My Vanderbilt Visit

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What do you do when you have all of your hopes riding on one person? I guess that’s really not fair, is it? To put your dependence on an imperfect human being who is just trying to do their job. But we do it every day. Some times more than others.

Last week I went to Nashville, Tennessee. It was great. I loved it. I was a total tourist. I saw every country music-related site in existence. I had the best time. But I did not go there to sight-see, or to take a picture with Taylor Swift’s exhibit at the Country Music Hall of Fame. I never would have gone to Nashville were it not for the Autonomic Dysfunction Center at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

As I have mentioned before, I have a chronic illness known as POTS (short for Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome). POTS is a form of dysautonomia (or autonomic dysfunction). Dysautonomia refers to a group of diseases that cause your autonomic nervous system to function improperly. Your autonomic nervous system is responsible for all of the bodily functions you don’t have to think about, like breathing and your heart beating. It causes symptoms that include an increase in heart rate (especially upon standing), severe fatigue, shortness of breath, chest pain, confusion (or, as many refer to it, “brain fog”), dizziness, nausea, and migraines. This is not the only chronic illness I have, but it is by far the most intense and pervasive. These past few years since I first began dealing with POTS have been life-changing.

My dear cardiologist, who is absolutely amazing and by far the most knowledgeable physician on POTS in the area, has tried everything she can to help me. She has put me on every treatment, from prescription medicine to exercise regimens to compression hose to IV infusions. She recently told me that I have reached the maximum treatment level and that there is really nothing additional she can do for me. She suggested I give Vanderbilt a try, as several of her POTS patients have had success there and it is really the best place to go for any sort of autonomic issue in the southeast.

I was not excited to go to Vanderbilt, even though it meant a trip to Nashville and the possibility of more answers and treatment options. Perhaps I was experiencing a bit of foreshadowing.

Before my actual appointment with one of the Vanderbilt physicians, I would be doing testing to confirm my diagnosis and make sure that there was nothing else going on. For this testing to be accurate, I had to be off of most of my medications for three days prior to the appointment. I also had to skip an IV infusion. I was, to be quite honest, terrified of what this might bring, but I had no idea. For three days I had the full experience of POTS – untreated and unbridled. It was miserable. I could not stand for more than a few minutes without feeling extremely dizzy. I experienced intense nausea and fatigue. I was a mess. But I was a hopeful mess.

It became pretty clear after arriving at Vanderbilt that this would be an interesting visit. After signing in and taking a seat in the waiting room, we waited. And waited. Then I was registered at one of the desks in the waiting room. And then we waited some more. Finally, a nurse came to get me for my testing. Before the testing began, I was hooked up to two blood pressure monitors, an oxygen monitor, and an EKG (heart monitor) machine. After being told to relax (what great advice), I underwent the first test. My heart rate and blood pressure were monitored while I breathed in deeply for five seconds, then out for five seconds, over the course of one minute. This probably doesn’t sound like much, but for someone who lives with dizziness and shortness of breath on a daily basis, it was definitely uncomfortable. (Who knew a minute could last for so long?)

The next stage of testing, known as the Valsalva, consisted of me blowing continuously into a syringe for around 20 seconds. (Yes, this is just as bizarre as it sounds.) I was dreading this part of the testing. I have done similar, less intensive, testing at my allergist’s office multiple times before – and I usually fail. The nurse had told me that I would only do the Valsalva twice, unless my first two attempts were, for lack of a better term, not good enough. I was not surprised when she asked me to repeat the test a third time.

I was actually somewhat excited for the third and final portion of my testing – the tilt table. The tilt table is a bit infamous amongst dysautonomia patients, but its effects can be easily mimicked without using an actual tilt table. This was not this first time I had undergone this type of test, but it was the first time I got to do it with an actual tilt table. I was strapped onto a table-bed hybrid and then titled into the upright position. This is about ten times more disconcerting than it sounds. I have heard horror stories about tilt tables. Even if you survive being tilted upward, many patients cannot remain that way for the required length of time. I was to do everything within my power to remain upright (while still strapped to the table, just in case I passed out) for ten minutes. Perhaps not lasting the full ten minutes would have helped my case and showed how sick I really am. But I was determined. I was going to get through those ten minutes if it killed me. And I did (no death involved).

At the conclusion of my testing, I was sent back to the waiting room, where my parents and I waited for a while before I was taken back to an examination room. Before seeing the doctor, we saw a fellow (a step up from a medical resident – basically a medical student on the cusp of graduation) who went through my history with me. He questioned me very thoroughly about my past history of passing out to make sure there was nothing else going awry neurologically. He then performed my physical examination, which I have experienced so many times in my neurologist’s office that I could probably do it without instruction by now – walk in a straight line, touch my finger and then my nose, hold my arms out and don’t let him push them down. There were a few interesting new inclusions, such as having to remember the phrase “bad baby blue” over a period of several minutes and being poked with a safety pin to test my nerves. The fellow also informed us that my Valsalva testing was abnormal and that my heart rate increased by nearly fifty points during my tilt table testing (a POTS diagnosis typically requires an increase of thirty).

At this point, the brunt of my appointment was over. All that was left was the doctor coming in and confirming what I somehow knew all along: there is nothing else she can do. My local doctors are doing a fantastic job treating me. Maybe someday my POTS will get better, and maybe it won’t. She did have some interesting thoughts regarding whether POTS could potentially be an autoimmune disease (or at least related to the autoimmune system). But there were no answers. No magic pills. Just a confirmation of my diagnosis and that my treatment plan is the best that there is.

So I smiled at the doctor and the fellow. I thanked them. I said goodbye. And I walked down the hallway in tears. I drove almost six hours to find nothing new. Why did I even try?

Perhaps the better question could be why did I put all of my faith in this single individual? Why did I let my hope rest in an imperfect human? Why did I trust that my deepest and most desperately searched for answers could come from anyone other than my Heavenly Father?

“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.”

– Proverbs 3:5

Throughout the trials I have experienced from my health in my life, I have often felt that my answer is that there is not one. That He wants me here, in the midst of this pain, for a reason. I do not understand that reason, and perhaps I never will until I see Him again. But that is okay. As long as I trust Him and not my imperfect, hopelessly human self, I will be fine.

I cannot count the tender mercies He has given me. I see them every day. And I saw them after what I felt was a failed appointment. In that moment of bitter disappointment, Heavenly Father sent me four angels in the form of two sweet older couples waiting to check out along with us. All of them wished me well and told me I was too young to be sick. All of them put a smile on a face that had just seconds before felt tears.

He knows what we need, when we need it.

“And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me…for when I am weak, then am I strong”

– 2 Corinthians 12:9-10

No, I did not get the answer I wanted (or really any answer for that matter). But I heard a specialist tell me that I am not crazy. That there are a lot of people experiencing the exact same thing that I am, even if I don’t see them. Even if I feel alone. I gained new confidence in my team of doctors treating me locally. And I learned to trust just a little bit more.

“When fear comes knocking, there You’ll be my guard / When day breeds trouble, there You’ll hold my heart / Come storm or battle, God I know Your peace will meet me there”

– “Prince of Peace” by Hillsong United

19 Lessons I’ve Learned in 19 Years

As is probably obvious by now, I love writing. It’s how I express myself. But, in this post, I wanted to do something a bit different. In honor of my recent birthday, I will be sharing nineteen things I have learned in nineteen years. But instead of using my own words, I’ve decided to share these nineteen lessons through quotes, scriptures, and song lyrics. Because really, that’s how we learn. Not through ourselves, because we don’t have all the answers, but through the lives and wisdom of others.

So, here are nineteen things I have learned in nineteen years:

  1. “The only thing I want in life is to be known for loving Christ.” – “The Cause of Christ” by Kari Jobe
  2. “I don’t have time to waste on the boys that are playing the games and leaving the girls crying out in the rain.” – “Love Me Like You Mean It” by Kelsea Ballerini
  3. “I am not worthy of the least of all the mercies, and of all the truth, which thou hast shewed unto thy servant.” – Genesis 32:10
  4. “Real queens fix each other’s crowns.” – Unknown
  5. “Remember life is more than fitting in your jeans, it’s love and understanding, positivity.” – “What do I Know?” by Ed Sheeran
  6. “If I lived a thousand lifetimes, and wrote a song for every day, still there would be no way to say how You have loved me.” – “Letting Go” by Steffany Gretzinger
  7. “Words are, in my not so humble opinion, our most inexhaustible source of magic, capable of both inflicting injury and remedying it.” – Albus Dumbledore (aka J.K. Rowling)
  8. “God gives us difficulties to bring out the best in us.” – Marvin J. Ashton
  9. “When I can’t, You always can.” – “What Love is This” by Kari Jobe
  10. “There is an abundant need in this world for your exact brand of beautiful.” – Lysa TerKeurst
  11. “Now when our hearts were depressed and we were about to turn back, behold, the Lord comforted us, and said: Go…and bear with patience thine afflictions, and I will give unto you success.” – Alma 26:27
  12. “I can never read all the books I want; I can never be all the people I want and live all the lives I want. I can never train myself in all the skills I want. And why do I want? I want to live and feel all the shades, tones, and variations of mental and physical experience possible in my life. And I am horribly limited.” – Sylvia Plath
  13. “And I said unto them: If God commanded me to do all things I could do them. If he should command me that I should say unto this water, be thou earth, it should be earth; and if I should say it, it would be done. And now, if the Lord has such great power, and has wrought so many miracles among the children of men, how is it that he cannot instruct me, that I should build a ship?” – 1 Nephi 17:50-51
  14. “America is too great for small dreams.” – Ronald Reagan
  15. “You love me even when I fall apart. I can’t explain it, that’s just who You are. Don’t want perfection, You just want my heart.” – “Through Your Eyes” by Britt Nicole
  16. “And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.” – Jeremiah 29:13
  17. “In order to love who you are, you cannot hate the experiences that shaped you.” – Unknown
  18. “The tender mercies of the Lord are over all those whom he hath chosen, because of their faith, to make them mighty even unto the power of deliverance.” – 1 Nephi 1:20
  19. “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” – Plato

Is this all I have learned in nineteen years? Definitely not. But it is an accurate summary. As #3 says, I certainly do not feel worthy of all of the truth that the Lord has revealed to me. But I am grateful that He has chosen to teach me these lessons, and more, each and every year.

It’s been a good nineteen years. Here’s to the next one hundred. 😉

Goodbye, Grandpa

These words have filtered through my mind time and time again over the past few weeks. I am just now setting them free. Maybe the reason it was so hard for me to let them go is because once you experience loss, you hold on to everything a little bit tighter.

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Today marks two months since the passing of my grandfather. These past two months have been hard and beautiful and everything all at once. It has become a cliché that we never know what we have until it is gone. For me, this is true. I never truly understood the bond that my grandfather and I had until now.

You’ve probably heard about the stages of grief before. I don’t believe in that. Grief is not some neat process that you follow step-by-step. And there is no denial. I do not deny my grandfather is gone. But it still shocks me when I think about it. It is more a sense of disbelief than anything else.

“Each life that touches ours for good / Reflects thine own great mercy, Lord; / Thou sendest blessings from above / Thru words and deeds of those who love.”

– “Each Life That Touches Ours for Good,” LDS Hymn Book #293

My grandpa was spiritual sunshine. When I was younger, I would often say that everything my grandparents ever did was church-related. I even said that he was “booming with church.” If you ask me, he boomed with church until his very last breath. I have never met someone who loves Jesus Christ as much as my grandpa. I am not saying this because I’m biased, I’m saying it because it is true. His testimony was so clear. There was no doubt in his mind that he had a loving Heavenly Father and Savior. Often, when bearing his testimony, he would use the phrase “I testify to you.” That is how real this was for him. He was a special witness of the gospel in every way.

My grandpa served as president of the Columbia, SC LDS temple years ago. I loved hearing him talk about the temple. He would testify of the spirit that resides there and the importance of attending often. He would especially emphasize the importance of my cousins and I remaining worthy so we could attend the temple when we were old enough. My cousins and I sang “I Love to See the Temple” at his funeral.

My grandpa sealed one of my older cousins to her husband for time and all eternity in the temple. When I was younger, I thought he would one day do the same for me. When we discussed this one time, he told me that I “better hurry up.” I guess I didn’t move fast enough for him. But, I was still blessed to receive my patriarchal blessing from him. Mine was one of the last patriarchal blessings he was able to give. This was such a special experience for both of us. It was one of the last things I talked to him about.

Grandpa was a University of Virginia graduate, and a life-long fan and supporter of his alma mater, as well as Thomas Jefferson, its founder. He passed this love on to me at a young age. For years I insisted that I would one day attend UVA. I broke his heart when I decided this was no longer my plan, but I’ve always held a special love for the Cavaliers. Though I have come to admire many past presidents and Founding Fathers as my love of politics has grown, Thomas Jefferson was the first to truly capture my heart. I still love him to this day.

“But friendship is precious, not only in the shade but in the sunshine of life; and thanks to a benevolent arrangement of things, the greater part of life is sunshine. I will recur for proof the days we have lately passed. On these indeed the sun shone brightly.”

– Thomas Jefferson

As my grandpa got older, he got sick. Among other issues, he experienced kidney failure, and had to receive dialysis treatments three times a week. I never knew the toll dialysis took until I saw him go through it. It is bittersweet to have the very thing that is keeping you alive cause you so much pain. But this strengthened our bond even more. Grandpa came to understand my chronic health issues more than he had before. We would joke about being in a competition to see who could see the most doctors, take the most medicine, or require the most needle sticks. I always knew my grandfather loved me, but it was during the last few years of his life as we shared this commonality that I began to truly see how strong this bond was, and how much he wanted me to stay strong.

Grandpa always made me feel important. He was an engineer, had served in multiple important church callings, and was extremely intelligent, but he valued my opinion. He would always ask me what I thought about the latest headlines, especially during the 2016 election. On one of my last visits with him before he was admitted to the hospital, we shared a laugh about the shirt I was wearing. It read, “A Woman’s Place is in the House and the Senate.” He had the best laugh.

“How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.”

– Winnie the Pooh

A few weeks ago I became worried that I would forget the sound of his voice. It was then that I realized that I will never, ever, as long as I live be able to forget the way he said, “Hi!” when you walked through the door. He was an eternal optimist. Even on his worst days, he would tell you that he was feeling well and doing fine.

As a history and politics enthusiast, I have developed a great love and respect for Ronald and Nancy Reagan, and their relationship. They were incredibly close, especially at the end of President Reagan’s life when he was suffering from Alzheimer’s. My grandparents are my Ronald and Nancy. They are the real relationship goals. Their bishop said that my grandpa’s two favorite topics were the gospel and my grandma. It’s true. I cannot explain the love he had for her. It is the kind of thing that you had to witness to understand.

My grandpa always taught us, in everything he did. He was not going to let the weakness and frailty of his last days stop him. On Christmas Eve, with all of the family members in town at the time standing around his hospital bed, he gave each of us an individual parting message before pleading with us to live righteously so we could be together again. It was the last time I would have a coherent conversation with him. On Christmas Day, there were no presents or pajamas or carols. We were at the hospital, and he had taken a turn for the worst. All we cared about was each other. In his final time on earth, he was teaching us what Christmas really was, and what family really meant.

I have struggled with accepting my grandfather’s death. I miss him so much. I will hear a song, or see a certain scene in a movie, and think of him. It is still hard not to cry. But I have also felt an overwhelming sense of peace. Perhaps it is his last gift to me. Perhaps when he reached the other side, he asked the Savior if He would mind helping me through. We don’t know about exactly what’s going on in the spirit world. I don’t know what Grandpa’s doing right now. But I know he is watching me, and helping me, and walking with me. He never left me. And he never will. He will be with me in spirit until I see him again, face-to-face.

“And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.”

– Revelation 21:4

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Wanderers in a Strange Land

I am a conservative, but I am not a Trump supporter. I have never been. In fact, I was an original Never Trump-er. I watched in horror as the party that I tended to identify with morphed into something unrecognizable. Something that Ronald Reagan would scoff at. Something that living former Republican presidents could not accept. But still, I was optimistic. I knew that, no matter what, Trump would bring something new and interesting to the table, and our country could use something fresh. I thought maybe he would surprise us all. I watched his inauguration with hope.

I didn’t know it was possible to create a path of destruction this quickly.

I have supported the plight of refugees for quite some time now. Immigration is a messier subject for me. I support legal immigration, however I believe illegal immigration is a major problem that needs to be fixed – fast. I was open to some sort of wall or fence or whatever else the president and Congress could jointly agree upon. Trump’s latest executive order, known as his “Extreme Vetting” order, is a twisted distortion of what the country needs.

Should there be some sort of vetting process in place for anyone coming into America from a country associated with terrorism? Yes. Is this the way to do it? Absolutely not. This is separating families and breaking hearts.

I am the great-granddaughter of a Mexican immigrant. I am proud to be one-sixteenth Mexican. If this policy had been in place seventy-or-so years ago, I would not be here today. My family would not exist, because my great-grandfather would not have been able to make the choice to come to America legally for a better life. It’s a good thing this policy was not in place way back in the 1600s, because then there would be a much bigger issue than my family not existing – America would not exist.

We are all immigrants.

I have written about Syrian refugees before. My heart is with them and continues to be broken by them. Tell me how we can stand as the world’s primary superpower and turn our back on people who are fleeing war? Children who are fleeing destruction they don’t understand? Because that is what is happening, in effect. We are turning our back. We are holding in our riches and our wealth and our blessings and saying that these things, like people, cannot cross our border.

“Jesus died to open up the gates of heaven. The least America can do is open up her borders to those who need shelter.”

– Mike Donehey 

I don’t care who you are, what color your skin is, what your religious beliefs are, or what country you are from. If you have no harmful intentions, then I would consider it a privilege to welcome you to my beloved country, and to the freedoms we have. I would gladly take the tired, poor, huddled masses, yearning to breathe free.

“For I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger and ye took me in.”

– Matthew 25:35

The truth is, none of us are from here. None of us belong here. This is not our home. Our home is in Heaven. But our Heavenly Father gave us a beautiful world to live in during our necessary time here on earth. Could we not follow His example and do this for someone else?

“Now if this is boasting, even so will I boast; for this is my life and my light, my joy and my salvation, and my redemption from everlasting wo. Yea, blessed is the name of my God, who has been mindful of this people, who are a branch of the tree of Israel, and has been lost from its body in a strange land; yea, I say, blessed be the name of my God, who has been mindful of us, wanderers in a strange land.”

– Alma 26:36

For Syria

Syria. How did we get here?

I cannot trace the beginnings of this heinous conflict, nor can I tell you what either side is fighting for. Technically, I am completely oblivious to the civil war in Syria. But I am not oblivious to the suffering. Perhaps it is better that I know so little. Sometimes when we get too close, we can only see what we want. Who should win and who should lose. And that is when we create our own reality to fit the events into. It is how we lose sight of what is really happening.

Syria has captured my heart this year. Images of civilians caught in the crossfire (or maybe fire that is intentional), refugees on rafts, and children dying have been inescapable. I have been particularly affected by Syrian refugees. My support for allowing them into the country wavered only after the attacks in Nice, France. Even then it was not enough to dispel my feelings. To me it has always been simple. If you are not safe in the place you call home, of course you would leave. We would all do that. It is the logical thing to do. But where do you go when you leave? Shouldn’t the answer be to a place that welcomes you with open arms? Just as we have shelters and measures in place for those who must leave their unsafe homes within our country, shouldn’t we treat others the same?

I think what truly solidified the pain I have felt for Syria was the video of a little boy named Omran. Even if you don’t recognize his name, I’m sure you have seen him. He was captured calmly sitting in a chair wiping blood from his face, covered in soot and ash and who knows what other debris. Omran did nothing. He was just going about his life doing the things little boys do. I am sure he did not plan on nor want to experience bombings and explosions and the hurt of living in a war-torn country.

“Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”

– Matthew 18:4

This may seem rich coming from someone who is so interested in politics, but leaders are very good at talking. Talking in circles and saying the loveliest, prettiest things that will put your mind and heart at ease. They will tell you anything to win your approval because most of them are convinced that their job is not actually to lead, but to keep you satisfied and at peace because that is how they avoid conflict. Conflict must be avoided at all costs. Even if it means watching people suffer while they refuse to get involved because they don’t want their country having any part of a war that is not theirs.

After World War II, the victorious allies (who comprise the nations that we now refer to as “first-world countries”) vowed that such an atrocity would never happen again. There would never be another genocide. This is a promise that has been repeated by many leaders over the years. Apparently it is an empty one. If it held any meaning, surely we would not be in this position now.

I am a strong proponent of American exceptionalism. I believe I live in the greatest country in the world. Patriotism is a good thing. Loving your country is a good thing. But sometimes I think it gets in our way. We get so focused on how we are our own country that we forget that before there were borders and nationalities and languages, there were children of God. God loves no one person more than another. Jesus did not die for only one group of people. We are not commanded to only love our neighbor if he or she looks like us. That is missing the point entirely.

I cannot imagine what it must be like for the people of a country that is currently breaking at the seams from battle and has always been underprivileged to watch people in other countries go about their lives as if nothing has happened. So, to the people of Syria, we have not forgotten you. We may not be there with you, but we know what is happening and we are hurting with you. We are praying for you and loving you across continents and oceans and miles.

“A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.”

– John 13:34-35

Making America Great Again?

America is in an interesting stage right now. We’re on the cusp of something – whether or not it is greatness remains to be seen.

I don’t know who you voted for. I personally have never been a Trump or Clinton supporter. I was absolutely terrified of a Clinton presidency, and terrified-but-slightly-less-so of a Trump presidency. Because of this, what I felt when it became clear that Donald Trump had defied the odds and won the presidency was something a little bit like happiness. In the weeks since then, I have not necessarily felt upset. It has been more of a state of neutrality for me. Much like I did not have a strong opinion on whether or not I wanted Trump to win, I now do not have a strong opinion on him actually winning.

Today, while reading my Western Civilization textbook, I felt a very strong sense of fear over the future – perhaps my first time feeling fear since the end of this crazy election cycle. I couldn’t push aside the thought that maybe, just maybe history was repeating itself in the worst way possible. I finally felt, and, to a certain degree, still feel that fear that everyone seems to be seized by. So, where do we go from here?

We do what we’ve always done. We continue trusting. We trust that no matter who is in the White House, the entire world is in our Heavenly Father’s hands. We remember that we have made it through every difficult situation we have faced before (in terms of the entire country, that includes a colonial revolution, a civil war, a financial crisis to rival all others, two world wars, terrorist attacks, and, admittedly, some crazy people in Washington over the years). We choose faith over fear, and keep choosing it.

The future is unknown. But how exciting is that? How exciting is it that we are at the beginning of something new and different? How exciting is it that we live in a country that allows us to make decisions? How exciting is it that we have the freedom to make something a little bit scary happen? This is not a time for worry. This is a time for optimism. The world has not ended yet, and until that happens, we have the ability to wake up every day and live our lives to the fullest. The world is very messed up right now, but we have men and women who are willing to make sacrifices to take on the responsibility of leading us on.

“I prefer dangerous freedom over peaceful slavery.”

– Thomas Jefferson

Most importantly, we have a Heavenly Father and a Savior who love us. They planned the creation of this incredible country for the purpose of the restoration of the gospel. They blessed us with men who could build this country upon a firm foundation. They have led us to this point. So, why should we be afraid of the future? The Founding Fathers faced the great unknown head on, and fought a war to win this country. Maybe this is our war, fought through words and ideas. Maybe this is our time. And if it is, what a waste fear would be.

So, no, I don’t know who you voted for. But, the majority of Americans voted for change. They voted for a new direction. And I respect that. I respect that Donald Trump has not done one single thing as our president yet. While I completely and wholeheartedly disagree with many of his actions of the past, he has not yet had a chance to show us what kind of leader he will be. So why are we fearing and hating and breaking when we don’t even know? Why not wait? How many presidents have said that they would do things during their campaigns that they never did? (Answer: All of them. And they were promising things much better than walls.)

Enjoy these last few months of relative stability. Celebrate the successes of down-ballot candidates that you did support. Prepare for literal history to be made shortly. And love. Love everyone, even if they voted for someone you don’t like, or they hate your candidate, or they do things that you disagree with. Love them even if they hate you. Don’t cause the problems that the president-elect has been accused of creating himself. Show people that division is pointless. And wait.

“Notwithstanding the trouble, notwithstanding the argument, notwithstanding the increasingly heavy hand of government, notwithstanding the spirit of arrogance we so often display, notwithstanding occasional corruption in public office and betrayal of sacred trust – I marvel at the miracle of America, the land which the God of Heaven long ago declared to be a choice land. God bless America, for it is His creation.”

– Gordon B. Hinckley

First Things First

Hi there. My name is Mary-Faith, and I’m glad you stopped by. Technically, this is where I’m supposed to tell you why I started this blog. But, first, I think it would be better to tell you about me.

I’m an almost-adult with a love for literature, history, and politics. I’m an aspiring political journalist, which is a fancy way of saying that I’m trying to figure out how to basically be Megyn Kelly. I have dealt with chronic illness my entire life, but a few years ago I was diagnosed with POTS (postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome), which has proved to be the most pervasive and life-altering medical condition I have experienced. This has not been easy, but I would not trade life as a “sick person” if I was given the choice. It has shaped the person I am, and I am convinced that I would not be nearly as proud of who I have become, and am still becoming, were it not for this trial.

I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), more commonly known as the Mormon Church. I love my church. My relationship with and my testimony of my Savior, Jesus Christ, is the most important thing in my life. It influences everything else in my life. As my testimony has grown, so have I. Christ’s gospel truly is a light amidst the darkness of the world, and it’s a light I want to share.

So, why did I start this blog? Mainly because I wanted to share the gospel, but not in a deep, doctrinal, instructional sort of way…in the way it applies to me and my life. How it helps me through my struggles with my health, how it has influenced my love of politics and America, and how it has brought me to a place of true joy.

That is, essentially, who I am and why I started this blog. I hope you’ll stick around for a little while.