Light Your Spiritual Fire

Spoiler alert: sometimes in life, you may feel like you have no purpose or direction in life. You may feel like you spark is gone and are feeling less than empowered. This is normal but we can’t let it become the norm. What can we change? Who can we look to for inspiration? Can we reverse this blow to our spiritual and emotional selves?

The bible is a great resource for lighting your spiritual fire. There is just something about reading stories of ancient times where people were fierce in their love for God, family, and their freedom. that makes you remember that you come from a long line of fighters. There are many stories that remind us that anything is possible if we put our mind and our prayers to the task. Here are two examples that can help you realize your spiritual fire is worth lighting and that it can carry you far.

The first story of the Old Testament is a story about a faithful hopeful-mother-to-be. You may have heard of Samuel the prophet and his extraordinary acuity in listening to the Lord in the night for instruction, but do you remember his mother? Hannah was a righteous and steadfast woman of God. She so desperately wanted to have a child. She had a deep desire to have and raise children of her own and has previously been unsuccessful with conception. She also had a deep loyalty to the Lord and turned to Him for help. She went to the tabernacle to pray and ask for a son. She promised that if God would bless her with a son, she would dedicate him to the Lords service. Her prayer was so out of the ordinary in passion and emotion that the priest thought she was drunk when in fact she was overcome by the Spirit. Soon she became a mother to a baby boy who became the great prophet, Samuel. Hannah is a great example of having a great fire of faith. She couldn’t help but turn to the Lord for a blessing in her righteous desire. Where is the passion for motherhood today? Where is the humility to plead with God for our needs and desires? We have a lot to learn from Hannah in turning to God to help us reach our hopes and dreams.

Another example of fiery faith and valiance is the story of David and Goliath. David was a young and fair farmboy and his brothers were soldiers. One day he wandered to the encampment to bring provisions to his brothers. He knew of the threatening Goliath who was awaiting an opponent on the battlefield. David knew God could help him defeat the hulking and ginormous Goliath so he set out to do just that. With a sling and a stone, he made his way over to Goliath, proclaimed that his God would help him kill Goliath, and then killed Goliath with one try from his sling. How powerful was David’s faith to do this incredible feat? He had no business being at the camp nor to fight a giant! But David knew God’s power and his own faith and out the two together to do something amazing, and he saved his people. David is another fine example of fiery determination coupled with faith that led to answered prayers and a whole society left better because of it.

What holds us back from having fiery faith and determination in God? What holds us back from leaning on God one hundred percent and unwavering? Is it fear of failure, imposter syndrome, or worrying about other people’s opinions? Is it not having proof that God will provide for you when you need it? Whatever the cause, we must try to look beyond it. Let your faith run free, let your passion for love and family be never-ending, rise up to seemingly impossible odds with fiery determination, and in all, lean on God. You are the only one who can change your mind and your actions, God is the only one who can change your heart. So let your heart be open for change and you will begin to see your mind and actions change. The goodness and drive that is in your heart can be amplified thus allowing your actions to become more powerful and frequent. This is what unshakeable faith looks like and it is possible to attain. Turn to God to light your spiritual fire.

 

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Overlooking Being Overwhelmed

“I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.”

I don’t know if you are like me, but one thing that happens to me often is I let overwhelming times in my life open up holes in my self-confidence. Some days it seems that so many things need to happen and I just become paralyzed with fear and stress, then I am not always successful at finishing my tasks. When this happens, I feel like a failure and this really breaks down the view I have of myself. Sometimes I feel like I just need someone to look me in the eyes and tell me with reassurance and love that I can do it. I want someone to be there for me as I try to manage my time and responsibilities and get back on my feet. This may just be me, but if it’s you too, then this article is for you!

One thing that keeps me hopeful in myself and my future is reading in the holy scriptures. Recently I have been taking a class about the Old Testament, the first half of this big, ancient book. I have never read the Old Testament enough to really know what is going on. I know stories here and there but always thought this book of scripture was pretty outdated and not applicable in my life. Until I came across Joshua… For those who aren’t too familiar, Joshua became the leader of the Israelites as they cam to the end of their 40-year migration journey in the wilderness. He replaced the original and revered leader Moses after he died. Joshua felt like he had BIG shoes to fill. He had a huge task ahead of him where many peoples lives depended on him making the right decisions. Needless to say, it was a daunting role to take on. In the very first chapter of Joshua, we see Joshua himself praying and pleading to God for guidance. What comes next is one of the greatest pep talks in the bible.

God does not always call the most capable or perfect person to be the prophet in His church. So how do we have so many great men who have led the people to greater righteousness and happiness that are remembered fondly? It’s because God makes great leaders. And that is one thing that God reminds Joshua of, that He will make him a great leader for the people. The Lord tells Joshua “Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.” This simple statement contains so much love and reassurance in it for Joshua, exactly what he needs. The Lord basically says Did I not call you to do this great thing? I know you can do it and I will be here the whole time to help you! Don’t be afraid, be courageous! Now Joshua has increased confidence and is feeling better about moving forward in becoming the leader the people need. The Lord ensures even more: “There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life: as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.” How amazing is that, that God himself tells Joshua, a new and somewhat inexperienced leader, that he too can be as great as Moses, who made so many miracles possible for the good of the people. God does not fail to give him concrete encouragement. After this, Joshua goes on the conquer the Promised Land for his people and they advance successfully.

There is so much packed into this one ancient chapter of the Old Testament. This is the perfect chapter to revisit when you are feeling like everything is impossible or can’t be done. This is the chapter to read when you need that extra push to overlook your feelings of being overwhelmed. If God can say this to a seemingly unqualified beginner who is about to step into the title of prophet, then it absolutely means He is saying it to you as well. Not everyone can be the prophet but that does not mean our challenges and feelings are any less important than the prophet. Our Heavenly Father cares so much for each of us individually. He wants us to feel His influence in our lives, which is why He has provided the Bible and the Book of Mormon for us, so we can read about Him and learn how He works. If He was any different today than He was yesterday, He would not want us to study His ways and power in the scriptures. So if God can provide encouragement to a man thousands of years ago then He can speak to you today to tell you that you can do it. He is our Father indeed, and if He could then He would look into our eyes and let us hear what we need to hear most at that moment. He is always there for us and ready to cheer us on.

To read more from the chapter mentioned above, click here.

Best Packing List For College!

Going off to school soon? Check out this list of things you must take with you!

Going off to college is a huge, exciting change! There is so much happening, sometimes you dont even know where to start! I know I definitely overpacked when I left for school and my poor parents had to help me move all of it around! Here, i want to share with you what is essential for you to bring to college and some insights that will help make packing a whole lot easier! We will talk about whats good to pack by area, like bedroom, closet, kitchen, desk, bathroom, backpack, and car. Lets go!

Lets start with items for your bedroom…

BEDROOM

Bedding for a Twin or Twin XL bed. Check with your housing/apartment complex to see which they provide. Twin XL and Twin beds are very different, one sheet will not fit the other! Twin XL’s are a bit longer but thats about it. Consider the average weather while you will be there. If its sunny and 85 all the time, you don’t want to bulk up on blankets. If its going to be snowing and cold 80% of your time there, bring more blankets or get a very cozy comforter and material that will hold heat better, like flannel.

  • Comforter- I thought I had bought a twin comforter but it ended up being a queen, so I could have totally brought my blanket from home. I love being wrapped up so I was okay with the extra blanketness!
  • Sheets. Heres a 5 piece bed set from Amazon
  • Pillows (sleeping and maybe decorative, 1 or 2)
  • Pillowcases
  • Bed topper- Super important if you want to save your back and actually sleep well! Get a 1 inch mattress topper, preferably memory foam. Anything over 1 inch is even better! This will help your quality of sleep and comfort so much because some beds are old or indestructible. These are not synonymous with comfort. Trust me on this one. Here is Amazons choice for a bed topper
  • Small fluffy/fuzzy rug to make your small space a bit more homey and comfy. Sheepskin rug from Amazon
  • Bed risers- Sold at Walmart for pretty cheap. most complexes wont let you take cinderblocks in to raise your bed. Helps with increasing storage room. Round hole bed risers found here
  • Underbed storage- If you choose to put your bed on risers you’ll have more room to store things. May have to buy after you raise your bed to see what will fit. May be a cloth zip up box or plastic bins. Varies according to storage space available under your bed! Best Seller on Amazon right here
  • Wax warmer and/or essential oil diffuser- I love the sound of the diffuser at night and usually they change colors which is super relaxing at night! Wax warmers are also super fun and are perfect to get the right vibe and feel in your personal space!

Now lets talk about your closet!

Closet space is going to be extremely different everywhere! The main thing I would rely on though is that there will probably be few to no drawers space. Mostly hanging and shelves. To me, that means little privacy if you are sharing a room! So here are a few tips:

CLOSET

  • Plastic three drawer organizer- very prominent at Target and Walmart. Some are extra wide and low, some are tall and skinny. Lots of options for your space. Buy when you get to your apartment. Easy to store undies, bras, socks, and more personal clothing and care items. Buy more than one too!
  • Thin plastic hangers- You want to utilize your hanging space as much as possible, so the thinner the hanger, the more clothing you can cram on the rack! Hangers with plastic nubs on the shoulders or velvet hangers work well to not have clothing slip off. TJ Maxx, Ross are the best place Ive seen for selection of thin hangers. Find velvet hangers here
  • Shoe storage- Find a place to put your shoes! In such a small place that you share it will get messy! No one wants your shoes by the door either, so they have to go in your small room. Find hanging shoe storage for your door or get a rack that will fit in on the floor somewhere.
  • Laundry hamper- make it multipurpose for a hamper and a carrier to the laundry room and back. And durable. Mine fell apart in 3 weeks. Lame. Heres a plastic collapsible basket and here is a cute fabric one that will both work perfectly!
  • Jewelry organizer
  • Duffel bag- for packing, easily collapsable and wont take up space afterward.

Kitchen and cooking packing…. This one is difficult.

Let me say this first. You don’t need as much as you think you do when it comes to packing your cooking items! And you don’t need to buy it all brand new either. Or all of it before you leave even, because you can acquire more items as you advance as a single student cooking for yourself. I bought a lot of things new to go to school and i regret some of that. Some things i thrifted too, and i was super happy with that! One thing to remember is that your items will be in a community living area of the kitchen, so if you don’t want your things to get snagged, don’t bring quality items and don’t bring items that look like what everyone else has. If you thrift items, you can easily customize them without fear of ruining a more expensive item. Let me show you what I did…

KITCHEN

  • Cutlery- I thrifted some cute forks, knives, and spoons and then personalized them by spray painting the ends of each of the handles with colors I liked, and finished with a clear coat. I had unique cutlery that I liked and no one would get it mixed up with mine!
  • Rice cooker- super easy and convenient. Rice is cheap too when you’re a college student on a budget.
  • Mini Crockpot/Slow cooker- I LOVED my slow cooker! I would throw in some frozen chicken breasts and broth and come home a few hours later to a nice little home cooked meal! It was seriously so easy. Since the pot was smaller, it made it easy to not cook too much food for one person, it had just the right portions for a meal and some leftovers. Little prep for very yummy food. Heres a cute small one
  • One good sized pot- You really don’t need more than 1 medium-large pot
  • One multipurpose pan- a pan with high sides makes for a small pot and large pan. Still make pancakes but still warm up some sauce if needed!
  • Strainer/Colander- you’ll be eatin’ a lotta pasta honey!
  • One large measuring cup- a Pyrex measuring cup that holds two or three cups total with markings.It cuts down on space as opposed to stacking cups.
  • 4 Corelle plates- These are very common at the thrift store! I happened to get mine at Walmart because my mom told me to get them because they are very durable, perfect for a mobile and not gentle college life.
  • Cups-find cute ones at the thrift store or wait to acquire some at school
  • Small plastic cutting board- sanitary no matter what you are cutting and requires no care. OXO is a good brand and has a great one here
  • One or two good cutting knives- 1 big, one small. One smooth, one serrated. Here is a super bright and colorful set
  • Dish towels- find a unique pattern you like. TJ Maxx or Ross are a good choice to pick from. “What the fork is for dinner” towel set!
Single black non stick pot
Still hvae the same Walmart pot that I had while on campus. used it for everything while cooking! Hot chocolate, pasta, sauce, rice pudding, ramen noodles, soup…. All of it!

Now for some study and desk tips.

DESK

  • Printer- I hated using school printing and I had my own printer. Best thing ever. Heres the same one I took to school with me
  • Favorite pens and pencils- Don’t go for cheap exactly here, find what you like and buy it. You’ll be writing a lot so its okay!
  • 3 hole punch
  • 5 subject notebook- I started using these because each class doesn’t need a separate notebook and I took less notes than I thought I would. I took about 4 or 5 classes too so it worked out.
  • Laptop
  • Laptop case- snap on case for Mac AND a soft sleeve for transport in your backpack! If you have a PC a soft sleeve will do great. It will extend the life of your laptop a long time. Heres the same one I have on my computer now.
  • Bluetooth mouse for laptop
  • Sheet protectors
  • Nice resume paper- if you plan on applying for jobs.
  • printer paper
  • college ruled notebook paper
  • tape
  • stapler
  • blue tacky gum- hanging up pictures in your dorm
  • white toothpaste- fill in holes in your walls left from tack holes
  • 2nd computer monitor- if you’re using excel or Photoshop or any big, in depth programs, you can hook up your laptop to it for more monitor space.
  • Desk top lamp- preferably with different light settings for different times of day while studying.
  • Noise cancelling headphones- drown out noise from roomies and rock out 🙂 Amazon has great inexpensive options, they don’t NEED to be Beats!

BACKPACK

  • GET A NICE DURABLE BACKPACK OR BAG
Jansport backpacks last forever!
Ive had this backpack since sophomore year of highschool (2011) so over seven years! Its gone all around the world with me and still works perfectly. Absolutely no holes or rips or anything. Could probably need a good hose down and wash but its good to go!

Thats all I have to say about that. Don’t want it falling apart and don’t want to have to buy another bag while out there and you don’t have much money. Jansport with a leather bottom was the best for me. Amazon has a lot of amazing options too. Heres the Jansport options

CAR

If you are taking a car to school, how exciting!! Not everyone gets to do that so that is amazing! Heres a few things that are a must to have in your car/for your car.

  • JUMPER CABLES- put them in your car NOW!! Your car will die at the most unexpected time and someone else may not have them. Buy some now and put them in the car trunk.
  • Car air freshener. Buy a few trees from Walmart or get a small container that fits in a cupholder, poke some hole sin the lid and place a few wax melts on the inside. When the car warms up it will melt the wax and your car will be smelling wonderful!
  • Outdoor blanket- might want to go for a picnic or sit outside and it good to have if you have to stay in your car for whatever reason.
  • Extra water and snacks- if you go on a little trip and are stuck in traffic, you’ll have some backup supplies!
  • Extra charging cable for phone- cable and cigarette lighter insert.
  • Flashlight
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Extra things you forget all the time! Personal for you- me, I have lotion, chapstick, mints, pads and tampons, car charger, pen, sunglasses. Just some ideas.

Along with all these practical packing ideas, Id also encourage you to find a couple items that are YOU to take with you that can help you have fun, be a conversation starter, and help you make friends. For example, I brought a volleyball, a longboard, and a horse head mask to college so I could have fun with others, have some me time, and have a funny thing to talk about and mess around with, with my roomies and friends. Don’t forget to be yourself at school and also create yourself to be who you want to be!

There! Thats the list! As I said before, this is a list for things you might not think about when packing up for school. It’s not a complete comprehensive list, but it will get you going and give you some tips on where to start! Keep in mind your climate and your amenities included in your living situation and try to keep it minimal and frugal. Have a great time at college and make the most of it!

Please comment any other suggestions you may have from your own experience or anything major that you think was left out of this article. I would love to make sure its all on here! Share this post with a friend or family member who is going away to school, or a parent thats helping pack a kid up! Thanks for reading!

 

 

Children Born Truly A Blessing

What a blessing it is to see a child grow up in a family surrounded by a loving community.

Mothers work hard to carry a child and to take care of a baby when it is born. It is such a wonderful experience though to see a child grow up and see a woman become a mother as she nurtures that baby to grow and learn by her love. It is amazing how connected a community can become when a baby is born. As I sit here in church I see babies being passed around here and there from mom to a long time friend sitting next to her. I see women who are very well aged holding a baby, as they probably reminisce on how they once raised their own children and had that position of a new mom. Both the older women and the young lady hold the baby, adoring eyes on their tiny bodies, tender hands grasping their soft chubby legs and belly, and the warmth of the baby warming every heart.

It does take a community to raise a child. Mom is under a lot of pressure and going through many changes. With a first child, she has officially become a mother. Her status among her peers may change as she is no longer as free to meet up and likely holed up for days at home with her new little nugget. She may be struggling socially as each day becomes monotonous. Mothers of more than one child may be seeing the change of adding a sibling for their other children. Meanwhile, there are friends and family surrounding her, excited for the new addition, a new little personality to get to know. Family is there to help with meals and chores as mom recovers and learns to manage with baby. Friends are close to coo and hold the new child and take the baby from mothers tired arms. Peers are near to socialize and congratulate after a much needed week of baby care. Her husband is near her side through all of it as well, helping as much as he can while he is home.

A baby needs to feel loved. They sense and know much more than we think. It can be stressful for a baby when there are fewer people around (as it can be when there are too many people!). Having a community surround a family brings so much needed support and the families new addition can bring so much joy! It’s a beautiful thing to watch, so many sisters being benefited from having a baby in the room. Babies just bring a light and happiness! And even when they cry, heads turn because instinctually we know that baby is important and demands our attention. I know all family situations are not ideal where both mom and dad aren’t around or family is not close, etc. but I just wanted to highlight what I have seen in families around me and in the community of the church I am a part of. Families here are not perfect either, but it is obvious that children are a light in our lives that we cannot deny.

The media does not portray family and children like they used to or should. We are surrounded by ideas that marriage and children tie us down and are not important any more. That’s not the case. When children come into the world, they are a blessing, they are a piece of goodness from the Lord. I’m so grateful for the sweet babies I have been able to hold and take care of and the motherly instincts they have helped me connect to. I hope one day to be able to have my own and share the blessing of children with my family and friends. I hope this Father’s Day we can appreciate the family. Every member is needed and we can give special appreciation to Dad this day.

Last Minute Gifts For Mom! Amazon Edition

Mothers Day has always creeped up on me. I remember one Mothers Day when my sister and I realized it was the day and we had nothing planned and nothing bought for mom AT ALL. We put together the infamous “coupon book” that every youngster makes or is given to gift their parents that no one actually ever uses. We drew some cute drawings on colorful paper and made breakfast in bed for mom and all was mostly well! It was fine for being like 9 years old and unprepared. But now its different. Now that I am older, I realize all the things my mom did for me and for our family, all that she sacrificed, all the difficult decisions she had to make,  and all the money it requires to raise children. Now I try to do there best I can for my mom on Mothers Day and Christmas to let her know she is appreciated. I try every day to let her know she is loved by keeping in contact with her. She deserves it.

So Mother Day is coming up quick! And I want to show you some of the awesome possibilities for gifts available on Amazon because it quick, easy, and inexpensive. But I want to preface the post by saying that gifts are NOT THE ONLY way of showing your appreciation and are not completely necessary. You know your mom best and will know what to do/say/buy/create for her! So if you find anything on this list that fits in please go for it and get it for mom! Your call 🙂

First up! Generally beautiful jewelry’s always a great pick! Moms love functional memorabila for their family.  Check out these beautiful jewelry gifts from Amazon Handmade. (did you know Amazon sold handmade gifts?! Its like super-Etsy!)

Alex and Ani Dupe with your childrens name charms

Personalized Birthstones and Family Names Necklace

Personalized Family Name Bracelet

Sterling Silver Personalized Stamp Rings

Second, here are some cute baking gift ideas!

Rustic Wooden Recipe Box

Home Is Where Your Mom Is Cutting Board (I love this phrase because its so true!)

InstantPot Pressure Cooker (not exactly cute, but this thing is AMAZING. I have one and it makes any food so quickly and so easily its insane)

Adorable Farmhouse Kitchen Canisters

Third, and my fav write and more my style in gifts to give and receive, QUIRKY GIFTS!

Best Mom Ever Desk Nameplate (reminds me of the Office and it makes it even more funny)

Powered By Caffeine Mug (I know lots of mom who drink the Diet Coke!!)

Flower 2018 Planner (not quirky but planners are cheap after February!)

Mom Life AntiStress Coloring Book

Unicorn Cupcake Bath Fizzies! (I don’t need to say anything else, check it out!)

Ok thats the list! Hopefully some of these gifts will help you find the perfect way to express your undying, extreme, and sometimes goofy love between you and your mama!

Love you all! Happy Mothers Day!

 

Affiliate Disclosure- This post deeeefinitely contains affiliate links. When you click on them and buy something, I get a teeny commission so it’d be much appreciated if you did so! If not its all good 🙂 happy reading!

Fave 3 Products of the Week!

Talking about 3 of my favorite products this week!

Goooooooooood Morning this beautiful Tuesday!

Well actually, its more like afternoon, but thats okay…

Today I wanted to share three of my favorite products that I am obsessing over right now! This is the first post of its kind on my blog. I’ll give it a try and hopefully it’s a helpful post for you! I will be talking about 3 products I love and 1 that I created thats working really well for me! If you want to check out how I made my own DIY Lip Scrub, head over to my makeup Instagram page to check it out in my last post! @MakenziReviews

So the first product I want to tell you about is a brand new facial cleanser I grabbed at the store LAST NIGHT! It’s the first product in the photo above. I already love it! Its the Baking Soda Cleanser by Biore. You can find it at Walmart, Target, Maceys Grocery, basically anywhere there are general bathing and grooming products! To start off, this product has really great packaging. I love how it is all a translucent white/clear color. From the pump, to the gel itself, and the whole container, it all just ties in. The color reminds me of when you make a mini volcano in grade school and put the baking soda and vinegar together…IDK if thats a good thing for a face cleanser but I like it! Next, it smells great, which is typical for all Biore products. Its got a lovely fragrance, similar to the Charcoal cleanser. However, this one does not have the cooling effect like the Charcoal cleanser. It does have a few small exfoliating beads, I think they are supposed to be little baking soda beads. Theres not enough for me to say its an exfoliating gel though because I still use it with my Clarisonic brush. Overall it is a great face wash! Heres the Biore Baking Soda Cleanser as an add-on on Amazon. And the Mia 2 by Clarisonic

Next product is a hair product! This one is the Taming Elixir by Sebastian Professional. I love this as a conditioning heat protectant for when I blow-dry my hair. I don’t blow-dry my hair often, I normally let it air dry and sometimes straighten a few weird curls. But when I do use hot tools to dry my hair, I use this. I don’t usually buy higher end products for my hair or very few because I am low maintenance with my hair but this one is so great because it leaves my hair super shiny, I feel like my hair is much stronger when I use it, and its a great heat protectant. It contains avocado oil in it so that provides the natural heat protecting element. Its very light weight too so its not going to be a heavy greasy hair product. Perfect for me and smells wonderful! Check out the Sebastian Taming Elixir here

The third product is a sample of the Coconut Sheer Oil by Kopari Beauty. I have actually had this product for a couple years now but never really knew what to do with it. I used it in my hair a few times but it did NOT go well! My hair didn’t soak it in very quickly and it looked greasy 😦 but now I am using it on my face as a moisturizer along with my Elta MD SPF moisturizer! It makes my skin sooo soft and hydrated and I have not had any problems with break outs while using it. I feel like it makes my skin softer and helps impurities move through easier which = less fiery red zits! And OH MY GOODNESS this oil smells SO GREAT! Like it smells the best out of all 4 of the above pictured products! I absolutely love it! I like this small size but I don’t know if I am ready to commit to the bigger size that is 45$ at Ulta…Maybe when I make more money…one day… 🙂 If you have the $$$ to get the regular size or if you get your hands on a sample size TRY IT OUT! It’s a wonderful multi use coconut oil! You’ll fall in love 🙂  Luckily this product is on Amazon for 39$! Check out the Kopari Coconut Sheer Oil here!

Pictured above is a glass container of lip scrub that I made the other night foe you all on Instagram. Its super easy to make and has so many exfoliating and softening properties! Check it out on my Instagram! @MakenziReviews

 

This page does contain affiliate links which, when you click and purchase a product through a link, I may get a commission as an Amazon affiliate. Doing so does help me out but no sweat if you don’t click or choose to buy. Thanks!

“Home” In A Strange Place

Thoughts on coping with calling an unexpected location your new home.

Have you ever thought about how you love the place where you grew up? The warm Saturdays at the field, the way laundry smells when mom is home doing work around the house, how that one Mexican restaurant is your families favorite, and the lady at the bank remembers you from when you were just tiny and stealing more candy than you needed from the bowl at her desk. Sometimes I just sit and think about how the Sacramento area was just the perfect place to grow up and how my family and I just fit in so well to the community. We had our spot and things we would do and people we knew and favorite hang out spots that no one else knew about. I also think about how my mom grew up somewhere else and that the way I feel about home may not have been how she felt about our home until she had been there awhile and settled in. I feel that way about where I live now.

Now, I am not a mother yet, but I don’t live with my husband where either of us grew up. I live in Salt Lake City now and its been a strange experience. Its only been about 8 months that Ive been here and I am just waiting for those “home experiences” where I am comfortable, people know me, and I love the little undiscovered parts of town and the surrounding area. I’m not there yet. I don’t know if that just happens as you grow up, you see the truth behind the glowing memories and see what is really before your eyes, but I have to think that I can have those glowing memories come from this new “home” as well. And then I don’t want to because I know I won’t be here long. We will only be here as long as my husband is in school for his Masters degree and thats only a couple more years. So do I settle in and try to make this home feel like my childhood home? Do I create that halo effect of the memories that I will have of this place and put effort into making it that way. Or do I welcome the new experience of now. Do I wait for a new “home” where I can settle in and find my place in the community so that my children will have that feeling of belonging and close knit neighbors and friendly passerby? Here in SLC, I drive to the packed Southside of the city for work, I work on my online classes in my apartment in an older complex hidden in a suburban neighborhood. There are people I am afraid of in my complex, there are children that are loud in the morning and frustrate me as they pound down the stairs and wake me up. there are smokers who make my home smell, there is a dirty creek behind my building, and someone stole a tire iron from my husbands jeep. These are the things that come to mind when I think of where I live now. Maybe its just a shift of mindset that needs to happen?

As the weather grows warmer, my memories and attitude toward this place warm up as well. I see the ducks in the rising creek play around, I see the flowers bloom on the trimmed bushes, the vitamin d from the sunshine makes me smile as I soak in the rays from the forgotten sun after months of cold winter. I look at our cozy and bright apartment int he evening, when its 7:30 and still light out, and I smile because we have all this together. And I think thats what makes up those golden memories from the past: warm weather, clean kitchens, ducks in the pond, flowers coming out to say hi, snow on the distant desert range melting day after day, and hope in the future to accompany the company of your loved one. I think it is possible to make a home in a strange place. It will definitely not be like your childhood home, but the halo effect on your memory of where you now occupy will come with time as you take in the moment and appreciate whats around you and who is around you. In no time, your memories and feeling toward your home will be as picturesque as if you had taken it with a polaroid. Imperfect yet just they way you wanted it to turn out.