Archive | November, 2018

A Day At Church

26 Nov

I gave five hours to church on Sunday.

I am not in a leadership position. I am no one exciting. Just a member of the congregation and this is what I gave.

Five hours.

It’s a job. A day’s work.

As a child I used to say I was churched out.

When my family would sit down to read scriptures or when there was yet another youth activity I would sigh. I can’t, I’m churched out.

I am often churched out.

I wonder how many of us feel this way?

I’ve wondered if this means I don’t like it?

Or like, with everything else in life, there’s bad to get to the good?

The first hour I spent at church practicing the organ.

This is actually an improvement for me. When I was first asked to be the ward organist I would come at 7:30AM and use my key to unlock the green gate. I would turn on the lights and for the next 2.5 hours I would stumble through, my feet bumbling the pedals, my heart racing.

It almost doesn’t matter if I practice, I can never perform it how I’d like.

It’s the ultimate test for a perfectionist and I get it every week!

Lucky me.

A podcast I listen to once talked about church as something that most every single time is boring and semi-horrible and then occasionally, BOOM, that great spiritual experience. And we go and we slog through for the BOOMS.

This is true of most anything.

I love to read, and yet most of the books I read are just fine. But then, wow, when you get a great one.

BOOM.

BOOMS.

The second hour of church I spent actually playing the organ for the service.

I played four pieces.

Prelude.

Postlude.

It went about as well as usual, which is to say at least 20% less than I would have hoped.

Recently I listed all the things I have going on in my life.

There’s a lot.

I load myself up with projects and side projects. With relationships and goals and to-do lists and I am on edge a lot of the time because I am nowhere near accomplishing everything I want to.

Rob points out that I have a lot on my plate and I say, “Yes!” But I want it all there!”

Except for church.

The church stuff on that list often feels like an obligation.

One I take on willingly.

But an obligation, nonetheless.

The third hour of church I teach a group of 4-5 year olds about forgiveness.

We read stories and color pictures and sing songs.

(I do this at work all week.

Now I do this on the weekends too.)

I sound negative and I know I can be about church.

I am, after all, someone who is churched out quite often.

But there are so many good things I’m not talking about here.

About some of the best friends and best people I’ve met through church. About the way the community came together and fed my family for a week when my grandpa died. How people I’ve never met have showed up and helped me move my house countless times, simply because I asked. And because we share this thing.

I don’t mean to be negative.

The fourth hour of church I play the piano for all of the primary children (12 and under). I haven’t practiced and don’t know the songs beforehand, but luckily this isn’t the organ.

I debated publishing this piece.

Will it be controversial? Sharing my experience?

Sharing anything when it comes to religion seems to be controversial. Some people only want to listen to the good. To tell me to try harder, have more faith. Others only want to swirl in the bad. To tell me to leave, that it’s all nonsense.

My church experience exists in tones of gray.

In kind people and long meetings.

In purpose and community, in disappointment and heartache.

In slog slog (slog) (slog) (slog) (slog) BOOMS.

The fifth hour of church I stay behind and help a friend pick out a solo for the upcoming Relief Society Christmas dinner.

I’ll be accompanying her on the piano.

She has a lovely voice.

Slog slog slog

(No booms today.)

 

Always and Forever, Jillian Lorraine

25 Nov

Photo

Well dear me. I’m a bit of a mess.

I just finished Always and Forever, Lara Jean, the final book in the To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before series.

I loved it.

I wish I had more eloquent words to convey the bubbly feeling right above my stomach, like foaming soap bubbles combined with a fizzy 7-up, but I loved it.

I’m bubbling.

Lavender foaming soap bubbles.

Lara Jean would approve.

I tried to read PS I Still Love You a few years ago when it came out. It was all over my Book Twitter, my Book Instagram, my book world. I hadn’t read the first in the series, but people said it didn’t matter.

It did, I guess.

Not for me, I said.

Not for me, I told others.

This is the rare case where the movie started it all for me.

I love the movie.

I would watch the movie every day if I could. Sometimes I think I should. Isn’t that what my whole “let entertainment be entertaining thing” is about?

Isn’t that what I mean when I tell parents it’s great their kid loves Captain Underpants?

The movie is perfect. A perfect high school romance.

And so I gave the books a try again.

This time I started at the beginning.

The books are sweet and simple. Conflict is sweet and simple.

I can see how the second book didn’t do it for me. I wasn’t already in love with Peter Kavinsky, the handsomest of all the handsome boys. I didn’t understand the Covey sisters. The Song sisters.

This series is really a story about a sweet family who loves each other. About sisters.

I know about sisters and about happy families.

But it’s also a book about Lara Jean. A modern day Anne Shirley.

Yes, I’m saying it!

How could I not, when Lara Jean says things like this:

Sunday night I curl my hair. Curling your hair is an intrinsically hopeful act. I like to curl it at night and think about all the things that could happen tomorrow. Also, it generally looks much better slept on and not so poofy.

Can’t you just see Anne saying that?

Or this?

Families shrink and expand. All you can really do is be glad for it, glad for each other, for as long as you have each other.

I see so much of myself in Lara Jean, a homebody who loves to bake and loves her family and is dreamy and romantic about the world around her. A girl who wants the world to be pretty and full of glitter and vintage dresses. A girl who is a good girl, who is uninterested in being anything else.

Oh Lara Jean.

Oh Peter K.

I love a good high school romance, but more than that, I love a good high school romance that is realistic to what I know of high school romance.

So many teen books right now are so intense. The tackle heavy issues. They often do it with great success, with excellent writing.

I often enjoy them.

But that intensity? That wasn’t my experience. My experience was a lot more about small conflicts and secret crushes.

Best friends and family dinners.

Oh dear me.

I just want to put on a pair of flannel pajamas and make some Night Night tea and start it all over again.

Maybe in a foaming lavender bath while drinking an ice-cold 7 UP.

Bubbles everywhere!

Bubbles and glitter, and maybe a vintage dress or two.

All the best things in life.

 

– Always and Forever, Jillian Lorraine

Thanksgiving 2018

23 Nov

We watched Parks and Rec all of Thanksgiving week.

It wasn’t planned.

In fact, we had just started Homecoming after wrapping up The Haunting of Hill House. We were hitting all the big names!

And then we watched an episode of Parks and Rec and it was just so…nice. So…fun?

I have 38 television shows on my “Shows” note on my phone. These are the shows that I’d like to watch or finish or watch the next season of or or.

And letting go of that list, letting go of an acclaimed show or a recommended show or a new show to just watch something I’ve already seen for the fun of it? It feels like the biggest lesson of 2018.

Why on earth am I making goals around my television shows?

Television is meant to entertain!

I subscribe to 45 podcasts.

That’s a real number too.

I counted after I saw a Millennial Bingo that said “Subscribes to five podcasts” and I was like FIVE? PHEW. MY GRANDMA subscribes to five. Try 45!

And then I realized wow.

I have also turned my podcasts into some sort of goal. Achievement.

I have also lost the entertainment in my entertainment.

Last week I asked people to brag about something they were proud of in 2018. It was the best thing I’ve done in a really long time and I definitely recommend it. Ask the people you love!

Ask yourself.

I am surrounded by the greatest humans.

Humans who start book clubs and change their car brakes on their own. Humans whose movies are now streaming on Amazon, whose books will hit the shelves soon. Who overcame bad relationships or opened themselves up to good ones.

Humans who adopted cats.

(Wait that’s me. I’m a cool person, too!)

But the interesting thing was, after I put that question up, I had many people reach out and tell me that they couldn’t think of anything to say.

One friend told me she hadn’t achieved anything in 2018.

“Hmm,” I said. “The question didn’t ask you what you had achieved, it asked you what you were proud of?”

“Hmm,” she responded.

Hmm.

That was a moment for me too.

Am I only proud of my “achievements?”

What is an achievement anyway?

Isn’t sending a finished book out, one you’ve spent hundreds and hundreds of days working on, something to be proud of, even if it’s not hitting the shelves next year?

Trying something new?

Persevering anyway?

(The answer is yes. But why is it so hard to believe?

Why am I subscribed to 45 podcasts?)

This year I am proud of a tiny Instagram account I started called Mormons in Media. We’ve been talking about it for so long and we finally did it. Almost no one follows, and we did it.

I am proud I publicly wrote about being Mormon.

I am proud I opened my heart to little Dolly.

I am proud I got my flu shot for the first time ever.

I am proud.

This time watching Parks and Rec I’ve realized that I am Leslie Knope.

It’s a strange thing, because I always identify with the Eeyore, the Meredith Grey, the moody moodster.

Leslie is all positivity and energy.

She is also an obsessive overachiever who loves her job, makes binders for her binders, wants to connect to friendships and people so intensely most don’t know how to handle it.

Yes, I am a Leslie.

I am also a moody moodster.

Moody Moodster Leslie, if you will.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, Rob made artichoke dip and we have some Parks and Rec to watch.

Just for fun!

What an idea!

A Call to Words

15 Nov

My therapist has given me strict instructions that I am to write.

That’s her prescription, that’s my task.

We made a list of everything going on in my life and the areas I’m feeling good about and the areas I’m not and at the end of it all she said, OK, your number one priority is to write.

Want to work on your depression?

Write.

Want to tackle these other things?

Write first.

I remember reading about a woman who had a very busy week. In that busyness she decided to give herself permission not to clean her house that week. She would let her mind focus on other, more important matters.

As the week went on and the mess in her house grew she grew increasingly agitated.

She was failing! She spiraled! She would never get it all done!

(She cleaned her house.)

(She felt better.)

(She got more done.)

In this story writing is my clean house. And I am this woman.

Times, oh, 700 million?

I often put off writing because I am busy.

I am busy! This is true. But putting off writing doesn’t help.

And filling that time, that writing time with other (good!) (great!) things is actually making me feel worse.

Tackling my health may begin with writing for me.

Tackling my relationships or finances or or or

Maybe I begin with a clean house.

Maybe I begin where I know I need to begin.