Sunday, October 31, 2010

so far

...this weekend, I have:

*carved pumpkins with a witch, a cat, two indians, and a cowboy

*eaten three different kinds of yummy soup, and three different kinds of yummy dessert

*read a little shakespeare

*celebrated two birthdays

*jumped on the trampoline with my nephews and niece

*had an encounter with alice in wonderland

*been entertained by dancing zombies, murderers, skeletons and clowns

*realized once more how grateful I am for my family, and how much I love my home

*also realized there are things in provo I miss when I'm away

productive weekend so far, wouldn't you say? :)

Thursday, October 28, 2010

about faith

I found myself wondering last night, wondering about faith.

If I was among the Israelites who had to cross the Red Sea, to walk between the walls of water held in place by a force so terrifying that even the particles of water fled from the sand leaving dry ground, would I have been able to take that step? Would I fear that halfway through the sea, the walls would crumble, ferociously tombing all beneath its path?

Faith is knowing I can take risks, step out into my own Red Sea with trust that it won't come crashing down around me. Faith is also understanding that if it does come crashing down, He will help me to swim.

Today I attended a lecture by essayist Brian Doyle, who taught me that there's nothing more important than stories. We preserve the world through stories. Without stories, we wouldn't have religion, we wouldn't have scripture, we wouldn't know about the humble carpenter who healed, taught, suffered, and died for us two thousand years ago, halfway across the world. Without stories, we wouldn't know that God said "let there be light," and there was.

Without stories, then, faith would cease to exist.

I want to tell stories.

Monday, October 25, 2010

hello, my name is _______

Every day we walk around getting to know people, finding out tidbits of information about people we already know very well, or random facts about complete strangers, like where they got their shoes, or whether or not they like cold weather. We go around placing pieces into the puzzle of others' personalities, wondering if we are close to finishing the picture, or if we have nothing more than the border. It's very satisfactory, I have found, to become acquainted with someone who wants to actively get to know me, who wants to sit and piece together the puzzle that is me, who tries to get to know me instead of doing so by mere chance.

Sometimes I think I talk too much. Maybe other people are right, the people who keep everything inside and hide under their protective shell like hermit crabs. Because when you don't surrender information, there's no chance of that information being rejected.

Then again, maybe they're wrong. Openness in a relationship creates unity, trust, peace.

"Oh, the comfort, the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe
with a person, having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words,
but pouring them all out, just as they are, chaff and grain together,
certain that a faithful hand will take and sift them,
keep what is worth keeping, and with a breath of kindness
blow the rest away."
-Dinah Craik

Open book
hermit crab
chaff and grain
faithful hand.

Thursday, October 21, 2010


in love... with autumn!

Today, I woke up and all the sudden the trees in Provo had thrown their greenness to the wind in favor of more colorful petticoats. I think trees just get sick of wearing green for so long (I know I would!) so they decide to don their wild fall apparel. It kind of reminds me of the old ladies in the Red Hatters Society that wear red and purple boas - they've worn sensible colors all their lives, let them wear red and purple together! I wear red and purple together now, is that strange? So I would be the subversive tree who goes red in say, AUGUST or something.

So yes, it is true. I have fallen in love with fall. and speaking of falling... Beth scared me so bad today, that I fell over. Usually, I scare her and she hates it, but this time the tables turned! I guess I got what was coming to me - big time!

Another word on fall - someone gave me a red leaf this morning, and it made my whole day:

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

things that make me giggle

I read the other day that children laugh on average a couple hundred times a day, and adults only 17 times [I'm probably wrong on the exact numbers, but you get the idea]. At first the number surprised me, but then it made sense. Adults, we need to stop taking ourselves so seriously. To rely on the corny idiom, laughter really is the best medicine, and it's my goal to laugh more. So here are a few things that make me laugh:

1. Dipping.
Keep in mind that I am no dancer; I am super klutzy, so dancing is not quite my forte. HOWEVER, I do like to dip other people: namely, my sisters Jessica and Hailey. It's just fun.

2. Demetri Martin (hilarious). For example:
"'Sort of ' is such a harmless thing to say. Sort of. It's just a filler. Sort of - it doesn't really mean anything. But after certain things, sort of means everything. Like after 'I love you' or 'you're going to live' or 'it's a boy!'"

"The easiest time to add insult to injury is when you're signing somebody's cast."

3. This quote from "On Running After One's Hat," by G.K. Chesterton
"A man running after a hat is not half so ridiculous as a man running after a wife."

4. The Importance of Being Earnest, by Oscar Wilde (the whole thing, really). For example:
"I never travel without my diary. One should always have something sensational to read on the train."

Laugh more today. It tastes better than cough syrup!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

picking up music

I picked up my violin on Sunday for the first time in several months. It was mostly out of necessity; Jessi and I are playing our violins in church this coming Sunday, so I needed to actually take my violin down from the closet and dust it off a little. I grumbled about it a little - after all, I haven't practiced for months, I have no time to practice, it will probably sound bad, etc. etc... but after I actually started playing, I realized how much I really do miss it.

It's happened several times since I stopped taking lessons about five or so years ago: I don't play for awhile, then I get asked to play in church, and I grumble about it a little to myself, but I usually always do it, and it usually always turns out great. Of course, the limited practice time I give myself means a very limited repertoire, which right now comes down to I know that my Redeemer lives, and Joseph Smith's first prayer. But usually I'm playing in different wards, so they don't know that Jess and I are playing the same duet that we've played for yeaaaars.

I've said for the past few years that when I finish college, I'm going to start taking violin lessons again. Unfortunately, with graduate school on the horizon, it looks like violin is going to stay on the back burner. However, I will have January to August free of school, so there's a possibility. Bottom line, I miss playing, and I'm going back to it soon. Because I want to be able to play Meditation from Thais from memory with my eyes closed like I used to. And I want to play the Bach Double duet with my sister.

So continue asking me to play in church. I will probably continue to grumble, but it will be good for me in the end.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

the good parts

Today was one of those days where I had to resign myself to the fact that I wasn't going to get everything done. Way too much school work, way not enough time. And here I am, writing a blog post at 12:48 am (so I guess I'm not really talking about today, but yesterday), and I still have some reading that I'm probably not going to finish. Well, I'll finish most of it.

Sometimes I tend to measure myself by how much I get done in a day; as a student, this usually means how much homework I get done. Those who know me know that I can be a little obsessive with homework, and have a tendency to beat myself up for not finishing. I'm trying to veer away from this mindset, so whether or not I get everything done, I tell myself it was a great day.

And it was. Let me tell why:

1. Indonesian rice salad. I love, love good food, and my sister/roommate Jessi made this today, and it was heavenly. Sometimes when I get really busy, I forget to eat, and I have Jessi to thank for keeping me alive at various points in the last year. So every time she makes something, I have to thank her especially :) I should also mention the spicy tomato/spinach omelet with guacamole that I made for lunch. So, so yum.

2. The intended run. I dragged Jessi out of the house at 9 pm to go running, and we ended up just taking a leisurely stroll in the autumn coolness. I really do like autumn, even though I'm saying goodbye to heat for the next several months, and tonight was a perfect night to enjoy it. So even though I didn't get my run in, I got a good walk :)

3. Writing. When I write, I am happy. With that said, I am a happy person in general, but there is something about writing that satisfies my soul. It's a similar satisfaction that I get from the smell of desert rain. And cats.

Friday, October 8, 2010

I'm late, I'm late, for a very important date...

...with bed!

Sometimes, I get the most unusual productive streaks really late at night. Tonight, I worked on a midterm (when a midterm equals a rewritten fairy tale, I realize how much I love my major), a paper proposal, a study guide, and a few other things on my to-do list. And then I thought, I want to post on my blog. When I get going like this, I start thinking I'm already up way too late, why go to bed now? Bad logic, I know. But I still benefit from my productivity, so I don't beat myself up too much. I'll probably just take a nap at some point tomorrow. (:

So on a random note, I wanted to say that my mind has been on these people a lot:

These are members from the last area of my mission, La Paz (Uruguay). This ward dinner happened right after the baptism of Facundo (second from the left):

note the matching outfits, por favor. yes, it's dorky, and sad, but we did it anyway. I love hermana Cervantes to pieces.

La Paz was one of my favorite areas. Granted, I only had four areas total, and there were aspects of all my areas that I loved, but there was something special about La Paz; really great things happened there. Like finding Facundo, for example.

Hermana Cervantes and I did a whitewash in La Paz (when two missionaries are taken out of an area and replaced by two new ones, with nothing but a map and a few phone numbers to help us find our way around. the maps in Uruguay can be abysmally unhelpful, by the way). So when Hna. Cervantes and I started working there, we basically circled a neighborhood in the map randomly and said "we're going here." (we ended up baptizing three people we found in that neighborhood the first few weeks!) Anyway, so we clapped outside a home and lovely woman let us in (pictured third from the left in the photo above), and her and her son Facundo listened to the story of the Restoration, and let us set a return appointment. When we came back, Facundo was the only one there, and because we couldn't go in with just him there, we stood right at the gate and invited him to church. Interestingly enough, we both had doubts about Facundo at first. That is, we didn't think he had enough interest to continue listening and go to church. But, miraculously enough, he did! The next week, we had invited him to a big stake fireside, which he came to, and where we introduced him to our mission president. To our surprise, our mission president invited him to be baptized right then and there - and he accepted! About three weeks after we found him, he was baptized.

We couldn't have done it without the help of the members in La Paz. Their efforts to befriend and welcome Facundo into the ward were essential, and we were able to schedule the baptism the same night as a ward activity, so we combined the two, and practically the whole ward was there to see him be baptized. It was neat.

Facundo has struggled at times, like new converts often do. I've worried about him a lot, because I know some of the hurdles and doubts he had in the first year or so as a member of the church. But this past weekend at a mission reunion, I heard from both my mission president and another sister who served in La Paz after I did that Facundo just barely got married! He married a beautiful, faithful sister in the church, who served a mission in Paraguay. I heard that he was doing fantastic, que está bien con todo!

That night, and several days after that, I thanked Heavenly Father for helping Facundo stay on the path that's so easy to stray from. There are other converts there that I pray for (Valeria, for example... a kindred spirit) that I know are going through tough times, and I pray that the members there will continue to befriend them and watch out for them.

And I continue to thank God for the opportunity I had to find them, and help them, and love them. Los quiero mucho! y gracias a todos mis amigos de La Paz! son capos! (:

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

remedy for a rainy day

On a day like today (cold, windy, rainy), when I arrive home from class with the bottom six inches of my jeans soaked (being short has its disadvantages... namely, that I can't seem to find jeans that aren't too long), I want something warm, rich, and inviting. In other words:

I want chocolate. Chocolate is the ultimate comfort food. And when the air outside is especially chilly, hot chocolate is the way to warm my soul. So today when I walked in the door, I ditched my bag, my soaked pants (don't worry, I put on a skirt), and went to the kitchen to gather ingredients. I grabbed:

cocoa (given.)
rice milk
coconut milk
cayenne pepper

Why cayenne pepper, you ask? Well, I didn't want to make just any hot chocolate. I was making MEXICAN hot chocolate, which basically means the chocolate has a little kick. Does spicy chocolate sound strange? It did to me, at first, until I tried it; then the little burn at the back of my throat contributed to the richness of the chocolate, and I was hooked. So try some next time you make hot chocolate (and next time, actually make it; don't always let Stephen's do it for you!) but don't put too much in. (:

Anyway, I made the hot chocolate and sat down to slowly sip its deliciousness, and now I'm looking outside at the weeping weather thinking bring on the cold!