September 17, 2014

Remember. 기억하다.

If we came to earth and everything we'd ever wanted to happen happened, I'm actually quite positive that we'd still find a reason to be unhappy. And so I guess that's a thought that I have been tossing around within my skull for the past few weeks. I didn't WANT to come home from Korea; in fact, that was actually the last thing I wanted to do. And honestly, right at this given moment in time, I don't want to be where I am at; I want to be back in Korea. Don't get me wrong, it's been amazing to be with so many of my loved ones, but given the current circumstances, I just feel so out of place. And the gaping hole in my chest is clear  evidence to me that I left my heart in that Asian land of kimchi an K-pop.

It's funny, because we always manage to want exactly what we don't have. Curly-haired women envy straight hair and straight-haired women envy curly hair. When I lived in Korea, I longed to see my family and now all I long for is to be back in Korea. And so as I was sitting one day in sorrow whilst reflecting upon the memories that were born in K-town, I realized something: if we spend our entire life longing for things that we don't have, how on earth can we expect to just be HAPPY? 

This is hard. But then again, life wasn't meant to be easy. God did, however, create a plan that was intended to make us happy. Not just in a futuristic sense, mind you, in a moment to moment, day to day, year to year, forever kind of sense. And so, when we succumb to sorrows and sadness, we are merely forgetting. 

Even though part of my heart is immensely sad, I am happy. I am happy because I am with the people I longed to be with for nine months. I am happy because I found my space pants in an old box and now I wear then way more than I should. I am happy because I've got a mailbox full of letters and you know how much I love words. I am happy because I went on the greatest adventure of my life; and hopefully I'll get a chance to continue it. I have so many reasons to be happy that I'd be silly to waste so much energy focusing on the things that make me unhappy.

So today, I'm going to smile.
Today, I'm going to be grateful. 
Today, I'm going to remember.

September 5, 2014

breathe in the moments.

I think that life is all about discovering moments of bliss amidst the all the havoc of the universe. I guess that's kind of what I've been figuring out while my own little universe has seemed to be in shambles recently. I have absolutely no control over anything. And I suppose I've learned that countless times throughout the course of my existence... but now, more than ever, I am learning that as long as I make righteous decisions, I am in the Lord's hands. He gives me both a reason and the choice to smile and it's all up to me to decide whether or not I will react to life and all it's ridiculous circumstances happily or give up and allow the darkness to suffocate me. I don't quite think I'd enjoy suffocating all that much... and I rather like smiling.

So that's the trick. The trick is looking for the blessings that come among all the hardship. Because you'd better believe that hardship will come; that's inevitable. But you know what else? The blessings will come too. God loves us too much to abandon us in difficult times-- He always sends blessings our way; whether in the form of a lovely sunrise, a good friend and a warm hug, or the realization that sometimes it's not as big of a deal as you make it up to be. God loves us so He blesses us. Immensely. And I know that to be true.

Yes, this is the hardest thing I've ever done. Yes, there's not a single day where I don't sit in awe and wonder why the events of my life have played out in this order. Yes, I feel utterly and entirely confused and I'm not exactly sure what to do at this point... but I know that I have a Father, a Heavenly Father, who knows and loves me perfectly and has created a plan just for me that will guide me to happiness far beyond anything I could ever imagine.

So maybe I have a whole bunch of questions and not a lot of answers.
But then again, I have one important answer....

I know He lives and I know it's going to be okay.

So for now, all the other answers are unimportant.
And I really do believe that.


September 1, 2014

onward, ever onward.

Time has a really peculiar way of sneaking up on you much quicker than you were ready and of changing the right now into something the you of the past could have never possibly imagined. And so it's funny to be sitting right where I'm sitting right at this moment in time when even just a few days ago this present set of circumstances was entirely unfathomable.

On Friday morning, I was a missionary in Korea; on Friday night, I was a sad little CaLea who had to take off the little black name tag that reminded me every single day who I wanted to be. And I guess that the thoughts and feelings that are raging through me can't exactly be captured by mere words...

But I can say this: we, as mere mortals, do not have the capability of controlling the story line of our lives-- things happen. We will stumble over the trials and unfortunate circumstances will fall in our paths. Sometimes, bad things happen. Sometimes tears will fall from our eyes. That's been a promise since the beginning. But despite all the sorrow and misery that may try to consume us in this life, we've also been promised that there is hope for better things to come.

I don't know why things have happened the way that they have. And quite frankly, that's not something to worry about right now. Worrying about why things aren't the way you'd like them to be only blinds you from seeing all that CAN be. And the mere idea of those "hoped to be things" is what can give you the strength to keep pressing forward-- no matter what.

I'm CaLea Bagley. I was a Sister missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I wasn't ready to take off that little name tag-- but I've learned that sometimes things don't go the way that I want. That being said, I don't believe in endings; I only believe in new beginnings. I don't know what tomorrow will bring, but I know that each new day contains a thousand new opportunities to smile.

And life tastes much sweeter with a smile.


December 2, 2013

Called to Serve Him.

Well kids-- this is it. The day has finally come to say goodbye to this beloved blog of mine for a short eighteen months. I've been counting down the days until I would begin my new adventure as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for a very long time (at at times, it felt almost too long). But I am ready; I am ready to be a missionary for this wonderful church-- and more importantly, I am ready to be a representative of our wonderful Father in Heaven.

This isn't the end of my story. In fact, it's just the beginning of a new chapter in life. I have been called forth at this time to serve in the Seoul Korea South mission. I'm both terrified, excited, anxious, and prepared all at once-- fear, however, is a silly thing. For I believe in a God who believes in me. He has offered to help me every step of the way as long as I remember to look to Him for help in and with all things. I am grateful for a Lord who cares enough to allow me to grow. And I am grateful that He loves me enough to pick me up each and every time I fall.

I know without a doubt that this is the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. I know without a doubt that Christ lives and that He will come again. I know without a doubt that His plan leads to true and lasting happiness and I know without a doubt that I want to experience such joy. I have a testimony of our loving Savior, brother, and friend, Jesus Christ. I know of His love because I have felt it time and time again. It's everywhere-- we just have to be willing to recognize it. 

I could not possibly live my life having enjoyed the blessings of this sweet gospel without feeling a sincere desire to share it. I want everyone to know what it is like to have the Holy Spirit as their constant companion; I want everyone to know what it is like to have a knowledge of a Savior, a heavenly being, who loves each and everyone of us personally and unconditionally.

This is my time to dedicate my life completely to Him.
This is my time to learn of His love and to learn of Him on a more intimate level.

I invite all of you to join me in my adventure. This blog may be put on pause but I have created a mission blog that will be updated once a week (every week) for the entire eighteen months that I am away. Come, be a part of my adventure. (And write me letters. I'm really good at writing letters in response...the address is posted on the other blog.)

I want to be able to share this experience with you.

November 28, 2013

happy fat day; happy day of thanks.

I fill my room with my favorite things. My closet is full of words (in various forms: books, old, fraying journals, papers I've written and kept, letters from loved ones-- words upon words upon words.) My walls are covered in photographs; a few favorite memories and a few of prints from my favorite shoots. I've got at least five different-smelling candles placed in various locations around the room. Hot pink curtains (which is actually surprising because I've never really been a "pink" girl, but my room has always been hot pink and black.) The Korean flag hangs above my bed. On one wall there is a large, antiqued map with the names of my dear friends written upon it in places all over the world. I have plastic stars on my ceiling. I have crescent moon rug upon my floor. I've got a reading corner with a comfortable little chair and a cute little lamp. I've got a giant whiteboard behind my door that is covered in favorite quotes, odd doodles, and "I love you!" notes scribbled across the white surface. 

When I woke up this morning I realized that I only have a few more days of waking up in a familiar environment. And so I just stayed there and let the reality of everything soak in. And when I took the time to do so, I also realized just how grateful I am for the life I have been given. I am thankful for the upcoming adventure. I am thankful for the adventure that my summer was. (I'll write a book about it eventually-- it deserves one, fo' reals.) I am thankful for the wonderful people in my life. Seriously, Heavenly Father is so good to me. 

Life is wonderful.
And I love it very much.

Happy turkey day!
What are you grateful for?


November 27, 2013

bedhead: less than a week left!

//The days are winding down and my nerves are winding up. I've got all my answers to society's stereotypical questions memorized because they have become a part of every last one of my conversations: "Are you excited?" Oh, yeah! Of course. I'm beyond excited. "Are you nervous?"
Definitely. But I am also grateful for the opportunity to serve.

Come on people, let's skip the obvious questions and jump straight to the good stuff like, "How the freak are you going to speak Korean when you can't even find words to express yourself in English 98% of the time?" It's been decided: I'll have to create gibberish words for Korean too.

//I tried to get on a regular missionary sleeping schedule but that plan flew out the door as soon as I tried to make it happen. Trying to sleep normally doesn't work when you've got a mission on your mind. You end up laying in bed staring at the ceiling and dreaming of how your life will be when you become a missionary and then you stay up really late so waking up early is just out of the question.

//I've got the cutest missionary clothes. Fo' reals tho. I'm actually really excited to dress myself and whatnot. Living out of my suitcase for eighteen months will not be hard at all-- but only because I have a suitcase full of the world's cutest dang clothes.

//Hey, I'm done working. What-what! Yeah, I walked out of work for the last time today and it was seriously THE weirdest feeling. I didn't know how to handle myself so I just walked wide-eyed to my car and drove home really fast so I could sit on my couch with the knowledge that I have completed this working phase of my life and I am now ready to move onto the next.

//I leave in under a week. Is anyone else trippin' about that? No? Just me? Oh... okay kewel. (I LEAVE IN SEVEN DAYS. WHAT THE FLAGNOD IS HAPPENING!?) No big deal or anything, kids. No big deal.

//Hey, so I'll be temporarily retiring this blog in just a matter of days. (Don't fret, I'll be back in eighteen months.) But anyways, I'll be blogging over at my missionary blog so you can find me over there. I'll be the same old, sarcastic, spastic, random, creative self so you can expect all you've expected from this blog and more. (And I say "more" because I'll be learning another language and being an awkward human around a bunch of other people so it should be pretty interesting. I mean, I'm excited, you can be excited with me.) If you missed it the first two times, you can find my missionary blog right......

---------------------> HERE.

//I'll miss your faces and stuff. But you can send me letters. I bought a butt-load of stamps today for my stay at the MTC today. (Enough to write five or more letters a week, to say the least. And I'm going to be there for about eight weeks soo.....) I mean, I'll be perfecting my letter-writing skills and what not, so if that's something you want to partake of, you can find my address/email over on my mission blog. (That's four times, if you haven't gotten the hint by now... well, I'll be disappointed. Let's just leave it at that.) SRSLY though, I'd love to hear from you peeps.

//Um. It's three a.m. and I know that I'm terrible at the whole 10:30 bedtime thing but this is ridiculous and I should at least try and be in bed before three a.m.... I'll do better over the next few days. But maybe not. I mean, YOLO? Anyways, what I'm trying to say here is that I should probably go to sleep now. Because, yeah.

Life is weird and it happens fast so make the moments count!
That's my advice for the day and I'm going to be a missionary.
Missionaries give good advice most of the time, right?
Meh. I'll work on it.


November 19, 2013

"is this real life?"

I don't even know where to start... I could start with the fact that I've officially checked off "farewell talk" from my list of things to do before my mission. I could start with the fact that I had to say goodbye to one of my big brothers tonight-- I won't see him again for nineteen months. I could start with the fact that I leave in a mere fourteen days. I could start with a lot of things, but like I said, I have no idea where I SHOULD start or if I should even start at all. 

Life is weird. I never thought I'd actually get to this point; you know, the point where the countdown starts to feel more real. Like every day spent is one that must be spent well and spent in the company of the people you love the most. December fourth used to seem so far away and now it feels so close that it is literally breathing right down my neck. I can't even believe it. 

My best friends in the mission field write me every single week just to tell me how excited they are for me to join them in the work of the Lord. I honestly can't wait to join them. They're remarkable human beings doing remarkable things and I am more than ready to throw in my two cents as well. Sometimes it's a little scary but I've always been a brave little girl. 

This phase of life isn't the easiest but it's the most worth it. 
I know it, I truly do. It's hard but it's absolutely wonderful.
It's time to wear my biggest, prettiest smile and say, "Bring it on."

November 14, 2013

my mom hates my space pants but whateva.

I work every day from eight to five and when you're nineteen and you're leaving on a mission, working full-time gets really lame really fast. It's the very worst when you walk outside after being locked up within a grey-walled warehouse all day and the sun is trickling through the last-leaves surviving on the almost-barren branches and the sky is humming a lullaby to the earth in splashes of color and you're just like, "Welllllp. I'm sure today was a really beautiful day and I'm only JUST NOW getting to appreciate it." Creative minds sometimes come as a curse, I've decided. I've got creative ADD and it's severely damaging my ability to function like a normal human being. 

I check the mailbox as soon as I get home every single day because I love letters and I love words but most of all, I love love letters full of lovely words. Sometimes life is really super duper confusing and nothing makes sense at all. But I've learned that the pieces always manage to fall exactly where they need to be and in the end, "love conquers all." Call me a sappy romantic, I can handle it. But only because I mean that with all my heart. I think I've got the best love story of all and maybe one day I'll be brave enough share it. 

Today has been one of those, "I'm putting my hair on top of my head and wearing my dinosaur sweatshirt and space pants with warm socks and I'm going to watch Mr. Darcy fall in love with Elizabeth and cuddle with my pillowpet," kind of days. I'm terrible at being a girl because I'm too dang good at being a hobo. I'm not even mad about it. I've always had a peculiar sense of style and my desire to be comfortable always overrides my desire to be socially presentable and so I've just learned to throw up the deuces and roll with it. 

One time a boy was going in for a smooch and I wasn't sure how to handle the situation so I retracted my head into my neck and frantically asked in desperation, "WHAT WOULD YOU DO IF I MADE A RAPTOR NOISE RIGHT NOW????" He pulled away slightly and furrowed his brow down at me and I just looked right back up at him, widened my eyes, and screeched. His lips did not meet mine that night. Mission accomplished? I can't even explain myself and the way I handle life. 

This weekend is going to be a big one. Starting with the sister missionary meet at Temple Square and ending with my farewell talk. Um, and everyone is invited to both events, fyi. I want to see your lovely faces there.

Oh hey, 20 days. 
Are you gonna miss me?