Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

What I love about Provo

Dazzling sunsets every night.

Streets that are each conveniently 1/10 of a mile long.

Plato's Closet and ridiculously cheap coats.

Gorgeous November weather that is just chilly enough to make you grateful.

Red/Orange/Brown/Green/White Mountains. 

Being close to the people I love who keep me happy, safe, and sane.

On Modesty...revisisted

I am slightly ashamed.  I posted a clip awhile back about Modesty, and while it had some valid points and interesting comments, it misrepresented the results of a research study.  So, in an effort to present both viewpoints (neither of which I agree with completely), I credit Celeste with finding this response to the video: My response to the "Should Christian Women Wear Bikinis" Video.  I advocate giving credit to the valid points by both authors.

Monday, November 28, 2011

I'm Happy

Not in the midst of crazy highs and lows, just happy.  Pleasantly content.  Nothing major to fix or a problem to overcome, life is just good.  This is not a feeling I'm used to.  But I think I could get used to it.

Also...I love Christmas music. (But ONLY after Thanksgiving.)  I will probably post more about it in the future, but lately I was introduced to this song, and I just can't get enough.  It makes me feel so good!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Some days

some days feel right.

some days are just too good for words.

some days the people in your life are not what you thought you wanted, but exactly what you need.

some days you realize that you're living your somedays, and that you are building your castle in the clouds.

If you have built castles in the air,
your work need not be lost; that is where they should be.
Now put the foundations under them.
~Thoreau's Walden


Emotional abuse is a big deal. It's a HUGE deal.  And I hate that most people can't understand how big of a deal it is.  Just because there aren't bruises or visible scars doesn't mean it doesn't affect the victims in a very real way.  In fact, research has shown that victims of both sexual and emotional abuse say that the emotional abuse was the worst past with the most long-term effects.  It hurts, and it matters.

And because emotional maltreatment doesn't leave scars, it can be very difficult to feel justified in the pain it causes.  This is something I know all too well.  It can require constant reassurance that yes, it was a big deal, and yes, it did really happen.

And it's why I feel like such a hypocrite when I realize how insensitive I can be to other people's experiences of emotional pain.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

All good things come in threes

 God's ability to make the direction we need to take transparent amid chaos and confusion is amazing.

A song I found today and love:

On change:  
In my high school yearbook, I had so many people tell me "don't ever change".  And today I was thinking about how sad that is.  Life would be so stagnant and pointless if we never changed.  We act as though asking someone to change means that they aren't good enough- but really, I think it implies that we want to invest more in them.  Change is not only good, it is essential.  I want to surround myself with people who help me change for the better.


Yesterday was my very first Thanksgiving not spent at home with my family.  It was rough for me to be away from them, but I am so blessed to have awesome friends in Provo who are willing to share their friends and family with me.  We spent the afternoon in Sandy with a beautifully large family.  We ate, played basketball, jumped on trampolines, played house, and ate some more.  I especially enjoyed playing with Matthew, a spunky little boy who killed me with his laser gun dozens of times.  It was so nice to give thanks in a place where I really truly was grateful for the blessings of friends and family.  And it gave me cause to think of the many other things I have been blessed with in my life.  Namely...

My immediate family.  I don't know what I would do without all of them.  Even when we don't talk much, they mean the world to me and keep me sane.

My close friends.  They are scattered across the country and even the world, but they understand me.  I am grateful for the ways that they welcome me into their lives and allow me to share in their joys and struggles.

Words.  This semester I've made an effort to read more books that aren't for school, and it has been an excellent escape.  I appreciate people who share their words with us.  (Especially, of late, the Hunger Games series.)

Scriptures.  I don't have the words to describe how daily scripture study has changed my life and my relationship with my Heavenly Father, but I am so glad I have made the effort to make this a crucial part of my life.

Warmth.  I despise being cold, and I am grateful to live in a time and place where I can turn on the heater, heat up some hot chocolate, and cuddle up in a blanket.

Delicious Food.  An abundance of it, all the time, even as a college student.  Mimi's, Guru's, apple pie, juice, colorful salads, cottage cheese, blackberries, honey bunches of oats, tomatoes, soup, tea....

Good Finances.  I have been so much more financially blessed in the past few years than I ever could have imagined.  The way in which Father takes care of our needs when we are faithful is astounding.

Fun!  College is crazy, hectic and stressful, but I love that I am surrounded with people and opportunities that allow me to let loose and have fun at regular intervals.

Running.  I almost cringe as I write this one.  Running has not been a favorite (or even slightly preferred) pastime for me, but I've come to love and appreciate it this semester.  I appreciate that I can afford good running shoes and apparel.  And mostly, I am so grateful for a strong, healthy body that allows me to run far and fast, climb mountains, and explore.

Mountains.  My love for mountains may be irrational and seemingly silly, but mountains are often the source of greatest sanity in my life.  At any moment, I adore the ability to look up and be overwhelmed by the majestic beauty of the Mountains.  Whether they are covered in the green of pine trees, rainbow of falling leaves, or lines of pure white snow, they fill me with joy.

My life is so full.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Mockingjay *spoiler warning*

"What I need to survive is not Gale's fire, kindled with rage and hatred.  I have plenty of fire myself.  What I need is the dandelion in the spring.  The bright yellow that means rebirth instead of destruction.  The promise that life can go on, no matter how bad our losses.  That it can be good again.  And only Peeta can give me that."
We talk a lot in Social Psychology about the difference between "opposites attract" and "birds of a feather flock together" when it comes to romance and attraction.  Research shows that we tend to like those most similar to us.  But when it really comes down to it, I think perhaps what we need is the person who can balance us.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

On Modesty

*A note to readers: See an updated response to this post here.

I stumbled across this today and found it highly interesting.  There are many times I wish I could wear things I might consider more "attractive", or just plain more comfortable.  (Off-the-shoulder blouses being high on the list...)  And while I don't think that women should have to take the full responsibility for the way that men think, we should be aware of the messages we are sending by how we dress.  We really do teach men how to treat us by the way we choose our apparel.

"When a girl covers herself up, she reveals more of herself to us, because you reveal to us that there's more to you girls than just your bodies."

Monday, November 21, 2011

Here's to caring more about what's important to me than other people's perceptions.

Sunday, November 20, 2011


Words are important to me.

They always have been.  Ever since I was little, I enjoyed reading.  I wrote my first short story when I was in fourth grade.  And by my junior high I had started a binder of all my favorite quotes.  I recognize bands not by their sound but by the nature of their lyrics.  I talk a lot because it is important to me to convey the words of how I feel, what I need, and of my concern and love for others.  I listen because I need words to understand that I am loved.  Actions are important and meaningful as well, but it is the words of others that I replay in my head in the quiet moments.  It is those words that help guide my thoughts down paths of happiness or despair.  The wrong kind of words, or a lack of them altogether, is something I don't handle very well.
For out of the overflow of his mouth his heart speaks. Luke 6:45
I need words because they are the concrete manifestation of feelings, thoughts, and actions.  In words lie the secret to intangible motives, ideas, and desires.  The ability to communicate through written and spoken words is perhaps the major advantage of the human race- and it is something not to be taken lightly.  I believe that we have this gift because we need it.  Because, as humans, we need to understand things on multiple levels.  Words allow us to convey not just the imperfection that is our actions, but the pure intent behind what we do.  With words, we are able to explain just what someone means to us, even when we fall short in our ability to show them perfectly.  It is said that words mean nothing if they aren't tied to actions.  And for me, actions mean very little without the reassuring words that accompany and explain them.  Because unless you give me a good reason not to, I believe words.

Sometimes we don't have the words.  But just because we can't convey things perfectly doesn't mean we shouldn't try.  We only learn through practice.  When I have an experience that is too inspiring and beautiful to fully capture in words, I still write it down as best I can.  Because words are how we remember.  When we have words, and when those words are tied to actions, we can create a more complete understanding.  And the more complete our understanding, the greater our capacity to give and receive love.

Friday, November 18, 2011

A day in the life of a very blessed girl

Everything about the past twenty four hours has been beautiful.

This time yesterday, I attended an amazingly insightful lecture in my LDS Perspectives on Psychology class on homosexuality, including thoughts from an address Elder Bruce C. Hafen gave at an Evergreen conference.
The Lord giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength.  They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint..."waiting on the Lord" is a special invitation to become an active, consecrated disciple of Christ.  It isn't to sit back passively and just wait on your hands.  I was moved to make changes in my daily pattern so I could "wait" with much more intense spiritual initiative.
Over the course of the evening I had the opportunity to serve a number of individuals in various ways.  It was amazing how wonderful it felt to help others, even though I'm fairly certain I benefited infinitely more.

This morning I went to the Provo temple with an old roommate.  I couldn't find my recommend, so I sat in the waiting room and by the fountain waiting for her to complete ordinances.  It was the perfect quiet time that I needed to just listen.  And all the while, I was blessed to witnessed the world's most incredible sunrise.

My group's presentation for my 304 class went off without a hitch, and I managed to get some clarity and studying in very quickly afterward.

In meeting with my favorite psychology teacher, he gave me much needed counsel on life and career, as well as offering me a job as his TA or research assistant for the semesters until I graduate.  While I loathe having to make decisions, I am so grateful that I have so many opportunities in my life.  These are the types of problems I would prefer to have!

After a nice chat with my dad, I came home to my new running shoes!  So I strapped them on, intending to go for a nice two mile run.  When I got to my halfway point, I just kept going.  My head turned toward the mountains, and I knew I needed to be up there.  So I ran.  And then I hiked.  I couldn't find the trails I was used to, so I climbed up cliffs and skipped switchbacks, finally finding the trail I wanted.  But along the way, I had multiple opportunities to stop and take in the beauty of this world and commune with my Heavenly Father.  The views that I witnessed and the conversations I had are indescribable.  All I know is how I felt, and for those moments, I felt infinite.

Life is amazing.  So many amazing things happen to us so quickly that we don't even have adequate time to appreciate them.  My life is full to bursting with opportunities, scary choices, and mostly blessings.

When life is too beautiful to keep to yourself, the only thing to do is pay it forward.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

not quite...happily ever after

sometimes I hate fairly tales for the lies they have fed me since childhood.

why can't we focus on real stories, instead?  
why must we train our children to have unrealistic ideas of and expectations for love?

Savion Glover, or: Why I Chose Tap Dancing over BYU Basketball

Last night I had the opportunity to watch Savion Glover and his group Bare Soundz perform in the DeJong Conert Hall in the Harris Fine Art Center on BYU's campus.  While most of the other students were filing into the Marriot Center for BYU Men's Basketball (which I love more than most things in this world), I was heading to the HFAC.  It had been a stressful, sick day, but from the moment we walked into the auditorium, nothing else mattered.  Three simple wood platforms, three genius dancers on taps...and one amazing evening.  It's something you have to see for yourself.

And while I'm in the mood of amazing tap dancers, this is possibly my favorite clip from from favorite old-school tapper.  Thank you Gene Kelly, for being amazing.  

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

hidden blessings

Coming into this week I was stressed and overwhelmed.  I had too much to do and not nearly enough time.  And then I was forced to slow down, with assurances that I will be able to complete everything this week that I need to.  Nothing like a Monday bout of food poisoning to put life in perspective.

Sometimes we experience setbacks for reasons other than our own failures.  Yesterday and today I've been able to feel the great love and compassion of roommates and friends, garner a greater appreciation for the power of the priesthood, and learn more about how to treat my body.  I also promise never to take for granted normal digestive processes again.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

I love:

Breathtaking mountain sunsets
Daily hugs
Starry nights
when those I love are happy
Beauty and the Beast
breaking rules
People who believe in me

This week will be a challenge.  I've never been this behind in school and work, and somehow I've got to find a way to make my shifting priorities fit into the 24 hours I'm given each day.  I'm grateful that Father knows what he's doing with my life, even if I have no clue.

What I need to remember this week: Perspective.

Goals for the week: Daily scripture immersion and acts of service

What I have to get done this week: all my hours of work and a neurobiology research paper

Who I am grateful for today: (and everyday) Celeste, my daddy, and all of the people who smile at me when I pass them in the hallway

How I will survive this week: prayer and scarves

What I want to do this week REALLY badly, but won't: eat all of the cake sitting on the counter.

What I shouldn't do this week, but probably will: buy a new coat and boots at Plato's Closet

People I miss desperately and need to call: Hannah and Nicole

The light at the end of the tunnel: Thanksgiving break and my map art project

Saturday, November 12, 2011


Because life goes up and down, in and out, through, around, under, and over.  But it always goes.  Enjoy the series of beautiful messes and learn everything you can from them.  In the end, the only things that really matter are the lessons you learn, the relationships you build, and your personal ability to discern and follow Father's will.

Study, ponder, pray, think, learn, and understand.  Then go LIVE.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


"Take a breath and take your time."

I'm not a very patient person.  I get frustrated when things don't go as quickly as I want them to, or in the right direction right away.  So many things have come easily in my life that persistence is one of the traits I still very much lack.  I don't seem to have the innate ability to slow down and be okay with quiet and simple changes.  In times like this, what I need most is the faith to be patient.  It's not that this is too heavy, it's that I have to carry it for too long.  

Tonight I fought quiet and calm for hours.  I stayed on campus as long as possible, and when I was finally able to drag myself home I quickly jumped into several hours of cleaning.  If I hadn't promised to be safer, tonight would be an ideal night for a run.  

Saturday, November 5, 2011


In my moments of weakness, despair, worry and anxiety, the worst part is that I can't remember how it feels to be right before God.  Today I want to give myself something to remember.  Today everything is beautiful- the mountains, my relationships, the salad I'm eating for lunch, the warmth of my sweatshirt, the colors of the leaves...and while I don't have all the answers, I am at peace.  I know that I am on the right path, with an upward trajectory.  I am learning more every day, and becoming more confident in what I need to be doing.  And I have some answers.  It is those that I will strive to remember as days get dark and hope seems scarce.

I had an experience this morning that reminded me how worth it adversity is in our lives.  This past year I had to go through copious amounts of paperwork to prove my parent's income and taxes, etc. It was quite stressful, and I was concerned all the while that BYU would end up taking away my financial aid anyway.  Then, this morning, I received a message that the result of the audit was an increase in my federal financial aid.  Sometimes when we have to do hard things, it's because God wants to give us something better.  Most of the time, actually.

Friday, November 4, 2011

From theory to application

less talking, more doing

(thank you, Home Depot commercials)

Thursday, November 3, 2011


My biggest pet peeve about this time of year is how in a rush everyone is to get presents that they skip over the ONLY holiday dedicated to being grateful.

Courage, Determination, Committment

God has promised us the right to receive personal revelation.  He has, in fact, commanded us to do so.  
And right now, that's the major thing I'm focusing on.  Thanks to my lovely roommate Celeste, I read a wonderful article this morning that reminded me of the importance of sticking with decisions and pushing forward.

Commitment is important, with ideas, actions, and especially people.  Just because our passionate determination wavers does not mean something is wrong- it simply means we need to remember what we once knew and try harder.

A few lines I specifically needed this morning:

The reminder is that we cannot sign on for a moment of such eternal significance and everlasting consequence without knowing it will be a fight--a good fight and a winning fight, but a fight nevertheless.

If it was right when you prayed about it and trusted it and lived for it, it is right now.

Revelation almost always comes in response to a question, usually an urgent questions--not always, but usually.  In that sense it does provide information, but it is urgently needed information, special information.  

You will need information, too, but in matters of great consequence it is not likely to come unless you want it urgently, faithfully, humbly.  Moroni calls it seeking "with real intent" (Moroni 10:4).  If you can seek that way, and stay in that mode, not much that the adversary can counter with will dissuade you from a righteous path.  You can hang on, whatever the assault and afflication, because you have paid the price to==figuratively, at least--see the face of God and live.

After you have gotten the message, after you have paid the price to feel his love and hear the word of the Lord, "go forward."  Don't fear, don't vacillate, don't quibble, don't whine.

Fighting through darkness and despair and pleading for the light is what opened this dispensation.  It is what keeps it going, and it is what will keep you going.

Take home message:
1) Revelation comes when we recognize how desperately we need it, and when that desperate desire urges us to look to God.
2) Once we have received answers, we must act on them immediately and continuously, without waver or doubt.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

what happened when I Googled a term for neuro...

1. Anti-Defamation League
2. Adults Defecating in Laundromats
3. Advanced Distributed Learning initiative
4. Adl; an Arabic word meaning justice
5. Animal Defense League
6. Arthur D. Little- Linking Strategy, technology, and innovation
7. Activities of Daily Living


Just in case you were thinking up acronyms for your booming new organization, club, or cult, ADL is already taken.  Like a hundred times over.

This post could also be titled: 
why Americans need to work on their creativity in regard to acronyms
why English needs more than 26 letters

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


I loathe how much I care about other people's perception of me.  I hate that in making decisions for my future, I have to constantly fight against what I think others' perceptions of my choices will be.  And the funny thing is, I play into it.  I worry that others don't take my major seriously, that they don't believe that what I'm studying is important and valuable- and yet I constantly demean it myself.  And it's not just in my education that this is an issue.  I am acutely aware of how little the world thinks of mothers who stay home with their children, so while that is one of my greatest desires in life, I often feel that it's not enough- or at least that it won't be enough for others.

But here's the thing:
If it's enough for me, and more importantly, if it's enough for God, then why should it matter?