Blessings this Weekend

This has been an incredible weekend so far! Friday I had an opportunity to get to know someone new. After some chaotic moments, things settled down and the fun happened. Finally, we had the chance to have some really great conversations in a peaceful place. What a fun evening!

Yesterday I got to go on an awesome hike with some equally awesome friends. Of course my camera was with me, and I was able to snap one of my best pictures yet! Then I just chilled at home for quite a while. It felt good to be lazy.


It wouldn’t be a good night without stopping over to visit my neighbors, Joe, Hollie, and Adie. It’s crazy when you think about until December 31, 2012, I had never heard of the Beattys. A few months later, they let me be a guest in their home for a week. After numerous visits since then, I am now considered part of their family!

Today began with a Fast and Testimony meeting. For the second month in a row I came with no intentions of speaking, yet that fire inside got me up to say a few inspired words both times! This morning I spoke about my testimony of praying for inspiration of what Heavenly Father wants us to do instead of begging him for what we want. The main point I was making was letting go of those who have completed this Earthly journey. After losing Mom in 1992 and Dad in 2006, I have become quite familiar with the grieving process and have learned to find peace and happiness in time. I was urging others to appreciate the lessons / blessings we have from those we lost and to hang onto them instead of hanging onto wanting them back. Then my day was turned upside-down.

A young woman in the congregation was touched by my words. She recently lost a friend due to some sad circumstances. Not long after my talk she took her turn. It is not often that death is brought up during Sacrament / Testimony meetings in the LDS Church. I happened to be softly locking my fingers together on my lap. Her testimony of listening to the promptings of the Spirit touched me so much that I had begun squeezing my hands together. Needless to say, we had an incredible talk once Sacrament was over. I am grateful that we have been able to enter each others’ lives!

As a new member, I was finally set apart for my first calling. I am now the Photography Specialist in the McQueen Ward. My original responsibility was pretty simple. I have been coming up with some incredible ideas on how I may really magnify this calling and bless others!

Right after that I stopped over by my friends, Mike and Elizabeth. Mike had offered to help me start my family history. After losing contact with most of my family and not having parents to turn to for help, I realized that with the tools available to Church members, I was able to find some incredible resources about my parents!

Right after that, I have been honored to finally receive my Patriarchal Blessing! Some things that were said really touched me, as you might expect. There were some things I really believed would be mentioned, but I guess I will have to seek my answers through personal prayer.

Sometimes I feel alone. Sometimes I become sad. With weekends like this, I have to keep reminding myself of these times. Those rough times have come. They will come again. You just have to have faith and remember that these wonderful times will come again!


James Arthur Paderta – 2013

October 5, 2013

062787_Dad_and_MeJune 27, 1984 – Comiskey Park, Chicago, IL

It’s actually pretty cool that seven years ago Dad had passed away! Of course, your natural reaction is to think that there is something wrong with me for saying that. Here is your opportunity to learn how to listen to understand others instead of simply listening to respond or judge.

Here are my thoughts about Dad from last year. In the past I would share what was on my mind here more frequently. Recently I have not been writing much here in this blog. The intention is there. Desire / intention only takes you so far. I even have had a few things to write about, but nothing has been so pressing that I got off my lazy butt and actually did some work.

Tonight a miracle of sorts happened. While roaming through the grocery store tonight grabbing just a few things, I felt the prompting to write about Dad. Today would have been his 82nd birthday.

Happy birthday, Dad!!!

On July 25, 2013, the 7th anniversary of his passing, I somehow didn’t even think of him. I felt horrified because of this. How could I forget the man who brought me into this world? I get it; I was going through some pretty serious changes in my life right around then. It was when I was at a baseball game two days later that it really hit me. I promise you, Dad is not in the afterlife cursing me for forgetting him. If anything, I know he is so proud of me right now!

There is that famous phrase, “You don’t know what you got until it’s gone.” Honestly, there are usually negative connotations when that phrase is spoken. You usually think that while feeling regret for doing something bad or not doing something good when you had the chance. Since you know me and how I am, I have to twist this into something positive.

I now know who I had in my life for 29 years. As I had discussed last year, I was not that close to Dad for most of my life. He wasn’t exactly the most open person, and I just did not know then what I know now regarding getting others to open up to me. I did not know how to appreciate everything in life. Even the things he did for me that reminded me last year with a feeling of gratitude, this year they take on a new meaning!

Being older and wiser allows me to understand things much more differently. Last year I may have valued his hard work and how it allowed me to always have a place to call home. Now it means so much more. How much differently would my life be had we lost our house on Cullom Avenue?


What would life had been like with such a drastic change? Would that had made me stronger? Suppose it ended up being what broke me. Maybe I would not have been the strong person I am today. Ultimately, Dad worked very hard to get me to where I am today, and everything worked out in the end.

I truly believe that everything happens for a reason. Heavenly Father knows it all. He has a plan for every single moment in our lives. He led me to struggle with my relationship with Dad. He taught me that not every relationship in life will go well. He then helped me realize that Dad might not be around for much longer. I am extremely grateful for spending a lot of time with Dad while he was in the hospital a year before he passed.

Sometimes words do not need to be said. Dad’s ability to speak clearly was really diminishing. However, all it took was him to look into my eyes. There was a message. This message was very clear. He loved me. He appreciated me being there. He appreciated that I loved him back. I understood what it all meant then, but it was truly the gift of time that was the greatest gift of them all; that helped me understand things even better.

As time passed, I have learned that things tend to take on different meanings. In many situations, my understanding of things just keeps intensifying. With greater understanding comes greater appreciation. With greater appreciation comes a greater sense of feeling loved. With that greater sense of feeling loved comes a greater reciprocated love for Dad.

It is so weird how for most of the time he was alive, I did not appreciate much that Dad did for me. I focused so much on what I wanted from him. I just wasn’t mature enough to just love him unconditionally for who he was and what special gifts he had to offer. Even though he has been gone for seven years, the wonderful things he did for me mean so much more now that I have had time to process these thoughts.

In the end, it truly is a blessing that Heavenly Father called James back to be with Him! I barely appreciated him while he was here. With seven years to process these thoughts and what he meant to me, I now feel closer to him than ever before! Opening my heart to the Lord, letting go of my personal desires, and allowing Him to guide me on His chosen path has brought me to where I am today.

More importantly, Dad is not gone. Just look around. He is everywhere! One of the best signs that he still lives on is right here through my nephew and nieces:

IMG_2782Christina, AJ, me, and Samantha – August 21, 2013

Dad, happy birthday! I love you today more than ever!