Monday, January 25, 2016

Impossible things

A few weeks ago, President Russell M. Nelson gave a fireside to young single adults, and he said something I've been mulling over ever since.

"Expect, and prepare, to do the impossible."

It was the type of comment that immediately cemented itself in my brain, one that I even pulled out my special marker for so I could write it down. (Which led to the conundrum regarding whether there should be commas in that statement. After a ridiculous amount of deliberation, I decided to go with the commas—the editor in me can't resist adding extra punctuation.)

That statement hasn't been far from my mind since. A few days after the fireside, I pulled out my journal with the intention of doing some serious soul searching. I thought of the top three impossibles I would like to make happen, and then jotted down a bunch of actions I could take to achieve at least one of those impossibles.

I was pumped. This time, I would actually do it. After all, President Nelson told me to expect it to happen.

I went to bed satisfied.

But over the next few days, even though I still felt inspired to bring about impossible things, I felt like I was missing something. For starters, that list I had so excitedly put together wasn't unlike goals I've made in the past. Goals that I made some progress on, but never far enough to get the ultimate prize I had in mind.

So I prayed, consulted scriptures, and pondered for a few more days in hopes that I would get a different answer, one that would finally set things in motion.

That's when the real lesson started to sink in: we humans can do impossible things, but we don't always get to pick what they are. I've had control over some of the impossibles in my life: getting a job in a field I wanted to work in; surviving, and thriving in, college and grad school; and—this is the one I'm most proud of—overcoming my shyness enough that I can actually get out of the car without hesitation when I go to social functions alone.

But there are other things I want to happen that I haven't been able to bring about via faith, hard work, and stubbornness. And there are impossibles I'll have to do at some point that I don't even have the imagination to consider right now.

Which brings me back to President Nelson's statement. He didn't just say to do impossible things. He said to prepare for them, to expect them to come, to not shy away from them when they do. There is a difference between deciding to do something impressive and seizing the moment when something you never thought you'd be able to handle is thrown your way.

It kind of takes the wind from your sails when you realize you may not accomplish your impossibles in the way you envision. But then I think about how cool it is to have one of God's apostles tell us that we are destined to do impossible things. It's in our nature. It's both a vote of confidence from a pretty impressive source and a reminder of why we're here.

Friday, January 22, 2016

This post is sponsored by Dove® Chocolate

Okay, Dove didn't actually sponsor this post, but I like that title too much to change it.

I've consumed a lot of Dove Chocolate over the years, and I've kept a lot of their cheesy, inspirational messages, too. In college I used the wrappers to decorate my side of my bedroom and, when it was time to move back home, added my favorites to the scrapbook pages I put together for my sophomore year.

I usually get some form of chocolate in my stocking each Christmas, and this year it was Dove Chocolate. Before I put those decadent squares delight in my mouth, I still have to make sure I read the Dove message on the inside of the wrapper. From what I've seen so far of this batch, the messages are better than they've been in recent years.

So I decided to take on a challenge to make January a little more fun: do what each of those wrappers tell me to do. Sing for my snack, and all that. (Note: I did not make a healthy-eating resolution this year.)

Things didn't really go as planned though, due to what happens whenever anyone tells me to do something I don't want to do—the rebel breaks free. And when I'm already battling post–New Year's blues, snark becomes a coping mechanism.

You'll see what I mean in a bit.

1/5: Quote your dad. "I have to do everything around here" and "Un. Be. Lievable." are some of my favorites.
1/6: Improvise. This one is really hard to do on demand. Does coming up with names to call Coach Krystkowiak count? (Fake Coach K is the nicest one I've heard, and I'll be calling him that in printed form from here on out because I don't want to go through the trouble of memorizing that spelling.)
1/7: Take a run on the wild side. I drove to work in a cloud today. It was pretty wild.
1/8: Share something offline. You mean, like talk to someone in person? Millennials don't know how to do that.
1/8: Happy Un-Birthday. Oh, be quiet, I just wanted some chocolate.
1/11: Build a bridge . . . with chocolate. This bridge will save ants from falling in the tiny crack. If they can survive the trek over the bridge.

1/11: Show up without a reservation. Well, I could go to a meeting without RSVP'ing, but that just seems silly.
1/12: Make all food finger food. Tell me, how am I supposed to turn this into finger food?

1/12: Coin a new catchphrase. This isn't new, but I do say it a lot: "Why, hello."
1/13: Ignore the clock. I did that this morning as I was catching up on some reading. It was lovely.
1/15: Actually go to a bookstore. ARE YOU FREKAIN' KIDDING ME? I've done pretty good so far this year with curbing my superfluous spending, and now you throw this at me? How about we strike a compromise. I'll be in Portland in a few months, and I promise to spend hours at Powell's Books.
1/20: Solve all arguments with a dance-off. Ha. Yeah, not happening.
1/23: Start a game of tag with your friends. Most of my friends who live nearby are imaginary, so this shouldn't be too difficult.

Monday, January 11, 2016

My new year starts today

Can we just agree that the week after New Year's is the absolute worst? For a while there I was seriously concerned about the lack of recharge I carried over from my 11-day vacation, thinking that I needed to make some life changes to get some of that energy and motivation back.

Some of those life changes involved finding a way to get my wonderful 1:00 church schedule back and planning a mid-January vacation.

But it turns out it was simply a bad case of post–New Year's blues. Nothing that a "2 for $20" deal from Chili's, a leisurely weekend, and a few extra hours of sleep can't fix.

Eleven days into the new year, and the buzz of new beginnings is finally starting to hit me. Happy 2016, everyone!