I’m taking an institute class this semester. It is called “Jesus Christ and the Everlasting Gospel”. A few weeks ago, I don’t really remember what we were talking about, but the subject of nets came up. Now, nets are typically referred to in the scriptures as fishing nets. But, my teacher reviewed a different concept of nets, with help from Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin.

Elder Wirthlin says:

“Nets are generally defined as devices for capturing something. In a more narrow but more important sense, we might define a net as anything that entices or prevents us from following the call of Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God.

Nets in this context can be our work, our hobbies, our pleasures, and, above all else, our temptations and sins. In short, a net can be anything that pulls us away from our relationship with our Heavenly Father or from His restored Church.” (“Follow Me“, April 2002 General Conference)

As we discussed this, one thing stood out. Our work can be a net. Something that can ensnare us and drag use away from our Heavenly Father and Christ. And then something came to me, something I never thought I would get an answer to.

I’ve had a few experiences where I have had to decline jobs. Both times have been when I thought I was ready to move on from my current circumstance, ready for something new. And yet, I felt it wasn’t the right thing for me to do at the time. I felt I couldn’t take the job, but I never knew why. I had to find the faith to say, “Okay, I am not going to take this job, but I don’t know why.” Because I didn’t, until that night in institute.

I realized that both of those jobs that I could have taken would have dragged me away from the Gospel. I don’t know if it would have been that extreme, but it certainly felt that way when I thought about it. And, when I thought about it, I realized that no job is worth my relationship with my Savior or with Heavenly Father. I’ll keep those, and just wait for the next job.

I didn’t ever really expect to get a resolution to either of those jobs. I just knew that I couldn’t take them, so I didn’t. But now that I know, it seems to obvious, and a little scary that I was in that position in the first place.

What did Robert Frost say? “I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.” Yep. That’s the one. Well…what he said. It has made all the difference.


I can do hard things 

I did a hard thing this week. I declined a job offer. It was something I wanted, something I had been working toward, but when it came down to it, I decided that it wouldn’t make sense in the long run of my career to take a job that I probably would have been burnt out at sooner rather than later.

So I said, “Thanks, but no thanks.”

I did it, and didn’t really think much of it, but the fact that I now again have to work hard to achieve that change in my life hit me and sort of discouraged me. As I went to push send on the decline email, I said to myself inside my head, “I can do hard things.” That gave me the courage to push send and move on.

I can do hard things. This is something I have been trying to teach myself so I can act when I am in moments of discomfort or moments of hardship. I can do hard things, because I can. Be it ride a scary roller coaster, go to a job interview, start working on a work project, making a decision.

Really anything that I have to do, but don’t really want to, I think, “I can do hard things,” and then I do the thing.

I’m not sure how this started, but I know it started small. I was probably going to do something I perceived as scary, and I wanted to give myself a little confidence boost.

I have used this, as mentioned before, when I have ridden scary roller coasters, when I stepped up to the softball plate, when I went down a water slide, when I walked into a job interview, when I played my violin in church a few months ago. The list goes on and on.

This little mantra isn’t really just to give me confidence, it is also to give me the courage or the comfort to do something I am a little wary of. Because, I know I can do most things, if I put my mind to it, but in the moment, it is more difficult to convince myself of that. It’s more than just a moment of courage. It’s also a reminder of the hard things I have done in the past. When I rode that water slide, I said quietly to myself, “I can do hard things,” but in my head, I thought, “I can because I have before and I will again.” This is just a step to those bigger, more hard things that I can and will do.

I can do hard things because they help me grow as a person. I don’t want to be stagnant, and I’ve often been told that if you aren’t progressing, you are regressing. I don’t want to go where I’ve already been with regards to my growth as an adult. That just seems backwards. If inevitably doing something difficult or uncomfortable will help me take a step forward, as opposed to a step back, then so be it. I don’t mind a moment of discomfort. Oh I totally will still be uncomfortable, but I will still do hard things not for the sake of doing them (at least, not all the time), but also for the sake of my own progression.

So the next time you see me do something brave, be it big or small, or even if it isn’t something brave, but something I might be uncomfortable with, you will know that in my head, or maybe whispered to myself, I have said, “I can do hard things.”

Because I can, and I will. Just watch. 

Flowers and Diet Cokes

Two things to know before we get started here: 1) Tulips are my favorite flowers. 2) I like Diet Coke.

Good to go? Okay, let’s go.

Every year in Utah, there is a month long Tulip Festival at Thanksgiving Point. I have lived in Utah for about 7 years now, and the Tulip Festival has existed for all 7 of those years, even longer. I have never gone. I don’t know why. I always say I want to go, and then don’t end up going. In my defense, Thanksgiving Point is a little out of the way, I just never got down there during the Tulip Festival.

Last weekend, that all changed.

I knew it was the last weekend I would be able to go, so earlier in the week, I asked a friend of mine if he wanted to go with me. He said he would, but that he couldn’t go over the weekend, because he was already busy. We both decided, tentatively, that we would go during the next week (which is this week). Then, last Saturday, I found myself with not much to do. I decided to do something for myself, instead of feeling like waiting for someone to go with me. [I’d like to think this is akin to going to a movie by myself, or going to a restaurant alone. I don’t need anyone to go with me, but for some reason, I always prefer to have someone with me, so I don’t look like a loner, really.] I sort of had a reason to go down that way, anyway, so I took the opportunity to go by myself. Continue reading

The Power of Dreams

It’s been a big week for me. I knew it would be relatively big, but I didn’t know how many things would happen…

And by big week, I mean big 72 hours.

Remember a while ago when I said I wanted two things from this year: a new bed and a new car? Well I got both of them.

A few weeks ago, my mom said she would come down and bring a bed for me with her. I was so excited that it was going to happen, and was anxiously looking forward to it.  Continue reading

Looking Forward, Looking Up, Now Boarding

General life update.

I realized a few days ago that there are a lot of things I’m looking forward to this year. And I’m actually pretty excited about it.

Does anyone want to talk about it? No. Well, too bad, I’m going to talk about it anyway.

For starters, this week is going to be ride. I’m so so excited. I’m going on a business trip. Yes, me. You read that right. No, I can’t really believe it either. Business trips are reserved for those that wear suits all the time and are stuffy and are SERIOUS business people. I’m none of those things (well, I am a serious businesswoman sometimes…sometimes) and yet tomorrow, I will board a flight that will take me on my first big kid adventure.

Well, I’ve been a big kid for a while, but apparently other people are starting to notice. Yay! (no sarcasm) Continue reading

2016: A Year in Review

I’ve thought long and hard about if I wanted to do this or not…but then I figured why not? But, in usual Mary fashion, it will be awkward, and I’ll try to make it funny and interesting…and probably fail. Haha 🙂

Ready? Ready. Let’s go.

2016 started and it seemed like it would be any other year. I was still relatively new at work, so I was still sort of getting my bearings there, I was still meeting new people at church because I was new to the ward, I was still new to really everything in my life. Relatively speaking. So the beginning of the year was just a lot of working. It turned out it would be a lot more than that. Continue reading