Sunday, August 20, 2017
I found Matthew West's music back in 2008 and it's been all uphill from there. His music is very uplifting and the first album I found called "Something To Say" changed my life. It's Sunday, so I thought I'd share some of my favorite songs from him. Enjoy!
Posted by Elysha at 1:16 PM
Thursday, August 17, 2017
I’ve been thinking a lot about steps recently. When learning new things we have to follow certain rules or steps. If you want to enter a building sometimes you have to walk up a flight of stairs. You have to step back or down to get off of a ledge. If you’re not taking steps you’re not moving. Here is one of my favorite videos about not being able to move due to a broken escalator. I’m not sure where I saw it, but it’s always stayed with me. It’s such a brilliant concept.
I recently was thinking about this video. These people were so preoccupied with their way of thinking; they didn’t realize they could just walk the rest of the way and keep moving forward with their lives. If they’d just taken one step, and then another, they’d get where they were going. Instead they froze and weren’t able to move, hoping someone would come find them and help them. Their plight was a lot more visible than many of the things that keep us frozen and afraid to move.
The last few weeks I've been thinking and working on somethings in my personal life. I couldn’t figure out how to get past certain things. I felt a little stuck and afraid. I felt like I’d never be able to be the person I wanted to be. I’d never be able to rid myself of certain fears and ideas. I couldn’t find an answer.
Then, this past week a song started running through my head. I’d heard it but never really listened to the lyrics. I looked them up and it’s a song by Casting Crowns called “One Step Away.”
There are a few lines in the middle that have caused me to seriously consider some things. They say, “You’re one step away from surrender, you’re one step away from coming home, coming home. One step from arms wide open, His love has never let you go, you’re not alone. You’re one step away.”
Isn’t that beautiful! We are just one step away from becoming the person we want to be! It’s one step. Sometimes just the desire to want to be better is enough of a step to start to change.
Have you ever thought you might drown? I have! I wrote about it in this blog Walk on the Water. Recently Elder Nelson shared this thought, and it’s one of my absolute favorites, “When you reach up for the Lord’s power in your life with the same intensity that a drowning person has when grasping and gasping for air, power from Jesus Christ will be yours. When the Savior knows you truly want to reach up to Him—when He can feel that the greatest desire of your heart is to draw His power into your life—you will be led by the Holy Ghost to know exactly what you should do.”
We need to gasp, and grasp onto those things that make us better. All it takes is one thought, one plan, one act, one step. As I continued to focus on these steps, the things I needed to do to become a better me, I realized that some of my favorite songs all have to do with taking steps. They all have to do with decisions. They all have to do with making a choice. Who knew that steps could mean so much?
I had a friend send me a TED talk a few weeks ago. He didn’t know that I’d been struggling with this concept of removing fear from certain aspects of my life. I watched it yesterday and it was all about taking certain steps to define your fears instead of your goals. If we focus in on our fears, we can realize why we have them, recognize they are real fears, and find ways to overcome them.
I’ve had many experiences this year that have led me to know that the Lord is very aware of my wants and needs. I’ve tried very hard to overcome the things that hold me back, and every time I reach out, he has given me an opportunity to choose to take a calculated risk and change, or decide I’m not ready and take more time to work on things.
One of those fears was traveling. Until this year I’d never been on a friend road trip. Why? Because I was terrified of the 1,000,000,000 things that could go wrong! I was worried about not being in control of every situation and everyone that I was traveling with. I’d never seen it as an issue, because I’d never really had the opportunity to go anywhere. So I told the Lord that I wanted to learn to give up my racing mind, and exchange it for peace and calm and just enjoying the moment instead of over analyzing. It was a big deal for me. Now, typing this up, it seems such a small and almost stupid fear, but at the time it felt like a crushing crippling thing.
No one else knew about this small change I wanted to make. I decided it was time for me to take a trip or a weekend away, but I had no idea how to go about making that happen. A day or two after thinking about this, and deciding this is what I should do, I got a random text from a girl I’d met a handful of times. She and her friends were going out of state to go to a pageant and wanted to know if I wanted to come. She texted me on a Thursday and they were leaving the next day. I wanted so badly to say yes, but I was also terrified. Someone pointed out that I’d been wanting to go on a trip, and that I should go. An hour later I texted her back saying I wanted to go; I spent the next few hours convincing myself not to cancel on her.
I went on the trip. I had a great time. I learned so many things about myself, and I made some really great new friends. I ran into a friend that had recently moved out of state that I hadn’t seen in 3 years on this trip. I had a 2 hour long conversation at midnight about certain personal things with that driver that she said she felt she needed to hear. I have no doubt that the Lord put all of these things in my path and all I had to do was make one decision. The housing, the venue, the car was all taken care of. I just had to help with gas and food.
I got home and was so proud of this accomplishment that took place over a weekend. I felt so free like I’d conquered this thing that had been holding me back. The next Wednesday I got a text from a different friend telling me that she had an extra ticket to a John Mayer concert out of state and it was mine if I wanted it. This was incredible! 2 opportunities in 2 weeks! I had just gotten home and wasn’t sure if I was ready to adventure out again, but I decided to go. Another weekend road trip out of state. Guess what? I survived and I even had fun doing it!
This is just one example of the many opportunities that are waiting for you and me to take advantage of if we are willing to take a leap of faith and a step in a new direction.
Once you learn how to put one foot in front of the other it gets easier to go faster. In time you’ll find that walking (or traveling) wasn’t as hard or difficult as you once thought it was, and soon you’ll be running toward the next change you wish to see.
Posted by Elysha at 12:27 AM
Thursday, June 1, 2017
Yesterday someone asked me a very perplexing question, and I’ve spent the last 2 days trying to come up with an honest and acceptable answer. I’m embarrassed that this question stumped me as hard as it did. I don’t think it was the question per say, I think I just wasn’t prepared for it.
While visiting another office at work my friend/co-worker asked, “What has brought you joy this week?”
If she had asked me if I was happy, I would have said yes. If she had asked me what my plans were for the day, I would have told her. If she’d asked me my favorite ice cream flavor, I definitely would have had an answer for her. This question however, left me and my mind totally blank.
What has brought me joy this week?
……..............……..*chirp* ………......……*chirp*…………….............. *Ribbit*
Everyone that had kind of been listening didn’t look at me and pretended that they hadn’t just been in a conversation with us. I had no answer. I thought of a lot of things that made me happy, or as I quickly found out , used to make me happy, but I feel like joy is on a higher level.
I was in panic mode and the longer I stood there the stupider I felt. This is such an easy question, say something! Say anything! Finally I said something about nieces and nephews as we stood there staring at each other. I don’t think she expected that answer either. We had a brief conversation and then someone else from the department walked over with a question for her.
I kind of felt relieved and walked out.
How did that happen? She had asked a very simple question and that wasn't the problem, I was. I don’t remember the last time I didn’t have a good answer let alone no answer for someone.
The rest of the day I thought about what joy means and what brings me joy. As soon as I got back to my office I could think of plenty of things that make me happy. I realized that I’ve gotten out of touch with some of the things. I realized that when I’m truly happy and doing the things I need to do, I naturally am drawn to some of those things.
A few weeks ago I had a conversation with a friend and it was a really deep discussion about my fears. I have many of them by the way. A lot of people are addicted to Facebook or Instagram or Snapchat. I’m not addicted to any of those things, but I am a recovering addict of checking the news.
That’s right, I can’t stop hitting the refresh button on the news. I constantly want to know what’s going on, and I want to know before anyone has to break the bad news of what has happened to me. I will check my favorite news sites easily 40-50 times a day. I check it in the morning, through-out the day, and multiple times at night, and right before I go to bed. I talk a little bit about this in this blog Policing the Happy News.
After talking to my friend she told me that I was seeing all of these non-uplifting stories, and that I needed to replace it with something more uplifting. I’ve worked the last two weeks to either not watch the news, or only check it 3-5 times a day vs 40-50 times a day.
So, I decided what doesn’t bring me joy, and tried to remove it from my life, while simultaneously filling my life with things that make me happy. It seems like once I finally set my mind to be happy, something devastating happens. There is a house fire that my friend is involved in, or people I know die, or a failed adoption happens for my friends that have been waiting for months for the paperwork to go through.
So I’ve decided to focus on the things I can control, and try really hard to stop worrying about the rest of it. Life happens. One way I find joy is by writing. Most of the things I’ve written will never make it out of my notebooks, but today while looking for a blank page to fill I found this poem that I wrote last year. I don’t even remember writing it, but I’m glad I did. It kind of sums up a lot of my thoughts right now and I wanted to share it.
Concave, be brave
Tough choice, find voice
At times I’m blazing
This world is amazing
The people here in it are good.
But sometimes I question
Our constant direction
And if I shouldn’t or should.
Of course there’s discretion
In every suggestion
And if we will end up alive.
But the moment you loose
All the fear and abuse
Is the moment you start to arrive.
So let me repeat the question:
Posted by Elysha at 10:28 PM
Tuesday, May 16, 2017
I love food, but I like free food even more! Want to know the secret to getting free food? Having an opinion! Also punch cards. Many companies have surveys on their receipts. I do this all the time at Café Rio. I’ve saved up so many receipts that I basically get a free dessert every time I go. They also have a pretty great rewards program. They will also sometimes send out surprise deals like free meals, buy one get one free deals, or will give you cash/credits on your birthday.
Other places like Panda Express will give you an extra side for free if you take a 3 minutes survey. Some places will give you a free meal if you purchase 7-10 meals. These work well at places like Rumbi. They often will send emails or send coupons in the mail for BOGO meals. Many times they'll give you a punch for the meal you pay for and the meal you get free. Sometimes if you sign up for email lists or text deals you will get cheap or free food. After you get the deal you can remove your name from the list if you don’t want to participate anymore.
Earlier this week I went to eat at Noodles n Company. I’ve eaten there quite a bit in the last few years. It’s became a favorite place to go eat with friends. I used to eat there once or twice every other month. They send out a lot of BOGO deals, however In the last 6 months they’ve started changing the menu.
They got rid of most of my favorite items and have started adding new different items. I’ve tried a few of them and really haven’t ended up liking any of them. The salad I tried this week was really disappointing. The last few times I’ve gone I’ve ended up trying new dishes and leaving most of my food on the table because the food is dripping in sauce and really unappetizing.
I have never written into a company to complain or say I’m unhappy because usually I’m happy with what I order. Because of all of the menu changes and my last few experiences I decided to write into the company.
They responded to my email within 24 hours. They were great to talk to! They asked me what location I usually eat at and I sent them a picture of the last item I ended up leaving at the table. I told them all of the things I liked about their restaurant and why I’ve started eating at other locations due to all of their changes.
After a few emails back and forth they ended up sending me a $20 gift card. I thought that was generous of them, and if I use that with a buy one get one free deal that is 4 meals for free.
I've always enjoyed their pesto noodles and their tomato bisque soup.
I wrote another post about places that you can get free meals from a few years ago. Click here to check it out - Birthday Parties!
Posted by Elysha at 6:30 PM