Saturday, May 30, 2015

When Is Enough... Enough?

I've had a repeating question in my life. "When is it enough?" When does the weight of a chronic illness pass? or the need to get my bills paid end? or the responsibility of meeting high expectations in my faith? or the necessity of going to work even when I'm so very tired? I've worried about having this perspective about my children someday when I feel like all I want is a nap but they still need my love and attention.

I've begun to see and answer That I hope I remember. The answer to my question is when I see the value, rather then the cost. Then it become more then enough to meet my needs and help me grow! I feel like this video illustrates this idea beautifully. 

Mathew 11:30; Mosiah 24:14-15

~Katie Jean~

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Why does God Let Bad Things Happen To Good People

Why did God let me suffer? Why?

This is a question I've asked myself often. When my parents have at different times suffered from illness; when I have been ill and all that caused it was stress; when I can't control my anxiety. Hard things that happen that are not the result of my own mistakes often send me into a cycle of asking, sometimes the results of my choices make me ask as well. I feel like the answer is as complex as the situations that cause us to ask.

I'd like to take a moment and share the answer that I'm developing in hopes that it will help others as I think this is not a question that only I've asked. I'll answer it in pieces as that's how I've had it answered in my life, line upon line and precept on precept.

The first piece is that the trials are the price I pay to become acquainted with God. It's through these hardships that I learn who God is. This is exemplified in a story of a man who traveled on foot across the country to live in Utah with other early members of my church in the 1800's.

"A man who crossed the plains in the Martin handcart company lived in Utah for many years. One day he was in a group of people who began sharply criticizing the Church leaders for ever allowing the Saints to cross the plains with no more supplies or protection than a handcart company provided. The old man listened until he could stand no more; then he arose and said with great emotion:

“I was in that company and my wife was in it. … We suffered beyond anything you can imagine and many died of exposure and starvation, but did you ever hear a survivor of that company utter a word of criticism? … [We] came through with the absolute knowledge that God lives for we became acquainted with him in our extremities.

“I have pulled my handcart when I was so weak and weary from illness and lack of food that I could hardly put one foot ahead of the other. I have looked ahead and seen a patch of sand or a hill slope and I have said, I can go only that far and there I must give up, for I cannot pull the load through it. … I have gone on to that sand and when I reached it, the cart began pushing me. I have looked back many times to see who was pushing my cart, but my eyes saw no one. I knew then that the angels of God were there.

“Was I sorry that I chose to come by handcart? No. Neither then nor any minute of my life since. The price we paid to become acquainted with God was a privilege to pay, and I am thankful that I was privileged to come in the Martin Handcart Company.” (Our Heritage)

Building on that concept we begin to not only become acquainted with God in our sufferings but we also come to understand Christ in the same moment. Peter talks about this. He says:

"Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy" (2 Peter 4:12-13).

The first time I read that scripture I remember being surprise at the perspective. He invites us to not focus on the trial and how weighed down we feel under its weight but to focus on Christ and using out suffering to understand him. In another scripture in the Book of Mormon states the juxtaposition of this statement. Just as we go through trials to better understand Christ, Christ suffered to better understand us. “And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people. And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities.” (Alma 7:11-12)

The word succor means to help or aid in times of distress. I love this scripture for how it frames the atonement, or Christ’s suffering. He knows us and he came to know us through pain. He understands our pain. The reverse of the statement can be true as well, when we approach our trials focusing on coming to know Christ we come to know him in the same way that he came to know us, through the sorrows of the flesh. (see also Galatians2:20) We know him because we have become like him.

This train of thought isn’t an answer all, truly it’s not even half of the answer to this question but for me it gives my sorrows propose, and points me to what is most important, my relationship with God. I’ve gone through hard things in my life and I believe I will continue to experience hard things. But I also believe that what is important is not how hard it is but how I use it.

I hope I’ve not come off preachy here. My prayer is that this strengthens someone else as it has strengthened me.

~Katie Jean~

Monday, August 11, 2014

I am - Anthology Piece

This is my anthology piece I wrote for one of my classes. I felt like it was good enough to share. It's ment be a journey I have walked.


I am

I am content

I am alone

I am happy

I am nervous

I am friendly

I am shy

I am reached for

I am retreating

I am alone again

I am longing to be loved

I am missing you

I am aching to be held

I am missed

I am reaching back

I am held

I am kissed

I am loved

I am content

I am planning

I am unsure

I am discontented

I am resistant of change

I am hurting you

I am hurting

I am broken

I am alone

I am healing

I am happy

I am content

I am

~Katie Jean~

Thursday, August 7, 2014

What Teachers Make by Talyor Mali

This speaks for itself for the most part. I've had good teachers and bad ones as I've gone to school, I think every child who's ever attended a school can say the same. I enjoy Taylor Mali's perspective of teaching. I share it in many ways, he describes the kind of passion I want to incorporate into my work with students. So please enjoy:

For more of his poetry visit

~ Katie Jean ~

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Your Attention Please

What has your attention? What do you focus on? Attention is a powerful thing.

Do you pay attention to the world around you, technology, your favorite book (often my favorite choice), your favorite TV show?

In a recent conference for my church a leader said something I found profound about attention. "When you are with your friends, give them the gift of your attention. Your brain cannot concentrate on two things at once. Multitasking amounts to quickly shifting your focus from one thing to another. An old proverb days, "If you chase two rabbits, you won't catch either one."" (The Choice Generationation, Randell L. Ridd)

What do we miss? What do we gain from what attention we give? 

I do want to make a disclaimer, I am not advocating the elimination of Technology in our lives. In many ways I feel like it makes us more productive and gives us the opportunity to give more attention to others both virtually and physically. I think it can enrich relationships when it's used right. Both of the above video's (available on youtube) have made me think about my use of technology in my life and less specifically about what I focus on in my life.

The human brain can only focus on one thing at a time, we have the ability to choose what has our attention, my invitation to myself and the world is to look at what has your attention and what the end result of that attention will be. Be it a boyfriend, work, a video game, facebook, religion, a good book, a blog, or a hobby. Be actively participating in the choice of where your attention is focused, if you let it happen other sources will decide it for you.

Food for thought.

~Katie Jean~

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Needing and Being Needed By Others

So I've been thinking about an idea for a few days. In a book I'm reading it has been talking about how what people want out of life is to be needed. To be wanted by those around them. This is also stated on Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs as well. It's the third tier, the need for "Love and Belonging."

So what I've been really pondering is greif. When someone dies you feel a great loss. It is deep and it is very real. And the more you need someone the greater the loss you feel. I also personally feel a bit of selfishness is involved, at least for me. I feel like the loss is greater when I consider how much they needed or would have needed me. I feel the loss most acutely at times when I feel I would need or would have been needed by the person I've lost. It's the absence of that feeling that I am morning.

I was once asked by a good friend if the pain of losing someone fades, if it stops hurting. I have thought a lot about this question. I think I can say from my own experience that it never fades completely, though perhaps it changes as my perspective changes. I still cry in grief at my loss to this day though it was over 15 years ago, though I cry more rarely. But I think what still hurts is the longing and the loss. You never regain or replace what you lost, not in this lifetime. Your needs that that person met, the way they met them, cannot be replaced. Your feelings of being wanted and needed by someone else cannot be met by someone else the way they were by the one you lost. However those unmet needs can be met by someone else. It just won't be in the same way.

So I think the answer is no, not in this life, it never fully fades, or stops "hurting" because the hole never is filled. It can't be until you are reunited in the next life with the one lost and once again your need for them and their need for you is met.

My life continues after I lose someone because others need me, and I need them. Life continues, though the grief or loss is never truly over. And truly, I wouldn't ever want it to end. I want to continue to need those I've lost till we meet again and I want (or perhaps it's that I need) them to need me in return.

~Katie Jean~

Friday, May 30, 2014

Of Endings and Beginnings

I resist change. I dislike leaving parts of myself behind. I think this is almost universally true. Some of us are better at accepting change and moving smoothly through it but even those who adjust well need to adjust in some way to change. I think it's the adjustment that is hard.

Why is this? Why is it that we grieve so violently at someones death? or after a breakup? or feel so homesick when we move away? In all of these situations we feel that we have lost something, and truly we have. For me these moments effect my soul, they pull at the very fabric of who and what I am.

In a recent conference held by my church one of the speakers helped me answer this question in a profound way.

"In light of what we know about our eternal destiny, is it any wonder that whenever we face the bitter endings of life, they seem unacceptable to us? There seems to be something inside of us that resists endings.
Why is this? Because we are made of the stuff of eternity. We are eternal beings, children of the Almighty God, whose name is Endless and who promises eternal blessings without number. Endings are not our destiny.
The more we learn about the gospel of Jesus Christ, the more we realize that endings here in mortality are not endings at all. They are merely interruptions—temporary pauses that one day will seem small compared to the eternal joy awaiting the faithful.
How grateful I am to my Heavenly Father that in His plan there are no true endings, only everlasting beginnings." (Dieter F. Uchtdorf, April 2013)

On some level I need the endings. I need to experience these moments. I need the loss. I need the change. It is these things that create opposition, it's from these experiences that I come to know who I am. I am able to recognize my character and more fully define it.

I have experienced the ending of good health a chronic illness of a parent brings; the death of a loved one; the ending moving far from home with little contact with family for over a year is; breakups, heartaches and sorrows life brings. Some of these things I am experiencing now. All of these things have forced me to change, grow and grieve at the endings they create. Yet I am forced to admit that I wouldn't give them up. Not for anything. I would not trade the refining fire they have been and what I am now for all the riches of the world.

I was once talking with one of my dear friends who has had family trouble for most of her life. We were discussing how her family has suffered due to their own poor choices and how I have watched my family suffer due to health problems. We paused for a moment and considered if we would trade struggles straight across. It surprised me to realize that she didn't want mine and I didn't want hers. I'd rather have the ones I've been given.

Paul, in the scriptures, said, "Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy" (1 Peter 4:12-13)

Christ suffered to better "succor his people" (Alma 7:11). He suffered to better understand us and our needs. Is it any wonder then that we must suffer as well, partake in some small way of his sorrow in Gethsemane to better know Him?

So as I face the endings in my life, as I change and the world changes around me, I will seek an eternal perspective. Cuz lifes not over yet. 

~Katie Jean~