Sunday, March 31, 2013

why i love easter {secular + sacred}

1. easter candy. i'm already having post-easter-candy-availability anxiety. i haven't had nearly enough reese's eggs or cadbury mini eggs. and i haven't had any dove truffle eggs, which are my very favorite. {update: i just looked up dove eggs, which i can't find anywhere, and apparently they are a "seasonal item" that is "no longer being offered," to which i say, shouldn't an easter seasonal item be offered at easter?!?} easter candy is about a million times better than halloween candy, in my opinion.

2. easter outfits. when i was a kid, we always had matching easter dresses. a lot of the time, mom would even make these adorable outfits for each of us, which made them even cooler. today, i still like to buy myself something springy around this time and call it my "easter dress." this year, i actually bought the dress back at the end of february, and i've been patiently waiting to wear it until easter sunday.

probably my favorite childhood easter outfits. the checks! the hats!

3. easter egg decorating. this isn't one of those traditions that is sacred in our family, but it's still fun to dye eggs every once in a while, and by "once in a while" i mean once a year or so. this week we dyed eggs for fhe, and it was pretty fun. i realized that i'm not the most creative egg-decorator, while some people in our group displayed an unusual and delightful talent for this medium.

4. easter baskets. easter baskets aren't quite as involved as christmas stockings, which only makes sense, but they are still pretty awesome. one year, my basket featured a pair of pink jelly sandals, which set the bar pretty high for future easters. after that, i ALWAYS hoped i would find a pair of clear, high-heeled jellies in my easter basket. alas, that never happened, because i'm pretty sure i made them up (yep, my imagination actively designs amazing shoes.). but, if you ever come across such a creation, there's still time to fill my easter basket.

5. easter dinner. ham, deviled eggs, olives, rolls. doesn't get much better than that.

as for the sacred side of things, i love easter for the same reason i love other sundays: we get to talk about the Savior and the atonement. easter is especially great because that is the main focus. i'm grateful for the gospel and the knowledge i have that i have an Older Brother who was willing to suffer and die for me and everyone else that i love and those i don't even know. it's comforting to know that, when i am struggling with something or when i am feeling the nudgings of despair, Christ has been there too. He is right there with me, even for the stuff that is probably inconsequential in the long run. i love what elder holland said about this a few easters ago:
It was required, indeed it was central to the significance of the Atonement, that this perfect Son who had never spoken ill nor done wrong nor touched an unclean thing had to know how the rest of humankind—us, all of us—would feel when we did commit such sins. For His Atonement to be infinite and eternal, He had to feel what it was like to die not only physically but spiritually, to sense what it was like to have the divine Spirit withdraw, leaving one feeling totally, abjectly, hopelessly alone...Brothers and sisters, one of the great consolations of this Easter season is that because Jesus walked such a long, lonely path utterly alone, we do not have to do so.
so, in conclusion, easter is awesome because Jesus Christ and His atonement are pretty awesome.

i hope everyone had a beautiful easter sunday! don't get fooled tomorrow :)

Thursday, March 28, 2013

dating and parameters and such

i'm thinking about dating lately--what a surprise, right? it seems like everyday brings up some new weird situation or obstacle or straight-up huh? moment.

a couple sundays ago our stake had a fireside for all the women with sheri dew, who is awesome. i've heard her speak many times, and when i've heard her refer to her singleness and getting married, she usually talks about it in uncertain terms. i've heard her say that she hopes captain moroni is still single in the next life :) this time, however, she was certain: she said she will get married at some point. "look out in the church news--it'll be a front page story." as someone who is always thinking about being single for longer than usual, i was intrigued. she didn't know when or how, but she was certain.

she also answered questions, some of which (predictably) were about dating and marriage. one of the questions asked about why men can be sealed to more than one woman, but women can't. sister dew answered in an interesting way. she said that, in her position, it is almost a 100% probability that she will marry someone who has been married before. this would be an interesting position to be in, and she said she wasn't completely sure how she felt about it, but that she did know that things would work out the way they should.

this is, as i've said before, one of my mottoes for life and dating. i don;t know why things do or don't happen, why some guys don't call, or why some girls don't call for that matter (i don't want to place all the blame on the guys, though i do have some choice words for a select group of them.). but, as with any challenge in life, worrying too much about it is a sign of too little faith. how many times will i need to learn that?

meredith and i were talking a few days ago about parameters we or others sometimes put on our prospective or future suitors. like, i've known people in the past who had a very specific "type" from which he or she would not depart, at least not willingly. and i know of other people who want a husband who can provide a certain type of lifestyle or who will conform to a certain rigid schedule. i like to think that i don't have those kids of parameters myself, but what about the guys i dismiss outright, without getting to know them at all? this is one of the most difficult parts of dating to navigate is that there is no possible way we can "get to know" everyone in the dating pool, especially in provo, but what if we are passing up good things like that?

i rather think that dating would be a mite easier if there weren't so many "options." maybe guys and girls alike would be less flaky and people would do more than just hang out. will the world ever know?

in other news, i just figured out how to make collages in picasa, so look forward to a lot more of these little babies!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

kid phases

a little over a year ago, we had a discussion on our kitchen floor. the discussion wasn't about the kitchen floor; rather, we were all sitting on the floor talking. in the dark. it was a magical night.

we each asked a question that everyone had to answer. the best and most memorable question was about our childhood phases. it was hilarious to hear about the wacky stuff we did as kids. kids are so weird, yet so awesome.

i went through a phase where i loved to make "concoctions." i would shut myself up in the bathroom for hours and just mix stuff together. powder make-up, comet, clorox bleach gel, bath salts, shampoo--anything i had handy would go into the brew. there were probably some poisonous gases wafting around. but i don't seem to be any worse for the wear, so that's good, i guess. my mom would sometimes find my potions after the fact. i particularly remember mixing up something green in a film canister that my mom later found, puzzled. why didn't i become a chemist or something? or, because i don't actually like chemistry.

i went through another phase when i was a little older where i always wanted to be out in nature. so i would take a book out to the backyard (just like now, i was never too far away from reading material) and find a spot to read. sometimes i would just pull a plastic chair into the planter behind the swing set and lean back against the tree that was in there, always wary of the pokey burs that fell from that tree and dotted the yard. or, other times, i would find a tree to sit it. we didn't have huge trees in our yard, and i wasn't much of a climber, so my chosen perch was in a small tree whose limbs were sturdy but not high off the ground. after a few months, though, i guess my constant perching became too much for this little tree, because one day i was sitting in it, heard a crack, and then fell to the ground. it was a shock. and that pretty much ended my nature-reading days. until college, that is.

did you go through any funny phases? i have more, but we'll save those for another time :)

Monday, March 25, 2013

journal dilemma

i'm in the market for a new journal. about a year and a half ago, the bookstore was selling a ton of piccadilly notebooks for super cheap. i bought a ton of those in every shape and size: small, medium, and large, blank, ruled, and graph. i was pretty much in heaven when i brought all those beautiful books home. i still have two large notebooks and one small one left, but i'm down to the last ten or so pages in my last medium one, which i use for my journal. anyone who knows me knows i can't be too long without a journal--i bring it with me basically everywhere.

so, i'm shopping around. i could go with piccadilly again:
pros to piccadilly: they are like moleskine, only cheaper; i know i like them; they match my other journals. cons: they aren't the easiest to find, especially just the way i like them.
or, i've had my eye for months on these beauties from kate's paperie.
pros: RAINBOW!!; something new to try; and, let's face it, i'm a sucker for anything rainbow. that's a pretty big pro in my book. cons: a little bit pricey; something different that i'm not sure i will like.

these are the main contenders. i just looked at amazon to see their profferings, and moleskine could come in to play. but we'll see. the rainbow might win out over familiarity. i like to switch things up.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

just a few things about me

1. when i was a kid at cesar chavez elementary, we would have school-wide reading contests. i wasn't super athletic, so this was totally my game. i mean, i read on my own, outside of school anyway, so if i could actually win something for it, there was no way i was going to pass up that opportunity to shine.

each week, we turned in a sheet with all the pages we had read. those baby-sitters club and bailey school kids books were good to me.

these reading contests were also one space where being a mormon was a distinct advantage. i'm pretty sure none of those other kids were regularly reading the book of mormon with their families. 531 pages, baby!

if we were the top readers, we received medals. i think one year i won five medals. the next year (probably the book of mormon year) i read so much that i got a trophy. a trophy for reading! so awesome. i thought it was especially cool because it had a magic lamp on it, and i loved/still love aladdin. i think i still have that trophy somewhere. that might have been the last trophy i ever got.

2. i really love march madness. during the season, i have no idea which schools are really good or what duke is up to. i know what's going on with byu and whatever i hear from my dad or my brother or from rare occasions when espn is on, but that's it.

but once the selections are out and the big dance is upon us, i cannot WAIT to get on and make my bracket(s). i bug my family to make their own, too, so we can have a family group. last year i forgot to make a bracket on and i was so bummed for the rest of the tournament. this year i am in three groups and have two brackets, so i'm happy.

mostly what i like is that espn does all the work for you and shows the odds of the match-ups and then tells you who wins and loses and calculates all your points and everything and it's all right there in front of you. i'm no bracketologist, obviously, but it's fun to make picks and hope that i end up with a pretty good bracket, even though i have no idea what i'm doing, really.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013


i set some very specific goals for myself this week, like going to bed at a reasonable time and waking up early and not eating out or eating treats (it turns out that not having ice cream means i just want something else to satisfy my sweet tooth...go figure). they are more specific than this, but the details don't really matter.

anyway, the point is that i haven't been perfect, but i've been pretty good. and i feel good about it. i feel good about myself for making some progress in the realm of self-discipline.

i've had elder maxwell's article, "becoming a disciple," in mind for a few months now. his words are the inspiration for my zest for self-discipline (long quote, but worth it):
     Denying oneself has never been popular as a lifestyle, and it is clearly not today. Self-denial is portrayed by many as too puritanical and too ascetic. Scoffers have acquired powerful pulpits from which they bray their message, which constantly puts down discipleship and encourages the natural man to think highly of himself and to please himself.
     What is it that we are to deny ourselves? The ascendancy of any appetites or actions which produce not only the seven deadly sins but all the others. Happily, self-denial, when we practice it, brings great relief. It represents emancipation from all the “morning after” feelings, whether caused by adultery or gluttony. Being concerned with tomorrow, true disciples are very careful about today! Self denial also includes not letting our hearts become too set on any trivial or worldly thing. Then we can learn the great lessons about the relationship of righteousness to the powers and the joys of heaven.
     The fundamental fact is that if we do not deny ourselves, we are diverted. Even if not wholly consumed with the things of the world, we are still diverted sufficiently to make serious discipleship impossible. As a consequence, all the gifts and talents God has given us are not put meekly on the altar to serve others and to please God. Instead, we withhold to please ourselves. Diversion, therefore, is not necessarily gross transgression, but it is a genuine deprivation, especially if we consider what we might have become and what more we might have done to bless and to help others.
though i have problems and temptations to deal with, i don't think i have huge issues with some of the things he mentions here. but i love that bolded line. the fact is, i am diverted from my true purposes a lot of the time, spiritual, educational, professional, social, physical. so i'm practicing self-denial for those things that do challenge me.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

recent weird things

1. i keep a grateful journal, where, everyday, i write down five things i'm grateful for that day. for the most part, they are pretty standard: my family, interaction with that boy i like, a good hair day, some great meal, the scriptures. you know, the ushe (i looked this up--how do you spell the abbreviation of "usual"? i was going to write "youge" pronounced like "rouge," but then it looked weird. so that's that.).

as i was rereading my journal at the end of the year, i found this entry for november 13, 2012:
6. studying about the hot air balloon.
?????????????????????????????????????????????? i have no idea what this means. i don't recall studying the hot air balloon, ever, and i don't think i could tell you one fact about them that i didn't know four months ago. i can't think of a fact about hot air balloons as it is. but it's written in my handwriting, so either that part of my brain was somehow surgically removed, or i'm a sleep-writer, which is actually pretty likely.

2. a couple weeks ago, either right before or right after the oscars, i had a dream that daniel day-lewis was my professor for a british lit class at byu. it was totally awesome, obviously, but even more awesome because he really liked me. at the end of class, he asked me if i was taking his class the next semester, but i didn't know for sure, because i was supposed to be graduating and defending my thesis (that figures prominently into my subconscious, typically). he said, well, i hope you do take my class, because i'm a fan. so, dream-daniel day-lewis is a fan of me. i told one of my friends this and he said, well, why wouldn't he be?

3. on monday, i was driving to zumba, and i was passing the brick oven, when all of a sudden, this guy was darting in and out of traffic, like, in the way. he almost got hit. i could see that he was a brick oven employee, and he was crossing the street to the employee parking lot. well, i look at his face as he darts in front of me, and it's someone i know--a former home teacher who has the distinction of being one of the most awkward people i have ever met. and then i started laughing hysterically, because if anyone would frantically run across the street in front of a bunch of cars, it would be this guy.

okay, that's about all i can think of right now, that is, aside from the many weird facts that i have already shared here previously.

and, because i didn't have a blog when i was a sophomore in college (how i wish i had), here's a pic of me acting like i didn't have eyebrows. throwback wednesday, if you will.

i was so young then.

writer's block

there are days when i feel an urgency to write--to post something on my blog or fill a page in my journal. there are days when i have so many things to say and document that it seems like there isn't enough time to get it all down.

but sometimes, even when i want to write, i can't. i can't think of anything to say.

that happened to me yesterday. it was almost like i wasn't even thinking anything, or at least not anything that i felt like recording.

then, like magic, all of a sudden i had a hundred ideas. nothing groundbreaking, probably, but something--something to put out there, something to express. something to show what i'm thinking, or that i'm even thinking at all.

writer's block is the worst.

Friday, March 8, 2013

brave again

this is a random post, but it's what i'm thinking about today, so there you go.

this afternoon i finally watched brave again. i saw it for the first time over the summer at the drive-in. a word about seeing movies at the drive-in: it's more about the experience/atmosphere than the actual movie. i also saw the avengers at the drive-in last summer, and it's hard to really pay attention when you're in the back of a suburban with 6 other people. i don't remember anything about that movie. with brave, i somehow totally missed the parade of bare animated bums in the middle of the movie, which definitely got a laugh the second time around.

i also missed a lot of the artistry at the drive-in. merida's hair is SO awesome in the movie. hair is one of the things pixar does best, in my opinion :) in fact, this picture is from an article all about merida's hair--apparently, it took pixar experts three years to figure out how to engineer natural-looking curly hair. sweet! and people kept telling me that her mom's facial expressions as a bear were really awesome, but i couldn't tell until i watched up close.

and i was critical of the story the first time. i still wouldn't say that brave is my top disney/pixar, but is a pretty cool movie nonetheless, so different from other pixar movies and other princess movies. it's a definite departure from the model to not end a princess story with a marriage/betrothal. instead, the focus is on merida's relationship with her mother and her own independence.

so, basically, i like this movie a lot more than i thought i did. now i need to see the avengers again :)

in other news, tomorrow i'm going to a charter school fair--nerve-racking! i'm hoping to get some good information and experience more than anything else, but it would be great to get some things moving on the job front. so we'll see. if nothing else, i at least know i'm going to eat a good dinner tomorrow night when i have my birthday diner with mom and dad--i think it's going to be a steak kind of night. whatever that means?

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

for times of trouble

this post is a long time coming. i started it way back in december and then didn't want to bum people out, so i put it on the back burner. but here it finally is: some thoughts about dealing with adversity. 

a couple weeks ago i taught my last institute lesson, on the topic of adversity. that happens to be something i think a lot about anyway, so i was kind of excited to put together all of my favorite quotes and scriptures. my two main mantras for my college years: 1) "i can do hard things" and 2) "things will work out".

also, this picture is awesome. he's so happy!
the sunday before my lesson, driving home from salt lake and listening to soft sunday sounds, i heard an ad for elder holland's new book, for times of trouble. perfect, i thought. this is exactly what i need (for my lesson and for life :)) so i headed to deseret book and forked out the money for the book, and people, it's amazing. he approaches the topic through the psalms, and i can't believe i've never studied them more closely. they are so beautiful. and elder holland is such an incredible thinker and writer anyway, so i'm learning a lot. i just wanted to share a few thoughts from the book today. and as i was reading through again to find what i wanted, almost every page had something awesome to think about. this is only the tip of the iceberg.

psalm 56:9: "whenever we go out and always when we come in, no matter what the trouble and trial of the day might be, we start ad finish with the eternal truth that God is for us. He loves us. He is our Heavenly Father. He never sleeps nor slumbers in His watchcare over us. His work and His glory are to save us, to exalt us, to see us safely home with Him."

psalms 19:1-3; 8:3-6: "by name, place, and personal circumstance God knows us and our needs. He knows our hopes and dreams and He knows our fears and frustrations. Above all, He knows who we really are and what we can become through faith in Him."

psalm 27:4-5: "when a difficult moment comes or an important decision faces us, we instinctively go to the temple. we find peace there and we find answers. it is the setting for tranquility, purity, and revelation. the tangled complexities of life fall away and the path we should walk or the action we should take--or just the safety and peace we desperately seek--becomes clear. the temple truly is a rock upon which God sets us when the winds and the waves are strongest."

psalms 30:5; 42:5; 130:6: "all of us need to believe that things will get better. no matter how dark the night or how long the struggle, we all need to believe that the dawn will come and that the tears of the night will be dried in the rays of the morning sun."

there are so many more gems i could share, but who knows what the plagiarism laws are for this kind of thing--don't want to get in trouble with the church! also, you should all read elder holland's book anyway. can't you just hear him saying all of these things? i know i'm always in need of comfort in the face of various trials, and elder holland's words have brought me some peace.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

25 things to do while i'm 25

i'm stealing this idea from c.jane, who was a lot more detailed and specific in her list. but these are some things i hope to do this year. 

1. save enough for a big purchase (car? new computer?)
2. go on a spontaneous trip
3. go to an avett brothers concert
4. get a big girl job
5. learn to sew
6. start learning a language
7. receive a master's degree
8. go somewhere i've never been
9. west coast road trip
10. record something
11. go to the temple
12. publish something
13. learn to ride a bike...i guess
14. consolidate
15. read the standard works
16. go to a fancy party
17. family reunion--aspen grove 2013!!
18. read classic novels--i've got a running list
19. read c.s. lewis
20. make a piece of art to put in my house
21. eat something new every month--let's face it; i go to the same places and eat the same things. i need some variety up in here.
22. write and send a letter at least once a month
23. hike the Y
24. go legit camping
25. choreograph a song for zumba

and there you have it.

thoughts on saturday

first of all, it's 45 degrees right now. whenever i write "degrees," i always want to say "dees-grees," like rick dees, the legendary dj, because i used to listen to "rick dees and the weekly top 40" on kiis fm every saturday when i was growing up. those were the days. but i digress. this time of the year is one of my favorites, when it is just starting to warm up and you don't have to wear a coat but it is still breezy and a little chilly so you aren't sweaty and hot. probably it will get cold again before spring really hits, but i'm going with the sun for now.

last night, i went to smith's for some provisions (read: cpk pizza and trix cereal). the provo smith's on a weekend night is always an adventure. as i was walking out, a girl and a guy were walking in. the girl veered toward me and said, "oh, your hair is so thick. it's so pretty." and then walked away. it was really weird and really funny at the same time.

this is a cool essay, because 1) the author ghost-wrote a ton of Sweet Valley High books, which, how awesome is that? and 2) she captures exactly how i feel about graduate school sometimes all the time:
How different were any of us, despite our attenuated lives as graduate students, from anybody else? The darkest of dark secrets: how much I hadn’t read, and didn’t know. How little I felt I had to say that was different, or new, or mattered.
Your task, my thesis advisor in Oxford told my tutorial partner and me, is to be original. Your thesis won’t pass otherwise.
I haunted the bookshops, certain my argument had already been written. Afraid to ask him: is original the same thing as different? As important, or relevant, or even good?
people should watch alias. it's so great. i just finished the fourth season, and i think it might be my favorite. and jennifer garner is awesome, you guys. i'm grateful argo was nominated for stuff this year, only because it meant jennifer garner went places looking amazing.

see what i mean?
and, finally, we heard this song at the cougarettes concert and we've been obsessed with it since then. when i saw the show the second time, i decided the dance to this song was my favorite. (couldn't get the real video to play, so you have to look at teen wolf, apparently.)

have a great weekend!