Thursday, June 30, 2016

What’s their story?

I have been avoiding being here.  It’s true.  I just keep putting it off.  It’s on my list of things I want to do.  I love blogging.  It clears my head, and I know God wants me to be here; but I’ve been avoiding it. 

I have so many thoughts rolling around in my head that sometimes it’s so hard to put them on paper, or computer, or the world wide web.

Even now, when I had a house that was full of peace and quiet; I was still avoiding it.  I went out and started weeding my flowers.  Yep!! I was weeding instead.

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Here I am tho.  After talking with my son today, I finally know the words I want to say.

I have had so many thoughts and feelings the last few weeks.  It has been an overwhelming June for me.

Summer hit me like a ton of bricks and I wasn’t ready.  I will say I had some big life factors that came into play that affected some of my emotions; but it’s all good now.  One of which was not being able to drink soda anymore.  That’s a big deal around these parts, and it affected me big time!!

After a good long heart to heart with Jex this morning about some of his own struggles with life and teenagerhood, I knew what I needed to share here.

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(umm.  ok.  He was nine in this photo.  he is almost fourteen.)

I knew how I wanted to sum up my life lesson, and I finally knew how to put into words how I had been feeling.  It’s funny.  I was trying to teach Jex, but somehow God was teaching me too. 

Jex is a teenager.  He is awesome!! We love him!!  You know how teenagers live in this bubble of not even realizing what is going on outside themselves. It’s a little bit about me and little bit about me!!

Today, we talked about taking a moment to ask himself anytime he comes into contact with someone, “What’s their story?”

It’s something that I have been thinking a lot about.  This last April during our churches General Conference meeting Sister Linda K Burton gave a talk titled “I was a stranger.” I have thought and thought about that talk. I keep hearing a particular phrase from it over and over in my mind and have for months.  I heard it again today.  

Sister Burton related this story in her talk: “Last summer I met Sister Yvette Bugingo, who at age 11 fled from place to place after her father was killed and three of her brothers went missing in a war-torn part of the world. Yvette and the remaining family members eventually lived for six and a half years as refugees in a neighboring country until they were able to move to a permanent home, where they were blessed by a caring couple who helped with transportation, schools, and other things. She said they “were basically an answer to our prayers.” Her beautiful mother and adorable little sister are with us tonight, singing in the choir. I have wondered many times since meeting these wonderful women, “What if their story were my story?”

That phrase, What if their story were my story, has gone through my mind many times.  It was brought to my mind again this morning as I was talking to Jex. 

I used it to remind him that everyone has a story.  Every single person has a story every. single. day. We wake up, and our story starts over.  Sometimes we have a good story one day , and sometimes we have a not so good story the next.  And over the course of a life time, those little stories add up to become our story.

It’s important to reach outside ourselves and ask what’s your story?  How are you? Have you had a good day? Can I do anything to help you today?

Jex really is very good at this.  He has also been very good at spotting when I have had a bad day without me even needing to say anything.  It was just a good reminder to him today, that sometimes we just have to stop and reach outside ourselves a little.  The use of electronics, becoming a teenager, and a little bit of worry about fitting in may have caused him to look a little inward the past few months.  That’s ok.  We all do that at times.  Sometimes we need to do that.  There are times when we have to take care of ourselves.  It was a good reminder for Jex and myself that it is so important to find true happiness by looking outside ourselves.

I have been working hard over the last couple weeks to look out side myself. I know that is what God wants me to learn. All of the those things I have been working on, I think truly can be summed up just by asking myself, what’s their story? and even asking myself at times when I need to be even more sympathetic, “What if their story was my story?”

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Life as a whole can be summed up by learning to maneuver through relationships.  We have to learn to work with our spouses, and be the best parents we can be.

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We have relationships with our parents, our siblings, neighbors, and friends. 

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God wants us to learn how to be the best we can be as learn how to maneuver through relationships.  I think we could all do better in each facet of this if we took the time to ask, “what’s their story today?”  We can even ask, “What if their story where my story?” 

Most of the time people try to be kind and good.  We hope that people don’t go through life trying to hurt or ruin us.  When we feel like we are being hurt, it might be good to ask, “what is their story?” Is there more to this story, because I’m sure they didn’t hurt me on purpose. 

I learned a big lesson with this over the past month.  I let my emotions get the best of me.  I am going to call myself out on it, and tell you all about the mistakes I make. I do this in hopes that you know that I am real, this blog is real, and that we all make mistakes.  It’s important that we learn from them.

It was such a dumb mistake that I needed to apologize to someone that takes such great care of a few of my children.  I saw something with blinders on.  I didn’t ask myself if there was more to the story.  I just got sad and emotional(because we women do that sometimes), and then after the emotions got the better of me; I found out the whole story.  Boy!! did I feel dumb.  So I went.  I apologized.  I took her a treat, and hugged her, and said I am so dumb; please forgive me.  I ate my humble pie, but you know what?  It tasted good. It is good to be humble.  When we humble ourselves, God teaches us.  God taught me a great lesson about using my emotions to tell a story.  Emotions never tell the whole story.  I learned to ask myself, “what is the whole story, what is their story?”  The story is this woman is beautiful and kind and good. I am thankful that I can say that I know her better now, and I appreciate her even more.  I am grateful for her forgiveness.  I am thankful for the atonement that allows me to say “I’m sorry”, and that I know that I am forgiven.

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This has also had me thinking about “What if their story, were my story?”  It’s a good reminder not to judge right? It’s a good reminder to lend a helping hand.  This particular talk that I stole this line from is talking about the thousands and thousands of refugees who need love and support.  What if their story were our story?  It makes you stop and think about how blessed you are.  What more you can do for others?  How you can judge less?  How we can take the time to learn more about others, and were they have come from?

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I want to also take this approach in my parenting and my relationship with my spouse.  Sometimes I get so caught up in my own day and my to-do list, that I forget to ask, “what is their story?” Better yet, listen to their story.  My kids always have a story to tell, and am I really listening?  When they are grumpy about something, do I know the true source?  The story behind it?  It is hunger, are they tired?

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Did I take the time to catch up on my husband’s story today?  Am I meeting the needs of his story?  Did I really listen to what he was feeling, and then figure out how I could help?

During my summer month one(June) of soul searching, humbling myself, listening to God, and learning.  I decided to make a list of 10 habits to happiness.

These are my habits that I want to work on to be happy.  I shared them on Instagram.  I thought I would share them here too.  I thought it might get you thinking a little about what makes you truly happy.  These are not things I am perfect at.  They are habits I am working toward.   Now it’s going to have to be 11 habits because I need to add, “ask myself what’s their story?”

My 10 11 Habits to Happiness

1.  Be Humble

2. Boldly trust in God

3.  Say something kind to everyone I come in contact with

4.  Live in the moment/find happiness in the moment

5.  Put family above all other obligations

6.  Never Worry!! It’s not worth it!

7.  Expect the best of others

8.  Always be kind- never gossip

9.  Be proud of my kids in all things

10.  Believe I am deserving because I am His, but never forget to express gratitude in all things

11.  ask, “What’s their story?”


Leslie Posey said...

I enjoyed your blog tonight!! Tell jex that I know he is a great kid...or teenager and that I know even from a distance that he will do big things. And...I can't believe he is almost how did that happen! ��

Leslie Posey said...

I enjoyed your blog tonight!! Tell jex that I know he is a great kid...or teenager and that I know even from a distance that he will do big things. And...I can't believe he is almost how did that happen! ��

Pam said...

I enjoyed your post. Great thoughts that we all can and should try to apply. We judge and never know the back story or whole story. We all do it 😟 I know I need to stop and think about their story and let it help me become a better person.

julie said...

It's a great list and definitely one to follow. I find whenever I get too emotional about 'life stuff', I can never think rationally and that's when problems/life becomes overwhelming. Contemplation and meditation (praying to God) eventually helps!
We all make mistakes....but holding up your hands and saying so, takes courage and humility. Love what you have to say, and so glad you're still blogging:) xxx

Tara said...

Oh, Andrea! I loved this! It's so good to read your words! I've been doing the same things with Kaitlynn - these wonderful people who get caught up in the weirdness of transitioning to adulthood! It's good to remember that it's just part of the process, and we're all in process anyway, so I can extend and accept grace along the way. I love your 10 habits - boldly trusting God sounds like something I need to work on myself. Thanks for blogging!

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