30.12.12

Patriarchal Blessing Word Cloud

My lovely friend Ali suggested this awesome idea on her blog (go here for the how to). The idea is to use your patriarchal blessing to create word cloud, showing which words come up most frequently by making them the largest and others appropriately smaller. These aren't my blessing, but it shows how awesome it can be. We both used the free (and freely printable) website Tagxedo. What a neat way to show you important things from blessing to entire chapters of scripture. 

26.12.12

Christmas Miracle

Yesterday I went with some family members to see Les Miserables. Ah. Maz. Ing. If Anne Hathaway does not get the Oscar, the world is unjust. It was significantly different from the stage play, however I like the changes. The movies - with its close ups and elaborate set design - was much more emotional than the play. Some dialogue was altered which made the story easier to follow and actions makes more sense. I will be seeing it again. A.S.A.P.
As part of the experience we got soda and popcorn. This necessitated two trips to the loo for me. During the second trip I noticed my car key (I just keep have the one key, no others, no chain) in my shallow pocket and thought, "That's not very safe," and returned to enjoy the rest of the movie.
And when it was time to go I could find my key. We looked around out seats. We looked in the bathroom. We looked all along the path from the theater to the bathroom. We checked to see if it'd been turned in. Twice. I groped my pockets so much it was indecent.
We used AAA and called to have my doors unlocked (setting the alarm off) so I could at least get some things out. And we left my car.
Today I called the dealership to make me a new key. New keys run $155, they said, plus $30 to reprogram the key to the car. $185. An IPod, a trip to Cali (almost), a few nights in a hostel in Europe, and other things that I don't allow myself but here I would get to buy a car key. Isn't that what every 16 year old wishes for?
Oh, and the car needs to be towed to the dealership. I was on the phone with the tow truck folks all day. "19 trucks out," "busiest day in 2 years," "I promise I'll get to you before I go home," - "Wait - you're car is where? A parking garage? We can't get it out of a parking garage." Of course you can! I'm sure the parking garage would love to impound my car and if they can tow it, so can you!
Let's take a moment to recognize my sweet supporting actors. My uncle and aunt (who had their own car) were nice enough to wait with us. And everyone was so kind. My sister let me drive her car home (leaving her stranded at home all day today). I kept her updated what seemed like every hour on the hour. The plan was that once it all got sorted, she'd pick up the new key and get my car back to me. I'm a moron but you'd never know it by how they treated me. I felt so ashamed of such a stupid mistake. I'm usually the person who helps; I shouldn't need to be helped unless I'm not ambulatory - that's the only reason. I had to kind of suck it up and let others be the helpers.
I really didn't want to go to work today but it was a blessing because it helped me no ruminate so much. And ruminating would have been useless. There was nothing to do but wait until the tow truck could get to the car. At 4 pm I got a call from my sister.
"Cancel the tow truck. I found your key!" It had somehow slipped into her purse. A Christmas miracle.
I'd said prayers to find the key and truly thought this was one of those "but if not" scenarios - some times we can't get what we want and it's for our eternal well-being and progress. That's what I'd decided this was.
Turns out it was more of a Hannah story, a Helaman's warriors waiting for reinforcements story, an Abraham story. To build our faith to the highest degree, I think the Lord let's the faith-building experience goes as long as possible. If he didn't make Hannah wait so long, or if He'd reassured her earlier would she have gained so much faith? Helaman's warrior were starving and spread thin, help coming just at the last second. Abraham lifted the dagger before he was stopped from killing Isaac. I think gaining faith is the point of hard things (otherwise hard things are just cruel) so it makes sense to use one experience to the max. My sister didn't find the key until just before the tow truck was on its way. And perhaps the tow truck was stalled just so that it didn't get there before my sister checked her purse. When we are in trouble, I think it's helpful to understand that God loves to be the hero who comes in at the last minute; He wants to show us how strong we are until we can't life anymore.
So it's not a dramatic, end-of-the-world situation, but it was meaningful to me and showed me how things can work out even when I didn't think they would.

22.12.12

Stuff I Wish Parents Knew

I'm not a parent but I play one for my job, more or less. I don't want to judge anyone because I don't know exactly what I'd do in a given situation. That said, I've been able to learn from the successes and mistakes of the parents I work with and their kids and I have some ideas that might be helpful.

1. If you can just keep the kid alive and out of drugs I think most problems solve themselves. So she doesn't want to shave. It's gross but it's not the end of the world. Really, we're just counting down the days until the pre-frontal cortex kicks in. I'm not saying do nothing; I am saying don't freak out.

2. Time is usually on your side. Take a second (or longer) to think. You don't have to decide right now what to say or do. I do a lot of "hmmm" and "that's interesting." It buys time. And sometimes the great unknown is the greatest consequence for poor behavior.

3. It's ok not to give your kid stuff even if you can. It makes the stuff you have worth more. And, if they really want, they'll figure out a way to get it.

4. You probably know what you are doing better than you think.

5. Make your kids number one. Don't forget stuff if you can help it. Be reliable. Drop other stuff for them. Show up. Follow through. Put them first in (almost) everything (this does not mean be indulgent, it means be ready to sacrifice). Don't have kids unless you're ready for this, just don't. It makes a big difference in so many areas from anxiety to self confidence to your relationship to modeling good parenting.

6. If your kid is being a dork, it's not because they are a dork; it's because that's just all they know how to do. It's your job to teach them differently and make it stick. If that doesn't work, you have bigger problems than you know.

7. The first 18 months make a big difference. If your going to be a bad parent, try to do it after that time.

8. Teach values and religion. That whole bit about "I'll let them decide when they are older" is stupid. Give them something and then let them leave it later, but don't put them in this ship we call life without any sort of rudder.

9. If you don't want them to do something, you can't do it. I'm looking at the smokers here. And people who swear but don't want their kids to. And people who yell at others when they are mad or whine or blames others -- unless that's what you are looking for in a kid.

10. Point out all the good. Sometimes we get a little too comfortable in our discipline role and just tell them everything that needs changing. Lame. Whoever wanted to hear that? Not me. You know what I want to hear? How I rock.

10.11.12

The Vital Importance of Gilmore Girls

There was Full House and TGIF and Saved by the Bell, but the TV show that made the greatest impact on my young life was Gilmore Girls. The brain-child of Amy Sherman-Palladino, it's the story of Lorelai Gilmore, the energetic and quick-witted first TV "teen mom" (of course we see her as an adult), and her now-teen daughter, Rory, a smart, beautiful introvert. It's set in Stars Hallow, Conn - a town too perfect to be real, yet eerily similar to my home town.  The town is full of quirky characters, all of whom share the duos penchant for fast dialogue and odd traditions.
In a world of Dawson's Creek, Gilmore was something a kid who really wanted to be good and who was into school could relate to. Sometimes I think we make adolescence more emotional and dangerous than it is (see all of the offerings of ABC "Family"). Gilmore is drama, but it was fun, funny, engaging, happy, and me. Rory liked to read, liked to eat, liked to be around her family, liked boys but wasn't totally age-inappropriate, and didn't disdain adults. It's vital to see oneself if a character, to be reflected in entertainment, and in a way to be prompted about how someone like yourself might act. And I think having this as a teen is a right of passage and kind of an honor. Other people maybe had the Facts of Life or Growing Pains or Charles in Charge.
So I'd get together with my Leah and we'd watch. We'd talk faster after, we'd pick up on their games (we really played 1-2-3 He's Yours, a lot), and I still say "Oy, with the poodles already!" We recorded it  on VHS for posterity and I have the titles - to this day - of season one's episode memorized. Seasons one and two were really the best. When I went to college I happened to find Rory Gilmore yellow backpack and I'd actually feel smarter going to class with it. I kept it for all three years (Imma a smartie) until it was dead and it had to be put down.
So guys will remark, "You know, whenever I went into a girl's apartment they were always watching that show." They're amazed and I'm like, duh, you were around awesome girls. I still watch it. The first seasons (once A S-P left as a write it was never quite the same) are the best, the wittiest, and they still make me feel represented and important and like anything can happen.
Gilmore is alive and well still. It's in syndication, most girls I know own all the seasons on DVD (still have those VHS tapes somewhere), and people are still talking about it.  It's vitally important.

30.9.12

Congrats

Big ol' congrats to these two crazy love birds, who've been married for a month now. Love 'em.

Dinner in White

It's like a flash mob dinner. The day of we learned the location. At the appointment time, we showed up with dinner for two, tables, chairs, and all dressed in white. And ate, and chatted, and shared desserts, and listened to a jazz band play "Hit Me Baby (One More Time)"  and "Forget You." Lovely.


It's Autumn TIme

I am taking a photography class per my resolution and I needed to complete some practice assignments. Some of the photos are practicing what I was to practice. Most are just fun. The Bronte/moor style photos were taken in the Alpine mountains, which were scarred by a forest fire. Thanks to mom and Freddie for being my excellent models.

18.9.12

Note to Self

"True, there are more things to be done than we do, more opportunities for service than are used. True we make mistakes. Even some of our achievements are flawed by a lack of finesse. True there are seeming flat periods in life when we may feel underwhelmed. In such situations, however, we had best get back to the basics of why we are here."--Neal A Maxwell

9.9.12

Observation and Suggestion

As a single person I tend to get sympathy, suggestions, and advice from people who are married. It seems reasonable that people who are married would have good ideas to help me in my quest of one day finding that special someone with whom I can spend eternity. Married people have succeeded in the quest. However, something that only recently occurred to me is this: I've got more dating experience than many and most of my married "experts." I've dated longer than they have.
I think that married people are definitely the sources for advice on good marriages. I would argue, however, that dating and being married are two very different - though connect - things. There are techniques and strategies and behaviors in dating - from expressing interest to the after-date text - that are not necessarily advisable or necessary in marriages. Likewise, many married behaviors and expectations are inappropriate or unnecessarily in dating - from financial negotiations to serious child raising. The issues are just different. You might argue that there is some overlap, which is true. I do need to work out communication and negotiate the the family and how to build a life together. However, if a married person can give me advice because of overlap, then for the same reason, I can give them advice on the issue based simply on dating. Yet that is not as common and expected.
The type of advice I require as a person in the dating world is not how to communicate with my spouse about how his mother treats me but usually along the lines of where can I meet someone to date. So, dear married people, some of your advice is helpful and I thank you. You're welcome to my advice. I thank you for the blind dates, the kind words, and the encouragement. From now on, however, I think I'm gonna ask someone who's been at it (dating) a little longer.

12.8.12

Stress busters

I was asked to do a presentation about mental health focusing on anxiety. This made me anxious when I brainstormed and remembered how many awesome coping skills exist and really it just depends on the situation. So, for whatever your malady, maybe one of these will help.

WONDERING. Instead of berating yourself or someone else for some failure, simply wonder (and it has to be quasi-genuine to work). For example, I wonder what time my perennially late friend will get to the restaurant. I wonder when I'll clean the house. I wonder if he knows that was totally demeaning. Take the emotion out of the situation and simply wonder about it. I find a good "hmm" helps with this skill.

RADICAL ACCEPTANCE. Things are the way they are and sometimes we need to be ok with that. Acceptance means to stop fighting against reality. Stop beating yourself up about the extra pounds. Stop criticizing the way the neighbor is raising her children. Stop wishing that your parents would get back together, or that he'd call, or that you could travel more. You are not single-handedly in charge of making things as they should be; stop "shoulding" on yourself. I'm not saying that you should stop trying and just sit back and let life takes its course; I just mean for you to relax a little. As the Beatles said, "Let it be." Accepting doesn't mean your approve of the thing. You don't have to like that your mother still drinks or you can't do long division to save your life. Just accept it as reality.

ONE THING AT A TIME. When you have a million things on your to-do list, including actually writing down the to-dos, remember that you only have to do one thing at a time. And you'll do that one thing best if you only do one thing at a time. Multi-tasking is a myth. One evening I was stressed with my to-dos as I left work. Wondering how I'd ever get everything done, it occurred to me that, at that moment, the only thing I really had to do was drive. If you are cooking, cook. Showering, shower. Worrying, worry. Crying, cry. Relaxing, relax. (You see the pattern?)

MINDFULNESS. Observe, notice, and fully participate in the current moment. We often live so much in our heads that we don't see the moment. Right now feel the temperature of the room, the smell, the sounds. Imagine the planet and see yourself, in the room, as a tiny dot there. Are you sitting comfortably? Is the food delicious? Notice it and enjoy it. When you are chill the answers will come. And the answer might just be, chill.

WORST-CASE SCENARIO. For the situation, imagine the worst case scenario. If this were to happen how bad would it really be. For most things, it's something you can live with. For example, I often fear that somehow I won't have a job. OK, if that happened I'd rent my house out, move in with my mother, and live off of her. Oh, but what if my mother has nothing to support me with? Then there must be another Great Depression and everyone is hungry and so I don't feel so bad about starving. I could probably survive the worst case scenario so losing my job - although unpleasant - will likely not kill me. And even if it did, eh, I believe in an afterlife.

Remember that anxiety comes from fear of the future, and the future does not actually exist yet. So when you are fearing something that doesn't exist you may be simply preparing for the worst, but more likely you are spending precious energy and time living in a fantasy land. Our brains are trained to solve problems, but when it comes to problems that we've made up (the ones that may or may not happen) our brains tend to loop the problem. We never really solve it, we just perseverate (there's a therapy word for you) and ruminate (picture cows chewing for years on cud because that's what your are doing with this problem) and go crazy.

To put it another way. If you saw a bear a distance off, anxiety would rightly kick in and prepare your possible escape routes, your plan of action should the bear become a real threat. However, as the bear is mauling you, you are no longer anxious. You are a lot of other things (screwed, for example) but not anxious. Because anxiety lives in the future, not in the present. Think about it, when you are in a bad situation, you aren't anxious at all, because anxiety lives in the future not the present.

Anxiety has it's place. It's a guest that makes us get up and go, but let's not give it the spare room and invite it to breakfast.




10.7.12

Exploits in Writing

I was going through the ol' Facebook and on soccer player Chris Wingert's post was this comment, each word starting unnecessarily with a capital letter. I can only assume this is a very long title.


All Star Game Tonight For Sure! But I Forgot To Record It... LOL Hey Bro You Guys Killed It Last Sat. Keep It Up! Lets CRUSH San Jose This Sat. !!!!! I Believe!


The hyperbolic capitalization is only one foible. Feel free to point out your favorite.

17.6.12

Buttons

On my mission we had a weekly sort of "hit list." Members or eternal investigators that we visited regularly and routinely (which is redundant both in syntax and in real life). On one of these routes we cross a busy road that had chirping bird. Since there was this apparatus, there was also a button to alert the unreal bird (look it up, it's not a real call) to humans, enticing it to chirp in permission.
So Germany is a little different from the US. On this pole the button was inside of a little hole that you stuck your finger in. As the junior companion - or the one who really didn't know what was going on ever and so this was the only thing I could do that was helpful - I pushed the button. For weeks. And weeks. Finally, as a joke, I remarked, "I think they just put this button here to make you feel like you're doing something."
Without emotion, she said, "Sister, that's a screw."

4.6.12

Skating



S'more Mosaic


Memorable Memorial


Memorial Day with my best friends.

Just learned how to do this. It's from bighugelabs.com.

Guest Post: Good in Bed

My dear friend was unable to post this on her blog since the stylist involved reads it. But the story must be told. And here it is.

My last hair appointment ended up being a little more educational than I thought it would be. I was sitting in the chair, making casual conversation with my hair dresser, when she suddenly paused and said, a little solemnly, "I need to tell you something before you get married."

This was a surprising announcement, since I'm not dating anyone and, while I like my hair dresser and have been going to her for a couple of years, we're not exactly on "share deep words of wisdom" terms. But, taking this to be an indication that I should remind her at some future date that she wanted to share something with me, I said okay and prepared to let the conversation drop.

Little did I know that the conversation was not to end there. After a few minutes of indecision, she girded up her mental loins and said, "No, I can't wait. I have to tell you now." I put on my politely serious face that I reserve for unsolicited advice. In my case, this usually takes the form of tips on how to attract men. The ensuing lecture, to which I listened with growing amazement and little personal contribution, went something like this:

HER: Before I got married, I slept with a lot of different men.

(Whoa! Totally didn't see that one coming!)

HER: And I learned something really important. I learned that the most good-looking guys are not necessarily the best in bed.

(I cannot adequately type the number of exclamation points this statement incited in my mind!)

HER: I slept with a really good-looking guy and, you know what? He wasn't really all that good in bed. But one of the best guys I slept with was not all that attractive at all. Do you know why that was? (I shook my head gingerly in response. She had a razor and a pair of scissors to my head - I was a captive audience.) It was because he was really, really good to me. I'm fortunate that now I'm married to a guy who I find attractive and who is good in bed, too.

(Wait a minute, wasn't she telling me a few months ago that her husband was excessively hairy and that she preferred him to leave his shirt on so she didn't have to look at it?)

HER: But just know, when you get married, that the cutest guys are not always the best in bed.

Fortunately about that time other customers came into the salon and the conversation became so deeply coded (she didn't want to share her acquired wisdom with everyone) that it quickly lost its impact and turned to more general matters. But not before I was well-educated in what to look for in my future relationships.

Oh, you might ask, how on earth did this topic even come up? I mentioned, in passing, that a friend had loaned me Thor to watch before I go to see The Avengers. Apparently my hair dresser does not feel that the lead in Thor is as good-looking as everyone else seems to think him and is probably, as a result of his own opinion of his sex appeal, not very adroit in his bedroom talents. Go figure...

15.5.12

Contentment

So I was on Pinterest today. This is usual for me and a good form of entertainment. I was led to a blog with loads of great ideas and it got me thinking about all the cool stuff I could do. No - all the cool stuff I now needed to do. And I started feeling anxious and, oddly, less than.  Sites like this are supposed to be helpful - give you ideas to simplify, to solve problems in new ways, to "do it yourself." Instead I discovered the things I lack which thing had never occurred to me before. Like I can't be happy yet because I haven't cut out sugar and my house doesn't have crown molding.
It's a lot like porn. Stay with me now. I heard sometime somewhere (good reference) that porn damages sex lives, even when couples view together. Why is this thing? It is because the movie or picture is idealized and the couples are never able to live up to it. They are continually discontent with themselves because they are convinced that they should be able to do what no human has ever done, and be what not human has ever been.
For someone as blessed as I am, discontentment is absurd. I'm crazy. No matter what I have, it's not enough, even if someone else points the blessing out. I have to someone reach and even higher standard. I'm Paulie Bleeker.

Juno: It's like, you're the coolest person I know and you don't even try.
Bleeker: I try really hard actually. 

The teens in my life are always on about how they "can be their own man" and they "aren't influenced by anything" and I think, yeah right, man, tell me you don't need those Jordans. Ahh, kids. But I am an adult yet I'm just as easily beguiled. My only virtue is that I'm more aware that I'm totally falling for some facade.  I'm Alice in the Rabbit Hole. I see it's a problem but I just keep sinking.
End the madness. Stop exposing yourself. It just creates a sense of "I lack" and you don't. Here's a better idea. I'll solve my own problems and create my own art, thank you very much. I'll fill a need when I see it not when you point it out to me. And I'll come out myself and content.

"For I ought to be content with the things which the Lord hath allotted unto me."
Alma 29:3

I think I'll go write about all the things I already have and how happy I am about it.

For more on contentment, check this out.

22.4.12

Judgement

In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I've been turning over in my mind ever since. "Whenever you feel like criticising anyone," he told me, "just remember that all the people in this world haven't had the advantages that you've had." 
F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

Judgment is labeling things with an opinionated statement, writing something down as one way when another might well write it down oppositely. The play was a bore; he's a moron; the music was amazing. This is quite alright except that we may or may not be representing actual truth. In many instances we probably are. However, there are many instances where we are wrong due to misinformation. Said Benjamin Franklin,

"And whether you're an honest man, or whether you're a thief, depends on whose solicitor has given me my brief."

Judgment, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder.

We can conjecture and suppose, but few things in life are uncomplicated and our knowledge of the thing complete enough to conclusively pronounce righteousness. This idea is related to interpersonal relationships(and expanded) in this  message from President Dieter F. Uchtdorf. He points out the danger in passing judgment on others when we aren't in their body and cannot take into account all their experience. Often we "mind read" - believing that we can suppose another's thoughts and motivations based on their actions. It is a slippery slope and one with - I can say from experience - with a hard bottom of reality. In talking to someone the other day, she explained the demonic motivations of a third party. "Did she say that?" I asked. "No," came the reply, and I knew, because I had spoken to the third party, that my friend's assumptions were just that, however reasonable it seemed from the third party's behavior.


In pondering judgement I notice that I am most harshly critical of myself when I am harshly critical of others. The nonacceptance I pour out to others comes back to me stronger when I look in the mirror. I'm am not a hypocrite. If I expect it of you, I'll expect it of me, and perhaps more so. This has led to miserable feelings. Being unsatisfied with others is frustrating and draining. Berating yourself is equally (or perhaps more) damaging and depressing. The essence of judging is nonacceptance and all nonacceptance leads to depression and anxiety.

Now, before you judge me as being unnecessarily critical of judgment*, let me explain judgment has its place. We rely on it. I must judge the safety of food (yet I've misjudged and been sick or misjudged and thrown out perfectly edible food); judge the reliability of others (I take a leap of faith when a plumber or electrician comes, and so far, so good); or judge to appropriateness of any decision (it's gone both ways on this one). If I relied on absolute perfect appraisals I would be paralyzed. Judgment is the mother of decision and thus the grandmother of progression.

It seems to me that there must be a balance of judgment. If judgment does not move the judge into better places, it is of no worth and should be discarded. For example, criticism of self should only be helpful in motivating positive and appropriate change; it should not be used to shame or punish.

Might I suggest an alternative way to judge that does not involve opinions or labels? This idea is taken from Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT). The idea is that instead of labeling something as good or bad or right or wrong (which has with it the pit of possibly being untrue) we describe the thing and decide on its helpfulness to our current situation. To describe something is to point out its attributes, those which cannot be contested - it's green, the cheese has mold on it, she's wearing Gucci. Then look at the facts - indisputable - and decide if they're helpful. In this way, nothing is evil or bad or even good. It either promotes my goals, or does not, and I shall choose (provided I'm sane in the moment) what promotes my goals. If saying those things to a friend seems to draw the friend further from me, I won't do that again. If wearing green brings out my eyes, then may all my clothes be green.

Take from this what is helpful, discard the rest, but whatever you do, don't give it the bland, nondescript title of good or bad.

*True judgment is simply labeling something and may well be that I've label something positively. In this essay I focus almost exclusively on negative labels. I must add here that positive labels can be equally precarious, resulting is poor decision making, and I continue to recommend my method of describing over labeling. 

29.3.12

Call Me Maybe

video
This is my new favorite thing. It's Carly Rae Jepson's song "Call Me Maybe." Justin Bieber just signed her and   then this video appeared. You may recognize some faces. I love it because it's just a bunch of friends getting together and goofing off. Also I find the song slightly profound. Call me. Maybe.

23.3.12

Happy Birthday!

Milla came in town and had a birthday so we had a party. 










Happy Birthday, Milla!

Vernal-oliday!

I pursuit of a years-long dream my mom, sister, and I traveled a bazillion hours to Vernal to visit the temple. I'm trying to get to all of the Utah temples. And, while we were there, we visited my aunt (my father's sister) and my uncle who breed cows. We also dropped by Dinosaur National Park. Lovely!
The temple, converted from a tabernacle. It's gorgeous inside and out. 
My Aunt Vee and Uncle Lyle - don't worry, they're only in their 80s and still calving! 
The moms who are about to "go" any time.
The 2-day old calf whom I named "Puppy."
Jump shot with Fred and Mom
Big bone
Mom and Fred
The bones gathered in a river bed and earthquakes put it on its side. 

5.2.12

Letting Go of Guilt

"A strange thing happened then. The Speaker agreed with her that she had made a mistake that night, and she knew when he said the words that it was true, that his judgment was correct. And yet she felt strangely healed, as if simply speaking her mistake were enough to purge some of the pain of it. For the first time, then, she caught a glimpse of what the power of speaking might be. It wasn't a matter of confession, penance, and absolution, like the priests offered. It was something else entirely. Telling the story of who she was, and then realizing that she was no longer the same person. That she had made a mistake, and the mistake had changed her, and now she would not make the mistake again because she had become someone else, someone less afraid, someone more compassionate" (Orson Scott Card, Speaker for the Dead 212).

video
I've seen first hand the pain and emotional stagnation of not forgiving ourselves or feeling forgiven. (I can't tell you exactly how I know because it would be a HIPAA violation.) That is what the gospel of Jesus Christ is really about - that you can be different than you have been and that you don't have to be burdened with the guilt and regret of your past mistakes.

The Atonement of Jesus Christ takes away the pain and guilt so that we "can find rest unto [our]souls."

22.1.12

Wah-wah (horn blowing failure)

She had but one goal: to learn the name of a male in the congregation. The males were few in number and after six weeks, not one had emerged to proclaimed himself as one to possess an identity. In the after feast, she and her wing-woman sat at an empty table, inviting fate to give her what she wanted. Then they came. Tyler and Blake. Talkative, friendly, interested. And respectively 3 and 6. 

20.1.12

Things That I Love That I'm Thinking About

In the tradition of Mindy Kaling and Things That I Bought That I Love, I want to write about Things That I Love That I'm Thinking About. 
1. There is much incorrect grammar in the world. One concern of late are less versus fewer. I hear things like this: "There were less people there than before." It's atrocious. My ears are metaphorically bleeding. Fewer is used when you can count the thing, as in "I have few friends with incorrect grammar" or "There were fewer than 8 people at the party." Less is used when you can't count the things or it doesn't have a plural form, as in "Use less flour next time" or "It's just less of a hassle." Also let's make sure that "is" and "are" match up with the nouns. It's so embarrassing to come to the end of the sentence only to realize you said the wrong verb. For example "There is fifty people in the room." Eek. As an aside, I'm currently pondering on the word "friends" as a predicate adjective ("we are friends"). And I'm still confused on that versus which. But this I know: you've got to know how to use whom and the oxford comma is not dead.
2. I enjoy the writing of Orson Scott Card. So much I do. Why it took me so long to delve into his writing I can indeed say. I didn't have faith that he could continue to write well and come up with interesting plots, especially considering the sci-fi factor. Yet he has done this thing. He weaves a wonderful, complex, thought-provoking, human story. Also, his books make me feel smart - like I'm learning something. Also, he uses biblical references in clever ways and I feel like I'm in on some secret club because I get the reference.
3. I recommend the movie Midnight in Paris. Beautiful filming, fantastic script, unique story line. 
4. It's important to develop intellectually. We have the benefit of thousands of years of human history, exploration, experience, and discovery. Some topics aren't enriching; "boys and their idiocy" for example. I feel like that's x hours of my life I'll never get back. I've enjoyed meeting up with some old friends I rarely see and talking about what they are reading and thinking and feeling and I'm enriched after the chat because I've been able to steal a bit of their wisdom and add it to my own. We have so much to learn and so much possible growth that there is no reason to employ are intellect in less-than-worthy subjects.
5. At the same time, I'm so tired after work that it's all I can do to read the scriptures and gain an ounce of some original, Spirit-inspired thought. I'm not sure what to do about the problem of human weakness. If there was some way to tap into our potential without the restrictions of our own limits then we'd truly amount to something. For the time being I suppose we do what we can with what we have and rely on the promise that "we are laying of a foundation of great work. And out of small things proceedeth that which is great."
6. I don't think I'll ever be able to spell ridiculous the first time around. Oh wait, I just did. Miracle of miracles. Oh well, I still have the frequent misspellings of develop, commitment, and disappoint. 
7. I love three musicians. Dashboard Confessional, Ingrid Michaelson, and Adele. There must be something subconscious that resonates because I cannot articulate why listening to these three feels so right.
8. There is more to be gained by believing in the goodness of people than in skepticism. If anything, assuming nobility of intent is the more pleasant thought, especially when we are limited to how much we can make others bend to our will. Of course we'll sometimes be disappointed, but that will, I believe, be the exception and not the rule. 
To come full circle, I would recommend a perusal of Mindy Kaling's website and her new book, although this book might go against #4. No one can follow all their covinctions all the time. 

1.1.12

It's a Beautiful Day

I accomplished a grand total of none of my New Year's Resolutions from last year.
And moving on...
SOME THINGS I'D REALLY LIKE TO DO THIS YEAR IF POSSIBLE
AKA 12 Goals for 2012
1. Whatever calling I get ('cause I just moved to a new house!), to really get into it, make time for it, and do it wholeheartedly -- kind of a with-all-your-heart-might-mind-and-strength objectives.
2. Hang out with my sister Marlisa more.
3. Do Saturday house projects for a while, like, until the house doesn't need it.
4. Work on family history - transcribing, temple worker.
5. Blog more often. Well-written/edited/coherent. And blog more about my beliefs. And probably print my blog in a book like I've been meaning to.
6. Learn how to do trauma work, which makes more sense if you're a therapist; so, all my therapist friends understand this item.
7. Be present with people.
8. Serve more often and it varied ways, like I really want to sign up to be a bone marrow donor and I just haven't gotten around to it.
9. Eat cookies (my insurance policy against not following through on anything like I didn't follow through last year).
10. Listen better (with more empathy) and make people beg for advice from me.
11. Learn to work my camera.
12. Be smarter. Just in general. Like, know more stuff.

Honorable mentions (stuff I might do, but the commitment isn't completely there)
1. Go abroad.
2. See Adele in concert - if she can do concerts.
3. Scrapbook, which means printing out photos into a book. I don't know; is this out of vogue? Can't history just look at my facebook page or my blog?

Here's hoping!