"Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle." -Plato

The other day I was at the gym coaching one of my little competitive tumbling teams. This team likes to give me grief every now and then and on this particular night they were having an especially difficult time.

They were having a really hard time listening to and following directions. Their attitudes were out the window and every few minutes I had another kid in tears for menial reasons. And as every minute passed I felt my blood boil more as I started to slip into what I call “strict coach mode.” Pretty soon everything they did made me mad and I stopped being their friend and started being their dictator.

I had about had it.

It was at this point that one of my seven year old students flopped on the ground wailing about how he couldn’t do a back handspring the way he wanted to as tears streamed down his face. This was probably the fifth tear episode from the class and the second one from him in about 20 minutes.

I swallowed everything inside of me that wanted to yell at him and say “get up. you’re fine. stop crying.” and I pulled him aside and sat him down on the edge of the tumbling floor. I knelt down on his level and put my hands on his knees and said “buddy… how come everything is making us so upset today?”

I expected to him wail back at me something about me and my coaching. I expected him to complain about how he didn’t like what I was making him do or something along those lines.

His response shocked me.

He looked up at me with tears pooling from his eyes and said “I got in a fight with my mom on the before tumbling today. She was yelling at me and it hurt my feelings. I just can’t stop thinking about it.”

It had nothing to do with back handsprings, or tumbling, or my coaching. It had everything to do with what this little boy was experiencing in his life.

So I asked him to tell me more. I just sat and listened and didn’t say anything. I just let him talk. After a few minutes of him telling me this story he wiped away the tears and I asked him if he felt better. He nodded and I said “should we get up and try our back handsprings again?” and sure enough he popped right up and did his back handsprings perfectly.

So often in our lives we interact with people without really taking the time to know what’s really going on behind the curtain. We judge them for the things they say or do and we don’t take into consideration the fact that there might be more to it than meets the eye. And even worse, we interpret their actions to have something to do with us. As if they don’t like us or they have a problem with us, when in reality, most of the time it has nothing to do with us.

There is a quote that keeps coming to my head every time I think about this experience that says

“Be Kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” -Plato.

Isn’t this just the truest statement?

So since then I’ve made an effort to take this philosophy into the other classes I teach. I’ve made an effort to take the time to talk to each child during class to ask them about school and their families and different parts of their lives. I’ve been amazed at how much just a little kindness makes in someones life. I’ve been so surprised by how the children have responded to this small gesture of listening. During one of my classes this week one of my small quiet girls ran up to me and gave me the biggest hug and whispered “we are going to be best friends, okay?” I know she never would have done that had I not taken the time to show her I wanted to be her friend first.

And I’ve also noticed how much of a difference the little kind acts of others have made in my own life. I’ve noticed myself become physically happier when I walk into work and my boss takes the time to say hi to me, or when I walk into one of my school classes and the girl sitting next to me takes the time to ask me how my weekend was, or when the random friend snapchats me to ask me how I’m doing because he hasn’t heard from me in a while. All of these things have made such an impact on my life and sometimes I don’t even notice it.

Kindness is real. You might not be able to change the world, but you have the power to change someones world with just one small act of kindness.

So there’s some food for thought for your day today. Take the a minute to consider the people in your life and your current relationship you have with them. Are you taking the time to listen to their stories? Are you talking the time to be kind to them? Because I promise you, it will make a world of difference.

My friends, don’t forget to be kind today.

-Whit

night changes

Does it ever drive you crazy 
Just how fast the night changes 
Everything that you’ve ever dreamed of 
Disappearing when you wake up 
But there’s nothing to be afraid of 
Even when the night changes

Well hello friends!
Have you ever just listened to a new album all the way through and had it speak to ever aspect of your life at that very moment? I have had One Directions new album playing for the last hour and a half and words can’t even describe my emotions right now.

Does it ever drive you crazy just how fast the night changes?

I can’t even explain how much this is about my life in this exact moment. It seems that my world is spinning at a million miles an hour in the right direction. It’s almost like I have just begun to breath the most beautiful air just as the realization that it’s all about to change knocks the wind out of me and I struggle to keep the last breath of sweet air in my lungs.

I don’t know how else to explain it.

I was sitting here listening to this album when I came across a song called 18 when I thought “hey I’m 18!” but then literally thought “no… no that can’t be right.”

18 means I’m a senior in high school.
18 means my last year of public school.
18 means all the friends that I have gone to school with for as long as I can remember are about to become people I only see on Facebook.
18 means seminary council is almost over.
18 means my life right now is about to become memories.
18 means mission papers.
18 means college decision.
18 means graduation.
18 means this is my last Christmas before I leave on a mission.
18 means attending the farewells of all of my friends.
18 means my night is changing.

As I pondered these things I realized just how fast these changes are happening and just how little I can do to stop it.

Santa has bought and wrapped my mission luggage, and the colleges have my applications. Whether I like it or not things are about to change.

All my life has been planned up until graduation. Every year I left school in the Summer with complete assurance that I would find myself sitting in another desk within three months. This is the first time the plans have been changed.

While it’s everything I’ve ever dreamed of– Graduating, going on a mission, attending college– It still drives me crazy just how fast the night is changing.

But even though it seems that things are about to change, many amazing things are happening as well!

While I’ve been away on holiday from my blog (do I sound British? Oh please say I sound British!) many things have happened!

Last weekend I went to Cotillion with the adorable Hayden Rigby and had a blast! Thanks again Hayden!
 
Turns out December was also a month for tumbling reunions. I got to see Anedy and Shawn who are some of my favorite former teammates at the Utah Gymnastics Preview…
 
and a few days after that I got a surprise call from one of my other former teammates, B, telling me to come to the gym because all my best friends were coming to visit!
 
It was so much fun to see everyone!
Another exciting gym happening took place at our annual competition team party which I was working. I was playing games with the 7 years old and under group when all of the sudden one of our little girls gets very big eyes and grabs onto me for dear life. I turned around to see a large Grinch walk into the gym just as a few other little girls begin to notice and demand hugs. All the older kids thought he was awesome, but some of the little ones weren’t convinced, which was great for me because now they all think I’m a superhero because I saved them from the scary Grinch. And then after the Grinch left I gained a small fan club. It’s moments like this when I love being a tumbling coach.

And perhaps one of my favorite parts of December was our annual ginger bread making party with the Daniels. Which is technically a graham cracker making party because we can’t handle real ginger bread. We have done this every year for as long as I can remember and this year is the last year that we will all be here since both Lauren and I will be on a mission next time this activity comes around. I’d say it was a success even though the houses haven’t gotten any better over the years.

I’m also proud to say that my house is the only one still standing at my house.

December has been good and OH LOOK IT”S CHRISTMAS EVE!!! In case I don’t get around to posting again before Christmas I hope everyone has a fantastic holiday and I wish you all the joy and happiness I can summon. Thank you all so much for taking the time to read my blog. Without you this blog would just be words in the universe. I love you all! Merry Christmas!

feel my sunlight

p.s. Since it’s Christmas Eve, check out these two awesome videos!

I’ll keep writing

Hi I’m Whitney.

I didn’t pass my AP test.

I know that this seems like something I wouldn’t want to tell the world about. And something I defiantly wouldn’t want to post on the internet.

So why am I doing it?

Because I know there is somebody else out there who also didn’t pass their AP test. Somebody who isn’t very good at the instrument they play. Somebody out there who didn’t qualify for State Championships in their sport. Somebody who has disappointed their parents. Somebody who wants to be a cheerleader, but can’t do the necessary back handsprings. Somebody who doesn’t feel they are good enough. Somebody out there who doesn’t have as many friends as they would like. Somebody who has been fired from their job. Somebody who loves music, but is tone deaf. Somebody who dreams of a college degree, but didn’t get a scholarship. Somebody who has worked years to compete at national championships, and when they finally get there they find themselves in last place. Somebody who wants to open a restaurant, but can’t get the financing. Somebody who dreams of playing at the symphony, but has to wait tables. Somebody who dreams of dancing with the school dance team, but doesn’t see their name on the list of those who made it. Somebody who doesn’t get the job the want. Somebody who feels they failed.

So sometimes in life we fail.

It’s life.

Now, I’d like to share with you a list of people who failed.

Al {Fox} Carraway, My all time favorite speaker/blogger said in one of her talks that the only class she ever failed in college was public speaking. Did I mention she is my favorite speaker?

Henry Ford failed several times at his automobile inventions and his failures left him broke several times. Henry Ford later introduced the assembly line to automobile production and founded the very successful Ford Motor Company.

Walt Disney was fired from his newspaper job because “he lacked imagination and had no good ideas.” Today when I coach we often pretend to swim to stretch our arms when we are stretching. When I ask them where they want to swim to they all respond with an enthusiastic “DISNEYLAND!”

Fred Astaire received the response from an executive in one of his first screen tests saying: “Can’t sing. Can’t act. Slightly balding. Can dance a little.” According to Wikipedia, “
“His stage and subsequent film and television careers spanned a total of 76 years, during which he made 31 musical films, several award winning television specials, and issued numerous recordings. He was named the fifth Greatest Male Star of All Time by the American Film Institute. Gene Kelly, another major innovator in filmed dance, said that “the history of dance on film begins with Astaire”.

U2 received this rejection letter.

 U2 Rejection Letter 

J.K. Rowling was a single mom living off welfare when she began writing the first “Harry Potter” novel, and then Harry Potter and the Sorcerers Stone was rejected 12 times and she was told “not to quit her day job.” She later went on to become the richest woman in the world because of her persistence.

If I were to remove the captions that go with each name you might think this was a section from the list of most successful people.

I’d like to add my name to the list.

Whitney Reid didn’t pass her AP English test. Although she isn’t seen as a good writer by those who grade the AP test, she is seen by a good writer by many others. She has been told countless times by people who read her blog that “they needed that at that very moment” and that “they love her blog.” She was recently asked to guest post on a blog called This Little Light of Mine and was introduced by the author as “Whitney from the amazing blog, Feel my Sunlight! She is such an amazing blogger and her blog is so inspiring! She has an awesome style of writing and design. Just see for yourself! Go check out her blog- you won’t be disappointed!!”

I don’t add my name to the list because I want to show you that I am successful, but because I want to show you that you can be successful. Your name is waiting to be added to this list. We all accept failure and defeat, but those who get up and keep moving after are those who find success.

So here’s to the people who fail at first attempt. There is no learning without failure. Success doesn’t come overnight and it defiantly doesn’t come easily. “It ain’t about how hard you hit, it’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward.”

I failed my AP test, but I’m going to keep writing.

And because I am a power tumbler (gymnast) I spend much of my time scrolling through motivational gymnastics videos. This is one of my favorites. And if you’re failure doesn’t apply to gymnastics I want you to watch the video and simply listen to the words because they apply to you.

“Limits, like fears, are often just an illusion”
                                                    -Michael Jordan

What are you going to do?

feel my sunlight

p.s. Have you checked out Shelby’s blog This Little Light of Mine yet? You should! She is amazing and I was a guest post for her a few days ago. Check it out!!!

p.s.s. Have you ever experienced a failure which later led to success? Comment and let me know!!

Spilled Milk: a lesson on Murphy’s Law

Hiya friends!

Want to know something awesome?!

I locked my phone and my keys in my car…

What? That’s not awesome you say?

I guess your right.

So if any of you lovely people try to text or call me and I don’t respond don’t be offended. I promise I don’t hate you and I’m not ignoring you.

This last week I was able to go hang out with my family on the Oregon Coast. It was buckets of fun and thanks to Murphy’s Law none of my pictures from my fancy pants camera will upload. And also thanks to Murphy’s Law, my phone with the rest of my pictures is locked in the car.

It’s kind of a Murphy’s Law day.

Murphy’s Law states that 
“Everything that can go wrong will go wrong.” 
(Look teacher! I do pay attention in school!)
So I guess you’ll have to survive with only the pictures that I’ve already uploaded to Instagram.
I was on this rode, therefor, there were more Whits on this Whitmore Road.
We found a tiny door at Burger King. #shortpeopleequality
Dad is livin’ so big he hit his head on the midget door. Way to live big dad. We’re proud of you. #LiveBig2014
Finally found a door my size!

lots of fast food
Portland Temple!
Beach Sistas
Required handstand picture.
Life is best when it looks like this.

So in the spirit of “everything that can go wrong will” lets talk about Murphy’s Law. Murphy’s Law means that all the bad things that can possibly happen to you will. HowStuffWorks.com states that “it may just be right. This isn’t because of some mysterious power the law possesses. In reality, it’s us who give Murphy’s Law relevance. When life goes well, little is made of it. After all, we expect that things should work out in our favor. But when things go badly, we look for reasons.”

What? It’s my fault everything seems to have gone wrong this morning? No, but its my fault if I decide to dwell on it.

As we go through life we focus on all the bad things. The keys locked in car, the photos that won’t upload, the frustrations with work, the million responsibilities we are trying to juggle, all the people texting you wanting your time that you don’t have, the car accidents, the failed attempts, the tight money, the medical problems, the spilled milk.

These things happen to everybody.

But while we are focusing on the spilled milk we sometimes forget the milk that’s still in the glass.

Murphy’s Law is only relevant if we let it be.

Look down at your hands for a second and think about all the wonderful things they have done since you woke up this morning. They have probably done at least a few of these; made you food, brushed your teeth, combed your hair, drove your car, shook hands with someone, gave someone a highfive, picked something up, set something down, typed something awesome, scrolled through the internet, hit like on some social media site, played a musical instrument, pushed play on a movie, done pushups, done pullups, honked your horn, cleaned your house, opened a door, clicked on my blog, or maybe turned on some music.

Now, That’s only a few seconds of thinking about the awesome things your hands can do. And this list is limited to one body part. Now think of all the awesome things in your feet, your mouth, and your brain. Think of all the things outside your body that are awesome. The list would never end. These things your hands did this morning are all remarkable amazing features that you have been blessed with the ability to do. But when you did any of these this morning did you think “Oh, it’s so awesome that I can do that?”

Probably not.

As humans we expect only good things to happen to us, and we therefor, only notice when bad things happen. While what we should be doing is focusing on all the good things.

Hiliary Weeks, an astounding LDS singer and speaker, once talked and sang at a concert I went to. She talked about an experiment she conducted that resulted in the creation of her site billionclicks.org.

She had heard that on average the human things around 300 negative thoughts a day. She wanted to know if this was true so she decided to test it. She got one of these clickers and clicked it every time she thought a negative thought through the day.

Pretty soon she noticed that she was focusing on, and looking for all the bad things. She started to become depressed and was having a hard time focusing on the good things in life.

This is exactly what Murphy’s Law is. Focusing on bad things until they are the only thing you can see.

She wondered if this same experiment would work the other way. If focusing on bad made her sad, would focusing on good make her happy?

She also tested this and it worked! By focusing on only good thoughts she soon had a new attitude about life. Things suddenly became better and all she did was change her thoughts.

When I heard this I decided I wanted to try it myself. I bout a clicker and I tested this experiment and am proud to say that it works! Now, this morning I wasn’t thinking about this and was trying to figure out why everything was going wrong. When I realized that in reality, everything was going right. As soon as I changed my outlook on my day things got a whole lot better.

Since Murphy’s law makes us sad, let’s make up a new law that will make us happy. Let’s call it Happy’s Law.

There are so many good things in our lives right in front of our noses. We just have to open our eyes to see them.

So here’s to the person who locked her keys in the car. Don’t focus on the spilled milk, but the milk that’s still in the glass.

feel my sunlight

p.s.  Thanks to too much spam comments I had to change my settings so that I have to approve comments that are posted. So if your comment doesn’t show up right away don’t fret! It will! Keep the comments coming! I love them!

p.s.s.I only have a year left of High School. I only have a year left of tumbling, and only a year left until I go on a mission. That’s a crazy thought!

I made it. {dancing into the sunset}

Well I made it.

Today is my first day of summer. I am officially done with Junior year and I am oh so pleased to be able to type that. They told me junior year was the hardest year and boy did it kick my butt, but I made it through and that right there is a reason for rejoicing.

So I know you are all dying to know what I did to celebrate (because that was obviously what you were thinking). Well, I’ll tell you.

Yesterday following the assembly we were released into a hot smelly cafeteria to write notes to everyone we know in expensive books. We did that until 4ish and following that what did I do? I spent the evening with some of my new absolute favorite people.

No, not my high school friends.

My new young women leaders! (and Lauren and Raegan)

I just want to give a shout out to my new leaders because I absolutely adore them. Even though I don’t know them very well yet I love them all dearly. As I enter this summer I enter my final year in the young womens program. This is the final stretch and I am so glad I get to spend it with these wonderful leaders. This final year is going to be FANTASTIC!

Now I need to shift this post to a new topic. That topic is tumbling. I wrote last month about how I took the silver medal at state championships, thus qualifying me to compete at my fourth national championships in Louisville, Kentucky. I have competed at the last three national championships in San Antonio, Texas; Long Beach, California; and Kansas City, Missouri. I have had such a great opportunity handed to me and I am so thankful for each of these opportunities to compete. They were all truly wonderful.

Now, it breaks my heart and tears come to my eyes as I write this, but I will not be competing in Louisville, Kentucky this summer.

Although I am hitting a high point in my tumbling and am finally at the level I want to be, I feel my heart pulling in a different direction. My heart is being pulled to Palmyra, New York for EFY. I feel that this is the experience I need to have this summer. And because I am saving for a mission and for college I don’t have the funds to do both trips.

I realize that this was most likely my final chance to compete at a National Championships due to the fact that the next time Nationals comes around I will be about two months from a mission, and because I do not plan on returning to compete in this sport when I come home. My heart breaks to think that I will not be a part of the Flipside nationals team this year, but I would like to say that I am SO proud of my team mates who will be a part of it in years to come.

And with that I need to thank my coaches. My wonderful, amazing, fantastic coaches; Stephanie in particular. I hit a point last year where I didn’t know how long I wanted to continue in this sport. I have been at the same level for 4 years and was starting to lose my drive. Nobody knew about this except for my teammate Teri and we only discussed it a few times when nobody else was around. However, Stephanie was the one person who pulled me through it. Stephanie was the only person who could motivate me to try when all of my own motivation was gone. With this new found motivation I was able to work harder than I ever had before.

At State when I came to talk go my coaches following the awards ceremony Stephanie gave me one of the biggest hug I have ever gotten from one of my coaches. It was a hug of congratulations. Something I am not used to getting. And the words that my other coach, Jill said to me are still ringing in my head, that “I finally pulled through when mattered most”. This was something I have been trying to do for years. I finally did it.

Now, hearing this you would think that I would be all for competing at Nationals, however, like I said, my heart (and my money) is being pulled to Palmyra and I am oh so happy about it. I seriously can’t handle how excited I am for this experience. It is going to be amazing.

Now by resigning my spot on the Flipside Nationals team I am in no way quitting tumbling. I promise to continue to work just as hard as I was before. I also promise to support those who will be competing with the best of my ability. After all, I am still on the team and I still call them team mates. I know you will all do fantastic and I will be the first one to text you after they compete to see how you did.

With the fact that I am no longer competing at Nationals I am now free to work other things besides passes, thus giving me the opportunity to work towards moving up to the next level. I have competed four long years of level 8 and now, for the first time, I have the opportunity to work towards moving up to level 9. This is the new goal. I can’t wait to work at it.

So with that my heart is open to the future. I like the way my life is headed and I can’t wait for these new opportunities. I can’t wait for EFY with the magnificent Raegan, and I can’t wait for this last year as a power tumbler. I also can’t wait for this last year as a high schooler.

The future is bright and I can’t wait to dance into the sunset.

This song is exactly how I feel right now. I love it.

feel my sunlight

p.s. That was seriously one of the hardest posts I have ever had to write. I love my team so much.

p.s.s. Even though I am not going to Nationals I am still going to be doing fundraisers for EFY. My New York Trip will actually cost more than my Nationals trip would have so Ill need any help I can get. And I am doing a little bit of a different fundraiser this year. Instead of fat boys and pizza cards I will be selling up cycled furniture and other home decor stuff. More on that to come. 

p.s.s.s. Shout out to all my friends who graduate today! You guys rock!

#becauseofHim {an Easter post}

Exhalation is eternal life. It is the kind of life that our father lives. It is the kind of life we can live.

To have this life you MUST be PERFECT.

But we are all human. Humans make mistakes. It is inevitable that all humans who have ever walked this earth, walk this earth today, or will walk this earth will be imperfect.

All except one.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believe in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
-John 3:16

There was one who walked this earth walked every single day in perfect steps. He never gave to temptation and he spent his entire existence caring for those around him. He was the most unselfish person to ever walk this earth.

He suffered every pain and trial that human kind had ever known. He did this that we might not suffer as he did. He did this that we might have the chance to be forgiven.

He died so that the sting of death might have no victory, he lived that we might live again.

Because of him we can feel JOY.
Because of him we can LIVE AGAIN.
Because of him we can be FORGIVEN.
Because of him we can FORGIVE.
Because of him we can feel PEACE.
Because of him we can become LIKE HIM.
Because of him we can be made PERFECT.

This beautiful Sunday morning attended grandma’s ward because me aunt and sister were performing a musical number for the program. During sacrament meeting wonderful returned sister missionary spoke about Christ. She made me realize something that I hadn’t thought of before.

 You don’t drive up to the window and say “I’d like eternal life please!” and then they would reply “okay, please drive up to the next window and we will give it to you.”

It doesn’t work that way.

It takes action. It is through Christ we are saved AFTER ALL THAT WE CAN DO.

Our mission on earth is to become like Christ, and then to help others become like Christ.

Moses 1:39 says
“For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.”

God’s greatest goal is that we will all receive immortality and eternal life. This is why he sent his Son.

We must live in a way that will bring us to this immortality and eternal life. We must live like Christ. We must apply Christ’s atonement. We must become perfected in him. And then we must help others do the same.

There are those who are waiting to hear the truth, but they don’t know where to find it.

We must bring it to him.

This Easter can prove as a reminder to us of what Christ did for us, and what we must now do for him.

feel my sunlight

p.s. I competed at the 2014 Utah State Power Tumbling State Championships yesterday!! I placed 2nd out of 21 girls. I had some FANTASTIC competition and everyone was great. I am so excited to be able to say that I hit mobility to move from level 8 to 9. In tumbling you must receive a certain score to do this. It has taken me 4 long years to receive this score and I am so proud to say that I FINALLY DID IT! Was it easy? NO. Was it worth it. YES! I also qualified for National Championships and am crossing my fingers that I will be able to go. Thanks to my amazing coaches, team mates, and tumbling friends that have helped me and pushed me down this long road. I couldn’t have done this without you. I can’t wait to see what the future brings.

It’s a good day

So many great things are happening right now and I can’t even contain myself. The world is so so good.

#TBT to this exact same weekend exactly a year ago. #KLI13 #KLI14

So, last Saturday I wrote this blog post containing a few words about the one and only Kalon Ludvigson. Justen and Kalon both saw it and read it and Justen was awesome enough to share an excerpt from it on his facebook page.

As you can see it has received quite a bit of attention. 234 “likes” to be exact. I stand by everything I said and I would like to restate the we all love you Kalon! I would also like to respond to one comment in particular.

Kalon, you are seriously the coolest. I cannot wait to see you and I cannot wait to compete tomorrow. And I hope you always know that we are all behind you and we are all proud of you. Thank you thank you thank you to everyone who liked my words and to Justen for sharing them, but I must add this; everything I said was only the words that everybody else was thinking. Like I said, I am so excited for this incredible opportunity to compete tomorrow.

I don’t have a ton of time today so I am going to refer you over HERE for some joy through the form of music notes. BONUS! It is all clean and also 100% AoF13 worthy (13th article of faith).

Sorry for the short post today, I will keep you updated on the competition this weekend! Thanks to all who have supported me. You all rock my socks!

feel my sunlight

p.s. I want to make this place more interactive. I want to know my readers. Shoot me a comment, Refer me to your blog, share your favorite scripture, tell me what color your toothbrush is. Let’s be friends! 🙂