Wednesday, December 25, 2013

I found Christmas in a busy restaurant | ksl.com

I found Christmas in a busy restaurant

By Katie Lee | Posted - Dec 25th, 2013 @ 6:58pm

SALT LAKE CITY — It seems like this Christmas has come quicker than most and is about to end the same way. I have been feeling badly that I haven't done much to enjoy the holiday.
It really hasn't felt much like Christmas at all — until last Wednesday night.
I work as a waitress part time. Wednesday was very busy night and I was scrambling to keep up with the demands of a full restaurant. A couple in their early 30s came in and was shown to a back corner booth. As I approached the couple they told me a little story about themselves.
Years ago they struggled financially. However, they were celebrating a special occasion and they had decided to go out for dinner. At the conclusion of dinner, the waitress informed them that someone had paid for their dinner.
"It was Christmas at the time," the couple told me. "Because of that experience we do the very same thing every year at Christmas time for someone else, anonymously."
I was, of course, on board with the idea. I told them to let me know when they had chosen the table and I would make sure I got them that patron's bill.
When I came back a little while later, the couple pointed out a cute young family with twin boys. They informed me that was who they had chosen. I smiled. The interesting thing about this family was that the boys had been a little rambunctious and some people were complaining. My manager even debated asking them to leave. I asked him not to and to please give me a minute to get their food out to them. I knew once the children had their food they would probably be fine.
I was thrilled when the couple in the back chose this particular family. I thought it ironic and wonderful that instead of being kicked out and feeling angry and terrible, this couple would go home with a wonderful feeling of Christmas.
Later, I went up to the family with the twin boys and explained that someone had paid for their meal. I also told them the couple's story without divulging who they were. The wife got very emotional and both she and her husband were shocked and touched. So much so, that they decided they would pay it forward.
I left and when I came back they told me that they had picked a random couple in the restaurant — a restaurant that was full — to pay it forward and pay for their meal.
I smiled as they sneakily pointed the table out to me. It was my table in the corner. The family had no idea and I didn't tell them that they had chosen the very couple that had paid for their meal. The family thanked me and left with huge grins on their faces.
When I returned to my corner booth I told them what had happened. They were shocked and then emotional at what had occurred. I too was emotional, but not shocked.
That's just how Christmas goes. It has a way of finding its way in, sometimes at the last minute. I'm grateful it found me that night.
Merry Christmas everybody.

Kate Lee is a Utah native and mother of three. You can read more of her writing at www.momentsofchunder.blogspot.com Contact her at momentsofchunder@gmail.com
 

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Thank you

I have to say I am completely shocked at how many people have read my "I didn't Marry My Soulmate" on KSL. This is mostly due to the fact that while in my Journalism class at Utah State years ago, I was picked weekly as the "what not to do" example. The best part was that the teacher never even bothered covering my name when he passed around my papers. Finally on the last class of the semester I was picked for having written the best article. . . my Dad wrote it. 

 It was very different for me to write a serious article as most of what I write is the opposite of serious. So if you need a good laugh now, then I hope you will give my book "A Half Fast Memoir" a try.

To all of you who have left such kind comments, words of wisdom and shared your personal stories, Thank you.

-Kate

The following is one of the stories from my book.



Is It Your Birthday Again?

With twelve of us in the family, birthdays came quite frequently. In fact, I think it was about once a year for each of us. For someone who enjoys shopping, buying birthday gifts may not seem like a daunting task, but for someone that loathes shopping it’s just that. Anytime we mention shopping to Mom we always get the same response, “Eww yuck! I hate shopping.”
Something that helped ease Mom’s dread of shopping was the dawning of the Internet. Years ago, our home phone and Internet shared the same line. When Mom discovered online shopping, the phone lost its share. So unless we were lucky enough to reach her during a potty break we were left to our own devices. This was especially awesome when one of us was stranded somewhere waiting for a ride. Mom spent hours on the Internet looking for bargains. She signed up for every “free” deal that came her way and she got what she paid for.
To put it nicely, we received some pretty unusual birthday presents, many of which were some of her Internet finds. These included Mary Kay samples, clothes that were three sizes too small, free trinkets or gadgets that we didn’t want and wouldn’t use and anything else that came as part of a free trial offer.
My nephew, Taylor, was given a “Captain Morgan” t-shirt from Mom for his sixteenth birthday. She got it on sale at a thrift store. Mom didn’t know Captain Morgan is an alcoholic drink. What she did know was that at one dollar, the price was right. That was bad for sure, but the most ridiculous part was that the shirt didn’t even match the fluorescent orange booty shorts that I gave him.
If Mom didn’t find gifts on the Internet, then she’d rummage through the cupboards or bookshelves trying to find something to re-gift. I’m sure my oldest brother, Bob, loved receiving prenatal vitamins for his 40th birthday.
And it still warms my heart to remember Angela’s face when she was re-gifted a book that she had given Mom years before. It had been signed to Mom by the author.
One birthday, Mom and Dad surprised me and visited my apartment while I was away at school. They brought dinner for my roommates and me. After we ate, it was time for me to open my present. This year’s gem and Internet freebie was a CD ROM cleaner. It was a cheap, little plastic box with a circular piece of foam the size of a CD inside, finished off with a little hand crank. It included a small spray bottle of cleaner. The idea was to spray the CD, place it in the box on top of the foam and crank the handle. I didn’t own a computer let alone any software CDs. At least I think that’s what a ROM is. After trying to wrap my brain around this enigma I had received, I heard Mom say that the only condition of my gift was that she and Dad be able to borrow it. It made sense to me that there would be a “condition” placed on such a valuable item and even more sense that she and Dad would want to borrow it. I think the greatest gift I really received that day was the gift of becoming a little more humble. I knew myself all too well. If I hadn’t agreed to let them borrow this high-end electronic mechanism, surely I would have become materialistic and worldly and they covetous.
The CD Rom cleaner was obviously priceless, but nothing beat the year I turned 15. Mom made my favorite lemon Jell-O cake for my birthday. Only she didn’t have a lemon Jell-O packet—a crucial ingredient in a “lemon” Jell-O cake. In true Mom fashion she went in search for a substitution and something she already had. Mom opened the cupboard and spotted a box of cherry Jell-O. She ignored the “cherry” part and was just glad that she had found some Jell-O to use.
Since I had learned my colors some years previously, Mom must have figured out that I might notice that something was amiss on account of the cake being red instead of yellow. A distraction became necessary.
Birthday candles would do the trick. Naturally, we didn’t have any. Unnaturally, Mom decided to use our emergency preparedness candles.
Going once again to the cupboard, Mom found the aged brown paper sack that housed our wide array of emergency preparedness candles. There were tea lights and aromatherapy candles, votive and two long-skinny candles suitable for a romantic dinner. Some were golden and ornate and one was simply a solitary Christmas countdown candle. It had previously been used and was melted down to day “12”. The colors of the candles varied and all of them had already been used many times in the different blackouts we had had over the years.
Laying the candles on the table, Mom set to work “decorating” my cake. The final result was a peaceful smelling, Christmas colored, romantically inclined cake that had huge craters in it where the candles had been crammed.
Surrounding the craters were seas of multi-colored wax. One candle stood out even more than the rest. The 18 inch spiral, puke green colored candle had long ago broken in half and now looked like a pair of nun-chucks, with the wick holding the two sides together. Mom had planted each end of the candle at opposite ends of the cake, the wick between them creating a magnificent arch. My eyes wandered from this Salvador Dali scene she had made to the lone Christmas candle in one corner. At first glance I had thought the Christmas candle to be completely out of place, but when I saw how the puke green arch dripped onto the blood red cake, I thought, “I get that.”
When the time for opening presents arrived, I could hardly contain my excitement. There inside the beautiful layers of grocery sack wrapping paper held together with a single piece of scotch tape lay a new outfit. Although, who these clothes were purchased for I did not know. It seemed difficult to believe that they were purchased for me. I tried on the shirt first. It exposed a good portion of my midriff. I then tried on the pants. The pants didn’t get past my knees. As I modeled this outfit for my family, everyone, including me thought it was hilarious. Well almost everyone. Mom began to cry, until Dad pointed at the cake and said, “Seriously Connie. Look at that monstrosity. You aren’t the one that should be crying right now.” This time we all laughed.
I recently commented on this story to Dad. I asked him why in the world we didn’t take a picture of that cake.
He laughed and replied, “Because it wasn’t unusual.”


 

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I Didn't Marry my Soulmate and comments.

I didn't marry my soul mate

By Katie Lee | Posted - Dec 9th, 2013 @ 9:39pm


116

SALT LAKE CITY — The night I met him, we stayed up all night just talking. We laughed so hard I was afraid I would wet my pants in front of him. He was 23 and I was 21. It was beyond natural being with this person who was in so many ways just like me, but different enough that I loved learning from him.
It was instant that connection.
The next time we were together I knew it wouldn’t be the last. Never did something seem so obvious to me than this: he was my soul mate.
When I left to serve an 18-month mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I knew he’d be there when I returned. How could he not be? I had had too many experiences where it didn’t just feel right, it was obvious we were meant to be.
Plus, I was doing something for God. Of course, he would be there when I got home.
He wasn’t.
Two months before I returned, he got married and my heart broke.
Who would I marry? Was it possible to feel that strongly about someone again? Would I be settling for second place? Was that fair to whoever I did marry? Why would God do that to me after I had served him for those 18 months?
The opposite of my soul mate
When I returned home at my mission's end, I wasn’t looking for my husband and he wasn’t looking for me — but as it happens, we found each other anyway.
Unbeknownst to either of us, we were in the same high school graduating class. I remember seeing him around the halls and thinking he was good looking. I even wrote in his year book, but I never got to know him.
The first time Travis and I went out, he showed up in an ‘88 Mustang — a muscle car of all things. It fit perfectly with the tight shirt he was wearing. The shirt was stretched over bulging muscles that I was sure were his primary focus. His hair was spiked and he wore a Pukka shell necklace. We were both 23.
He picked me up at my parents' house. On my way out the door I turned, made eye contact with brother and rolled my eyes. This would never work out.

From then on, we were together. We never stayed up laughing all night. I never got butterflies when he kissed me or held my hand. He didn't sweep me off my feet, and he wasn't one to compliment me very much. But he was stalwart where it counted. ... We just made sense together.
Travis didn’t talk much, which was fine since I wouldn’t have been able to hear him over the roar of his car. We went to dinner. He didn’t make very many comments, except to tell me that he’d never had a girl finish her food before he did.
Yes, this was definitely not going anywhere. I excused myself to go to the restroom while he paid for dinner. When I came out he was gone. I went outside thinking he may be waiting for me out there. I noticed a homeless man asking people for money so he could eat. That’s when I saw Travis come outside.
He didn’t notice me and must have thought I was still in the restroom. I saw Travis had a bag of food he must have just purchased from the restaurant. He promptly walked up to the homeless man and gave it to him along with $20: “I thought you might be hungry," he said.
He never knew I saw.
On the way home, I made more of an effort. By the time he took me home, I knew I had judged this boy wrongly. It was me that had been lucky to go out with him, not the other way around.
From then on, we were together. We never stayed up laughing all night. I never got butterflies when he kissed me or held my hand. He didn’t sweep me off my feet, and he wasn’t one to compliment me very much. But he was stalwart where it counted. He was pure and simple good. He did what was right because it was simply that — right. We just made sense together.
It came time for us to either get married or part ways. I didn’t want another heartbreak or to waste my time on something if it wasn’t going anywhere. The only problem was, neither of us knew how to tell if it was right. Weren’t you supposed to feel butterflies? Or stay up laughing all night? Or have a booming voice from heaven, or get some kind of guarantee that he was your soul mate?
Neither of us got any of those things. All I knew was that I was completely comfortable with Travis, that he was a good human being, that he loved God and tried to do what was right. Somehow I had fallen in love with this man who was the opposite of my soul mate.
The best advice: It doesn't matter
Sometime after that, I received what could possibly be the best piece of advice I have ever been given. I asked a wise older man at church, how to know if Travis and I were right for each other? He laughed.
“You’re both very good people, with a strong belief in God," he said. "It’s your choice who you end up with and what kind of marriage you have.”
It was so simple, but nothing had ever been so clear to me in that moment. Me and that other boy before my mission didn’t end up together not because God hadn’t wanted us to, not because there was someone better for me or him, or not because it wasn't right. I was gone and a great girl came along and he chose her. It was that simple and that was OK. My life wasn’t over; my chance for true love was not gone.
In that moment I realized something: It doesn't matter whether or not we think we've found our soul mate. A soul mate is whoever we choose it to be.
Yes, in marriage there will be times when we want to throw in the towel. For Travis and I, there have been entire years where we have drifted apart and didn’t know how to get back. Financial struggles, job loss, death of family members and depression are just a few of the things that have tugged at us throughout our marriage. They’ve probably tugged at you, too.
When I got married, I, like you, didn't get a guarantee that our marriage would work out. Such guarantees don’t exist. What we did get, however, was a choice.
I get to choose to be the wife I want to be. I get to choose whether to become closer or whether to drift apart when times are hard. I get to choose to have the marriage I want with the man I choose to marry.
Lucky for me, the man I chose to marry turned out to be an awesome choice, though I didn't fully realize it nine years ago. It took some hard times for us to become much closer.
There will surely be more hard times for us and there will probably be more times of wanting to throw in the towel, but there will be many more wonderful times like the ones we’ve already been privileged to enjoy together.
The more I choose us the more I realize something: I didn’t marry my soul mate, but that doesn't matter. He has become it.

Authors note for myself added to the blog before printing:
This article was viewed over half a million times and reposted by Dr. Laura Schlesinger as well as Matt Townsend.  It got so many positive and negative comments that KSL shut down the comment section after they passed 100 comments. It shocked me when it went viral.  I had had the thought to write this story down when I was out running one day and did, not thinking too much of it. Little did I know it would have this response.  I got letters from people all over the world asking my advice and thanking me for my honesty. Some of the people that wrote to me were religious leaders from other religions, people who were contemplating divorce, but after reading what I had said were thinking that maybe they ought to give it another chance. I had both middle-aged and young people write me. People stuck up for me when some of the comments were negative and attacked the kind of wife I was. It ended up being a scary/vulnerable experience that I am so glad I got to be a part of. It taught me that raw and real writing can be very powerful for us and others. It gave a voice to so many's fears that maybe they hadn't married the right person and helped us understand that feeling that likely comes to all of us at some point in each of our marriages.  Travis was my biggest supporter of the article and still is my greatest support. He is amazing.  Truly I did marry the greatest guy for me and yes, even my soul mate. 
Kate 



Comment response:

I have been reading all the comments that people have left both here on my blog and on KSL for my article, "I didn't marry my soulmate".

I just have to tell you all how touched I am at your kind words. My only regret with that article is that I didn't say that my husband also didn't marry his soul mate. Neither of us thought we did (of course we were still in love), but both of us are very aware after 9 years of marriage how incredibly lucky we are to have each other and that's what matters.

I do believe that there are soul mates out there. I also believe that we create our own happiness. Certainly all chances for love and happiness are not lost if the person you thought was meant for you, ended up choosing someone else. Certainly there will be another with whom you can be just as happy. The whole reason I wrote this article was because I have noticed a growing trend in crumbling marriages among my age group. A lot of which was a result from a "grass is greener" mentality. Sadly, most later realize that it isn't. I had heard one too many times from people, "I just didn't marry the right person". Why that may be true in a few cases, I think the majority of marriages can work and can result in happiness.

My husband and I both decided to marry someone that perhaps wasn't who we initially thought was who we would end up with. That isn't depressing or sad, in fact it is the opposite. It has brought us both peace of mind knowing that our marriage is whatever we make it. Neither of us want it to fail so we work toward it working forever. Because of that we are happy. Soul mates or not, at some point everyone is going to go through tough times that make them question their choice. Remembering why we chose that person in the first place and how lucky we are to have them quickly helps us realize just how fortunate we are. That's how I feel . . .fortunate, very very fortunate.   

Friday, November 22, 2013

A Half Fast Memoir

You have hopefully enjoyed my crazy family stories that I have related through the years. Now those stories and many others are available in the form of a book.

"A Half Fast Memoir" is live in the Kindle Store and it is available* for readers to purchase here.


You can upload the book to a Kindle or any other device where the FREE kindle App has been downloaded. (IPAD, IPHONE, COMPUTER, ETC.)
I priced the book at $3.99 in hopes that many people could afford it. If you like the book, please tell your friends and family about it and if you wouldn't mind leaving a review on Amazon that would be awesome too! Thank you so much for all of the support and encouragement. I have the greatest group of friends, followers and family. I love you guys and I really hope you enjoy A Half Fast Memoir.

-Kate


Description of A Half Fast Memoir

"Growing up in a family of twelve, things were at times "Half Fast", but that's when life got hilarious. Half Fast is a collection of bizarre but true stories from my life. Stories like Mom wanting to sacrifice a lamb in our suburban backyard, signing my brother and I up for a pain study and giving me my dead Grandma's tights for Christmas. Also included are my personal bad choices like running a marathon, hypno-birthing, and assaulting myself with my own arm. Whether you are laughing with us or at us, it only matters that you are laughing. Enjoy!"

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

What Women Want

A little while ago, I asked my husband to do something. He did it . . . and then I got mad at him for not doing it the way I wanted him to.

I do that sometimes.  I'm sure a lot of women do. For example, it's OK for me to yell at or spank the kids, but when my husband does it, sometimes I come to their rescue or tell him to calm down. This is ridiculous since my husband is about one calm step from dead. The man is never riled up and rarely loses his cool. He handles the kids way better than I do.

On that particular night I thought about how I had gotten mad after my husband had just done what I had asked. Then all of the sudden lightening struck and I burst out laughing. Travis asked me what was so funny. I replied,

"Do you know what women want?"

He responded, "Of course not."

I nodded and then looked at him with an amused expression on my face. "I want you to be me, only better. . .I want you to be the best version of me."

It sounded ridiculous coming out of my mouth and I knew it, but it didn't make it any less true.

It was like I had had a major epiphany. I want him to do things like I would, handle situations like I do, but better than I actually do and better than I actually am.

I guess I have given up on making me better so I just work on him now. I think that's what nagging is. I also realize that it may be working. Now I will continue free of guilt. I'm so glad he learned such a valuable lesson. I bet he is too.
 




Monday, October 7, 2013

Febreze

Does anyone else think the Febreze commercials are a little ridiculous? (I'm sorry Febreze, I'm sure your product is good. All I know is that every time I'm pregnant the smell makes me chunder. Incidentally for all of you who were wondering what "chunder" is--you now know.)

Febreze's latest commercial shows a couple on a romantic getaway at a nice beach house.At the end of their stay the Febreze people pick up the couch cushions where the couple has been lounging for the past week and the underneath is filled with garbage. Surprise!! Somehow the couple is totally fine with it and somewhat thrilled. "We had no idea!!! Haha ha That's so wonderful!"

Umm what?? Even if I couldn't smell the stench, I really can't imagine being delighted that I had been deceived by the beach owners and that I had been napping, watching TV, and making out all week long only a few inches from maggot-covered food. And what did they do to our tooth-brushes while we were at beach?   

I hope for Halloween they up their game commercial-wise. I really want to see where they go with them. I hope this time it's a body that's been kept under the couch cushions in a special compartment. I'd kill to see that couple.

"My goodness. We had no idea! That's delightful!"
"Yes, I couldn't even smell the decaying flesh!"

On a positive note, I have stopped cleaning up the house. I just shove all the garbage and poopy diapers under my couch and spray a little Febreze. It's wonderful!!



Side note:
I have to give credit where credit is due. The third paragraph was all my husband. We're a good team.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Not Your Breakfast of Champions

This morning I was getting the kids breakfast before school.I noticed an open bag of Kit Kats on the counter and wondered why they were there. I put them back in the cupboard for Halloween.

My husband left for work a few minutes later, but stopped short. "Who took my breakfast?" He asked looking around confused.

I looked confused too. "You said you didn't want anything, so I didn't make you anything."

He didn't respond as he was busy looking for his breakfast. That's when it hit me. I stopped short. "Wait . . .are you referring to the bag of Kit Kats that was left on the counter as your 'breakfast'??"

Travis looked up relieved, "Yah, where are they?"

I just stared at him. "Let me get this straight. You are going to eat a HALF bag of Kit Kats. . .all in one sitting . . . for your breakfast?"

Travis looked at me like I was being ridiculous. "It's not all Kit Kat's in there. It's Reeses, Snickers and Twix too."

I stared at this man that I had chosen of my own free will and choice to marry, this man that for all intents and purposes is incredibly smart. "You do realize that's not any better right?"

He just rolled his eyes.

Before he shut the door I called out to him, "Please raise the amount of our life insurance policy today while you're at work and make sure it's submitted before you fall into your diabetic coma."

I guess that's why you don't buy Halloween candy this early and why we have life insurance.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Testimony


Many of you know that I am a Christian, some of you don't. The gospel of Jesus Christ and my personal beliefs are very important to me. Today I had the opportunity to speak in my church. I wanted to share my talk with any of you who may be interested in what I believe. I know it is not humorous like most of my posts, but it is what I believe. I want to share it with you. Perhaps some of you are struggling with life, like I sometimes do. I hope this helps.   


Kate Lee
Talk in church.
Sept. 22, 2013

When I finally decided to go on my mission I was incredibly excited and a lot naïve. My brothers tried to tell me that the mission would rock me to the core at times, that it would be the hardest thing I had ever done. It went in one ear and out the other. All I knew was that I knew I was supposed to go and I wanted to go more than anything.

Within two weeks in the mission field, in Italy, I understood what my brothers were saying and it rocked me to the core. This was going to be extremely hard.

I’d say the mission is 80% extremely hard and 20% wonderful. There was depression, extreme fatigue, lack of understanding, rejection, guilt, questioning why I’d come and extreme loneliness.

Had I known how hard the mission would be I would never have gone. I remember writing my Dad and asking him, “Why didn’t you tell me this would be so hard? How could you do that to me?”

His response was simply. “You wouldn’t have understood. You can’t have the mission experience without the mission.”

This week I had somewhat of a meltdown. It happens every so often with me. When the economy hit it took us and many others with it. This week I was reminded that six
years later things still aren’t much better. Sometimes that gets hard.

My husband and I talked about in the scriptures where we read that each of us shouted for joy at the prospect of coming to Earth. And suddenly it hit me. I remembered the night before I went on my mission, the excitement, the childlike innocence, the immense faith. Even though my brothers had tried to warn me, I couldn’t understand. How could I? Perhaps it was the same in the pre-existence. In that state of complete innocence, how could we understand what it would be like to lose a child, or not be able to have one. To lose a spouse or not be able to have one. To suffer addiction, to have a terminal illness, to have children stray and spouses who are abusive. To not be able to provide, to suffer from mental illness and many other things. 

Maybe we didn’t shout for joy at the process. Maybe we shouted because we knew the end result.

Perhaps the pre-existence me was a little like the pre-mission me.

I remember sitting in a zone conference and looking around the room at the other missionaries. They were dejected, exhausted. A lot of them felt like failures. An Elder that I knew well, he was amazing, one of the best, full of faith, raised his hand. He asked, “Why aren’t we having more baptisms?”

Then came the well meaning, but harsh reply. “Because you don’t have enough faith.”

Thank goodness for the spirit which in that moment spoke to me and told that was simply not true.

Afterword I went up to that Elder. I explained to him my feelings. I told him that faith will lead us to those who are ready to hear, faith will give us what we are to say in the moment we need to say it and faith will sustain us in those incredibly difficult times, but faith cannot make someone else be baptized. Everyone has their own agency.

 It is the same with life. Faith may not cure a child’s cancer, faith may not bring back a dying spouse or cure their terminal illness, faith may not bring back a straying child, or cure a horrible addiction. It may not cause parents to get the child they so desperately want or someone to find a spouse in this life. Faith may not cure a handicap or depression.

In regards to all of those things, often on the mission, people would say, “Why would God do that to people?” The answer is simple. He wouldn’t.

Life is life. Life simply happens. Children get to choose just as adults do, addiction has consequences, people get sick, life is full of depression, extreme fatigue, rejection, guilt and extreme loneliness.

Perhaps we will all return and ask like I did of my earthly father. “Why didn’t you tell me this would be so hard?” Perhaps the answer will be the same. “Because you would not have understood. You cannot have the life experience without experiencing life.”

God did not cause us to lose a job and neither did lack of faith, just in the same way that faith may not cause us to make more money or sell my book or get me a house.
However Faith will sustain us each of us in our darkest times. Faith will make our burdens light.
Life is not fair because none of us chose the plan that was all about fair. We chose the plan that would get us back to Heavenly Father with more understanding, humility, love, patience and faith.

QUOTE:
" The fact is that most putts don't drop. Most beef is tough. Most children grow up to be just ordinary people. Most successful marriages require a high degree of mutual toleration. Most jobs are more often dull than otherwise. . . .
Life is like an old-time rail journey—delays, sidetracks, smoke, dust, cinders, and jolts, interspersed only occasionally by beautiful vistas and thrilling bursts of speed. The trick is to thank the Lord for letting you have the ride.”
Jenkin Lloyd Jones 

Perhaps no one had more faith than Joseph Smith, yet he suffered persecution, debt death of children, illness, jail, humiliation, beating etc etc.  but the Lord told him,  “know thou my son that all these things shall give thee experience and shall be for thy good.  The lord descended below them all.  Are thou greater than He?”

And then on my mission there was the other 20%. And suddenly the other 80% was all worth it. There were moments of incredible faith, understanding, love, friendship, compassion and yes, even miracles. Rare moments of knocking on someone’s door and having them say, “I’ve been waiting for you.”

Had I known how incredible the mission would be for me, what it would do for me personally, what it would do for my testimony. I would never have missed it. It is the same with life. There is so much good in this world. Faith will allow us to see it through those hard times. Faith is incredible. How else do people not only survive those horrible situations, but continue smiling and laughing and hoping despite of them? They believe, they know the gospel is true. They have faith that Jesus Christ will and has provided a way to make it all work out.

Quote:  (I added in the words that are in parenthesis.)
-Jeffery R. Holland
“Anyone who does any kind of missionary work will have occasion to ask, Why is this so hard? Why doesn’t it go better? Why can’t our success be more rapid? Why aren’t there more people joining the Church? It is the truth. We believe in angels. We trust in miracles. Why don’t people just flock to the font? Why isn’t the only risk in missionary work that of pneumonia from being soaking wet all day and all night in the baptismal font?
You will have occasion to ask those questions. I have thought about this a great deal. I offer this as my personal feeling. I am convinced that missionary work (and life) is not easy because salvation is not a cheap experience. Salvation never was easy. We are The Church of Jesus Christ, this is the truth, and He is our Great Eternal Head. How could we believe it would be easy for us when it was never, ever easy for Him? It seems to me that missionaries and mission leaders (and all of us) have to spend at least a few moments in Gethsemane. Missionaries and mission leaders (and all of us) have to take at least a step or two toward the summit of Calvary.
Now, please don’t misunderstand. I’m not talking about anything anywhere near what Christ experienced. That would be presumptuous and sacrilegious. But I believe that missionaries and investigators (and all of us), to come to the truth, to come to salvation, to know something of this price that has been paid, will have to pay a token of that same price.
For that reason I don’t believe missionary work has ever been easy, nor that conversion is, nor that retention is, nor that continued faithfulness is (nor that life is). I believe it is supposed to require some effort, something from the depths of our soul.
If He could come forward in the night, kneel down, fall on His face, bleed from every pore, and cry, “Abba, Father (Papa), if this cup can pass, let it pass,” 16 then little wonder that salvation is not a whimsical or easy thing for us. If you wonder if there isn’t an easier way, you should remember you are not the first one to ask that. Someone a lot greater and a lot grander asked a long time ago if there wasn’t an easier way.”
End quote.

Life is full of good. Perhaps 80% of it is about enduring to the end and trying to be happy despite some extremely hard circumstances. The fact is, we do have a guarantee. Jesus Christ died for us so that we may live again if we remain faithful.

Faith is seeing that there is another way to live in hard situations. Faith is optimism. Faith is believing that eventually-- and yes sometimes it isn't until after this life, that everything will be OK. It is not the cure-all. There is no cure-all in this life. That comes later. That's when addictions that have been fought are conquered, marriages that endured are blessed, we finally get our mansion, children come back and families are together forever.

In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.