Sunday, March 20, 2016

Are you feeling homesick?

I hope I don't sound too preachy or too whiny in this post, but this is how I'm feeling tonight.

I really shouldn't be homesick. I was home just a week ago. But I don't know . . . maybe that's what triggered it.

I'll admit there are frequently times when I just really miss hiking in the hills around my hometown and all the friends I have there and the proximity to the beach.

I miss being able to spend time with my family doing nothing. We're great at sitting around the house doing nothing. It's arguably our best collective family talent.

But tonight I think I'm feeling extra homesick for a few different reasons. For one thing, it's coming up on two years since I moved back here to Utah. Thinking about that time when I had to say goodbye to everyone and uproot my whole life rather quickly always makes me a bit blue.

(Also, can you believe it's been two whole years?? That's so crazy to me! The little kids I nannied while I lived there have practically become adults now. So weird.)

Anyway, I'm also missing home at the moment because I really loved performing in The Lamb of God at Easter. The choir there had their first performance tonight and in honor of that, I decided to listen to the entire oratorio today. It was wonderful. And I'm glad I did it. But it wasn't the same as attending it live, and it definitely wasn't the same as performing in it in a cool cathedral in San Francisco like the one where I took these photos.

I know my life is here now, and it's not like I spend every day wishing I were there. If I did, I'd move back. And there are lots of cool perks to living in Utah, like being able to attend the Provo City Center Temple dedication today and getting to spend more time with my cousins than I have in the past. There's a great writing community here that I enjoy participating in. But as happy as I usually am here . . . I just don't think I'll ever love Utah the way I love California. I've really tried. I've given it a decent shot. It's just not home to me.

Thinking about all this made me try to remember why I moved here in the first place. I was actually reading this post the other day from right after I moved. I'm glad those feelings didn't last too long. Overall, I'm really happy with how my life has turned out over the past two years. I know I've grown a lot, professionally and personally, and that's comforting at a time like this.

But I'll admit there's still a big part of me that wonders what I'm doing here or why I needed to move back. I know that it was the right thing to do, but I still don't really know why.

It would be nice if I actually had all the answers. It would be nice if everyone had all the answers in life, but that's not how it works. Instead we get the comfort of faith in the fact that Heavenly Father has a plan for each of us. I'm so glad to know that as long as I'm following His plan for me, everything will work out as it should.

That's what I remembered as I was listening to the Lamb of God tonight. There's one song toward the end that has always been one of my favorites, but I think I needed to hear it more than ever right now.

You can listen to it here.

Someday this will all make sense. The answers won't come on my timeline, but they'll come. I just need to stick to the plan and one day I'll understand. In the meantime, I'm going to do my best to enjoy every season of life, no matter how far away from home I need to be. Because I know that if I keep following the plan God has for me, one day I'll get to experience the best homecoming of all.

Right before I moved here, I was reading my scriptures in the temple one day when I came across these verses in 1 Peter.
Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. . . . But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you. (6–7, 10)
These verses have since become some of my favorites. I think of them as a promise from my Heavenly Father that He knows what He's doing and that He will help me become settled in my life and in His gospel. And that's an especially comforting thought when you feel like your happiness and home are two states away from you.

I hope no matter how you're feeling when you read this, you can take comfort in the thought that Christ has experienced your pains and sorrows. He knows how to comfort you because He's been there. He's felt homesick, just like I do right now. He's felt sad and tired and worn thin. He knows exactly what it's like. And He will help you through it. That's something I know for sure.

Happy almost-Easter, everyone. And to all my friends and family in California, thank you for posting pictures and updates. I love seeing them and keeping in touch with you all! If I can't be at the beach myself, the next best thing is having beach pictures all over my social media pages!

And don't worry, I'll come visit again soon. :)

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Do you have an announcement to make?

I do! And it's a good one!

But first I just want to say that I'm so glad it's Thursday. I've been in training meetings at work for the past few days and while I feel really good about the meetings we had, I'm exhausted. Basically, this has been a great week but also a tiring one and I'm glad it's almost over.

I'm also super glad to be flying home tomorrow to see my little sister Ali who has been on a mission in the Netherlands for the past eighteen months. I got to talk to her on the phone tonight and that was great, but I'm really excited to see her in person. And I'm excited to be in California, even if it's just for the weekend because it's already springtime for reals there.

So yes. There are many reasons that this has been a great week. But one of the really good ones is that I got another book signed by Cedar Fort. It's going to be a board book like 1, 2, 3 with Nephi and Me! and it's tentatively titled Jesus Was Just Like Me! As you can probably surmise from the title, it's meant to help children learn about and relate to the Savior.

I'm really excited about this! And I've been dying to tell you guys about it, but I wanted to wait until it was officially official. I don't have an illustrator on the project yet, but I can't wait to see what he or she comes up with.

Board books are just so much fun. They're something I never thought I would write, but they turn out so cute that it's hard to resist!

Anyway, I will keep you all posted as I learn more details about this project. Like when it will be released, for instance. Right now all I can say is that it will most likely be in the next year, which is exciting because it means that my niece and nephew might still be at least mildly interested in board books by the time it comes out.

I will also, of course, let you know when I have a cover and all that other fun stuff. For now, I just want to enjoy the feeling of happy anticipation that comes right between worrying that the book won't be signed and worrying about deadlines and production details as the book is going into production.

The funny thing is, I used to dread this lull time. So much of being a writer involves the hurry-up-and-wait game. But the longer I do this, the more I find myself enjoying this phase. It's peaceful and anticipatory. It's like the calm between two storms.

Hope you all have a great weekend! Get some sleep if you're exhausted. Take advantage of your weekend to have an adventure. And don't be afraid to enjoy the lull times when you get them.

Okay, that's all the advice I've got. I don't know how to end this post.

Um . . . books are fun to write.

The end.

PS—I told you I was exhausted.