Monday, June 6, 2016

rule of thirds kind of life

Anyone who knows me knows that one of my absolute favorite things in the entire universe are 90's sitcoms. I LOVE them. Boy Meets World, Family Matters, & Sabrina The Teenage Witch anyone?They just don't make shows like they used to (insert cane, old lady voice telling you how when I was little I used to have to walk to school in the snow, uphill both ways! ;) But it's true. They don't. I am only in my 20's and I feel like since I was a teenager EVERYTHING is so, so, SO completely different.
It's got me thinking a lot lately about the world. Like, in the big expanse of everyone on it. And our country. And just, how everything is changing so much, so rapidly. I mean, even in things as small as how different shows are nowadays to the fact that when I graduated high school VERY FEW kids there even had cell phones. If they did they were those candy bar nokia phones or those motorola razors- all they did was call and if you were lucky, you paid 10 cents per text. And most didn't have their own computer-just a shared one in a common room in the house. And that was just 10 years ago. 
Now, EVERYONE has a cell phone- the 5 year old I just babysat had a brand new cell that was an even bigger and more expensive model than my phone. EVERYONE has access to technology in their hands, at all times. It is a wonderful thing to have. So much good is done through these advances. And then there is the other side or the coin-  barely anyone even has face-to-face interaction anymore. Everyone seems to be constantly looking down, at this little glowing box in their hands. Constantly updating. Constantly looking for updates. Constantly posting. Constantly reading. Constantly playing. Constantly liking. Constantly disliking. Constantly sharing.Constantly comparing. Constantly texting, snapping,tweeting, gramming,you name it. It makes me sad. And this is coming from an introvert that very much loves my phone. 
With all the varying information, posts, opinions, etc that I see on a daily basis-it has just gotten me thinking a lot about what we are putting out into the world.
I see so many tutorials on how to contour your face, neck, and even body to look like a completely different person.
I see fashion posts of "I got this top here and these shoes here and this purse here."
I see constant pictures of food. The good, the bad, the in between.
I see constant cries for validation and attention and help.
I see bullying and harassment and hate.
I see confusion and hurt and complaining.
I see useless garbage. Every.Single.Day.
But I also see those who fight for what they believe.
I see love.
I see hope.
I see faith.
I see life and adventure and happiness and goodness.
I love that everyone has differing opinions. It is what makes us human. It is what makes us unique. It is what makes us free.
But I can't stand when opinions are forced on others as fact and arguments and hate ensue. That is useless. It does no good. It is not what having a difference of opinions should mean. You can agree to disagree RESPECTFULLY.  You can be on completely opposite sides and not be able to see another's point of view at all. BUT YOU DO NOT HAVE THE RIGHT TO TAKE AWAY SOMEONE'S HAPPINESS OR FREEDOM OR RIGHTS and treat them unkindly or unfairly.
If you disagree with something someone says, you are not forced to argue or make a degrading comment. Be fair. Be kind. Be wise.
If you get annoyed with an account, unfollow it.
If it makes you feel bad, don't look at it.
If you are constantly comparing and belittling yourself based on someone else's life- DON'T.
Don't compare and analyze and bash. Don't be so concerned on things that don't have value. Looks fade. Money gets spent. Clothes go out of style. 
Let's think more about:
Is it good? Is it uplifting? Does it make you ponder? Inspire? Motivate? Uplift? Make someone laugh or smile?
I get it, BELIEVE ME, I GET IT- life is not a bed of roses. There are so many troubles and trials and hurts. And I am not denying their existence or removing myself from reality, I am not promoting denial.
I am promoting MAGNIFYING THE GOOD. Sharing goodness. Loving others. Loving ourselves. Being positive. Keeping unkind comments to ourselves. Focusing on the good and making others feel worthwhile and hopeful. Sharing things that are worthwhile and that MEAN SOMETHING. 
I love online shopping, tweeting, and instagram as the next person. And I am all about watching and sharing funny memes and cat videos and all the hilarity the internet has to offer. But I believe it is ALL ABOUT BALANCE. And I just know that I never want to be ashamed of what I have left in this world. I don't want it to be useless. I want to make people feel good. I want there to be meaning in my life. I want to actually experience a concert, party, sunset, new place, EVERYTHING- without constantly worrying about getting the perfect shot for instagram.
I want to post a picture solely because it was a good memory and it is a good way to remember it.
I want to not worry about how many likes I get or how many views are racked up.
I don't want to be constantly trying to compete with everyone else on social media in trying to make my life seem perfect one post at a time. I want real. I want meaning. I want goodness. And I intend on contributing to it.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

I dare you to move

Here I am writing this from my hometown, in PA.
I am not in Utah anymore.

Back at the end of February I knew that my lease was ending within a few months, and that I had to be figuring out the next step in my life.
I made the decision to come back home and be around my family and look for some new dream on the east coast.
I was so excited about my decision. I couldn't wait to be within a reasonable distance to all my loved ones.
It all seemed so perfect, with my lease and job ending at the same time, and no prospects for a new job or place to live on the horizon, it seemed like everything was telling me to go.
I prayed about it. I prayed about it a LOT. Every day. And I told the Lord my decision to come back home. I never really felt one way or the other- like I had received a particular answer, like the Lord confirming YES, this was right.  But I never got a NO either. I figured the Lord was telling me to go for it, He would stop me if it wasn't what I was supposed to do. 
I started living my life with my mind constantly on "this isn't permanent, I will be going home soon."
Plans were made, I told everyone I was leaving. My room in my house was rented. My job was ending. My family purchased plane tickets and rented a car to come help me make the 2000 mile move. Everything seemed to be perfect.
But if I am being honest, I always had a bit of a funny feeling deep down about it. I figured it was just anxiousness about the move and fear over the whole "NOW WHAT??" scenario I'd be in again. But I wanted to make sure that I was making the right decision. So I started changing my prayers. I told the Lord that I had decided to move back to PA, and that if that was the wrong decision, I needed Him to stop me, because I had no reason to stay and every reason to go. Or so I thought.
And until mid April (aka 2 weeks before I was supposed to leave), I was positive I had mad the right choice. 
Then I visited the Temple, like I did every Sunday after church while in Utah. That Sunday I chose to go to Temple Square- the first time I had gone in my 6 months in Utah. As I walked around that beautiful, peaceful, perfect building, and sat on a nearby bench taking in its grandeur, I felt such pangs of sadness at the thought of leaving.  I tried my best to brush them aside, because duh I'd be sad, I had loved living in Utah. And who wouldn't be sad leaving such a beautiful place? But my time had run it's course. I had loved it. It was what I needed for those 6 months. Now on to different things. I was ready to be close to my family. I was ready for the east coast again. 
After leaving the Temple grounds I started on the drive down to Riverton to see Al Fox Carraway speak at a fireside. As I drove through downtown Salt Lake, I received the distinct impression, as if it were words coming to my mind that said 
"This isn't your last chapter in Utah." 
I was dumbstruck. And as I continued to drive and look at the mountains and take in the sky, I felt it again, "This isn't your last chapter in Utah." Again and again it came to me on the entire drive. I was becoming frustrated and I just tried to shut out my thoughts.
As I listened to Al speak, I could barely keep myself from falling apart. She told her story of how she was converted, and received the impression to move to Utah. She spoke of how hard it was for her (she's an east coast native, like me). She said how much she didn't understand it or really want to do it. But she also said how RIGHT it was and that she knew that's what she needed to do. Even if it didn't make sense. Even if it wasn't what she wanted. Even if  NO ONE else (including her) understood why she was doing it, she knew she needed to go. I was holding back sobs the entire time. Like, I'm talking the ugly, uncontrollable, makeup all over, red face, hysteric kind. I kept thinking "Is this your answer Heavenly Father? Is this you stopping me? Is this you telling me I need to be here???"
After the fireside I couldn't get to my car fast enough. As soon as I started to drive away, I began to pray, telling Heavenly Father that I was all set to go. I didn't have a place to live anymore. I didn't have a job anymore. Tickets were purchased. Plans were made. I wanted my family. I wanted to be on the east coast. Period. 
"WHY ARE YOU TELLING ME THIS NOW??" I practically shouted, sobbing uncontrollably. WHY? WHY? I DON'T UNDERSTAND! And I continued to tell Him all the reasons I needed to go. 
I didn't really get any peace. I didn't feel better. And for the next two weeks, my last days in Utah, I tried convincing myself that moving was the right thing to do. And I continued to tell myself that over and over again as I drove the 2000 miles home.
Life doesn't make sense at all to me right now. I have no idea what I am doing. I feel guilty all the time because all I can think about doing is leaving. And no one will understand that. And they will be upset at my leaving. But it's what I know deep in my heart is right. And because now, it is what I want to do. It messes with all my plans. It makes no sense. And I have absolutely no idea how I am going to make it happen, or when, or anything. But I do know one thing: Heavenly Father answers prayers. And they never seem to be in the way you think they should or would be. But I know that everything He does is for my eternal good and happiness. 
I know that I can trust Him and that He understands perfectly why He needs me where He does. I know that He is patient and loving and forgiving, even when I am stubborn and make choices that I shouldn't. Even when I lack faith. 
He loves me still
And that, is all I need to know right now.

Friday, June 3, 2016

words meet heartbeats

My awesome shirt I designed & is for sale in my shop- The Prints & Me

As much as I resist change- I need it. 
And i figured it was time to make a change around here. 
I started 'Miss Kenzie's Musings' over 4 years ago with BIG plans for my little space here. I wanted sponsored posts, tons of readers, high page views, etc.
Then the more I had my blog the more I realized I didn't want any of that- what I really want is what is REAL. HONEST. RAW. 
I don't want an endless stream of meaningless babble and money making posts that just pollutes the internet. It's meaningless. It isn't real life. Most of the time it is destructive and harmful because we all judge ourselves by these perfectly primped social media posts that make skin,bodies, hair, and life itself look perfect, and we wonder- what is wrong with me? Why don't I look like that? Why is their life so perfect? How do they have such a perfect house? How do they have such perfect hair? How do they afford to travel so much? Don't they ever even get a pimple? And so on and so on in a horrible comparison cycle that doesn't do anything or anyone any good.
I don't care if I get 1 page view a day. I don't care if I don't have thousands of followers. 
I do care about what I am putting out into the world. I want my blog to be absolutely real and from the heart. I want it to be relatable. I want it to be a little corner of awesomeness. 
This is where I am reminded to make my Words Meet Heartbeats.
I want what's in my heart to be what I say and what I do. In every aspect of my life. And this is where it starts.
Words Meet Heartbeats
(title inspired by this amazing Parachute song)

Sunday, March 27, 2016

He Lives

"I know that my Redeemer lives
What comfort this sweet sentence gives
He lives, He lives who once was dead
He lives, my ever living Head"

Words cannot describe how much I love my Savior, Jesus Christ.  Even though I am 2000 miles away from my family this Easter Sabbath, I woke up with such a feeling of gratitude and joy when I started thinking about Him, and all that He did for me, and all that He continues to STILL do for me.

Because of Him, my broken heart has been healed.
Because of Him, the regrets that I have about my past vanish.
Because of Him I can have a clean slate every day.
Because of Him, I can be with family forever.
Because of Him I have a family.
Because of Him, no 'Friday' of my life will ever be permanent. Sunday WILL come.
Because of Him hope is possible, I have a reason to hope,always. He is the reason.
Because of Him death is not the end. There is not such thing as the end.
Because of Him I can receive answers to prayers.
Because of Him I am NEVER alone.
Because of Him we all will be resurrected.
Because of Him, I have someone with a constant, steady, never wavering, never lessening, unconditional love for me. Even when I do not deserve it. He is that love.
Because of Him I can keep going, even when I don't want to and don't think I can.
Because of Him I live, I walk, I talk, I hear, I see, I enjoy this beautiful Earth.
Because of Him I know there is a reason for everything. A purpose in pain. A reason to keep living, keep trying, keep trusting. Him.

"He lives
All Glory to His name.
He lives, my Savior, still the same
Oh sweet the joy this sentence gives
I know that my Redeemer lives"

Monday, March 21, 2016

Walking in the Wind

It's been a bit since I've updated about my life in Utah.
I think the best way to do that is to let the pictures speak for themselves. Not that they are anything spectacular- they are just phone shots of some pretty awesome places I've been.

I spent A LOT of times at Temples. From Mt. Timpanagos, to Ogden, to Bountiful, to Oquirrh Mountain, to Draper, to Payson and so many others. I just love them and can't get enough. And in my drives I find some other pretty places. And this new, warm, sunny spring air makes me feel alive. I have been craving travel and adventure and filling my free time with exploring. It's pretty fantastical.

God sure has given us some pretty amazing sights and blessings on this earth. I never thought I'd love Utah so much.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

I can't decide

When I was about 20 or 21, I had a decision to make. A decision involving a boy. I had to decide to either pursue a relationship with him, and wait for him (despite the time, distance, and unsurety), or simply put, to not wait and pursue other things.
I have grown up a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I have been taught ever since I can remember about prayer, and that God answers prays. I never had any real problem receiving answers before. And I thought this was no exception. I don't remember an absolute specific time asking the Lord if it was right to wait for him. But he was a good guy, a priesthood holder, a best friend of mine, that I truly loved at that point in my life. It seemed like an obvious answer- DUH, wait for him. He could be your eternal companion, yo!
So wait I did. And I waited faithfully. I remember my mom saying she was worried that I was missing out on opportunities because of him, but I staunchly denied that and recommitted to my patience, and my waiting, thinking FOR SURE I was doing the right thing.
When he returned home, I thought, THIS was it. I really felt like my prayers were answered. I remember sitting next to him the day after he got back as we were eating dinner with his family, and without my asking for it, I just received SUCH a strong impression that I was sitting next to my future husband. It was such a peaceful and happy feeling, and I was sure that it was a very clear confirmation that I had chosen correctly- that I had followed the Lord's will in waiting for him, that it was right.
Fast forward 4 months to me collapsing on the stairs in my house sobbing uncontrollably, feeling literally broken from the inside out. This boy had chosen not to be with me. I had been wrong in waiting.
I'm not trying to turn this into a pity fest or a sob story, but it serves as a necessary background to what I've been thinking a lot about ever since that day, every time I make a decision- and there have been a LOT of big decisions since that time in my life. I have struggled since that day to come to grips with my choice.

Did I really make the right choice? 
Was the Lord telling me no all along and I just ignored Him?
Had I really received the answer I thought I had to that prayer?And if I did- WHY had it turned out that way? 
Why was I left with nothing? 
Why didn't it turn out like it was 'supposed' to?
 Did he receive the same answer I did and just chose differently? 
Or was it me that had received an answer and chosen differently? 

I had prayed so much, exercised so much faith, put in so much trust and hope and work. Needless to say, that experience absolutely bewildered me and shook me to the core. I didn't know if Heavenly Father really answered prayers anymore. I didn't think He heard me. I didn't have faith in the process of prayer anymore.
Since then, in the almost 5 years since that happened, I have been haunted by that experience more than I have realized. It took me years to realize how little trust I had in getting answers to prayers anymore. I thought as my heart healed, and as I regained my faith that had been broken, that the whole answers to prayer thing would just heal too. But every time I have had to make life decisions, it haunts me, and it has taken me all this time to REALLY come to grips with it.
I was talking to my mom on the phone about a big decision I have in my life right now. And she said to me 
"McKenzie, you need to trust. You trust the Lord, which is wonderful and right, but you need to trust YOURSELF too."
It hit me, hard. I don't trust myself when I make decisions, even when I am prayerful about them. Which I am, ALL the time. I never make a big decision without the Lord. But even when I feel like He has given me a "yes," I doubt it. In the back of my mind I think back to the "yes" I thought I had gotten before, and how horribly that turned out. And it paralyzes me. And I doubt my decision. Even with a feeling of "yes" from the Lord it truly is rare for me to feel ALL IN about something. I analyze it OH so much. I take away the peace that should be mine. I have so much anxiety.

But, it is teaching me so much. Even as I write this I am getting clarity. I truly believe that those years ago, I did get a yes. Why wouldn't it have been? That was the ideal. If that boy had acted according to correct principles, and not out of fear, and been the man he was supposed to be, there was every reason in the world we would have been wonderful together if he had kept choosing the right. It could have been a yes.

But that's just it. You can't force people. God doesn't force people. He doesn't make you choose the right, even if it effects someone else's life- like his choice effected and even changed mine. I learned a very crucial and difficult lesson because of that. It may not have been fair, BUT it was what I needed.  

And now, I see that it is for the best that the whole situation with him turned out the way it did. And I am grateful that because of that experience, I have changed 1000%. Most of the time I feel like I don't even know that girl from those years ago. 
I may still have lingering doubts and difficulties with receiving answers to prayers but it comes down to this-
All of them. Every single last one.
Whether it is with a yes
not now
or silence for a time.
Prayers ARE answered. Because He loves us. Absolutely and perfectly. He wants to lead and guide and help and answer. Our part is to decide, to pray,and to move forward TRUSTING that He will answer in one way, at one time or another. That NO MATTER WHAT IT WILL BE OKAY. No matter how it turns out. 
Hold to hope, pray unceasingly, & trust in His will, timing, and plan.

Sunday, March 13, 2016


Last month my little sister came out to Utah to visit me for her birthday! She was only here a few days but I can say it was the best few days I have spent in Utah, hands down. She's my bff and I miss her so much! No one really understands how close we are. We have been inseparable ever since starting homeschool together 11 (YIPE!) years ago.  We just have done everything together for the last decade+. We have been a constant in each other's lives while other friends have faded, moved, gotten married, etc. So it was SO super hard to say goodbye to her when I moved here almost 5 months ago!

I am SO grateful that she got to come visit. My roommates asked me what I planned for us, and most of our plans, to be honest, revolved around food. HAHA! So many yummy places out here that aren't back east. We were reunited with Kneaders, fell DEEPLY in love with Fiiz, devoured pizza at The Pie, nibbled on Yogurtland, and more. Such a yummy, gluttonous few days. We were seriously sick by the end haha.

In between eating we explored and I got to show her some places I have been wanting to since I've come out here. We went to The District and caught a movie, saw the UP house in Herriman, took in the Bountiful and Ogden Temples, saw The Finest Hours (SO GOOD) at Station Park which she fell in love with like I have. We projected some quality chick flicks and disney movies on a screen at my house while we savored Fiiz and pizza, and more. It was just all so perfect and we had SO much fun! Take me back! It was incredibly hard to put her on a plane to fly back home.
When I moved out here, and had to drop my mom off at the airport and hug her goodbye, I think the Lord was seriously shielding me from the sadness and fear I could have been experiencing. I was just so happy to be starting my adventure and excited for the possibilities. I didn't really feel anything, because it didn't feel real.

But since then I have had the some of the hardest days I never knew were coming. I have felt absolute, thick & gripping loneliness that has gripped me so hard at times that sometimes I feel like I will lose my mind. There have been many solo trips to the movies, to grab food, go shopping, church events, etc, many days and nights spent alone.Because of these experiences, I had a very different time this trip to the airport. I barely pulled away before I burst into tears. The feeling of utter and completely loneliness was staring me in the face and I didn't want any part of it. I knew what was waiting for me this time. There was no naiveté.

I am so grateful that even though I can feel and be completely and utterly alone, I never truly am. Heavenly Father and His Son live. They are there. They have been my comfort, solace, and Best Friends this whole time. I am grateful I can pray and receive comfort and peace, and a feeling of love that takes over, even in the dark, lonely times.

I am so grateful my family that God has given me. I don't think I could ever fully express how much they all mean to me. I am SO,SO,SO blessed. And I am so grateful for a little sister that has been my sidekick all these years. It was so wonderful to have her visit and celebrate her being alive for 25 awesome years! Heaven knows I needed her all this time, and this amazing visit.