Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Matters of the Heart

This is the second time in only a matter of 5 months that I have been heartbroken. It seems that each heartbreak is more painful than the last. It makes me dread opening up again only to fall in love and be heartbroken once more. My heart is kind of numb right now. I feel like I've been riding a roller coaster of emotions these past couple of weeks since I was broken up with out of the blue. I've been holding tight to a thin string of hope since then, only realizing a day or so ago that it will break and I will fall hard to the ground if I don't let go soon. I can fill buckets with all the tears I've cried. Letting go hurts. I've told myself to pretend like it was just a dream, like it didn't ever happen, because that relationship honestly felt like a dream. It was amazing and so is he. But I received a priesthood blessing and it said that I need to embrace the experience I had and learn something from it that will help me in future relationships. I'm still trying to figure out what things I can learn and apply, but I've got time to do that.

A few days after the break up, I went to a fireside where Elder Christofferson spoke. He expounded on the scripture Joel 2:21-25, specifically talking about verse 25 where the Lord says, "I will restore to you the years that the locust have eaten...." He then testified that what it means is that those things that were unfairly denied or taken away will be returned, things that were missed will come, even lost time, God will make whole again. He then gave an apostolic blessing that I desperately needed. It was comforting despite the fresh pain I was feeling at the time.

Since then I've been thinking quite a bit about love, humility, and joy. This past weekend I was reading the scriptures in the temple and I gained some insight into a scripture I've read many times before. If you haven't ever read the scriptures in the temple, I recommend it. There is a clarity of mind I get as I'm in the house of the Lord and the influences and thoughts of the outside world are muted. I read these scriptures in Moroni 8: 16-17, 26:

"... perfect love casteth out all fear."

"... charity, which is everlasting love..."

"And the remission of sins bringeth meekness, and lowliness of heart; and because of meekness and lowliness of heart cometh the visitation of the Holy Ghost, which Comforter filleth with hope and perfect love, which love endureth by diligence unto prayer, until the end shall come, when all the saints shall dwell with God."

Then in 1 John 4:18:

"There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love."

As I've started working again in the temple, I've learned quite a bit about humility. Humility brings the Spirit and allows me to learn, feel and serve as the Lord would have me do those things. When I willingly submit to the Spirit I gain and can do so much more than I would on my own. Humility brings the Spirit. It can comfort me and fill me with the hope and perfect love that I am so desperately wanting to feel. Now, generally, we tend to only think about these scriptures talking about the idea of charity. But in that moment I thought of it in a more general way- familial love, romantic love, friendship love, neighbor love. It applies to all of those. I love that it says love endures by praying diligently- it takes work to keep it strong and make it last.

I learned that fear is a wedge that can come between people who love in whatever kind of relationship it is- sibling, romantic, co-worker, whatever. When there is fear in a relationship, it's TORMENT! It's awful and I hate it. (As a side note, I think we play the dating "game" because of fear. Maybe that's why I hate the "game" so much.) That love is not perfect- something needs to change or be improved. In Moroni 7 it talks about how you can't have charity without hope and you can't have hope without faith and you can't have faith without being humble. I love this connection. I can pray for the Holy Ghost to fill me with hope so that fear can be cast out and I can love perfectly.

Lastly, over the past few months I've been thinking a lot about joy and what it means and how to have it. A few weeks ago a friend made a connection that I hadn't thought of before. He noticed that when he looked up joy in the topical guide, most of the scriptures that contained the word joy in it were talking about enduring hard things. This is a hard thing for me to endure at the moment, but I can still have joy. It will take time to fully heal, but I'm already finding joy in little things. I'm going to be okay.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

How did this happen?

There are three ways to "graduate" from the young single adult ward:
1. Get married
2. Turn 31
3. Die

Well, I'm no longer dating anyone, so getting married is out of the question. I'm pretty healthy, so unless something tragic happens, I'm not going to die anytime soon. So, I'm turning 31. It's not for a couple of months, but it's been on my mind a lot the last few weeks. Never in my worst nightmares did I ever think that I would be turning 31 and not be married. I now have to decide if I will go to the mid-singles ward or to the family ward.

In my mind, the mid-singles ward has a bunch of weirdos or "left-overs" who weren't good enough quality to get married. I know that isn't true because now I'm going to be one of them! Salt Lake has a huge mid-singles ward that actually should be two wards because it's so big. I'm terrified to go to it. I'm afraid of the creepers and of the divorced guys with kids. I feel like there's a stigma about going to the mid-singles ward that I don't want to have applied to me. I think in reality the stigma isn't there anymore because of how many mid-singles there are now, but it's still not easy for me.

I've also thought a lot about going to the family ward. That scares me, too. I have several friends that go to a family ward, but come to the YSA activities still, so I could do that, too. Part of me thinks it would be nice to get involved in a family ward, but then I would have to be proactive to meet people outside of the ward because more than likely, I would be one of the few singles there.

Then there is the option to stay in the YSA ward until... whenever. The bishop has told a bunch of us that are turning 31 this year that we can stay as long as we want. I know of a couple people who have chosen to stay because they don't feel like the belong to the mid-singles group or the family ward.

I have a couple months before I turn 31, but I decided that I'll have courage and check out the mid-singles ward today. A few friends said we could all check it out together, but I'm going to go alone so I can really try to get a feel for it. I know that going once won't really tell me what I want to know, but at least I'd know a little more to make my decision slightly easier.

Recently I tried a couple of new dating apps. I've not really got anything from them! It makes me wonder if the Lord is telling me that I need to give myself more time to heal from my breakup before I try online dating again. Part of me really wants to give up on it again because meeting someone online almost forces you to start dating right away rather than allow you to become friends first before dating. I really just want to get to know guys in person without the pressure of dating. I need more options. So, that's another reason why I'm checking out the mid-singles ward today. At least I'd know that the guys there are older, LDS, go to church, etc. I don't have to ask them like I would on a dating app.

Elder Uchtdorf's talk at the women's General Conference session last night was exactly what I needed. Summary from LDS.org:

"The purpose of faith is not to change God’s will but to empower us to act on God’s will. Faith is trust—trust that God sees what we cannot and that He knows what we do not. Sometimes, trusting our own vision and judgment is not enough. …

Faith means that we trust not only in God’s wisdom but that we trust also in His love. It means trusting that God loves us perfectly, that everything He does—every blessing He gives and every blessing He, for a time, withholds—is for our eternal happiness.

With this kind of faith, though we may not understand why certain things happen or why certain prayers go unanswered, we can know that in the end everything will make sense. …

Until then, we walk by whatever faith we have, seeking always to increase our faith. Sometimes, this is not an easy quest. Those who are impatient, uncommitted, or careless may find faith to be elusive. Those who are easily discouraged or distracted may hardly experience it. Faith comes to the humble, the diligent, the enduring.

It comes to those who pay the price of faithfulness. …

In our search for enduring faith, in our quest to connect with God and His purposes, let us remember the Lord’s promise: 'Knock, and it shall be opened unto you' [Matthew 7:7]. …

God 'rewards those who earnestly seek him' [Hebrews 11:6], but that reward is not usually behind the first door. So we need to keep knocking. Sisters, don’t give up. Seek God with all your heart. Exercise faith. Walk in righteousness."

Friday, July 29, 2016

Summer

Well, I feel like today is my last real day of summer vacation. Next week I have a teaching methods class and then the following week I'm going back to work.

This summer has gone by way too fast. I think it felt especially short for me this year because I've been taking teaching classes to get my teaching license. My brain is automatically in work mode when I'm in those classes and I can't help that. So, needless to say, I've tried to soak up as much of the sun and relaxation of summer in the few weeks of break that I've had. I am quite aware that most professions don't get summers off, so I should be grateful for any time I have, but my job is exhausting 9 months of the year. I don't even want to think about it.... Don't get me wrong, I love teaching and I'm excited to continue to learn how to be a better teacher. I've learned so much from the classes I've taken this summer.

This coming year I'll be teaching 4th grade!! I'll be inside the school rather than in a relocatable, which will be so nice. I will be busy taking a few more classes during the school year, but my goal is to have my level 1 license by next summer! That means next summer I might actually have a summer! I'm already planning a good trip somewhere. I've got a passport now, so the I could go anywhere! I'll keep dreaming for now....

In other news, I've been dating a guy for 6 months now. Things are going well and I'm happy. :) My sister also lives in the SLC area now, so I've also been hanging out with her and that's always awesome. My family went to Hogwarts in Hollywood a couple of weeks ago. If you want to see the video, check it out on YouTube. It was a lot of fun. Butter beer is my new favorite drink. :)

Lately, I've taken up exploring some of the canyons nearby and I found a new one today. Enjoy the video!


Saturday, June 11, 2016

Kelly's Take Vegas...Again

My brother Steven goes to car shows all the time and one he really likes is in Vegas. So, we decided to join him and make it a family adventure! It was great to see my family again and play with my nephews and niece. Only downside is that we all got bad colds, and one even got the flu, when we got back. :(

Monday, May 30, 2016

I Feel Alive

It's Memorial Day weekend! It feels so good to be out hiking again. I
need to shed some of that first-year teacher weight I've gained....
This school year was probably the hardest, longest school year of my
career. Actually, now that I think about it, my first year as a
preschool teacher might have actually been worse, but still. It's been a
rough year and I'm so ready for the summer. As hard as this year has been, I've learned so much and have made some great memories and friends.

Most people already know that next year I'm moving to 4th grade. That means
I'll have some of the same kids (which I'm already having nightmares
about). Besides that, it will be a much needed fresh start in a new room
with a new team of teachers to get to know and work with.

This summer I'll be taking 4 classes that I need in order to get my teaching
license. It will be crazy this next year, but I'm hoping to get my
level 1 license by next summer. Besides that, I'm planning a couple road
trips and to be outside as much as I can.



Sunday, May 15, 2016

Choose Your Own Adventure Moab 2016

This weekend I took a much needed break by going to Moab with my ward. It was awesome! It was structured as a choose your own adventure so there was so many possibilities for fun. I went horseback riding for the first time (for longer than a few minutes) and loved it. I feel good and ready to face these last couple weeks of school. The song I used in the video is one that the student choir sang at school last week and it was stuck in head all weekend, so now it's going to be stuck in yours. haha

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

SAGE Testing

Today I've seen and heard several ads about a report KSL is doing tonight on whether or not parents should opt their children out of taking the SAGE test (standardized test). I feel that as a teacher I should share some of my thoughts about this, so here it goes:

First of all, the SAGE test does not accurately show children's knowledge of the the core standards. I reviewed the grades my students received on assessments and compared them to their SAGE score and they don't match or even look similar except in the case of my VERY high level kids.

I think the main reason for that is because the SAGE test questions are difficult to figure out. It's not a typical ABCD answer choice like tests used to be. You have to manipulate things within the questions in a certain way to get the answer. Yeah, that sounds like fun, but in reality it's not. Basically what I'm trying to say is that the questions themselves prevent the kids from doing well on the tests. They have training tests teachers can do with the kids to help them know how to manipulate things to answer the questions, but most of the question types, especially for math, are complicated and not even on the training tests. As a teacher it's frustrating to see these kids basically give up on the tests because it is hard to figure out how to answer the questions. Besides that, correct me if I'm wrong, but the tests they will have the take in the future to go to college are still ABCD tests. If we want our kids to go to college, shouldn't we be giving them tests that are similar to the ACT and SAT? They don't have questions you have to manipulate stuff for do they? I really wonder if they do now.
The other problem with the SAGE test is that the questions get harder or easier based on how the student answers the questions. That seems great, but the problem is that when questions get harder and harder, it is discouraging and makes the kids feel dumb even though it wasn't because they didn't know the material.

Now, before you think I'm saying parents should opt their children out of taking the tests, hear me out. I would much rather them change the test than for parents to opt out. No school is doing very well on these tests, which ought to tell us something. Most people would probably think it's because the education system is failing and teachers are terrible, but that's not entirely true (although it probably is partly true). If you're going to test everyone, don't make it impossible to do well on it!!

Part of the problem with parents opting their kids out is that the parents who do that are the ones with the kids who actually would do well on the tests, which messes with the whole average score and the and such. There are some parents who I wish would opt their kids out because their kids have special needs and these tests are not designed for them. 
Another thing about testing is that there are people trying to pass laws that would require teachers' pay, evaluations, and other things to be based on the SAGE test results. I pray they don't ever do that. Seriously. We don't get paid enough as it is. Anything being based on the SAGE scores would be WRONG. 
Lastly, SAGE testing is all over for this year, so it's kind of pointless to be doing a debate about it now. I guess it could affect parents next year though.

The only thing I'd also want to change is when testing is done. We're done with testing and we still have 3 weeks left of school. We rushed through our curriculum for testing so now what do we do?? We are literally killing time until school ends. The kids are done and so are teachers. Only 13 more days.