Your Last Words?

Hi.

A month and a half ago, my cousin and I were driving back from Utah after my Ogden fireside, and per my usual method of making road-trip conversation, I would ask thought provoking questions that required some thinking.  I love it.  Most people probably think I’m so annoying.  But just the same, I persist.  So one question I finally asked was, “What is something you’ve been told your whole life?”Whether it be advice, or an expression, or a phrase, or even a question…What’s something you hear all of the time?

I initially intended for it to serve as a more trivial-based question.  So for my answer, words most commonly spoken to me are:

“You’ll certainly never get married if you keep that up.” Or “That’s how people wind up dead.” Or “That’s what you’re wearing?” Or “Honey don’t feel bad, at least you tried.” Or “That’s still swearing.” Or “Stop picking at that.” Or “Sure that’s normal.” Or “Okay that’s not normal.” Or “That’s definitely not normal.” Or “At lease Mom and Dad love you just the way you are.” Or “Why do you do that?” Or “I think it’s time you start getting cats.” “Stop signs are not a mere suggestion.” Or “At least be on time to my funeral.” Or “Don’t you dare stop and pick that man up.” Or “Move out already.” Or “That’s not a toy.” Or “I’ll let you off with a warning this time Ma’am.” Or “Well at least you look comfortable.” (said by girls scrambling to compliment my ugly clothes #swingandamiss) Or “Is that contagious?” Or “That’s not a meal.” Or “You probably shouldn’t say/be/do/try/make/eat that.” or similarly “You said/were/did/tried/made/ate what?!” Or “Maybe one day.” or worse “Maybe in the next life.”

However, the conversation grew much deeper than that.  And when I became more contemplative, bearing greater reflection on the question at hand, I offered up a new answer.  A sincere answer.  An answer that I thought upheld some significance, but to what extent, I knew not… until my cousin responded to my words with an endearing smile and misty eyes.  And then I realized, the sentiment told to me all my life WAS powerful.  Very powerful.

The answer that I gave was a phrase I have heard my mom repeat literally every.single.day.  Something I can remember having gently spoken to me as a shy, trembling first grader, interrupted only briefly, for my mom to kiss my cheek and hand me my lunch.  Words comforting enough to calm my racing 6-year old heart, prompting me to slowly release my tight grip from around my mom’s leg that I clung so tightly… and instead head to my first day of school. And even when that confidence began to wane and homesickness rage… I would soon open my lunchbox and there inside, find a napkin hidden underneath my sandwich that had written on it in with my mom’s famous extra-large loopy cursive, that same sentiment I had told to me earlier that morning… this time ending with, “I’m so proud of you my big first grader! I know you could do it! Love, Mom” followed by four x’s and four o’s.

The same phrase I heard a few years later in jr. high as an ungrateful 8th grader, mad at the world, shouldering a heavy backpack and a bad attitude.  Words I heard echoing down the street, as I chased after a missed school bus, mortified by the spirited mom left standing behind in the front yard.  A mom who was dressed in all of her colorful, no-shame, moo-moo glory… shouting her same famous words from 3 houses down… still waving energetically, even when she knew I would pretend as though I couldn’t see her.

A phrase that persisted through the high school years, now a rowdy, slightly rebellious 17-year old, caught in her own world.  And on the weeks I was grounded from driving, this same motherly phrase would bid me adieu as I fled with great speed towards the school building, far from our ’96 Ford Aerostar… our hideous family van that had on it, a huge soccer ball decal and a license plate that read boldly: “THMPSN”– as though it was a car to be proud of.  The type of vehicle that stereotypically, would only be driven by a big Mormon family, OR in complete contrast, someone bearing resemblance to that of a child molester.  Either scenario, it was a car that you could always count on having kids pile in and out of. (#yup)  It was a teenager’s worst nightmare.  And in the event I jumped out prematurely before my mom was finished giving her routine morning farewell, I would soon hear the infamous mechanical shrill and grinding pull as my mom rolled down the broken window, only to proclaim for all to hear, that same uniformed phrase.

A phrase that made its way even into the college years.  Words that I would hear whispered quietly in my ear as I shuffled out the door for an early morning class, with everyone still asleep… all except my devoted mother, who got up just to see me out the door with a hug and a kiss.  And soon, this same phrase would even follow me to Montana 1000 miles away.  Each morning before the start of work, whether by phone or by email, I would hear or read, those same words.

And it is a phrase that I STILL HEAR TO THIS DAY– even while in the thick of my adversity, when my mom knows all too well the veil of darkness that clouds my path, and the menacing hell I trudge through which each loathsome step… SHE STILL continues to cheer me on with those indelible words.  And the incredible part?  When she exclaims these words, she does so in a cheerful voice without sounding patronizing or insensitive to the burdens I carry.  Her words are never flat, but rather they remain sure and full of promise.  With each day that I lumber out the door, even when she knows that more than likely, my oppressive darkness will remain in transit with me… her optimism remains unfaltering, and her hope sound.

And most important?  As often as she sends all of us kids out the door with these words, she greets us just the same.  But instead, she follows up.  She ALWAYS asks us how our day was, and ALWAYS asks us how we treated others. Meanwhile, she will stop whatever she is doing to give us her undivided attention.  She will sit and talk to us for as little or as long as we are willing to talk.  All the while, she will engage us with thoughtful, coherent questions, without ever crossing boundaries or appearing intrusive.  It’s a gift.  It’s love.  It’s being a mom.

As for that famous phrase… It is:

“Today’s going to be a great day! I love you! And remember… be a friend to everyone!

…And I realize now, those words meant something.

Today’s going to be a great day- Because of these words I am an optimist.  Even through the monotony of darkness that besets my every waking moment, there still remains some source of optimism.  A glimmer of hope.

I love you- I have never doubted my mother’s or my father’s love for me.  Their love is unfeigned, and has never burrowed in a moment of latency.  It is constant.  Their love has been manifest even through the tough teenage years—during times when I was in trouble and subject to punishment.  I never once questioned their love for me.  And today I can say with a sure confidence, it is the love of my parents, and in turn, the love I have for my parents, that I am still alive on the earth today.  Their love has literally saved my life.  And continues to EVERY SINGLE DAY.

Be a friend to everyone- My biggest goal has always been to be a friend to everyone.  A few years back I even coined a completely stupid and lame quote of sorts, one that sat on my blog header forever:  “Greet and Treat, Everyone You Meet, As Though They Were Your Best Friend.”  It is lame, but I full heatedly believe they are words to live by.  And now I realize that this sentiment was instilled in me because of my mom and dad.  I have never seen them mistreat another person, and have watched both of them give of themselves freely… even at the cost of their own health.  They truly are a friend to everyone they meet.

PicsArt_1397918061013

Now I am left wondering… How will I influence my children?  What words will define my legacy and bless my posterity?  What will my last words be?

Good things to come folks.

Love,

Josie

ps-  May 2.  Interstake Center. 7pm.  All ages.  All denominations.  The 444 Project Community Benefit Concert.  Izzzz gunna be dizzzzope.  Be there.

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444 Decal- Michael McGlynn

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Addiction.

This is Season, Rainy and me, from 9th/10th grade. A few times a year, all of my Hale cousins, aunts and uncles, would have a "Family Work Day" over at my Grandma Hale's house. We would work all morning and afternoon, and then meet together for chili and corn bread that my grandma would prepare for us.-- It was doing work for my grandma, standing side by side with my cousins, that I learned to love and even cherish, service. I will forever treasure and give thanks for those special growing up moments.

This is Season, Rainy and me, from 9th/10th grade. A few times a year, all of my Hale cousins, aunts and uncles, would have a “Family Work Day” over at my Grandma Hale’s house. We would work all morning and afternoon, and then at the end of the day, meet together for chili and corn bread that my grandma would prepare for us. — It was at these same Family Work Days, rendering selfless labor for my sweet grandma, while standing side by side with my cousins, that I learned to love service. I will forever treasure and give thanks for these special growing up moments.

Hi.

Fun fact:

Today is April 17.

And I’m in America.

Not Italy.

But first before I go explaining datt whole story, let me introduce you to my only sworn enemy.

(Aside from… Punctuality.  And Nintendo water levels. And the smell of Orange “Gold” Dial Soap.  And being tickled.  And cold water.  And shaving.  And commercials… especially Hulu Plus commercials (paid subscription)… are you freaking kidding me?!   And school zones.  And Facebook workout statuses.  (i.e. #legday #EatCleanTrainDirty (#imjustkiddingofcourse.))  And scary movies.  And Bipolar.  And people knowing I’m Bipolar.  And cursive.  And my teeth.  And rehearsed jokes.  And paying attention.  And “Selfie Sunday”.  And telling time on analog clocks.  And BuzzFeed Quizes… (because I HAVE to do all of them.  Everytime.  i.e. “How white are you?” or “What Full House character are you?”  …ps I’m pretty sure I just answered the 1st question with the 2nd question.)   And greasy hair.  And of course, dating.)

But my biggest enemy?…

Wellll, those close to me know what the past few weeks have been like.  In addition to all my stuff, it has felt as though nothing is coming together.  I could easily enumerate at least 10 major mishaps that have only spurred on a greater feeling of hopelessness.  For starters…  remember how my blog crashed a few days ago?  Yup.  All my designs and customized template… gone.  Or how about the most obvious setback… like how I’m still here in the 480.  And not in Europe.  Suffice it to say, there is opposition.  And most of it lies beyond my control.  Yet there still stands boldly, one major form of self-destruction.  Something I struggle to bridle.  Something that deserves to be named my biggest enemy…

My addiction to comparison.

Okay… I confess. I totally wanted to jump on the blogging bandwagon of deceit, making up some outlandish title to trick people into reading my blog.  AKA “Addiction”.  Gahhh,  I’m annoyed for you.  #dumb

But to be fair, I do struggle with comparison.  Which is odd.  Because I’m a girl.  And girls never struggle with that.

I got jokes.

And I am hilar.

Get at me boys.

So let me enlighten you further… in life, on the rare occasion that I do manage to catch even a taste of smooth sailing… in just one swift motion, it can all be wrecked.  Suddenly, I will find myself shackled to a binding shaft of discouragement, with no real way to remedy with fast relief.

And all because of my addiction… to comparison.

Take for instance :  The 444 Project.  It should bring me joy… and a sense of pride.  Right?  Well not when I lose my objective foothold and fall victim to comparison… (which is almost always subjective).  With every comparison I make, I paint a harsh contrasting juxtaposition, leaving me with nothing more than the sinister shadow of feelings of failure.

Oh how powerful our thoughts can be.

And all it takes is one thought.

One.

Thought.

Then look even closer… the thoughts that serve to be most damaging, are the thoughts that are most quiet.  They are subtle.  But they are constant… which makes them powerful.  They masquerade in a cloak of innocence.  And even when they are exposed, we often grant them citizenship.  Why?  Because these thoughts harness some form of truth.  But it’s a corrupt truth…

I think of truth as hosting a bipartisan definition, anchored by 2 words:  Fact and Integrity.  Both components work together to form truth.  But when one is without the other, though by definition it may still classify as truth, real truth is often compromised.

My personal and very relevant example of this:  social media.

I have come to learn that even without my conscious consent, I tend to enlist myself (my beliefs), in society’s dogma of arbitrary standards designed to measure success. (i.e. aggrandizing the value of how many followers one has on Instagram, or likes on a Facebook page).

It’s so dumb.  And obviously so.  BUT I DO IT ANYWAY.  I don’t do this as much for my personal accounts, but definitely for the project.  My most poignant and daily comparison being, how measly the project’s numbers (stats) are when compared to other blogs and projects with thousands, and even millions of supporters.  –I cannot tell you how much grief has come from making that ONE comparison, nearly EVERYDAY.  In just a short moment, my negative thoughts exploit truth and waive integrity… yet still leverage verity (fact).  The facts being: yes, as evidenced by statistics, there most definitely exists more successful projects and people out there.  That is a true statement.

…But absent is the redeeming value of integrity.

So just because there is some truth to that negative thought, I CANNOT allow myself to occupy it any longer.  It isn’t real truth.

Soooo, right now my biggest goal is to appreciate what I do have.  And like President Uchtdorf admonished, I’m going to strive to Celebrate My Good Efforts. 

Not successes.  Not victories…  But my good efforts.

So even though, in comparison to other blogs and projects, my project is small and seemingly insignificant… I suppose I still have reason to rejoice.  At least… I’m here.  I’m alive.  And I’m trying.  And most important of all… by going to Italy (as opposed to staying in the states), my chances of finding a hot Italian man drastically improve.  Anddd dasss truff.  Brace yoselves boys.

OKAY THEN.  As for Italy…       

Soooo yes. March 28, The 444 Project was scheduled to rocket to Rome, Italy.  And well… it’s safe to say we haven’t left yet.  BUT we are still going.

I could go through all of the nitty, gritty details explaining the GAZILLION setbacks we’ve been lovingly asked to shoulder by the Lord… but those are about as boring as this post has been thus far.  So to save time, the bottom line is, life happens.  THINGS (nice replacement word) happen.  Our setbacks are from no fault of another, just unforeseeable circumstances.  Soooo with that, our new date is May 6!!  …Hopefully the day will come when I will understand why Heavenly Father needed us to leave May 6, and not March 28.  But until then, I will walk in faith.  And in my efforts to silver-line (a phrase I’ve now coined into a verb) this sudden shift in planning, I am trying to better relish the fact that we now have more time to prepare.  Likeeeee, now we can fundraise a little bit.  Advertise a little bit.  Sleep a little bit.  Etc.

Here is what we would like to tell you:

1.  K LISTEN GOOD:  On Friday, May 2, from 7pm to 10pm, at the Interstake Center by the Mesa Temple (because we’re righteous like that), we will be hosting The 444 Project Community Concert!!  And it will be for ALL ages!!!  …Confession??  I’m terrified.  My biggest fear is that no one will come.  Shallow much?  Apparently.  Insecure much?  Duh.  So please come.  We are going to have some rad local bands and artists perform!!  Likeee my amazing cousin Rick Hale, crazy-talented Paul Garns, everyone’s favorite, Courtney Cotter, and the bomb.com band, Murrieta, and more!!! (sidenote:  if you know anyone else who might be interested in playing, holler at me!!).  EVERYONE COME!!!

2.  We have created the official “Pay it 444ward” cards!!!  Thanks to the AMAZING Kylie Glover who can literally do ANYTHING!!!  She is a creative genius.  These are cards we want others to distribute throughout town!  Ideally… The first person will perform a service or good deed for someone (friend or stranger), leaving behind one of these cards.  Then the recipient, will record on the back of the card, the deed that was performed for them and the experience they had.  And of course, then that person will pay it forward to a new person, who will then record their experience… and so on and so forth!!  The idea is to watch everywhere the card (joy) has been spread!!!  (We also want the recipients to go to our The 444 Project Page and share their experience there as well!)  Please contact us for these cards!!!  We would love to hand them out to those of you who would be willing to help us start them off!

Help us spread joy by paying it 444ward!! Email us so we can send you a card!

Help us spread joy by paying it 444ward!! Email us so we can send you a card!
(Front)

(Back)

(Back)

3.  LASTLY, one of the many delays we have faced thus far has been in regards to the videoing we will need help with in Italy.  At first I didn’t think this was necessary, but then after one of my Utah firesides, a VERY appealing offer was made.  An AMAZING film grad student from BYU, offered to come to Italy with Kelly and me, and video for us!!!!  Suddenly the idea of a videographer shifted from what I once considered to be a luxurious amenity, to now suddenly an essential component of the The 444 Project.  My heart became set, and my dreams spoiled with the alluring fantasy of turning over all filming responsibilities to another.  HEAVEN.

But thennnn, last minute, it didn’t pan out (naturally). It was certainly NO ONE’S fault, just dang circumstance. And I was crushed

HOWEVER.  Finding a videographer is a dream I’m not going to give up on just yet.  SO my point?  Does ANYONE know ANYONE who would be interested in coming to Italy with us?  The pay is amazing.  Okay, that’s a major lie.  But boy do I wish I could offer that.  The reality is, if and only IF we were able to procure sponsorship, or truly succeed at fundraising, could we offer compensation.  But hey, being poor ain’t no thang!  –Minus the current heartache from my latest cut back. i.e. In my effort to scrimp and save even more than usual, I recently demoted myself from using brand name toothpaste.  In fact, I decided that I no longer needed toothpaste at all.

K major psycheeeee.  I would die.  Absolutley die.  And fyi, if that were really true, I would expect every one of you to jump ship from this blog asap.  Toothpaste-less people (**of their own volition), don’t deserve friends.

So what really happened, was instead of using my quality toothpaste, I abdicated my throne of class by resorting to the gross generic kind– ya know, the nasty white paste that has on it a poorly drawn tooth, and requires an adroit hand to successfully service a toothbrush.

Moral of the story, my teeth are now left pining over the loss of royal treatment they knew for so long.  But alas, it’s all gooooood.

It’s.

All.

Good.

…Right?

Absolutely.  Why?  Because I HAVE THEEEEE MOST AMAZING FRIENDS AND FAMILY.

Just to name a FEW… (this doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface)

Savanna Rucker- This girl is EVERYTHING I want to be.  Not only does she offer to help with ANYTHING, but she takes initiative and gives EVERYTHING she has to offer.  She is literally one of the most selfless, loving, charitable people I have EVER met.  I have never known anyone like her.  She has been an anchored blessing in my life since 4th grade, and with each year, she only gets better.  It’s astounding.  Savanna Rucker, you are the standard of greatness, and you have made BOTH projects possible.

Angie Milne- One of the most talented girls alive, has been in my court since day one.  She has designed THEEEE cutest shirt ever (yet it is also equally handsome, and suitable for boys :).  She has given of her time and talents freely, all because she is a disciple of Christ (plus she says she believes in me;)  I have looked up to her since the moment I met her!!  She is a tender mercy indeed!!!  …And also special thanks to Jen Goodman for printing those t-shirts!!  Plus a long overdue shoutout to Raylene Bowles for the decals!!!

Steph Evans- I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, this woman rockkkkks the house.  Just recently, she sent me THEEEE MOST AMAZING PACKAGE I HAVE EVERRR RECEIVED.  Literally.  (And that includes the time (my late pig) Marci’s swimsuit came in the mail.)  Basically Steph’s package was an Italian themed gift of heaven!!  It included in it, every Italian amenity you could possible dream up.  Just some of which was:  Olive Garden Italian dressing (an obvious must).  A gift card to the beeze-neeze gelato shop “Frozen”.  The movie The Italian Job.  Italian music.  Etc. etc.  Not to mention the Italian Flag colored tissue paper.  Really though?  Who is THAT thoughtful?  Wellll if you know Steph, this type of kindness won’t surprise you.  It’s what she does.  It’s what she lives.  It’s who she is.  Thank you Steph.

I took this after my sisters and I had already ripped into everything... yet I regretted not having taken a picture at the beginning... so I tried to recreate it. Poor attempt on my behalf, but still Magical. I love you Steph.

I took this after my sisters and I had already ripped into everything… yet I regretted not having taken a picture at the beginning… so I tried to recreate it. Poor attempt on my behalf, but still Magical. I love you Steph.

My cousins Benson and Sarah Garner- They helped put this blog together over a year ago, and have been so selfless to sustain me the whole way through.  On countless occasions I have gone over to their house past 10 pm, and sat and watched as they worked on my blog.  And Sarah??  She.Is.Incredible.  Nearly all of The 444 Project designing and branding was created by her.  Her talent is stunning.  She exudes creativity and has gotst mad skillz!!!  LOVE.

Olivia Evans (no relation to Steph… I think?  weigh in on that…)- So put simply, Olivia is a force for good.  She is selfless.  Charitable.  And devoted.  This concert bizz has got me sooooooo stressed.  In so much, I don’t think about it.  And yet Olivia (along with Kelly, Ricky, Matt, and the boys in Murrieta, and of course my mom) have completely picked up the slack.  No questions asked.  She saw a need, and instantly she was there to serve.  She’s got game.  There is not a soul in this world who doesn’t LOVE Olivia Evans.  I will spend the rest of my life trying to be more like her.

As for my saving grace…

Chad Arnett- Let me start by saying… To every girl out there, this is the boy to chase.  I have never met a kinder, more gentle, yet hilarious and CUTE boy!!  He has LITERALLY sunk more than 100 hours into my blog, and will not take a freaking dime.  It’s getting ridiculous.  A few days ago I was a WRECK.  I hadn’t gotten out of bed before 5 pm in almost 3 weeks, and THEN my blog crashed!!  So after my 6 paged distress text to Chad, (admittedly, with tears running down my face), he wrote back “Josie I got you, we’ll get this figured out.  So dry those eyes :)”

Guys… seriously this boy.  Too good to be true.  Thank you Chad.  And thank you also to Candace Stevenson, who has designed the CUTEST buttons and headers around town.  She too has rendered sooooo much service on behalf of the project and me.  I love herrrr forever.  Probably one of the sweetest girls I have ever encountered.

And most of all…

My Mom.  I just stared at the computer screen for 5 minutes, unsure of where to even start.  There are no words eloquent or powerful enough to even begin to illustrate who and what she is to me.  She puts in literally, 6 hours of work a day, SOLELY on The 444 Project.  Then the other 18 hours of the day, she attends to everything and everyone else.  She never sleeps, and she NEVER takes time for herself.  With EVERY SINGLE TIME I have belabored or lamented over  a task… before I could even finish my thought, my mom with her famous warm smile and glowing eyes has offered, “Don’t worry Sweetie, I’ll take care of it.”  every.single.time. Between she and my dad, I have EVERYTHING.  I want nothing more in this world than to amount to something, simply because I want to make my mom and dad happy.  They deserve to see some kind of return from all of their labors on my behalf ;)

Well folks, good things to come.  Always.  It’s dark now, but light is up and coming.

All my love,

Jos

Also… since I thought I was leaving for Italy March 28, I turned down a lot of speaking opportunities.  But I’m here until May 6, if anyone still needs me!  As for April 27 at 6 pm, I will be doing a fireside (ages 12+) in Miami, AZ at the Miami building.

Then once home from Italy, I will be speaking all summer!!  And I LOVE it!!  Thank you everyone for giving me those opportunities!!!

**And don’t forget to keep sending in your spotlights!!  I have a whole line-up of great ones in the works, and I can’t wait to receive more!!

Make this your Facebook Cover Page!!!

Make this your Facebook Cover Page!!!

AND MOST IMPORTANT…

Using Mark Mabry's picture of the Savior, I added this text.  Happy Easter.

Using Mark Mabry’s picture of the Savior, I added this text. Happy Easter.

I Got Game.

Prepare to be inspired.

It’s what I do.

Obviously.

Ready.

Set.

Go.

(ps I’m obviously joking… no inspiration to be had.  But I do think it’s important to laugh at life.  Without jokezzz, life is lameeee.  So here are some awesome JT thoughts for you…)

-A few weekends ago I was in a confined space with 2 of my lovely, albeit pregnant, cousins for 3.5 days.  From swollen feet to constant potty breaks… they covered thoroughly, all of the wonderful perks of pregnancy.  It was a whole new dimension of birth control.  But of course, when it was all said and done, they always concluded with the undeniable beauty and ultimate purpose behind their loving sacrifice:  giving birth to a sweet, precious newborn baby.  To which, then spurred on a slight morsel of envy.  The best I could do to relate to their consummate gift of bringing life into this world, was the day I put batteries into my monkey giga pet.  Winning all the time.

-Driving stick in my truck, with someone sitting in the middle (specifically a boy), gets real awkward, real fast.  5th gear takes me to 3rd base.  No time wasted.  Gittin’ Shifty all da time. #stillsingleboys   …jokes. jokes. jokes.

-I’ve never enjoyed fiction.  Movies/tv shows?  Yes (to some degree).  But not fictional books.  Same goes for people’s tall-tale stories, and more specifically, people’s dreams.  I don’t know what it is about me…  But I simply dislike hearing people’s dreams.  2 disclaimers:  this claim does not pertain to another’s revelatory-based dreams, and/or dreams of emblematic substance.  Nor does it pertain to Martin Luther King Jr.

-To this day, I use the word “erratic” with great reservation… all thanks to one unfortunate public speaking “mishap”.  A “mishap” in which I was flippantly speaking amongst my peers, when I mistakenly interchanged the ‘A’ in “erratic” with an ‘O’.   A severe verbal-discrepancy which necessitated immediate damage control :  (My attempted correction being) “ YOU GUYS, STOP LAUGHING.  I assure you that I meant to say… My sleep pattern can at times be errAtic.  I’m not a perv-ski

I use the same annunciation precaution with other words such as:  “organism” (I quickly learned that the ‘N’ in particular, is quite integral to this particular word)…  Although in my defense, as an innocent jr. high(er) in 8th Grade Science, both words “orga(ni)sm” fall under the umbrella of subjects taught within the Jr. High Science curriculum.

And finally, let us not forget a major High School Seminary Devotional Fail, pertaining to the attempted pronunciation of my scripture hero “Enos”.  That faux pas speaks for itself.  I assure you I had/have no intention of sounding Sacrilegious.  That happens all on its own.

-Like most Americans, I cannot listen to music while simultaneously driving around looking for my destination.  However, I can text and drive no problem.  JKJKJKJKJK.  I would never.

-When asked by another, regarding my level of seriousness pertaining to my relationship with a young man, I often create a comprehensible reference-point by simply replying “Well, we’re not Tattoo-Serious”.  Translation:  If I were to be an admirer and active participant in body art… our commitment level to one another ain’t no permanent-ink worthy just yet.

Quick Notation:  I now know that even the commitment level of a “fiancé” isn’t hypothetical-permanent-ink-material.

-I have a love affair with vacuum lines.  They represent visual proof of cleanliness: a rewarding before and after token of gratification.  This affinity does NOT apply to non-linear vacuum lines.  Such menacing “lines” desanctify the whole concept.  A mockery if you will.

-You know it’s going to be a bad day when you open a fun-size thing of Starbursts, only to find two yellows.  Or two oranges.  Or the real-deal omen… one orange and one yellow.  #patronizing.

(ps how do you pronounce “patronizing”?  I always pronounce it using the long vowel sound of ‘A’.  Yet I have found that most of society does not follow suit.  And I’ll be totally honest, one form of peer pressure I fall victim to every time, is that of Societally-Correct (not Grammatically-Correct) pronunciation of words.  I feel supaaah lame as it is, when people point out my “unique” aka weird, way of speaking… so the last thing I want to do is further draw attention like an idiot… appearing to be a pretentious lame-o, spittin’ them words all fancy-like.        –You see, this is one very rare example when I actually seek after conformity.)

-Fact:  Google Maps is superior to Mapquest.

…And my suggestion to both parties?  Create an “avoid the hood/ghetto” as an optional set of criteria for alternative routes.

-When someone announces monumental bad news on Facebook or Instagram… I never quite know the etiquette.  Do I “like” the status?  I’m always afraid my “like” will be misrepresented, and instead perceived as “liking” the terrible, calamitous tragedy that has befallen their life.  i.e. I promise that I do not like that your grandma died.

-I am a huge admirer of pleasurable smells.  Yet in direct opposition to the rest of humanity, I hate the smell of baby powder.  Ironically, I find it connotes that of a funeral home… or Bingo Night down at the senior center.  It’s no smell of youth.

-My definition of “a couple” is comparable to the other ambiguous and commonly used terms… Terms usually designed to intentionally obfuscate… Such as:  “a few” or even “several”.  For whatever reason, I have never confined the term “a couple” to only signify two of something.  It’s just not a literal term in my book.  Yettttt, naturally my methodical mom strongly disagrees.  Throughout the course of time, this disagreement of uncertain terms has only proven to sabotage many of what was once perceived as being, mutual understandings.

i.e. asking to take a couple dollars out of my mom’s purse… or… promising that I am only a couple minutes away from being ready to leave for something.  It’s quite arbitrary.

-I love clicking on random hashtags.  However I have found that this unruly form of entertainment can often yield precarious results.  I also have to be careful when creating hashtags.  Likeeee, that one time on an Instagram post when I innocently extended a (what I thought to be gracious) Thanksgiving invitation to any and all who might not have somewhere to go for the holidays… (Thanksgiving Instagram Post) …And in this same wholesome post, it’s possible I may or may not have naïvely implemented the hashtag #CallForAGoodTime

…Speaking of haphazardly navigating throughout the internet… Hopefully it is obvious to those of you who know me, that I bolster an optimistic outlook on humanity.  However, (and this is a big HOWEVER), nothing tempts the total dilapidation and collapse of my hope and faith in mankind, more than on-line forums/public comments.  ESPECIALLY when politically based.  People be crazed.  I am convinced anonymity is society’s poison.

-A few weeks ago, as luck would have it, I happened upon a lovely cold sore on the corner of my mouth, come time for the arrival of my 6 month dental check-up.  And guess what?  Because of this same sore, the judgment coming from the dental-hygienist was almost tangible.  For the record lady, I’ve had those repugnant vexations ever since I was little.  And another fyi, my cold sores are usually triggered by stress.  i.e. Dental Appointments.  The great irony?  Skankiness ain’t the culprit, you are. jkjk.

-Yellow warning lights in my book, may as well be obsolete.  Take for example, a yellow Check Engine Light.  The yellow warning light is nothing more than warning of yet another warning.  I’ll panic when it’s red.  And flashing.

-Very few things in this world are more upsetting than cold toilet seats and the once-presumed-to-be savvy, little feature on cell phone alarm clocks that informs you how many hours/minutes remain until your alarm goes off.  Ignorance is bliss.

-I enjoy reading in the bathroom just as much as the next person.  Yet after all these years, I have yet to keep substantial reading material readily available.  So as a result, in desperation for some type of entertainment, I have instead read the back of the Tampon box over and over and OVER again… insomuch, that I am now pretty much the expert on TSS.

K so I have a million more of these useless gems.  But I’m pretty sure no one will even make it this far in the post, so I’ll quit.

But real quick, by way of something containing real importance:

2 weekends ago, I traveled up to Provo/Ogden Utah to do some firesides.  But most importantly… I went to spend the weekend with my cousin Rainy (Season’s sister).  Sunday (February 23rd) marked the 2 month anniversary of Season’s passing, as well as what would have been, her 26th birthday.  And though I made it up to Utah just fine, I felt awful because as it ended up, I spent almost no time at all with Rainy.  The 2nd day upon arrival, I spent the next 24 hours rolling around on the floor with random chest pains.  I felt ridiculous.  And 100 years old (in this instance, baby powder would have been an appropriate smell) (#imseriouslyawesome).  Anyway, it was quite embarrassing, while simultaneously frustrating/borderline frightening.  But as for my insertion of silver lining:  Sunday I was still able to speak to the YSA’s in the morning (only occasionally gripping my chest… which of course still warranted explanation), and later that evening, had the blessed opportunity to give a multi-stake youth/parent fireside there in Ogden.  It was hands down, one of my most favorite events yet.  Because of my boy Greg Thorpe, and his selfless/diligent/incredible efforts to advertise the fireside, the stake center was packed to the very brim.  Long before the meeting even started.  The reception was unforgettable.

Thank you Ogden.  Utah gotst game.  Who knew.  Jokes.

Keep going everyone.

Good things to come.

All my love,

Jos

Here are just a couple of Ogden’s fireside pictures:

This amazing sister (who has never met me, but only read the blog), in all her talent, painted me this gem for the project.  I love her forever.

This amazing sister (who has never met me, but only read the blog), in all her talent, painted me this gem for the project. I love her forever.

This is my boy Greg Thorpe. I don't know where I'd be without him. He is the one that arranges all of my firesides, and above all else, believes in me. He is an angel in the flesh. As is his precious wife. Love them.

This is my boy Greg Thorpe. I don’t know where I’d be without him. He is the one that arranges all of my firesides, and above all else, believes in me. He is an angel in the flesh. As is his precious wife. Love them.

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These are my amazing cousins. I couldn’t be more blessed. We sure love and miss you Season.

This amazing girl Kylie, has supported me like nobody's bizznezz. She's driven from Logan TWICE now, to hear me speak. Loveeeee you Ky.

This amazing girl Kylie, has supported me like nobody’s bizznezz. She’s driven from Logan TWICE now, to hear me speak. Loveeeee you Ky.

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This is my new sweet friend Sarah. She’s amazing.

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This is one of the finest groups of peeps I have ever met. Absolute truth. Love at first sight.

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No words can possibly explain how much I love these two. While out on the first project, I wrote a song ( and one day I’ll do a whole post on it).  Anyway, I have it sung whenever I can at my Utah firesides. And twice now, these two saints, Joseph and Kimberly, have sung it for me. Their voices are OUT OF CONTROL GOOD. I loveeee you two so much. Like soooo much.

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This is my new friend Jackie. Without even really knowing her, I do KNOW she’s something so precious and special.

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I love the Behrmann family sooo dang much. It’s common sense. Brittany B. has been one of my heroes since 8th grade. Seeing her there with her mom and their sweet friend, was one of my favorite moments of all time.

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A sweet family I met :)

Love and miss you 444ever my sweet Season :) Happy Birthday!

And finally… Love and miss you 444ever my sweet Season :) Happy Birthday!

PS… Don’t forget to support the up and coming 444 Project.   Remember… friends don’t let friends live without some 444 Project lovin’.

Please help spread the good news of The 444 Project by making this your Facebook Cover Page!!

Please help spread the good news of The 444 Project by making this your Facebook Cover Page!!

Our Advertising Cards!  Let us know if you'd like some!

Our Advertising Cards! Let us know if you’d like some!

The Experience.

Hi Thurrrr.

The past 2.5 weeks have been replete with many experiences varying in many degrees:  some precious and tender, while others so vile, I can earnestly profess that my testimony of the Savior is the same in caliber and conviction as my testimony of the reality of the Adversary.  (Don’t misinterpret that last sentence… I’m merely stating that my testimony and acknowledgement of the existence and vitality of the Adversary is tantamount to the degree of my testimony bearing witness of the reality (albeit GREATER power, dominion and authority) of the Savior… again… my testimonies are equal in regard to the REALITY of beings… NOT POWER!)  My point being, it has been an arduous yet refining few weeks.  But even with the increase of darkness, I’ve still been blessed to somewhat forward the work of The 444 Project, while also engaging in several speaking opportunities/assignments throughout Utah/New Mexico/Arizona.  It’s been great and awful all at once.

Needless to say, I have given these past few weeks a lot of thought and in time I have concluded that the recent mass of experiences are too sacred in nature to share in a public setting.  However there is one experience in particular (summarized), that I would like to address:

On Wednesday of last week (February 12), I traveled to New Mexico to speak at New Mexico State University there in Albuquerque.  After which I spent the rest of the duration in Gallup, New Mexico in the home of one of my most favorite people of all time, Steph Evans.  Then on Friday night, I started back towards Arizona and once in Payson, I began to feel the formation of some of the darkest and accursed feelings brew from within.  So while doing my best to circumvent these maturing feelings, I finally pulled up to my home and headed upstairs to settle in for the night.

The pending internal storm continued to annoy, but in those inceptive first few hours, I had no reason to believe that these foreboding feelings would culminate to strike as violently as they soon did.  Yet suddenly in one swift motion, unauthorized, my body began to quiver and my mind quake.  So with as much agility as I could muster despite the blinding fog pervading my core faculties, in search of refuge I made my way to my bedroom.

Like clockwork, having done this dance enough times, I tore into my Mental Preparedness Kit… (Hahah, ps I don’t really have one of those, nor do I have a coined term for such emergency).  However I did have handy my “cry towel” (Yes… that one really does exist, and ever since losing Season, it has been well utilized each night), as well as my scriptures, my blanket and my church beats.  Then while keeping the lights on (as mentioned in previous  posts  HERE… light and church music operate as my personal symbolic token to Heavenly Father that I am doing my best to invite light…metaphorically, spiritually as well as physically)… I soon lost it, descending into the toil of complete mental/emotional/and even physical, torment.

This is where I will curtail much of the experience… needless to say, Mental Illness is a real thing (ewe), and so is the Adversary (double ewe)… And for further clarification, this is MY story and MY experience.  The 2 elements of Mental Illness and the influence of the adversary are not a guaranteed package.  In fact, in most cases, for most people, such turmoil is spawned from a chemical imbalance only.

So again, to prune the length and detail of much of this story… after a few minutes, though begrudgingly, (in an effort shelter my parents from this), I called my parents upstairs to my room, and in less than 30 seconds, my parents were out of bed and at my side.  And because of their ample experiences from such lovely proceedings with me in the-not-too distant past (as well as having undergone explicit tutorials given by me on several different occasions)… they knew just what to do:  nothing.  They sat at my side, leaving a respectable distance… and with dry eyes (crying is not permissible… being that watching my mom or dad cry on my behalf inevitably works as the peaking thorn in any event of personal bondage)… they sat quietly, occasionally whispering words of encouragement, and squeezing my hand if necessary.

     …Truncating more of the story  

This particular experience was quickly proving to tower in severity when compared to prior “episodes”; therefore such events beckoned for greater assistance.  So even though we were now nearing one in the morning, my sweet Bishop joined our company and was firmly at my side, adjacent to my parents.  Very quickly he observed the unspoken directives, and followed suit behind my parents in their nonchalant succoring.  Then as these episodes always do, the convulsing seized and my body soon became limp, while the internal pandemonium tapered.  All at once I lay there with almost a complete absence of energy, my apparel now matching my cry towel in dress:  drenched in both sweat and tears (cue “ewe”).

Soooo now that I have completely and irreversibly exploited myself… here goes my entire basis of this post:

Once I was finally calm, both my Bishop and my Father lay their hands on my head as they pronounced a blessing of the healing of the sick.  My dad anointed and my Bishop officiated.  Then in addition to many other indelible words too choice to write, unbeknownst to Bishop, he blessed me with two of the most individually powerful sentiments of all:

He first blessed me that my cousin Season would attend me in spirit.

Season and me at Grandma Hale's house, lookin' all fly in our braces. #babes #obviously #orangecountertopsforlife

Season and me at Grandma Hale’s house, lookin’ all fly in our braces. #babes #obviously #orangecountertopsforlife

Then with that same great power, (not knowing the significance behind what he was about to say…) he blessed me saying:  I bless you that you might be able to find JOY in darkness.

Please help spread the good news of The 444 Project by making this your Facebook Cover Page!!Upon hearing these words, what could only be described as a bolt of lightning, coursed throughout my limp, paralyzed, emotionally and physically numb body.  While we all sat in that room combining together our collective faith, my bishop’s powerful words from on high countered effortlessly my feeble, broken state, as he confirmed once again that I DO have a mission to serve:  To be the girl who brings light (JOY) to others through her own darkness… and complimentary to that… To be the girl who brings JOY (light) to others in THEIR darkness.  Aka The 444 Project.

My Spot on the Floor.

My Spot on the Floor after it was finally all said and done.  God Bless the Floor Days.  #kleenex #crytowel

I won’t elaborate any further, but this candid post will do 1 of 2 things:  Either you’ll be so deterred and fully convinced I am a total freak-show (which opinion would be well warranted).  Or… my hoped for response… you will believe my words when I tell you that our newest endeavor, The 444 Project (Italy) is mandated from on high.  It is what I am supposed to do.  And this aggressive and all-too-prevalent series of opposition (even more than usual), has one agenda.  To hinder the work.  And even though I look like a totalllll fool, and probably even a psycho, I know…and CANNOT deny, that I was given this trial to help others.  So why veil my experiences??  They’re real, and if they can help, then any dissenting opinions are well worth it.

I do not write to persuade or enlist in my religion (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints)… but rather I write to address all, regardless of their faith or denomination.  (Or even those who may hold no religious beliefs at all).  It does not matter!!!!  My personal plea is that you identify and find common ground with my ultimate agenda:  To Bring Joy to Others.

Believe.

Keep the Faith.

Hold on thy Way.

Love,

Jos

Our Advertising Cards!  Let us know if you'd like some!

Our Advertising Cards! Let us know if you’d like some!

PS!!  We started our Instagram/Facebook Spotlights—What Brings YOU Joy?  Email us at the444projectjoy.com and send us your picture and 1-2 sentences telling us what brings you joy!!!

SPOTLIGHT: Our 1st spotlight is featuring one of the most vivacious, adventurous, loving people around...Judy Cotter!! When we asked her what brings her joy she answered: "I have too much joy...you can't limit me because I could write an essay." But in short, "Faith, Family, Friends, Fun, Food" #the444project #whatbringsYOUjoy ...email us your answer so we can spotlight YOU! the444projectjoy@gmail.com

SPOTLIGHT: Our 1st spotlight is featuring one of the most vivacious, adventurous, loving people around…Judy Cotter!! When we asked her what brings her joy she answered: “I have too much joy…you can’t limit me because I could write an essay.” But in short, “Faith, Family, Friends, Fun, Food” #the444project #whatbringsYOUjoy …email us your answer so we can spotlight YOU! the444projectjoy@gmail.com

Also email us if you want a 444 Decal!!!

The 444 Project Decal!

The 444 Project Decal!

Spread the word!!!

Please help spread the good news of The 444 Project by making this your Facebook Cover Page!!

Please help spread the good news of The 444 Project by making this your Facebook Cover Page!!

THE 444 PROJECT GOES TO ITALY!!!

Please help spread the good news of The 444 Project by making this your Facebook Cover Page!!

The Announcement:

So last time I posted I declared that I had a pending announcement, which did not include getting married :)  Well… after a difficult past 3 months of trying to sort out the details, all the while, trying to weather the travails of  Bipolar, as well as the loss of my dear cousin and best friend, Season Joy Barnett… I have finally won the ground, and procured the opportunity (with the help of my friends and family), to announce my newest endeavor!  So in short…  AS OF MAY 6, 2014, WE WILL BE HEADED TO ROME, ITALY, WHERE WE WILL ACCOMPLISH THE 444 PROJECT ONCE AGAIN!! (Scroll down to the bottom of this post to read the whole story, and better understand the purpose and creation of The 444 Project)

So come May 6, in addition to my own personal mission statement which is:

     “To be the girl who brings light to others through her own darkness”…

We will strive to carry out the new project’s mission statement:

     “To bring JOY to others”  

While still of course working to prove my original 3 point thesis from the first 444 Project:  ***(the 3rd point slightly revised to better suit the new project)

1.  Everyone has a story to tell…  (In Italian:  Tutti quanti hanno una storia da raccontare)

2.  There is still goodness alive and well in the world today…  (In Italian:  C’è ancora tanta bontà e generosità nel mondo di oggi)

3.  *** There is always a reason for JOY!…   (In Italian:  C’è sempre una ragione per la GIOIA!)

By way of the 3 major differences from the first 444 Project:

1. Obviously rather than the states, it will be in Europe!

2. If you’ve noticed, I’ve been referencing the efforts behind the project as “WE”… Because this time, I will have the great assistance and blessing of being accompanied by one of my best friends, Kelly Allen!!… (This is basically the best thing ever, Kelly is pretty much one of the most stellar girls alive.  If it weren’t for her, I would NOT have the privilege to embark on this new project!)

Our Advertising Cards!  Let us know if you'd like some!

Front side of our Advertising Cards! Let us know if you’d like some!

Back side of our Advertising Cards! Let us know if you'd like some!

Back side of our Advertising Cards! Seriously!  Let us know if you’d like some!

 …AS FOR THE BEAUTIFUL AND DEFINING BASIS OF THIS NEW PROJECT…

     3. Instead of asking everyone “What gets YOU out of bed each day?”… In honor of the life and legacy of my beloved cousin, Season Joy… We will be asking all of Europe the ultimate question, “What brings you JOY?

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_____________

The Project Details:

As you read on you will discover just how difficult these past few months have been, for an assortment of reasons.  Yet we are committed to finish this project regardless of any potential vicissitudes or possible obstacles we may incur.  But the only way we will manage to keep this promise, depends on the support from ALL OF YOU!!!

So for those wanting/willing to support and help execute this new project, here is what you could do!!:

You Can Help By:

1.  First and foremost, help us spread the word.  The reason being, not only do I firmly believe this project can bless the lives of others, but it blesses my life as I receive emotional support from all of you.  (That is a tremendous understatement…. (You have no idea what joy it brings to spot 444 project decals throughout town, or receive emails from all of you, and not to mention how much I LOVE when people send me (or post) pictures of 444′s they come upon throughout their everyday life!!! etc.))  Plus with more followers, come more opportunities, giving us greater latitude. You can help us by telling your friends and family, but especially through utilizing ALL social media:  (All of my social media information can be found at the top of my blog, under the tab:  Contact Me!  …as well as clicking on the social media icons on the side of my blog)

Specifically for Social Media:

     Facebook:   

     ***The Most simple, and perhaps most effective thing you can do on Facebook… is make the (GREEN) picture at the top of this post, your Facebook Cover Page   …(For as long as you’re willing to do so)… We figure the more people that do this, the more familiar and acquainted others will become with both the name of the project, as well as the familiarity of the project’s logo!!

     *** “Like” The 444 Project Facebook page:  (As well as forwarding it on to your friends!)     https://www.facebook.com/the444project

     Instagram: 

     *** Follow The 444 Project on Instagram: 

@the444project   (#the444project)   http://instagram.com/the444project

     *** Post the following picture on your Instagram, and share about The 444 Project (Be sure and tag us!)

Please help spread the good news of The 444 Project by posting this picture on your Instagram!! Be sure and tag us!! @the444project #the444project

*** Email Us:  We are going to try and spotlight (at least 1) person a day on The 444 Project Instagram… (as well as The 444 Project Page!).  We want YOU to tell us what brings YOU joy!!  So if you would like to participate, please email us (or Facebook message us)… at the444projectjoy@gmail.com  … Send us a picture of yourself, as well as a short description of what brings YOU joy!

     Blog:

     *** Share the blog:  (This is super critical to the Project’s success!!) Obviously having readers is HUGE.  So please spread the word, and forward the link!!

http://josiethompson.com/

     *** If you have a blog of your own, please share my button on your blog! (It can be found on the upper right side of my blog, (“#the444project”))

     *** Subscribe by email to the blog!  (You can do so on the right side of the blog, down a little ways where it says “subscribe by email!”)

     ***Subscribe/follow all of our other Social Media Links :  (Again, all links can be found at the top of my blog, under the tab:  Contact Me!     …As well as clicking on the social media icons on the side of my blog)

…Another helpful advertising effort:  Sport a 444 project decal for your car:

***simply email me at the444projectjoy@gmail.com and send me your address!  It’s completely free!!

The 444 Project Decal!

The 444 Project Decal!

2.  Secondly, help with our assortment of varyingTo-Do’s:  We have all sorts of items on our To-Do list, before we leave for Italy May 6!  So if you’re willing to help in general, please email me at (the444projectjoy@gmail.com)… and perhaps you could meet up with us and join our little committee that we have instituted.

 

3.  Third(ly?), many of you have asked about contributing financially.  So after extensive discussion with my mom, we decided to not advertise donations at all.  We were soooooo overwhelmed with all of the gracious and generous donations from the last project… that we absolutely cannot ask that of all of you once again.  It was tacky to begin with, and it’d be even more tacky and humiliating to do it again.  I am just going to go forward in faith that somehow the Lord will provide… after all I’ve gotten this far.  I did decide that I will still keep up on the blog, the donation link to Paypal:  (You can find the link by clicking on the picture of the piggy on the right side of the blog… it is connected to The 444 Project Paypal Account)

 

4.  Last of all… just keep being amazing.  I would not be where I am today (Wherever that is… at least not dead:) if it wasn’t for ALL of you.  Each and every one of you have inspired greatness.  I will be honest in admitting that I have NO idea how this will all be accomplished.  The Bipolar junk alone has been out of control.  I haven’t slept in 6 -8 days (Going for the recordAlthough I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that earlier today, I did get a good 4 hour nap!)… My point being, obviously you can all imagine how overwhelming and discouraging it is (especially now), when I’m confined to bed nearly every day.  All I can think as I lay there feeling broken, is just how much I should be doing!  So for all of you who have continued to love me in spite of my rampant weaknesses and support me with your loving friendship… thank you.  I love you.

_________________

My Story/Creation of The 444 Project:

(The following essay is quite mundane, lacking any real vigor.  Yet I felt compelled to write up something straightforward, attempting to simplify my story as best I can… in an effort to provide any new followers, with my basic story outline.  You can conclude that it was just as boring to write, as it probably is to read… I just needed to get this all out of the way!)…

I am the Bipolar girl, who has undergone what can easily be perceived as 3 major failures:  withdrawing from college, breaking off an engagement, and what served to be most discouraging… receiving a mission call,  but just 1 week before departure, having to withdraw due to the debilitating bondage of Bipolar.  It was on March 28, 2012, I was initially supposed to leave for my church mission, and enter the Mission Training Center in Salt Lake, Utah.  However, as previously stated, because of the many ailments and difficulties that often accompany Bipolar, I was unable to serve that mission.   Needless to say, I was devastated.  However, I discovered very quickly that I had a decision to make.  I could either revel in personal sorrow and disappointment, or I could move forward, creating a mission of my own.  So with the empowering combination of a readjusted perspective, as well as a monumental paradigm shift in mentality, I came to recognize that my inability to serve the conventional church mission did NOT automatically constitute the concession of progress.  But rather, with unfeigned submission to my Heavenly Father’s will, accompanied by my commitment to serve others, (even at the risk of self-exploitation- i.e. addressing so candidly, Bipolara choice that soon lead to the formulation of the The 444 Project), I in turn, possessed the potential to transcend far above my own extremities and mortal weaknesses.  (And to note, “transcend far above” does NOT denote eliminating all together, my physical/mental struggles from my life… the reality is, those life battles are here to stay… yet I learned (am learning) to work around them!).  I quickly understood that even under the most disheartening of circumstances, I could still help others.

So 8 months later following the time I was to originally report to the MTC, I decided to do what I initially projected would result in social suicide.  After keeping a blog for a few years, upon divine inspiration, I was inspired to candidly address one of my deepest, darkest realities:  Bipolar.  Prior to this prompting, I had never so much as mentioned Depression or Bipolar on the blog… the thought of giving any amount of disclosure regarding my wrestle with such vile darkness, absolutely horrified me.  However, when the prompting manifested itself, I knew it was from God.  So in faith, with the unconditional love and endorsement from my goodly parents… though admittedly reticent for fear of the public’s reception… a great reservation shared by both my parents and me… I soon released the infamous post:  a brutally raw, personal narrative consisting of the contesting perils and pernicious toils of Bipolar.  The public’s reaction?  Well to be summarized… Following my “confessions” of life with Bipolar, I was immediately met with the most compassionate and gracious reception from others.  I was richly blessed to receive an outpouring of love and support, extended by way of hundreds of emails, messages, and texts… (sent from friends, family and strangers alike).  As one might assume following such a post, the mass of messages sent, were in regards to people’s own personal bouts with mental illness.  Yet what proved to be most unanticipated, was the myriad of messages received from people disclosing with me their personal battles far different from mine:  battles that in no way pertained to mental illness.  So even though there existed readers unable to relate specifically to the intricate details surrounding my experience with mental illness… still communicated by the resounding tone of my post, was the generalized hope in a brighter tomorrow.  The redeeming hope I personally enlisted in, was my hope in Jesus Christ and His Infinite Atonement.  Yet I came to learn that hope in anything was so fundamentally essential to mortality, that throughout the continuum of time, despite man’s diversifying gradation inclusive of even the most reprehensible offenses available to humanity, this constant and remedial source of peace has remained omniscient and sufficient for all.  It was this same hope in something greater, and my desire to share it with others (in both secular and religious regard), that I soon began to lay the groundwork for The 444 Project.  (The significance of 444 being our family scripture:  Alma 44:4… Which series of sacred numbers, eventually shaped my objective to attain 444 interviews with perfect strangers all throughout the country.)

Alma 44:4-  Our Family Scripture!

Alma 44:4- Our Family Scripture!

So on March 28, 2013, exactly 1 year after the anniversary of when I was to begin my conventional church mission, I instead departed for my new mission: The 444 Project.  A mission designed to neither ignore my limitations, nor surrender to my limitations, but instead rechannel my energy into accepting my circumstances, while fostering my strengths. With both emotional as well as financial support from people all over, I soon departed for The 444 Project.  In doing so, I left standing in the driveway, my loving (weeping) parents, my friends and family (both immediate and extended… Season in particular), and the comfort of home, amidst many other amenities.  But I did NOT leave behind my darkness.  Yet determined to change the world, I traveled across the US, living out of my car, sleeping at truck stops, and all along the way, interviewing perfect strangers… all the while relying solely upon the kindness of strangers.  And in return, as previously stated, I was determined to be the girl who brings light to others, through her own darkness… and I was to accomplish this by proving my 3 point thesis:

1. Everyone has a story to tell

2. Goodness is still alive and well in the world today

3. Everyone has a reason to get out of bed each day

In 100 days I did just that as I drove from sea to shining sea, visiting over 30 states, acquiring 444 interviews from perfect strangers, asking them about their lives, their up-bringing, and their greatest aspirations. Then at the close of each interview I always concluded with the ultimate question… “What gets YOU out of bed each day?”… the significance of this question being, I DON’T get out of bed each day, and I know that I am not alone.  So I wanted to help prove to not just myself, but to everyone (utilizing the 444 interviews from strangers from all over the world… representing all of mankind) that… THERE IS ALWAYS A REASON TO GET OUT OF BED EACH DAY!!

I had committed to my readers that upon returning home, I would write a book on my experiences.  However once I was home, with each attempt to sit down and write I encountered a great stupor of thought, accompanied by a clouded mind.  I simply was unable to write my book.  Then in November of 2013, after an article was published on The 444 Project by the Deseret News (you can read it HERE)… I then received once again, an influx of even more emails from strangers all across the world, sharing their lives with me.  But there was 1 email in particular that would soon change my life.

The day after the article was released I received a very special email from a man in Italy.  Gabriel Funaro,  a heaven-sent angel, a man of God.  After sharing details of his life and personal travails, he then extended to me the invitation to replicate The 444 Project.  The major difference being, this time The 444 Project would take place in Europe; primarily Italy. This new Italian friend went on to explain that the unemployment and suicide rates in Italy, among other disheartening statistics, had never before been higher.  The people of Italy needed a message of hope more than ever.

Upon receiving this email, I initially felt great skepticism with no trace of enthusiasm.  I was/am still inundated with the harrowing darkness, derivative of my Bipolar.  The first 444 Project, though a wonderful experience, was terribly difficult.  There were days on end that I never even left my trunk (Yup, I slept in my trunk like a true champion… back seat by day, master bedroom by night).  So to even consider the possibility of venturing out on a new project, much less in a different country… proved to be quite disconcerting.  However, after approaching my parents as well as one of my best friends Kelly Allen, (having no real expectation of a positive reception from either of them), I was greatly surprised by the level of enthusiasm that both parties manifested upon hearing this new opportunity.  It was their vigorous endorsement that quickly curbed my central source of hesitation.  And although I still had not yet officially conceded, offering up a definitive answer, I did vow to give the idea extensive consideration, committing to make a decision by the end of the year.

Not long after that invitation to Italy, on December 23, 2013, my entire world changed.  My cousin, best friend, and sister, Season Joy Barnett, just 9 months older than me, unexpectedly passed away, leaving behind a husband, a 2 year old son, and her precious newborn daughter, only 7 days old.  Not only was Season a shining example in my life, but was 1 of my greatest advocates and supporters of my first 444 Project.  Yet now, I would no longer have her in mortality, to strengthen me and buoy me up.  Needless to say, my desire to pursue the new Italian endeavor, (which would require me to leave behind my family during this difficult time), lost any remaining fervor.  Oh yes, safe to say I was quickly devoid any ambition to pursue the new project.  Yet the intriguing part?  Even amidst this tempestuous storm that violently brewed (and continues to rage), deep within the seating of my soul, there began to slowly develop a discernable part of me unable to completely dismiss the possibility of this project.  I could not shake the feeling that just maybe this was the path in which I was being inspired to take.  A path orchestrated not only by grand design of a loving Heavenly Father, but also architected by my ministering angel, Season.

Five days later on December 28, 2013, the day of Season’s funeral, I happened to be standing in line at her funeral luncheon when I received a text from my friend Kelly.  She explained that because of rising plane ticket prices, right then and there I had to decide whether or not I was going to commit to the new 444 Project.  Upon reading that text, the pressure and fears of such a decision, while accompanied by the already employed anguish from losing Season, galvanized once again the all-too-familiar inner chaos.  I was left staring down the barrel of a hard reality.  Yet I could still not escape the thoughts emitting from the cavern of my heart, that perhaps it was due time to again, vanquish my fears and conquer my doubt.  So as I continued to grapple with uncertainty, housing an oppressive absence of confidence, in an earnest plea for guidance, I turned to my wise and loving mother for help.  The indelible response that soon followed was the very charge that began to slowly unlock my shackled faith.

The sacred words spoken by my faithful mother that would soon revolutionize my life and forever resonate with me were, “Josie, book on faith”.  She then gently went on to testify of her sincere belief that this project was something Season would have me do.  With fervent conviction my mom assured me that Season, as well as other ministering angels, would accompany me every step of the way.  She further pointed out the significance of the timing… it was no coincidence that the finality of the pending decision fell on the same day as Season’s funeral.   And guess what?  She was absolutely right.   I was to go to Italy.  I also learned later on, that that very night, December 28, 2013, was astronomically (due to a lunar eclipse), the darkest night in 500 years.  How symbolic it was.  Metaphorically speaking, I truly was (am) ensnared in an abyss so dark, with seemingly no trace of light availing itself.  So what was the beauty of such a depraved stain on my life tapestry… a stain striking enough to corrupt my peace and threaten my reach of light?  Simple.  The absolute truth of “opposition in all things” paints a timeless picture:  The greater my grief and impervious debasement, the more joy and light that soon awaits me.  Once again, We Book on Faith… and per my manifestation of that unwavering faith, I will be richly blessed.  The harder the trial, the greater the blessings.  Must we never forget… faith always precedes the miracle.   It was time for me to cast my net into the fishless sea.

Suddenly it all made sense.  I was not yet able to write my book because the other half of the story had not yet been written… so it was time to go and do.

So come May 6, 2014, follow along while Kellster and I ask all of Europe… What Brings You JOY?

LOVE YOU ALL!!

–Josie

PS, SPECIAL SHOUT OUT TO SARAH GARNER, CANDACE STEVENSON, AND CHAD ARNETT!!!  WITHOUT THEM, THIS WOULDN’T BE HAPPENING!!!

Here.

Hey err’one…It has been a billion years since I have blogged.  Now I realize people neither pay much attention to this blogging void, nor do they care much haha… but as I have noted before, a long leave of absence from writing is usually indicative of some hard days.  Well… that is most certainly once again the case.  It has been…can I say the ‘H’ word?  …And unfortunately this particular inability to do much of anything right now, but especially write, has escorted alongside it an especially inopportune timetable.  Not timely in the slightest.  Not only am I replete with an arsenal of numerous (rather large) life events to catch up on, but I also possess one fairly large announcement to make…  Basically, I have quite the neat opportunity staring me down right now.  And I’m going to take it.

Oh and spoiler alert… I am neither engaged/preggo.  Darn.

**Also may I insert a small disclaimer to accompany the word ‘announcement’– I feel as though that very word automatically denotes pretension and the embarrassing connotation that I think I am a big deal.  Don’t be fooled.   It’s just a word, floating nothing more than that of a simple definition toting the message that I have something to tell you all.  No worries… there are no counterfeit egos to be had.  No “gags” necessary.

So until I am able to get that announcement of the new opportunity written up… I will relay that the beginnings of said opportunity, all started with The Deseret News Article that was written about me and The 444 Project… (an article which I now realize was never posted on here until how.  Well done Josie. )

To read the article click Here!

The second part of this post is something most of you already know…

My precious 25 year old cousin Season passed away very unexpectedly December 23, 2013- only 7 days after giving birth to her 2nd child.  If you’ll refer back to my blog just 2 posts ago, you’ll find that I was just celebrating my birthday with her. (  and then she turned 25 )

Needless to say, my world is rocked.  Yet I firmly invest in the truism that good things are to come.  Believe it or not, my pending announcement is in large part because of the life and legacy of my sweet cousin Season Joy Hale Barnett.  She has inspired something wonderful, and I cannot wait to share what that is.

So hopefully soon I will have that announcement, as well as a well versed tribute to one of my best friends to ever live.

Here’s to better days.

Love always and 444ever,

Jos

Rainy and Season and I hugging before Rainy left for her first semester of BYU.  That was the first time any of us had moved away.

My 2 cousins, Rainy, Season and I hugging before Rainy left for her first semester of BYU. That was the first time any of us had moved away.

Back when Jacque had modesty problems.  Thank goodness she had Rainy, Season and I to coach her through it.

Back when Jacque had modesty problems. Thank goodness she had Rainy, Season and me to coach her through it. (my hands are covering her midriff #ICensorBecauseICare   …her duckies aren’t fooling anyone)

Family Vacation to Mexico.

Family Vacation to Mexico.

Love to all.

Dating Red Flags andddd Some More Bipolar Confessions. Wudddup.

First item of business, unrelated to the rest of the post… earlier this week, I caught wind that my sister was donating some items to DI.  So naturally I snooped them out in hopes of finding Christmas presents for friends, and what do I find?  98% of the pile was made up of gifts from me.  devastated was I.  I couldn’t believe it..

Let's recap what Jes was giving up: 2 Indian tribal dolls from Montana's finest thrift store... a dancing fish... an ancient ceramic naked Indian artifact bench pressing, and an old birth control purse. #unbelievable

Let’s recap what Jes was giving up: 2 Indian tribal dolls from Montana’s finest thrift store… a dancing fish… an ancient ceramic naked Indian artifact bench pressing, and an old birth control purse (not mine). #unbelievable

So red flags.  Never good.  Ever.  Especially when dating.  Even though to be fair, I probably wave the reddest, most flamboyant flag of all.  But once again, I assume that of an acceptable double standard.  My mantra?  I can, you can’t.  That’s my formula to a successful dating relationship.  And we all know that since I have the greatest dating track record, I have therefore by natural sequence, procured the distinguished title and privilege of judging others.  Ohhh, and yes…  jokes.  Yes jokes.  I am just kidding.

…So here are some red flags… and to be fair, how about I match every boy red flag, with my own.  Even Stephen.  Also… feel free to insert a jk or lol after half of these.  Don’t be offended.  Or once again… be super lame and do.  Plusssss, these are my opinions, and heaven knows I do not accurately represent the typical 25 year old girl demographic.  Big Fat Duh.

Red Flags:

-Boy:  If you’re my age and drive a super nice car ( …I think a poor, struggling student who knows how to rough it and sacrifice present comfort for a better future… yayyyaaahhh.  you’z sexy.)

-Me:  I hate dates.  Sometimes getting a Redbox is too much “going out” for me.  Netflix will suffice.

-Boy:  Yankee’s fan.  Ewe.  It’s the equivalent to being a Chicago Bull’s fan in 1993.  Toooooool.

-Me:  My upper lip sweats when I’m nervous or uncomfortable.  And such perspiration has subsequently lead to a requisite nervous habit wherein I wipe my sweaty upper lip with my left hand.  We call it the Stache Wipe.  And being that at the beginning of dating someone, I spend 90% feeling uncomfortable… this nervous tick kicks my Stache (#clever).  Additional fact:  this same Stache Wipe also may or may not slightly mar first kisses.  You want wet and wild?  Done.

-Boy:  If you find a tampon in my purse and ask what type of sucker that is… and if I have cherry.  To which I respond, I don’t have cherry, but I have super-plus.  (I swear to you this happened once.  Laterrrr.)

-Me:  I compromise in a lot of areas… but not in the movie department.  I will NOT watch a scary movie.  I like my romantic comedies, and I expect the same from you.  I also love sports movies.  So I suppose that can be our happy medium.

-Boy:  Can’t drive stick.

-Me:  I like to fly kites from my car. And if I don’t have a kite, I will tie a plastic bag to a string.  WT4Life (white trash for life)… love me some of dat.

-Boy:  Can’t get dirty.

-Me:  I don’t think 99.99999999999%of YouTube videos are funny.  And 9 times out of 10, in order to avoid seeing them, I’m going to lie and say I already saw whatever it is you are trying to force on me.  Just remember, I lie because I care.  – Which ironically is a life philosophy that most likely engenders another red flag.  Over it.

Wellllll…

This was lame.  I know.  Oh well.  Believe it or not, this lame post was my Everest.  These past few weeks I have exerted every parcel of energy into keeping my head just above water.  I have continued to be faithful in the ring of scriptures, prayers, service, the Temple.. plus things like exercise, goals, etc… and yet there has been no return (as of now).  But guess what?… that’s okay.

I always wonder why amidst an already difficult road, certain stretches become even MORE arduous.  So in an attempt to answer my own rhetorical inquiry: perhaps I have been presented with, and asked to endure through these past few weeks of accented grief, so that someone out there (one of you) can know they are not alone.  Because after all… regardless of whatever your opposition may be… YOU ARE NOT ALONE.  And ESPECIALLY, if you find yourself victim to something like Mental Illness.

One night last week some time around 6 pm, I was curled up in a ball, laying haphazardly on the edge of my bed and softly weeping.  And though my church music was playing, with every available light brightly illuminated, I still toiled helplessly in a savage darkness.  As I lay there, I eventually wondered to myself if there was even a specific reason for crying… something other than the typical fanfare of Bipolar/Depression or whatever the heck you want to call it.  Then without further mental inventory, I knew that there was.  In fact, the answer that I arrived at induced even more tears.  The truth?  I was crying because I was alive… and I had no other righteous option.  Yes.  I thought that.  Yes.  I admitted that.  Yes.  I wrote that for all to read.  But again, the central purpose of my life mission and this silly blog, is to help others.  So at the risk of self-exploitation, perhaps someone out there will feel perhaps even a sliver of comfort knowing that THEY ARE NOT ALONE… Because for what it is worth, I’m right there with you… and far greater than my lowly contribution of company, is that of your Savior’s.

To feel as though you wake up each morning presented with only 2 options:  mortal hell OR suicide, with eternal hell to follow… well it’s an oppressive thought.  No one wants to spend their days counting down until they can righteously be dismissed from their life… especially when you are in your 20’s.  Nor does anyone enjoy counting down the hours of consciousness until you can fall back asleep into a slumber, only to become momentarily exempt from the internment of an unharnessed darkness… AND THEN to factor in the fun event that a Bipolar manic swing takes over, and you don’t even get your reprieve of sleep?  For sometimes days at a time?

Yeah.. that is hard.

But it is possible.

And it is definitely worth it.

How do I know?   Because I know God lives.

For those of you who feel as though all of your options are spent, and the white flag of surrender is your only 1 remaining play… it’s not.  I promise. Believe me.  Earnestly believe me. Please do not discount what I have to say, as though I am speaking down to your from a foreign, proud and ignorant summit of proclaimed victory.  But rather, remember that I stand in the same hollowed out trench you find yourself in.  I didn’t get up until 5 pm today, and when I finally did find the strength to make it to the bathroom to brush my teeth and wash my face, I felt as though I had just completed a marathon.  And as pathetic as it sounds, I HAD to celebrate the completion of those little tasks… because after all, at least I DID get up.  And as for the latter part of the evening?  By some miracle, I managed to get out of the house.  How?  Because I knew I needed to serve… therefore, I made my way out to Queen Creek to see Mema.

(Mema is my Great Aunt Joyce… my homegirl- the luminary in which The 444 Project was inspired by/dedicated to… And because of a stroke, Mema can neither talk nor move, yet I continue to try and see her at least once a week  *sidenote:  those trips to see Mema bless MY life..not the other way around, don’t be fooled into thinking I perform a service, it is ME that is blessed.)

Usually when I go out to see Mema, I have a song on the piano pre-recorded and ready to play for her, or a short scriptural devotional prepared and ready to deliver… but tonight?  I just held her hand… And though such an event doesn’t sound victorious?  I celebrate it.  Because again… I have to.  We all have to.  WE ALL MUST ALLOW OURSELVES RECOGNITION FOR OUR GOOD EFFORTS.

This is an old FB post from when I first got back from The 444 Project... that woman is my everything.

This is an old FB post from when I first got back from The 444 Project… that woman is my everything.

Each and every day that you make it through, remember that YOU did something hard.  You made it through a difficult day, and THAT is worth celebrating.

Earlier, when I referenced a night from last week when I was crying in bed?  Well after an hour or so, I finished crying it out, put my feet on the floor, ran some cold water over my eyes, grabbed my scriptures, threw on a smile and a bra (#yourewelcome), and headed off to institute where I didn’t murmur another word about it to my friends.  And guess what?  I was just fine.  I made it through.  And so can you.

You are not alone… even though you may feel that way.  Heaven knows I do.  Especially as of late- for the past 3 weeks, not ONE friend or even my parents have had ANY idea of the extent of what has been going on.  It feels impossible/pointless to talk to anyone- to really tell anyone just what each day is like.  And that loneliness?  It’s exhausting.  Suffocating.  Terrifying.  However, it’s all okay because I have my Savior Jesus Christ.  And so do you.  You have a Savior who has descended beneath all just for YOU.  He has paid the steep ransom, bore the grief, and overcome the world so that YOU might one day… forever and ever… rest from all of your labors…  And holy friggin’ hannah… is that going to be one amazing day.  And though it’s not quite yet here… it IS coming.  And it is coming fast.  Be ready.

So everybody,

Keep hanging on.  Keep praying.  Keep trying.  Keep the faith.  Believe, believe, believe.

Jesus Christ is you advocate.  He lives.  He loves. He saves.

May we all keep on, keepin’ on together.

Love 444EVER and always,

Jos

(my email is hijosiethompson@gmail.com    –I am still 6 months behind on emails (only because on most days, I can barely move… not because I don’t care.)  But still feel free to write me.  I love to hear from you, and would love to do anything I could to help you.  I love you.)

ps… I am not going to proof read any of this… because I KNOW that if I do, I’ll end up deleting the whole thing.  Also, no one judge me… that’d be cool too.   I don’t have the slightest desire to share publicly any of what I just wrote… yet I share because I know the Lord wants me to… therefore I know someone needs to hear it.  So here you are my friend.

XO

also... Merry Christmas from me and my fish Nathanial Mohave.  #bestfishes #redflag? #probably

also… Merry Christmas from me and my fish Nathanial Mohave! (he is the fish swimming in the passenger seat jar) #bestfishes #redflag? #probably

and then she turned 25

So Yesterday (11.12.13) I turned 25.  yup.  25.  And guess what I found on this special day?  An old young women’s goal sheet from 2001.  So naturally I then wrote up a response to each projected goal.

And so you all know, my birthday was amazing.  The surfeit of texts, messages, emails, calls, voicemails, etc… was out-of-control kind.  Seriously.  Originally the thought of a day that celebrated MY LIFE… was not at all appealing.  For obvious reasons.  Hello, I’m 25… and don’t feel as though I have a whole lot to show for it.  I don’t get out of bed most days.  In fact, the simple thought of my birthday actually made me sick when I would even slightly consider the reality.  Yet come time for November 12, I prayed that the Lord would grant me a respite from the darkness, if for only a few hours.  And guess what, the full 24 hours was amazing.  I was out of bed within 5 minutes of waking up.  Yet as for the day before my birthday and the day after?  Not so much…  Which is all the more proof, that the Lord hears and answers our prayers.  Even the most seemingly unimportant ones.  So here’s to some more birthdays.

Love you all.  Hang in there.  Good things to come.

not bad.

not bad.

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That morning I hung out with my girl Jenni, then spent the afternoon with my mom, and for the first part of the evening, had dinner with my cute cousins Season and Brittany

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…and Mesa Froyo of course

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And at the end of the night, my AMAZING friend Olivia came over until about 2:30 am, and sat and talked with me upstairs while I cleaned my room… because I’m a wild child like that (air bite)

love,

Jos

Utah Much?

Yo.

For those of you who have asked me about my Salt Lake fireside and Weber State Forum (2 weekends ago)… it was amazing.  And not because of anything I did.  In fact, we recorded both talks and I can’t even bear to listen to them… like literally.  Cringeeee.  So obviously when I say it went well, my personal performance is not what I am referring to.  But rather… my rave review is in regards to the incredible people I met along the way. Dynamite.  Absolute dynamite.  They are AMAZING.  And special shout out to Greg Thorpe… you are a man among men.  I am a blessed girl.  Why?  Because of whom I am blessed to associate with.  Since speaking, I have continued to receive an influx of continued messages, texts and emails from complete strangers offering me their own stories, struggles and personal support.  I’ve also had several of these strangers write me and tell me that they have put me on the Temple Prayer roll at various Temples.  Tear.  #sodangblessed

Oh and one last thing… as for this past weekend… I met a boy with a mustache at some Halloween party.  Mr. Mustache then invited me to Utah.  So trusting the mustache… as I always do… I said yes.  And 12 hours later, this no-go Utah girl was on her way to… yup, Utah. 2 weekends in a row.  Say what??  Boom.

Picture time:

Utah trip this past weekend with Mr. Mustache…

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I got to see my girl, Kimberly Knighton, 2 weekends in a row. Words cannot express how much I her. She is just as beautiful on the inside as she is on the outside. #biggestfan

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He shaved on the last day… so Mr. Mustache is now known as just Ray. And ps, Ray is an amazing boy.

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As for my Utah trip 2 weekends ago…

(Forum at Weber State)

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cute

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just preparing my talks

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in order from most important to least important

Meet my cousin Rainy.  I also got 2 see her 2 weekends in a row and I LOVED IT!!!  This girl has supported me through everything like nobody's bizznezz.  Love you Rayyyy.

Meet my cousin Rainy. I also got 2 see her 2 weekends in a row and I LOVED IT!!! This girl has supported me through everything like nobody’s bizznezz. Love you Rayyyy.

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These are real men. Love you guys forever. Thank you thank you thank you. #ogdeninstitute

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Anddddd… this is Greg Thorpe. If nothing else, the Lord sent me to Utah so I could meet this man. He is a ROCK. My HERO. And my new best friend. Love him and his family forever.

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My sweet friend Kylie drove from Logan (?) just for this. I LOVE HER. Such an example. She also happens to be the girl who was the next Student Body President after me. I suppose that makes us kindred for life. Oh, and we played basketball together. True love right thurr.

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Not exactly every little girl’s dream.. but hey that’s okay. We’ll take it. #bi-polarityisindeedarealword

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Mental Illness? Still trying to swallow that. But again, come what may right?

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best cousin ever

We also went to Idaho to visit the funnest aunts everrr... lucky girl.

We also went to Idaho to visit the funnest aunts everrr… lucky girl.

(Fireside in Salt Lake)

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Nailed it. So honored.

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Love this brother of mine. And perhaps even a little more than him, his girl Ryli. Loveeeee. Thank you guys for everythingggg.

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This is Ryan- a reporter that has been following The 444 Project for quite awhile. I have spent a lot of time talking to him over the phone and since, he has become much more than an acquaintance, but rather a forever friend.  I’m so grateful we finally got to meet. Thank you for your support Ry Guy.

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The Hale sisters are purtty hotttt. Wouldn’t you say?

#rainyisamazing

#rainyisamazing

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My friends and family are absolutely incredible. Izzzz crazy how blessed I am.  Kater Bug, Nessa, Erika, my sweet amazing friend Laura, and of course Kimberly.

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Family lovin’

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This is the Wynn family- a family that will be forever in my heart. I met Erika speaking at Weber State on Friday, and Sunday guess who came down to Salt Lake to hear me speak AGAIN? Erika AND her amazing family. I feel as though just like Greg Thorpe… the Lord wanted me to meet this angelic family. Love you forever.

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(disregard the blurriness) but oh my heck… these 2 people… ARE CRAZY GOOD TALENTED SINGERS. I haven’t written about it yet (waiting for the right time), but while I was on the project in Nashville, I wrote and recorded a song about Alma 44:4. And at this past fireside, I had my sweet friend Kimberly (my hero) and her amazing friend Joseph, sing it for me. Andddd it was amazing. LOVE LOVE LOVE.

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As for this girl… Kelly Nicole Allen has been one of my bestest friends since high school. And despite her crazy busy schedule of working and going to school full time… she flew up to Salt Lake just for my dinky fireside… and THEN drove back with my mom and I, 12 hours all through the night. Kel is a treasure. Absolute angel. Love you mi hermana.

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back seat lovin’. #acnemuch?

Love forever,

Josie

XO

Josie T and Elder Holland.

Hi you guys.  I have something to say.  So you should listen.  Smiley face.

…and if the title of this post tricked you into thinking Elder Holland and I met… good.  He and I did not meet, but at least my plan to trick you into reading my blog worked.

So doing much of anything… even more than usual, has proven to be a wee bit difficult :) In fact, blogging is something I should be doing every single day.. but honestly, even that becomes a task too taxing.  Pathetic?  I think so too.  But in my effort to be more like Bob and take baby steps (see movie:  What About Bob… and yes, I am dreadfully sad for those of you who are apparently not American and did not catch that reference hah).. I want to try and post more.  Even little blurbs here and there.

So with that, though I’d love to indulge an elaborate post on my thoughts and feelings.. I’m going to instead palm brevity and keep it real by addressing Elder Holland’s talk.  One word?  dynamite.  2 words?  nailed it.  3 words? love that man.  There are soooo many additional thoughts and details that I could insert at this time (seriously, if you guys even knew about some of the ironies, parallels, significance of timing etc.).. but my emotive discourse will have to sit the sidelines until the book, or perhaps another post.  So for those of you who have asked me if I liked Elder Holland’s talk?  Consider this…

I hadn’t slept in days prior to Elder Holland’s monumental address, and as a result, come time for conference, though trying sit attentive, I was instead prostrate on the ground, laying shoddily atop my conference notes stationed just under the tv.  Basically, I laid there helplessly, caught up in a dejecting stupor while I mentally, physically, spiritually, and emotionally chased the all too fleeting  tease, sleep.  But (unbeknownst to me) just before Elder made like the real slim shady and stood up, I actually stood up myself to go potty.

Yes potty.  I am 5.  To this day, we don’t say “pee” in this house.  And saying I went to the restroom, is just too formal for this girl.

Anyway.. if you remember, my boy Elder Holland, just like Mulan, got down to business.  Right away.  (you’re on your own for that reference).  So from the other room, as soon as I heard his voice, I flew off the potty-pot in theee most uncourtly manner.

(interjection: yes I paid the steep price for such unpolished urgency.. but I’m going to curtail any further description as to not detract from my intended message of reverence)..

So with now slightly damp apparel, I dashed down the hallway, barreled haphazardly through the door, and threw myself in front of the tv, to only further wet my clothes with my own happy tears as I sat there before an apostle of God, and listened perfectly as his peaceful words penetrated deep into the chambers of my heart.

Everyone knows my rule on selfies. Not okay unless you have #haironthechair or #nathanielmohavethefish or in this case, acne, sweat, swollen eyes from crying so hard, a baby clip, obvs no make-up, and outta the shower hair. It sounds silly, but this picture(s) is actually extremely dear to me: I was home alone when Elder Holland spoke, and so I had no one to share the moment with.. and man did I want to hug my mom. So to preserve my ridiculous, albeit justified emotions, in my disgust, I proceeded to take these pictures.

Everyone knows my rule on selfies. Not okay unless you have #haironthechair or #nathanielmohavethefish or in this case, acne, sweat, swollen eyes from crying so hard, a baby clip, obvs no make-up, and outta the shower hair..(oh yeah and to better explain the poses themselves..I always get a super runny nose when I cry. The kids who grew up with me know this all too well… cue super embarrassing story of Josie’s life #948,028. Also, these poses help to disguise my huge horse teeth.) But anyway..though it sounds silly, this picture(s) is actually extremely dear to me. I wanted to capture my response as I experienced a moment in time that transcends in description, a tender mercy. Try Miracle. I was home alone when Elder Holland spoke, and so I had no one to share the moment with..and man did I want to hug my mom. So to preserve my ridiculous, albeit justified emotions for her..in my disgust, I proceeded to take these pictures..and again, how many chances in life do you get to capture a miracle? Sidenote: the pictures in color tell the story better..it is far more evident that my face is WET with tears. But to spare SOME ugliness, I got bizzy wif da black & white. I would also note, that just a few days ago I told my mom I wish I had gotten ready that day so I wouldn’t have looked so ugggg. But as I spoke those words aloud, I instantly changed my mind. Why? Because how I look in these pictures, is exactly how I have looked almost EVERY single day the past 5 years as I have laid in bed hanging on for dear life. #goodthingstocome #stillsingleboys #wuttwutt

So to answer your question…THAT is how I felt about Elder Holland’s talk.

I already bombed Instagram and FB with this picture.. but while Elder Holland was speaking, my phone was blowing up with the kindest and most loving messages from others.  But probably the most unique, was this was 1 snapchat I received from my friend Kregg.. andddd I loved it.

I already bombed Instagram and FB with this picture.. but while Elder Holland was speaking, my phone was blowing up with the kindest and most loving messages from others. But probably the most unique, was this 1 snapchat I received from my friend Kregg.. andddd I loved it.

K so you guys.. you know that big allegorical corner my mom has described foreverrrrr, as having securely fastened around it, good things to come?  Big things to come?  Amazing things to come?  Well guess what.  I’m rounding that corner and Elder Holland’s talk allotted me a glimpse of the majestic light that IS just around the corner.

My experiences of darkness, heartache, adversity, despondency, suicide, Depression, Bipolar, and whatever else you want to throw into the mix.. have and WILL continue to bless my life.  I am determined to allow those same experiences to bless the lives of others.  I will help people.  I will serve my Heavenly Father.  And I WILL clear that nasty corner.. and do so with flying colors.

I am so grateful to report that I am writing that book and speaking opportunities are beginning to come.  In fact, next Friday (October 25) I will be speaking at Weber University in Ogden, and that following Sunday (October 27), I will be giving a stake fireside in Salt Lake.  If you are living it up in the good state of Utah, and have no life, come and see me.

So everyone.. here’s to believing in good things to come.

Keep hanging on my sweet brothers and sisters.

Love 444ever and always, your girl,

Josie T.

**To read/listen/watch Elder Holland’s message go here.  You won’t be sorry.

ps, if you know anyone my contrite message could help, please share with them.  Help me help others.  That sounds lame.  I know.  But you know what I mean.