Friday, February 27, 2009

Life is like a Diet

It is truly amazing to me, as I continue to change my eating habits to fit one of a healthy lifestyle, how similar a "diet" relates to life! I have been doing so well at eating better and getting regular exercise and people say it's starting to show (plus I feel better). By eating a healthy diet I exercise willpower, stay focused on my goals, and build confidence in myself. So me and the people around me see positive changes. Just like in life! When we are exercising our willpower to do the things we need to do instead of want to do, achieving the goals we set for ourselves, and choosing to do what's right over what's easy we start to feel a greater confidence in ourselves and other people start to feel that way towards us too! I really feel like if I start to lose control of my diet I start to lose control of my life. And visa versa. Sad, huh?

Take today for example. I had all my food planned out as usual and had packed it all the bring with me to work. It wasn't much but I was going to fill my growling belly with water and chew gum (gum is quickly becoming my new best weight-loss friend). I was doing pretty well. About mid-day some joker brings in raspberry and blueberry sweet rolls and all the skinny chicks with the metabolisms like burning fiery furnaces from hell are in the back room enjoying themselves (love you guys!) without any risk of consequences. I told myself "No, Carrie, you do not need to have one. You can be strong. Now chew your gum....HURRY STICK A PIECE IN YOUR MOUTH NOW!!!" Instead of stuffing my face with soft delicious smorsels of sweet dough smothered in raspberry and vanilla frosting I got to choke down some chicken and veggies! Just kidding! Well about the choking down part, anyway. I did in fact choose to eat my lunch instead of the sweet roll. And I actually make a delicious teriyaki chicken stirfry (I even got to add some margarine because, according to my calculations my fat intake "was" a little low today). Well, the skinny people did not eat all the rolls on account of their stomachs being the size of a walnut, so everytime I went into the back room the sweet rolls continued to taunt me. At one point my brain even shut off and I was about to mindlessly cut one and "just eat half"......BUT I RESISTED! Yay me. "For now!" warns the rolls in a deep devilish voice. WHERE IS MY GUM?!?!?! About an hour before my shift was to end I was feeling munchy again. I swear my body was screaming for carbs today. SO....I ate a little package of graham crackers. Harmless, really, in comparison to a sweet roll! More water, okay everything is good. But those graham crackers taste so good sometimes and this was one of those times so I had another small package. "It's okay! I'm going to the gym tonight. I'll burn it off!" Surprise! Your cousin got married today and your family is coming to town to attend the reception and you must attend also! I knew there would be cake there, but I was strong, right? I had resisted a sweet roll for heaven's sake! So I logged the stupid graham crackers into my handy dandy nutrition tracker and proceded to prepare tonight's preplanned meal. It was delicious, by the way, and I really believed I would not eat anything at the reception. Two chocolate covered strawberries, two mini chocolate covered rice crispie treats, a handful of pineapple, a piece of cake, and a chicken salad croissant-wich later my best intentions were straight down the pooper. Oh! make that two pieces of cake and two chicken salad croissant-wiches later; I was feelin' fine and fancy free so bring on the seconds!!!! So much for the "estimated" low fat intake!

So I was feeling pretty bad after I left. I knew I wasn't going to make it to the gym tonight. And there is NO WAY I'm logging all that crap onto my food log. Well, okay I might. But I was really feeling like my body needed something and that's why it was craving things. I tried to stay strong, not just because it would be the right thing to do, but also because I am planning on eating at Cheesecake Factory tomorrow. :( like that's going to be good for my weight loss goals.

But do not despair fair readers! The EXTRAORDINARY thing about life, and diets I guess, is that every day is a new day. If we fall off the wagon one day we can jump right back on the next. But, if you are like me, you have to realize that mistakes are going to happen, forgive yourself, and remain confident that you will get back on track the next day! Life throws us many challenges and "tests" at times and many times it is not so much as whether we pass the test or not but what we do after our fall. I certainly don't want to be the kind of person who quits trying! So in the words of someone much wiser than me: "Failure is the opportunity to begin again, more intelligently." -Henry Ford

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Did You See the Sky Today?

It didn't exactly look like this, but close ( and please disregard the "proofing" mark in the center). I loved it. I went to the Lake-Utah Lake State Park- and spent some time sky gazing. It was amazing. And quiet. Normally I don't like it quiet, but today it was so peaceful and relaxing. I could hear the lake melting. Seriously. Awesome. I had to leave cause I had to meet my trainer at 5:00. After that was done I needed to do some more cardio. The sky was still beautiful and I thought it a shame to have my back to all the splendor so I moved the stair machine so I could look outside. It was wonderful. And it got me thinking.....

Today was somewhat of a struggle for me. There are just things I struggle with repeatedly that I don't know why! And it is totally holding me back! I don't know how to fix it, I don't know things that I used to know, I don't know what's going to happen, I don't know....ANYTHING! (I know you're probably lost right now, just bear with me while I vent). I just feel really alone on this journey I'm on. The people who are supposed to be there for me don't seem to be there or say the things I need to hear. They don't have the answers I'm looking for. So I've been praying a lot and trying to be open to the spirit. I think that's why the quiet and the sky was so good today. When I am at the lake and there are beautiful clouds in the sky I can feel my Heavenly Father close; it's almost like an embrace. Since I sometimes question my standing with Him, and especially today, I looked at the sky and I felt good; I felt hope and peace. But then I thought, "that's not for you. That's for someone else, but there's only one sky so you just happen to see it too." And then the epiphany...Heavenly Father loves EVERYONE and it is not coincidence that everyone can see the beauty of the the earth and sky as evidence! There are so many people in this world with weaknesses, trials, heartache, sins, and other problems, but Heavenly Father loves us regardless and He is always showing us signs that He is there for us waiting to come to Him. We just have to look for them and BELIEVE them.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

The Afterlife...

The other day I was driving down the road and, as they often are, my thoughts were wandering and I began thinking about the life we'll live after we leave this one. Looking back, I wish I could remember what got me thinking about it. It is so interesting to trace my thought processes sometimes. For instance, the other day I was thinking about singing, then how singers don't sing "old" anymore like the classic vocalists like Judy Garland, then I thought of the girl that sang in "Elf" and then I played "Elf" in my head the whole time I was doing my hair and make-up! I don't even really like that movie! Anywho, my thoughts on our afterlife....
When I was younger and would think about my life in heaven, it always began like something of a joke. You know, where you die and then you're at the "pearly gates" with St. Peter waiting behind a podium to give you a pop quiz and if you pass you get to go through. Well, that's not necessarily what I believe, but that's how I saw it beginning. As I've gotten older and learned more about the restored gospel of Jesus Christ on earth I have learned that "He employs no servant there" and that it will indeed be our Savior that greets us at the other side. And we don't just hang out, catch up with our previously deceased relatives, travel the world as a spirit, or learn to play the harp. Life does indeed go on. Often times I have not fully realized that it isn't even our final judgement! (I am leaving out certain parts of this doctrine, of course) Depending on when we die we may have to wait for a short time until Christ returns again to the earth to regain our physical bodies, and if we happen to live and die during the Millenium, we shall be "changed in the twinkling of eye," but either way we will inhabit our perfected physical bodies during the Millenia.

Do you ever think about what you will do when you get to Heaven? Brad Paisley's going to fly around, run his fingers through a lion's mane, and taste the milky way ;) I've thought about those things too, okay just the flying part cause I don't particularly like animals and I have never believed you could taste the milky way (come on Brad!). I'm sure some people look forward to seeing their deceased loved ones. That would be nice. But what I'm really looking forward to is having a little sit down with God and asking him a whole bunch of unanswered questions! Like: where did my favorite mocha lipgloss disappear to (along with socks and papers and other things I've lost), why I didn't get to marry the person I was convinced I was supposed to marry, why was I put on a road that caused me to make the mistakes I made, and why did He trust me enough to let me make them? I'm sure there will be many more questions as the years come, but I look forward to having that personal priesthood interview and celebrating the triumphs, crying at the remembrance of the heartaches, and discussing all the things about my life I still won't understand. Yes, it's that important to me. Sometimes I think to myself "I'll have to ask Heavenly Father about that when I get to the other side." I should start a list. So, back to my imaginations of my life-after-death....after I arrive and am ushered into Heaven (by the Savior), whisked through a cheering group of dead relatives and a few forgotten friends from my pre-existence [Oh, Hey! Eliza! I remember you! Great job on surving your pioneer trek! I was cheering for you the whole time! We've gotta catch up!], and then have my PPI with Heavenly Father I've never really thought about what would happen. I mean to me personally. I know the doctrine, but I've never applied it to myself. I guess I figured I'd spend some time in some kind of "Heaven School" cause Lord knows I have a LOT to learn in order to become the Goddess I am destined to be! But this is where my thought the other day has shed some new light on the matter.....

We are told all the time that this life is the time to prepare to meet God. This is the time in which we learn things that help us to become like Him. This is the time we must repent and cleanse ourselves from the sins of the world and "put off the natural man" so that we can be clean, even spotless, before God so that we can dwell in His presence. This life is the opportunity we've been given to prove ourselves worthy for the reward of gaining exaltation! Be good+repent=gain exaltation. But then what? What does that mean? Am I only here on earth to learn how hard it is to be human and prove that I can overcome the flesh just to sit around in Heaven enjoying my reward in luxury and ease?

I began thinking about what we work for in life; what our purpose day to day is. For most of us it's a hearty portion of go to work (or get an education to be able to work) to earn money to buy stuff to support a family and enjoy a little slice of life on the side. Since we are religious people we throw a little of that in there cause we hear it's important. It appeared to me that the bulk of our life is spent working to earn THINGS that are necessary to support life and, if we're lucky, to enjoy it. We really get excited when we can travel and go on a vacation; then we're really livin' the dream. No work, no responsibilities, pure enjoyment. Then I thought "What are we going to work for in Heaven? Isn't Heaven going to be a little bit like a vacation?" Then I realized, we will be working for SOULS. We will be working for OTHER PEOPLE. On earth we work for ourselves and our family, for STUFF. Some work to see their numbers grow, their house expand, their car get newer, a new place to explore. What are those people going to think about Heaven? Sometimes I drive around one of the nice neighborhoods near my house and I dream of the kind of home I would like. Yes, I would like a nice house. Yes, I want a nice car. Yes, I would like to have plenty of money in the bank. Yes, I want to be able to provide my children with nice things they need. But none of this stuff is the real measure of who we are! That is why I am so grateful to have the knowledge of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Not only does it teach me what I need to do to get the Heaven, and how to repent when I don't do those things, it PREPARES me to LIVE in Heaven! So much of what we do in within the church is service for others. The really really important stuff being temple work. First we do our work, then every other time we attend the temple it is so someone else can have what we have. Truly the work and the glory of God is to bring to pass the immortality of man and that is what He is trying to teach us also. During the Millenia, life will go on. But I doubt it will include going to work and then doing some geneology in our spare time. No, all of our time will be spent trying to make it so that EVERY PERSON who has ever lived will have the chance to return to live with our Father in Heaven for all eternity.

So to summarize the point of my wandering thoughts: If I don't enjoy missionary work, and temple work, and sharing my testimony and rejoice in the salvation of others now, then I probably won't enjoy Heaven very much. Luckily I do enjoy these things and I am so hoping that I make it so that I am able to be a part of such a wonderful time! Not only will we be free from Satan's power, enjoy the beauty of a perfected earth, and raise our children in a worry free environment, but we will be able to help others do the same.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Starting the year off right

So I erased all my previous posts to start over. And I wanted to start my blogging off my documenting something fun. So here I am a month and a half later. But there are a lot of things I want to post about so I gotta get caught up. So!.....
The day after New Year's I headed down to St. George to meet my good friend Andra for a little fun in the sun in Vegas. Well, that's what I thought. Apparently, unbeknownst to nieve Carrie, Vegas is cold in the winter also. Bummer. But they had better shopping and FOOD than anywhere around here, aka H&M and Cheesecake Factory. Yes, I know there is a Cheesecake Factory at Southtowne or whatever, but it's easier to get in when you're in Vegas. We stayed in the most WICKED hotel room I have ever been in in my LIFE!!!! I didn't know matresses like that existed in hotels! I am kind of sad we were out so late cause we didn't get to spend as much time sleeping in that bed! Yes, Andra and I shared the bed. And even though she thought I was her boyfriend for a quick second we quickly regrouped and stuck to our separate sides of the king size bed. I do feel such a closer bond to her now ;)

Here is a picture of our wonderfully luxurious hotel room. I look forward to staying there again (wink, wink). There was also a GINORMOUS jetted bathtub that I HAD to take advantage of before we left. It probably took 20 minutes to fill and I only got to take a 10 minute bath. Still, SO worth it. I am hooked on nice hotel rooms now. I don't think it's very practical to have a huge jetted tub in a home bath so I'll have to enjoy them on vay-cays. That's what makes it more fun right? There was something about being in Vegas that made me feel beautiful and important and very cosmo. Don't know why, but it was fun!

We walked around Cesar's palace since that's where we were headed for Cheesecake Factory. They seriously have the best food EVER. I always have to get the Navajo Sandwich and Andra introduced me to Vanilla Bean Cheesecake. SOOOO good. Of course.

We got some fun pictures taken. The woman that took this seemed a little confused...which I don't really understand cuz everybody has at least had some kind of exposure to a digital camera, right? Anyway, I think it turned out okay. Andra looked better than me in all our pictures cause she's so darn cute without even trying. I did of course post the best pictures of me :) Interesting side note...I also spent some time in Victoria Secret cause I was interested to find out what all the hype is about. Turns out, TOTALLY worth it!!! I think I gained about an inch of my waist back! Thank heavens cuz I don't have much of one anyway. Just had to share cause it really was a highlight! Another highlight was H&M. I didn't end up buying much but the things I did get I love! And good prices too! Which was kind of the whole point of going. I spent a whole lot of money that weekend, but I deserve to spend some money on myself every once in a while right?

I then spent the rest of the weekend in St. George and I got to spend some time with an old friend Cliff. Being back in Cedar was not a really great experience. I am so glad to be out of that place! Anywho, you know, I'm just a single girl trying to add some excitement to an otherwise mundane life of work, piano, voice, and the gym. It's nice to get out and do something different once in a while. That's one of the extraordinary things about being single. In theory, I have the freedom, the funds, and the time to go wherever, whenever I want! But what I really want is to go somewhere with someone that means more to me than anyone else in the world. I want to share places, adventures, and memories with a family. MY family. I better "live it up" now cause someday I'll be drowning in laundry, barely have time to read a good book, have greater financial responsibilities and (hopefully) a LOT more people to look out for than just myself. Perhaps I'll look back on these days with envy and regret for not enjoying them more. But I'll remind myself that the grass isn't always greener on the other side and that I wouldn't have it any other way!