Home is Where Your Heart Is.

A quick recap: Haven't you just loved all of the wisdom and words of love from these wonderful ladies? Each and every one of them has a special place in my heart and I'm grateful they'd be willing to post about love being an adventure, love being found in all aspects of life, compassionate, Christlike love, becoming more willing to love, love for family and new precious spirits, and love for the one who loves us despite all of our faults, our Savior, Jesus Christ.

I'll be honest. I wasn't feeling too jazzed about writing a post of my own to follow up everyone else's great perspectives on love (yet I'm sure this will somehow turn into a cheesy, long-winded post)For the past week, I've had a lot of cynical one-liners coming to my mind: 

"Dating gets even weirder, if that's possible, outside of Utah. 
Maybe that will change. Stay tuned." 

"Love is the worst. Wah wah."

"Galentine's Day > Valentine's Day."

"Skyping keeps me sane."

"The favorite child in my family is the dog."

"I believe in love at first sight. But it's just about the most gut-wrenching, heart-breaking thing in the world."

"Doughnuts about you. I'm just talking about Top Pot Doughnuts...not you."

"We're all fixer-uppers. Get over it."

"I don't like being vulnerable, but I frequently wear my heart on my sleeve. Woops."

And then, I'm kindly reminded by each of you who wrote about love in all of its forms, love is actually the best. It makes the world go round. It is found in every single thing. And I love love. Clearly, I do, because I do this series every year and Valentine's is one of my very favorite holidays every time it comes around.

Since moving to Seattle, here are some of the new forms of love I've found...

Love is...
 kind little notes from your roommates, 
letters and packages in the mail from family and friends,
eye-scrunching laughs while trying to fix a dishwasher,
elevating my hand when it was throbbing after getting stitches from the pumpkin can incident,
getting lost while trying to get to Kerry Park (why has this happened on more than one occasion??)
hot chocolate from Chocolati, 
Sacrament meeting each Sunday and renewing my baptismal covenants,
seeing Mt. Rainier on a clear day, 
going on drives around the city/the drive to and from the Temple in Bellevue,
singing "You Make My Dreams Come True" and other silly love songs,
studying with friends at cafes and during lunch breaks,
seeing goals met and progress made with clients,
a classmate shutting the door to a clinic room and letting me completely breakdown (of course this has happened on more than one occasion),
studying the Atonement of the Savior in depth and learning of Him each day,
a visitor from Portland and a visit to Portland,
laughing and going crazy during volleyball games,
"You think this is cold? Um, we're from Utah, darling...", 
and rides to/from the airport. 

Oh how I love airports. 
People are wearing their hearts on their sleeves left and right (I LOVE IT!) 
from the "see you soon" and "welcome back" to the TSA dutifully doing their job. 
And I've quoted it before and I'll quote it again,

"Whenever I get gloomy with the state of the world, I think about the arrivals gate at Heathrow Airport. General opinion's starting to make out that we live in a world of hatred and greed, but I don't see that. It seems to me that love is everywhere. Often, it's not particularly dignified or newsworthy, but it's always there - fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, old friends. When the planes hit the Twin Towers, as far as I know, none of the phone calls from the people on board were messages of hate or revenge - they were all messages of love. If you look for it, I've got a sneaky feeling you'll find that love actually is all around." -Hugh Grant as the Prime Minister in Love Actually

This morning, I woke up really early to take a girl in my ward to the airport. She was the source of a huge tender mercy to me two Sundays ago--a simple reminder that the blessings do come when you are trying to do what's right. She reminded me of it again this morning. As she was getting out of my car, she threw a card and four packages of peanut butter M&Ms on my front seat and expressed her thanks. I drove home and my iPod, being the psychic it is, started playing a song that meant a lot to me around this month last year...

"My mind is heavy and shuffled around
My head and my heart spin like a merry go round
I'm moving forward, wherever I go
I found where my heart is, it's calling me home..."

I remember listening to this song while I was driving to school or work one morning and starting to tear up, because I was still wondering where my home would be for the next few years. Would I be going to graduate school? Would it be at my beloved University of Utah or in another state? And a million other things were weighing heavily in my mind at this time. Within a few weeks, I suddenly had a little bit of light illuminating what I needed to do. Gradually, it's become lighter and brighter as I've seen reasons I've needed to be here and why I was directed here, aside from graduate school. And now, it came on again as I approached the downtown Seattle skyline in the rain. It is always such a beautiful sight to me and I feel lucky each day I was guided to live here.

I came home and read her card; tears filled my eyes. One line of it said, "God put you in my life for some reason and I'm very grateful to you." The words, "Blessings do come." came into my head on repeat along with Elder Holland saying, "Dream dreams and see visions. Work toward their realization." and being reminded of the love of the day I received my endowment, when I first listened to this Elder Holland talk, my all time favorite talk. I read in The Book of Mormon (Alma 47-48) about Captain Moroni and his love of freedom and religion. Although I sent my dad a text saying something to the effect of, "I wish I was flying home this weekend." this morning before going back to sleep for a few hours and though I'm 800 miles away from the people who completely, unconditionally love me, I have felt so much love today already. 

In the past few months, I've started to believe more and more in this little platitude, 

"Home is where your heart is."

My heart feels the most peace when I'm at the House of the Lord, whether it's been here in Seattle, in Portland, or any of the Temples in Utah. It has always been such a huge blessing in my life to be able to go to the Temple and to feel the love within the walls of these holy places. It reminds me of who I am and who I can become. It is a House of Redeeming Love, a House of Peace, and a House of Learning. We are so blessed to have Temples on the Earth today, so we can make it back to our Heavenly Father one day. {Learn more here}

I'm beyond grateful I feel at home every time I walk into Eagleson Hall or the UW Speech and Hearing Clinic, because it lets me know I'm truly where I need to be right now in life. It took a little while to become friends with people in my cohort (who knew people thought Mormons were weird, right? Hahahaha.), but my classmates have become such huge blessings to me and dear friends in my life. 

And though there are parts of being here that are not ideal, 
I know it's important to continue to look for the best in each day. 
Homesickness is inevitable in this life. 
I'm not talking about earthly homesickness, but this one... 
though both can be applied in my situation. 
Tender mercies and love notes from a loving Heavenly Father come every single day.
This I know to be true. 

“It is simply there. It is there for you when you are sad or happy, discouraged or hopeful. 
God’s love is there for you whether or not you feel you deserve love.”
—President Thomas S. Monson, We Never Walk Alone

Home is where your heart is. 
I hope we can all strive to have our hearts in a condition where they can feel at home. 
Do all you can to make your hearts feel at home, even if you are feeling displaced. 
And on the hard days, I think of the gleaming sunny mornings I've seen here and the words of this Primary song inevitably come into my head,
"Faith is knowing the sun will rise, lighting each new day..."

And as for this,  well, I know it will come. 

"Are you tall? Are you short? Are your eyes blue? Are they brown? Don't tell me. What does it matter so long as our minds [and spirits] meet?" -The Shop Around The Corner, 1940 
("You've Got Mail" is based off of this movie...love love love.)

I hope you all feel so much love this day and every day of the year. Look for it in each day and I'll bet you find some form of love, because love actually is everywhere.

Happy Valentine's Day, everyone!!

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