lds youth

Fresh Face Friday - How To Make the Best of Any Situation

If you’ve been around here for awhile, you may have seen today’s spotlight teen on my photography page. As I was thinking about who would be a good person to talk about making the best of things, Elaine kept coming to mind. When you read her responses and thoughts, I think you’ll understand why she is exactly the right person to touch on this topic.

Meet Elaine.

Top 3 Tips for Learning to Love your body

(1) Tell everyone a little about yourself.

My name is Elaine Brletich; I am 17 years old and will turn 18 this month. I love reading, writing, photography and fashion design. I love kids and plan on majoring in early childhood education through BYU-I. After graduating from high school at the end of this school year, I will have completed the past 4 1/2 years of school through homeschooling.

(2) Let’s talk about change. You’ve moved around a lot. What has helped you adjust to all the change in your life?

I have moved a total of nine times so far in my life and I have used different things to adjust throughout each time. One of the ways that I still use has to do with finding friends. I’ve always had a hard time finding friends but for the past couple moves, once I had at least one solid friend, I push myself to reach out to other peers in hopes of befriending them.

Other ways that have helped me adjust have been looking forward as the move progresses in the hopes that I will learn something from it or help others to learn something. It’s never easy leaving a place that has come to mean so much to me, but knowing that the gospel and the church is the same no matter where I am, definitely helps me adjust too. This last move one of my first activities with the youth group included a temple trip and that feeling of peace and comfort that washes over me whenever I enter the temple didn’t change. It didn’t matter that it was a temple I’d never been to before, it still has the same spirit as every other one I’ve been to.

(3) What are your top 3 tips for your peers on how to make the best of any situation?

It’s not always the easiest thing to do, but try and find something about the situation that you know you can be glad about, kind of like ‘the glad game’ that Pollyanna plays in the book by Eleanor H Porter. Also, don’t forget about the Atonement! It’s not just there for us to use when we want to repent, it’s there for us to draw strength from whenever we need to. Because Christ went through what He did for us, He knows all our pains and sorrows - ALL of them. He knows exactly how you feel and can help so much because of that. Lastly, don’t forget to have fun no matter what; LAUGH! Doesn’t matter if it’s with parents, siblings or friends, so long as you remember that just because you’re trying to make the best of something doesn’t mean you can’t have fun in the moment and enjoy it.

(4) Do you have any secret tricks or rituals to help pull yourself out of a funk?

I find that I write best when I feel emotional; it not only helps me to more clearly recognize my feelings but calms me down and helps me realize what I need to do with those feelings whether it’s expand on them, overcome them, or work through them. If I don’t feel like writing I’ll hide somewhere and pray and sort out my feelings alongside the companionship of the spirit.

(5) How have you benefited from moving so many times?

I’ve benefited from moving so much in a couple of ways. The friends I make in one area are always extremely special, not to mention the experiences I was able to have with them. Moving gives me a chance to continue to make friends and have experiences I may not have been able to otherwise. I also have new chances to serve, not only within my church ward and community but each move provides ways for me to serve my family as well.

(6) What lessons have you learned from homeschooling?

I’ve learned a lot through homeschooling and not just academics. I am able to do my gospel study alongside my regular schoolwork which is something I enjoy. Being homeschooled has given me an opportunity to work during normal school hours and even though I think I have more time than many teens my age who work, I am still learning how to balance working and school. I also have the chance to volunteer at a local preschool. With plans to become a teacher, I have definitely learned a lot about what I need to be prepared for.

Being able to spend more time with my family has definitely been a blessing, especially as I am able to grow closer to them. It’s something that I’ve only started to actually take advantage of as the time for me to leave for college looms closer. But the importance of family that this experience has taught me will definitely be something I intend to use in the future.

(7) What/Who do you turn to for advice? What is your favorite piece of advice you’ve been given? What is your favorite piece of advice to give?

I turn to my parents and my sister most often for advice, but also close friends. I have two pieces of advice that I’ve been given and I repeat them to myself a ton, especially as we move - “Bloom where you are planted” and “There’s no comfort in a growth zone, and no growth in a comfort zone.” My favorite piece of advice to give is “Let your smile change the world, but don’t let the world change your smile.”

(8) As you look toward the future, what are you most excited about?

The things that I’m most excited about are probably also the ones I’m most terrified of. Marriage is one, and I’ve mentioned before that I love kids. While the idea of being a teacher is exciting, I’m more excited at the idea of starting a family and becoming a mother.

(9) Do you have a personal motto or mission statement?

I have two, a sort of silly one and a more serious one: “Foods before dudes” and “there’s never enough darkness for you to allow your light to dim.”

(10) I know you like to read, what 3 books would you recommend as a feel good/pick me up?

Laugh It Up! by Candace Payne

Anne of Green Gables series by L.M. Montgomery

Pollyanna by Eleanor H. Porter

(11) What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?

I am not brave. And what I mean by that is it takes a lot to push me to do something I’m scared to do. I don’t like leaving my comfort zone, and when I do I start off kind of regretfully. However, once I have put myself out there and once it’s over, I’m usually glad I did. I end up learning from the experience and wonder why I was so scared to do it in the first place. It has spurred me to choose a New Year’s resolution that involves putting myself out there more often and to continue to learn from those experiences.

(12) What do you hope people say about you when you’re not around?

I hope people say that I’m uplifting to be around and help them forget their worries or whatever it is they’re stressing about, even if it was only for a short time. Or that they’d come to me if they needed help from a friend. One of my favorite scriptures is 3 Nephi 18:24 “Therefore, hold up your light that it may shine unto the world…” and it’s what I based one of my mottos on, because I want to be a light and I hope that people see me as such.

(13) I share my story because…

…I know it’s not always easy keeping an optimistic outlook on situations we’re not looking forward to, but I know how much easier it can make them. I also know how these experiences can bless us and help us to learn and how we can become better and stronger through them. I’ve noticed myself rely more on the Lord and His guidance instead of my own strength as experiences come and go. Because of this, I know that I wouldn’t want to have missed out on those experiences.

Don’t you just love her positive attitude? I really admire people (especially teens) who are able to find the good things in any situation - especially the hard ones. Thanks Elaine, for sharing your thoughts.

Fresh Face Friday - Kylie

I don’t know about you guys, but I get super excited for these interviews each week! This week, I’m introducing you all to Kylie. One thing I really admire about Kylie is how she carries herself with confidence. So, I thought I’d dig a little deeper and have her talk a bit about what helps her to stay true to herself.

Meet Kylie!

Kylie5.JPG

(1) Tell everyone a little about yourself.

My name is Kylie and I am a sophomore in high school. I play soccer, run cross country and I coach and compete in swimming. I have two younger brothers and a younger sister - who I love to spend time with.

(2) In a world that tells us we are lacking in some way, how do you manage to be accepting of yourself?

I have had difficulties being accepting of myself, but I have found that sticking to my standards has made that so much easier! I have built myself a reputation that stands out because it’s clean and wholesome, and it’s a lot easier for me to accept myself because everybody knows who I am and most people know not to ask me to change.

(3) How do you cheer others on?

One thing I do to cheer others on is I love to send notes in the mail, or I’ll send a quick message by text or Instagram. I also love to give out compliments at school, and I find that complimenting others helps to feel more cheerful and good about myself.

(4) What is your advice to someone struggling with feeling not good enough?

My advice would be to lift up others. The times that I have been the most down on myself are the times that I kept to myself and decided that I wasn’t good enough to talk to people that I considered ‘popular.’ Now I find that talking to everybody, regardless of how popular I think they are, has helped me to feel better about myself and realize that I can be friends with lots of different people without changing who I am.

(5) Where do you find inspiration?

I love to find inspiration by looking up quotes. My favorite ones are often by inspirational speakers or from General Conference talks. I like to use quotes as goals, and when I have a goal in mind it really helps to lift my spirit and gives me the energy I need to keep myself going. One of my favorite quote/goals to live by is by Minor Myers Jr, “Go into the world and do well. But more importantly, go into the world and do good.”

(6) You are pretty bold and speak your mind - where does that courage come from?

I believe in standing for truth and righteousness, and whether that is giving somebody a compliment, defending what I believe in, or upholding my standards, I feel like it is my responsibility to speak up for what I believe in because the best way to share the gospel of Jesus Christ is by living it.

(7) What are some ways you have FUN without compromising your standards?

First, I pick friends that I know won’t pressure me into doing things that would break my standards. When I am with those friends, I like to play sports and games. Also, I love hanging out with friends at church dances.

(8) What is the most important character trait you look for in a friend?

I look for friends that are supportive of me. I want someone who supports me during highs and lows, supports my standards, and supports how I choose to live my life.

(9) How do you pick yourself back up after a bad day?

After a bad day, I like to listen to music and read my Book of Mormon. I’ve found it is hard for me to remain angry while I read the Book of Mormon.

(10) Who do you turn to if you need a pep talk?

I turn to my mom when I need a pep talk because she knows me and she knows what I personally need to hear.

(11) What do you see as the biggest roadblock for you peers to be brave and have their ideas heard?

I would say it is probably a lack of self confidence. Some of them don’t believe that their ideas are good enough, or they believe somebody else’s idea is better so they just follow along even if they don’t agree.

(12) What do you wish adults knew about teens today?

Something I wish parents today understood is how harmful it is to let their children do whatever they want. Recently my class was watching an R rated movie in class. The day of the movie, I found out I was the only one who had not signed my permission form. It was shocking to see how many parents thought it was acceptable for their Sophomore to watch an R rated movie because content in that is harmful and something I do not want in my mind.

(13) Just for fun:

Mountains or Beach? Mountains

Favorite Treat? Strawberry Shortcake

Favorite Christmas Song? What Child Is This?

Favorite Holiday? Christmas

Favorite School Subject? Math

Favorite Family Tradition? We have pumpkin pancakes for breakfast every General Conference

Person you’d most like to have lunch with? Al Carraway

Are you guys as impressed with Kylie as I am? Her determination to stick to the standards she has set for herself is so inspiring to me.

Fresh Face Friday - Mary Beth

I am so excited to kick off this new series. Each Friday I will be posting an interview with someone new. For this first series of Fresh Face Friday, I’m introducing you to women who I think you’ll find really inspiring - mostly relating to the next generation of strong women.

First up, say Hi to MaryBeth. I love her and I think you will too after hearing what she has to say.

FreshFace1

(1) Tell everyone a little about yourself.

My name is Mary Beth. I’m 16 years old and in 11th grade. I have a twin brother who keeps me laughing and an amazing Mom and Dad who always look out for me. I run cross country and track. I love photography and enjoy going outside.

(2) What does being a friend mean to you?

Being a friend, to me means that you will stick up for each other, respect standards, listen and genuinely try to help, be a positive influence in their life and be as understanding as you can when giving advice.

(3) Why do you think it’s so hard for people to be a good friend? And why is it hard to find a good friend?

I think it can be hard for people to be a good friend because they worry about their own busy lives and forget that we are here to help each other. I think it’s hard to find a good friend, especially in high school, because many of my peers are trying to figure out what the next step in life is. And a lot of them change as they figure out what their new lists of priorities will be.

(4) What are the most important character traits to develop in yourself?

I think the most important trait to develop in myself is compassion, patience and the ability to not only listen but to understand what that person needs. I search for someone who is positive and makes me feel uplifted. Something I learned while in my awkward years of middle school was girls are mean. I did not belong in my new friend group and they were quick to point that out. After struggling through 6th grade I learned that something I needed in a friend was someone who would lift me up, not tear me down.

(5) How does technology affect friendships today?

I think friendships can benefit through technology. For example, I’m able to keep up with a friend I met at EFY in Georgia this past summer. I also think that technology can have a negative impact on the development of close friendships. Technology can spread negativity and rumors that can separate you and someone you care about. In an age of technology, I have seen friend groups get upset over posts, videos and messages. Technology can be the fine line between keeping up with someone and pushing others away.

(6) What would you like to see change with your peers?

One thing I would like to see when interacting with my peers is that we extend more forgiveness and compassion to each other. I wish that we would come to understand that we are trying to figure out this earthly experience. We all struggle with that one class we can’t wait to get out of, too much homework, and other extracurricular activities. We need to be a little less harsh on ourselves and our peers because they choose a different path than us. I would love to see that when we talk with older generations we are respectful of the challenges they have already gone through. Even though times have changed a little, they understand and remember the struggle of high school and so many other challenges the younger generation will soon encounter. I try to keep in mind that trials haven’t changed throughout the years, how old we are when we experience them and how we approach them does.

(7) What makes you a good friend?

I think that what makes me a good friend is that I try to be as bubbly and bright as I can because someone else needs to catch a little bit of my energy. I’ve always believed if you are positive more people will want to spend time around you. And I think when you’re the positive one in the friend group, people associate feeling happy and fun memories to you. And if I can make sure that one person feels happier after spending time with me, then I have been a good friend.

(8) What advice would you give to someone who feels lonely?

My advice to someone that feels lonely is to remember you have a loving Heavenly Father and Savior who care so deeply about you. These feelings of loneliness will soon pass, I promise! You are going through this because someone else might need to relate to this similar experience. Although you feel lonely now, I assure you that if you push through with a smile, turn to the Savior and serve others, it will get better.

(9) What are some effective ways to reach out to other people?

An effective way to reach out to others is write them a note or send them a text letting them know you were thinking of them. I absolutely love when I get notes in the mail, I love it so much I keep them as little reminders that people care. And that’s just a simple way to reach out to others but it ca make a big difference.

(10) Tell us about an experience when a friend helped you.

I would say that I haven’t had a consistent ‘best friend’ that I have relied on for my whole life (unless you count family) so it is hard to name a specific time one friend has helped me. Because as I have gotten older, I have realized that God knew who I needed at that exact moment. As I have seen friends come and go, I have shared many experiences with each of them and they have helped me in so many different ways. I continue to have the impression that Heavenly Father knows me and is so aware of me that he sent me a friend that he knew would best suit me through a trial or circumstance I found myself in.

(11) What or Who inspires you?

My mom inspires me.

(12) What do you hope people say about you when you’re not around?

I would hope that when I am not around, people would say how positive I am and how much I genuinely want to make others feel welcomed.

(13) Fun Facts:

Favorite Color: light pink

Favorite Hang Out: park in the summer but usually when I hang out its somewhere near food

Sweet or Salty: Sweet

Favorite Vacation: Hawaii

Summer or Winter: Summer

Pizza or Tacos: Pizza

Dream Job: speech therapist or photography

College of Choice: BYU

You guys!! Is this girl wise beyond her years or what? I love her emphasis on being positive and trying to understand where someone else is coming from. No matter your age, I think we could all use some tips on friendship and I couldn’t think of anyone better to share some advice than Mary Beth.