Sunday, December 22, 2013


Well, here we are again.

We have had an amazing year.  We've lived, we've loved, we've traveled, we've served, we've worked, some of us have hunted and fished and some of us have made candy and painted snow flakes.

Most of all this year, though, I've learned.

I've been reflecting on the past year, trying to figure out what to write.  And this is what I came up with.

Our primary theme this year was "I Am a Child of God".  Seems simple, right? Something that most of us know and have heard all of our lives, right?

Today, we did a recap of the theme for the end of the year in primary.  I read the kids the same story today that I read them on the first Sunday of 2013 - "You Are Special" by Max Lucado.  I know it's not your typical LDS book but it teaches a valuable lesson.  And today, as I was reading it and looking at each of these beautiful, kind, good children...these words hit home.

“Remember, you are special because I made you. And I don't make mistakes.”

I am not a mistake.  I am not broken.  I am not worthless. I am not less of a person because of my weaknesses.
As we discussed this, we came to the conclusion that our Heavenly Father made us who we are on purpose.  We are who and what and where we are supposed to be.  We are here to learn and to grow from our experience.  It's okay that we're not all the same.  Each of us has a unique talent and a spot in this world to fill that no one else can. I asked each child what their special talent was and got some amazing answers.  And then they asked me...I honestly could think of something for every person in that room...(about 30 kids and some adults...) and couldn't think of anything for me.  Until I looked at those faces looking back at me.  No one can love them like I can.  I'm really good at loving people.  And when I said that...they all agreed.  And the more we talked, the more I realized that I was not teaching this lesson for them.  This lesson was for me.

I wish I could tell you how strongly I feel about this.  I wish you could see how much it has affected me.  I wish you could know what I know.  Some of you do...and some of you don't.  I wish I could bring each of you to primary with me and let you learn what I have learned.  No one can be Katie Jennings like I can.  No one can do the things that I do in the way that I do them. No one can love people like I can. I have struggled this year with finding my place in this world...and I think I know where it is.  It is in the heart of the Shepherd's fold- loving, fellowshipping and teaching.

I wish I could shout from the rooftops that I am a Child of God and I am special.  I wish I could look each of you in the eyes and make you know that you are too.  But...since I can't...
This will have to do.
You are loved.
You are special.
You are a Child of God.
Merry Christmas.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

My Friends That Aren't So Imaginary Anymore.

I have been trying very, very hard to be more outgoing. I used to be CRAAAAZY outgoing and as I've gotten older, I've become incredibly self conscious.  I'm not crazy about the way I look, the way I talk, the things I lack or the person that I'm not.  In fact, you could almost say that I loathe those things.  Yes.  Loathe. Because I am a self imposed introvert, I don't have to see those things.  I don't have to notice that I didn't go to college.  I don't have to compare my hair to anyone else's.  I can wear crazy mismatched things and it's okay ... in the comfort of my own home.  I can love cats and think in song titles and movie quotes and laugh at myself for hours. I can wear my winter hat with my pajamas and some mismatched slippers...which is what I'm doing now.  I can dance.  I can sing. When I'm at home....I'm okay with me.  I don't have to put on the facade that I love my fabulous life.  When someone on tv starts discussing things that make me uncomfortable, I can change to ESPN and feel okay about it.

I have to admit, this year has been a journey for me.  At first, I was a displaced caregiver trying to find a purpose.  Then, I became Super Mormon Primary Woman....and I still try to fill those shoes every Sunday, but it can't consume my life.  And then...I found them.  I found a group where I belong.  I found women like me.  These women struggle with the thing they lack at times and celebrate it at others.  They have careers.  They have hobbies.  They understand.  And thus, the journey to self acceptance began for the first time in my adult life.  We talk-figuratively.  We cry.  We laugh.  We understand and most importantly, we accept.  We build and support.  We comfort. We empathize. We pray for each other and for ourselves.  I'm usually not a huge supporter of sharing information with people I've never met- but they are different.  I could not have made it through this year without them.  Y'all know who you are.  Heavenly Father must really love us an awful lot because He made us all awesome...and then led us to each other.

I know this post is incredibly vague, but for right now, it has to be.  I am just so grateful that Heavenly Father puts people in our lives for a reason. I'm glad He put us here and gave us hearts to feel and understand.  I am grateful for a little Facebook group of 23 women from all over the world that helps me to not feel like such a misfit.  I may never meet some of them, but I am glad to know them. I am glad for their part in my life and in my journey.

And all because I figured out that I am Christina Yang.

Friday, December 6, 2013

The Loss of a Legend

Tonight, I have a very heavy heart.  Last Thursday, our community- both local and industry- lost an amazing leader.  Tomorrow, I have to go to her viewing.  And my heart is broken.

How does one begin to memorialize a person like Vanetta Griggs Wilson?  How do you even know where to start?  I suppose at the beginning.

When I was first hired at Chesbro Music almost 9 years ago, I had the opportunity to sit down with the company's CEO, Vanetta.  Now, I was terrified.  Seriously.  She's the CEO.  I'm just a little retail salesperson who likes to play the piano.  I'm nobody.  But not to her.  She explained to me that all of us at Chesbro were family.  We supported each other, we took care of one another.  She asked me about my career plans with the company...and then completely supported them.  Not only did she support them, but she gave me tools, ideas and suggestions on how to achieve them.  She reminded me that I was welcome in her office at any time and that she would always be there if I needed anything.

My next experience with her was my first NAMM show.  The NAMM show is the biggest trade show in the music industry.  It's huge.  It's overwhelming.  And I was terrified.  Vanetta gently reminded me of my talents and told me that she had faith in me and that I would represent her company well.  She stood beside me and taught me how to navigate the industry.  She showed me how to do business in a ladylike, gracious and effective way.  She showed me how I needed to treat each and every customer.  She told me that regardless of how big or how small a customer's business was that every one of them was important and should be treated as if they were my first priority.  She showed me how to deal with publishers and to be gracious, but to get them to do what I needed them to do for our company. Vanetta and I traveled together a couple of times and roomed together a couple of times.  She was such a thoughtful and kind woman.

Vanetta was a confidant.  She understood my trials.  She had them too.  She understood my need to be successful at something.  She understood when I needed to leave quickly to support my family.  She understood that I only got frustrated when our customers weren't treated fairly.  She was empathetic to my personal struggles and often offered advice, solutions and a listening ear.

There are so many things that I could say about her.  So many.  But above all, she was kind.  She exemplified the Savior in every aspect of her life, but it was evident most of all in her treatment of others.  Never an unkind word.  Never a moment wasted.  Never a smile not given.

While the world is mourning Paul Walker and Nelson Mandela, I am mourning someone who had a much more profound impact.  The world has lost an amazing, kind, gracious woman and we are worse for it.  The best we can do is to follow her example and be better people.  I will do my best to do better, smarter, more gracious, relationship centered business and to be a leader, a mentor and a friend in her honor.

Thank you, Vanetta.

Vanetta's Life Legacy and Service Information