the importance is in trying

The importance is in trying. (image from here)

Life can be really hard sometimes, really amazing sometimes, uplifting, heartbreaking, thrilling, boring, lame, terrifying, sometimes . . .  sometimes . . . sometimes . . .

I saw this quote on Pinterest. Cliche? Maybe. But it means, “The importance is in trying.” French, no less. I’m no expert in French, but the phrase is just so comforting.

Anyways, I guess I’m just saying this: Keep trying. That’s what matters.

Adieu.

xoxo,

the bbb blogger

How to Recognize and Resolve Writing Burnout

Sally dreamed of becoming a successful writer. For several years, she had been working as a freelance writer. Her upcoming project was due in a few hours. At first, Sally was enthusiastic about the new project, which she’d been working on over the last two weeks. But every time she picked up her laptop to write a sentence, no inspiration struck.

After the initial excitement of the project wore off, Sally felt increasingly rushed to finish the assignment. Additionally, she started to avoid writing whenever she could: she would do a load of laundry, scrub the kitchen floor, shampoo the carpet, vacuum the stairs—anything to avoid writing. Disagreements and arguments between clients and Sally seemed to happen regularly.

Now, well after midnight, Sally stares blankly at her computer screen, realizing that her eleventh hour is quickly coming to a close.

image from here


Identifying the Problem: What is Writing Burnout?

The fictional anecdote above could happen to any freelance writer. Whether freelance writers have worked independently for several years or have been working on one project for several months, writing burnout can happen. Burnout means that an individual experiences mental or physical exhaustion because he or she is overworked or stressed. Writing burnout is a real problem. But what are the signs of writing burnout, and what can be done about it?

Throes of Creation by Leonid Pasternak (image found here)


How to Recognize Writing Burnout

Recognizing writing burnout can be difficult for many freelance writers. On the LinkedIn group page called “Freelance Writers,” web writer and small business owner David K. William posted an article and asked how to deal with burnout. William posted Tiffany Faming’s article called “3 Signs You Are Approaching a Writing Burnout.” In this article, the three signs Faming warned of were the following: first, “you don’t want [the article to be] perfect, you just want it done”; second, “you’ll take any opportunity to avoid writing”; and third, “you’re having problems with clients.” Although these signs may seem obvious, freelance writers must be aware of how they are feeling in order to identify burnout.

In the story at the start of this essay, Sally experienced all three of these signs. First, she tried to rush through writing to complete the project. Second, she cleaned instead of writing (which is always a bad sign). Third, Sally argued with clients more often than normal. If freelance writers experience one or all three of these signs, they are probably feeling writing burnout. After addressing the telltale signs of burnout, what can freelance writers do about the lack of inspiration?

image from here


The Responses: How to Resolve Writing Burnout

If freelance writers begin to feel exhausted from writing, they should find options to resolve the problem. On the LinkedIn group page, David K. William’s question was how to deal with writing burnout. In the comments section of this post, freelance writers offered their ideas they use in their own work. Their suggestions fall under two main categories: take a break or continue working. These two ideas could appear contradictory; however, freelance writers must determine which suggestion works best for them.

First: Take a break.

On the LinkedIn page, many freelance writers suggested taking time away from projects. For example, freelance writers could stop writing and start reading. Ronald Joseph Kule, a contributor to the LinkedIn discussion, explains, “When facing burnout, I realize this phenomenon as a stuck, one-way flow: too much outflow. So, I pick up one of my books written by another author and sit and read it in a different physical space from where I work.” Reading books may not only help freelance writers clear their minds but also help inspire them to write like other talented authors. In another comment, Roger Livesey explains that after reading blogs, he not only becomes more motivated to write again but also learns something new from what he read. After reading, the new information freelance writers learn could inspire their writing. Taking a break can help freelance writers beat burnout.

image from here

Of course, there are other options of what a freelance writer could do to beat burnout. Creative options—away from the writing arena, of course—should help freelance writers. For example, freelance writer Susan Shuman explains that she takes a break by finger painting or coloring. Being artsy instead of wordy could be a good way to get out of a funk. Another option for some freelance writers is drinking. As David Cooper, another contributor to the LinkedIn discussion, explains, “[G]o to the nearest bar like Ernest Hemingway did,” or as Frank Cagno describes, have a drink and have fun to “clear your mind.” Religious and/or non-alcoholic freelance writers will not take this suggestion for moral reasons. However, having fun and clearing your mind—even when drinking is not involved—can help beat burnout.

Second: Continue working.

On the other hand, rather than taking time off from writing, the second suggestion is to continue working. This process can involve continuing to write the current piece or focusing on other tasks, such as editing or writing something else. Elizabeth Haynes explains on the LinkedIn comments section, “Mostly I just have to force myself to write, albeit in smaller chunks than usual. No writing = no paycheck.” Money is always a motivating factor, especially for freelance writers. Freelance writers could feel more motivated by pushing through and working in smaller chunks at a time, instead of feeling overwhelmed by the whole project. Haynes continues, “[S]ometimes getting an influx of new work gets me moving again. Sometimes if things are slow I have a harder time writing than when I’m really busy.” Although constantly pushing work out will certainly lead to burnout, staying busy is beneficial for freelance writers.

image from here

Another way freelance writers can feel motivated is by editing or rewriting other parts of their work. Editing is an essential part of the writing process, but editing can also help freelance writers feel motivated again. In the LinkedIn post, another freelance writer, Matt Duncan, claims that “editing my work helps me get over a block. Editing [is] the part of writing that is the least creative and I find that the creative side of my brain [will] fight to work when I’m not using it.” Editing may not seem creative for some freelance writers; therefore, working that part of the brain—the supposedly less creative side—could motivate a freelance writer. Additionally, freelance writers could try rewriting previous sections of their work. In the LinkedIn post, Vicki Roth describes her process: she likes to “take something [she has] written before and rewrite or correct it.” By rewriting, freelance writers could not only dispel burnout but also create better writing.

Although taking time off or continuing work may seem like contradictory options, both are valid for freelancer writers to try if they feel unmotivated. What works for one writer may not work for another. For freelancer writers, what is important is to be aware of how their bodies are responding, mentally and emotionally. However, if these options do not dispel burnout, what else can freelance writers try?

image from here


Additional Ideas of How to Resolve Writing Burnout

There are many ways to resolve writing burnout. The opposite of burnout is to stay inspired. Elsie Larson is the creator and writer of the blog A Beautiful Mess, a company that hinges on inspiration, imagination, and creativity. Her success story is based on her ability to avoid burnout. When working on different projects, she suggests five tips to stay inspired: first, “carry a journal”; second, “find a new muse”; third, “develop a creative playlist”; fourth, “refresh your workspace”; and finally, “prove yourself wrong” by making a list of “the impossible” and then accomplishing those goals. When freelance writers evaluate how they are feeling about a project, they can try these ideas to continue staying inspired.

Maybe freelancer writers need to get away. Where should freelancer writers go to find inspiration? As Elsie Larson suggests, freelance writers could try a flea market, the library, a local historic district, or a bookstore. Perhaps they would prefer to go outdoors: have a picnic, take a country drive, or check out a flower shop. These ideas are just a few places for freelance writers to go to avoid writing burnout and to become more inspired.

image from here


Conclusion

Freelance writers must recognize their career goals and work hard. As wealthy freelance writers, the reality of writing burnout is important to be aware of and to recognize. Freelance writers should be conscious of how they are feeling about work. Then freelance writers can adapt to their needs easier. As a result, wealthy freelance writers may be emotionally and mentally fit—in the workforce and in life.

image from here


 Works Cited

happiness secret

image from here

“In the story The Little Prince, the fox was wiser than he knew when he said, “Now here is my secret, a very simple secret: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye” (Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince, trans. Katherine Woods [1943], 70). The odyssey to happiness lies in the dimension of the heart. Such a journey is made on stepping-stones of selflessness, wisdom, contentment, and faith. The enemies of progress and fulfillment are such things as self-doubt, a poor self-image, self-pity, bitterness, and despair. By substituting simple faith and humility for these enemies, we can move rapidly in our search for happiness.”

~James E. Faust, “Our Search for Happiness”

read here

How to Have Peace

In the constant, daily struggles of everyday life, it can be difficult to feel peace. Whether it’s an upcoming exam or worries about the future (family, career, etc.), feeling peace can seem impossible.

In Doctrine and Covenants 19:23, it tells us how we can individually have peace:

Learn of me, and listen to my words; walk in the meekness of my Spirit, and you shall have peace in me.

So how can we have peace?

  1. A person must learn of Christ.
  2. A person must listen to the words of Christ.
  3. A person must be meek.

This world is full of confusion and turmoil. There are wars; there are rumors of wars. There are murders and fighting, divorce and hatred, unkindness and theft. But the Gospel truly does offer peace to those willing to accept its teachings.

1. A person must learn of Christ.

Learning of Christ seems pretty straightforward. Sometimes actually learning of Christ is hard when we get busy with life. Studying the scriptures, the Word of God, will help all of us learn of Christ. Going to the temple brings us closer to him.

2. A person must listen to the words of Christ.

In Doctrine and Covenants 1:38, the Lord declares the following:

What I the Lord have spoken, I have spoken, and I excuse not myself; and though the heavens and the earth pass away, my word shall not pass away, but shall all be fulfilled, whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same.

This scripture seems to prove that General Conference is extremely important. When apostles and prophets speak, it is what the Lord would have declared because they are his servants.

Last Sunday in sacrament meeting, my bishop talked about General Conference, which will be happening this weekend. He said that across the church, it is the least attended meeting by the members. I was shocked! General Conference is probably my favorite spiritual weekend every April and October.

Bishop Jackson told the members of my ward eight concepts that we would learn if we would listen to General Conference.

8 Concepts We Can Learn if We Listen to to General Conference

  1. The importance of remembering our covenants
  2. Our need to seek for eternal truth
  3. How we can avoid confusion/being misled
  4. Why we should resist evil
  5. The need to sustain one another
  6. The importance of attending church meetings
  7. The importance of guarding our virtue
  8. Why we should develop good qualities

President Monson

3. A person must be meek.

I know that as we listen to the words of the prophets, we must be meek. If we are meek, we will be more likely to accept what they have to say as truth. And if we accept the words of the prophets and apostles, then we will be more likely to implement their teachings into our lives. Being meek is not being weak—being meek will make us humble and stronger.

Originally posted: http://stanceforthefamily.byu.edu/how-to-have-peace/

Written Wednesday: “Why a Man Should Never Object to a Woman Splitting the Bill”

Carl Holsoe, “At the Breakfast Table,” date unknown. Oil on canvas.


If a woman ever suggests paying for her dinner when she is on a date with a man,

he is quick to object.

Why even dare propose such a thought?

Of course not.

No.

Never!

Yet why does this protestation occur?

Cultural obedience.

Money dost rule.

Chivalry is dead.

God save the queen—she cannot save herself!

’Tis a cost too high.

My paying for dinner does not transform you,

does not change your gender,

does not change your biology.

You are still a man,

Even if I split the bill.

There are kindnesses;

There are actions, of course.

But that does not mean that they should be demanded, by either side.

You will not woo me by buying me

a six cent sweet or

a sixty dollar six-course meal

at a quarter past six.

Owe you I not;

Therefore, expect you not anything.

You woo me when you

Entreat me to be your

Equal.

So let me be.

And you talk with me—

intellectually and politely—

push me and argue with me—

think about what I have to say

   and who I am.

Many men have bought my bill,

but I have not bought theirs.

’Tis too high a cost.

“The Strength to Endure”

“The Strength to Endure” by Elder Richard J. Maynes was a fantastic talk this October 2013 General Conference. Elder Maynes offers great advice about resisting temptation, enduring to the end, and becoming converted. Here are five quotes that I personally loved:

1. “Many of the challenges we face in life can be solved and overcome; however, others may be difficult to understand and impossible to overcome and will be with us until we pass on to the next life. As we temporarily endure the challenges we can solve and as we continue to endure the challenges we cannot solve, it is important to remember that the spiritual strength we develop will help us successfully endure all the challenges we face in life.”

I loved this quote because I think it is so true. There are so many things that I don’t understand. I find myself asking questions, such as “Why did that have to happen to that person?” or “Why does somebody have to suffer that particular challenge?” He seems to emphasize the word “temporarily” because these challenges we face in this life can sometimes be solved here, but sometimes we must develop hope and faith to endure trials that will become resolved in the next life. That’s not easy to hear. But it offers at least a little hope to those of us who are struggling.

2. “Heavenly Father has organized our journey through life to be a test of our character. We are exposed to both good and evil influences and then given the moral agency to choose for ourselves which path we will take.”

What is the purpose of life? Why are we here? What are we suppose to be doing? We are here to test our character. We are here to make choices. We have agency or the ability to choose between right and wrong.

3. “Endurance is an important principle found within the doctrine of Jesus Christ. It is important because the quality of our eternal future is proportional to our ability to endure in righteousness.”

This line is beautifully written. Endurance isn’t easy, but it is entirely possible.

4. “Our ability to endure to the end in righteousness will be in direct proportion to the strength of our testimony and the depth of our conversion. When our testimonies are strong and we are truly converted to the gospel of Jesus Christ, our choices will be inspired by the Holy Ghost, they will be Christ-centered, and they will support our desire to endure in righteousness. If our testimonies are weak and our conversion superficial, the risk is much greater that we will be enticed by the false traditions of the world to make poor choices.”

I believe this quote is a continuation from the previous quote. Enduring in righteousness is vital, but it depends on our testimony and conversion.

5. “Spiritual endurance also comes at a price. It is the same price: dedication, perseverance, and self-discipline.”

How do you develop spiritual endurance?

Dedication.

Perseverance.

Self-discipline.

You really can endure trials. It takes faith, and it takes hope, but it is possible.

❤ I hope you have a beautiful day!

http://www.lds.org/general-conference/2013/10/the-strength-to-endure

“To Consistently Renew Your Faith” ~ Riley Jay Barrington

“To Consistently Renew Your Faith” ~ Riley Jay Barrington

Question: Why did you choose to serve a mission?

Answer: Honestly, that’s a tough question. At first I never really thought about it personally – at least not before I was actually on my mission. As unfortunate as it sounds, I started my mission mostly out of fear. Fear of the unknown, fear of failure, but mostly fear of letting my family down. At the time I felt that if I didn’t serve a mission, then the world would look down on me. My self worth kind of hinged on whether or not I served a mission. That being said, I am happy to note that with time, my mission became just that – mine. I was amazed at the effect the gospel had on people, including myself, and I came to really want to be there for me, and not for others. I came to love who I served and gained a desire to work. In the end, I chose to serve a mission because I wanted to.

Question: What does conversion mean to you?

Answer: Conversion to me really just means to consistently renew your faith. This, of course, includes both thought and action. Therefore, to me, conversion means that when you feel something is right, then you consistently try to act on those feelings. It means to be true to what you believe, and to stand up for it. It means that even when we feel down and defeated, that we still continue on until those times get better.

Question: Could you tell a trying/ challenging experience from your mission? What did you learn about yourself from this experience?

Answer: One of my favorite stories from my mission takes place somewhere near the middle of my first year as a missionary. It was transfer time and I was with a new companion, Elder Burrows. Both of us were relatively young in the mission, he younger than I, but I remember he was annoyingly chatty that day as we drove back to our apartment in Fontainbleu, Florida. It was my first time driving in the mission and I soon realized that I didn’t know the area as well as I thought I did. We had gotten onto the freeway and all seemed well until I started to see road signs displaying Key West on them. I knew that my area was nowhere near the Keys, and so I quickly exited the freeway, thinking that I must have driven too far already. My companion began to shuffle through the glove compartment to find a map, but the only one he found had been taped over to show only the borders of the Fontainbleu area. I eventually turned the car back around to head back to the freeway, realizing that Key West must advertise its whereabouts really early.

As we headed back I remember noting an intersection with a green light up ahead, and so I glanced over at my companion who was still trying to un-tape our map. When I looked back up, the street light had turned bold-red, and the car in front of me (a brown Escalade) was already at a stop about 20 yards in front of us. I was going 45 mph, and rammed head-on into the SUVs back bumper. Luckily, no one was hurt, but our car was completely demolished. The Escalade didn’t even have a dent! As the police arrived (and an ambulance) things seemed to slow down for me. When my mission president called to ensure our safety, I was told not to worry anymore – I wouldn’t need to drive for the rest of my mission… Not necessarily happy news, I began to “wallow in self pity”. Our area was massive, covering what seemed to be hundreds of miles. We had no progressing investigators, and in the past our area had been termed a “dead zone”. I didn’t really have much hope for the transfer, and already my companion was getting on my nerves. He had this ridiculously large smile on his face. I wanted to ask him what was wrong with him? Couldn’t he see that this was not a good thing that had happened? We were going to have to walk or bike everywhere in the sweltering heat and he was actually happy! Before I got a word out, he said, “Elder! Do you know what this means?” I obviously did not, but said, “What”. With an even larger smile he practically sang, “This means we are going to baptize a family this transfer!”

I remember wanting to punch him right then and there, but stopped myself. He would realize soon enough that our area wasn’t all that great. We eventually got to our area (a random man whose wife was a member pulled over and offered us a ride) and started to work. We had one true investigator at the time, but who we hadn’t been able to visit at all during the previous 2 months.

His name was Nelson Montilla, and although he came every week to church, his wife and 3 kids had shown no interest in the church and because of this, we hadn’t been able to establish a working relationship with any of them. The day after our car accident, Elder Burrows and I knocked on their door without calling them before-hand. Nelson answered and let us in! I don’t remember much of the actual lesson we gave, except for the very beginning. Elder Burrows and I had decided to begin each of our lessons with a hymn, and so on this particular day, we started our lesson with “Oh Esta, Todo Bien” (also known as “Come Come Ye Saints”). A feeling of overwhelming peace was there instantaneously, and as we sang the, the rest of Nelson’s family came out of their rooms to join us. It was truly amazing! We soon found out that Nelson was battling a brain tumor, which kept growing back after each operation. The song we sang had touched Nelson deeply and made him want more of that spirit that it brought, testifying that all would be alright. Nelson and I developed a great, close relationship and within weeks Nelson was baptized, soon followed by his wife, Jenny, and kids – Kathi, Genesis, and Nelsito. It was one of my favorite times in my mission.

I could stop the story there, but what came only a few months later defined the rest of my mission. Just after Halloween I was transferred to a new area, and so was not there when Nelson passed away in the middle of the night at the hospital, right after one last operation on his tumor. His funeral was beautiful – I don’t think I’ve ever seen that many people come to pay respects to someone before.

Because of Nelson my outlook on my mission completely changed. Instead of it being about me and the blessings I received, or the hard areas I was sent to, I began to really feel blessed to be a missionary. I realized that what really matters are the people around me – and the happiness that the gospel of Christ can bring them. It’s not up to me to decide whether an area is bad or “dead” or not. But it was my responsibility to give those people the chance to accept the gospel into their lives. I also learned that miracles come from bad situations, and that as long as we keep faith, we will see those miracles happen in our lives.

“You Guys Were Made to Be Our Missionaries” ~ King Eliason

Photo: “The Area of PJ”                                               DSCF2104

Photo: Baptism                                                                DSCF1571

Photo: “me reading on one of our long drives” DSCF1993[1]

Photo: The Wedding of Tatho and Kede DSCF4343[1]

Q: Why did you choose to serve a mission?

A: The reason why I served a mission is kind of complex. I was nineteen years old, and in the Mormon religion this is a tough age. People say that young men aren’t pressured to serve a mission, which is not the truth. For myself I was pressured into serving a mission. I did not want to go, life was good for me where I was at. I was nineteen years old I was attending a LDS institute class, we were studying in D&C 121. As we read verses 34-36, the words “…Many are called, but few are chosen…” really stuck out to me. In my head this meant God chooses favorites. I walked away from that class saying to myself, if God doesn’t want to pick me, cool, I’ll do my own thing! Later that night something told me to study that section again. As I read verses 34-36 in section 121, it hit me like a brick! God doesn’t choses favorites, we decide if we get to be chosen. Right then I told myself I’m going to do everything I can to do to have God choose me, and the first step was serving a mission.

Q: Do you believe that serving a mission is important? Why?

A: Yes! It is the greatest decision I’ve made in my short lifespan. As a missionary you learn so many things. Of course you learn the gospel; you go from believing its true, to knowing its true. Also you learn life skills, you have to make choices for yourself you can’t call mom and dad to help you make a decision. The greatest thing missionaries learn is how to love. I look at young men who don’t serve missions and I used to be mad at them, now I feel sorry for them. It is sad when young men don’t go because they miss out on so many lessons and blessings.

Q: What was the most rewarding thing about serving a mission?

A:  The most rewarding thing about serving the mission was being able to teach people. As we knocked on doors and people let us in, being able to teach them was the best feeling anyone can have. You bring light to a dark room. Still to this day I’ll look back and say did I really teach people? Did I help them on the path to their Heavenly Father? Yes I did, and there is no greater feeling than knowing I helped my brothers and sisters get in the right direction. The Savior did so much, so teaching and serving my fellow man is just a one way I can repay for what He has done for me.

Q: What’s a personal experience you had on your mission that changed you?

A: There was this couple named Tatho and Kede. I had just gotten transferred to new area called, Phuthaditjhaba. My companion and I was walking down the street and came across this couple sitting outside doing their washing. Of course we pretty much ran up to them to talk to them. They tried to run in the house, but we go there just in time. They were the nicest people you’ll meet. We taught them and invited them to church, they said they’ll come. Sunday rolls around they are nowhere to be found, so on our way home from church we stop by and they were sicker than dogs! So we made an [appointment] to see them later in the week. We went there and they ready for us, they had not only read the pamphlet we gave them, they had it marked as well. We taught the restoration, it was the most spirit felt lesson I ever taught. We saw them every day teaching lesson after lesson, they could not get enough of the gospel. When we taught the Word of Wisdom they poured out all the beer and wine. We taught the Law of Chasity, they couldn’t afford to move on their own, but Tatho started sleeping on the ground. They wanted to do everything they could to live the gospel, after that first Sunday I never saw them miss another Sunday. Their parents did not approve of them or the church, this cause[d] a great [trial] in their journey. After many struggles, we throw them a wedding, we [barely] had any money but it didn’t matter it was the best wedding I’ve ever been to. The next day both of them entered into the waters of baptism, one year to the day they entered into the temple with their son to be sealed for time and all eternity. They changed my life, I don’t know how my mission would have been if I didn’t meet them. I looked at them as we taught them and they had become more converted than myself and I was the teacher. One of many lessons I learned from them was, they know the gospel was true and they were going to do everything they could to live it. I made it my life goal to be as faithful as these two are. They used to joke with us saying “you guys were made to be our missionaries” it is so true for the first day I walked in we were best friends. If it wasn’t for them I truly don’t know how my mission would have went.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Phuthaditjhaba/105627616136494?ref=br_rs

http://www.google.co.uk/search?client=safari&rls=en&q=Phuthaditjhaba&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&gws_rd=cr&ei=11mUUpv-L8OshQeGpYCoBA

Blur

Blur

While I was traveling north, we were on the road going to Liverpool. I don’t want to use a cheesy cliché, but… it was seriously raining cats and dogs. So much rain! The coach windows up in the front became hard to see out of. Yep, I’m one of those people. I like to see where the driver is driving. You know, looking ahead at the road in front of me.

The thing about English rain is that it rains but then it also mists and sometimes that means that there’s this weird combination of mist and rain simultaneously, and I don’t know how else to describe it. It’s really not that complex. Basically, it’s beautiful. But it’s also scary sometimes. I can’t imagine driving in it. Awgh. That would be terrifying.

Looking out of the window up front was practically impossible, like I said. The window wipers would go swish, swish, and almost instantaneously the window would be misted up again.

Almost everyone on the coach was either asleep or on the verge of going to sleep or attempting to pretend to be asleep with eyes half shut. Generally, I am one of the above. But this morning, a bright ‘n’ early kind of morning, was different. I guess you could say I was feeling metaphysical or whatever. But I’m like that a lot. I like thinking about the world around me.

Because my front-window-view was, well, not working out too well, I spent a large part of that drive thinking about life and looking out of the side window. It was an incredible drive. Truly amazing. So much greenery. (Is that even a word?) The window to the side of me was like a giant glass screen, separating me from the world just out of touch, barely out of reach.

The window by my side was large and clear. It was definitely misty outside still, but I could see the road better. Raindrops splattered across like tiny dewdrops across a meadow. Some raindrops were isolated, little worlds alone in the vast universe of the windowpane. Other raindrops melded together to form bigger raindrops like little ponds become lakes. Yet some raindrops formed a trail. They followed the other one in front of it, and sometimes the blurry lines meshed together, while other times the lines formed a connect-the-dot trail across the wide window.

I watched these raindrops for a long time, and I thought about my conversion and who I am. I couldn’t pin my conversion on a single event. It just kind of happened over time.

Since I was a child, all the family scripture studies, family home evenings, and family prayer seemed to meld together – like the raindrops on the window. There were lots of memories that in the moment were so vital to helping my growth as an individual, but together seemed to form this bigger picture.

So although I can’t remember an exact date or time when it happened, what I can say is that it began in my home. I grew not only physically but also spiritually in my home and developed a love for Christ in my home. That’s where my conversion began. Like each minuscule drop of rain, each experience contributed to the whole of my beliefs.

But growing up, I also didn’t want to be like the raindrops that were in the connect-the-dots line. I was and still am very independent in many ways. I never wanted to just “follow along” or just do what everyone else was doing. I didn’t want to be a member just because my parents or my grandparents were. I wasn’t just going to follow the path of what my family was doing. I didn’t want to just follow previous patterns of faith blindly. I remember wanting to know for myself.

I became truly converted on my own.

True conversion. It sounds almost pretentious – like is there even a false conversion? That seems contradictory. But I think true conversion is sort of like trying to be loyal to something greater than yourself, being honest to yourself of what you really belief, or being exact about what you want to do with your life. I gained my true conversion by living the principles I was taught. I read the scriptures by myself. I went to church activities, and I think usually tried to have a positive attitude. I prayed and asked. By doing these things, I felt something change inside of me. Once again, I can’t pin down a precise moment, but it was a transformation or a gradual turning away from mere obedience to a greater motivation – a greater love of God. I remember feeling this incredible warm feeling inside my chest, a burning, a glowing fire, a remarkable feeling, really, that seems impossible to describe. But it’s a feeling that I can’t explain any other way. The logical part of me had studied it out and spent lots of time thinking and pondering. But the feelings that I experienced really did shape my conversion.

My conversion, I guess you could say, is kind of a blur. I can’t pin it down exactly, but I know that by the taking little steps I mentioned above and then living my life in the best way that I could, and if I could take a step back in my life, I know that each memory, each experience, like each raindrop, blurs together to shape who I am today and what I believe.