Monday, April 10, 2017

Life is Hard. Yep.

People think that I've been super positive and faithful through the last 6 months of Life, but people are most of the time wrooooong, no offense. The past few months have kind of stunk. And if I was a swearing person, I probably wouldn't have used the word 'stunk'. Lots of times I've heard things like, "Things aren't great today, but they will be! This is what life is all about right? *fake smile*" come out of my mouth and then I've thought to myself, "Lying is a sin because who knows if it will be ok and why does this have to be what life is all about and why does it make me a 'negative' person to tell the truth and say that I feel like life stinks right now?" I'm pretty sure that Jesus asked that the cup be removed, not that He could have a little more, please.

Mostly, I just felt like today I should say something about the fact that it's human to have trials and that it's normal to not think it's fun. I've changed in ways that I don't super love since this whole thing happened. I used to be extroverted, lately I've been pretty reclusive, even with people I'm usually really close with. I used to love being in the center of things, lately I've been way less involved. I used to love celebrating everything I could, lately I've been more apathetic (except for on Whitney Houston day cuz I couldn't let that one pass me by). Those changes don't mean that I failed the test. In fact, I'm convinced that none of those changes are permanent anyway, they're just either those dumb coping mechanisms or the natural results of what's happening to my body.

It's healthy to have bad days, to wear sweatpants and bun-hair because you don't care today, to lay on the floor in the dark and listen to "Human" by Christina Perri twice. (Or whatever the equivalent of those are for you) I don't think that any of those things make you a negative person.

But I'm also not writing this just to say, "Everyone whose lives stink, let's complain!" Because I don't think that doing those things every day for the sake of grieving or whatever make life any easier. There are still good, happy things in your life. It's ok to recognize that. It's ok to smile or laugh when something makes you want to. For some reason, sometimes we feel like when we've labeled the day a bad one, it will be ALL bad. But it's ok for it not to be.

And when you've read through all of that stuff that I just tried to make sound all wise, read this: Jesus still loves you. He knows what's going on in your life. He knows it's hard. He did it already, but He doesn't tell you that to belittle your pain. He wants you to lean on Him when you can't find anything happy. Because what I've learned is that being positive doesn't necessarily mean :D It means trusting that the Lord's plans are not mine, but that He knows what they are. He knows how everything ends up, and even though right now it doesn't seem like what I want, He's molding me into the person I want to be. You can have a hard day and still know those things. But then when you're done being sad, it's ok to be done with your hard day for a little bit and let Him pick you up for a good one.

Just speaking from one human to another. <3

LOVIES,
Kelli

Sunday, January 1, 2017

2016: My BFF and the Things She Taught Me

-Coming home from a mission is kinda like being born again. So much hope and opportunity and excitement for New You. At least it can be. You choose.

-Being as open as I am with people about my thoughts and feelings makes me free. I love that people know the real me and I love that, because of it, I know the real me, too. 

-Sometimes we get irritated with our bodies for giving us such a hard time, but they really are doing their best. 

-Colonoscopies are the worst.

-It doesn't make you a negative person to be realistically upset about things in your life and most friends won't be put out if you need to vocalize it. In fact, a lot of friends are thrilled when you do because it shows your trust in them and that they're special.

-Heartbreak and marriage aren't the only two outcomes of dating. You can also make really great friends, learn some helpful lessons, and accept/understand incompatibility. Not wanting to be partners with someone for everything forever doesn't mean you hate them. Or that there's something wrong with them.

-Jesus Christ does search for His lost sheep, but He's not a dictator. You can't whine to the world that He left you behind if you're the one who walked away. 

-You can fix things any time. Apologizing is worth it. Forgiving is worth it. Recognizing that you need to do both is sometimes the hardest, but doing both is totally worth it. 

-You are never too busy or burdened to look outside yourself. Seriously, never. 

-Doctors don't know everything. Doctors are pretttttty smart. Some doctors are just going to work, which is good. Some doctors are changing the world, which is better. Those last ones are the ones to look for even if it takes basically forever.  

-I finally love me for my weakness because I know myself, I know Jesus and I know we can overcome that stinker. 

-It might feel like your brain just isn't good at holding facts about other people, like their names or interests, but it is. You just have to kick out a few less important things to make room for them. Then you can do cool, personalized things for people which is FUN. 

-Don't give up on the battles against Satan that seem less important to 'save energy for the bigger ones'. They're all big ones. 

-You're doing really great! But don't stop there. Also, don't give up on yourself. 

-Give people the benefit of the doubt, always. We always think we're 'all that' at this one, but we aren't so...GIVE PEOPLE THE BENEFIT OF THE DOUBT. 

-Recognize that people love you and let them. Ask for help and don't feel guilty about it.

-Gaining a testimony of a commandment comes from living the commandment. Then you start to keep it because you know the blessings that come instead of just because someone told you to.

-Don't wait for people to introduce themselves to you. If you want to get to know someone, you should. Maybe they wanted to be your friend, but they were too scared to start. 

-Own your hobbies.

-Practice getting over things, even if, at the beginning, it's just because it's too exhausting to not. 

-Be the person you look up to.

-Cry your eyes out, baby. 

-Say what needs to be said, in a kind, drama-free way that makes people like you, sometimes even subconsciously. (This one is tricky, but when it works, it's AWESOME.)

-Don't agree with what people say if you don't actually agree. 

-Stop apologizing for things that make no sense, like, sharing a story about yourself or asking personal questions or something. Those things are what life is. Gosh.

-Be real so others can be real with you. Then, when drama comes up and problems need to be solved, you can talk things out because you know each other and that your relationship is stronger than all that. 

*Disclaimer: Just because I'm telling you I learned these things doesn't mean I learned them learned them, but I am working on it. My goal is to not have the same list next year.

LOVIES,
Kelli 

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Coming Home From a Mission: The Morning God Woke Me Up

I've mostly always liked me. Pretty much, anyway. Especially once I moved to college, my confidence started to build and I began to appreciate my strengths and even some of my weaknesses. I'd always known God loves me. It hadn't ever been hard to see or understand. I went on a mission because He asked me to even though it was the hardest thing I'd ever done and I felt pretty great about that. On my mission, I messed up all the time, but I knew it was ok because I was doing my best to serve the Lord. I loved Him and wanted Him to know it and I knew He was making everything right. Knowing I was a child of God, knowing my potential, and accepting that I had a Savior who would seal the deal- things were pretty great and when it was time to go home, I had plans to apply everything I'd learned and be perfect at them all for the rest of my life. Missionaries have a pretty thick rose-colored lens ;)

When I got home from my mission, though, things started to get a little bit hazy. I'd spent so long in such a spiritually saturated lifestyle that being thrown back into the world, with adult stresses and new responsibilities and new distractions, that also happened to be all about me instead of all about helping others, was really unfamiliar and I got lost. I didn't realize it was happening exactly, I felt a little shell-shocked, but I figured it was just because I was in the middle of a big transition and expected I'd adjust out of my stereotypical 'awkward return missionary' phase pretty quickly.

I didn't.

I moved to Provo to work for the spring/summer and things only got worse. I still couldn't really pinpoint why, though, so I started to get really annoyed. Why can I not feel the spirit? Why am I not happy like I usually am? Why do I feel like I miss me? Why do I not love reading the Book of Mormon anymore? Why do I feel so far removed from Heavenly Father when I just got done spending SO much time with Him?
After a couple of weeks, it started to sink in that because I didn't feel as close to the spirit, I was also feeling guilty for not being perfect. Guilty for not reading my scriptures enough or for 'reading' them instead of 'studying' them. Guilty for saying a 20 second prayer before bed because I was too tired for more. Guilty for being afraid to open my mouth when someone looked like they were having a hard time. Guilty for not being committed enough to my calling, for not making the time to keep up with all of the people I love, for not being to church 10 minutes early and for not staying after to socialize. Guilty for doing or not doing so many of the things that missionary me had promised myself I would never slip up on again. It was frustrating and uncomfortable and completely unproductive.

So instead of remembering what I'd taught so many people on my mission- that we have a Savior who suffered and died to conquer our imperfection with His love- I chose the opposite. I gave up and gave myself permission to not feel bad about it anymore. I stopped reading my scriptures. I stopped praying. I left church after Sacrament Meeting. And I didn't care. I figured it wouldn't matter. "Everyone gets to this point eventually. This is just where I figure out what I really believe", I thought. But what I didn't realize was that, while I was dinking around, 'figuring out' what I already knew, things were changing in ways that I never would've thought they would. Or would've wanted them to...

I started to get more cynical and apathetic. When something difficult happened, I chose anger because it was easier than feeling sad. I stopped crying. I was confused about everything. People weren't as happy to be around me anymore. I didn't get as many opportunities to help my family or friends with their struggles because I was always talking about mine. And more than anything, I didn't understand how Kelli Eddington, the person I'd, for the most part, always been so proud to be, could have gotten to this point. I was embarrassed and lonely and unhappy.

Ok, pause for a second. When I moved into my Provo singles ward, I was called to be on the service committee. I wasn't thrilled at the idea of getting a calling considering my situation- I felt sort of hypocritical pretending everything was ok when it wasn't, especially with the added pressure of magnifying a calling. People would be counting on me and I wasn't sure I'd be able to follow through. We decided to go to a care facility nearby to spend time with the residents there for our first activity and, remember this was cynical, grumpy me, so mostly I was just kind of ready to get it over with. The morning came, I tried hard to be positive, spend the hour there and get on with the day. We got there and they were playing Bingo. "I can sit and play Bingo. No big deal."

BUT GUESS WHAT. IT CHANGED MY LIFE, PEOPLE. How crazy does that sound? Not the Bingo part (although, I DID win a few rounds...). The part where we talked and laughed with so many amazing people, who we never would've met otherwise and I felt Heavenly Father's love for the first time in a long time. I felt like me again :D (Not even gradually either, it was like BAM. Kelli's back.) I watched the residents' faces light up, felt my own do the same, and all of a sudden, I remembered what I'd known all along. The joy comes when you accept His love and let it reflect through you. I was sitting around waiting for spiritual experiences and picking flowers apart, saying "He loves me, He loves me not" when I already knew that He does. I just needed to stand up and do something about it. Anything, really. It's just that, Jesus showed His love for us in His miraculous way, while also reflecting Heavenly Father's love for us. It only makes sense that when we do the same thing for everyone else, we'll be so filled up with His love for us, our love for Him, our love for everyone else, and our love for ourselves that we just won't be able to hardly stand it. Love begets love begets love begets love. Ugh, that's so cool.

Also, guess what comes with feeling His love? Perspective. NOT feeling guilt for being imperfect. Desire to read His word. Desire to talk with Him about how you feel about your life and where He can help you take it. More confidence in your ability to do hard things, including looking outside yourself even when you're afraid, or too busy, or not in the mood. More trust that He can and will do anything for you. More trust that He can and will turn you into gold and make you shine.

I hope you know, this was MY experience. I know it's not the same for everyone. Well, for ANYONE actually, we're all so unique. I hope it was clear that all of these pressures I described were put on me by me and no one else. I hope everyone knows how much my mission changed my life for the better. So much so, in fact, that I'm sure that's why Satan tried to so hard to push me around when I got home.
But I also hope that by sharing my experience, you start to look at yourself with new eyes. With His eyes. Satan likes to be sneaky and he's pretty good at it, too. But falling into his trap doesn't make you a bad person. It just means you're a normal human person, which is definitely something to be proud of. Heavenly Father doesn't send just anyone down here to be one of those, ya know. Just the ones who tell Him they're ready to learn how to be more than that.

So hi, I'm Kelli Eddington. I love my Heavenly Father and Savior. I know they love me. I'm happy. I'm so happy. :) And I'm so excited for a life directed by Them. I'm going to make lots of mistakes. It's going to be hard sometimes. But this depth of peace that I feel is here for good because no matter what happens, I know how the story ends. Jesus wins, and since I'm on His side, I do too :)

Good morniiiiiiiiiing!!!!!

LOVIES,
Kelli

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Just to Clear the Air...

Just because you clam up at a party where you don't know anyone doesn't mean you're socially awkward.

Saying that you like cake doesn't make you a glutton.

Being an introvert doesn't mean you have no friends. And if it does, it doesn't mean you don't like it that way.

Being an extrovert doesn't mean you don't still need a little TLC every once in a while.

Not knowing what you want to do with your life doesn't mean you have no ambition.

Not liking to do the things that happen to be popular at the time doesn't make you lame.

Not liking to read doesn't make you dumb.

Being a really obedient follower doesn't mean you can't also be a really great leader.

Just because you have a particularly obvious talent doesn't mean that's your only talent.

Just because you're not the best in the world at anything doesn't mean you're not good at anything.

Having to go shopping for new clothes because yours are getting a little tight doesn't mean you're fat.

Being a generally happy person doesn't mean you can't have hard days.

Having faith and trust in the Lord doesn't mean you can't ever be afraid. 

LOVIES,
Kelli

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Jesus and Jammies

Disclaimer: This post isn't really a very good example of, "This is how you should pray!" or "This is how you should show your faith!" This is mostly just a, "This is how I tried to do those things when I wasn't at my best even though I know better" because nobody's perfect and we all have our spiritual lulls.

I woke up this morning and was about to get in the shower, when the shower curtain rod fell down. When that's happened to me before, it's been pretty easy to get it back up, but today I was having the hardest time and was getting super frustrated: "Oh my goodness, I don't have time for this", so I knelt down in the tub, in my jammies, and prayed. 


What I expected to be a quick, "Can You please just do this so I'm not late for work?" somehow turned into, "I've been struggling a little bit in my spiritual life lately and this is my chance to show my faith so it'll grow. I KNOW that You can do this and I feel like You will. Could you please?" and I swear I heard, "Finallllly." I'm not really sure why a curtain rod was the moment, but it was.


So I got up from my knees, reached my arm up, and it worked perfectly. It just latched right into place like it did it by itself. I was in awe. Not shock, because I'd hoped it would. But in complete awe of His power and love and concern and care for me. Over something so small! But huge to me. Because I feel like it's been so long since I've seen such an obvious manifestation from Him and I was craving it. It's been my fault. I haven't allowed myself to 'see' Him because I've been distracted by other things, but rather than saying, 'that's too bad', He said, "I can see that you want this, even though you're struggling to want it badly enough. But you do want it and you're trying so here you go" and He showed Himself to me. And it opened my eyes to what I should be doing. Not what I should be doing, what I WANT to be doing. And what I'm missing. Because my life is the happiest when He's the center of it and He hasn't been, but I want Him to be. So I resolved to read my scriptures first today, to enjoy more quiet time, to Jacob 2:17, to listen to primary songs and hymns and learn them by heart, to actually hear people today. It's been working!


The Lord is SO aware. Sometimes we don't find out in obvious ways, but all we have to do is open our hearts and we'll see it. Sometimes He has to pry them open a little because we're failing big time, but when we finally get there, we'll feel it because that's how the Spirit works and He loves us. 


Anyway, Heavenly Father is the BEST. I'm so grateful for His patience and love and care. I'm grateful for dumb curtain rods, and soap-sudsie jammy knees, and quiet, profound mornings. 


LOVIES, 

Kelli 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Dear [Angel]...

We worked in the same office park. I've only ever seen you one time and I'll probably never see you again. In fact, the only thing I remember about you is that you have blonde hair. I don't even know your real name.
Two years ago, I was walking into the main building of Corporate Woods. It was super humid, typical of an Oklahoma summer evening, and I was feeling hideous because I wasn't wearing makeup, my outfit looked like Clinton and Stacy might be hiding in a nearby bush, and my head looked like a chrysanthemum. Plus I was cranky because I had to leave the house right in the middle of The Swan Princess. What a ripoff. Basically, I was gruuuuuumpy. I'd walked into the restroom to make a sorry attempt at fixing my frizz-head and it was going something like this:



I was actually on my way out when you came in. You started to walk past me at first, but then you stopped and said something I'll never forget, "You're so beautiful. I saw you the other day, but I never got the chance to tell you. I just think you're so lovely."

You angel. I wish you knew what that meant to me! Even if I had the opportunity to tell you, you still wouldn't know because to you, they were probably just words. To me, they were an answered prayer. I walked into work after that with a smile where a frown had been not 10 minutes before. To this day, when I'm having a particularly bad hair day or I wish I got braces or I think I need a tan, I think of that muggy summer day and I remember that someone out there thinks I'm lovely just the way I am. You've had a far greater impact than you could have ever imagined.
So, thanks for teaching me that it's ok to compliment strangers. Thanks for teaching me that it's not creepy, it's kind. And thanks for teaching me that every single time I have the chance to do for someone else what you did for me, for heaven's sakes, I'd better.

Love, Kelli

Friday, March 7, 2014

Dear Ashleigh...

A few weeks ago, one of my friends from BYU passed away. Ashleigh and I weren't best friends. In fact, I could probably count our interactions on two hands. But that doesn't at all change the incredible influence she has had on my life. It seems like a lot of times, when we miss someone, we tend to remember only their positive qualities. That's true with Ashleigh too, except in her case, it's only because I never saw a single negative quality in her to remember. Ashleigh is one of the kindest, friendliest, loveliest, most sincere women I have ever met. And not only is that the farthest thing from an exaggeration, but also, I feel like there should be other words invented just to describe her. Those ones don't quite do it. When I first moved into the ward Junior year, Ashleigh was one of the first people to introduce herself. I remember thinking, "This ward won't be so bad. I already have a new friend. :)" She included everyone, just by her smile and loving, happy attitude! I have never met anyone so good at teaching by example.

After Ashleigh passed away, I found myself thinking a lot about how the Lord puts people like her in our lives to teach us things. This life can be haaaaard and most of the time, the Lord's tender mercies come in the form of another person. Then I realized that I let a lot of people pass through my life DAILY without even acknowledging the beauty that they bring to it. That's stupid. Why wouldn't I take the time to be blessed by my blessings...? Um helloooooo.
So, I started paying more attention and let me just say, human beings are probably my new favorite thing. There are so many awesome people EVERYWHERE and I want to tell you about some of them in the next few blog posts :) Some of the posts will be about interactions that literally lasted 20 seconds in passing. Some of the people will have made up names because I never learned their actual ones. But I think the beauty is in the simplicity of it. 

So count this as my first of the "Dear Ashleigh" series. I figured the one who inspired the idea should be the first :)

Dear Ashleigh,

I feel like you must be the person that my young woman's leaders were teaching me to be all of those years. Your humility, love, and kindness shine right through your lovely smile and I'm so thankful for the chance I've had to know you. Thanks for introducing yourself that first day. Thanks for being my friend. :) I love you! 

Love, Kelli