Friday, April 26, 2013

A testimony of a smile

I feel compelled to write this memory down so that one day I will read back and remember how our happiness can affect those around us.

A month or so ago, I went to a bar with some of my classmates. We sat around talking and eating half priced say I felt good about it, is an understatement. I was truly happy in the moment and talked until the moment we decided to part ways. As we were walking out of the restaurant, there was a  huge glass display sitting to the right.  Inside the glass display was a GIANT cake, it was huge! As we all began to stare at the cake, a worker noticed and told us that if we could guess how much the cake weighed he would give us a free cupcake.  Everyone put in their guesses and everyone got rejected. Finally, he unveiled the number...25 lbs! We all laughed as we thought back to our guesses and started to turn and walk out. Suddenly, the worker looked right at me and said, "You have the most beautiful smile. Don't you ever lose that smile...I noticed it all night long." I felt all the blood rush into my face literally a half second after he complimented me. I thanked him and walked away in shock as I thought about all of the beautiful girls I was with who each had bigger, whiter, straighter teeth than I had.

Second memory...

A few weeks ago I went to Walmart.  I was leisurely walking down every aisle (like normal) when I finally made it to get some eggs. Another gentleman walked up at the same time so I stood and waited my turn (and apparently I was smiling).  The man grabbed his eggs and then turned to me and said in an accent, "You have a great smile. Girls don't smile anymore these days. You should always smile." I thanked him and asked him where he was from. He had recently moved to Vegas from South Africa and we continued to chat for a second and then he shook my hand and walked away.

Last memory...

Last week I went to a country dancing bar with a few friends.  It was a little chilly out and we all stood in line waiting to get our ID's checked while taking a few pictures.  The bouncer started to check ID's and let two of my friend's in.  He then got to my ID, looked at my picture, then up at me then back to my picture. He replied, "You have a very nice, big smile." I thanked him and went inside to go dance.

Why do I care to remember these experiences? I have never felt very great about my smile. Before I got braces I never smiled with my teeth and once I got them off I did much more but I was the token person that people were "intimidated" of because I walked around school not smiling and not even realizing it. I have never looked in the mirror and thought that I had an amazing smile but, let this be proof, don't ever hold back your smile.

Live where you are and be happy.

Remember that one time I was really into blogging? Yeah, me too...sometimes I feel sad that I am not as good as I used to be. I have always loved looking back on memories and lessons I have learned-they are great reminders, empowering, and remind me of the places I've been.

It's April 26th..11 months ago I made one of the biggest decisions of my life and drove my little VW bug up to Las Vegas to move in with two girls I had never met before. I was excited, nervous, anxious, happy, name the emotion, I felt it. These last 11 months have been a journey for sure. I have grown in ways that I couldn't have imagined. I have made mistakes that have hurt my heart more than I ever knew. I have become part of such a big, special family here in Las Vegas. I have chosen to be who I want to be each day.

To say that it has been rough to be away from my family and friends would be an understatement. I miss them every day and wish I could be there at the snap of my fingers, but I have learned something great while being up here in Vegas--Live where you are and be happy. Do I have my sad moments? Yes. Do I long for home every once in a while? Of course. I have never been happy with where I am at in life up until this point. It amazes me to realize that it simply could be a choice I made to be happy.  I used to have an inner struggle where I told myself 'I would be happy when...' but I have come to realize that I can be happy now! It doesn't matter what people say about you. It doesn't matter what people think about can be happy!

Annnnd, that's my soapbox for the day.



Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Where has the time gone?

It has been months since I took the time to sit down and think to myself and then write about it. Last semester was such a whirlwind. I experienced all sort of emotions--extreme happiness for starting a new chapter of my life, sadness and loneliness from being away from my incredible family, stress and incompetency from school and church. You name an emotion, I felt it. But, I have grown so much since I have been here. I have grown in ways that I didn't expect myself to.

This journey that I am on has made me feel unsure about myself. Unsure if I am capable of what lies ahead, unsure of where I will end up in my future, unsure of if I am cut out for this program. Then I look at the people in my program that surround me; they are my family. They have been there for me every step of the way and I thank God every single day that I have such a close knit bunch to hang out with for wayyyy too long every day :)

The bottom line is that there are blessings everywhere in our lives. Even though we might find ourselves in an unideal situation, if you look closely you will see the silver lining. I am truly blessed and I never want to forget that.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Life happens.

I have been back to school for over a month now. It is surreal how fast and slow time can move at the same time. I look back to the lack of summer that I had due to school.  I think of being with my family for two weeks and loving every minute of it. Then...I came back to Vegas.  I got settled in and got started back with school and life went on. I hate to admit it, but I felt alone, lost, and confused. I discovered that "home" is truly where your heart is.

School became a chore. All I wanted was to be with my family and I couldn't do that if I was here in Vegas trying to pursue my dream. This feeling started rolling into every aspect of my life. The once strong, independent girl that moved out to embark on adventures of her own personal journey was fading quickly under all of the pressure.  Life became too hard to bear and so, instead of caring I became numb to every situation in my life.

As the weeks have gone on I have battled through every obstacle and even though it has gotten better, it has been a struggle. It has felt as though one thing has piled on top of the other and my legs are getting tired from treading water for so long. There have been glimpses of light in the cracks along the way but as soon as I see it, it quickly fades into the darkness. I tried to start planning the rest of my life under all of the pressure of school while keeping everyone else's plans in mind.  I was making decisions for myself to plan the rest of my life out and then I got a huge reality check. Monday I received the email I never expected. It told me that I would not be receiving an email for the next 9 months and told me that I shouldn't write them either. After having thought I had been numb to this situation I was in for the last 4 months when I stopped getting as many emails, I realized that this was not the case and that my heart was broken.

Life happens.  It happens whether you are making choices that will bring you happiness or choices that will bring you sorrow. It happens whether you want it to or you don't. It happens whether or not you have a plan for yourself. At this point in my life I have come to realize some of the most precious principles through the loneliness and sadness that I have felt.

1. Happiness is a choice. "Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light." -Dumbledore

2. No matter what choices you have made, God will continue to love you. He knows your name, he knows YOU better than you know yourself.

3. The choices you make always have consequences, whether they are good or bad.

I know that through my Heavenly Father and His son I can be made whole. I know this truth through and through, but it takes time. So, instead of making plans for my life based on everyone else's plans,  I am going to trust in God and know that I will be taken care of through the pain, sadness, and sorrows--one day I will feel whole again.

Friday, August 17, 2012

A Woman of Kindness

Today we headed to Scottsdale for sister's birthday to do a little shopping.  We headed out to make it to a few stores and hitting up Sprinkles cupcake store before heading back.

As we walked out of the cupcake store we were approached by a homeless man on a bicycle.  As I began hearing his story, I immediately turned off my ears and began fidgeting around on my phone thinking that my mom and sister would do the same.  This was not the case.  I stood there for a moment more to realize that my mom had been intently listening to this man. I was taken back at first but when I listened to their conversation.  I looked up to that man on the bike.  He had tanned, leathery skin, long greyish hair, and you could tell his clothes needed a good washing.  He didn't ask for money, in fact, all he wanted was information about a church that would be able to help him and his wife who had no where to go.  I watched my mom and her actions will never be erased from my memory.  She opened up her purse, took out a $20 and extended her arm in his direction.  His response probably surprised me even more so than my mom's.  He immediately responded, "Oh, no I can't take that. I wasn't expecting any money." Her big, green eyes welled up with tears as she pushed the money toward him once again.  She responded, "I know, I want to give this to you." The man reached his hand out and took the money and replied, "What is your name?" "Linda," she responded. "I'm Patrick. I sure am glad I was guided toward you. Thank you, Linda."

With that, my mom turned around and headed toward the car.  Tears streamed down her cheeks.  This, is a kind, valiant woman.  I cannot express to you the example I have for a mother.  Someday I will try to explain to my children how amazing of a mom she was, is, and has been to me. For this, I am grateful and proud to be raised by a woman of kindness.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Out On My Own

Every day I wake up and one of the first thoughts that runs through my mind is how blessed I truly am. I attempt to open my eyes (then close them a few more times in hopes that time will stop and I will be able to sleep a little bit longer), I throw my scrubs on, throw my hair up in some sort of mess, and hop in the car to get to school.  The car rides each morning are usually on the quiet side-someone will make a comment in hopes to break the silence, but I can't help but silently look out the window and just think.  It becomes the little bit of quiet time that I appreciate more than words can express.

Being on my own has been a learning and growing experience to the max. I thought I had grown up and matured to a pretty high potential when living with my family, but as I have been out on my own I have grown infinite amounts.  I have made mistakes, handled situations differently than I would before, and have been able to have some of the most meaningful conversations of my life.

I am grateful to be on this journey.  I know this is where I am supposed to be and have met some of the most amazing "family members" that I will cherish forever. I thank my Heavenly Father for the tender mercies in my life.

Monday, June 25, 2012

A little bit of sunshine amongst dark clouds.

I wish I could be anywhere; anywhere but here. I sit quietly in the physical therapy library, books and binders surround me.  I feel enclosed by the bookshelves, there is no way to turn, no way to escape. My maroon scrubs clench onto the smell of cadaver and formaldehyde and as I sit and attempt to study, my nose is constantly reminded of where I just was.

I dreamed that I would be in California with my family, only to have too many obstacles prevent that from happening.  Who once told me that growing up would be "fun?"  They were incredibly wrong.

As I stare at my papers, books, and computer the words seem to separate themselves and disappear.  Where are they going? If there is one thing I am certain of, they are not being absorbed in my head.  For so long this was my dream-this was the one thing that I knew I wanted to do.  I never thought it would be so difficult.  I never realized that when I didn't perform like I did in undergrad, I would mentally break down and wonder and question, "Is this journey really the one for me?"

As I take a step back I look at the big picture.  School is not who I am.  School is helping me learn and grow into someone that I want to be.  For this reason alone, I know that this is the journey for me.  I will never be Morgan, the Physical Therapist--I will be Morgan, a woman who practices Physical Therapy.  To some, this may sound complicated, confusing, and rather synonymous.  Life isn't about my accomplishments, it's about finding joy in the journey-no matter how grey the weather can be-there is always sunshine amongst the dark clouds.

Saturday, June 9, 2012


Time--a unit of measurement that defines how we spend our lives.  Questions and statements can be made on a daily basis in relation to time.

"Do I have time to run to the grocery store?" "Is there enough time to attend an event?" "It takes too much time to read my scriptures before bed or I don't have enough time to make my bed in the morning before school."

Everything we do as human beings in this day and age is securely fastened around schedules and time until something drastic occurs--the birth of a baby, the holy union of two friends, the loss of a loved one.  It's experiences like this in life that allow us to stop, smell the roses, and realize what is of true importance.  We are able to more clearly remember that this Earth life is but a small moment.

Personally, I cannot express the gratitude that I have for my family and friends.  For two weeks now I have officially been living on my own--I have come to realize the importance of progression in life and I understand that this is one of those steps.  Each day I think about my family-the love and support they provide, the comfort and peace that they bring, and the many laughs along the way.

The same question repeatedly goes through my head, "How did I get so lucky?"  Some day, I will be able to answer that.  Maybe I needed all the help I could get while here in this life (this seems like the most obvious answer)?  Maybe I could only learn the things I needed to with my own family?  It's a mystery, but what I do know is that families are forever.  There is no amount of time that could define the importance of my family.  I hope that every day they don't ever have to wonder about my feelings for them because if there is anything I am beyond sure about in this world of uncertainty, it is the love that I have for my family.

I thank JaKelle Westergard, though I didn't know her, she has helped me to remember this one most important truth about families.

 "I have a family here on earth, they are so good to me, I want to share my life with them for all eternity. Families can be together forever through Heavenly Father's plan.  I always want to be with my own family, and the Lord has shown me how I can, the Lord and shown me how I can."