Sunday, January 30, 2011

to the winter

winter is lovely. this i know.

there's something refreshing about a fresh blanket of powdery snow, something magical about falling snowflakes. those that know me, however, know that i prefer to be behind doors in the wintertime. i love watching snow through a windowpane, sipping hot chocolate, with slippers and central heating (or a roaring fire). i've never been the adventurous, grab-a-snowboard-and-go type, although i do enjoy an occasional snowball fight or making a snowman. now i'm back in st george, where the winters are much more mild and snow is rare, and i enjoy the more-frequent sunshine. winter sunshine, though, is slightly deceiving. i'm looking outside right now, and it looks so sunshiny, but if i walk outdoors i will still be hit with a wave of sad coldness.

the point of all this is that i acknowledge that winter has its charm, and i really do appreciate it, but i miss spring. i want to see more of this:

and this:

and this:

and i want to know that when i walk outside into the sunshine, it won't be cold sunshine. right now, the desert-loving part of me wants to welcome back the warm weather. hear that, winter? i'm ready for you to be over! and if you say "it's not over til the fat lady sings," i'll say "well bring on the fat lady!"

Thursday, January 27, 2011


something that made me laugh today:

my niece's school is collecting old phone books for recycling, and today on our way to drop her off at kindergarten we stopped by my dad's office because he had a bunch of them to give her. after carrying eight or so phone books to the car, millie's eyes got wide as she proclaimed, "my backpack is going to be heavy today!" my mom and i were rolling on the ground laughing as the image of little millie carrying a backpack laden with eight phone books flashed into our minds. we reassured her that we would help carry the phone books, and she was relieved.

something that made me happy today:

video chat with my lovely friend whitney! she's going into the mtc on february second, and i could feel the excitement/anxiousness ooze from the computer screen as we talked. we talked about missions (it was lovely to reflect back on my mission--the dreadful moments when i wondered why i was there, the perfect moments that made the dreadful moments worth it, and everything in between), we talked about london (how we both miss it, think about it every day, and dream about going back), we talked about other random things (like setting up her brother with my sister, how i'm so excited to write her on her mission, etc). it was a wonderful, uplifting conversation with a wonderful, uplifting friend. whitney is one of those people who is always positive and happy, and she has a gift for helping lift my spirits and realize that life is pretty great, despite getting hit by curve balls more often than not.

two somethings that stopped me in my tracks:

it's not often that two things happen at once that stop me in my tracks, but today it happened on the way back from my nephew ashton's basketball game. we were driving along and my mom commented how red the dirt looked on the side of the road. it sounds strange, but the red dirt is one of the things i love most about living in the desert. it's so earthy and rich, painting the desert a reddish-orange and making it a more colorful place than most. so that was thing number one. number two happened as i looked up from the red dirt and saw three white lines in the sky, left by the exhaust from three jets. i don't know why it struck me, but they were close enough that they looked like they were flying together, and the thought of flying together made me think of togetherness in general and why being close to someone else makes life easier, easier because someone is watching your back while you've got theirs.

anyway, just a few things from my day :)

Sunday, January 23, 2011


why are you hiding, mom? :)

The 21st of January is a special day. Why, you ask? Well, it's my mom's birthday! I was trying to think of something that would sufficiently pay tribute to my angel mother (i'm already starting behind, because it's now the 23rd of January), and words were continually failing me until I thought of one of my mom's favorite poems, Sam Walter Foss' "The House by the Side of the Road." I thought of it because my mom, more than any other person I know, is the person characterized in this poem. She really is a "friend to man." Without further ado, here it is:

There are hermit
souls that live withdrawn
In the peace of their self-content;
There are souls, like stars, that dwell apart,
In a fellowless firmament;
There are pioneer souls that blaze their paths
Where highways never ran;-
But let me live by the side of the road
And be a friend to man.

Let me live in a house
by the side of the road,
Where the race of men go by-
The men who are good and the men who are bad,
As good and as bad as I.
I would not sit in the scorner’s seat,
Or hurl the cynic’s ban;-
Let me live in a house by the side of the road
And be a friend to man.

I see from my house
by the side of the road,
By the side of the highway of life,
The men who press with the ardor of hope,
The men who are faint with the strife.
But I turn not away from their smiles nor their tears-
Both parts of an infinite plan;-
Let me live in my house by the side of the road
And be a friend to man.

I know there are brook-gladdened
meadows ahead
And mountains of wearisome height;
That the road passes on through the long afternoon
And stretches away to the night.
But still I rejoice when the travelers rejoice,
And weep with the strangers that moan,
Nor live in my house by the side of the road
Like a man who dwells alone.

Let me live in my
house by the side of the road
Where the race of men go by-
They are good, they are bad, they are weak, they are strong,
Wise, foolish- so am I.
Then why should I sit in the scorner’s seat
Or hurl the cynic’s ban?-
Let me live in my house by the side of the road
And be a friend to man.

Happy birthday to the best person I know! I love you Mom! :)

falling in love with my books (again)

yes, yes i did.

i color-coded my books.

and it's the best thing that has ever happened to my room. i just want to stare at them all day long. they are so beautiful!

yes, i am a little obsessed.

Monday, January 17, 2011

something that stopped me in my tracks

last semester essayist kim dana kupperman came to byu to do a reading, and my creative nonfiction class was privileged to interview her prior to her reading. while she gave lots of helpful suggestions and insights, one thing specifically stuck with me.

some writing exercises i like more than others, and she gave one that i really liked, and that i'm going to try to keep me writing (and thinking) while i'm not in school. so here it is:

basically, over a certain period of time i am to record three separate, most likely unrelated events, or things, that stop me in my tracks, and then i will try to connect them in some way. the point isn't necessarily to end up with an essay about those three things, but to seek a connection (an epiphany, you could say) and expound upon it.

so here's the first thing that stopped me in my tracks:

just before midnight on new year's eve, thousands of red-winged blackbirds in arkansas fell to the ground, dead. around the same time, around a hundred thousand fish in arkansas washed up on the beach, also dead. i've also heard that similar instances reported in lousiana, and even sweden! nobody quite knows what caused these birds to mysteriously plummet to the ground--people are blaming everything from fireworks to the end of the world. whatever the reason, this is completely baffling to me. how inexplicably bizarre! why just one species? why simultaneously? why new year's eve? i can't quite stop thinking about it.

as frustrating as it is not knowing why this happened, sometimes it is pleasant to be reminded just how much we don't know about the world around us. there is so much to learn, so many questions to be asked. most people probably think it's overwhelming to think of everything we don't know, but i find it... challenging.

and strangely gratifying.

Monday, January 10, 2011

happy birthday daddy-o!

i think dads are really great, especially mine.

my dad knows all kinds of stuff, like this guy:

he (almost) always wins games:

and he's a big fan of my school, and gives wonderful hugs:

and, of course, he is incredibly funny and has the best camera faces ever:

he's the best man out there. no battle!

i love you DAD! happy birthday!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

adjustments and blessings

and when i say "adjustments," it really has a double meaning. first, i might have to say that getting adjusted at the chiropractor is hitting my top 10 list of current favorite things to do. second, i'm currently having to adjust to this whole "graduated" thing. it sounds strange, but part of me actually wishes i was in school right now! (the strange, masochistic part i'm sure). i honestly miss the routine, miss learning new things every day and being challenged. i'm just going to have to challenge myself! i can start by looking for a job..... yikes! anyone hiring?

i am satisfying my school craving a bit by filling out a grad school application. hopefully byu wants me back this fall :) i found out today that i got a 5.5 on the analytical writing section, which is in the 94th percentile! yay me! that makes up for me being in the 27th percentile on the math section (hahaha.... when i told my dad that, he laughed and said i think you picked the right field. i think so too, dad!)

despite being a little listless and not really knowing what to do with myself, there are many things i already know i'll enjoy about post undergraduate life:

1. being able to read whatever i want, whenever i want. yippee! i just finished laddie, by gene stratton porter, and am just starting stones into schools by greg mortenson and the count of monte cristo by alexandre dumas. i'm definitely enjoying the ability to start on my ever-increasing book list :)

2. no homework. fortunately for me, i enjoyed a lot of my homework, because i loved my major. i loved reading great literature and writing and such, but when it all starts to pile up and the to-do list gets longer and longer and the papers get longer and longer and i start to get more and more tired... it becomes less and less enjoyable! so while i liked a great deal of my homework assignments, it will be very nice to have a break from the load. if i get into grad school, i will be expecting more of the same plus some, but for now, i will thank heaven for my extra time.

by the look of it, i should be able to survive the life of a college graduate (i may be speaking prematurely, but i plan to make the best of whatever unexpected curve balls come my way).

and in closing: i've been thinking about a few ideas for in-the-near-future blog posts, like:

1. my 2011 goals (meaning my goals for the year 2011, not my 2,011 goals)
2. 2010 in review (mostly pictures)
3. top 10 list of things i learned at byu (ranging from the ridiculous to the serious)
4. names for my future pets

so be expecting these in the very near future!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

bittersweet blessings and the new year

i've been a bit neglectful of my blog over the holidays; i guess being at home i've taken a break from my regularly scheduled life. i have felt a bit off-kilter lately, probably owing to the fact that i just finished my last semester as an undergraduate and have the "real world" to face: an uncertain future including some sort of job, hopefully graduate school {praying to get in}, and little more time at home than i'd planned.

to throw a wrench in my already-uncertain future, i had to go and have another seizure. what, another? for those of you who don't know, about two and a half years ago {while i was serving as a missionary in uruguay} i had a few seizures and ended up going on anti-seizure medication. two and a half years later, i hadn't had any other problems, so i started working off the medication. i've been stepping down the dosage for several months, and i hovered at a quarter dose from what i started out on for the last couple months of school. then, on christmas day, i decided it was a good day to be medication-free. well, a couple days after that, i had a seizure. it was really unexpected, and scary, to wake up and have my mom and two of my sisters sitting on my bed telling me i had a seizure in my sleep.

so i'm faced with all sorts of decisions. do i go back on the medication? or do i try and deal with the issue without medicine. modern medicine trains doctors to medicate as a knee-jerk reflex, but since 70% of epilepsy cases {including mine} are linked to unknown causes, something tells me that it might be more beneficial to wait and see {and hope, and pray}. so for the time being, i'm going to do whatever i can to be and stay healthy, and hope for a solution that doesn't involve medication.

i made the decision to stay at home while i sort all this out, which makes sense considering the fact that here at home i have more resources to be healthy, more support, and i have my mum and dad! despite all that, it's hard to stay under the circumstances. i'd rather be staying for more happy and positive reasons, rather than retreating home to regroup and recover. but it's a blessing that i'm finished with my undergraduate degree, and i have a few months to prepare myself before i {hopefully} start grad school.

the old year went out with an unexpected twist, one that makes my new year start out on unexpected and unsure footing. i have no doubt that the lord is guiding me where he wants me to be, but my oh my, does he have an odd way of pointing my course. along with the usual new year's resolutions, i feel like i need an higher level of trust, and hope, and prayer. who knows what 2011 will bring? the end of 2010 and beginning of 2011 has already left me reeling, so as of right now, it's anybody's game!