Wednesday, August 31, 2011

"What else is there?"

The following is an excerpt from The Swan Princess, one of my favorite princess movies as a child, and still.


Prince Derek: You're all I ever wanted.  You're beautiful!
Odette: Thank you.  But what else?
Prince Derek: What else?
Odette: Is beauty all that matters to you?
Queen Uberta: Derek, what else?
Prince Derek: [stammers; to Odette] What else is there?


I often find myself in Odette's shoes here, trying to find the right words to ask just exactly what it is I am appreciated for.  Sometimes being told that I am beautiful, pretty, etc. is a wonderful compliment.  And yet, often, it makes me feel appreciated for all the wrong reasons.  As much as I enjoy feeling beautiful and confident, the things I want my future husband to love me for are far more serious- my intelligence, work ethic, dedication to morals, sense of humor, desire to do what's right, and sense of commitment and love.  


Today my friend posted a link to an article, and it reminded me how important it is that we send the right messages to girls, lest they fall into the trap of Prince Derek, believing that beauty is all that matters.  


One of the biggest mistakes we can make in this world is getting caught up in superficial things.  Our bodies are magnificent tools, to be taken care of and valued, not exploited or overly-emphasized.  It is part of my quest to learn to focus on the most important aspects of ourselves and our character, and to help future generations do the same.  It doesn't just go for girls- this goes for all of us.


Derek asks, "What else is there?" and I want to give him an answer.  I want to speak eloquently and clearly, defending the right of people everywhere to be more than their physical appearance.  To all the Derek's of the world, I would answer:
"What else is there?  Intelligence and dedication, character and integrity, kindness and love.  There is health, happiness, and a desire to always do what's right.  Most importantly, there is ethics and morals, and all of the choices we make daily that define who we are.  Beauty just barely scratches the surface."

Monday, August 29, 2011

sometimes, you just have to love a whole lot

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Goal:

Live and Let live.

For once, if just for a day or two, let others think what they will and decide to feel life as it comes.  Listen to my intuition, and trust it.  Live.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Life is Good

The past few days have been an overflow.  Packing up, saying good-bye's and see-you-soon's, and then the drive back to Provo.  The drive was a combination of singing out loud, almost running out of gas, nervous excitement, and sheer joy.  I can point to so many things in the past months that show just how blessed I am.  I am not one for cliches, I usually despise the simple tacky words that people assume can sum of the complications and struggles of life, but right now it's true: Life is Good.

Being back in Provo so far has been wonderful, and a massive transition.  I'm learning that my individual progress and building relationships with those around me need not be mutually exclusive.  I'm learning about the importance of taking risks, the power of open communication, and just how much of an emotional roller coaster each day can be.  I'm coming to really appreciate, and finally able to take for granted, the peace that comes from feeling safe and comfortable around those you share your life with.

I feel like I'm being prepared, refined, built up for something important.  I love knowing that I have divine purpose and potential.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

To Do Before Thursday:

(aka before I leave California forever)

- watch Ben play football all day
- finish repairs on my car
- pack up my stuff at my Dad's and my sister's
- go shopping with Nicole
- finish 3 books
- hold my adorable nephew until my arms fall off
- go to my grandma's birthday party
- hug all of my brothers really, really tight
- write long letters
- sleep enough to make up for the next two years
- find a way to make the Giants win a few games

I'm going to miss California.  I keep feeling like I may not be back here for more than a visit for a long, long time.  Only time will tell.  I'll go where life and Heavenly Father lead me.

But I'm still going to miss it here.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Moments

Today was one of those days where I tried so hard to be productive, but all the doors kept closing.  And yet, I found a simple way to keep my hands busy and move forward.

And then tonight, I had a moment.  For a moment, when I had given all I had and was just about to shut down, Father took me in His hands and reminded me that all will be well.  It was a moment to remind me that the heavens do open, and love does pour down.  A moment that eased my fears about being a mother- because I know I won't have to do it alone.  I am so grateful for moments.


Oh, and this is what the inside of my brain feels like most days.  
I like it in there.


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Manifesto!

It's a piece of constant evolution, but for the moment, I FINISHED IT.

I believe that my Heavenly Father loves and watches over me, and that as I do my best to live as I know to be right, He will help everything work out as it should. 
I believe in the power of the Atonement, that with my best effort and a repentant heart, Christ's mercy and grace will enable me to continue moving upward and onward. 
I believe in being who I am, now what others want me to be.  I believe in having the strength to endure well, and the courage to feel pain.  I believe in learning and discovering as much as possible.  I believe in the power of healthy distractions and endorphins. 
I believe that everyone is trying their best and they deserve to be loved, but also that Love should not require you to compromise your safety. 
I believe in making people laugh, and in good discussions about important things.  I believe in the beauty of slowly built love, the importance of passion, and in diving deeply into both.  Over and over.  I believe in open communication, especially when it's scary. 
I believe in sowing today good seeds that I can reap tomorrow.  I believe in seizing opportunities, and in creating opportunities that allow others to shine and grow.  I believe that the values of the world we inhabit and the people we surround ourselves with have a profound effect on who we are, so it is vital that we take efforts to shape our environment. 
I believe in climbing mountains.   
I strive to live so that at the end of the day, I can lie down with peace and contentment, knowing that my actions reflect what I hold dear and what I profess to believe.


Sunday, August 14, 2011

Writer

I write because I can.  Because I need to.  Because, in the depths of my soul, there is a desire yearning for an outlet that I can't seem to share with any living breathing human being.  Because when people fail me, words never do.  I write because writing is my muse, my strength, my ability to breathe.  I write abstract nonsense, I give too much concrete detail.  When the anger, sadness, joy, or hope become more than my body can contain, I write.  And when I feel a void, I write something to fill it.  What I write doesn't always make sense, but I always write.  Because words are powerful.  Because when life doesn't make sense, I can create a world that does.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

at peace...and Restless

Tonight, driving home, I found myself listening to the acoustic Christian station.  I'm admittedly falling in love with it.  Between songs the DJ talked about how great it was that, as a Christian, he was able to feel simultaneously at peace, yet restless to be what Christ wants and needs him to be.  It was a beautiful moment for me, to feel so much truth in the faith of someone so far away, so out of my typical spiritual comfort zone, yet so in sync with how I truly feel.  Recently I've been great, bad, and okay...but all with an overarching sense of perspective that makes everything so good.  My life has never felt so complete so consistently.  I've never felt so on track to becoming who I need to be, while so excited to take the next steps forward.
 


...on a side note, Spanish is sexy.  They don't call them the romance languages for nothing!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

on the drive back...

Me (with a tummy-ache on windy roads): "I wonder if this is what it what if's going to feel like on the drive to the hospital when I'm about to go into labor."
Dad: "No, this is probably what it will feel like when you get morning sickness in your first trimester."

Awesome.  So glad I have that to look forward to.

On a more serene note, prior to getting sick, camping this weekend was wonderful.  It was the perfect dose of mountain climbing, canoeing, creek walking, and perfect wilderness.  And perhaps my favorite lake sunset to date.


Thursday, August 4, 2011

You know you're in Boulder when...

...you eat cake and frosting out of Tupperware.

...you do Henna.

...the sky can look like this in the afternoon,

and this.

...you are surrounded by astounding mountains.

...serenity is only a hike away.

...hot dog stands are your reprieve from vegetarian food.

...the fountain lets us know they use recycled water.

...street performers play Darth Vader's theme.

...someone hauls a piano to Pearl St.

...a crazy Jamaican man can contort himself.

...you can spend hours watching the  sage old balloon man who creates light sabers for small children.

...you have a moment to entirely love this child.

...the mountains are right next door.

...spontaneous rainstorms are never far away.


...the sky can look like this,

this...

this...

...and this, all at the same time.

...there are Jewish, Christian, Athiest, Mormon by association friends who dress up as  Laura Ingalls.

...the sky is on fire.

...the clouds are marshmallows.

...you can write your inspiration on the walls of a coffee shop.

...even crossing the street is going green.

...yup.

...walking around this rolled-up bell bottoms doesn't attract funny looks.

...the world's most hilarious newspaper is on every corner.

...you don't think twice about eating at "half-fast subs".

...the view is amazing.


...you climb mountains.

...some people climb to the VERY top.

...you take a wheelbarrow to Goodwill.

...and try to push it back, with a refugee inside.
Mostly just pictures from my trip to Boulder.
It was an amazing trip, and exactly what I needed.
I learned the importance of finding the good and beautiful in every situation,
and remembered how much I'm looking forward to going back to Provo.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Environment

In the 1980's, two social scientists came up with the Broken Windows theory.  The idea was simple:
Consider a building with a few broken windows.  If the windows are not repaired, the tendency is for vandals to break a few more windows.  Eventually, they may even break into the building, and if it's unoccupied, perhaps become squatters or light fires inside.  
Throughout the past few decades, the theory has been put into practice; government officials focus on cleaning up visible crime, and rates of more heinous crimes dramatically decrease.

What this theory shows is that our environment effects us.  Over and over again, *studies have shown the dramatic impact that the things we see, hear, and experience have on us.  Yet, we always seem to think we're the exception to the rule.  We feel that advertisements don't affect us.  The mess in our room doesn't bother us.  The music we listen to doesn't change our behavior.  But here's the thing:

IT DOES.

There's really no disputing it.  Who we are and how we act is, in large part, determined by the world that surrounds us.  This doesn't mean we don't have any control, however.  In fact, I think it means we have more power than we realize.  There is so much in our environment that is under our control: what we watch and listen to, how we decorate our room and home, what we read...the list goes on and on.  

Imagine how much our lives could change if we just changed out one negative or neutral thing in our environment for one positive one.  

One motivational song on your playlist for one sad one.  
One inspirational quote instead of an angry youtube comment.
One can of your favorite color paint on a blank wall.


Who do you want to be?
How will you mold your environment to help you get there?
The possibilities are only as limited as you are.

*Potentially my biggest pet peeve is when people say this without quoting any specific studies, essentially spreading information they don't know the validity of.  I promise I know what I'm talking about here.  You don't have to take my word for it, though.  Just read this, this, or this.

Vulnerable

Pros?  Cons?
I think I've reached a point in my well-articulated life that the only way to progress is to be more vulnerable.  It's scary as heck, but something I feel a need to explore.  We'll see how it goes.


Please don't tell me that I'm the only one that's vulnerable...