Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Angst

In case you haven't been completely bombarded with this news already, I will tell you that school has started once again.

*Woooowwww really? I had no idea!*

I have been dreading this all summer. It has only been two days and I am already working really really hard to be positive. And it is not easy at all

I hate being such a downer, but there are just so many things I cannot stand, and I feel like I'm surrounded by everything that irritates me at once.

Show-offs. Skimpy girls who flirt way too much and grab everybody's attention, especially the guys, and are fake nice to everybody else. Anybody who is just fake nice. People who are flat-out rude. Overly-ecstatic freshmen. Trendy advertising that has nothing to do with the product they're selling. Attempts at trendy advertising at school with SPELLING and GRAMMAR mistakes. Everybody is "so smart" (or so we all think). Peer pressure. Being young and having different expectations from everyone; my age and younger expect the cool, trendy, facebooking pretty girl. Older people expect immaturity, irrationality, self-centered-ness, egotistical snot. I am neither of these and I just want to escape it all.

I have never had, do not have, and will never have peppy school spirit. I find it to be lacking in dignity, and my dignity is a very special thing to me. Yet I am surrounded by it. School emails, people shouting at me to be super excited to be back at Clarke, peer pressure to join EVERYTHING and ANYTHING at Clarke and go to every social event and BE HAPPY.


I just want to be left alone. :(

And I really just strongly dislike the first day of classes. Teachers droning on and on and on and on and on and on and on about stuff we already know about, and then assigning a huge pile of homework without even having any kind of lesson to get us started. Especially after today's classes, I feel like I just wasted about $15 dollars of gas driving to and from school. Being a commuter student and driving a crappy truck, I'm not very pleased with how today went.
Granted, it's not their fault, it really is all just my take on things, but I am struggling to find a positive.

"You're back with your friends!"

Yeah, I get to see them at lunch. The rest of the time I'm with people who, if I ever say anything remotely negative, they oppose it. For example, say I say openly to my classmates whom I've had classes with for 4 solid semesters now something like "I am just not looking forward to this, I would rather just go home", they'll say "oh, well I'm super duper excited for this and I don't think you should go home at all, you should stick around and have fun!"
Oh okay! I'll just go put my party hat on and everything will be fine and snazzy. Yep! Just like that. It's that easy, really!


UGH. I'm not here to "have fun", I'm here to get a stinkin' education, and I don't know what you're on, but I'm just plain old human and I'm going to be grumpy some days.

Then today somebody told me I'm wasting everybody's time by being in Music Education since I don't actually plan on being a teacher. The fact that teaching is my fall-back option is "really sad", and I'll probably suck at my job since it's not my passion.
Well gee, that's good to know! You really just boosted my self-esteem to a whole new level and I feel great about myself! Thanks!



Today just stinks and I want to cry. :( :( :(

Friday, August 26, 2011

Funk

Boy those were a nice 7ish months of remission.
All good things must come to an end though, I suppose.
I can't seem to shake this funk I'm in. I'm happy, but I'm not at the same time. There's a battle, and it is effecting my emotions.
I am most definitely not ready for classes to start up. I'm not mentally there yet. And after my experiences from a certain class with a certain professor last semester, you can understand my lack of excitement here. I know I won't have to deal with her anymore, but I think it will take just a few weeks for me to feel okay about it, fully understanding that there isn't going to be an hour of hell three times a week in my life anymore.
Back to the flare up, I am trying really hard to just not be frustrated about it. But it's very hard. I hate being in this kind of pain. I don't want to lose any more weight. I worry about my lack of appetite, the fact that even once I start eating something, I stop after only a few bites because my stomach will decide it's done for the day. This results in me being exhausted too quickly and my blood sugar dropping all the time.
And the pain.
The stupid, stupid pain.
It is worse this time around. It comes in bigger stabs. I find myself doubled over more times a day than I ever have in previous flare ups.
It hits in my lower right quadrant, where the terminal ilium is. These pains shoot from my gut, towards the middle of my stomach, and also down to my hip and into my leg. I also get upper left stomach pain that stabs across the front of my stomach, all the way to the right, and into my chest. I just hurts. I don't know how to explain it. It's like... if you tense yourself up, like you're about to get really really angry and just scream and explode... that tension.. it's like some small marble is inside of me, all tensed up and exploding with fury, spreading its heated tension, scratching its nails and biting its nasty little teeth as hard as it can.

Then it goes away and the nausea returns.

It is not fun and I don't want to deal with it. I try not to think of it, but I think deep down, there's a battle of denial and acceptance. I know I'm sick, but I don't want to get any worse, so a part of me wants to keep living like nothing is wrong, and maybe that will make me all better if I just work at it. Then the other part of me tells me that's a dumb idea and I should really take care of myself and be concerned. But I don't want to be concerned, I just want to get on with my life!

And by the time I decide to just forget about it, the pain returns, I roll my eyes, and just keep moving.

I don't really know what to do, so I guess I'm just gonna keep living.
And maybe continuing in my good habits and looking on the bright side will get me out of this funk. Maybe.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Commitment

I was asked to speak at our Stake Conference this past weekend. For me, in Dubuque, Iowa, this meant I had to drive 80 miles to the stake center in Davenport, Iowa and have it video streamed back to Dubuque. I was excited and pleased to receive the phone call asking for me to speak. I enjoy speaking and sharing my thoughts, and I especially enjoy speaking in front of hundreds of people! (kind of rare, I know, most people hate public speaking) But there is something about doing research, pondering and praying, writing down my thoughts and ideas, and then sharing my knowledge and testimony to the congregation that really satisfies me. I enjoy teaching, especially adults. I love having all eyes on me, and making their listening to me worth their time.
Maybe I'm just weird or something.
I have copied the talk that I gave for anybody who would be interested in reading it. The topic was on commitment.


Hello! I will be sharing my knowledge and thoughts to you about commitment. My first thought on the word “commitment” when thinking about the church was “commitment to the Lord –that is a commandment!”
I thought about this all week and decided to begin by looking up the definition of commitment in the dictionary. I have an interest in learning words, origins and definitions, so this was not only helpful in getting me started and giving me ideas, but I had fun learning more about a topic that I didn’t realize had so much potential depth to it. There were a lot of varying definitions, but they all sum up to mean that you give of yourself in one way or another. Devote, ordain, perpetrate, engage, and give were all words related to “commit”. Now “commitment” is simply “commit”- and all there is to that binding word - put into action.
So we have a basic definition of what commitment means. But how is commitment a part of our lives?
I’ll give some examples of my own life and things that I have temporal commitments towards.
I have a chronic illness that has made my body susceptible to illnesses and intolerant towards many foods. In order to maintain a generally healthy life, I have to be committed to a healthy diet and exercise. Granted, we all should have a commitment towards healthy living, but over the past years mine has grown to be a lot more specific and demanding, creating bigger consequences if I do not devote myself to healthy habits. Being committed to this means I care about what I am doing.
I am also committed to my talents. I am a musician and desire to be successful in this field, so I am required to dedicate a lot of my time towards practicing and a lot of my money towards taking care of my cello, so that I can ensure that I can continue to grow and succeed. Because I have decided to be committed to this, I cannot just stop giving my time and money towards this and expect to have the same results in the end. If I just stopped all together, dropped everything for a couple of years and expected to come back and be able to do everything the same way as I used to be able to, I would just be kidding myself. My hands would not be as strong and the muscle memory would be lost. My cello would likely be warped or cracked from not having the delicate wood tended to. The strings would be worn and out of tune from not being played. Being committed to anything means you give your time.
My education is something that I hold to an extremely high standard in my life. I always want to learn. I am forever grateful for this life I have on earth and the time I have, and I want to spend as much of that time as possible learning. Temporally, spiritually, whatever there is to learn, I want to learn it. It excites me. I have a rough plan of what degrees I want to earn in order to have my ideal career, and if I end up having the right amount of time and money in this life, I will end up with two or three bachelor’s degrees, one or two master’s, and maybe a doctorate thrown in there as well. (Of course, this is all just a rough plan.) My temporal education is very important to me, as well as my spiritual education, which is why I am active in church, work hard on studying my scriptures at least once a day, attend institute and participate in discussions, and have doctrine related discussions with many of my friends. I have a love for learning, and I am committed to it. Being committed to something means you need to have some passion and desire.
Now, looking at my education plan and considering the costs of maintaining my health and music from a worldly point of view, there is lot of money that is going to be involved. I also hope to be married for time and all eternity to a worthy young man in the temple. Whether or not marriage happens for me, in the not-so-distant future, I will be taking a lot of expenses in on my own, such as my own insurance, paying rent or making a down payment on a house and living with mortgage, continuing my education, raising children, eating, driving, living, it is all going to cost money, and I have been working for the past few years saving up money so that when the day comes that I start taking bigger financial steps, I will be ready. I am committed to this, because I know it is wise for me to do this. Being committed means you are dedicated with reason.
These are all temporal things that I have a commitment towards. And the same way that I have commitments for these things, there are many spiritual things in life that I am committed to in order to ensure that I am keeping God’s commandments and becoming the best possible person I can be, as a witness of Christ, and a child of God.
There are many things in the church that we should be committed to, but I will touch on just a few of them today.
The Lord has given us many commandments. We are instructed to keep all of them. This is not always easy, especially in today’s world where laziness, stress, and too much worldly involvement can easily distract us from the straight and narrow path we need to be on.
One commandment that we should all be committed to obeying is tithing. In Doctrine and Covenants section 64, Joseph Smith is speaking through revelation from God in Kirtland, Ohio. He talks about repentance, tithing and pride, and how this is the day to repent, to give our tithing and not be prideful of our sins and possessions. The Lord tells Joseph in verse 23 that these days are days of sacrifice, and He specifically says that “he that is tithed shall not be burned at his coming.” Later in the chapter it also says that “the Lord requireth the heart and a willing mind; and the willing and obedient shall eat the good of the land of Zion in these last days.” Does this not sound like we need to be committed toward these commandments? Just as we are working hard to be financially stable and successful in life, we need to be dedicated to working hard to build up the land of Zion by repenting ourselves so that WE can be a worthy and righteous addition to those in Zion, and also give willingly of one tenth of our earnings so as to help build up temples and maintain all that needs finances in the church. Commitment here, just as in our temporal lives, requires hard work and dedication.
There are many other commandments we should be committed to, such as the word of wisdom, chastity, holding our callings, sustaining our families both temporally and spiritually. All of these are commanded of us.
As I mentioned earlier in my example of my cello, we must ALWAYS be working on keeping ourselves clean from sin and keeping the commandments. We cannot expect to be able to just give into the temptations of the world, have a “fun” life, as defined by the world, drinking, gambling, messing around with drugs just to “try them out”. Giving into our natural physical sexual desires, becoming morally unclean, and becoming an addict to the chemicals in our own brain that tell us to “get some more of that”, thus forming evil habits; this will surely destroy us. Yes, it is possible to repent, but it will put so much more work in front of you and it will slow your progress in doing the work of the Lord greatly. Your spirit, much like a cello, will warp if you ever cease to be committed to strengthening it. It will crack and be damaged. Parts that used to shine beautifully and create things pleasing unto the Lord will be worn, damaged, and unusable. However, it is reparable. Brothers and sisters, if you have lost the desire to be committed to the Lord and can sense that your spirit is damaged and dull; it is never too late to polish things up and start the repair work. Through Christ and the atonement, all cracks and dents will be gone, forever forgotten. It is work, yes, but even those who have always remained faithful and have rarely lost sight of the straight and narrow path have a lot of work still for them to do. We ALL have work to do. Through our commitment to the Lord, we can live with Him for all eternity.
I think now of some of the greatest examples of commitment the scriptures have given us. There is Alma, who prayed and worked earnestly, never ceasing, for his son to be brought into the light and turn his life around. His unfettering faith, determination, and commitment to the Lord allowed his prayers to be answered. And then in turn, his son Alma the Younger traveled far and wide, doing missionary work for the rest of his life. It was not easy work either – missionary work hardly ever is – but Alma had an incredibly difficult time teaching lands full of people who had never even heard of the gospel and believed Alma to be evil, thus casting him out. But Alma persisted; he was committed to the Lord and obeying the commandments he had been given, because he had a testimony that he knew this was true, and he had the desire, the want, the passion to share this knowledge with his fellow brothers and sisters in God. Along with Alma were many others, such as Lehi, who uprooted his family and took them to places that were unknown to them, but kept a sure commitment with the Lord. Abinidi, who stayed true to his testimony and to God through the flames of death. Moroni, who kept the gospel and priesthood alive as long as he lived, knowing he would be the last on this land for a very long time, yet holding strong to his faith anyway. These are astounding examples of commitment.
But the most perfect example of commitment that we have to learn from today is that of Jesus Christ. He had a perfect faith unlike any that we can have in this life. In the garden of Gethsemane, when He was bleeding from every pore, suffering more than we could ever possibly imagine or begin to understand, He trusted the Father. He went through all that He went through because the purpose of His life was to be fully committed to God. And we have this perfect, beautiful example to live up to. It is so important that we, as children of God, strive to be like our older brother. Care about what we are doing, give all of our time and efforts to becoming Christ like. Have a passion and desire to become like Christ and to strive to learn more every day about the Gospel and the Lord’s plan for us. Be dedicated. Like the prophets of old. Be strong. Be faithful, true, obedient, loving, hard working. This is commitment to the Lord God, and Jesus Christ, our beloved Savior.
I have a testimony that these things are true, I know this to be true from the bottom of my heart, and I say these things in the name of our Lord, Jesus Christ, Amen.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Again

Well, it was great while it lasted.
I don't think I'm in remission anymore.
Called in sick to Dairy Queen yesterday, tried to go to work at Kohl's last night and was sent home right away because of my condition. Went to Dairy Queen today and had to leave early. I could not stand upright, I was almost to the point of tears (which does not happen very often with me, I rarely cry from pain), and I had to have my younger sister come pick me up and drive me home because I am in no condition to be driving.

The pain has receded. It will come back if I get up and move around, so I am resigned to laying in bed all day.
I have opted out of going to the ER/walk-in clinic, because I know they won't be able to solve anything. Relieve the pain and nausea, maybe, but fix it? Probably not. I have an appointment with my specialist tomorrow.

I have been feeling a little out-of-it for about a month now, but I have just been hoping it would go away. On Saturday I really started feeling sick, it got worse on Sunday, then yesterday happened, and now I'm here today.

All I really want is to be healthy and work, be able to practice for this symphony audition coming up so that maybe I'll have an actual chance at making it, and not be sick during school for once in my grown-up life.

I hope and pray that whatever this is, it will be resolved quickly and I will be able to get on with my life.

I could use some prayers, if y'all don't mind too much.
Thanks.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Doomed

My family and I had a discussion on politics this evening, and can I just say that the world frightens me?

Yes, to my LDS friends, I have faith, I know what the church says, I know this is all supposed to happen, but that doesn't mean that I'm going to stroll through this absent minded, blissfully ignorant, keep living my life the way I live it and just hold on until the end. No. Because I know things are going to get bad, and they're going to get bad fast, and it will effect everyone. I am not exempt just because I have certain religious beliefs. It doesn't say anywhere that we will not be affected. It actually warns us that we will be affected, even the good and righteous (and let's face it, nobody's perfect), and I'm not going to go through this life just letting things happen and not doing anything about it.

I feel so torn on politics. I know if I voiced the way I really feel, I would be hounded. I know this, because it has happened before. It would be nice to believe that "oh, I'm in the adult world now, people are more mature here and won't be so nasty", but we all know I would just be kidding myself. Nope. It would be worse.
Yet I feel so strongly about what I believe, both religiously and politically, and it is one of the most frustrating things to watch people I care for and consider my friends to say such awful things about my beliefs.

I know I won't change people's minds, but it nearly brings me to tears of frustration and sorrow that so many people don't understand how awful they are being, saying the things they are saying!!!! So many people fight for "no hate" over so many things, yet the moment someone disagrees with something, all sorts of false judgments are made, names are shouted, anger rises. This is HATE, the EXACT THING they are "fighting" against. It makes me sick. It really really does.

Isaiah 5:20-23 pretty much sums up the way I feel right about now.