Sunday, July 31, 2011

just be.

"Every person to a greater or less degree affects the lives of those with whom he associates. There is a radiation from each individual character. People are more or less susceptible to this radiation. If we could interpret it rightly and fully we could arrive at a just estimate of those whom we meet. This radiation comes not from what the person pretends to be but from what he is really and intrinsically."
--David O. McKay

today I've been thinking.  new, right?  today i also decided that capitalization is overrated.  today i realized how many incredible people i have known in my life, and how few of them i have taken the opportunity to truly understand.  it makes me sad.  looking back on the acquaintances i've had, the guys i've dated, and the people i've brushed past a few times, i mourn that i don't know them better.  for a while, my romantic relationships had a pattern: we'd go on dates, he'd want to get serious, and i would break things off because i didn't feel like i knew him well enough.  what i realized today is that, really, i felt like he didn't know me well enough.  and that, probably, i felt like i didn't know him very well because i was so busy trying to hide myself.  i've heard so many times 'just be'.  but how does one do that?  i hate the cliches of walls we build to safeguard our secrets...but i think i hate it because it's true.  and walls don't just keep others out, they keep us from reaching out to others as well.  i so desperately want to just be.  i want to be honest about where i'm at and what's going on for me.  i don't want to be putting on a show.  i don't want to be a fake version of myself.  i want to be open and honest about my strengths, weaknesses, challenges, fears, loves, and all that is me.  and i want others to know that i want to see them- to really see them.  i want to engage with them.  we are social beings.  we need one another.  we bleed together, and we build together.  but first we have to be open together.

i'm working on that part.  

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

watering lawns, climbing mountains, and rainbows

Today started out not so good.  I woke up, prepared to be productive and...NOPE.  Headache attack.  So I did what I knew I should, and took a nap.  Commence Epic dream where I saved the world from a terrorist plane-jacker and ended up being a female version of Captain America.  It was intense.

The nap ended up being a good idea.  Hannah came home from work (aka playing in a garden with children like Little House on the Prairie) and we hugged.  Basically.  Then I watered the lawn.  Which, of course, led to epic thoughts.  So there I was, watering a large lawn with an old-fashioned hose, absentmindedly using my thumb and forefinger to get the water to spray the appropriate length and width.  And I started thinking...what if I didn't just know how to do that?  What if I had grown up in a place where we didn't have water hoses, and had never had the need to know how to get the water to shoot the appropriate distance?  Chances are, I would look very silly walking around the lawn, letting the water drizzle out of the hose at it's predetermined pace.  This is when I realized: this is the epitome of cultural difference.  We assume that everyone knows how to place their finger to get the appropriate stream of water.  So what are the things that other people assume about us?  What is the equivalent of watering the lawn in other countries, cultures, and communities?  But seriously.

Fast forward.  I decided I needed to get out and move a bit, so I found a trail about a block away from Hannah's house and climbed a mountain.  What a fabulous choice.  The flatirons in Boulder are nothing short of heightened green masterpieces, and the landscape around them is equally as gorgeous.  It felt so good to get out and moving.  And then, on top of the mountain, I was actually able to get some work done.  My mind was so clear that what would normally have taken me a few hours took a matter of minutes.

Walking back down the mountain, clouds of Mordor were quickly approaching.  Shortly after I began my descent, it started to sprinkle.  And then rain.  And then DUMP.  By the time I made it back to the house, it was pouring, and I was drenched- with water, and happiness.  Just minutes later, the sun came out, resulting in a double rainbow, clouds of death, and a breathtaking sunset behind mountains and filtered clouds.  It was, in short, AMAZING.

Today, I realized something: In our moments of despair, it is essential to focus on what is important.  And that, more often than not, is our trajectory.  It is not where we are in a given moment, but rather the path we are on.  What is really important is not our circumstances, but who we are and where we are going.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Travel Update: Boulder

I'm in Boulder, Colorado for the week visiting my wonderful friend Hannah.  Tonight we climbed a mountain.  It has been quite an experience in discovering myself and others thus far, and I can't wait to see what else it has in store.  Details, and pictures, soon.

Friday, July 22, 2011


I need my head to stop.
The batches of neurons that continue to fire and tell me I'm in pain are really working themselves overtime.  Normally, I can deal with my headaches okay.  I've got a pretty high pain tolerance when it comes to the darn things.  But for the past few days... my brain just won't shut down.  Last night I went and saw the midnight showing of Captain America (yeah, it was amazing), and then stayed up until 4:30am reading.  By 7am this morning my body refused to stay asleep, mind racing about frivolous things and intentions.  And this has become a pattern.  I can handle what I've been given, heaven knows it's easier than what many people feel.  It just becomes a bit harder when exacerbated by lack of sleep and worrying.

And with that...I'm going to the temple this morning.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Vanderlyle Crybaby...cry

Almost every night, I play this song right before bed.  It's as though it wields some inexplicable soothing power over me.  Every time I listen to it, my world changes again.

"All the very best of us give ourselves up for love."

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Youth Conference 2011

This past weekend, I was asked to be a last minute counselor for youth conference.  On a whim, I did it.  And I'm so, so glad.  I was paired with a co-counselor who is preparing for a mission, takes every opportunity to teach gospel principles, and had the telepathic ability to be exactly where I needed him to be at all times.  The girls in my group were loads of fun, and taught me a lot about being a parent, having fun, and listening to the Spirit.  The entire experience was incredible, and I learned so much.  

After youth conference, I wanted to share with those closest to me what I'd learned, realized, and come to understand.  But it turns out that I'm not as good as I'd like to be at talking about the things most meaningful to me.  And so I'm going to try to write it out. The things I learned this weekend really have changed me.  It is amazing to me that I have learned and grown more as a counselor than I ever did attending things like this as a youth.

Co-Counselor of Amazing-ness
In working with my co-counselor, Craig, I feel like I learned a lot about what good communication in marriage is like.  (But not in a romantic way!)  Throughout the conference, we worked together seamlessly.  We met together before each section to set goals, and clarify our purpose and plan.  There was never a moment where I felt overwhelmed or abandoned, because I knew we were in it together.  I've recently been anxious about having separate roles for women and men in marriage, but this weekend taught me the importance of those roles.  They aren't hard and fast rules, but I found so much power in the way we balanced our roles to optimize the degree to which the Spirit could work through us.  Craig tended to be the leader in organized settings like devotionals, turning to me for help and support.  While at first this was hard and made me feel inadequate in my spiritual knowledge, I soon realized that with our "children" I was stronger in the informal teaching moments.  At these times, I would be the one calling on Craig for support.  It was a special balance, and one that I truly believe we were able to achieve with the grace of Heavenly Father.  Which brings me to what I really learned: When you have two people who are earnestly and honestly doing the best they can to work toward a common goal, Father will help push you the rest of the way.

The Importance of Family
During the last year especially, I've been very anxious about my career plans for the future.  This weekend, though the course of personal revelation and multiple devotionals and speakers, I came to realize that the most important role I will play in the future is that of a mother.  Just as the most important role my husband will play will be that of a father.  So with all of the time and energy I spend freaking out about my career path, I really ought to spend a little more time focusing on the thing in this world that has the most eternal significance: my future family.  This is an area that scares me, because I haven't exactly had the best example to follow.  But President Hall told us to "be and do better...and I promise you will."  I believe that each generation can improve, and that I can have a strong influence on my children for the better.  And I intend to.

Chastity Redefined
One of the workshops our family attended was on "Dating, Chastity, and Virtue".  On the board behind the speaker, she had written a definition for Chastity that I want to adopt.  "Chastity is purity in conduct and intention."  When it comes to standards of moral purity, we tend to focus on actions.  But when it really comes down to it, I believe even a kiss can be immoral if done with the wrong intent.  And some things that are often considered dangerous can be very good, if done in the right place, at the right time, with pure and honest intentions.  Even in our thoughts, it is our intentions that matter most.  Because ultimately, our intentions drive our actions and the course of our relationships.

The Essential Nature of The Spirit
Jacob 4:13 tells us that The Spirit "speaketh of things as they really are, and of things as they really will be."  One of the most important things to me in this life is discovering truth.  I want to know exactly what is true, what is real, and what isn't.  Often I take for granted that I have the gift of the Holy Ghost, a gift that will testify to me of the truthfulness of all things.  If I'm living worthy and doing my very best, I don't have to guess.  I can know.

Our thoughts become our actions, and our actions become who we are.  Elder Scott put it this way, "We become who we want to be by consistently being who we want to become."  I learned from Julie B. Beck that the question I need to keep asking is, "Am I aligned with the Lord's vision of me and what He needs me to become?"  And from a workshop I attended entitled, "Good, Better and Best" I realized that I need to prioritize my life, and decide what things I want to spend my time becoming the best at.  And that when it really comes down to it, the seemingly simple actions that we do consistently are the ones that define who we become.

Be Still
Often I get caught up in ideas.  I get frustrated at the disconnect between the ideas I think and the way I live my life.  But sometimes, I need to be content that I am trying my best to navigate my way through life.  Sometimes, the best counsel is, "Be still, and know that I am God."  Ultimately, I need to have faith that Father will help me figure things out when I've tried my hardest.  And as was pointed out to me in church today, I need more quiet, calm times in my life to allow the Spirit to speak to me.

Saturday morning the Stake President of the Yuba City Stake spoke to the youth.  He said, "we sing about who we are, and we are who we sing about."  President Hall talked about how powerful words are, and how much more powerful they are when they are set to music.  I have noticed this in my life, and really want to make sure that I am taking full advantage of the power music has to help to me become the person I want to be.  

I love my life.  I love the opportunities I have to learn, grow, struggle, and be blessed.  I am grateful for the opportunities I have to learn how to love, share, and connect with others.  And I find it incredible that I am given the time and help to become a thriving daughter of God.

Sometimes, Life is just what it needs to be.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

I want to change the world

I ask myself twenty times a day what I'm doing with my life.  What I want to be when I grow up.  Where I'm going with my life.  What my plans are for grad school.  Every time, my answer comes down to this:

I want to change the world, and I want to fix things, to solve problems.

Easy enough, right?


some days are so full of life, I don't know whether to laugh or cry
or run until i'm out of breath
and, contented

Monday, July 11, 2011


Over the past few days, I have learned an important lesson that has changed the way I see the world.  A few afternoons ago, after feeling down on myself and frustrated with life, it suddenly hit me:
Try a different perspective.

So I did.
I picked up my bicycle, and did something I haven't done since I was in elementary school.  I went for a bike ride.  Ben and I rode as far up the trail as my legs could handle, and then came soaring back down.  Somewhere in the midst of trying to distract myself from the burning of my thighs, I discovered that the situation I was in had multiple vantage points.  I just happened to have chosen the most selfish one.  It may seem simple, but it really was: I found a distraction, cleared my head, and chose to see the situation in a way that allowed me to feel better and give more.

The way we view our lives is entirely dependent on how we choose to view them.  It's all about Perspective.  So why not choose one that allows us to live and love more fully?  How awesome is it that we have that power?  In fact, how we view our lives is the only thing we are in complete control of.  I'm not perfect, but I'm trying to use that power for the best.  And so far, it's working.

I am honestly so happy.

As I've been thinking about Perspective the past few days, I've tried my hand at some pictures that capture different viewpoints.  Just for fun. : )


Sometimes I forget to back up, and I miss the bigger picture.

teasing, tingly goodness

Personal Mantral: In Progress

The elegant simplicity of this Daisy blew me away.

Backyard.  i'm so lucky.

Lion King, anyone?

One man's trash...


Dialectical Thinking.
Try it.

Thursday, July 7, 2011


There comes a point where I can't explain life.  It doesn't fit into a nice, neat little pattern or question and answer scenario.  C doesn't equal A plus B.  Sometimes, I turn around and things have changed.  It's magic.  And it's in my life right now. 

My head is incredibly clear.  Sleep deprived fog and enduring through life is replaced by a firmly instilled desire to be who I know I need to be.  I'm happy with myself, and thinking about others more.  I'm more healthy now than ever, because I'm not even thinking about it.  Food are the nutrients I consume that make it possible for me to play so hard.  Work seems to get done on it's own, and I want to do it even better.  My conversations with Father are more consistent and meaningful.  I'm writing in my journal, and acting on what I learn in daily scripture study.

All summer I've been trying to become this person with goals and such.  
Who knew that it could all just fall into place?

My life is magical.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Exactly How I Feel

I've been taking

I'm thrashing around my head, searching for

I need

It's my life.
I'm living it.
I'm struggling through it.
I'm loving it.

And I am so, so blessed.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011


This weekend, on a crazy last minute decision, two of my close friends came to visit me out in California.  They took the trek from Utah and Texas to spend a wonderful weekend together.  We had a blast at Waterworld, saw the new Transformers movie, played baseball and Frisbee, witnessed lots of exploding cars and fireworks, ate delicious food, and mostly just enjoyed one another's company.  It was so nice to be reminded of the friends I have waiting for me back at school, and the good times we have together.  The first night after I picked them up from the airport, right before I went to bed, I noticed a set of open scriptures next to each of their beds.  It is so wonderful to have friends that lift and inspire me.  I feel so blessed.

This weekend was really just what I needed it to be.  Spiritual uplift, answers, caring touch, long discussions, reassurance, side splitting laughter, and opportunities to learn how to deal with life better.  This life is such a beautiful, passionate, sleep deprived mess.

I'm most proud today that I took a risk this weekend.  I try so hard to fight being hopeful, because I hate the bitterness of disappointment and the guilt of getting what I want.  But I finally took the leap and jumped right in.  I don't know what will happen or how anything will end up, but I do know that I'm glad I decided to get my hands dirty.  I'm learning and loving so much.  After all, what is life if not an opportunity to grasp all the goodness and possibilities you can?  I may not do things perfectly, but I am doing things.  I am living.

I owe the wonderfulness of the past few days to these friends.  I firmly believe that we have all sorts of friends for different reasons, and these are two that have a special place in my life. : )

Classic faces.

Waterworld + random flower clip + hilarious lady walking by + friends = Happiness