Sierra's View: September 2011

BlogHer Header

Monday, September 26, 2011

Dane Everett Michels

Welcome to this world, newest nephew!
Dane Everett Michels
I am so sad I have not been able to meet you. 
I hear you brought my sister, your mother, quite the labor.
Let's give her an easier next few weeks, okay?
You will be a Mama's boy. Just warning.
But when yo're 16 and want to run away from home, you can call your cool aunt Sisi and I'll be there. 
 (I'll probably still be single.)
Born on Sep. 22, 2011. 
  8lb 12 oz, and a whole lotta cheeks. (You're an Ainge. It was bound to happen)
Welcome to the family. :)
Congratulations Mckenna and Paul! He is beautiful. 

How precious is that?
I love being an aunt. 
That's six grandkids now. 
I need to get on it. 

Sunday, September 25, 2011


I was bombarded with food poisoning 3 am Saturday morning.
I have been lucky enough to never have this kind of experience.
Until now.
And let me tell you, it is not fun.
It's been a hard couple of days. Being sick is absolutely dreadful. Especially when having to miss your LDC retreat. I was looking forward to it so much.

For anyone, dealing with illness is never fun. However, for the past couple of days I have been on my knees (metaphorically speaking, of course, because my stomach has been in agony when in any other position than lying down) trying to get some answers in the meantime. Praying to heal me from this awful pain was the first blessing I had hoped to receive from Him.

My whole life, I have questioned this idea of whether I was getting answers to prayers from my own mind-- my own idealistic self-- or if it was the Savior answering. I have had serious questions that I needed answers to and I believed I received that peaceful confirmation. However, once I followed that feeling I had received, the outcome seemed to only turn out negative. Which then had me question whether or not I was truly receiving revelation from Him or if I was being a mere mortal making more mistakes (5 points for alliteration).

A part of me questions whether or not I am even worthy or special enough to receive that revelation. And then today, I pulled myself out of bed and attended sacrament. I felt as though I needed to go.  By no coincidence at all, at church, a quote was read. 
"Now I say that we are entitled to revelation. I say that every member of the Church, independent and irrespective of any position that he may hold, is entitled to get revelation from the Holy Ghost; he is entitled to entertain angels; he is entitled to view the visions of eternity; and if we would like to go the full measure, he is entitled to see God the same way that any prophet in literal and actual reality has." 
Bruce R. Mcconkie 1980 New Era Article
 One of the biggest issues of this time is the fact that we believe we should be entitled to so many things. Children believe that they should receive an Ipod or a cell phone at age 12 because every one else has one. We believe we are entitled to certain things because "it's fair." And this thinking is wrong. However, it is so interesting to me  that in this circumstance, we are ENTITLED to revelation. Being a worthy, honest, member of this church ultimately allows me to receive those answers that I find I am begging for on a constant basis. How comforting is to know, that I AM receiving revelation. And that it is not just my idealistic mind. 

The gospel has never come easy to me. I can attest to you that I know, without a doubt in my mind, that I believe in the Lord. My testimony is unshakable. And I have only been blessed by being a member. But there are certain aspects that have been difficult for me. Receiving revelation is one of them. I am naturally a very spiritual person. I feel things very strongly. My relationship with the Savior is pretty strong. It is not perfect by any means, but it is solid. 

So, with that being said, I had a realization today. (I love realizations--perspective brings such comfort). Another lesson was learned: the answers I receive from Him are real. And the negative experiences that appear after that answer are SUPPOSED to be hard. The Savior has given me that response so that I can learn from that confirmation. Just because He gave me an answer, doesn't necessarily mean it's the easy answer. He knows what is best for me. More importantly, He knows what I need to learn. When the Savior comforts us and gives a direction to go, He is not lying to you. It really is going to be okay because He gave me that "yes." 

And through those extremely difficult times (such as this weekend...and fairly often it seems to be recently), revelation can occur, no matter how you are feeling. Elder Holland has said, "You can have sacred, revelatory, profoundly instructive experience with the Lord in the most miserable experiences of your life — in the worst settings, while enduring the most painful injustices, when facing the most insurmountable odds and opposition you have ever faced."

The Lord is answering you; you just need to trust yourself (and Him) that things will turn out okay. Praying with "real intent" really means intending to hear the response and actually doing what the Lord wants us to do. A majority of the time, you make the decision on your own and the Lord will confirm it. Faith is action--that He has responded to us, and as long as you continue to trust, the Lord will bless you. Even if those times when the answer He has given you does not make any sense. 

We need to remember: If it matters to you, it matters to Heavenly Father. He is our biggest fan and wants us to succeed. He will answer. Just trust your instincts. He will step in if He feels He needs to. 

P.S. LDC called me when I was dying on my couch yesterday and yelled an screamed for me to get better. How wonderful are they? I love my second family. 
Also, my mother put me on the prayer list yesterday at the temple (she may or may not continue to put me on it recently ha). Hours later, I was feeling better. Not perfect, but nausea had dissipated minimally. Funny how that works.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Some people come into your lives as blessings. Others come in your life as lessons. 

Monday, September 19, 2011

It's Okay.

I was doing my daily 3-4 mile walk/run (okay so maybe only 4 times a week...but you get the point) and it was just perfect for some reason.
It was 68-70 degrees and sunny.
An ideal temperature, in my opinion.
Everyone was out and about getting ready for the BYU/Utah football game (I don't want to talk about it).
Kids were playing in the streets, pre teen boys were mowing the lawn (that's some good parenting!), college students were driving by with loud music and BYU signs, adults were getting their BBQ's heated up.
I walked past many fields and I was instantly hit with a wave of nostalgia. That smell of a soccer field brings back so many memories. Lacrosse games, soccer games as a child, football games in high school. That distinct smell of fresh mowed grass, the sun beaming was just fantastic. I can sense Fall coming.
And I actually kind of like that feeling.
Warm sweaters. Apple Cider. Corn Mazes. Cuddling in blankets. I can most definitely wait for winter--but I thoroughly enjoy Fall.

I passed a particular house that I walk by every day. (I'll take a picture of it one of these days). If I am forced to live in Provo, Utah for the rest of my life (I sure hope I'm not) I WILL move into that house. I have seen many houses like it before. In fact, I have seen similar houses with far better scenery, location, and city. But for some unimaginable reason, I am drawn towards it.
Maybe it's because whenever I pass it, I am reminded of all the enlightened thinking that has occurred on these enjoyable work outs.

As I am recalling all of this, I can't help but reminisce. I'm such a dreamer, I know. But as I was looking around and past my ideal house, I realized something.
That things really aren't that bad, even when we think they are.

It's frustrating to deal with emotions that range on a daily basis.
There, I said it.

I am one of the most social people I know.
And yet, there are days when I want to hibernate in a hole.
Half of me wants to go out and socialize--be the light of the party.
And the other half wants to not talk to anybody for days. It's a total catch 22.
My head and heart are completely caught off guard.
But, on those days (or weeks) when things seem to slowly dissipate into a deep crevice of destruction, I have been reminding myself something...that it really is okay.
It's all going to be okay.

I think we all need to remind ourselves that sometimes.
That things really will be just fine.
Most of the time, the best way to ultimately receive happiness, is to MAKE happiness. In order to make happiness, we need to be proactive. This includes positive thinking, priorities put in order, and most commonly, putting a smile on your face even when you don't feel like it.
Life is not always going to be peachy.
There will be days when it seems quite grim, actually.
But we (I) need to remind myself:
It's going to be okay. I'm going to be okay.
Because lightning never strikes in the same place twice.

P.S. My dear friend, Erin sent me this text seconds ago: "You're beautiful. I don't know why sadness just comes sometimes. But you are becoming something very special because of it."
Perfect, huh? Just what I needed.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Twenty One.

Last weekend was my 21st birthday!
Can you believe it?
Guess this means I have to grow up now. Meh.
My roommates treated me to the RASCAL FLATTS CONCERT (Thanks Mer and Chels!) on Friday. Sara Evans opened for them. The concert was perfect. I swear, there is nothing better than a outdoor, country concert in the summer. I was so lucky to have that opportunity (even though we were stopped in traffic for 2 hours on the way home. I hate utah traffic.) It was so much fun! And they were so good live.
On Saturday, I had a birthday party at my apartment. One of my biggest fears is having a birthday party and then not having anyone show up. Luckily, that was not the case. It was so fun to have people come over and dance the night away.
Thank you to all of those who came out and who wished me a Happy Birthday!
Below are pictures from the concert and the party (in no particular order).
Here's to another year...

Monday, September 12, 2011

Whole Hearted.

Do you have ever days (weeks, in my case) where you wish you could consistently change the way you solve your issues?
Do you ever wish you could change the way you react?

Or is that just me?
Sometimes I get so frustrated with myself.
Sometimes I get so frustrated with others.

Yes, I know, I've heard it all...
"You are wonderful despite your weaknesses."
"Your weaknesses are what make you the wonderful person that you are!"
"How you react is what makes you YOU."
And yes, I KNOW that I have so many wonderful qualities.
I am a very confident person. I have gone through a lot of trials to get where I am today. I wouldn't take those trials back for anything. I am proud of who I am. I know I'm a daughter of God.

However, these past couple of week was one of those weekends where I wish I didn't CARE SO MUCH.
My father once said to me, "Yes. You feel low a lot of time, but you also know the true joys. You experience so much joy Sierra. Not many people get to experience the lows AND highs like you do."

One of my all time favorite quotes:
"Where ever you go; go with all your heart."
And believe me, I do just that. But sometimes this is what frustrates me.
Because I don't do ANYTHING half hearted, I always end up getting let down by others.
Because I do everything with all of my heart, I tend to care too much.
You might say, no no one can cares too much.
But I assure you, I have done it.
And I have learned that this caring, this loyalty, this love I feel for others often is never reciprocated. Their lack of commitment (mostly in friendships) always leads me to feeling alone.

I don't mean to be all emo. I have so many wonderful people in my life who have blessed it. But I also feel alone in my efforts.

So fellow bloggers, I need some advice.
How do I continue on my "whole heartedness" way without getting frustrated with others (or myself) for their lack of reciprocation?
I've been trying to figure out.
I may or may not be a little slow.
Help me out.


Sunday, September 11, 2011

Ten years.

Thinking of those who have lost loved ones.
Thinking of where I was, as a little sixth grader, on 9/11/2001.
Thinking of all the lessons I have learned from this experience.
Thinking how proud I am to be an American.
Feeling all sorts of emotion: anger, hurt, sadness, worry, pride (the good kind), trust in the Savior, peace, etc.
Praying for all those who are hurting!

Where were YOU when the world stopped turning, on that September day?

Monday, September 5, 2011


I recently have been bombarded with this idea of Expectations. The word just sounds complicated, doesn't it?
It seems so easy for me to expect something so magnificent out of people, more especially, the ones that I hold closest to my heart. But here's the funny thing: I never thought that I expected that much out of people. Yet, through many recent encounters and conversations with others, I have found that I do expect something in fact, MAGNIFICENT, from people. Because I expect people to be a loyal friend 100 percent of the time. I expect people to drop anything when I am in need. I expect family and friends to listen to my insight, my instincts, my thoughts, and take them into consideration. Here's the catch though: they rarely do. We are humans. And no matter how much we try, we will always let each other down. People cannot do those things all of the time. We are not perfect. So why do I expect them to be?

With a lot of my relationships, I tend to end up feeling hurt, betrayed, and lonely. Why? Because I feel like I would do those specific things for the ones that I love wholeheartedly. And those feelings rarely feel reciprocated.

My "family psychologist..." Actually you know what, let's just be frank: my therapist. Yep. I said it. That scary person; that scary thought. You can call it what you want...they all ultimately do the same thing, though: Help you to recognize your issues, help you realize WHY you have those issues or why you feel that way that you do. Then, they help you with coping mechanisms to fix those problems that somehow we subconsciously cannot figure out on our own. I truly believe every body should see a therapist at least once in their life. I can't even tell you how many realizations I have had while sitting there talking. There is something about speaking out loud to a third party that has absolutely no say in the particular matter (She's the Man. Quote it!) ...but that is a whole other blog post.

Anyway, With all of my jumbled thoughts and emotions, an epiphany occurred (while in that title-that-must-not-be named (therapist) office). My expectations that I have for those people only allows me to realize what I NEED to work on. Just because they don't live up to my expectations, doesn't mean that they are bad people or bad friends. We each have our own expectations of others. And I need to realize that those expectations may not always be met by others, but I can meet them in my own life. Putting friends and family first over a silly boy. Putting school in front of a mundane activity. Being loyal when push comes to shove--Those are things that I can work on...who cares if others do not?

I recently read a story about how the Savior is our gardener. He cuts us down in order to replenish our nutrients, to ultimately allow us to keep growing larger. But sometimes, when the Lord cuts us down, we plead:
“How could you do this to me? I was making such wonderful growth. … And now you have cut me down. How could you do this to me?"
Yet, If we sincerely desire and strive to measure up to the high expectations of our Heavenly Father, He will ensure that we receive all the help we need, whether it be comforting, strengthening, or chastening." We won't need to ask why. The growth that will come later will be quite apparent because of his EXPECTATIONS for us.

It's a funny thing about trying to become more like Christ. He has expectations for us because he KNOWS we are capable of doing certain things. He allows us to face these trials, to sit on the floor sobbing, to get our feelings hurt because he EXPECTS us to turn to him and ultimately grow. How amazing that my intrinsic ability to have high expectations of others is something that the Savior does for us. He sets the bar high, because He knows we are able to jump over it with a little practice. I put the bar up for my friends and family to jump, because I, myself, my silly mortal self, knows they are able to jump.

I expect these basic needs(magnificent or not--to each his own) to be met from friends because I love them. Because I want them to succeed. Because I want our relationship to strengthen. I subconsciously set these expectations because I, as well, need to learn something.

Also, I need to lower my expectations of other people. I know that sounds terrible. But people's behaviors are not going to change just because I want them to. I cannot change my best friends' decisions. I cannot make my parents automatically change the way they function this late in the game. What I need to do is allow them to be who they are. Encourage them and be their advocate, but don't necessarily be their cheerleader along the way.

I care too much. It's a blessing, but currently it has been a curse. Caring just means that I love enormously. And I do. But this high level of caring correlates with my high level of expectations of other people. People will always let you down. I don't mean to be negative, but it's the truth. Our expectations of one another sometimes are idealistic (at least mine are) and unrealistic. But understanding that when those expectations aren't meant, it does not mean they are intentionally hurting you. You love them for who they are. You allow them to grow on their own.
Because that's what the Savior does. Think of how many times we have let HIM down. He has all these wonderful things for us, and we are constantly doing dumb, immoral things. Does this mean He loves us any less? Of course not. It just means that he is going to pick us up off the ground, slap us across the face (eh maybe not slap ha) and send us on our way; only better and stronger this time.

Because HIS expectations are perfect. We are not. And we cannot expect others' behaviors to be either.