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Public Service Announcement Ahead:
Having spent a few years now in the wonderfully diverse world of LDS Mid Singles, I've learned that there is no such thing as an "average" or "typical" mid single. Sure, many of our challenges are "similar" (kind of like a Ferrari and a Pinto are both "cars"), but our personalities, backgrounds, goals and individual situations in life are as varied as the sands on the seashore.
That being said, I feel like there are some big divides (some intentional, some through ignorance) between mid singles and everyone else in their family wards. And while I say this with love ("bless your hearts"), I have to be honest: it's usually not the mid singles' fault. These problems often come from the members of their family wards themselves.
"We try to include everyone in our ward family!" you cry. Ok, when was the last time you made an effort to reach out to a single person in your ward or neighborhood? If you're in a family ward (indicating the relationship majority) I'm willing to bet that all your activities, lessons and efforts are focused on the traditionally married families. Yes, the family unit is central to God's plan, but have you considered that you could be making the mid singles in your ward feel ostracized, forgotten, belittled and like failures?
Let me put this as lovingly and clearly as possible: please stop making your mid singles neighbors feel like they have a big scarlet letter on their chest. Whether divorced with kids, divorced with no kids, widowed, never married with kids or never married with no kids, here are things you are doing or saying that make mid singles feel UN-welcome.
Bless your hearts.
For all my fellow mid-singles, I hear your pain. You work hard at your job, to raise your kids as a single-parent, to keep your health in top shape and try to generally stay ahead of the wave in life. And when a party comes around, you are ready for a break, to kick back and just have a good time. So you plan your schedule accordingly, get yourself ready, call up your friends and head out to enter the exciting social scene.
And we've all been there right? We love to socialize, meet new people, see old friends and just generally have a good time. But frequently we run into the same types of people at these parties, so I present to you the 10 People You See at Mid-Singles Parties. Take it all in good fun, I've exaggerated some and written others with perfect honesty. I'll led you decide which is which!
1. The A-Teamers
You know who I'm talking about, the group of about a half-dozen guys and girls who show up together with a mission to kill (socially and romantically). They tend to view themselves as the IT crowd and watch each others' backs, laugh at each others' jokes, stay within eye-sight and generally try to turn themselves into the nucleus of the parties social atomic structure. I'm not saying that there is anything wrong with an A-Team (I loved the TV show), but don't be so into your friends that you ignore everyone else around you. Be inclusive, not exclusive.
2. The Pack
You know exactly who I'm talking about here. That group of girls who walk (strut?) into the party and look like they are trying to turn the place into a club. Perfect hair, perfect makeup, perfect clothes and a perfect concept of their magnificence. Now, I'm not judging by appearances because "beauty" is never an indication of the heart. Rather, its what The Pack does that I'm conflicted about. These girls remind me of the movie Mean Girls and kudos to any guy who tries to talk to any girl in this group because he runs the risk of getting torn to shreds. The Pack is on scene to be seen and attention is their drug of choice.
3. The Bros
Simply put, The Bros are the male version of The Pack. The guys greet each other with grunts, high-fives, chest bumps, bro-hugs and loud shouts that remind me of high school jocks yelling at each other in the hall. The Bros dress alike in skin-tight shirts to show off their gym results (probably Affliction or MMA shirts) and top-dollar shoes because everyone looks at your shoes at a party (sarcasm, me?). These guys are there to eat, check out the girls and otherwise try to show that they are the life of the party so the party should center around them. Top shelf substance, these dudes.
Over the past few our hearts have been saddened by the tragic loss of Robin Williams, an incredibly strong and brave soul whose ability to make us laugh endeared him to each and every one of us.
Having spent over half my lifetime living with, investigating, battling, treating and overcoming my own struggles with mental illness in the form of anxiety and depression, I can perhaps better understand what Mr. Williams went through during his impactful life. And as we all remember his wonderful, yet adversity-filled life, some may wonder...how do I help the other Robin Williamses around me? How do I help my spouse, sibling, parent, neighbor, friend, coworker, teammate, etc.?
Here are five ways that you can help that person in your life. While I do not profess to be an expert, these come from personal experience from dear friends, teammates, girlfriends, siblings, counselors and religious leaders who have reached out when I needed help the most.
1. Be Compassionate:
In this world of Facebook statuses, selfies and this-is-my-life social outlets, most people are almost loath to open up about their everyday struggles. Now, add that societal pressure to the far too common stigma surrounding mental illness and you can see why many who struggle with mental illness hide their problems, especially men.
If you have someone in your life who you think is struggling, open your heart and be compassionate enough to ask. Oftentimes those who struggle the most put on a brave face, or in Robin Williams' case laugh the loudest. But that doesn't mean they aren't silently hoping that someone will come to their rescue and help them carry the load. So ask. And keep asking until the truth comes out. "I'm ok" is not an answer you should be satisfied with.
Also, when someone is feeling like they are in a dark place, your love may have to be the light that shows them the way. Yes, someone who is feeling anxious or depressed may not be the chipper life of the party, but they still have infinite value and worth and deserve respect, love and support. Hug them. Hold them. Write them an encouraging note. Make them cookies. Go with them to a support group. Whatever comes to mind, do it. At the most basic level, depression is a thief in the night who steals your loved one's ability to feel, love and enjoy life. So at whatever level you can, shower them with love and support.
Behold! Oh ye married people, this is a once-in-a-lifetime trip inside the mind of your single and midsingle friends! While they know you mean well whenever you ask about their dating lives or try to help them find true love (thank you for your efforts, by the way), here are some things that they may think on their more snarky, bitter, sick-of-dating days. When you ask these questions, here is what they say...and what they quite possibly really think.
So yes, everything written here should be taken with a grain of salt and a big side of laughter.
What we usually say: "I guess I just haven't found the right person yet."
What we are really thinking: "That mystery goes right up there with some of Steven Hawking's theories: unfathomable. You probably mean that as a compliment, but what it sounds like is that I'm doing something wrong and need to figure out what that is so I can get married, because obviously I'm not doing my best to improve myself, love my life and be open to finding that person whenever it happens. Thanks, Dr. Phil!"
I know that most people who ask this question have great intentions and want us to remember just how great they think we are. But seriously, don't ask this question. Ever. There is no good way to answer it and singles hate trying to do so.
What we usually say: "Well, I try not to be..."
What we are really thinking: "So you're saying that the solution to my single-ness is to settle and that I shouldn't wait for someone who takes my breath away, makes me smile just when they say 'hello' and that someone that I just can't stop thinking about? Oh goodie."
Ok, we all know that being too picky is a bad thing. We get that. But do us a favor: don't tell us to wait for amazing on one hand and then tell us not to be picky on the other. We're already trying to walk the fine line between being realistically optimistic and regretfully settling.
Growing up in Oklahoma, America’s Midwest, I saw firsthand the results of Mother Nature’s terrible might when tornadoes touched down. Entire neighborhoods were leveled, swathes of landscape flattened and lives were upended. Even as a child, while I lived in fear of these awesome and powerful monstrosities, I could appreciate the way their power was formed…by air.
Because, when you think about it, what are tornadoes but collections of air that rushes forth?
Over the past few months I have listened to dear friends tell me of the tornadoes in their lives. These tornadoes have leveled their confidence, flattened their joys and upended their hearts. But these tornadoes have not been like those I saw in Oklahoma; no, the tornadoes they spoke of were the words and actions of those around them who used the air that rushed forth from their mouths to hurt, to judge, to criticize, to gossip and to belittle.
Someday “Just friends” Will be “Best Friends”
Someday “I think highly of you” Will be “I can’t stop thinking about you”
Someday “I have to go” Will be “I don’t want you to ever leave”
Someday “I’m glad you’re in my life” Will be “I can’t imagine life without you”
Someday “We’re going in different directions" Will be “Where can we go together?”
Someday “I’m here for you” Will be “I’d give my life for you”
Someday “You’re pretty great” Will be “You’re my everything”
Someday “I admire your life” Will be “Let’s build a life together”
-Jeremy C. Holm
"How can we help you today, sir?"
"I don't know....I'm just not sure I want to live anymore."
When the ER nurse asked what I was there for that day in my past, I hardly knew what to say. I didn't want to die; I just didn't want to live. This life can be fleeting and with our technology-focused modern society, every day seems to fly by even faster. But when you are contemplating ending your life, well...time enters weird flux of state.
It's a place in life that many understand through experience and others try to tearfully understand when their loved ones take their lives. I can't describe it; those who have been that low before will nod when they read this because they know exactly what I mean. It is an extremely dark, lonely, and painful place to be. What people don't understand is that the thought of dying is no longer scary at that point: you look forward to because it means an end to the suffering.
I've had a lot of time to think about that period of my life. As you can imagine, it sticks with you. Everyday you wake up is a day you almost didn't have, whether that day be good or bad. There are those who see me as broken, flawed or weak because of my struggles. In my attempt to embrace a second chance at life, they see fit to prove this precious time I almost didn't have is a waste.
With the Sochi, Russia XXII Olympic Winter Games, or the 22nd Winter Olympics, upon us, the world is eagerly anticipating watching their favorite sports and over 2,800 athletes compete on the global stage as they strive to win gold in 98 events in 15 winter sport disciplines.
But why should they have all the fun?
The Games remind us of all the good that we can do in this world when we follow our dreams. I think the Olympics are so loved because they speak to the inner child we all carry in our hearts, that part of ourselves that still believes, still hopes and still dreams. And the Games, along with the inspirational example of our athletes, invite us to let our inner child go play, go dream, go hope and go live an amazing life without fear, insecurities or regrets.
To that end, I put together this 2014 Olympics Bingo card so you and your friends and family can have fun as you watch, laugh, cry, sigh, gasp and cheer! Just right-click on the image below and print to enjoy!
Alternatively, you can download a PDF version of the Olympic Bingo card HERE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Bobsled veteran and coach releases LDS faith-promoting book
1/14/14—Springville, Utah—Sandy, Utah-based author and American bobsled pilot and coach Jeremy Holm has released his second book, “Fire on Ice: Gospel Lessons Learned from a Lifetime of Sport.”
“Fire on Ice” is a journey into the exciting and fast-paced world of bobsled and is the ideal book for sports enthusiasts, especially fans of the Olympics, and who want to deepen their faith.
Written for readers age 16 and older, Holm shares his testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ through the lens of sport throughout the book. Using lessons learned from over a decade on the ice, the author interweaves personal experiences, insights, scriptural accounts and doctrine to teach the principles of the Gospel.
At a deeply candid level, Holm also addresses his personal struggles with depression, anxiety and suicide and discusses how sport, hope, faith and goals helped him overcome these struggles and helped him draw closer to God.
“I wrote ‘Fire on Ice’ to share the two things that mean the most to me in this world: bobsled and the Gospel of Jesus Christ,” said Holm. “I organized the book to be a mixture of doctrine, testimony, real-life adventures and deeply spiritual experiences that will help the reader discover powerful ways to live as a champion of the Lord.”
“Fire on Ice: Gospel Lessons Learned from a Lifetime of Sport” is available through the following bookstores and online retailers:
About the Author:
Jeremy C. Holm is a renowned writer, motivational speaker, bobsled athlete and coach, journalist, graphic designer and advertising consultant. Born in Phoenixville, Penn., Holm began in the exciting winter sport of bobsled in January of 1997 on the Park City, Utah, 2002 Winter Olympic track. After that fateful ride down the course, he went on to train and race in both two- and four-man bobsled. In 2009, he was asked to coach the United States Adaptive Bobsled Team, thus allowing him to develop and coach a program that contained some of the first Paralympic bobsled athletes in the world. Holm is now the Team Captain of Team Phoenix Bobsled, a group of athletes that use bobsled to help others find second chances in life.
For more information about “Fire on Ice,” contact:
Cedar Fort Publishing & Media
Marketing Support Specialist
A recent encounter with a bump in the road (aka "adversity") in the pursuit of one of my goals, for some reason my mind turned to Peter the apostle in the Bible's New Testament. Now, even if you aren't Christian, keep reading because I realized that one of Peter's experiences in his life can teach us quite a bit about setting, keeping and working for goals.
The story in question is found in St. Mathew chapter 14 (or St. Mark 6 and St. John 6). The story tells us that Jesus Christ's disciples, of which Peter was one, were out on a small fishing boat on the Sea of Galilee on their way to Capernaum. We read that it was late at night, during the "fourth watch" which according to the Roman's method of keeping time was "quarta vigilia noctis", or just before dawn, which tells us that the disciples had been rowing and fighting the storm throughout the night.
Now storms on the Sea of Galilee can be quite violent due to the cold air coming down from the hills around the sea where it meets the warmer air around the Galilee due to the lower elevation. So there the disciples were; it was late, it was violently stormy, the wind was roaring, the waves were crashing over the tiny boat's sides and the rain was coming down in sheets. It was at this point that Jesus appeared, walking across the thrashing water. While the disciples feard it was spirit at first, Jesus said "Be of good acheer; it is I; be not afraid." Peter, upon seeing his master, cries out, "Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water." to which Jesus simply responds, "Come." This is where it gets interesting.