a change of plans

I don't even know where to start. It's been a while and so much has happened. Basically the point of this post is to ramble about how my post-mission life has not gone at all the way I planned. Mostly for me, but also for other people. A lot because I hate over-sharing on Facebook or other social media, and this is my place for my thoughts. Also, writing brings me clarity. So. Now that I've justified it sufficiently.

(Disclaimer: All statements below are expressions of opinion based on the time period about which they are written. I've received a lot of spiritual clarity since many of these and now consider them to be blessings in disguise, so if I sound bitter, please rest assured that I am currently loving my life and all of its unexpectedness.)

Let's start in September with the first plan that changed. I had been writing an elder from my mission who was just this fantastic individual and things were looking pretty positive. I figured I'd come home, date him but also date other people to make sure it was right, and, if all went the way I wanted it to, we'd end up together. Then I got home... And was terrified of dating. And lost all romantic feeling for anyone. It was like it was all too much for my system. After careful deliberation I broke the news to my elder and just... Tried to move on. I figured maybe the feelings I'd had would come back, or that I'd feel them for someone else, but they never did, to my marriage-hungry RM dismay. As often as I'd told people I wasn't ready to get married, I really did want it badly.

I went back to school in January after a difficult three months spent living in my parents' family room. I was convinced that moving back to Logan would be perfect and that everything would go the way I wanted it to. I'd find a boyfriend, I'd pass all my classes, I'd spend my weeks with my friends, I'd still be close to my friends from before the mission... Basically, it'd all be about me. I'm not sure at what point between Schipol and the Salt Lake City Airport I forgot that life isn't about me, but I did, somehow, and that was the biggest struggle this last semester - turning out. Helping other people instead of myself. Putting others (and God!) first. As I got lost in myself, the semester whizzed past, and I found myself taking finals and finishing projects. No boyfriend, no true social life, and few close friends, basically all for lack of trying. For lack of putting God in the first place and reaching out to those outside of myself.

As far as academics went, I felt confident. My grades were good. I knew I would pass every class, because I had worked hard to complete my coursework, and studied for tests. The week before finals week, I took a levels exam for music therapy. In order to start practicum and continue my music therapy courses in the fall, I needed to pass. I practiced, but probably not as much as I should have, and did not feel that it went well. However, I had not truly considered that I might fail, and found myself severely humbled the next day as I opened the letter that told me I would not be joining my classmates as they moved on, but would be required to take the exam again at the end of the fall semester.

A few months earlier I had applied and interviewed to be an EFY counselor, which is essentially my dream summer job. I heard nothing for months, and then when I finally did hear back from them, the answer was a no. It was hard. I debated staying in Logan and finding a job, but eventually decided to come home instead, something I hadn't really counted on as I hoped to be a counselor all summer. I couldn't find a job for weeks. When I finally did, it was part-time at a less-than-wonderful wage, but I decided to take it and look for a second one. I was offered a couple of others but none would work with the schedule of the job I already had or with school when it started back up, so I turned them down.

In all scenarios, I adjusted. I made the necessary tweaks to my plans and I moved on and life was fine. But honestly I didn't have a clue where the Lord was taking me with it all... Until about two weeks ago. I received a phone call asking me to come in to interview for an internship that I'd applied for at least a month prior. To be honest, I didn't even really remember anything about it other than that I'd applied, but I agreed to come in. I was invited back for a second interview, and the next week I was offered the position. The weird part? It goes through December, so I'll be living at home for the semester, taking classes online.

The only thing that truly worried me after accepting the internship was that my housing contract starts in August and goes to next August. I still plan on living up there starting in January, so I was concerned that I wouldn't be able to find anyone who was looking for a place for only fall. Lo and behold, my dear friend Kaycie sat next to a girl at church who was interested, and now she's taking it.

It's incredible to be able to see how God fits everything together so perfectly. Everything that would have prevented me from looking into this job was neatly pushed out of the way. If I'd been at EFY I wouldn't have applied for more jobs. Had I passed levels, it would have been harder to decide to stay home for the semester. I felt that I needed to come home instead of stay in Logan... And I didn't take any of the jobs that would have been more difficult to get out of in order to take this internship. I was able to figure out my housing contract.

I am so grateful to be reminded that our Heavenly Father is not only aware of me, but His hand is in my life DAILY. I am excited to see what else He has in store for me, and hopefully to eventually see why it is that I needed to get this internship. Basically... Just remember that God loves you, and is watching over you! Don't worry about how you think your plan is going. Just listen to Him. :)


a letter to meg johnson... in which i bear my soul


My name is Kira, and I'm a student at Utah State (go Aggies!). I was fortunate enough to hear you speak this morning! I wanted to stay and talk to you but there was a crowd around you and I had to head to my next class, but I wanted to make sure that I contacted you anyway.

          This morning was rough. I had a hard time waking up so I pressed snooze and got as much out of that snooze as I could before forcing myself to roll out of bed. Once I got out of bed I realized that I was super sore from a workout I did yesterday, and I felt sick on top of that. I rushed out the door with very little food and was late to class. When I did get there, I had a hard time focusing. I had a presentation in my second class that I had to print something out for and it took a really long time, which stressed me out. I did well on my presentation but I got some intense constructive criticism from my professor and just felt... Heavy.

          By this time it was 11:35 and I was late to Religion in Life. I had a moment of "is it even worth going if I'm going to walk in late? I'll probably miss some of what the speaker says, too," but after some deliberation I decided that I really needed to go and get the pick me up that Religion in Life always seems to give to me.

          I biked as fast as I could, and on the way I thought about how worthless and small I've been feeling lately. I returned from my mission in September, and it's been a little bit rough finding the balance between pre-mission me and mission me to figure out who post-mission me really is... Satan keeps getting into my head and telling me that I'm no one's first choice, and that I don't have anything unique or even valuable to bring to the people who I am studying to work with (I'm a music therapy student). I get down on myself about not being diligent enough in my scripture study and prayers. About not sharing the gospel freely enough. I keep comparing myself to others and seeing how great they are at all the things I'm not so great at. I see all my friends getting engaged and married and having kids and graduating and moving on with life. And it hurts. Making time for a productive scripture study is much harder now than it was on my mission. School is hard. Being single is hard. Sharing the gospel without a name tag is hard.

         With all these thoughts racing through my head, I walked into the institute building just in time to hear the second half of the musical number. I found a seat next to a friend and pulled my notebook out, half-heartedly trying to prepare myself to be uplifted, but just feeling... Weak. Then you came up to the microphone and through you, the Spirit told me exactly what I needed to hear - That even if no one would choose me first... I am a daughter of a LOVING Heavenly Father, and the spirit sister of a LOVING Savior, and they love me FOREVER. That's not going to change, no matter how many people in my life come and go. If I allow Them to pilot my life by keeping Their commandments, they will take me to a place where I will be happier than I ever even dreamed of, and that makes everything along the way - turbulence and all - worth it.

         That was a really long story, but to sum it all up - thank you. I can honestly say that my life was changed today. Thank you for speaking with the Spirit. Thank you for being willing and excited to share your story. THANK YOU. It means the world to this semi-lost RM - just consider this message a long distance hug of thanks!

          Very sincerely,


A few things have been changed from my original email to Meg, as there are still things I would not like to share with everyone. Please know that this is not a cry for help. This is me being real on my blog, and sharing how I've been feeling lately. It's pretty illogical because my life is really great. :) I'm doing okay, I promise. :) I'm even happy! It's just been a little rough lately.

If you take anything from this, just take that YOU are also a child of God, and He loves you unfathomable amounts, and that's really what matters most. He'll guide you if you let Him.

For more about the incredible, life-changing Meg Johnson, check out her blog right here.


be here now

I can't even count the number of times that I have started a post and stopped because I forgot or ran out of time or something in the last few weeks... I guess that a lot of that is because the things that have been on my mind lately are pretty personal.

I'm a little bit all over the place recently - School is hard, but it's awesome. Friends are fantastic. Dating is... Dating. I've been struggling to have good, effective scripture study, and that really frustrates me.

Honestly, I feel like sometimes I am failing as a returned missionary. There's so much that I learned out in the mission field that I should be so much better at applying. And while a lot of that comes from Satan (see my last post on that here), there's definitely also truth in there.

In institute on Monday we started talking about how we are accountable for our time. I am extremely guilty of wasting time. I spend hours on social media sites and my cell phone. I put off studying my scriptures, studying for my classes, spending time with the people I love... It's really dumb. Especially because I know better. Preach My Gospel (essentially the missionary handbook, you can find it online here) encourages missionaries to use their time wisely. In fact, the apostles and church leaders who wrote Preach My Gospel considered it so important that they wrote an entire chapter on it (chapter 8!). So... I spent 18 months learning more about that, and trying my best to be better at using my time.

I am decidedly against making resolutions solely for that it's a new year, but I think it's about time that I do make some goals for this year. These goals are things I've thought long and hard about, not just things I thought up because oh look, it's 2015 and I should jump on the resolution bandwagon. I find that those things don't generally end up getting done. However I think it's super important to make heartfelt, serious goals! Goals help us to progress. Elder M. Russell Ballard once said:
“I am so thoroughly convinced that if we don’t set goals in our life and learn how to master the techniques of living to reach our goals, we can reach a ripe old age and look back on our life only to see that we reached but a small part of our full potential. When one learns to master the principles of setting a goal, he will then be able to make a great difference in the results he attains in this life.”
One of the many useful things I learned on my mission is that an unwritten goal is just a wish. So... I'm going to write my goals down. I won't write them all on here, but I would like to share one.

With this goal comes a story. About a month after coming home from my mission, I started attending my local Young Single Adult (YSA) ward (church unit) in Bountiful. The first week I was there a young man spoke (we don't have clergy that give sermons in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints - members of the congregation take turns giving "talks") who was leaving on his mission that coming Wednesday. He encouraged us all to remember to live in the moment, and shared a story of his choir teacher at Westminster who always told his students to leave their other commitments and worries outside of his room, and to "be here now."

Those words penetrated my mind then, and continue to regularly do so again and again. They pop up in my head often - generally when I'm not focused on where I am or what I'm doing - and I am brought back to the present. Not past experiences or future plans, but here and now. I think that it's so important to reflect on experience, and it's definitely also important to make plans, but it's just as important to live and enjoy what's happening right NOW. I'm making a goal to do just that. To be thankful for the present. So if nothing else... I will strive to do that this year!



So.... I had a hard day. I'm going to write about it.

I jokingly told a few of my friends recently that I'm an realist in the morning and a romantic at night. It's true. While I generally wake up confident and ready to take on life, I'm usually also relatively cynical after that alarm goes off. It's interesting, because I think it takes its toll on my mood. I get dramatic and sentimental at night. And... Emotional, honestly. Can't say I fully understand the whole ordeal, but there's someone who uses it against me, and that is Satan.

Today, after getting dressed, I looked in the mirror. And the tiny little Satan-voice in the back of my head said,
"Hm. Those jeans don't fit as well as they could."
"That shirt seems more snug than it used to."  
"My hair looks awful." 
"Ooh, look at that nice new zit!"

As the day went on, I started doing something destructive. I started comparing.
"Wow, I wish I had her complexion."
"Ugh, her outfit is so much better than mine."
"If I just had her figure..."
And I started to think that others were judging and comparing me. I read into everything I was saying and doing.
"He probably thinks I'm annoying."
"Wow, good going Kira, I'm sure she wants to be friends now..."
"Why did I even do that?"

And then, after about 6:00 pm, the Satan-voice pointed out every happy couple and said,
"Look at them. Don't you want that? You'll probably never get it."
And eventually he didn't even need to point out couples.
"You'll probably just be alone forever."

In retrospect, these things are all ridiculous. Right? It's said that hindsight is 20-20. And you know, if I'd truly thought about those little biting thoughts a little harder, I would have undoubtedly seen how ludicrous they were. But I let them get to me. And it hurt. And I wish I could say that this was just today but it happens often, at least to an extent.

Now, because I have an incredible best friend who gives fabulous advice and Youtube recommendations, I was directed to this video:

I watched it, I cried a little, I called the above-mentioned friend and thanked him. Then I said a prayer, and thanked my Heavenly Father for all the the things He has given to me. For the opportunities that I have. For my talents. For my family and friends and school and most especially for His Son, Jesus Christ. My Friend.

I know I'm not the only one with self-deprecating and belittling problems. In fact I'm positive the most people suffer from the same sort of issue. And I just want to tell you people... Remember your worth. You have a loving Heavenly Father. He weeps with you. He laughs with you. He sent His Only Begotten Son to suffer for your sins and punishments and hardship and pain and illness so that you would always have someone to turn to.
11 And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people. 
 12 And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities.
13 Now the Spirit knoweth all things; nevertheless the Son of God suffereth according to the flesh that he might take upon him the sins of his people, that he might blot out their transgressions according to the power of his deliverance; and now behold, this is the testimony which is in me. (Alma 7:11-13) 
He is there. He knows our infirmities, and how to help us through them. And He will, if we turn to Him. I am so grateful for that... I don't know what I'd do without that knowledge.


problem solving

Well, my dilemma of what to do with my blogs is now resolved. My mission blog, enlisted, is going to become a "Returned Missionary recovery" blog. Laugh all you want, there's a lot to recover from when you get home! Actually it's more like... There's a lot to adapt to. You have to figure out how to use your mission-acquired knowledge in regular, day-to-day life. And use time wisely! Such things. It's a real struggle sometimes.

Anyhow, I have all these ideas whizzing around in my head and I'm really excited to get my dear friend Chelsea Elting involved in all of it. It's going to be great!

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