Monday, August 30, 2010

the old, the new

today makes one week that i've been in provo (again). i'm kind of a flighty bird; i keep going back home, but i'm back for my last semester of byu as an undergraduate (i had to give a disclaimer there - i might be back for graduate school, so i don't want to have to eat my words). the weather was cool this morning as i made it to my 8 am class, which turned out to be both entertaining and interesting. i also have a friend in the class, which is always nice. these things make me hesitate to drop the class just because it starts at 8. i'll get back to you on that one.

i've been both excited and apprehensive for this semester to start. on one hand, i'm thrilled, because of the newness of starting a semester and all the things i will learn. i'm also looking forward to the fact that it's my last one; it's taken awhile to get my undergraduate under my belt, so now that i'm staring it in the face, i'm proud of the progress i've made despite the slow start. on the other hand, last semester means that i will now have to figure out what i'm going to do next. indecision is a beast. however, someone wise told me recently that the indecision is most of the stress - make a decision, he said, because you always have the option of changing your mind. once you've made a decision, you can have a little peace of mind and relieve the stress of indecision. so this is decision week. then i can focus my efforts on accomplishing my goal. go me!

on another note, i'm happy with the decision i made about my new apartment and roommates. there's nothing better than having a fantastic support group to live with - and jessi, beth, and genny will be the best! if we can stop having so much fun for two seconds together, we might get homework done :)

to end, i have a little story about this little guy:

he woke me up at 6:15 am one day last week, crying outside my window so pitifully that i thought my heart would break. i'm a sucker for kitties (i miss merlin and holly!) so i decided to help him out. i opened my apartment door, and he dashed in between my legs. i had to explain to him that he wasn't allowed inside, but that i would hold onto him until animal control came. so i called animal control and jessi and i camped outside with mr. kitty until they came.... almost 2 hours later! girls from our apartment were leaving for work, giving us funny looks as we were outside making a grocery list and keeping a kitty in tow. he was so skinny and looked famished, so i opened a can of salmon and fed him the juice. the poor little creature was so hungry he almost ate the can! overall, it was a wrench in our daily schedule, because jessi and i ended up going running at 9 instead of 7, but i was happy to help the poor cat get to safety. i hope he finds his home!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

welcome back, me!

you know you're in provo, utah when:
the number of hand-holding couples dramatically increases
just about every restaurant and store plays owl city music, and the john mayer/owl city concert becomes as important as the next presidential election (we're talking big here)

guess what, folks, i'm back in provo! this summer flew by like a chased hawk, but i'm grateful for the time i could spend at home with my family. somehow, going home for the summer just never gets old! there are so many things i miss when i leave home, my family, of course being first and foremost: my mum and dad (who are thankfully always happy to see me when i come home) my sister hailey (the busy bee who talks politics and history with me) my sisters carrie, lori, mindy and their families (they hang out with me, feed me, provide me with playmates - niece, nephews, and pit bulls). i also miss my kitties holly and merlin, the red mountain, and the scorching summer heat. nothing can compare to home!

but thankfully, provo is a beautiful place to be, and there's plenty to love here, like: the provo mountains, close proximity to lots of shopping and good eating, my new apartment, and school. i'm looking forward to this semester, not only because it's my last, but because my classes sound like fun! here's the lineup for this semester:

american literature to 1800
american literature from 1914 to 1960
writing creative nonfiction
the senior course (the section i'm in is titled: a feast of foodways in life and literature)
strengthening marriage and family

i'm going to have my plate full! i've promised myself that i'm going to be a better time manager, so i can get my schoolwork done and have time to play and keep myself sane. six days until the start of classes!

Friday, August 20, 2010

this is how i feel:

"we hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are LIFE, LIBERTY, and the PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS."

how many times have you considered what this line in the declaration of independence means to you? personally? lately, i have been pondering specifically the idea that i am endowed (given) by my Creator the unalienable (absolute, inherent, nonnegotiable) right to pursue my own happiness. so, this is telling me that i have a God-given right to be happy? after all, mr. thomas jefferson himself said "the giver of life gave it for happiness and not for wretchedness."

it sounds like such an elementary thought; that God gives us life for happiness and not misery. yet sometimes it seems so much easier to be miserable. when i stub my toe, or wreck my car, or get a bad haircut, the default reaction is "LAME, LAME, LAME. i have the WORST life." (well, maybe not that melodramatic, but you get the idea). recently, i decided that i wanted to change my default. so how am i supposed to do that?

i have a firm testimony that God puts people in our path - in the right place, at the right time - to help us in different areas in our lives. when i started going to dr. gibson, i didn't realize he would be that type of person. after all, he was just one more doctor in the line of doctors i've seen since i had seizures about two years ago. he's a chiropractor (which is a new angle i've taken), and a naturopathic physician, and he's helped me to take a holistic approach on wellness, not just physically but mentally as well. he's already done a lot to help me, but i wanted to focus on one point specifically: what i have learned about my personal pursuit of happiness.

which brings me back to my question: how am i supposed to change my default thinking?

negative thinking is like a rut in our thought process. every negative thought and emotion drives the wheelbarrow deeper and deeper into a rut that it becomes the default. setting out to change my default wasn't easy... but thanks to some wisdom and guidance, i learned that it is possible to change my thoughts from negative to positive - to replace the bad with the good. i like this quote from "preach my gospel":
"your mind is like a stage in a theater; in the theater of your mind, however, only one actor can be on stage at a time..."

isn't that so true? we can't be thinking a negative thought and a positive thought at the same time. so whenever i find my mind going back to the negative rut, i can choose to replace the thought, to pull the wheelbarrow out and start to form a new happy default! there are so many things to replace negativity with: a happy memory, photograph, song, quote, positive affirmation, etc.

so that might sound a mite cheesy and oversimplified, but it is a big part of why i am a happier and healthier person today than i was a few months ago. so even if it takes looking in the mirror and saying "i am happy!", i'll do it!

you should try it, it's kinda fun :)

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Jack Jack

Oh, Jack. How I love thee. The Jack Johnson concert was, as I anticipated, wildly fabulous. I'm telling you what, my new favorite venue is the USANA Amphitheater - it was great to spread out a blanket on the lawn to watch the concert. Very low key, which is always nice. Apparently my cool red camera case effectively hid my camera from the concert security, because it made it past the "no camera" check point and I was able to take a few great shots (although I saw a few other cameras, so maybe they were going easy on us). So here's a few photos I took:

Jack Johnson concert ticket stylishly placed against my purse

Other fans spread out, waiting to see Jack Jack

G. Love, one of Jack's opening bands. The other one was ALO (Animal Liberation Orchestra... a mouthful, I know!) they were both great, and G. Love did some great numbers with Jack

Jessi, waiting for Jack to come on stage. The suspense was killing us, I swear it.
here's me giving a thumbs up to the guy's shirt in front of me: "Eat. Sleep. Listen to Jack. Repeat!" haha :)

finally! there he is, with the band.

mmmmm..... oh, Jack.

fun fun fun

Needless to say, we enjoyed ourselves quite a bit! We also saw some interesting characters there - for one, I've never seen so many drunk people in my life! Jessi and I were thinking are these people really going to drive home?? Fortunately, we made it home without any mishaps (I hope the same for the rest of them!)

I have been a Jack fan since Brushfire Fairytales, so finally being able to see him was incredible! :D

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Some Thoughts at 12:10 AM

Tomorrow morning, my sister and I are driving up to Provo to move out of our current apartment, Summerlyn Condos. I must say, I'm relieved. This past year has been hard in several ways, and although I met wonderful people in my apartment complex and ward, I have felt like it's time to move on, so a change will be timely. We're also going to a Jack Johnson concert on Friday night, and I can hardly wait! I've been a Jack Johnson fan ever since he put out Brushfire Fairytales, and I will finally see the man whose melodies have been my theme music for the past several years. Of course, this will probably cause me to be caught up in wild daydreams about running away to some Caribbean island with Jack to hear him serenade me everyday. (hey, I can dream!)

Considering the fact that we want to leave (relatively) early in the morning, it's unfortunate that I'm not in bed right now. I definitely should be, but I have to confess something. I have the hardest time going to bed at night. Not because I can't sleep, and not because I have too many tasks to accomplish, but simply because I like being up late, usually alone. Since my high school years, I have had countless nights of being the last person to fall asleep in my family. I don't know why, exactly, but I think it has something to do with the fact that I enjoy having a little time completely to myself, to think and get stuff done I wasn't motivated to do during the day. When I took my Writing Creative Nonfiction class last semester, my best time for writing was at night, and most of the time the ideas would start flowing right after I turned my lights out. I suppose this could mean that I need to give my mind more time to be still during the day, so I don't completely deprive my poor body of sleep. I'm working on it, and I usually have the best intentions. But here I am, awake...

and hopefully, I will be able to stay awake for the drive to Provo tomorrow. Happy valley: ready or not, here I come! I may not be able to guarantee my state of being as I roll into P-town, but I should get there nevertheless. I'll probably just make my sister drive the whole time. (I love you, Jessi!) :)

Sunday, August 8, 2010

there is nothing i love more...

...than when I'm sitting in the house, twiddling my thumbs, and I hear a sudden and startling CRACK of thunder, and see a flash of lightning that puts the paparazzi to shame, followed by another thunderous boom....

one of the greatest things about summer is thunderstorms. it has been so long since I've seen (and heard) a legitimate thunderstorm. within the past few days, there have been scattered thundershowers, but nothing that shakes the window panes. please, please, please don't tease me with these mini storms! I need the real deal! I want the storm directly above my head, not miles and miles away!

yes, I would like one terrifying thunderstorm, por favor. oh, and you can hold the fries.

Friday, August 6, 2010

keep calm and carry on

these are times that try men's souls. yes, those are the words of thomas paine (the pamphlet publishing, morale boosting founding father) which he penned during the american revolution; however, the phrase certainly applies today. the difficult times are present in my family, in the workplace, in the economy, the government, etc. etc. oh, and about the government: perhaps the u.s. administration doesn't feel the hard times... they are helping to create them, rather. (aside: the government is now in control of my student loans... scary).

with everything going on, it's easy to have fear. we've all heard that "the only thing we have to fear is fear itself." i recently heard someone say "the only thing we have to fear is our own bad decisions." thinking about all this reminds me of the "keep calm and carry on" poster, printed by the british during world war ii to help boost the morale of the british citizens:

i bought a little book at the museum of london called "keep calm and carry on: good advice for hard times"; i bought it mostly because it had the "keep calm and carry on" logo, but i started reading through the quotes the other day and couldn't put it down! for example:

"don't worry about the world coming to an end today. it's already tomorrow in australia." - charles m shulz

it was just what i needed to keep a smile on my face. moreover, i was reading a talk from the lds general conference that included one of my favorite scriptures:

"let us cheerfully do all things that lie in our power, and then may we stand still, with the utmost assurance, to see the salvation of God, and for his arm to be revealed." doctrine & covenants 123: 17

as i read these things and thought about them, i realized that no matter how hard the times are, we always have the ability to be happy, to have faith, and to "keep calm, and carry on."