Monday, January 26, 2015

Songs From Layton

The summer after my freshman year of high school, my family up and moved from Folsom, California to Layton, Utah. I remember when my parents told me we were moving I thought, "I'm fine with change. But PLEASE anywhere but Utah." And ironically enough, of all the places to go to, Utah was where we headed.

I was excited for change and for a chance to be whoever I wanted. Nobody in Layton knew me. Little did I know, a lot of growing, maturing, and discovering who I am would happen while we were there. Not long after living in Layton, I found myself hating life. Nobody in Layton knew me, alright. This also meant I didn't know anyone. I had no friends. I would wander around the halls at lunchtime to avoid the embarrassment of eating in the cafeteria alone. I cried in a bathroom stall. I came home miserable. I begged to go back to Folsom.

Something happened though over the course of my time in Layton (a little under 2 years). I remember  the beginning of it all - I was in my room, practicing for the Sacramento Temple Dedication Jubilee (which I had been practicing for before our move to Layton and had the opportunity to go back to California to participate in the event.) I was listening to one of the songs that we'd be singing, and I had this overpowering feeling of love and reassurance that I was a child of God. I wasn't forgotten. Heavenly Father knew me and was aware of me.

I had been wearing heavy makeup to hide behind. And it was in that moment I realized that's exactly what I was doing - hiding. I wasn't happy with the person I was. I decided to make a change. I lightened the amount of make up I wore. I committed to listening to more uplifting music in the mornings when I'd get ready. I made Personal Progress a higher priority. I started gaining more confidence.

One Sunday I remember all of the Young Women were practicing singing for a number we'd be performing in Sacrament meeting. One of the girls a little younger than me (her name is Riley, and I'm not even going to change her name because to this day I am grateful for her) did something that changed my life. She was standing next to me while we practiced singing and after the song she said, "Kristy, you're a really good alto!" I didn't actually believe this compliment because I never, ever sang for people. Sure I did the Jubilee and I did a couple of Stake choir performances, but I knew I wasn't the greatest singer. Riley told one of our YW leaders, who then eventually asked me if I'd be willing to sing a solo for New Beginnings. Somehow I mustered enough courage to say yes and go through with it.

Here's the song: True To You
I was also asked to sing this song: Where You Stand

They are Jenny Phillips songs, and very YWesque. But as cheesy as these songs may sound, they have a significant impact on my life. I have the piano music for both these songs, and I sit down and play them from time to time. I am fondly reminded of that period of my life where I was starting to gain confidence in myself because I was seeing myself the way God sees me. I still admit I'm not the best singer. I know that. But it's more than just me being asked to sing a solo number in front of people. It was about me taking the lyrics of these songs to heart. Looking past the cheesy aspect. Not caring if it was uncool to listen to this kind of music when I got ready in the mornings.

Another song that is dear to me is this one: Become Like Him. At a combined YW activity (not New Beginnings, I just can't remember the name of it. Maybe it was called YW in Excellence? It's been too long) I heard this song for the first time. My YW leaders sang this for all the girls. None of them were exceptional singers either, but they sang from their heart and I could feel their love (and the Savior's love) through that song. I have the music for this one as well and love it.

In summary, these songs fill me with nostalgia. They remind me of the confidence I gained in Layton not only in myself, but in the truth that God loves me. The closer I allow myself to be to Him, the happier I am.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Good Enough.

I received my Patriarchal Blessing when I was 17. I remember that I wanted to be prepared to receive it, but I wasn't sure what that meant or how I could become more prepared. I was a little stressed out about it, to be honest. I remember we were driving over to the Stake Patriarch's and I was afraid I wouldn't be able to receive my blessing because he could sense I wasn't ready or something. I over-think things. I remember when the patriarch placed his hands on my head I said a silent prayer asking that I'd be receptive. One of the very first things the patriarch said in the blessing was "I am grateful for the preparation you have made and for your desire to receive a blessing." Now, for all I know, there are thousands of people who's Patriarchal Blessing begins this way. But for me it felt like an immediate answer to a prayer. I felt very calm all of the sudden and I felt peace. It was as if Heavenly Father KNEW I needed that reassurance. It seems like such a small thing, but it really strengthened my testimony of prayer and that I have a Father in Heaven who is mindful of me.

An on-going battle I've had with myself my entire life is feeling like I am good enough. That I've done enough. Like I mentioned, I over-think things. I over-analyze. Those things coupled with anxiety don't help either. It's a natural reaction that I'm not a fan of. Just a silly example to express what I mean -- I remember a time I was 12. I was at church in Young Womens and our lesson was about service. The teacher asked us to each share an example of ways we can give service. Knowing all eyes would be on me and I'd have to answer, I could feel the blood drain from my face. I started feeling shaky. Then frozen. When it came to my turn I scrambled to find an example. My response, "I guess service doesn't have to be a really big thing. It could be like babysitting for free when a family is struggling financially." It got quiet and I suddenly felt like I said something wrong. The teacher replied, "I think that's a really big thing actually" she laughed. In retrospect I understand that she simply meant that was a very generous act of service. At the time I thought she was laughing because my answer was stupid, and I was dumb for not knowing how to answer the simple question of "what ways can we give service." Classic example of Kristy feeling like her thoughts/opinions aren't good enough.

It's more than just feeling like my thoughts/opinions aren't good enough though. In high school it was a lot of feeling I didn't look good enough. I can't say I've ever been one who is obsessed with fashion and being in style. Nor can I say I've ever been one who feels they need to have the trendy hairstyle or have top name brand things. My parents didn't raise me like that. My problem was I'd try to put an outfit together the night before, try on maybe 9 or 10 different outfits, and end up crying because I hated the way I looked. My legs were too long. My shoulders too bony. My nose too crooked. My chest too flat. My hipbones too prominent. The list could go on and on. I legitimately didn't think I was attractive. I didn't get complimented the way other girls did. It took me a very, very, very long time to believe that I was pretty. Sometimes I still don't feel like I am, but most days I have a much healthier outlook and perspective. There is a difference between looking at my reflection in the mirror and reminding myself I'm a daughter of God, and looking at my reflection with critical eyes focusing on everything about me I wish was different.

If you think about it, it's kind of scary how much of an influence Satan can have. He whispers all these things making you feel inadequate and it's hard not to let them get to you. I think a reason why it's so important to keep the scriptures and prayer part of your life each day is so you can have the Spirit with you and so you have the strength to shove the lies Satan tells aside. It is no easy feat, that's for sure! Satan tries sooo hard to drag us down and make us miserable like himself. And when we are weak, when we sin, when we make mistakes, he attacks. Plagued with guilt, paralyzed by hopelessness, he does everything he can to keep us from progressing. But I know that if we at least have a desire to improve and be better, that's all it takes to get back on the right path. A path of optimism, and happy thoughts, and confidence. I'm sure that my tendency to over-think will travel with me throughout my life. I don't think my anxiety will every completely subside. But what I do know is this: "Trust in the Lord with all thy heart and lean not unto thy own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and He shall direct thy paths." (Proverbs 3:5-6)


Monday, January 19, 2015

Getting Ready

In case you are dying to know what products I use to get ready in the morning, here you go. My step by step getting ready process.


Step 1: Wash face. I've tried several different face washes before, but this is currently my favorite. Neutrogena: Deep Clean Long-Last Shine Control. Approximately $7 at Target. 

 Step 2: Survey the damage of how oily my hair got while I was sleeping.


Step 3: Dry Shampoo. This brand is amazing. Seriously. I've tried many brands of dry shampoo, and this is BY FAR my favorite. Spray roots, brush hair. 34.7 seconds later, you are done. Not Your Mother's: Clean Freak Refreshing Dry Shampoo. Approximately $5 at Target.

Step 4: Moisturize the face. This is a generic Target brand. Gets the job done. About $7. 

Step 5: Foundation. I used to use Bare Minerals powder foundation and really liked it, but I decided spending $27 wasn't worth it to me. This lasts me about as long and saves me 20 bucks. Maybelline: Dream Liquid Mousse. 

Step 6: Blush. I'm not really picky with blush. This is Bare Minerals (pricier than I'll probably ever spend again), but it's lasted me over 2 years so far, so no complaints there! 

Step 7: Eyeshadow. Sometimes I wear it, sometimes I don't. But when I wear it, I use this. It's Maybelline. I am pretty sure I've had this for 4 years now (like I said, I don't wear it every day). The palette is called Sunlit Bronze. I think this was $3.99

Step 8: Eyeliner. I only wear it on the days I wear eyeshadow. This brand is Elf, I think. I think it was $1.29

Step 9: I'm pretty sure I was told if you only have time to do one step of your makeup routine it should be blush because it makes you look more awake. But in my opinion the most important step is mascara. Can't say I have a favorite mascara because I literally buy a different kind every time I go buy a new one. Here's what I'm using currently. LOVE IT. Rimmel: ScandalEyes Flex. Approximately $6. I refuse to pay more than that on mascara. 


THE END! Aside from my blush, I literally got all those products from Target. 

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

THE WORST THING TO COME HOME TO!

I worked yesterday from 9 till about 7:30. When I got home, I had one thing on my mind: FOOD. I was starving. Actually, precision of language - I was hungry. Not starving. I came home to a seemingly empty apartment and heard the fan from underneath the microwave on. 

'Someone must have left that fan on,' I thought to myself.

Someone left more than the fan on though. I turned the corner and saw a glowing burner radiating heat. I have no idea how long it had been on for, but I am extremely grateful nothing caught on fire.

I have seen kitchen fires several times throughout my college years. They've always been small, thank heavens, but they always give me crazy anxiety. You know what else gives me crazy anxiety? Cop cars. Especially cop cars who turn their lights on. I could be 100% obeying the law, but I'm paranoid I'm the unfortunate soul who is about to be pulled over. I've been pulled over only twice (knock on wood), and neither one resulted in a ticket (thankfully), but I still did not enjoy either of those experiences.

Back to the original topic, you know what I think would be worse than seeing a glowing burner left unattended? A mouse in the kitchen. Or a snake in the living room. Or a tarantula in my dresser. I've already experienced a bat in my closet (hahaha sometimes I forget about that. When I remember it I'm filled with fear. Then I laugh because of the craziness of it. I don't remember if I told the story before. I'll put that on my list of future posts to write.) I hate creepy crawlies. But seriously. I'm a total baby when it comes to them.

It would also be awkward to come home to a roommate and boyfriend getting frisky in the living room. I am not a fan of PDA. It's okay if you're holding hands or cuddling during a movie, but please don't let me walk in on your make-out session. (Note of Irony: I had the horrifying experience once of being walked in on. I was at a boyfriend's apartment. My first time meeting his roommate was when he walked in on a make-out session. I can't even begin to tell you how incredibly horrified and embarrassed I was. I considered breaking up with him so I wouldn't have to be at that apartment ever again. I didn't consider this very seriously or genuinely, but that's how embarrassed I felt.)

A flooded apartment! That would be awful to come home to as well. I don't know what I'd do.

Or a ransacked apartment. I sure hope I never have that happen to me.

Or a serial killer hiding around the corner in the hall. That would be terrifying.

I guess the unattended burner wasn't that big a deal, in retrospect.haha

Saturday, January 10, 2015

When boyfriends get girlfriends...and then get married

I've dated quite a bit throughout my life. I have had several "official" relationships, as well as "unofficial" relationships. I'm hitting that point in my life where a lot of past boyfriends (whether they were official or not, I'm grouping them together) have had multiple girlfriends since me or have already settled down and gotten married.

My boyfriend from high school got married over Christmas break (I think that's what made this topic come to my mind.) It is such a strange feeling. Whenever I see pictures of him and his significant other (that goes for any past boyfriend as well), I can't help but play the comparison game. It's a natural reaction.

Because he and I dated so long ago, I don't experience feelings of jealousy. However I have to admit that I've felt jealous when seeing pictures of James with another girl, or even Zachary as well. I know jealousy can be a dangerous emotion if you feed it and so I've been trying to ask myself why I feel it as strongly as I do sometimes. Do I think she is prettier than me? Has more going for her? Do I still have feelings for him? Jealousy is funny because when I sit and really ask myself, "If he called me right now and said he wanted to get back together with me, would I say yes?" my honest answer is probably not.

Breakups suck. They really do. Rejection makes you feel terrible, and it's hard not to blame yourself. "If only I had done this, or not done that." I can't help those thoughts sometimes. Something I've been working hard on doing is not letting breakups paralyze me. That might sound pathetic that I have to work on not letting them paralyze me, but I get attached very easily. I love with every fiber of my being. I'm dedicated, invested, and committed in relationships. I don't give up; I fight for them. I can't say breakups don't have an effect on me anymore, because they do. However, rather than spending so much time focusing on winning him back, or blaming myself for the relationships failure, I'm trying to think about it from the lens of, "What didn't work in that relationship, what did I learn from it, and why is it a good thing we aren't together anymore?" No relationship is perfect. No relationship will ever be perfect! But I do know this - there are people out there that are more perfect for you than others. And as perfect as I thought my past boyfriends were for me, there is someone out there who will make me even happier. Just as there was (or is) someone out there who makes them happier.

Friday, January 9, 2015

A Thousand Miles

Today I'm going to talk about the Vanessa Carlton song, "A Thousand Miles" because it has been stuck in my head for the last hour or so.

That song came out quite awhile ago (in the year 2002 to be exact) and I remember I got the Vanessa Carlton album "Be Not Nobody" as a gift, along with my very own Walkman and headphones. I absolutely loved that CD and printed out piano sheet music for most of the songs on that album.

My memory of the song "A Thousand Miles" is me playing it for Trevor Hollingsworth a few days after we went to EFY together in Provo, the summer after Sophomore year of high school. We had crushes on each other at the time and it was after I played that song for him in the basement of my parents house that we kissed for the very first time. It was a kiss we'd been wanting to share for a year but weren't able to because he lived in Washington and I lived in Utah at the time.

My second memory of the song "A Thousand Miles" involves me trying out for the play "Pirates of Penzance". I didn't take the audition very seriously - mostly I did it because one of my best friends wanted to do it together. The song I had prepared to sing was "A Thousand Miles". However, the pianist couldn't play it because it was too difficult. And when I tried to sing and play it at the same time myself, they told me they couldn't hear me very well. Want to know what song I sang instead? "Book of Mormon Stories". haha That's what happens when you're put on the spot last minute!


Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Work Ate My Inbox

Typically I get about 10 emails a day. Today I got 11. Only 3 of those emails were not work related - one was from my landlord, one from my bank, and the other was a utility bill (gross). I've been wondering what the other options are for getting email. Because seriously, my inbox has been completely devoured by work emails. This is fine, and I'm grateful I have a fancy smart phone that lets me check my email so conveniently and frequently...but sometimes I just wonder what other sources fill one's inbox?

Alright, now unrelated comment: I am grateful for overdraft protection. But I also hate emails that tell me my overdraft protection has been used. Usually I'm pretty on top of things, making sure the money is sitting in my checking account. But when tithing, car loan, student loan, utilities, and phone bill all happen at about the same time (automatic recurring payments can be both a good and bad thing...), I hate when my checking account was just a few dollars too short. All of the sudden I have another payment to make - the overdraft protection transfer fee. Seeing that fee creates a lump in my throat, a pit in my stomach, and sadness in my heart. I'm supposed to be saving money, gosh dang it! Luckily this isn't a common thing to happen though. I just hate that I let it happen again.

Second unrelated comment: Check out this funny minion jacket I found at Target. :)