Sunday, September 30, 2012

Lesson #3

This post is a continuation of my previous post. I said I would post again if I had any new insights about life post graduation, zero career and pre-kids. Well I have learned something!

Lesson # 3: Hard work.

Anyone who knows me will know that I like to have a balance in my life. While some people have to resist the temptation to work too hard, I...well, let's just say that's not a temptation for me. And this trait is not a reflection on my parents. My parents taught us girls to work hard. And my other two sisters each have a different personality than me in this area. At any rate, I did not inherit a workaholic jean.

At this phase in my life where I am graduated from college I think I may have also started to feel entitled to having a really cool job. But I haven't found "the dream job." In fact, I don't even know what my dream job is (other than being a mom). But what I realized this week, is that it's not about what job you have. Work is a principle of the gospel. I always need to be working, whether at home doing house work, volunteering in the community, or doing what I call my "high stress, low rewards job" - substitute teaching.

The church leaders certainly teach this principle. I found this page when looking up some statements about work. Elder Neal A. Maxwell said that "work is always a spiritual necessity even if, for some, work is not an economic necessity." It doesn't matter how much I am getting paid or if I am in the field of my degree, I need to work hard.

Jeffrey A. Thompson shared a powerful lesson in his BYU devotional, What is Your Calling in Life?

Allow me to share a simple experience from my mission. As I as nearing my release date, I anticipated a sense of loss when I could no longer give all my time to serving God. At a zone conference, my mission president opened the floor for Q&A on any topic. I raised my hand and asked, “After our missions are over and we are no longer full-time servants of God, how can we keep a sense of purpose?” Before the mission president could answer, his wife leapt to her feet and, literally elbowing him aside, said, “I’ll take this one.”

I will never forget her response. As near as I can recall, she said, “When I do the laundry, I am building the kingdom of God. When I scrub the floors, I am serving the Lord. When I tidy the clutter, I’m an instrument in His hands. I do a lot of mundane jobs, but if my eye is single to God and I’m trying to serve my family, then I feel as much purpose in my work as a missionary can.” Those words remind me of what King Benjamin said about laboring in the fields to support himself—a decidedly unkingly occupation. He said, “I do not desire to boast, for I have only been in the service of God” (Mosiah 2:16).e

I have found that the devil tempts me to think I would really be happier if I didn't have to work. But that is not true! In fact, I believe I will never truly find happiness if I avoid work. No amount of leisurely walks or good books will make me feel fulfilled. Work brings joy.

Realizing this turned my week around. I took more subbing jobs and did more work around the house. Even when I was tired Thursday night from managing a rowdy bunch of 2nd graders all day, I set goals for the evening instead of just plopping down on the couch to get sucked into facebook for an unpredictable amount of time. I was in control! On Saturday Jeff and I went to the temple to do sealing ordinances for the dead. Then we worked around the house. It felt great to clean! Having a clean home invites the Spirit. Being organized is empowering. We still had time to be together and Jeff was able to go to campus while I went to the Relief Society broadcast.

I may have to learn this a few more times, but realizing this really helped me change my outlook on my life right now and I am grateful!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012


I don't know if it's just that this moist, cloudy fall weather makes me nostalgic but today I just feel so glad to be alive! As I go on a morning walk in the residential grid that is South of Campus I enjoy looking at the old fashioned houses with columns and front porches. Some of them are restored and painted in cute modern colors, others remain in a condition that reflects their age. As I walk by the houses I see evidences of the people who live there. Lots of gardens, lots of American flags, and lots of strollers and little bikes. Some houses are quirkier than others. One has yellow and purple trim and a yard full of glass toadstools and other nic-nacs. There is a bench in the street-side garden and enough bird feeders to attract the many fowl that are singing in the trees above.

Lately, after accomplishing two major life goals - graduating from BYU and marrying in the temple - I have felt some of the "blah-dom" so well described recently in a friend's profound blog post. She described things she was learning while waiting for the next big adventure in life. I am learning too. The biggest things I am focused on are the following:

1. Having true charity - really feeling that concern for other people and finding ways to serve. This way you don't get caught up in your own "problems" and forget about the world around you.
2. Being grateful - I am really so blessed. SO blessed. I mean to have the wonderful husband I have. To have the restored gospel and the ordinances of the temple and a living prophet. And then the fact that we such a nice little house. We have EVERYTHING we need. Not to mention a warm house with a hot shower and clean clothes to put on. How many people in the world can say that?

This phase of life brings unique opportunity to search for the real purpose of life. I have no over-arching identity such as 'student'. What is my purpose? I am a wife. I am a daughter and sister. I am a child of God. What am I responsible for? I am  responsible to keep my covenants. So I am trying to figure out the best way to do that in this charmed but uneventful phase of life...Uneventful for me anyway, my husband is still fully entrenched in the student world. The constant stress of always having more you could be doing. Always feeling that if you had more time you could do better. Whew! I'm glad that's over.

Meanwhile I will enjoy going on walks, cleaning and cooking, being a homemaker in general, substitute teaching for minimal money, reading my book and getting together with friends. I'll post again if I have any major inspiration for how to approach life post-graduation, zero career, and pre-kids.