Monday, January 31, 2011


Sunday, January 30, 2011

my wisdom teeth are growing in

Today I surrounded myself with people.  I gave love and attention in all the abundance that I secretly want to receive.  I am beginning to really believe that I can make friends.  Today was full of many things I love: delicious food, lots of people, service, performing well, music, compassion, thought provoking discussions, catchphrase...
And yet, in coming home, I realize that all I really want is someone safe to come home to.  Someone to relax around.

I need to give myself the opportunity to become that person.
I need some grounding time now.  I need a hike, some time to think.

I am going to learn how to love being with myself.

Joys of Obedience

Today I spoke in Sacrament meeting for the first time in over 2 years.  I really don't know how I managed to make it this long without speaking, but I did.  And, because my brain thinks in essay format, I had to write out my talk word-for-word before giving it.  I spent hours pouring over various conference talks and scriptures, really trying to pull together everything on this topic.  So...I decided to share my thoughts here.  We are told to share our testimonies, and this is one way I can share mine. 
In King Benjamin’s famous speech, after cautioning against the “awful situations” of those who fall into transgressions, he expresses a desire to the people that they “should consider on the blessed and happy state of those that keep the commandments of God.  For behold,” he says, “they are blessed in all things, both temporal and spiritual.”  I find it particularly poignant that he spends significant time preaching about the consequences of sin, but not about the blessings.  Instead, King Benjamin asks his people to ponder on the blessing that come from obedience.  I think we would do well to follow this counsel:  The consequences of bad choices are often blatant and obvious, but the joy that comes from obedience to God’s commandments is not always so easy to observe.
We are taught that obedience leads to blessings.  As President Lee stated, “As we keep the commandments of God, blessings will come.”  This statement may seem overly simplistic and broad, but it is based on eternal truths.  As stated in D+C 130: “There is a law, irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundations of the world, upon which all blessings are predicated- And when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated.”  So, while it may be difficult-if not seemingly impossible- to tell when obedience to a particular law results in a specific blessing, of one thing we can be absolutely certain: that Blessings are inextricably tied to obedience.  We all know that blessings often do not come in the time or way we might originally desire, but they do come.
Our agency and ability to choose obedience is a precious gift.  As we are obedient, with the promise of temporal and spiritual blessings, it is essential to remember the purpose of our agency.  Richard G Scott taught, “Your agency, the right to make choices, is not given so that you can get what you want.  This divine gift is provided so that you will choose what your Father in Heaven wants for you.  That way He can lead you to become all that He intends you to be.  That path leads to glorious joy and happiness.”  Obedience to God’s commands allows us to become not just what we want to be, but to achieve the glorious potential our Heavenly Father has designed for us, far beyond what we could anticipate for ourselves.  One of my favorite authors of theology, C.S. Lewis, describes it this way:  “Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on: you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of — throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were going to be made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace.”
One of the greatest joys of continued obedience to God’s commandments is manifested in safety and security.  As taught by David A. Bednar, obedience increases our ability to avoid the deceit of the adversary.  “Obedience opens the door to the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost.  And the spiritual gifts and abilities activated by the power of the Holy Ghost enable us to avoid deception- and to see, to feel, to know, to understand, to remember things as they really are.”  In a world full of questions and problems, the eternal laws of the gospel provide answers.  And, as we continue in obedience, our capacity for truth and answers increases.  As Christ teaches (John 8:31-32), “If ye continue in my word, ye shall know truth, and the truth shall make you free.”  We live in a dispensation in which we enjoy the blessings of the fullness of the gospel, when people across the ages have sailed uncharted seas and traveled unmarked roads in search of a “fountain of truth”.  How blessed we are for a loving Heavenly Father who has plotted our course and provided an unfailing map- Obedience.
I am grateful for the many hard decisions in my life that have been made easy because of the laws of the gospel.  As I have watched friends and family members unknowingly violate these laws, I witnessed their intense sadness and heartache.  How blessed we are to have knowledge that can shield us from experiencing so much of the pain of this world.
Sometimes, we think of obedience a burden because it requires us to do hard things, but in this requirement lay great power.  President Monson explained, “The battle for self-mastery may leave a person a bit bruised and battered, but always a better man or woman…God gave man life and with it the power to think and reason and decide and love.  With such power given to you and to me, mastery of self becomes a necessity.”  This sort of self mastery and self discipline is not only necessary, but allows us to better experience the beauty and creativity in this world.  President Monson continued, “God left the world unfinished for man to work his skill upon.  He left the electricity in the cloud, the oil in the earth.  He left the rivers un-bridged and the forests un-felled and the cities un-built.  God gives to man the challenge of raw materials, not the ease of finished things.  He leaves the pictures unpainted and the music unsung and the problems unsolved, that man might know the joys and glories of creation.”  When we discipline ourselves through obedience to God’s laws, we open ourselves up for a greater capacity to build, create, and find joy in life.  And, as I was often reminded by my freshman seminary teacher (who was no doubt discouraged by a not-so-enthusiastic group of high school students at 6am every morning) “When obedience ceases to become an irritant and becomes a quest, in that moment we are endowed with power.”  Power to be strong, to create, to influence- power to build the kingdom.
Beyond the temporal blessings we experience in this life, we have also been promised that “If we keep [His] commandments and endure to the end, we shall have eternal life.”, of which we know that there is no greater gift.
In my preparation for this talk, I came across an article in which Elder Maxwell described our generation, saying “the youth of this generation have a greater capacity for obedience than any previous generation.”  I was reminded of the advice that Uncle Ben gives Peter Parker during his struggle to become Spiderman, “With great power comes great responsibility,” and then realized that it would probably be more appropriate to quote the idea from section 82 of the Doctrine and Covenants, “unto whom much is given, much is required.”  Modern day apostles have taught that our generation is given a greater capacity for obedience as the primary weapon for use in the latter-day battle between good and evil, and it is our right and responsibility to fully develop that capacity, and all of the blessings that come with it.
In closing, I would like to share with you the words of S. Michael Wilcox from the January 2004 Ensign, “I feel that the wisest, noblest, and most significant thing we can ever accomplish as children of Heavenly Father is to discover His will and do it.  Obedience to the Lord’s will has always brought peace and rest, fulfillment and joy.”
I echo the words of the Lord’s servants.  I know and have personally witnessed the joy and blessings that come from obedience to the commandments.  I am eternally grateful for the plan of a loving Father in Heaven who designed a plan to ensure our happiness and eternal potential.  I know that when we constantly strive to make obedience a quest, not a burden, we will be endowed with power to build His Kingdom.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Powers That Be

After watching Buffy, sometimes I really feel like the forces in the universe are trying to tell me something.  This week I've had some incredible opportunities and hopes.  Yesterday, on my way to rehearsal, my ipod on shuffle played 13 songs in a row with "love" in the title.  For the past few days, every time I turn on the TV the first channel I flip to is playing "Criminal Minds", which has subsequently become my new favorite way to spend my free time.  Last night, I had a night of increasingly anxious dreams where I re-lived, with slight adjustments, most of the mistakes I made while living at home.  And today I am writing a talk for tomorrow on "The Joys of Obedience".  These may seem like random occurrences, but they have each pretty significant meaning for me.

I have spent the past 6 months trying not to be in love, trying to stay away from it at all costs.  But now that I'm starting to get my life in order...I wouldn't mind so much.  It still scares me, but I think I'm starting to believe in real love again.  I think my Dad has helped a lot with that.

For the past few weeks I've re-realized a fascination I've had- understanding the Criminal Mind.  I remember in 7th grade reading "The Theory of Moral Development" and mentally constructing theories of why criminals act the way they do...and how we could alter our system to focus on preventing crime.  Right now I'm focusing on Organizational Behavior...but I'm starting to realize that this might be an impulse and opportunity I can follow to get my foot in the door for criminal psychology.  That's what I love about life right now...I don't have to have my life all planned out, I just need to take the best opportunities that come my way and see where they lead.

Recently I've really been trying to understand how my past has affected the person I am today.  I don't understand everything (far from it), but I have realized that my need to make everything "okay" is largely do to how un-okay things usually were- and how it seemed like I could never do anything right.  It has been liberating to begin to understand that I don't have to rely on others' perceptions of me, I can build the life that I want.  Because, really, I'm the one that has to live with it.

The Joys of I'm not saying I'm perfect, but I've really been trying extra hard recently to live a life that I am proud of, a life where I practice self-discipline and make good decisions.  And I have been blessed for it.  I don't always see the blessings, but recently I really have.  It's cliche, but it's true: when Father closes a window, and you look hard enough, you can find a roomful of doors.

I feel like every day I wake up and have to re-find that room of doors, but the effort is so worth it.  When we put in the effort...the blessings come.  Maybe not in the time or way we envisioned, but sometimes they do.

and sometimes they come in ways that are even better

Friday, January 28, 2011

Media Messages

Who is this world to tell us who to be?  

Why is it okay for the media to tell us what to view as beautiful, feminine, masculine, or acceptable?  Why do we allow messages of the exalted violent male, and the emaciated perfect female to be markers by which we judge an individuals ability to be a successful member of society?  Why do we have a double standard for men and women?  Why do we focus so much on the differences between the sexes, exacerbating them, instead of trying to bridge the gap?  Why does the media send these messages?

And why do we believe them?

Thursday, January 27, 2011


The beginning of this video is a little explicit, for adults only.  
Not than any of us should have to be subjected to this, ever, but I guess that's the point.
Let's take our bodies back, let's demand the respect that we deserve.

It can't fix everything

I feel like most things in my life always come back to one central idea:
I need to keep the peace, I need to make certain that everyone and everything is held together okay , and make absolutely certain that nothing and nobody is upset at me.  And so I sacrifice my time, my right to have an opinion, and my sanity to ensure that everyone else is alright.  I know that it hurts me, and probably ends up making everyone worse off in the long run, but I can't let it go.

And I don't know why.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Examined Life

I watched a documentary the other day called "Examined Life."  It explored the views of several modern day philosophers in contemporary settings, and was exactly the type of film that reminds me why I love thinking.  So here's some of the questions and thoughts flowing through my mind recently, inspired by this documentary.

"The unexamined life is not worth living"

Is there value in going on a path that leads nowhere, or when you don't know where it will lead?  Can we leave room for the arbitrary?

"Anxiety is the mood of ethicity.  The responsible being is one who thinks that they've never been responsible enough."  This is a viewpoint that I have always held and acted upon- I question everything I do and say, anxious to be sure it is right and true.  Yet, when I hear it in the words of someone else, my tendency is to argue with it.  If the only way to assure you do everything right in life is to be constantly questioning there any room for peace?

I don't need to find all the answers, I just want to make sure I ask all the questions.

"We all have moral obligations to help, just as we have moral obligations not to harm."  What is Global Citizenship, and how do we achieve it?  Do we have to work from the basics, creating citizenship on a personal, community, and societal level first?  How do we feel connected with those who cut cross geographical and cultural lines?  Is it important that we do?

"It takes tremendous discipline and courage to examine yourself.  It takes more courage to examine the dark corners of your own soul than it does for a soldier to fight on the battlefield."
~William Butler Yates

"The condition of truth is to allow suffering to speak."  ~Theodore Dorno
This one hit me hard.  How much more authentic would our world be if we all felt comfortable sharing the most vulnerable and wounded parts of ourselves?  Think of how much less lonely life would be, and how much more bearable our struggles, if only truth was made known and we all shared in each other's pain.  

When you are socially isolated, can you be even more intellectually and intensely alive?  The moments when I feel most free, most passionate, and most alive come when I am alone, engaged in thought and activity that is purely me.

Human nature is constituted by the history of human actions, habits, and expression; therefore, revolution requires a transformation of human nature to be capable of Democracy.  How can we change the world if we are unwilling and unable to change ourselves?  We need to create not just a better world for those that are least well-off, but a better world for all of us.

Love as seeing perfection in exact imperfection.  Is that love?

My goal is to discover everything I can about myself and the world around me, and use that truth to make the world a little bit better.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

when did i get so busy?

Still sick with a raging sore throat and man-voice. (Yeah, I know that's a gender stereotype.  Deal with it.)
Just finished an incredibly long day of class, homework, writing an IRB proposal, and rehearsal.
Tomorrow promises to be even longer.
But I enjoy being busy.  I love having purpose.
So I forge ahead, excited for the adventures of another day,
and fall, exhausted, into bed.

I need to find the balance between this and the way my life used to be.
Or maybe this is the opportunity to buckle down and prove that I can be exactly the girl I want to be.

Monday, January 24, 2011

unspeakable joy

don't know what to say
words might ruin this splendor
busy whirlwind of time
make feeling more real
of how good it feels
to be appreciated

don't know what to say
how to explain
and for once
i don't need
to say anything
at all

because i understand
and that
is what matters

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Oh, the Irony

Today was not a good day to be sick.  I was supposed to sing in sacrament meeting, give a lesson in relief society, go visiting teaching, and get lots done.  But...nope.  After staying up late last night to finish my lesson, I woke up with morning with a doozy of a cold, and I think it might be strep.  I thought seriously about going to church anyway...but then I looked at the notes for my lesson and realized it wasn't such a good idea.  Turns out, the lesson I prepared today was for me.  So, since I don't get to share it with anyone at church, I'll write a few of my favorite quotes here.

From Elder Uchtdorf's talk "Of Things that Matter Most":

"Let's be honest; it's rather easy to be busy.  We all can think up a list of tasks that will overwhelm our schedules.  Some might even think that their self-worth depends on the length of their to-do list.  They flood the open spaces in their time with lists of meetings and minutia-even during times of stress and fatigue.  Because they unnecessarily complicate their lives, they often feel increased frustration, diminished joy, and too little sense of meaning in their lives."

"There is more to life than increasing its speed...We have to forego some good things in order to choose others that are better or best because they develop faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and strengthen our families."

"There is a beauty and clarity that comes from simplicity that we sometimes do not appreciate in our thirst for intricate solutions."

"Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication"
~Leonardo da Vinci~

"We would do well to slow down a little, proceed at the optimum speed for our circumstances, focus on the significant, lift up our eyes, and truly see the things that matter most."

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Crazy Anxious

Friday, January 21, 2011

West the Best


My aunt Michelle took this picture of me and my brother Westley at Thanksgiving this year.  
It was the best I can ever remember.

This picture makes me so incredibly happy.  
I love our dorky smiles and the fact that we were together.  
I love this brother of mine...he reminds me of so much that is good in this world.

Thursday, January 20, 2011


I'm sick of it.  Actually, I'm sick of hearing about it.  I'm done listening to talk about eating disorders, unhealthy eating, obesity, and everything food and body image related.  I don't want everything food related in my mind to be inextricably tied with the way I look.

So, today I took a walk to the grocery store.  I walked up and down the isles, and I looked at what I wanted to eat.  At what sounded good to me.  And I ended up buying two Naked fruit smoothies and a bag of mini oreos.  I don't feel guilty about it.  I am excited that I have food to eat that makes me happy, that makes me feel good.

Last weekend I ate at Mimi's Cafe, my favorite restaurant.  I had the artichoke asiago chicken spaghettini, and it was the most delicious meal I have eaten in ages.  And I enjoyed it.

From here on out, I refuse to view myself the way anyone else tells me I should.  I'm beautiful because I am healthy, happy, and confident.  No amount of society imposed food, exercise, or lack thereof, should affect that.


This blog is my place to be whatever I want.  I love to think, and I'm a little obsessed with it, actually.  There's so many things to think about, to do, to be, and this is where I get explore.  This blog is not meant to be an ever present update on my life, but rather a place where I can share the thoughts that are spinning around in the treadmill of my mind.  I write about things that are important to me.  Sometimes I write about my life, sometimes I write about my past, and sometimes I write about my hope for the future.  But I always write.

More than anything, I'm trying to build my life.  I'm attempting to learn from my past, experiment with new things, and discover who I am and what I have to offer this world.  I tend to be cautious about the choices in my life, but I'm trying to do things more wholeheartedly, just for the experience.  I want to take more opportunities and just jump in, none of this wading in slowly stuff.  I want to take the Plunge.

I'm excited to see where it takes me.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


I don't know if starting this blog is a good idea yet or not, so I haven't told anyone about it yet.  What I do know is that I am trying harder to be authentic, to get help when I need it, and that I really need an outlet right now.

In a lot of ways at present, my life is not the way I want it to be.  I've got this weird awkward tension with my roomates, and I'm thinking and saying mean things that I don't like.  I don't know how to fix it, but I am finally taking the initiative to do what is best and healthiest for me, not just for those around me.

At the same time, my life is changing in directions I never thought possible.  I'm making concrete plans this semester, and I'm doing things about it.   I'm making new friends, and leaning less on the emotional support of others.  I know emotional support is important, but I'm finding fulfillment in other ways.  I applied for a job yesterday that I really, REALLY want, and this weekend I will be auditioning for a play that I think I may have a decent shot at.  I'm trying to earn money for the road trip and car purchase of this upcoming summer, but also trying not to think too  far in advance.  I'm going on a date this Friday to see a play I wanted to see but wasn't going to because tickets are so expensive, and I'm stoked beyond belief.

Bottomline- I'm getting my life in order.  I'm taking the initiative to live my life the way that I want, to create the type of future that is solely mine.  I know that I'm making some mistakes in the process, and I might even hurt a few people, but this is something I need to do.  I need to do it for me.

And, strangely comforting as this thought is...I'm living my life in a way that if I fall in love, it might actually be a good thing.

Relationships change, people change, life changes.  The only thing that I can be sure of is that I have sole power over how I choose to move ahead.  And move ahead I shall.

....sometimes I think I enjoy writing on this blog because I like the way the keyboard feels under my hands, I like the fluidity of the typing motion, and how effortlessly I can create words that stem from the thought conglomoration of my mind.  All from simple keystrokes.

THAT is power.