Sunday, September 18, 2016

Get Over it Millennials

I just heard a few numbers that don't settle well in my stomach. The average college graduate is leaving with close to $80,000 of student debt. I also heard that 11% of college graduates from 2013 and on have decided to stop trying or not try to get a job. So let me get this straight.....The Obama administration is forgiving a few billion dollars worth of loans; I think this is wonderful for moms and dads trying to make ends meet, supplying for a family, working hard! I am slightly disturbed that 11% who don't want to try to work are able to be forgiven of their debt AND qualify for the welfare program. I am not talking about those incapable of working. I am talking about those who have decided to stop trying or frankly are picky due to the fact that they HAVE an education. They would "rather not work at all than work at a job [they're] over qualified for." I'm quoting someone I know that will remain anonymous. I did call to ask about my student loans and check on forgiveness; I do not qualify because my annual income before taxes is too high compared to my household...I support just myself. I was asked 5 different times if I was SURE I didn't support anyone. And if I was SURE I wanted to submit that on paper because how many individuals I support depends on how much money they would forgive. I would rather not lie, and put back in to the economy that I signed, specifically stating, I would be "borrowing" from. Therefore, I pay student loans monthly. I also pay $1000 in taxes a month. I get little to no money back because again I support "just myself". And the more I pay my loans down, the less interest I can declare. Alas, NO, I do not support just ONE, I am supporting the 11% that gave up. They are now debt free and I am putting food in their mouths and a roof over their heads. I have not one, but TWO BACHELORS and began working as a part time teacher at the Missionary Training Center in order to get on my feet when I moved to Utah, while LIVING with a family that was not my own. I am crediting that I needed help, and was humbled by those that did help. They HELPED me, not enabled me. Then again with my TWO BACHELORS I started working full time as a receptionist, living on my own, and having purchased a car with cash I had saved during my part time job. I was essentially a SECRETARY. I use that term, because I was and AM DAMN proud of where I started with my two bachelors degrees. YES, I did a job that a woman in 1965 could do WITHOUT an education, but guess what? It doesn't matter. I WENT to college, I PROVED that I could work hard, that I could learn, that I was well rounded enough to do anything, and it was time to put my money (and the money I continue to pay back) where my mouth was. I wanted to be good at my job. I thrived on my self worth as an educated woman in the millennium and would stop at nothing until I could say I was proud of my work at the end of every day. THAT is why I got promoted. THAT is why I travel the country training others on a software that was created in Denmark. THAT is why I make as much as a man in my position....I ASKED. Because I knew I worked hard I had no problem asking for a raise, and then asking if any man was making more than I was and would expect the same salary. That wasn't an issue, in fact, I make more. But because I knew I was proving my value, I had no shame in making sure there was equality. And before anyone gets on the "you shouldn't have to ask" band will never progress in ANYTHING in life, man OR woman, if you do not ask. No one is going to outright offer you a raise, so suck it up, prove why you're worth is and ask. Men...I'm talking to you too. And THAT is why I am providing food and shelter for those that don't want to start where I did. Get over yourself Millennials. Learn to WORK and take pride in YOUR WORK.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

The New Norm For This Morm

Living in Utah as a Young Single Adult (YSA) has its challenges. Culturally, Mormons have gotten married in their early twenties and pop out a few angels well before 27 (my current age) and complain about needing grandchildren before 50 (not my current age). I usually can't go to an event, such as a wedding or a work function without being asked, "So are you dating anyone?" I have gone through ups and downs emotionally wondering what was wrong with me since I always answered, "No," or "Actually we just broke up." MULTIPLE times in the last few weeks this specific conversation has come up and I have come to realize...I am pretty dang normal! There are a LOT of beautiful women my age and older that are not married. We are all in the same boat, trying to figure out life and some seem to handle it better than others, but overall...I'm generally happy! I am living well, I have a job, I travel often, I have an AMAZING family that's growing, I have a superb support system of friends, and I am doing what I can to put one foot in front of the other! The reality is....YSA women are different. I am different, and that is ok. I don't NEED a man to be happy. I certainly want one, but my happiness isn't going to depend upon him. There is a new norm. We aren't getting married at 19...some of us are getting life experience to assist us as wives and mothers in Zion! I want to live in the NOW! It's not easy...I long for the day when I have someone to go home lay next to and kiss goodnight before I snuggle with my own pillows and fall asleep on my side with my space.

In the mean time, I will enjoy my space and my pillows, and my ability to do whatever I want and when I want. There is a time and a season for all things. 

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Tommy Monson

As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we have the privilege of hearing from our Prophet and other church leaders on a bi-annual basis. These meetings are called General Conference and usually fall in April and in October.

This morning as I sat in my Tantan's old room, getting dressed, I had general conference talks playing from this past October. As I watched and listened to President Monson's address from the Sunday morning session where slowly he started to lose strength and lean on the podium...I was filled with the Spirit reaffirming to me President Monson's calling as prophet, seer, and revelator. There was something so humbling to watch this man who communes with God to fall victim to mortality in front of millions of viewers. There were many responses on social media when the talk streamed live; members expressing their desires to hold him up, people questioning a church with a failing leader, others saddened by his health. My mind was drawn back to the moment I saw that talk live and I remember praying for him to gain strength, to have the ability to finish his talk, for him to be borne up in his calling, and today it hit me to think of all of those who did the very same thing! How amazing it must have been for our Father in Heaven to hear MILLIONS of prayers for the same prophet, asking for him to gain strength. The Bible Dictionary says that some prayers (or blessing) are predicated upon us asking for them...I really believe that President Monson was able to get through his talk and FIGHT the natural flow of mortality BECAUSE of God's children united in prayer, for one cause. I just really appreciate this man. His current state reminds me of King Benjamin during his last address where his strength was failing him, and he attributed is ability to address the Nephites to his God! We reference that address constantly in the church, and perhaps because this is my first time to have such a love for a prophet and watch him decline, these parallels are so profound to me. I don't want President Monson's addresses to cease, but I know there is a time and season for all things, including mortal life. You are a prophet Tommy, and I don't need to meet you to know it!

As my heart has pondered this experience this morning, I feel a great need to prepare mentally, emotionally, and spiritually for this next conference!

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Sasha M. Photography

After being "flu-ish" for 24 hours what better way to pass the time than to blog! Man, it has been a while. So many changes have occurred in my life just in the last year. Here, let me update you: I started teaching seminary!! WAHOO! It was awesome...and then I stopped teaching seminary. Long story short, I could say I really really liked it, but my soul wasn't completely invested. I didn't love it like I had thought I would. I stayed at my job at good ol' Hearing Life working with the elderly, and then I got a promotion! A traveling promotion!! WAHOO! It was awesome...and then turns out traveling is really not all that glamorous when you're doing it 15-20 days in a month. Then I went to Europe. Best 10 days of my life...I had a chance to clear my head and see some BEAUTIFUL sites at the same time! My favorite places were Cliffs of Moher in Ireland and Mevagissey in England! I left a piece of my heart in those places and look forward to visiting again! Then I got home from Europe and was kind of promoted again at my job, and this time....WAHOO! I work from home when I'm not traveling and then travel about 3 weeks every 2 months...very manageable!

My life having some steady pace never lasts long! Over Christmas I let one thought of "I'd like to buy a camera" turn in to a very serious(ly expensive) hobby! I've always loved taking pictures and finding new ways to look at the world, but I'm finally at a place in life where I can take it seriously! I did buy a camera and I got photoshop, and now I've officially started charging to take photos! It's an interesting's a lot of "learn as you go!" Today I launched Sasha M. Photography! I still don't have a signature on my photos because unfortunately....I'm pretty certain I need to buy a new computer. After having an awesome camera and the awesome ability to 8 year old computer can not keep up. But I'm grateful, really! I'm happy to see that my life continues to grow, even if it's not always in the "direction I planned."

God is good! These are some pics I took just last weekend at my sisters!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Mortality Rollercoaster!

Just the other day I was saying how good life has been. Nothing extravagant happened, but I've been happy, people I love have been happy, and I've walked away from most days just feeling grateful to be alive and have the opportunities that I do!

Then Tuesday hit. Again, nothing drastic, it was a mere phone call informing me I did not get a position I had applied for. I was fine in that moment....a brief, brief moment. And then it started to sink in. I was unhappy, I didn't get something I really wanted, someone I had called also happened to be unhappy, I got a headache, then I noticed someone else I talked to was frustrated with life. I lost the energy to tackle the day so I just sat at my desk and did what every woman does best: I cried. And then watched a general conference talk.

Yesterday wasn't any better....I had no motivation, still had the headache, I just felt at the verge of tears and really irritable at the same time. I got my favorite sandwich for lunch, and that didn't didn't even taste that great. I sat at my desk and waited for the day to just be done. I got home, spent time with my peeps and those poor, poor peeps had me irriatable all night. I felt angry, needy, angry, frustrated, sad, angry, all within a 15 minute cycle that would just start over. I just kept saying, "I know...God's will, yadda yadda, His timing, I get it....something better, yes, I know."

I'm not justifying anything, but about 8pm last night the thought came to look up the side effects of this new medicine I'm taking. Immediate Side Effects Include: Irritability, mood swings, headaches, nausea, and depression. Good form. I think I had all but one.

Now to Thursday: Why on earth am I blogging about this?! Because medicine or I woke up feeling different. President Monson said "Physically walking where Jesus walked is less important than walking as He walked." Through thick and thin, hunger and thirst, befriending and betrayal, temptation and rejoicing our Savior walked a perfect path. Today I woke up with the attitude to actually absorb what it means to trust God's timing, His will, and His plan for me. Sure I can look back and hate myself for not letting it sink in sooner, but President Monson's words are ringing in my ears.... "Likewise shall we walk the path of pain. We, as servants, can expect no more than the Master, who left mortality only after great pain and suffering.While we will find on our path bitter sorrow, we can also find great happiness." Christ walked the path of disappointment, temptaion, and can I expect to become like Him, if I do not walk that path and choose obedience and righteousness as He did.

SLIDE 15 - Walking with Christ

Monday, July 7, 2014

Jesus Take the Wheel

I've had a memory flood into my mind recently, and I can't help but think how wonderful God is and how intertwined He is in our lives.

July 7, 2007 I attended a wedding in Colorado of two pretty incredible teachers I knew from high school. On the journey back I was in the car with Dana Miner, Julie King, and Elizabeth Lamb. As "Jesus Take the Wheel" came on the radio, I made an "Ugh!" sound along with a look of disgust. At the time I despised Country Music, Carrie Underwood, and Jesus. All my friends in the car kept expressing their love for the song, the artist, and even Jesus Christ. I didn't think anything more of it, but now I look back and am grateful for ONE small experience that eventually led to the softening of my heart.

I'm a pretty stubborn, blunt, and opinionated woman that sometimes doesn't recognize that I exude an aura of "don't test me." I am so grateful that even though I didn't think of others in the car with my verbal and visual reaction of disgust, they still expressed THEIR opinion and testimony of Jesus Christ.

In recent years I have TRIED to be more humble and understanding of my brothers and sisters, their circumstances, and opinions...and Country Music. July 4, 2014, a mere seven years later, I was grateful to be at Stadium of Fire listening to Carrie Underwood singing her little heart out! I've had some emotional struggles recently, and as she said, "This song is one of my favorites because it was my first single and means so much to me," and started to sing "Jesus Take the Wheel" tears instantly welled up in my eyes. The memory of that car ride back from Colorado flooded in, and then my heart swelled with gratitude for that moment. As the song continued it had new meaning to me...and I felt like I was in that car, driving down the road hitting that sheet of ice. It doesn't matter where we are in life, our Savior CAN take over, and lead us back to the right path. It's not that I'm "off the path"....if you will, I am on of the ninety and nine, but there are aspects of my life that I wish were different. I want to be better, stronger, happier....not for competitive sake, but for knowing what life is capable of.

Jesus take the wheel
Take it from my hands Cause I can't do this on my own I'm letting go So give me one more chance Save me from this road I'm on Jesus take the wheel
And for the first time in a long time She bowed her head to pray She said I'm sorry for the way I've been living my life I know I've got to change So from now on tonight
Jesus take the wheel Take it from my hands Cause I can't do this on my own I'm letting go So give me one more chance Save me from this road I'm on Oh, Jesus take the wheel

This is a promise to myself that I do want to rely on the Lord more!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

The Windows to the Soul

This is an honest post. I haven't ever really wanted to blog about something like this, but truly the thought has come to me often and perhaps I am meant to put my feelings into words.

The refridgerator: That's what I was compared to when I was seven years old. I was standing there, looking in for a snack when Meme (my french grandmother) said something that was later translated to me, "If you stand there long enough, one day you're going to be the same size as the fridge." I don't think people whether they're kids, friends, family, teachers, advisors, or judges realize the sting of some words or even mere observations.

Fact: Weight has been a struggle all my life. I was teased like every other kid on the playground and somedays it was easier to ignore or fight it off than others. I remember one day crying about falling and as we got ready to go back in, one of the older kids started to say something about me and being fat, but then saw that I was already crying and stopped. I guess that provides hope that inside he knew it wasn't ok to say those things, and clearly since I was already at a breaking point...he knew not to go on. But my nickname was, "Heffer."

Reality: Life went on and I wasn't always made fun of. As I got older I played sports, asked one of my teachers for help on eating healthier (thank you Tracy Csavina), and in high school grew taller and slimmed down. I felt like I had gotten thinner, some of my friends told me I was thinner, but I was still bigger than everyone else. Karyl Goldsmith put something in perspective for me, and looking back I feel like she put in daily effort to help me. Every day she stood by the door to greet every student with a handshake. She and would compliment me on my weightloss or on my outfit, my hair etc. I ignored her, I rebuttled her, I threw back every nice thing she had to say. Every. Day. Then one day she stopped me when she shook my hand and said, "Sasha. Stop. I say those things because I mean them, and you need to learn to say thank you to a compliment or people won't compliment you anymore. They will feel like you don't care what they have to say." That last part is what got me. I respected her opinion and I loved learning from this teacher and didn't want HER to feel belittled when I was trying to belittle MYSELF. It took a while before I could look at her and say thank you at the same time. I think it was at that point I let myself TRY and be comfortable in my own skin. Those feelings were fleeting, but for the first time in my life I stopped making fun of myself and actually learned to say "Thank you" to a compliment.

Blogging: It's been 10 years since I was 16 and there are times I feel LESS confident now than I did then. On my mission I gained quite a bit of weight, but I dealt with it. It bothered me, but it didn't consume me. I felt humbled by compliments and always looked into peoples eyes when they spoke. Their words mattered to me. I could tell so much about them through their eyes! I lost myself in the service of other people and when I had companions that struggled with weight I would just tell them, "Look, we're not completely in control right now of what we eat or the stress we face. When you can control it, you will,
and the weight will come off! I promise!" I believed that and I lived it! In the last 18 months I've lost about 38 pounds and weigh nearly what I did when I was 17. But it's NOW, as a 26 year old who eats well, exercises, and has lost weight that I find myself cringing at compliments and making comments about myself that I'm afraid if I don't make the joke first, someone else will.

I don't want to be like that again. I'm not sure it ever completely left, but I really am back at square one. I have a hard time looking at someone that compliments me and saying thank you. There have been times I look at someone and WISH they could see themselves the way God does or at least the way I do. For the first time I wish I could see MYSELF the way other people do or the way God does. Because sometimes I feel like I'm that 7 year old standing in front of the fridge worried about growing to be that same size. I suppose I thought that when I lost this weight, I would feel more confident...but the confidence and love I had on my mission had nothing to do with my outter appearance. How could it...half the time people saw me on a bicycle with a green helmet on and pants under my skirt!? That confidence came because I had a deeper love for God's children, and I KNEW and do know I am one of them.

Declaration: I want to lose myself in the service of the Lord. I want to love others with the capacity I once had so I can have the confidence I once had. I want to look at people in the eye when they speak. I want them to know I CARE what they say. I want to be able to feel when I rode a bike, looking like a beautiful fool. *Cheers* To new beginnings.