that what matters the most is being able to be sealed in the Temple for all TIME and ETERNITY. It is definitely the scariest decision both Mr. Bird and I have ever made, but it will be one that blesses us every day until forever.

IMG_3966In my “wedding capsule” there were two letters, one from me and one from my mom. I read mine out loud and there were parts that I couldn’t stop laughing, I had specifically stated that I needed to make sure to not make my husband jealous of me, and that we needed to have kids as fast as we could “no matter the cost,”  whatever that means. What I loved most was my past self saying how I needed to get married in the temple, and that I needed a man worthy to enter. It’s funny that at such a young age we are taught those things. As I look back today, I am so happy that I learned that young. There were years when I thought it would be easier to forgo a Temple wedding to satisfy my temporal needs and the Gospel wouldn’t do much for my family. I realize now, the sealing and the Gospel in my family means everything. I want to run back to my 14-year-old self and let her know, I did it, I made it to the Temple.

My mom read her letter out loud. It almost brought tears to my eyes, I say almost because it totally made my sister Emily bawl. She gave me great advice and said that the day of your wedding will be a hectic one, it will be one of stress and of happiness, but the most important part would be the sealing. I couldn’t agree more mom and dad, thanks for preparing me.

Tomorrow all of my friends and family will begin to pour in and the festivities will start. I can already imagine an impromptu dance party in the family room, loud arguments/discussions between family members, and a fun late night. Saturday will come quickly and the day will pass in a minute. I will be surrounded by my favorite people, and will realize how blessed I truly am. The best part of getting sealed is that we will be together forever no matter what. I will never regret looking at that “BYU” boy and saying hello to him, because now I will never have to say good-bye.

(C)LV-B2014

Advertisements

The People I Find: Kaitlin

I met Kaitlin around September while teaching Sunday School at our Church. She is a delight to be around and has been through some hard things. This is a difficult card to be dealt in life, but Kaitlin has optimism and is more concerned for her sisters. No matter the religion you are, keep them in your prayers!

Kelvins Hope Getting Better

Here is her Unknown Story:

I can remember thinking, “Here we go again.” I realize that this is a horrible thought of course, but when dealing with my family, you get used to having at least one medical catastrophe per year. But then the call came from my brother. The news he gave me was bad, it was about the head of my family, the cheerful person, who I called Daddy. He was sick. He had cancer.

Cancer.

I didn’t know what to think. I hung up the phone and just sat on my bed in silence. Cancer. My ears were ringing. The word bobbed around in my head like there was nothing else in there. I could hear the echoes of my dad’s voice in my mind saying “Well it’s about time, I told you I wouldn’t be around too long.” Ever since my early teens I could remember him making comments about his medical problems, and the probability of his passing early. It angered me but I knew he was probably right. I knew how sad he must have to be to say things like that to me. But I still desperately wanted him to be wrong.

My father has suffered from many diseases since he was young. But that never stopped him from supporting a family of 7, even if that meant working 3 jobs and donating plasma twice a week on the side. I remember working one of those many jobs with him when I was younger. We were janitors at 3 huge furniture facilities. My 2 older siblings and I would all help him for hours through the night. And my favorite part was when we got to take a break at one of the buildings; we would get a sandwich and watch a couple of minutes of CSI. I was young, and I hated cleaning, as do most teens. But this will be one of the many memories I treasure of my father. It is something I look back on and laugh at. My father has quite the knack for making people smile. And although he was trying to teach us a lesson in hard work, we still got some fun and laughs out of it.

A couple of days ago I went to my parent’s home to have lunch with them and was surprised to find an empty house. Later that night I was informed that my dad had been admitted to the ER that Tuesday morning with an infection in his blood. His tumor had doubled in size within the last two weeks, after it had already spread from his bile ducts, to liver, to his lymph nodes. He was denied surgery as well as being a candidate for the transplant list. He was terminal. And there was nothing they could do. And now he had a very severe case of sepsis.

It’s Wednesday. My brother calls again.

Kelvin's HopeMy father is in the ICU, and “Most likely will not make it through the night. Please pray for him. He loves you.” That night I lay with my phone in my right hand, inches from my head, volume on HIGH. And I woke up in the same exact position. As I got the update that he had outlasted the infection, the doctors slowly gave the okay for visitors that afternoon. I got my butt to that hospital as soon as I could and visited with him for hours. I soon heard of the way each family member took the news the night before. To give you some background, I am the middle of 5 children. At 21 years old, I feel like I am far to young to lose a parent. He will never see me get married. He will never see my kids. I had to drop out of high school due to my own medical problems. Are you seeing the catastrophe pattern of our family here yet? Now I’m finally able to go to college this fall! And he will never get to see me graduate. Yet I still have 2 little sisters, ages only 13 and 15, with a mostly bedridden mother whom also suffers from many diseases. I don’t understand how to go through this at my age, and then I think of my sisters. I don’t know how to begin to help them. And that just makes it worse. But as I found out, I realized that everyone else slept with their phones all night as well, except my 15-year-old sister. She didn’t sleep. My little sisters have always been the closest with my dad. And apparently my sister was up all night, and so distraught the next morning that she couldn’t go to school. I don’t know how to help her, and it KILLS me. My older siblings have their spouses to lean on. But I feel so alone, and I know my little sisters must feel even worse with the bond they have with my dad.

Once he was released from the hospital we had a family dinner and my dad played a game with all my siblings and I. He sat next to me, and I swear, I just stared at him the whole time. One of his diseases makes his skin very dark. But his skin and eyes have now been yellow since thanksgiving due to his liver going sour, when he got sick. He used to be a big man, but now his face is sunken in. His eyes droop. He holds his hand over his stomach from the constant pain of his surgeries and scars. He talks very softly, in hushed tones, and gets tired very easily. He is suffering. But he still makes the effort to be with us. And I couldn’t help but think about all the amazing things I will miss so dearly once he leaves us. I will probably never again see his famous impression of the Hammer dance. And man, it was good. Can’t touch this? You betcha you can’t. 😉 I won’t get to chuckle under my breath when I hear the way he pronounces the word Reeces, or many other words for that matter (one of his many quirks he is known for in this family). There will be no more joking about IF we get pajamas for Christmas Eve or not every year. My father is the type of man who works hard for everything he has. And he never likes us to expect to receive anything, on any occasion. We were taught to work hard.

No matter how much time we have left with him, it will be treasured. I do not want him to suffer. I can’t bear it. He has been sick for almost his whole life. And I know that his passing will bring us great pain, but I hope to find peace by knowing that he will no longer be suffering. He is the greatest man I know. I hope to find one that can measure up to him someday. He’s my Daddy, and he will always be with me, no matter what.

If you would like to make donations to help pay off the medical bills and to support my younger sisters you can do that here. Also please feel free to LIKE the Facebook page and share this story.

The Ag-Gag Selfie

It is a well-known fact amongst my friends that I am not an animal lover in any way. I would literally have two sets of quints before letting a dog or cat (and maybe a fish) into my house. I don’t judge others who do, it is just a love I never developed. The closest I get to animals is Pinterest, and yet I sit here, questioning YOU Idaho… This congressional session was a waste of time. You literally passed the “Ag-gag” bill. The Huffington Post perfectly summed up Bill SR 1337. This bill “would make it a crime, punishable by imprisonment, to simply photograph or videotape abusive, unsanitary or otherwise unethical activity on a farm. Even employees and journalists who take photos or video to document misconduct on farms — whether it’s mistreatment of animals, food safety hazards, worker safety violations, sexual harassment, financial embezzlement, or environmental crimes — could face criminal prosecution if the bill is passed.”

I decided to write the world a letter… from Elle Wood’s Perspective

cow selfieDear Mr. Law Writer:

I recently took a tour of a dairy farm, and I was preparing to post it all over my Social Media when I got a tweet that said the “Ag-gag” bill had passed. First I was like AS IF! How could they do this to me right now? I needed this to up my Klout Score. I just want you to know Mr. Law Writer by passing this law you are totally infringing on my freedom of speech and the press, and cramping my lifestyle. Honestly,  in MY life, I document everything. When I took a tour of dairy I knew I would definitely be Instagramming it. If I didn’t Instagram it, I would run the risk of it “never really happening” because I did not document it to my followers. That is like SOCIAL SUICIDE. As I was walking through the dairy, I was totally trying to capture some good selfies, I was so upset though. Every time I went to capture this moment some cow would photobomb it. Not only the cow, but it’s owner with a cane hitting him! Ugh it’s called a selfie for a reason. At first I didn’t let this bother me, because I just kept thinking I would have another chance to get the perfect profile picture for Facebook. At the next stop, I went to take my soon to be viral picture, and it was photobombed again! This time it was a one of the workers jumping up and down on the cows back while blindfolding them. Seriously?  Can’t we make a law that bans people from photobombing? That would be much more beneficial. I tried like 5 more times and was never successful, I couldn’t even believe that these people would dare to ruin my pictures. It was super stressful, but I decided I just wouldn’t let it bother me… I would just let the world see and hope they only focused only on me! Obvi, no one cares about the cows it’s about the meat and milk. So driving home I started to Instagram my day. Ugh to my distress, people started texting me and calling me and told me that I can’t post things like that. I was like WTFREAK? I am just posting what I saw on my tour and I am being punished… I decided that ORANGE was not my color (and the prison thing scares me, I’ve seen Shawshank…) and so I deleted my pictures. Devastated that a WHOLE day had been wasted, I sat down to write you this letter. So Mr. Law Writer, I just want you to know if you see any of my pictures, I am sorry… I didn’t even mean to, I had no idea what was going on in the background of my selfies (seriously let’s talk on that photobomb law).

#love

Your Super Concerned Citizen

Okay, that was a satirical approach, a joke, sarcasm… But seriously? This law is a joke. The problem here is not the people filming, it is the ABUSE that is happening. Shame on you for trying to cover it up. I deserve to know what happens to the animals I am potentially going to eat (sorry PETA, my Dr. says I need to gain weight). You as our Government have power (or so you think) use it for good! I mentioned some real things in my fake letter, why are we not upping the punishment for animal abuse or texting and driving. I know I don’t know everything about this law, but what I do know… Is it is not humane… I hope that the next time I am taking a selfie, that none of these animals being abused show up in it and I end up being punished for capturing the moment….

(C)LV-B2014

5 Tips for Professional Communication

“Communication- the human connection- is the key to personal and career success.”

-Paul J. Meyer

clare_5x5(1)Like Paul J. Meyer stated, communication is the key to success.  Communication happens around us daily even when we are not completely aware of it. It can happen through facial expressions, body language, and through a lack of listening (bored, uninterested, ect.). The word communication is interchangeable with information. It is through communication that we convey our message to a friend, colleague or client.  In a work place setting, it is vital to convey your message in a positive, professional, and concise manner.  When you communicate it does not only reflect who you are but also the business and its values. Having the ability to communicate professionally will allow you to find more opportunities for doing business. When a client or customer leaves a conversation feeling like they were heard, their time was not wasted, and they were treated like an equal they are more likely to recommend you amongst their own network. When a negative interaction occurs, it can be damaging to your reputation as well as your company’s.  Here are four concepts to be aware of during a conversation in a workplace setting.

1. Know the Person/Situation- It is very important to understand who you are talking to. Take into consideration their perception and their values so you can align your thought process. This is important so the conversation can have the same context for each participant. The situation is also important. Entering into a conversation claiming “you know everything” is the worst thing you can do. When that message is given, it becomes a competition not a conversation. It does not allow for a positive channel of communication and creates a hostile environment. Always enter a conversation with an open mind and a listening ear.

2. Pitch and Tone- If I was to come into the office YELLING AT THE TOP OF MY LUNGS, one might assume that I am upset. When I think of pitch and tone, I think of mothers. You can always tell by the tone of your mother’s voice if she is happy or mad. A lot of our feelings are revealed through our voice. Sometimes we can get carried away in the midst of a conversation and our voice begins to increase in volume. It is important to continually do a mental check of your pitch and tone throughout the entire interaction.

3. Verify- Communication is a way to deliver information, how the information is received is up to the listener. What they take from the conversation will be based upon their frame of reference. That is why it is important to make sure you both have a similar understanding.  There is a fine line between verifying and being condescending. If you continually ask if they understand you run the risk of making the person feel inferior or less educated. If in doubt, it is okay to ask, but once they say they understand trust them that they do.

4. Listen- When a conversation is one-sided it resembles a monologue rather than a dialogue. It is easy to get carried away and dominate a conversation. I feel that this habit is hardest to break. If you are a conversation hog, my encouragement for you would be simple. Just listen, don’t interrupt, and wait your turn. That way each party has the opportunity to present relevant facts or ideas to the conversation.

5. Be Confident- Confidence in your communication skills is very important and can make or break a conversation. If you don’t know an answer, say you don’t! If you are knowledgeable about the subject, it is okay to share some of it.  The balancing act here is that your confidence should come as knowledgeable, not arrogant.

 

This was also posted at www.echelongroup.com

 

 

The People I Find: Emotional Abuse

I met this girl quite a few years ago, she wanted to share her story but wanted to remain anonymous. Emotional abuse is real and can take a toll on you and your life. If you are experiencing this, please seek help.
Here is her Unknown Story:
People hear about physical abuse in relationships a lot. When someone brings up emotional abuse though, people discredit it and remark that they’re just being over-dramatic. Emotional abuse is very real.

I still remember as clear as day the first time I met him. He was wearing a green shirt that had a tree on it and I showed off the brand new jewelry I had just gotten from my grandmother earlier that week. I didn’t even think twice about it – completely unaware that meeting changed my life forever.

He added me on Facebook a couple of evenings later and we began to talk. We talked about everything – from our favorite movies to our middle school experiences. But I never thought twice about it. He seemed like a great guy – upstanding, talented, and strong in his faith.

One of my dear friends told me at a Christmas party that he had a crush on me. I still remember how taken aback I was when I heard that – someone actually liked me? Once I heard that, I started to like this boy back. Simply because he liked me… I fell head-over-heels for this boy – but it was an unhealthy “love”.

Quickly, we forged a friendship – a deep one where we knew everything about each other. Well, almost everything. A year later, while studying for a history class just the two of us, we shared our first kiss together. My very first kiss.

I didn’t know really what a relationship entailed at the time. He climbed on top of me, grabbing parts that a swimsuit covered and then remarked, “This is backwards. You’re supposed to be on top.” Regrettably, I obliged. I didn’t know. I thought that was normal. I thought that was love and I was so desperate for him to like me, I did whatever he asked me to.

After awhile, I lost myself. He would tell me things like “Your chest is too small.” “I don’t love you.” “I knew you couldn’t do it.” Once he hurt me with words, he’d grab me and kiss me. Soon, I became dependent on him – whenever I got upset, I’d turn to him because he had conditioned me. He’d tear me down and build me back up the way he wanted me. I told him everything that was wrong, and he fixed it in his own way.

Then, one day, he admitted he had an addiction to pornography to me. He told me I was the only one he has ever told. I didn’t know how to handle it. I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t want to betray his trust and tell someone. Then, he began to hang it over my head, threatening me that he’d turn to pornography if I didn’t do something.

I felt so lost. All I wanted was his love. In my hazed mind, I thought that if I became the “vixen” he seemed to want, he’d love me. If I did that, I’d fix his pornography problem. But no. It never happened. After awhile, I became severely depressed and turned to cutting to find some sort of release. So much stress was put on my back.

After two years in this hell, he decided to get help for his pornography addiction and left me behind. I felt hurt, unloved, and lost. I didn’t know where to turn. I had lost what I thought was my only confidant.

Months later, after reading a story about someone who was emotionally abused, I realized that I had been a victim of abuse...Me… I never knew because it hadn’t left physical marks on my body. I hadn’t realized because no one ever talks about emotional abuse – but it’s real. Emotional abuse is so very real.

It messed with my head. Destroyed who I was and my very person. There was a long road ahead of my to overcome the effects. I started to hate this boy – absolutely loathed him for what he did to me. My heart turned black. Yet, at the same time, there was still nothing that I wanted more than for him to love me.

The path to forgiveness was long. But the harder path was healing. I didn’t know what a healthy relationship was nor how to handle it. I started dating again, but the first time someone tried to kiss me, I broke into tears and started shaking because I was terrified. Over time though, my heart and my head managed to stitch themselves back together when I turned back to my Heavenly Father and asked for His help.

Oddly enough, I’m thankful for this trial I was given in my life. It taught me how strong I really am. It gave me a chance to share my story and show others that emotional abuse is a real and tangible thing. I think I learned a lot about the value of a person and how much the little things affect us. In the end, I became a better person towards everyone – I realized we never know what someone is going through. More than anything though, I believe it taught me just how strong I can be. It taught me how to stand up for myself and how to turn to God and ask for His help. I learned how to be brave.

If you would like to learn more about emotional abuse or seek help check out this website.

The R-Word

End the R-WordI want to speak about a somewhat taboo topic, disabilities and mental handicaps. I want to introduce you to someone who I love dearly and consider my good “pal” as he would say it. His name is Uncle Bret. He is my Uncle, and everyone I have introduced him to consider him to be their own Uncle Bret. He was born in Germany while my grandpa was in the Air Force. When Uncle Bret was born, he was different, he had Down Syndrome.

Down syn·drome

noun: Down’s syndrome; noun: Down syndrome; plural noun: Down syndromes
  1. a congenital disorder arising from a chromosome defect, causing intellectual impairment and physical abnormalities including short stature and a broad facial profile. It arises from a defect involving chromosome 21, usually an extra copy (trisomy-21).

End the R-WordI remember when I was little and my grandparents would drive from Logan to visit us in Boise. I would get very excited, it meant Uncle Bret was coming. At the time, much of my excitement came from the fact that my mom stocked the house with chocolate milk for him (one of the few things he likes to drink), but now it has become much more. On one of my grandparents visits, I remember going to Albertson’s with my dad and Uncle Bret. At first I was afraid of what people would think of us because Uncle Bret looked different from the people staring at him. I didn’t know if people were curious or were looking down upon him. It was when a son and father had walked by and the son kept staring, the dad grabbed him by the arm and said “stop staring at that retard.” I am pretty sure I was the only one to hear it. My.heart.broke. I was so little, but I knew we never ever used that word, because it wasn’t kind. I wasn’t always clear on why my mother told us not to use it, but that day I learned exactly why. As years have passed I have heard many stories of how my mom and her two sisters protected Uncle Bret. It is hard to think that we ever have to protect him, that there are still people out there who will tease him for who he is and what he looks like. People with disabilities have a unique and special spirit and the kindest hearts. They have talents that many of us don’t have.

uncle b 4Uncle Bret and I have spent a lot of time together. I went to college in Logan and would see him 2 to 3 times a week. I consider it to be one of my favorite blessings. I have learned so much from him. He has taught me kindness, love, patience, true happiness, and has been a tender mercy to so many around him. I have learned that we have some similarities… We both like shows, and we both like to watch them over and over again. We can quote them, and we never get sick of them. We both love  a good routine, there is nothing better than a regular schedule and sticking to it. We both enjoy teasing each other. Usually we have fake arguments that end with him saying “Clare Cry” and him giving me a hug and saying ”back better.” Even though we are different in appearance, we still have similarities.

I consider myself lucky. It wasn’t until recently that I realized that not everyone grows up knowing someone who has disabilities and I have been blessed by a love that is rare. When we come across something unfamiliar we are not always comfortable.  Sometimes when we meet someone who is “different” from us, we tend to stare, or feel uncomfortable because it is new to us. When we are unsure on how to do something, or feel uncomfortable, the only way to overcome that is to try it out, get to know them, find out what they like to do, spend time with them, I can promise you that you will have a lasting friendship. The reason I wanted to write on this was because it is end the R-WORD week. If you are someone who uses the word, just stop. If you use it as a describing word of something you find “stupid, uncool, or dumb” I want you to reconsider.  God made all of us and he loves all of us, we should follow his example and never show unkindness towards someone who is different.

(C)LV-B2014

The People I Find: Christina

Evertsen priceI know this woman as Sister Evertsen. She served in the Rochester, New York Mission with me. She was always looking out for others and making us feel at home. I remember one time when Christina and her companion took my companion and I shopping on a P-Day to prepare for the colder months. My companion was from Hawaii… The cold was new to her and we were not prepared. It was a day full of fun, food, and good memories. What I love about her is her strong belief in a Higher Being. She has suffered and yet she is still strong, even stronger. She has let her trials build her faith, and has relied on the Lord’s tender mercies.

Here is Christina’s Unknown Story:

On July 15, 2008 I lost my husband of 30 years in a fiery helicopter crash. What has happened in my life since that day has been a beautiful series of tender mercies.

At the time of my husband’s death we had multiple working business’s. Each had to be closed down and liquidated. The events that allowed that very complex and seemingly impossible task to happen were the result of wonderful friends, business associates and family.  After selling just about everything we had built together I made the decision to move from Southern Missouri back to the West where I had family.

Within 3 months time and with the help of my angel friends who packed up my entire home ( the home my husband had built and we had raised our family in), I left my previous life and headed off on a journey as a very fresh but hopeful widow.
I am an RN and had always maintained a current license in the event that I had to support myself or my family without a spouse. Tender mercy . After a few months of much-needed recovery from the loss of my husband, I decided to work in the field of Hospice. This field of nursing filled a great personal  need in helping others say good-bye to their loved ones as I had no good-bye with mine. Because of the details of the accident I had no physical closure or “last touch.” There was a total destruction of his body in the fire that followed the striking of a power line. My  job kept my mind  busy while filling my need to nurture. I loved my patients and my coworkers.

After a year of working I began to have strong impressions regarding a mission (yes, I’m LDS).
I couldn’t imagine how this could happen as financially I needed to work.  My former husband and I had planned to serve missions after his retirement and I never lost that desire to serve.

In May of 2010 I received a call from an old friend , also a widow, inviting me to turn in mission appears and serve a year mission with her. Again, through the love and support of others this became a reality and I served in the New York Rochester Mission with my sister Melanie and her Mission President husband Jack R. Christianson.

What a blessing my mission was and what perfect timing for my life.

Upon my return I went back to the job that had been held for me with hospice. Another tender mercy.

ChristinaOn February 21, 2012 while shopping in WALMART of all places, I noticed a very cute man noticing me… After a few aisle passes he got up the nerve to start a conversation. By the time we reached the registers we established that we lived  a few hundred yards from each other and that we had lost our spouses 2 weeks apart in 2008. We went to lunch the next day and saw each other every day after that ,with only a few exceptions, until May 26th, 2012 when we were married for time in the Mesa Temple. We combined 2 happy families and have a slew of precious grandkids!

One year later we turned in papers to serve a mission together.

We are now serving  in  Sydney, Australia. Lane serves as Assistant Legal Counsel for the Pacific Area and I assist the Mission Presidents wife with anything she needs including taking care of missionaries medical needs. Boy do I love these missionaries!

Our lives are full of love and gratitude for each other and the great mercy the Lord has shown us. We have great respect for each others previous life experiences and the loss of our beloved spouses.

Elder Wirthlin, Apostle for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints teaches that ” The Lord compensates for every loss. That which is taken from those who love The Lord will be added upon them in His own way. While it may not come at the time we desire, the faithful will know that every tear today will eventually be returned a hundred fold with tears of rejoicing and gratitude.”  We are living this counsel.

To any of you who feel deep discouragement and loneliness or feel that your prayers are not heard, believe in the Lords timing for your life. Believe that he loves you and knows the desires of your heart.
Do good things with your life now! Serve where you feel prompted and never think that The Lord can’t work miracles in your life.

I asked for His blessing in faith and have been immensely blessed. You can have the same . Don’t lose hope .

I Was a Bully.

yellow flowersI was a hellion growing up. I was not always a nice goody-goody girl, I had a mean streak. I remember walking home one day with two other boys. These boys had hard lives and were a little rough around the edges, they had an idea to start throwing rocks at people going past. It was my turn, instead of saying no, I picked up the rock and I threw it. My t-ball years had paid off (unfortunately) and I hit a girl riding her bike, right in the head. She wobbled and then toppled off. My heart sank. I was torn between two things, fitting in with the boys and being kind. I felt guilt. I got home and didn’t say a word about it to anyone, hoping I could forget. The next day at school, I was called into the principles’ office. It was a scary thing, I was at a brand new school, and I had only been there for a few days. The principal asked me why I did it and even thought it was a witty comeback… “It wouldn’t have hurt if she was wearing a helmet,” to this day I regret my action. I don’t regret it because I got in trouble. Literally, I have never seen my mother so mad, she marched her way down the street, grabbed me by the arm, and walked me home. I spent the day in my room. I regret it because I missed an opportunity to be kind to those around me.

I thought I had learned my lesson but a year later I fell into a similar trap. Once again I was being a bully. I was still hanging out with the rougher kids, and I still did not excel at making friendships with girls. I don’t know if it because I felt threatened by them or because I was that insecure, whatever the reason it doesn’t make it right. I had started playing the trumpet. There was another girl in my grade who started to play as well. My parents had rented me a nice one and I felt very proud about it. There were no scratches, and it was shiny. The other girl’s trumpet was not as nice as mine, and I made sure she knew it. Later, I found out how much I had really hurt her feelings. I apologized years later, but it is something to this day I still regret. Who am I to judge?

A few years later…”I got what I deserved.” I was bullied. Some girls ganged up on me and started rumors about me that were crude and not even a little bit true. It caused me a lot of grief. It made me a different person. I sometimes hated myself because, I began to believe those things flying around about me. It was a hard to shake those feelings, but I was able to find people who were willing to show me kindness.

When the reality of my actions set in, and my own wounds were healing, I decided to change, I was always going to look for ways to be kind… To Everyone. To make someone’s day better. I am still not a professional, and I still have moments when I think, I shouldn’t have done that. Instead of waiting years now when I make a mistake, I go straight to the person and apologize. Whether it is a CEO of a company or someone who is homeless, I strive to treat them with kindness. Today, I watched a video that reminded me of my bullying days, and days I was made to feel like nothing. It was a powerful video that highlighted very real things. As many of you know I am very passionate about anti-bullying and anti-cyber bullying. There is never a life that is worth less than yours, so don’t make them feel that way. You have a choice, don’t be the bully, be the one who sticks up for others. Watch this video, I know it has an LDS religious tone to it, but the overall message is what matters.

Featured in Perspectives

Today, I am flattered. I was looking through some old Utah State things and found this gem. I had no idea it had been published. They had approached me during my Senior year of college about featuring me in the magazine, but I didn’t know it really happened. The Perspectives Magazine happens once a semester and I was featured in Fall 2013 on page 17. It is a true honor!

While reading through it, it reminded me of some of the goals that I am aspiring to accomplish. I really do have a passion for equal rights. Some of my of my feeling inferior came from studying computer science, the field is predominantly male. If I ever made a mistake it was because I was a woman, I even was asked if I was taking the classes to find a rich husband… The reason  I wanted to work towards this degree was because of a female professor who had inspired me. Professor Duhadway. She was a female programmer, she taught me the history of the subject and the basics of computer programing. I was always impressed by her and wanted to have her talent. Once I started taking the upper division classes, those dreams slowly diminished as the only female in the class, with know one willing to actually teach me. It was very frustrating, and after an internal battle with myself wanting to prove myself and being successful, I dropped out. I decided to take another route, I would pioneer my own way into the cyber world. I would take on Social Media. I finished my degree in Communications and have gone on to work a full-time job as a Social Media Consultant. It has been a roller coaster that I have enjoyed. I am so glad that my education helped prepare me for the real world. Can’t wait until some of these goals become a reality!Perspectives