Sunday, August 29, 2010

Blog Therapy

Life is a journey! Good thing we get all the tools we need, even if we don't know we have them right away! :)

So...this blog is more for me than for anyone else. I apologize in advance if it makes no sense. Sometimes I have moments where I look at my life and I think "What the W?!" (This is a phrase some friends of mine and I coined in high school, I'm not completely sure where it came from, but its an explitive that you use when you are completely side swiped or confused by events.)

I've seemed to have a long strung "What the W?!" moment throughout the course of the day today, and I am no sure how I feel about things. I have a tendency ton try to stop thinking about things when I know I am going to cry. I hate crying. I know its cathartic, I know that we are built to cry for good reasons, but I don't like it one bit. I think a lot of it is because I got really used to putting on a happy face and pretending that everything is alright. Sadly, I have realized how dangerous this can be for my heart. Life seems to keep compounding one thing on top of another and, before I know it, I'm stuck in my room crying all by myself over something silly and insignificant. So...this blog is my attempt to either A) Avoid tears or B) invite them to come flooding so I can cry it out and figure out what I want.

I think my "What the W?!" moment started yesterday. I had been out late at the Institute Activity on Friday night. I found myself surrounded by a ton of new faces and I realized how much things had changed since I first went to Institute 8 years ago. I have become friends with two of the most adorable 19 year old girls. They are super sweet, and they idolize me for some odd reason. They are constantly telling me how awesome I am, how gorgeous I am, and what an inspiration it is that I am doing my own thing. Every time they say these things I wonder to myself, "Am I really doing my own thing? Do I really want this?" Anywhooo....I spent the entire Friday night with them. We danced, I met a few boys (all of whom were interested in them) and tried to smile and not seem awkward as they were led off to dance by one of the boys that had flocked around and I was left to wave at them and find my place on the sidelines... that was when I felt OLD...that was when I wondered "What the heck am I doing here?" That is when I felt like the whole world was saying, "What are you doing here Brittany Winberg? This is a dance for YOUNG single adults, the operative word being YOUNG..." then the peppy fast pop music would stop and I would be having a blast again. And of course...there was that ONE GUY...the guy that I kept making eye contact with...the guy that kept looking at me like I should be the one to make the move and come talk to him...the guy who ends up talking to a blonde, modelesque freshman snippet for the whole night and you sit there kicking yourself because you decided to maintain your "standards" by believing that if he really wants to know you, he should come talk to you himself...ughhh

But I digress...I woke up on Saturday and I was feeling the aftermath of my late late Friday. I honestly can't remember the last time I stayed up until 2 AM on purpose. My body woke me up at the usual time, 7 AM...I have been waking up naturally at 7 AM for atleast the last 3 years. Most of the time I am able to convince myself to go back to bed for little longer if I have nowhere to be until later but on days when you've been up until 2 AM it can be a very horrible punishment. I felt like I had been hit by a truck...I think I even made noise...not happy noise, the kind that tells anyone standing outside your room that you think you are dying...I forced myself out of bed for fear that because I was feeling like I'd become cozy with a MAC truck the night before, I would sleep half the day away. I poured a bowl of Peanut Butter Crunch and sat in my room in my cozy dish chair. I was falling asleep in my cereal. I somehow managed to finish eating it, and then I crawled painfully back into bed knowing what was about to come...I was awake again at 11:30. I still felt like I'd been hit by a truck, but when I saw the time I felt like a scrub, I had to get up, I had to do something...I couldn't possibly be THIS old.... My roommate Chelsea (A.K.A. my new soul sister) came home and made the staying up part a but easier, but she was going on a date so I didn't have her for long.

I went to the grocery store. I figured with my list being so short I would be back in 20 minutes or so...I literally had 5 things I needed to know you're old when you spend an hour and a half at the grocery store buying 5 things because you keep debating back and forth about the price versus the brand and other important issues...

I came home and I checked the blogs I follow. Of course, I found myself crying as I read about one person's struggle to deal with the recent death of her daughter by drowning, and I cried when I read another person's tribute to her husband who was celebrating a birthday...and so forth and so on...I read these stories and I think...why am I being such a baby, my trials could be so much more difficult...and then I feel guilty for the rest of the day.

Chelsea came home from her date and called me out to join her. Everyone was standing in our was a slightly awkward time for me as everyone was laughing about the date and the day's events and I was standing there, dateless, smiling....

My dinner was almost ready, and I happened to need to pull it out of the oven while everyone was still of the boys came back with bananas for our banana bread efforts that would be taking place later in the evening and partook of my too spicey vegetarian enchiladas. He loved them, or so he said he did. (P.S. he came back for a cinnamon roll this morning... LOL)

We made banana bread, we went down to the lounge to watch a movie and eat it. We invited the boys in apartment 17 (I guess there is this unspoken rule that the boys of 17 and the girls of 20 be best buddies...who would've thunk...) We watched the movie, we ate banana bread and everyone was having a good time. Another boy that lives in the complex came to join the party...He appeared to be 12 (AKA 19 or so) and of course, he decided I was the object of his desire...he also isn't a member of the church and interrupted my movie watching to explain that he believes in more of a "relationship with God than being religious." He asked for my number...I'm too nice, and I was thinking to myself, "This kid already has an impression of what he thinks members of the church are like, and I don't want to be one of those people who makes him believe that we are rude or only associate with other people who are members of the church." In any case, he got my number...and he has been texting me ever ask if I have a boyfriend, if I'm looking for one, and if we can hang out...he waited for me to get home from church today and tried to convince me to come cuddle with him inside his place...Of course I want to scream : "Seriously...Don't you get it? I'm not interested! We can be friends, great...but you are way too young for me and quite frankly, even if I was interested in dating someone who isn't a member of the church, I don't think you could handle ALL of this..." but alas, I'm too nice, so I smile sweetly, make my excuse for why I can't and move on...

I make Sunday dinner...Chelsea and I invite the boys from 17. I end up feeding 7 boys dinner...6 of them from apartment 17, and one of them is friends with the people in apartment 17...guess who he is...the boy I made eye contact with at the dance all night on Friday...Of course, the eye contact continues, the electric kind, the kind that you know could lead to heartbreak...all through dinner...finally, I broke my silence and said, "Matt (because that's his name) I really like your tie. Its really nice. I like the it.." Of course, I sound like a babbling idiot. He smiles and says, "Thanks, I got it in Virginia, so I guess one good thing came out of me being there." He then continues to make jokes with his friend that had been in Virginia with him this summer...After dinner, he lingers for a bit, shakes my hand a couple times and leaves, slowly...SERIOUSLY? Was I supposed to chase after him and ask for his number..apparently I was because even though we'd been making eye contact all through dinner, and all through the fireside that we all rushed to after dinner, another snippet cornered him and gave him her number...and they continued to talk and were still talking when I left...The experience with this boy have brought me to a few possible conclusions for stories I could learn:

1) He must just be one of THOSE guys that relies on looks and doesn't have to work for a girl because they are always flocking to him. Which means he isn't they type of guy I want to be making electric eye contact with in the first place


2) The rules of dating have changed tremendously and since I haven't been dating, or asked out on dates I just missed the memo..


3) I'm just really really old and set in my ways destined for a spinster's life because I feel strongly that a young man should make the first move after you have been properly introduced (are you reading this, "properly introduced..." Wow...I am old...)

At the fireside tonight I ended up running into my first single's ward bishop and his wife. I ended up sitting with them. Of course they kept asking me questions, wanting to catch up, and of course Bishop (now President) wanted to know if I was dating, kept telling me that he couldn't get over how gorgeous I looked, and apologized for the blunders of his gender...We sat through the fireside. Elder Webb of the 70 talked to us. He talked about how the Lord chastizes us because he loves us, and sometimes we need to be uncomfortable so that we can appreciate the comfort...of course when he said that we need to allow ourselves to be uncomfortable to feel comfort, it struck a nerve, leading me to believe that option 3 was the exact reason why I was feeling the way I was feeling... happened...

Bishop/President turned to look at me with tears in his eyes...

I had told Bishop/President earlier this evening that often time people get mad at me when I tell them how I really feel when it comes to me and dating. I told him that I am working on and accepting the fact that I don't know if I believe that marriage will ever happen for me in this life. He looked at me and nodded as I said it, but now, an hour later, he was gently chastizing me. He reminded me of a blessing he gave me before he had been released as my Bishop, and subsequently became the time of this blessing I was struggling quite a bit. I was having a hard time accepting that I was 20 and still single. I look at that age on the page and I laugh now, but at the time, when all my friends were getting married, my brother/best friend was leaving me to go on a mission, and I felt like I was being left behind. He told me in this blessing of all the things that I was destined to do with my talents and that if I would seek to follow my patriarchal blessing and if I would focus on my education and stay active in the church that I would meet my future eternal companion.

He was crying, and I started crying...and he said, "Brittany, I know you have followed the counsel of that blessing. Because you have followed it, I know that you will be married. I know it." I sobbed and between tears hugged him. He told me I could slap him if I wanted since he made me cry. I told him I could and would never slap him because I loved him too much. Bishop then asked if I had had a blessing recently...I haven't, well not about this anyway...sometimes I feel like I'm beating a dead horse if I ask for revelation regarding my single state. I always get the same answer...if you are faithful in doing A, B, and C you will be blessed to meet your eternal companion...well I keep doing A, B, and C...I would have done them anyway because I know that is what the Lord wants me to do...but the promised blessing still hasn't come to fruition...Sometimes hearing the promise again and again is more painful than not hearing it at all...

I have a good life...I do. I am so blessed. I have amazing family and I make more wonderful friends every day. I have had opportunities that other people have only dreamed of, and I am trying to push myself forward and for the first time I'm trying to push forward alone, I'm trying to stop focusing on things I can't control and work towards the positive things that I can bring into my life on my own...

As I have sat in this extended "What the W?!" moment the last few days, I have started realizing how sad I am. My life is good, I can't complain. I have my struggles, who doesn't? But I know the Lord is there blessing me,but I'm still sad...I'm grieving for something that I can't control. I'm grieving for the life that I truly want. I can keep telling myself over and over again about all the wonderful things I'm going to do, and can do if I just put my mind to it, but I'm really just putting a band-aid on open wound...the open wound left while you wait and wait and wait for something you've been promised and it just doesn't seem to come...

I'm not saying I'm losing faith. I know how it sounds, and it sounds exactly like I am. I know that God loves me. I know he wants the best for me. I know that in this season of my life there are still so many things for me to learn, and there are still so many ways for me to grow. I'm trying to enjoy this season, I'm trying to avoid making the same mistake I made in the past...I look back and I realize I spent so much time focused on what I didn't have I didn't really appreciate what I did have.

Bishop/President also told me once that there would be a day that I would look back and wish that I had savored my moments as a young woman in the 12th ward in the Pocatello, ID University 2nd Stake...I'm just now realizing how right he was as I watch my new 19 year old friends living it up and enjoying being young...well younger...I wish I hadn't spent so much time being worried that I wasn't married yet. I wish I could go back and shake myself and say, "Enjoy this you super freak!"

I guess learning to let go is a process. I'm getting there. I will be there someday. I definitely know that I have stopped taking for granted all of the fun things I get to do with the people I love and care about. I have stopped taking for granted all of the wonderful opportunities I've been given because of my talents and abilities that I have been blessed with.

I suppose I should let myself grieve. I should let myself take one day to just lay in bed and cry and scream and say ,"Woe is me, I'm turning 27 in 46 days and I am single, alone, and sometimes very very lonely." I have to accept that this is my reality. I have to accept that the only way this will change is if I change the way I think about it. I'm working on it...but like I said, I find that sometimes my new outlook seems more like a Band Aid rather than an actual cure for what ails me.

I suppose with time things will become more clear. I know the Lord gives us the answers we seek line upon line. We have to be earnestly asking the right questions.

I guess, for now, I just need to figure out what the right questions are so I can start to understand why my life isn't quite how I'd pictured it.

But...when I look at the picture...

Its definitely something beautiful to behold, and that gives me hope.

Hugs and loves until next time darlings!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

What I Believe- Part 1


So my friend found a video on Youtube and posted it to another friend's facebook page to ask if it was true or not. I watched it, and was saddened to see that, like their conversation had alluded, it was an Anti-Mormon video. I don't get angry at people for things like this, just frustrated. Frustrated because the mixture of truths, half truths, and fiction makes me look like a crazy person. You can't blame them, most people fear things they don't understand and then that fear manifests as hate. The sad thing is they choose to continue not understanding and just believe in the fear instead of being brave enough to ask questions. I guess, I just feel compelled to let you, my dear readers, understand what I believe. I also want to encourage you to ask me questions when you have them or if you hear a rumor about my beliefs I would be happy to tell you what is truth, what is half truth, and what is fiction created out of fear.

We Mormons are labled as a peculiar people. Just the fact that we allow ourselves to be called "Mormon" shows how peculiar we are. This label was actually a derrogatory term back in the early days of the church, omitting the fact that we believe in Christ and focusing solely on the Book of Mormon, and the idea that a crazy person somehow managed to write it (more on that later). The name of our Church, for the record, is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Some people still feel the derrogatory nature of the term "Mormon" and prefer to be called LDS or Latter Day Saints...I am someone who doesn't care if you call me Mormon. The Book of Mormon is a part of my religion, and the Book of Mormon testifies of Christ, therefore the intended derrogatory nature is in fact not fulfilling its me a Mormon, I don't care...

I will, through the course of a few different blogs, touch on a few things that this video stated that are true, and tell you the whole truth so the half truths and fiction will be obvious.I will also tell you some things that I think are important for you to know and understand so that you won't have to wonder anymore. In essence, I'm going to try to break down some key Mormon doctrines in a nutshell for you...I know that after reading this you will probably still call me peculiar- that's okay...ask any Christian to write down a list of doctrines and beliefs that they have and they will probably look at them and realize that they are peculiar too.

The most base and essential truth I want to talk about first is that we believe that we are all spirit children of God. All Christian religions believe that we have a spirit, or soul, so this belief is not new. We Mormons just happen to have an explanation in our doctrines about where these spirits came from. If you read the Book of Moses in The Pearl of Great Price (this book of scripture is included with the Book of Mormon and Doctrine and Covenants, it is at the end) you read the Creation story from the very very beginning through til Adam and Eve are banished from the garden of Eden. In this book we read the very beginning, which is our creation in heaven before we came to earth. Spirit was first conceived as intelligence and light- from intelligence and light our Heavenly Father (God) and our Heavenly Mother (we do not know her name, it is sacred and protected) created their spirit children. We were born in spirit, and we had the exact same gender and personality that we have here on earth, we were lacking one crucial thing- a body. The lack of body was the one thing that prevented us from being like God. Never fear, God had a plan so that we could get a body and become like him. We had a meeting, a big family counsel if you will, where God described what he had gone through so that he could get his body. He was placed on a planet in a mortal body, he had to live, make choices between good and evil, learn from his mistakes, and return to his father to be judged and ultimately be given immortality. We all thought this was a pretty cool plan, because like most young children, we wanted to be just like our dad, we wanted to, in essence, be given a chance to grow up.

One of our older brothers, the second born spirit child of God, Lucifer spoke up. He thought he had a better plan than God did. He wanted to take away the element of being able to make decisions. He thought that we should always be forced to do whatever God told us, that our lives should be decided for us before we went to earth. If this happened, there would be no need for judgement and we all would automatically get to be like God.

There was a big problem with Lucifer's plan. The problem was, we wouldn't be exactly like God. God had had the opportunity to make choices and learn from his decisions. If we were forced to do everything we were told we would never be given the opportunity to learn and gain knowledge from our mistakes. We would not know good from evil like God did, and if we didn't know good from evil we would never be able to know what it was like to be truly eternally happy because we would never know what it was like to be sad. Our oldest brother, the oldest spirit child, Jehovah, stood up for God's plan. He pointed out the flaws in Lucifer's idea.

Lucifer didn't like this very much. Like any second born child, he kind of wanted to be the boss and have the birthright that Jehovah did. What happened next was a big sibling squabble. Lucifer convinced 1/3 of our spirit brothers and sisters that he was right and our Heavenly Father and Jehovah were wrong. Well, like any parent, God had to punish disobedience. For their disobedience, they were told that they would not be allowed to have a body while they were on the earth. They were also basically "thrown out of the house." They, like any kid kicked out of the house on earth today, could go where ever they wanted and do whatever they wanted but they couldn't receive help or the gifts that Heavenly Father was prepared to give the spirit children that didn't follow Lucifer.

God gave Jehovah and another spirit brother Michael the plans to create the earth. They did. Then, God came and helped to create man. Michael volunteered to be the first to have a body and take the test of mortality on earth. He was told that he would be given strengths and weaknesses and he was told what his ultimate mission on the earth was. Michael was put into the earthly body that God created to be just like his, God gave him an earthly name to represent his new state- Adam which translates to mean "of the earth" because that is what his body was created out of. God wanted his name to be a remembrance of his body's origin. God knew that in order for this plan to work, just like him, Adam had to have a wife so that they could be partners and help eachother through their mortal existence, and also so that through them, other spirit children could receive bodies and be born into the mortal stage of their life. Always thinking ahead, God had asked one of our spirit sisters if she was willing to do the job. God put Adam to sleep and took one of his ribs to create Eve to have a body like our Heavenly Mother's. (This part of the Creation story is the same as in Genesis, but I figured I would throw it in.) Adam and Eve were meant to be partners like Heavenly Father and Mother. At this point their bodies were not mortal; so, in order to make the test fair for everyone that would follow, they forgot their premortal existence, the counsel in heaven, what their weaknesses and strengths would be, and what their ultimate mission was so that they could be given the opportunity to choose for themselves how they wanted to live their lives, find out for themselves what their ultimate mission was and decide if they wanted to accept it or not, learn how to make their weaknesses strengths, and how they wanted to gain knowledge, whether it be through making good choices right away and reaping the rewards or through the consequences of bad choices. They were given a few commandments to help them pass the test- they were to multiply (have children) and replenish the earth (protect the gift of the planet they had been given to live on), they were also commanded not to eat the fruit on the tree of Knowledge of good and evil, they were warned that if they did they would die (and God does not lie). God also gave them some more help. He gave them the law of sacrifice. If they broke any of the commandments that God gave them he would provide a Savior for them so that they could repent and fix their mistakes.

Well...we all know what happened. Lucifer (now known as Satan, he had lost the light for which he was named and now dwelled in darkness) tempted Eve. He told her that she wouldn't die if she ate the fruit (which wasn't a lie, it just wasn't the whole truth) but she would have the knowledge of what good was and what evil was. At this point, they didn't know good from evil, it was the one thing that kept them from being like God. Eve understood this. She trusted Satan and ate the fruit...and he was right, she didn't die...right away...but because God doesn't lie, her body became mortal- she now had the ability and promise of death later on. When Eve went to Adam, he realized that if he didn't eat the fruit that he wouldn't be able to keep the first of the commandments he was given, he could not multiply on his own. He ate the fruit as well so he could remain with Eve and they could together keep the first two of God's commandments. God was just, and he kept his promise that if they broke one of his commandments he would provide them a Savior. However, because they were now mortal, they could no longer be in his presence and because they now had the knowledge of good and evil, a plan was set into motion that forced them to have to choose and deal with it on a daily basis. They would have to work for their food, they wouldn't be told what was good to eat and what wasn't. They would also now have the ability to know pleasure from pain, which meant that Eve would now feel the pain of childbirth.

We do not know what would have happened had Adam and Eve not become mortal. In fact, if you ask any members of the LDS church, we don't think of the fall as a bad thing, without it, we would not have been given the right to choose because we wouldn't know good from evil. We often quote a scripture from the Book of Mormon to explain this, "Adam fell that men might be, and men are that they might have joy." Without mortality, we would never know about the opposites in this world. Light and dark, pleasure and pain, joy and sorrow. We also know that God made sure that we would not be cursed to remain mortal and after we died stay as spirits.One of our articles of faith clearly states that "We believe that men will be punished for his own sins and not for Adam's transgression." He provided us a way back to his presence, and to be cleansed of our sins, because inevitably we are going to make mistakes since we don't remember what we knew before we came here.

He asked our older brother Jehovah (who would be known on earth as Jesus the Christ) if he would be willing to be the sacrifice necessary to cleanse the whole world of their sins. Like any gift, we have the option of accepting this or not. Adam and Eve accepted this gift and proved it by following the rest of the promptings of God on earth. They taught their children what they had learned, and they made sacrifices to show God that they would not forget his gift of a way back. They made sure their children knew that they were not destined to be mortal for forever.

We accept this gift today by being baptized and following the law of repentance. Repentance is a personal process. Yes, we must confess sins, sometimes to the people we have wronged, sometimes to a member of the clergy (or the bishop as we Mormons believe), and sometimes, if we feel it isn't a sin that requires confession to any earthly person, we confess to God through prayer. We ask for forgiveness, and then we have to forgive ourselves. This is a process that can take minutes, days, months, or even years. We are finally forgiven when we forgive ourselves and accept that Christ's sacrifice in Gethsemane and on the cross was for us. We must accept that he shed a drop of blood or two for our sins and move forward. We must forsake that sin and never commit it again.

Sins are funny things. We make choices every day. All that God asks is that when we are tempted, when Satan tries to play on your weaknesses, that we try to make decisions based off of our personal knowledge, that he would be pleased with. That is why repentance is personal. Everyone has a different life and comes from a different background. You can't sin unless you know its wrong. Therefore, its not my place to judge someone who may come from a different background or value system than me. This is why Jesus told us to "judge not unrighteously lest ye be judged". Its a big part of why Mormons don't believe they are superior to anyone else. I know that sometimes other people of my religion put their blinders on and can forget this fact, but I promise, in our articles of faith it clearly states: "We allow all men the privilege to worship the Almighty God according to the dictates of their own conscience. Let them worship how, where, when, and what they may."

I can't judge anyone for believing differently than I do. I don't think I'm better than anyone. All churches have elements of truth because everyone is blessed with the Light of Christ. Everyone has the ability to receive personal revelation for themselves and their lives. We just believe that we happen to have the fullness of the truth, we believe that our church is organized the way Christ wanted his church to be organized. It is organized the way that it was when he was on the earth with apostles, seventies, elders, priests, deacons, bishops, etc. We believe that God, because he loves us, still speaks to us today. Just like he didn't leave Adam and Eve without comfort or aid for the road ahead, he doesn't leave us. He has given us a prophet, a direct link to him and the knowledge that he has of the road ahead. He wouldn't just leave us with the bible and say that is all that we need...he knows that times change, people evolve as we grow in knowledge, the knowledge he gives us needs to evolve as well.

Long story short....I know that I am a child of God, a spirit daughter of a Heavenly Father who like any parent wants me to be happy and fulfill the reasons I was created. He wants me to make good choices so that I can return to His presence and live with Him again someday. He also wants me to have the opportunity to "grow up" and be like Him and my Heavenly Mother. I don't remember her, but I'm sure she is lovely, and I love her and thank her for her sacrifice- its hard for any mother to let her children go and watch them out in the world but she does it, and does it silently, she lets us make mistakes. I believe (and this is the gospel according to Brittany) that she is watching us just as closely as God does.( It only makes sense that she would!) I believe that in those moments of despair when you feel like you can't go on, she is there too, to give us that "mommy hug", help us dry our tears, put us back on our feet and move forward if we are willing to let her. She loves us every bit as much as God does, but she trusts Him and his plan, because she lived with Him through a mortal existence much like ours, and knows that it works. That is why she can be silent and let him be our father and do the "heavy lifting."

I know that I have a purpose in this life. I know that this life is an opportunity for me to grow and become more like my heavenly parents. I know that ultimately I want to make sure the actions in my life reflect a person who wants to live in their presence again. I know that I need to continually seek to do good and to make good choices that will help my future children to make good choices too.

I know that I have a big brother Jesus Christ, Jehovah, who made the ultimate big brother sacrifice, and suffered a punishment that could have been mine, so that I could make mistakes and be forgiven. I know that he loves me, I know that he is there for me and that he makes sure that I am protected every day, as long as my actions show that I am trying to follow the example he set.

I am a Christian. I know that Christ lived. He lived for me, so that I would have an example of what a good life should be, and he died for me so that I wouldn't have to suffer the pains of sin. He rose from the grave, conquering death, so that I would have the ability to live again too, so that I would have the ability to be like him and my Heavenly Parents.

I know, I know, you're reading this and thinking, "This girl is CRAAAAZZZZZZZZZZZYYYYYYY." But am I really? I, like any Christian, have faith. Faith is a belief in things that are hoped for and not seen. You can't see the wind, but you know its there. Faith is like the wind. I can't see immediate proof that the things I believe are true, but I know they are, I feel it. They make sense. I have answers to questions that have dwelled in the hearts of men for centuries, and I have prayed and received confirmation for myself that these answers are THE answers.

I'm not asking any of my friends who are not LDS to change their viewpoints. I wouldn't want to. I feel that everyone should have the privilege to decide for themselves what they want to believe. All I like to do is share my beliefs with them, and allow them to share their beliefs with me. It is in discussing our beliefs that we see just how similar we really are.

All I know is that my faith gives me purpose, my faith tells me where I'm going, its a road map, and I can see that the ending destination can be a beautiful one as long as I'm willing to do the work to make sure I'm taking the right path there.

I love you all. I thank God for all my friends. I thank God that he gave me this opportunity to be alive. We are so blessed. I know life gets hard. I know some people have lives that just downright seem horrible, and when they think things can't get worse, they inevitably do; but I know that when the dust settles, if we are willing to turn to God and ask him for his help, he will provide a way for things to get better. He will set angels in our path, whether they be people who are heeding promptings from the spirit to do good, or actual angels that we are blessed to see, he will help make things better if we try to have faith in him and don't allow ourselves to be swayed by the lies Satan likes to tell us.

I know Satan exists. He doesn't want us to know how to beat him ,that is why he isn't mentioned much in the bible, he made sure that as translations were made, and as religious counsels were held, people would be swayed to with hold the truth. I know that some of my spirit brothers and sisters are with him and that they help him to try to make us as miserable as they are. Don't believe their lies!

You are good enough! You are worth something! God made you, he sent you to earth at the exact time you needed to be here. God does NOT make mistakes, YOU are not a mistake, YOU have a right to the happiness that God has guaranteed all his children if they try to live the way he would like you to. I know that sometimes we aren't sent to the best conditions, parents and families can be disappointing and downright impossible at times; but did you ever stop to think that maybe he sent you there because he knew you were strong enough to rise above it? God never tests us beyond what we can handle with his help....Have you asked him for help? Like any parent, he won't help us until we ask. Ask for his help, count the blessings in your life, even if the only blessing you can think of is that you got to eat dinner tonight, or that you woke up this morning and still somehow have the will to live and get through the day, at least its something. Gradually, as you seek His help and try to live your life in a way that you think reflects the person he wants you to become, you will see things get better. If you are working with His plan and purpose for you in mind, there is no way to go but up!

No answers come easy, and you won't get them all at once. God can only teach us what we will understand at the time. Everything we learn will be line upon line. Knowledge stacks up gradually. You will see that you can rise above anything and everything with Him as your help, and with Jesus Christ's life as your example and guide.

Love everyone, forgive freely and often, and always remember that you are loved more than you can fathom by two Heavenly Parents who want you to be happy and who only want the best for you. Its your job to try to clear the path so they can help you have those things.

Hugs and loves until next time!

In Part 2 we will discuss Joseph Smith and the "Mormon Scriptures"

Thursday, August 19, 2010

The art of being cheap...

Well...I broke down....

This blog will be the last one I type from my old pink Sony Vaio laptop...

The fan is dead, it needs a new AC adapter cord prong installed in the back, and when it goes into power saving mode (AKA runs on the battery) the speakers don't work.

3 1/2 years ago when I bought it, I spent top dollar for it. I was proud of myself for saving the $300 and not getting a Macbook...about a year after I bought it, I was wishing I had bought the Macbook as the fan stopped working, the computer overheated, the screen went black, and I lost 12 pages of my opera history term paper...enter an up all night crazed work and cry fest as I tried to recoup my losses....

since then I think I have evolved...some would say in a good way (atleast I would) but others would say that its the exact opposite... name is Brittany Winberg and I am a cheapskate...

I broke down today and bought a new Gateway laptop...I wanted to buy the $300 Compaq...however, the grimace from the sales guy at Best Buy told me that something was up. He confessed that every one of that particular model that he had sold in the last month came back within 1 or 2 days of purchase...I worked my way up to a $379 Acer laptop...they didn't have any left...I was going to buy the display...the grimace again came and the sales guy told me that in about 6 months I'd be back needing a new fan. Enter the following conversation:

"Look...I don't need bells and whistles, I just want a laptop that is going to run Powerpoint, Wordperfect, and not poop out on me... I need something cheap...what about the Gateway over here?" (The next model up in price $499...on sale...) The sales guy lit up...

"I was hoping you would ask about that one. I would buy a Gateway hands down over any other brand, including the Mac." Sales guy smiled...he was kind of cute...I had to banish this thought from my mind...

Sales guy tried to convince me to buy a year protection plan...

"Doesn't it come with a year warranty?"

"Ummm, let me check....(tip tapping on computer) yes it I guess you don't really need it then?"

"Nope...I'm trying to be cheap here." (Besides, it didn't do me much good last time, my Sony started to poop out on me 2 days after the extended protection plan warranty was over...with my luck it would happen again. Why spend money for bad luck?..that's what I thought...)

He tried to sell me a Geek Squad set up plan for $200... that would mean that THEY would put the software on and take off all the trial software icons, as well as give me the back up discs...I was on to their game...

"Doesn't the Windows 7 come with an automatic reinstall option if your hard drive gets infected?"

Sales guy's face fell...darn it, this girl knows her stuff...that's what he was thinking.

"Well, yeah, but if that gets infected too then you have to have the recovery discs."

When he realized I wasn't buying it he finally told me that I could get the recovery discs later for cheaper, about $20 maybe I was doing the right thing...
After this exchange, he finally believed I could install my own virus protection ($20 for a year subscription) and my own Microsoft Office with powerpoint ($100 with the purchase of a new computer) Grand total for new Gateway laptop $632 and some change....I about cried as I wrote the check...

A panic attack followed...What if I need this money later for something more important? What if I get sick and the crappy ISU insurance doesn't cover the procedures I need?

I firmly grabbed my panicking brain by the shoulders, shook it, and told it to shut up and get a hold of itself...
Think of all the hours you'll save because your crappy pink Sony Vaio at home (that you paid twice as much for) didn't have a chance to overheat and shut down on you while you were typing an all too important paper...the music that you will be able to listen to because your computer doesn't forget that its plugged in, go into power saving mode and shut the speakers down...Think of your surprise recital and the power point presentation that you will do instead of printing program notes, saving yourself at least $100 in printing costs (that power point will pay for itself in a few months!) did the right thing, so stop worrying...

Enter the next chapter of the shopping day...

I'm moving into an apartment. I threw away all of my crappy old college apartment kitchen stuff and bedroom stuff...much of it was ratty and beyond repair...not worth saving...but of course, since I've turned into an old skin flint, the experience of shopping with me for new stuff is probably akin to a root canal. (poor Kiersten, my sweet little sister who accompanied me today to get these things can attest to this...she would type an exclamatory AMEN here if she could!)

We were at the store... I was looking for cups, measuring cups, silverware, name it...I needed it... Of course I was dragging Kiersten all over the store, up and down aisles, from sales display to sales display making sure I had the best deal...She wanted to shoot me...

"'re killing me here! Just pick something up and buy it, seriously, you have the money what is the big deal!?"

I felt bad, really I did...I just couldn't help myself. That $0.50 I save could be the difference between enough gas money to get home later on....(or atleast this is what I in my deepest nether regions of my brain somewhere have decided...)I joked with Kiersten:
"Kiersten, if someone came to me and offered to buy one of my kidneys for the black market for an obscene amount of money, I would a) probably do it because we skin flints like to have money in the bank and I would b) hide the cash under my mattress and never spend it for fear that something will come up and I will need it and I won't have it because I spent it...."
We laugh, she shakes her head in disbelief, and I apologize, pick up what I believe is cheapest and move on.

We go to the next store, its a bit faster here because I have an ad to go off of an know exactly what I want, but I still go back and forth over my knife purchase. I'm something of a gourmet in the kitchen (atleast I would like to think so.) so a good knife is worth its weight in gold. I finally cave and buy the cheap steak knives but one really nice sharp chopping knife for my culinary endeavors, this ends up being much cheaper than buying the knife kit I was considering.

We check out and go back to store #1 to get linens and fabric for the throw pillows I want to make a new case for. Again, poor Kiersten is pulled up and down aisle after aisle as I debate thread count vs. cost and cost vs. thread count over and over again....I finally decide that the cheapest sheets are the wrong color and buy the sheets that are $2 more so that my room can be "me"...I also decide on the animal print fabric I had wanted for my throw pillows which was $2 more a yard than another fabric I'd found but wasn't quite as fond of (I've developed a sudden fondness for animal print...its become a sick obsession, I can't explain it, its new but it has taken over my brain.)

The end of the day, I sit at home balancing my smoking check book...UGH....Let's just say this skin flint isn't spending any more money for a very long time...or at least that is what I would like, but because I'm moving on Saturday I have to buy groceries and I still need a few office supplies...I just didn't want to have to pack it 45 minutes to Pocatello...

So here I sit...feeling buyers remorse (which isn't new for me, I always tend to feel it after I shop, even for the things I need like food...I always worry something will come up that I will need the money for more...)

I realize that perhaps being a cheapskate is probably just a part of my bigger anal attentive need to control everything. I seriously have groceries have to be bagged a certain way, if they aren't I stop as I'm loading them into the car and rebag them the way I like, I have to clean the bathroom in a certain order, I also have to cook food in a certain order....

I'm just a giant ball of nerves crying out to be on VH1's "OCD project". What can I do...I'm sure some people find it endearing, my friends laugh when they grocery shop with me, my mom has gotten used to how I shop for clothes, leaving something behind that I love because I wonder if I will find it cheaper somewhere else... but I worry that its just another thing that holds me back.

However, as I'm typing this, I'm starting to realize that these are some of the little quirks that make me, me.Perhaps I should embrace it.

In the end, I think my cheapskate, skin flint nature will serve me well in the future. I'm not hard to please, just give me what I need and I will be a content and happy little camper...

Embrace your quirks, and learn from the queen of the cheapskates.

That is the lesson for today darlings. Hugs and loves until next time. :)

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

What if????

Every now and again, I find myself wishing I had one of these...not one to tell me the future, (okay maybe sometimes to tell me the future) but to help me figure out what would have happened had life's path not shifted on me just when I thought I had that whole "future" thing figured out.

I've been packing this week. For me, packing is always harder than unpacking. I'm not the type of person that just throws everything into a box and figures it out once I get there. I go through everything I've accumulated, throwing away things, giving things to Goodwill or D.I., and reliving old memories. This takes time and effort.

With this move, I find myself playing that "What if???" game more than I ever have. Maybe its just that for some reason I feel that this move is a real shift in my life. More real than any shift of move I've ever made. Somehow I have this feeling that this move will be the last time I move out of my parents' house. I feel that I'm on the brink of something bigger. It terrifies and excites me all at once. As I dig through old pictures and memories, I find myself wondering what my life would be like if things had played out differently. Of course, I could never really know, but I can always suppose and play "make believe" in my head.

I'm not replaying small little bumps in the road, but the big life changing forks where my path shifted so much that I wasn't sure I could keep going- when the path shifted so much I thought I was lost for a while.

The first big fork- College...namely, my bachelors degree. I had an apartment in Rexburg, I had registered for my classes...I didn't know what I was going to study, but I was going to be a good little Mormon girl and go to BYU-Idaho because...well...that's just what my family did. Everyone for as long as I can remember went to Ricks and BYU-I. But, life happened, I ended up at Idaho State as music major. I find myself wondering what would have happened if I'd gone to BYU-I. Since I didn't know what I was going to study, I wonder if I would have been lost. I wonder if I would have found the happiness that I found in Pocatello, I wonder if my testimony would have grown as much as it did...I can tell you two things I wouldn't have had: Erica and Sheena...while we may have had a moment where our paths diverged and we weren't friends for a moment, these two women have been the best friends I've ever had in my life. I wouldn't have gone to graduate school...or atleast I don't think I would have, because I didn't know what I wanted to do. I literally fell into music and found my passion. Maybe I would have gotten married, maybe I would have found the Mr. Right for that season or time in my life...but I don't think I would have found me, I would have found the me that I was expected to be by the world, and that, my darlings, would have been a true tragedy.

The next "What if???" revolves around the man that I consider to be the love of my life (so far...). I dated him my junior year at ISU. He was a returned missionary, he was in choir with me. We were friends, good friends, for a while. He saw me through heartbreak and finally he confessed that he liked me and had feelings for me. Our first "date"(watching a movie at my apartment) was kind of a disaster. My friend/roommate Sheena was there and wouldn't leave. I remember after he left I felt hopeless. I asked Sheena why he didn't try to hold my hand or put his arm around me (he stayed securely planted at the other end of the couch...believe me, I watched and he didn't move once). By this time, my friend Erica and I had had our paths diverge, she was mad at me about another boy I'd dated previously ( I broke the girl code and dated a guy another friend liked, so sue me....) So Sheena was all I had, she ended up resenting me and my relationship with this boy...but at the time, it seemed like it was worth the risk. I was head over heels. I thought we were going to be together forever. I would cook dinner, he would come over and watch me cook dinner, he would put his arms around my waist and kiss my neck and I would just feel....loved...Then, after about a month of that, a month of having him around every day, a month of him listening to me cry about the loss of my best friend Sheena, a month of him being my rock and my everything...he told me that he wasn't ready for what I was ready was over. I was lost, I was alone. He had become my best friend and he was gone...

My "what if?" in this situation doesn't revolve around "what if" I hadn't taken a chance and let myself fall in love with "what if" revolves around "What if" he had been ready? Where would we be? I don't think I would have graduated from ISU...I don't think I would have gone to graduate school...I don't think I would have figured out who I am, I was still a work in progress at that time, I still wasn't 100% comfortable in my skin. I know he wouldn't be where he is. We are friends again (it took years P.S. for us to be friends again, and even now it seems to get confusing because the feelings are still there). I don't think he would have found his passion. He would have settled for finding a career that ended up as nothing more than a job to him. He wouldn't be the amazing remarkable man that he is I'm grateful that he broke up with me. I'm grateful that he wasn't ready, because if I'm being honest with myself...I wasn't ready either.

My next "What if?"...what if I had married that guy in Missoula. We were practically engaged...we'd been ring shopping, we were talking dates...and then again, after 4 months of doing everything together...after 4 months of me coming to rely upon him and his steady presence...he was gone...he wasn't ready...(seems to be the story of my life). Well...I would have finished my masters, I was only a year away...but I wouldn't have even imagined a doctorate. I would have settled for a 9 to 5 job in Zoo town (happily) and let life come. He wouldn't have married a former friend of mine, who, if I'm being honest with myself again, needed him more than I did. By this time I was sure of myself and who I was. I knew what I wanted out of my life, I knew what I was willing to give up, and I knew what I was willing to settle for. I think they needed eachother more than they could have ever needed me. I needed to have my heart broken. I needed to have that experience of feeling like I was was in feeling like nothing that I realized my strength. It was this experience that taught me about my capacity to love and forgive. I will never regret telling him I loved him. I will never regret the moments we shared, they proved to me that I really was ready for all that I thought I was ready for. Those moments showed me how far I was willing to go and what I was willing to give up to have my dreams. How can anyone regret that?

My next "What if?" What if I'd stayed in Missoula? What if I hadn't left my 9 to 5 as a dental office receptionist? What if I'd stayed with my best friend Kimmie in our cute little apartment? This is one decision that I often wonder about. There really was nothing left for me in Zoo town, besides Kimmie (my rock of Zoo town) and Emery( another What if that I try not to think about too of those situations where you start developing feelings for a good friend, but you don't think its worth risking the friendship to find out...) I think I would still be there, working my 9 to 5, scraping out a living, performing every now and again with the Montana Lyric Opera or the Montana Actors Repertory Theater....I don't think I would be happy...I would be content, but not happy...I might have decided to think about a doctorate, but I wouldn't be thinking or dreaming quite as big as I am now. I wouldn't have gone to Astoria this summer to discover why my passion is my passion because I wouldn't have Ms.Lane...and I would still feel like I'd lost something because my voice changed and shifted and I had all new repertoire to learn...I feel like I've gained something now, I feel like opportunity is knocking because now instead of being in the dime a dozen group, I get to be in the quarter a dozen group...

Bottom line, I am grateful for where my life path has taken me so far. I think about all the "What if?"s in my life so far, and I realize how lucky I am that life's path did diverge, that there was a giant fork in the road, or, in some cases, road blocks. All of these forks and road blocks helped me to discover who I am. I know I still have a lot more to learn, but I think I'm a lot more sure than I was when I was that scared 18 year old girl starting her first week at ISU 9 years ago. I know who I am, and I know I am so blessed.

Isn't it funny how we fight and fight for something, only to realize that all along we'd been given something better than we ever could imagine while we weren't looking? I was talking to my sister today about my move and dating and life and she said, "you know what Brittany, you know who you are and what you want, that can be intimidating for some people, but its such a blessing. Just look at where you are now." For once, I was able to agree with her. am what I am! A crazy diva who sees the world, not just in shades of black and white, but as my older sister once said, in all the shades of the rainbow. I am a hopeless romantic, as much as I try not to be. I believe in love and I have faith in people. I have faith that, when it comes right down to it, everyone tries their hardest and does the best that they can. I know that no one ever means to break your heart. I know that I am being led down a path that will make me happier than I've ever been if I just have faith in it. I know I am being given everything I need thanks to a wonderful Creator who loves me. Because of this, everything will always work out for the best.

Sooo is my theme song! Enjoy it! From La Cage aux Folle....I can say this with no regret...I AM WHAT I AM!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Honesty and the Big Picture

Its time to get real again my loves. I will preface this by saying this is another post for my single sisters out there. (Put your hands up!- okay super corny I know, but I wouldn't want to miss a Beyonce quote moment...would you?)

I've had a lot of time this summer to be really introspective. I've really been taking time to look at my life and discover one blatant truth that I have been avoiding...

My name is Brittany Ann Winberg, and I have stopped being honest with myself.

I don't think it was a change that magically happened overnight, I think it came as I continued my quest in working on acquiring some of that virtue known as patience. My single sisters know what I'm talking about.

I turn 27 this year...and lets just say I am definitely not anywhere near where I thought I would be by this point in my life. I think we all have those moments, even those of you who aren't my single sisters, but sometimes it feels like I'm the only one who struggles with the knowledge that my life isn't what I thought it would be at all...but as I think about my life and wonder about the things I don't have, I have to look at the things that I do have, and I realize how blessed I truly am...but more on that later....

As I was saying, I realized that I am not where I thought I would be, and, I, being who I am, (have I used enough commas in this sentence yet?) think that perhaps my single state is meant to teach me a lesson in patience and trusting God's plan rather than trying to force my plan upon the universe.

So, that is how I've spent the last few years...trying to learn to be patient...someday I'll get it right.

This is where the not being honest with myself part comes into play:

I had the awesome opportunity to go to Oregon and focus a little more on myself. I rarely ever do focus on myself. Most people who know me well know that I'm always on the run trying to help someone in my family or trying to save a friend from the world or themselves. I think (and I'm being honest with myself now) I avoid focusing on me because if I do, I get too introspective and it makes me sad. I have so many dreams and often I feel like they are on hold as I wait to find that one last piece of the puzzle that is lost somewhere. In Oregon, I think I found a few more pieces of the puzzle.

I met some of the most amazing people I've ever met in my life. I made some amazing friends (a shout out to all my opera apprentice peeps- especially you Cecily Reverman!) and I got to work with some of the most amazing opera stars and pedagogues around.

The overwhelming response from the faculty for the apprentice program and the awesome people I met was "What the heck are you doing with yourself? Why are you still here, why aren't you back east making a go of this?"

Of course, with people asking that question every day for a month, I couldn't help but really ask myself that question, and think about it, and this is the part where I realized that I wasn't being honest with myself.

WHAT THE HECK AM I DOING? Why am I holding myself back?

When I first came home, the answer that I used as a cover was that I decided that there was more stability in teaching...this is a true and very practical answer, and I began working on my education credentials....but...I kept my baby toe in the "performance" area by asking to continue voice studies with the teacher at ISU that I knew would help me figure out what my voice was doing...

That was another excuse, I mean, answer to what was holding me voice. I went from singing coloratura to singing I don't know what. My voice seemed to get 6 times bigger overnight and I wasn't sure what I should be singing or how to use my new "big girl" voice. Ms. Lane has been a godsend. She is not just my vocal guru, she has become a second mother and if it weren't for her, I wouldn't have been in Oregon and I wouldn't have been forced to focus on me or answering this question that kept coming up.

Well, I found these excuses, I mean answers, slowly slipping away as I spent more and more time in Oregon.

I found myself thinking, "Well, if I went for my doctorate, I would still be able to teach (at the collegiate level) but I would be able to focus more on the performance aspect if I felt that it was what I truly was meant to do and wanted with my life."

This thought terrified me, but the more it terrified me, the more feasible it seemed.

As this thought began to grow in my mind, I began to grow more scared. Of course, I prayed about it. As a member of the LDS church, I fully believe in a personal relationship with God. I know he answers my prayers and that I can receive personal revelation for big steps in my life if I go to him earnestly seeking his opinion on the decisions I am about to make.

Well, the answer to my prayer terrified me even more..."DO it!" HOLY CRAP!...that was my thought... NO I CAN'T! That was my next thought...then came the still small voice, the holy ghost, and the overwhelming message of "Be still, and know that I am God."

I came home with a lot to think about, to say the least, but I knew that I needed to do it. I needed to find out what I needed to do to pursue my doctorate and that oh so crazy dream of singing with an opera company someday.

But first, I needed to think...I needed to figure out why I was so scared.

I mean, I'm a confident person usually. I know that I have the smarts for a doctorate, I know that I have the drive and determination to scrape out a living for myself anywhere I go...I know I'm spunky and sassy and outgoing and that I never have problems making why? Why couldn't I get past this fear?

I realized that patience was the patience was holding me back. The more I thought, the more I uncovered the real answers to the question "What the heck are you doing here?"

I decided to move home last summer because I was worried about my mom, I was worried about my family, and to be honest, the education credentials were a way to pass time and be practical. A practical way to stay close to family...a good answer, an honest answer...

The funny thing about self honesty....the minute you start being honest with yourself, you can't stop.

The real answer was deeper than this.

My family was another excuse. I was lonely. My subconscious decided that Idaho Falls, a Mormon Mecca...would be the perfect place to find mister right and get what I really want out of life: husband, family and fulfillment. Why would I need to be in a Mormon Mecca for this to happen? The answer is in the numbers in the dating pool. As a devout member of my religion I feel very strongly about marrying someone who is a) also Mormon and b) can marry me in the temple. Temple marriage is very important because we believe that there, under proper priesthood authority, marriage doesn't last just until death do you part, it lasts for eternity. If you keep your covenants, your spouse and your children will be able to live with you in the next life.

I always joked that there were like six Mormons in Montana. Which isn't far from the truth, there just aren't many people to date up there, or atleast people close to my age...It was a very frustrating place to live, especially after a failed almost engagement (we went ring shopping and were talking wedding dates when he all of a sudden decided he wasn't ready for what I was ready for- there was never a ring on my finger, but the hope was definitely there), it just seemed like I would never find mister right if I didn't surround myself with people who believed what I believed.

I know now that in the back of my mind I felt that if I moved closer to my Mecca and was patient the Lord wouldn't be able to help but give me what I wanted...

So...why was I scared about this new revelation? I was scared because I was scared that it would take me further away from what I want. I was scared that if I moved on and moved forward with another plan, tried to focus on another dream, that I wouldn't be where I needed to be to get what I feel like I'm ready for in my life...

My quest for patience, my waiting for the Lord to magically decide to give in and give me what I wanted, was holding me back from doing what He wanted me to do, from following the path that He really wanted me to follow...

This realization killed me. I thought I had more faith than that! Its always sad when you realize that you are fighting the Lord and he is dragging you kicking and screaming from blessing to blessing. The funny thing is, no matter how much you fight, God always gets his way. If he has a purpose for you (and He does) he will always make sure that you stumble into the right path. I definitely have grown more sure of this fact in the last little bit.

So, I have decided to give up the fight. I am working on trusting the plan, His plan. Besides, He is God. He knows everything, He loves us, we are his children. He loves me, I am his daughter. He wants the best for me and for you. His plan has to be better than anything I could ever dream up.

Does this stop me from wishing I had my way? Does this stop me from wondering every now and again what might have happened had I made a different decision here or there along the path of my life? Absolutely not.


This does help me to realize that things would be a whole lot easier if I would just be honest with myself:

Hello, my name is Brittany Winberg, and I am a control freak. I try to control situations I have no control over (like whether or not a man decides to fall madly in love with me) by sticking a band aid of patience over it and hoping that God will eventually take pity on me. Granted, this isn't always a bad thing, but when it holds me back from being who I need to be, who I should want to be, it then becomes a problem.

but I'm more than a control freak.

I'm a hopeless romantic. I live vicariously through friends and shows like the Bachelorette. It breaks my heart when I hear that people just throw their marriages away because of arguments about money, or because they are afraid to tell the person they love how they really feel.

I want to always be honest with the people I love and care about, friends and family alike. I want to love without fear of losing anything. I look back and I realize that I have never regretted loving someone. Isn't it funny how God puts people in our path, people that need us as much as we need them. Yes, it sucks to have your heart broken, but that heartbreak is another way to learn something important. All I can do is pray that I have left people better than I found them.

My life is pretty awesome. I have amazing talents that I have been blessed to develop. I have met some pretty amazing people because of those talents. I also have the most amazing family on the planet. They love me so much, and while they may not understand my insanity at times, they always get me. (I know that kind of makes no sense to you, but it does to me.) I have been blessed with the most awesome parents on the planet who always care for and look out for my well-being. I had the amazing blessing of having a wonderful biological father for 12 years of my life who always encouraged me to chase my dreams and taught me that if you really want something, you have to be actively working towards it. I know that he is in heaven, or as we Mormons like to say "on the other side" and that he is always watching out for me. There have been so many moments in the last 15 years that I have felt him standing next to me or heard him tell me that everything is going to be okay. I am a lucky lucky girl. I have a dad here on earth (my step father) and two dads in heaven, God and him.

I also have the best friends on the entire planet. I have been able to meet some of the most awesome people on the planet, and I know that there are still plenty more people out there who need a little spark of Brittany in their lives. My friends are as devoted to me as I am to them. They laugh with me, they cry with me, they see me through scary situations, and they still love me even when I do stupid things, and they remind me that its okay to be human. They help me to see the perfection in my imperfections so that I can grow and become better. They show me every day what unconditional love truly is.

So, bottom line...I am going to start being honest with myself. I am going to live my life being 100% me. I am going to chase my dreams and focus on allowing myself to find fulfillment in ways that I can control. I am going to use those early lessons of hard work and determination to make my dreams a reality. I am going to have faith that there is a reason for me to have the talents I have, there is a reason that I am how I am: a crazy, hopeless romantic, with a freakish desire to save and fix people who are hurting- who just happens to sing fairly well (or so I'm told...LOL). There is a reason! There has to be!

Maybe someday God will give me what I want, and maybe I won't get it until the next life...but there is one eternal truth that I have gained a huge testimony of this summer-he always gives me what I need. I have to have faith in that. Who am I to argue with the big man? I am going to have faith in His plan and have fun on the way.

Hugs and loves until next time darlings!