Thursday, August 16, 2012

Education Week (Thursday)!

Yesterday I was at work and all of these wonderful people kept coming in with "Education Week" name tags on and I kept asking them how it was going and they all replied with various assortments of praise. One lovely lady came in with her son and his wife and I talked to her for a bit (I admit I may have been a little over-enthusiastic in my quest to know more about Education Week so before she left (rather hurriedly)she handed me an extra booklet with all the classes and information in it and since I did not have to work today I decided to go! It was so much fun. There were a ton of classes to choose from  (unfortunately I couldn't attend all of them but the ones I did attend were really fun) Here is some of what I learned!

1. Changing Overwhelming Habits in Ourselves - Joseph Grenny (Alright, I am a huge fan of self-improovment)

  • Agency is a gift and a skill we can work and improve on.
  • We can act or be acted upon
    • we choose how we act and can choose how we respond to being acted upon.
  • "The Freedom to Choose" and not resisting things but changing our feelings about them
  • Take control of things that "control" you
  • OVERRULE them
  • Tell yourself the truth in crucial moments
  • Not entirely a matter of motivation it's about choosing good and feeling capable of doing so.
  • Not a motivation problem but an ability problem
  • Resistance can lead to depression
  • Need Love, help, support, teaching to develop skills to overcome bad habits and addictions
  • We can change relationships and don't always have to terminate them
  • In order to change we need to develop positive skills
  • Stop resisting start reshaping
  • A funny example:
    • U.K. Researchers put different signs above sinks in the bathrooms at a local store.
      • "Soap it off or eat it later"
      • "Wash and avoid 47% chance of disease"
      • "Is the person next to you washing with soap?"
    • 73% more people washed their hands when looking at the third sign than any other one.
  • Another example:
    • Heber J. Grant had a coffee problem. He tried to quit many times but he found thinking "I can't have coffee" only made it harder for him to stop so he reshaped his perspective and began thinking "I can have coffee if I want to but I choose not to drink it because I want a greater abundance of the spirit in my life." This way of thinking left him feeling in control and it helped him stop drinking coffee in a healthy way. 
  • I really loved this lesson and it was empowering and really fun! 
Increasing Gospel Teaching and Learning- Teaching by the Spirit - David M. McConkie (I shook his hand! Hurray!) 
  • We want to teach the Lord's lesson and not our own. 
  • We want to teach for people and not recognition
  • Teach people not lessons
  • Study the Scriptures
  • Ponder Pray
  • Teach Gospel
  • Teach by the Spirit
  • Learn byt the Spirit
  • Keep the Commandments 
  • Love 
  • Prepare 
  • Minister to groups and Individuals
  • Invite Spirit and live in a way that you are worthy to teach
Living a Balanced Life - Kevin R. Miller
  • How the Spirit helps influence Body, Mind and Heart.
  • The importance of balance
  • How sin stems from deep unmet needs
  • How satan wants to create conflict and separation
  • Setting SMART Goals:
    • Specific
    • Measurable
    • Ambitious
    • Realistic
    • Time-Bound
  • Don't compare yourself to others
  • Don't make major decisions and commitments at really high or low points
  • Christ will not Protect you from what he can perfect us through
  • Be active in Gospel and Church
Nutrition: Dispelling Myths and Teaching Correct Principles: Sugar: Is it Really that sweet?
  • Structural make-up of sugars
  • where they are found
  • Majority found in beverages
  • Next largest is Desserts
  • Direct link to cavities
  • indirect link to obesity
The Confident Woman - Outward Appearance: The Do's and Don'ts of Enhancing Your Appearance - Barbara Barrington Jones
  • I LOVED this one. Sister Jones was incredibly funny and helpful!
  • "Fashion comes and goes but style always remains" 
  • Find what you like and what makes you feel good and flatters you and wear it
  • What styles are in for fall and what cuts and make-up and hair is in
  • Also one of my favorite quotes was "Make yourself like angels in goodness and beauty"
  • language, manners, thoughts and appearance
  • Stay current in the affairs of the world
  • learn new things and have fun
  • Be you.
  • Have fun.
  • Love life!

All in all I just listed what I learned just in case you wanted to know! I really enjoyed my Education Thursday and I hope to participate again next year! This was an uplifting experience and it made me happy. At first I was feeling a little overwhelmed because there is SO much I don't know but then I read a poem that helped me out. Also the teachers were awesome and friendly and reassuring. I am just sorry I cannot do these lessons justice with just bullet points but I really did learn a lot of things and it was totally worth going to. I was just excited about it and wanted to share it with the people I love! 

Here is the Poem

Urgent to Marilyn

Marilyn had a job-
Working out her salvation.
It wasn't nine to five.
It was nine to nine
In twenty-four-hour shifts.

And there was no vacation,
And in case she should get fired
Nobody else was hiring,
So Marilyn worked hard
And she worked fast
And she worked in fear.

The boss was away a lot
And Marilyn wondered
If he liked her work,
And not knowing, she worked harder.
She did everything on every list
Twice over to make sure.

She didn't have much fun
On the job.
It was more the retirement
Benenfits she was there for,
The mansion, the glory.

On a typical day
She ran frantically
From the visual aid department
To the wheat-grinding
And quilting department
To the grow your own
Vegetables department
And the sew your own
Children's clothing department
And the physical fitness

She even stopped running
Past the genealogy department
And locked herself in
Until she got something done.

And then she ran
To the food storage department,
Ran with scriptures
On casette (I-Pod) in hand,
Ran because there were Twenty-two minutes left to fill,
Ran past the boss's memo
On the bulletin board:
"Urgent to Marilyn:
Peace, be still."


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

One for One

Lately I have been concentrating on how I can be my best self. I have been pondering how I can improve, how I can grow and change for the better but a thought struck me as I was flossing my teeth tonight. I have always wanted to be the kind of person that others feel better, do better and are better around. I want to help others to be the best they can be. Not in a pushy way but more of a "domino effect" kind of way. I just want to be me and be good so others can be too. I like it when others feel free to be themselves around me. Maybe I'd be more like the "absence of an obstacle." I don't want to hinder another's progression. And maybe I could be of help to them. I don't want to make it hard for them to be and do good. I don't want to cause them pain because of human selfishness.
I am motivated both by internal and external circumstance depending on what it is I need motivation to do. In this case I am motivated by the external "team" aspect  of this way of thinking. I am motivated to be better because if I am better I can help someone else become better too. We ARE all in this together and I want to be a team player. So I am going to, now, think of ways I can be better and give others the opportunity to do the same. I really do want to help the world and those in it by being the best I can be as who I am. I like who I am but know I need to grow and improve daily and I want to help others learn to love themselves and improve and progress. So I am more than a little weird and dorky, I love Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter, I love watching old episodes of Victor Borge and drinking unsweetened almond milk and soy milk and re-reading the classics over and over again. I don't pair up my socks before I toss them in the drawer, I am more than a little afraid of bugs and I may or may not skip taking a shower every once in a while.That's me and as long as I never begin to endeavor to hurt others I know being me is okay. Although, for those of you who have a keen sense of smell who have encountered me on a day where I had tried to surreptitiously skip taking a shower I sincerely apologize for any harm I may have caused you and your nostrils. Believe me, it was unconsciously done.

On another note there is an awkward time in Provo just before school starts. This phenomenon happens without fail annually. My housing contract ended Monday but my new contract does not begin until Friday. Many students are in the same boat as I am. So Provo, for about two weeks, inhabits about 20,000 college age vagrants in various stages of homelessness, waiting for the keys to their new homes. I must say it is quite an experience being "homeless." I am now a master couch surfer and would most likely win the gold medal if their was an olympic event for that. But I guess home is where the heart is and my heart is all around. There are so many wonderful people and places I have encountered that have made me better and my love more extensive by the love they have shown me. I don't believe the love we can feel is finite. I believe it is limitless. We just have to decided to let our love grow. The amount of love we can feel for someone is not dependent on the amount of people we know. Love is not dispersed of  like money or rations. Love is something that can always be in full supply. Instead of giving 5 friends only 20% of my love I will give them each 100% of my love. Friends and family help us increase our love. I don' believe that love is in danger of running out.  If we chose to replenish and nourish and grow it daily we'll never run out.

Also, recently I have been listening to a few CES talks on CD that a friend let me borrow and I have loved them. They are so funny and insightful! So far I have listened to "It Is Not the Dress but the Girl In the Dress" and "The Difference One Can Make." Both of them were fantastic and I highly recommend them. And now I am listening to "Getting Past 'If Only'." It talks about Agency and how we can improve our ability to exercise it and become who we want to be. Thank you Provo Library. So far I enjoy it and have learned from it. I recommend it as well. Both the book and the Provo Library.

On monday I submitted a few pieces of writing to a publishing site for the first time so we will see how that goes. I will most likely get a ton of rejections but that is okay! I won't let it get me down. I'll just improve and try,try again. The rejections I receive throughout my life will most likely out number my successes and acceptances but just one acceptance is worth more than a stack of rejections anyway.

Life is just so full of fun and new challenges. Carry on my friends because this life and the people in it are worth it.

Quotable food for thought:

"No Failure Ever Need Be Final" -Thomas S. Monson

"Inconvenience is just adventure wrongly considered." - G.K. Chesterton

Monday, July 23, 2012

A Noble Heart

I believe every book that I have read has had a character with an exceedingly noble heart. This character often times is not even the main character. The stark contrast between the antagonist and the honest heart of that particular character is what gives a book texture. This may be an odd analogy but the Nobel character is like oil and the villain is like balsamic vinegar. Put the two together and shake them up they become mixed up but eventually the vinegar will sink to the bottom and the oil will rise to the top. The nobility of such characters is incredibly inspiring and I always seem to fall in love with them. I look up to them and I have hope that I can one day be like them.

*Spoiler Alert

Take Samwise Gamgee for example. I don’t think there has ever been a more noble, honest, optimistic and real character ever created in modern literature. I would, if I were a little hobbit lady, marry him on the spot given the chance. Sam, though he faces adversity and evils and tribulations much larger than himself (quite literally) manages to see the good in life. The simple memory of the taste of strawberries, Rosie’s ribbons, and blooming flowers bring him joy. When he and Frodo are being chased by Ring Wraths he sees the glow of elves and is, once again uplifted. He and Frodo witness a host of Sauron’s allies making their way to Mordor and as the initial horror of it passes Sam, ever optimistic, notices that they have Oliphant’s and is overcome with excitement. Covered in war paint and trained to kill thousands of soldiers these enormous beasts pass by and Sam sees through all of that and is glad of the chance he has to watch these creatures, that he has only ever dreamed existed, living and breathing. It is this way with many things in life. Events occur that appear for all the world to be entirely evil and terrible but if we see through Sam’s eyes and look past the war paint and endeavor to see the amazing Oliphant that is crossing our path our lives may be spent more happily.

Another example is Morrel in The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexander Dumas. The ship owner, from the beginning, is steadfast and courageous and honorable. Through no fault of his own Morrel is almost in ruins and even then he endeavors to save his family from the dishonor he fears may befall them if he is unable to pay his bills on time. This man, who has spent his life in the best way possible cannot fathom living as a man who is unreliable. He almost kills himself to save his family. Edmond Dantes saves him (disguised of course) on the verge of bankruptcy.  This man was rewarded for his integrity and loving heart. It does not always happen this way in the world but when it does it is an extraordinary site to see.

Jane Bennet, The oldest sister in Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice is another example of  an amazing character. She embodies all the good of this world and chooses to overlook the evils in people and tries her best to love those who have wronged her. She is so very honorable and virtuous. The first time i read the book I wanted to be like Elizabeth, witty, scintillating and confident but the second time through I began to admire Jane above all of the characters in that book. She is smart and intelligent and funny and most of all humble. Her good deeds go unnoticed and her diligence in maintaining loving relationships with others, even though it may turn out the worse for her, is admirable. Her kindness and charity is insurmountably inspiring. I wish to be like her. With all of that unworldly strength she is real. She is gentle, friendly and happy. She is a sister and a daughter and friend. She is vulnerable and hopeful. People take advantage of her kindness but she never loses faith in the goodness of humanity and life. She may be innocent but she is not naive. She lives her life unhampered by Pride or Prejudice. 

All of these characters are real. Real in the sense that they are imperfect like all mankind. They make mistakes but the difference is they take responsibility for them. They step up and weather the consequences of their actions. These characters were often disregarded and their good deeds overlooked but for those who were benefactors of their kindness and virtue they were loved and respected.  They choose to be this way. They exercise the fullness of their agency to better the lives of all those they love and because of that their spirits are indefatigable. I cannot express how these characters have changed my life and how I desire with all my heart to be like them. Their integrity is eternally inspiring.

So “Be happy, noble heart. Be blessed for all the good you have done and will yet do. Let my gratitude remain hidden in the shadows like your good deeds.” - Dantes "Count of Monte Cristo"

Friday, July 20, 2012

A Hiatus from Hiatus

Life. It gets pretty crazy sometimes. Between work,goals,dreams, taking action and a social life time can be scarce. Some people simplify. Some people shop. Some people have sleepovers and eat a gallon of ice cream and some people just take a day off. I have what I call "cave days". Usually these days consist of me watching movies on netflix, sleeping and hiding from the world. Just for a day. Unfortunately the whole "just for a day" thing turns into a "three weeks in a row" thing sometimes. Taking a hiatus from life every once in a while is great. Re-prioritize, reshape,renew it's all good but turning that time into three weeks is a bit irresponsible and a waste of time.  Being an introvert in an extroverted world can take it's toll sometimes but being an extrovert in an extroverted world can be tough too so I am tired of making excuses for my absence and have decided to get back to taking responsibility and taking action. I have a million things I want to do with my life. Bucket list things, work things, school things, friend things,simple things. I can't continue watching episodes of 90210 all day and shirking my responsibilities to find out how Annie and Naomi's latest evil plot is going to turn out. It's lame. I am done thinking 90210 is lame. I'm not even going to go there. Some people like it and that's cool. I like it too because it helps me not to think. I don't know, there is something strange about watching actors live fake lives of Beverly Hills high school students. It is just relaxing. I don't have to think. The occasional momentary indignation I feel when a character is wrongly accused and monstrous assumptions are made only to make one of those characters lives more difficult is just that, momentary. It also makes me 10x more grateful that I have the awesome, fun, laid-back, honest, and drama free friends that I do. I mean the "he said she said" kind of drama free. The real life good times, bad times we all go through and support each other during is what friends are for. So I guess I "went there" so there you have it. An opinionated circle. Oddly related, I guess when you speak more the more likely your chances of saying something that might hurt someone even if that was never your intention. The stress of that alone can cause a social butterfly to crawl back into their cocoon.  I guess life is about taking risks though. I just have a hard time understanding how someone can want to intentionally hurt someone else. I still try my best to be harmless but there are those who seek to be offended and being confronted by them is difficult but I want to have opinions and I want to be me. Being me isn't about "sticking it to the man" or being over the top. Being me is hard to explain. Not in a "no one understands me" kind of way just the whole "human beings are extremely complex" kind of way. I just know that there are things in my life I want to change and I know they'll take time but I just have to be patient. I mess up. I "disappear" for a few weeks. I have a huge book list but have only managed to finish a few books off of it. I want to travel the world and I have been a few places but not everywhere I want to go yet. I want to write but I get writers block sometimes. I believe in magic even though I still haven't received my Hogwart's acceptance letter yet (one day....). I want to learn but sometimes I don't study. I'm LDS and surprise,surprise I don't  know everything and I know that and I am okay with it. I get tired. I don't want to think sometimes. I just want to watch a TV show with superficial characters and so-so acting sometimes and like it. It isn't a bad thing to do every now and again but if it gets in the way of my life I'm going to change. So I may revert back to the reclusive me again someday but I'm going to make sure that when I do it won't be for too long. Usually after those "cave days" I go on a "living spree". I stay in, recuperate then I'm back to enjoying life again. So I started on Monday. I went camping on a whim. Went on a trail run the next morning and was happier than I have been in a long time. Something about the trees and the dirt and the fresh, clean air just rejuvenates me and makes me want to be a mountain goat. Then I hung out with my roommates, went to a new restaurant (I am so excited because it is in a new health food store here and it is delicious and a dream come true for me) I went to a Nas and Tinie Tempah concert last minute last night in Salt Lake and it was insane. My feet and legs are all bruised because I lost my cheap flats 30 minutes into the concert and proceeded to get stepped on for the next 3 hours. It was totally worth it being 10 feet away from Nas for 2 hours and just with a bunch of people having fun. I am going on a 4 hour hike I've never done tomorrow with some friends, singing in a talent show and working all night long. It's going to be fantastic. And I am writing and reading again. I am thinking again and that is nice. I really do like to think I promise. This world gets really crazy and people change all the time. I think one of the most difficult parts of life is knowing that even when you are trying our best to be harmless people can blow things out of proportion or chose to think the worst of someone. I like the idea that what people think of me means nothing but I am not naive enough to believe that it is true. I live life with other people, for other people, because of other people and we all think. Think about life, love, nail polish, food music and other people. We have to make decisions based on the evidence we have and the best way to find out about someone is to get to know the real them. I'm not one for making assumptions, but then again I know I probably do no matter how hard I try not too. I try not to judge but I think it is inherent that we do. It's survival right? We have to make good decisions to stay "alive". Maybe I don't judge someone on wether or not their nail polish matches their shoes or if their greens clash but I judge to try to determine if someone is safe to be around. I know this whole wide world is full of amazing, honest, good people who deserve the benefit of the doubt but I am just being realistically cautious. In my senior English class we talked about tattoos and how having them can affect one socially. Negatively sometimes and positively at other times. For example,those with tattoos can be judged too quickly. One of my Co-workers Jo has a lot of tattoos and studies show she is less likely to get various jobs because of her tattoos and that is a shame because she is awesome, she makes a mean "soy hazelnut steamer", likes Harry Potter and is honest, fun and hard working. Most of my friends have tattoos and they are some of the world's greatest people on the planet and any firm or work place would be lucky to have them. We all make choices and suffer the consequences wether good or bad (however I don't think I'd suffer to much from a positive consequence). We weigh our choices and act accordingly.  I know "Living" isn't about how many concerts I've been to, how many books I've read, what bands I listen to but how I utilize who I am to benefit the world and the people in it. That doesn't mean I have to change to fit in I just have to enjoy life and laugh when I stick out like the hair on the back of Alfalfa's head. So I raise my peppermint, totally Mormon, herbal tea for living the "me life" and making the most of it for the people I love. Bring it on.  

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Order's Up

Yesterday I was at work when a man walked in with a few of his friends several minutes before our kitchen was to close. His friends ordered but he, hanging back, looked unsure of ordering. I asked him if I could get him anything. He explained that he was trying out a new thing called "intuitive eating." He only wanted to eat when he was truly hungry. The problem was, he said, that he still didn't understand if what he was feeling was hunger or not. I explained that our kitchen would close in a few minutes and that if he wanted anything he had to order soon or else he would not be able to order. It was then that he decided that he was not hungry.

Sometimes the kitchen closes before you arrive. Sometimes you have arrived just in time. Sometimes you order just a drink. Sometimes you order, although not hungry, just to buy a little more time. And sometimes you arrive in time but, seeing nothing you want, chose to leave with out a thing. Some order the same thing over and over and over always unsatisfied but safe. Some order something new every time sometimes spending weeks in recovery after choosing poorly.  Sometimes when you get your order, it is wrong. Sometimes it is the most delicious meal you have ever tasted. Some stick with their less than savory meal. Others ask to change it. An still yet others spit it out, ask for a refund, and cash out on love all together. Life can make us decided before we think we are ready. But you see the kitchen may close for the evening but it will open again in the morning. Maybe the items on the menu have changed. They could be better than yesterdays items or they could be worse. Will you take a risk and order now or later? In the mean time......
Order's up.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The Secret Garden

A few weeks ago, when I left the hospital after surgery, my mother gave me a potted flower—a little token of her love to cheer me up. It was vibrant and alive. I left it in my apartment in Provo when I went home to California for a week and a half. I forgot to ask anyone to water my little flower while I was gone. When I came back the flower had wilted and looked beyond saving. I tried to save it anyway. For the first few days, it looked hopeless. All my constant and diligent efforts seemed to be having no affect on the little flower. The flower still drooped and sagged. I decided I would try for a few more days to heal my flower. Soon after, I recognized that my little flower, ever so slightly, began to change. It had begun to perk up and brighten! With renewed resolve I kept up my tender loving care until one day the flower at last looked as good as new! My efforts to save the flower had paid off. I was inspired by the resilience of that little flower.

I recognized that one of my friends is like this flower. When I met him, he seemed despondent and sad. He was stand-offish and easily offended. People had a hard time being around him. I don't know why I ventured to become friends with him, but for some reason, I did. Some friendships are almost natural and are easily maintained. Others take much more effort. For a while, it seemed like I was making all the effort and even then he seemed reclusive and discontent. Finally, after a few months, I began to see a change in him. When I would come over to visit, he seemed happy. I didn't feel so much like such an intruder. A few more months passed and then he began to text me and invite me to church events. I was happy that he valued my support. He is now one of my closest friends. He seems happier now and more hopeful. I am glad he allows me to see his happiness now.

The flower analogy applies to me as well.  Back home, I have a next-door neighbor. Her name is Crystal . We met on the first day of third grade. I had just moved to California from Montana and I was slowly walking down the center aisle of the school bus, passing row after row of chairs looking for a free spot to sit when this blonde, bubbly girl asked me to sit next to her. Of course, I said yes! By now, we are like sisters. I tag along on all her family vacations and family reunions, go to family home evenings at her house. I even went to seminary with her during ninth grade. Her family always invited me to church functions and church dances. I had known about the church, thanks to Crystal and her family, for eleven years before I had the courage to join. I was a roller coaster when it came to the LDS church. Sometimes I would feel excited about it and would feel joy when learning about it and then immediately I would squash those thoughts and try to forget about them, turning my joy into bitterness. I investigated twice. Once my Senior year of high school and again my Freshmen year at UCSB. The first time, I let everyone down and backed out. I didn't talk to them for almost nine months. I didn't want to. I had forgotten they were my friends and family and thought they only sought to convert me. How wrong I was. They just loved me. They always had. I came around and was baptized a little over a year ago. How thankful I am they stuck with me through it all. I am so incredibly happy now thanks to their diligence and pure love.

Just as neglect and indifference can make flowers wilt, so can neglect and indifference make people lose hope. If ever a friend or loved one of yours seems to be wilted by the pressures and abuses of the world, tend to them lovingly as you would a flower. If you find yourself struggling under the burden of worry and doubt, a little faith in Christ’s love can be as nourishing as rays of the sun and can help you revive and prosper. Gardens require diligence and patience to grow. Where there was once just emptiness, through love, flowers can thrive. People are like gardens. They have much beauty in them. It is our responsibility to seek it out and to see it fulfill its possibilities. Friendships are like gardens. Testimonies are like gardens. Plant a seed and help it bear fruit. Love is like "Miraclegrow." It makes any ordinary thing become extraordinary. Never underestimate the power of love in restoring others and yourself. Never underestimate the resilience of yourself and others. Venture to care. Be a gardener and see to it things grow.

I am a college student. During college, money can get tight. I think a lot of us have ventured to our food cupboard and looked into it, sighed, and shut it discontent with what’s in there, only to come back an hour later, hopeful that by now something delicious has appeared-- hoping that some of our moms’ fresh homemade bread or cookies or strawberry-rhubarb pie is magically waiting for us. Inexplicably, we always open the cupboard hoping to find something wonderful that was not there before. Even though we might be always disappointed, we always go back and look just one more time. With people though, you never know.  Every time it is entirely possible that when you open the cupboard door and peer inside, you will indeed see something different, new, and exciting. It may take a few trips to the cupboard to find anything but eventually something as beautiful as your mom's homemade bread will be there waiting for you to discover it.

(Thank you so much dad for editing this one for me. You are the greatest dad in the whole world! :) )

Friday, June 15, 2012

IV Drip Drip Drip

I went to UCSB to visit some of my friends and it was so wonderful to see them all doing so well! I have missed them even more than I thought I did(which is saying something)! All of them have helped me grow and become better in many, many ways. I hope they enjoy my friendship as much as I enjoy theirs. I have no idea how we all became friends, all I know is that I am one of the luckiest people on the planet. The following descriptions of them are poor expressions of their true nature.  Human complexity and imperfection is what gives life texture. As humans, we may all be imperfect but my friends come pretty close to perfection nonetheless. They are so complex and full of life it is hard to explain them accurately because no combination of words will do. I guess that is why we have to live life, not just read about it.

Bryan's loyalty and dependability is ever present. He is still working out, working and having a blast. He was my workout buddy and he used to pretend to be my boyfriend when IV creepers would get too close. He even introduced me to the magical body pillow. He forgave me when I tucked him into bed and forgot to turn off the light when I left, he leaves the funniest voice messages and he is totally into World Peace. This guy is solid.

Max's laughter and rosy cheeks make me smile. His laughter is infectious and I always felt safe around him. His drive and responsibility have always impressed me. He is going places. He is a homie and a half and he has and awesome sister , Mary Grace, and I have, since I met her, always wished her happiness and strength.

Nelson. This guy. Where do I begin? His mumbling, funny, smart comments always make me laugh even though he usually has to repeat them since I am hard of hearing. He gets it. His hugs are top notch too. His smile seems to emanate from inside of him. It isn't just a smile, it is a statement. I miss how he used to give me his left over candy when his mouth would get sore from eating too much of it. Those were the days!

Armand's kind and cleanly nature is amazing. He has a sweet sense of style too I might add. He always takes care of people when they get too drunk. Fetching waters and making sure they don't fall asleep on a random park bench in IV. What a great guy! He also makes an amazing Aladdin. Did I mention he loves the Lakers? Maybe "love" isn't a strong enough word. Last time I checked he and Kobe = SOUL MATES.

Quincy. He loves his coffee French Pressed and piping hot. I like that he asks questions and receives the answers with an open mind most of the time. He never fails to make me feel welcomed and appreciated. I don't feel awkward when I hang out with Quince. We used to go out with Garrett and just pick up sea shells...okay, okay, we only did that once but the one time we did go it was awesome and I am sure, had I stayed at UCSB, we would have made that a regular thing.

Garrett is awesome. He and Quince have been friends for a long time and their friendship inspires me. He is a little more quiet but when he speaks people listen. It's pretty cool. He is always so nice to me and I appreciate that immensely.

The ever beautiful Caylee is my all time favorite roommate and a wonderful friend. I loved that our dorm room was a safe place where we could just BE. She helped me rekindle my love of pink. She helped me to embrace being female and her sense of fun was always fantastic to have around. Every time I see Hello Kitty I think of her and my thoughts are always pleasant. She is gorgeous inside and out.

Genna and our long-lasting friendship was an amazing thing to have up at SB. We ran together all through high-school and hung out all the time and it was so nice to have a piece of home up with me in SB. She is so laid back, friendly and adventurous it is contagious. 

Scotty's messy runner man ways were always so fun! He knew how to take a joke which was nice because I like to laugh and he has a good laugh. It was nice to have someone to talk about running with too. I hope he still has his red shorts. Those were legit.

Dane Tinley and his encouragement and support. This super soulful surfer introduced himself to me early on freshmen year and I am so glad he did.  Dane is actually one of the main reasons I started taking writing more seriously. I always told him how much I loved it and books and one day we were eating lunch and he told me he was going to buy the book that I,one day, would write. I thought he must be joking.  But, nevertheless, his words implanted themselves in my brain and have popped up daily since. That short conversation we had made a tremendous difference in my life. It was just the push I needed. He was so genuine about it. He even read my terrible script I wrote for a play I had been assigned to write for a class. He is a brave soul. He said he liked it. It was terrible and maybe he thought so too but I think he understood the delicacy of friendship. He didn't lie, he was just merciful in his critiques.  They were constructive but never painful. I think he liked that I tried. So I haven't written a book yet. Maybe I never will.  At least I am doing something I love and that is, largely, thanks to Dane.

Jacob Vowels was awesome. I dyed this kid's Mohawk platinum blonde once and it was so fun. He can pull that kinda thing off. He does track but he still seems to keep life pretty balanced.

Andrew has killer patience and courage. He had the strength to go his own way even when it was incredibly hard to do so. Props to this guy for doing what he needs to do to be true to himself.

Elder and sister Tate and all my SB ward friends and their cheerfulness that have helped me become happier than I have ever been.

Unfortunately, UCSB dropped my major and after only a year at UCSB I transferred to BYU (a decision I do not regret, except that it meant I had to leave my friends) in order to  pursue writing and Athletic Training. If I could have taken all of them with me I would have. I miss them everyday. I think about them often and talk about them all the time. If I could make like HP and apparate I would. UCSB was one of my greatest adventures and I got to spend it with some of the world's most amazing people. Leaving was incredibly painful but life isn't all honeysuckles and sunshine but getting to see them again was dazzling. I have been trying to figure out how I can turn the trial of having to be away from them into something that makes me stronger and I think I have figured out what I needed to learn from it all. That "goodbye" does not have to be forever. The hope that I get to see them again someday is what keeps a smile on my face and laughter in my eyes. Friends are one of this life's greatest treasures. They are my family. I am determined to always keep in touch with them. I think the reason Peter Pan could remain so happy even when his friends came and went was because he chose to forget about them. Rather than suffer pain at their loss he would, simply, just forget. I refuse to forget. I would rather suffer the pain of a thousand "goodbyes" with a hope of saying a single "hello" again rather than letting "goodbye" be the end. Where my friends go there will my home and heart be also. I am so glad I went home.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

To Infinity and Beyond!

Poetry. I like to read it and write it (well I attempt to write it.....the art of it can be illusive). I think the love of poetry (writing/reading in general) runs in my family. My dad (Jeff Streeby) not only walks around in his cowboy boots twirling his handlebar mustache, he also writes incredible poetry. He just published his first book. Sunday Creek. It is AWESOME. He is my go to guy for all things poetic. He critiques my writing (in a wonderfully kind and fatherly way) and always encourages me. Next is my brother, Cutter Streeby. This handsome, intelligent, reckless, softy loves to write as well. He has also published many different poems (mostly in Europe) I send all my poems to him for advice as well. It is nice to have both my brother and my dad to critique my writing since they both have different styles and tastes but, essentially, they have helped me improve enormously. From confessional poetry, to observational to just plain abstract they help me out and never cease to believe in me. That is a wonderful thing. My mom the funny, generous, loving, firecracker has always been extremely supportive of my families love for writing. She used to be a journalist!  My sister the fair headed maiden on the sea paints, so, her poetry truly is "poetry in motion." Our mutual love for the art of writing has not only taught me the importance of support when delving into undiscovered lands but also it has taught me the importance of passion.

I was thinking the other day, as I was driving home, that in this world it seems that those who have no opinions may be politically correct and safe but sometimes they may seem a bit fickle but those who seem to only see in black and white seem to limit themselves completely from all the extraordinary possibilities of this crazy, ever changing life. I think it is healthy to be a little bit of both. To have opinions and passions but to also be willing to change your mind if situations arise that contradict a previous notion or opinion you once held. It is impossible to be correct in all things, so change is inevitable. I am not saying be fickle about one's beliefs or supporting a chameleon life style of changing colors just to blend in with others. Just be open. Also I know that there are beliefs I hold that I will never give up. Such as my belief in free-agency. I choose what to believe. I choose who to become. I am responsible for what I have become. In the end it is my choice. Freedom to choose is a beautiful thing. And it is everyone's freedom.
I realized that I needed to stop blaming people or circumstances for who I was or how I was feeling because I am free. And because they are free.
And I respect that. Realizing that I am entirely free to be and feel how I choose has brought me so much happiness. Because it helped me to let go of so much that weighed on me. But I had to and still have to go through life recognizing and trying to change things about me that I do not admire. But I try to do so calmly and lovingly. Even when it hurts. There is happiness in the process. And there is pain in the process.
And it's all going to be okay.

I believe in kindness and love and trying and courage and balance and freedom and hope and many other things.

I don't know everything and have never met anyone who does. So limiting myself by refusing to change when I know I am wrong because of pride is what I hope never to do again.  I am human though so I know I will make mistakes  But I will keep on trying.

Since this blog began with poetry and morphed into something else I guess I will share some poetry with passion.

This is one of my favorite poems of all time. I love everything about it. It puts into words almost everything I wish to be and do. This poem voices some of my deepest desires.

     The House by the Side of the Road

      THERE are hermit souls that live withdrawn
      In the place of their self-content;
      There are souls like stars, that dwell apart,
      In a fellowless firmament;
      There are pioneer souls that blaze the 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
      Nor 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 and tears,
      Both parts of an infinite plan-
      Let me live in a 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.
      And 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.
      Sam Walter Foss

and another------


If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too:
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream---and not make dreams your master;
If you can think---and not make thoughts your aim,
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same:.
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build'em up with worn-out tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings,
And never breathe a word about your loss:
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on!"

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings---nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much:
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And---which is more---you'll be a Man, my son! 
Rudyard Kipling
FIN....for now :)

Monday, June 4, 2012


This too is one of my favorite books. Written by Mary Shelley at the age of nineteen this book is a masterpiece. There is a reason it is a classic. It is amazing that a nineteen year old could have written such a work, but it would be no less amazing if she had been forty-five. Inspired by a dream and a challenge Frankenstein was born. This book is teeming with life lessons and insights. This book has taught me so much about life and people. I learn a lot from books. I tend to be an observational learner and books give me a chance to look into different aspects of life even if the characters are fictional. The characters may not be real but the things they go through can be, more often than not, paralleled to real life. I see many parallels to the teachings of the scriptures in this book. The way they handle situations and the consequences they suffer from their decisions can help one determine how one might act in a similar situation. So it is with Frankenstein. Though the monster he made by magical means may not exist, the ways in which he handled the entire situation are very real. This book has taught me the importance of love in the home, and love in general. It has taught me the importance of befriending those who may seem different but who are no less human than myself. It has taught me that vengeance leads only to destruction. How to find joy in any situation and how and why to forgive. I learned to have more compassion. I learned that there is no more noble a calling than to be a servant unto my fellow man.  I learned that, perhaps, sinking into utter despair can be a means by which we learn to experience incandescent joy at the simplest of things. That people are imperfect but their constant effort to do right is admirable. I love people " and I long to discover the motives and feelings of these lovely creatures [...] that it might be in my power to restore happiness to these deserving people [...] and I am rewarded for any such exertions by seeing none but happy, kind faces around me." Here are some of my thoughts and favorite quotes from the book. They may be muddled and excessive but I they are important to me and for that reason I wanted to share them. 

*Spoiler Alert

Frankenstein. He grew up in a loving home with wonderful parents whose " benevolent disposition often made them enter the cottages of the poor. This, to [his] mother, was more than a duty; it was a necessity of passion- remembering what she had suffered, and how she had been relieved- for her to act in turn a guardian angel to the afflicted." He "received a lesson of patience, of charity, and of self-control." He had a lovely friend (eventually wife) Elizabeth who "unfolded to him the real loveliness of beneficence and made the doing of good the end and aim of his soaring ambition." He was not perfect but none of us are. I like the way Mary Shelley writes about people. She paints them with such bright colors. Though descriptions of their physical appearances are scanty (I prefer this) one can almost see the shining beings walking through their gardens. Also she writes from a perspective of one who has suffered tremendously. She writes from one who sees all as infinitely better than themselves. It is beautiful and poignant. Frankenstein appreciates the beauty around him more deeply because he has lost everything. I don't agree that we have to lose something to appreciate it fully but nevertheless trial and strife if utilized can open our eyes and vivify the colors of our lives. It is like when I have been in my apartment all day with the blinds closed and suddenly my roommate opens the blinds. At first I shy away from the light but then I notice how much easier it is too see. How everything is illuminated. I am thankful for trials for this reason. They have helped me in innumerable ways. 

Frankenstein creates his monster. Then he runs from it. When it looked to him for guidance in a world it was unfamiliar too and that it had no choice to be in Frankenstein forsook his creation. He fled. His Creation, confused, alone, helpless and lost, began to roam the countryside. Eventually this creature (I do not think he had, yet, become a monster) came upon a cottage. An old blind man and his two children lived there. He observed them for many months wondering at their relationship and their love and their family. He wanted to be a part of it. It was one of his greatest desires. He was kindly, with the purest of intentions. He learned much about service from the children "for several times they placed food before the old man when they reserved none for themselves." The hope that they might accept him fostered kindness in him and his "present was tranquil, and the future gilded by bright rays of hope and anticipation of joy" sustained him through his many months in hiding. One day he decided to inquire of the old man if he could stay with them. He went down at sat at the old mans feet. The old man smiles at this creature, he could not see him so his judgement was stayed until the creature spoke. He was so full of love that the old man spoke to him fondly when the creature asked him how he might become part of a family, or how to make a friend. He told him "(man)Do not despair. To be friendless is indeed to be unfortunate, but the hearts of men when unprejudiced by any obvious self-interest, are full of brotherly love and charity. Rely, therefore, on your hopes; and if these friends are good and amiable, do not despair." 
"(creature)They are kind- they are the most excellent creatures in the world; but, unfortunately, they are prejudiced against me. I have good dispositions; my life has been hitherto harmless and in some degree beneficial; but a fatal prejudice clouds their eyes, and where they ought to see a feeling and kind friend, they behold only a detestable monster"
"(man)That is indeed unfortunate; but if you are truly blameless cannot you undeceive them?"
" (creature)I am about to undertake that task; it is on that account that I feel so many overwhelming terrors. I tenderly love these friends; I have, unknown to them, been for many months in the habit of daily kindness to towards them; but they believe that I wish to injure them, and it is that prejudice which I wish to overcome." 
The children were good. They performed many acts of service towards each other and loved each other deeply, but they were not perfect. Unfortunately the children's eyes were overcome by the creature's appearance and they tried to kill him. After that the creature became something of a monster. Hate had changed him into a vengeful and murderous being. Filled with jealousy and loneliness he began killing Frankenstein's family. "How much more a murderer who could destroy such radiant innocence!" Frankenstein became wroth and vengeful as well. Frankenstein and his creation both began life " with kindness and a love of virtue. [they] had begun life with benevolent intentions and thirsted for the moment when [they] should put them into practice and make [themselves] useful to [their] fellow beings." They had now become unrecognizable and distorted by their hate. Frankenstein's father tried to save him from this destruction by asking him to think "not brooding thoughts of vengeance against the assassin, but with feelings of peace and gentleness, that will heal, instead of festering, the wounds of our minds, enter the house of mourning. My friend, with kindness and affection for those who love you, and not with hatred towards your enemies." Yet Frankenstein could not be persuaded to let his creation live in peace. He and his creation met in the mountains and his creature asked for a wife that looked like him. His creation wanted a companion. Frankenstein refused and so the hunt began. After many, many years of hunting Frankenstein was nearly dead when a sailor found him. Suffering had changed Frankenstein. " His countenance became expressive of a calm, settled grief that touched to the heart. Even broken in spirit as he is, no one can feel more deeply than he does the beauties of nature. The starry sky; the sea, and every sight afforded by these wonderful regions, seems to still have the ability to elevate his soul from earth. Such a man lives a double existence: He may suffer misery and be overwhelmed by disappointments, yet when he has to retire into himself, he will be like a celestial spirit that has a halo around him, within which no grief of folly ventures." How can I see so noble a creature destroyed by misery without feeling the most poignant grief? He is so gentle, yet so wise; he is not so utterly occupied by his own misery but that he interests himself deeply in the projects of others." Loneliness can stifle a soul. Companionship can help ease much pain. To have no friends, is a tragic thing. Frankenstein had been surrounded by his friends and family yet he forsook the thing which he created because of it's hideous face. He forgot to take into account the love that creature could posses if nurtured. His creation became a monster. He was not a monster to begin with. Many times I wonder if his creation thought "I have no friend, when I am glowing with the enthusiasm of success, there will be none to participate in my joy; if I am assailed by disappointment, no one will endeavor to sustain me in dejection. I shall commit my thoughts to paper but that is a poor medium for the communication of feeling. I desire the company of [someone] who could sympathize with me, whose eyes would reply to mine." 

Frankenstein forgot to show his love. He forgot to nurture that which he created. He felt guilty and ashamed of his creature expressing only hate towards it. Imagine if Frankenstein's creation was but a child. Imagine if Frankenstein had acted in the same way towards his child. If he showed them no love. If he spoke only hateful words to them. Would the child have turned out differently than poor Frankenstein's monster? If no one showed any love towards this child how would he survive?  If all his attempts at love and charity were met by disdain and disgust would he not too shun the idea of love and turn towards that which he has only ever known? Hate, despair and selfishness. Frankenstein's feelings towards his monster can be paralleled to many relationships today. Hate fills the home. Relationships splinter and families decay. It may not be to this extreme but if Frankenstein had showed but a little more love towards that which he had brought into the world things might have been different. His wife, nephew and friend might have lived happily. Instead hatred passed from father to "son" and the destruction of it reached farther than both of them. Frankenstein's monster could have chosen to metabolize the evil by which he suffered so much. He could have continued on refusing to accept the hate that other's showed towards him. He could have decided to be different than them. Yet, he chose to turn his grief into hate. Neither party is entirely innocent. 

I hope if I meet a creature or a person like Frankenstein's monster, who may appear less attractive than most but with an innocent and pure countenance I can stay my judgments like the blind old man and appreciate that being. I hope I show love to all those I come in contact with regardless of their appearance. I have learned so much from this book about unbiased love. I am not perfect but I refuse to allow superficial judgements to chain me down. I will make mistakes. Maybe I may not try to kill an unfamiliar face but what if I flee from them? I refuse too. I refuse to leave them alone. I have been shown so much love in my life I wish to do the same for others. I hope I can have the courage and determination to follow through with my decision. If I mess up I will try again and again and again to be better.

This book has taught me far more than I can express. I love this book. Books, to me, are a guide. Although nothing can take the place of experience books can help one decided in advance the reactions one might have to different things and they open up new worlds of insight. They help one see from different perspectives. Good books truly are like best friends. They make you better, they help you understand, they add something to your life. 

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Positive Self-Esteem.

I taught my first lesson in Relief Society today. It was really fun....and terrifying. I learned so much from my RS sisters as we discussed the topic of my lesson. It was on the integral role of positive self-esteem in reaching and realizing our divine potential. 

Harold B. Lee defined Self-esteem as "righteous self-respect that might be defined as 'belief in one's own worth, worth to God and worth to man." I am LDS and I believe that we are all spirit sons and daughters of our Heavenly Father with a divine potential and purpose in this life. I believe that Jesus Christ not only believed we were worth dying for but that we were worth living for as well. His life was a life of happiness, sorrow, friendship,self-less service and undying faith in Heavenly Father.  I believe, also, that we will go on after this life into the eternities and I believe we don't have to go into the eternities alone. I believe that families can be together forever. 

I was wondering how I could improve my self-esteem (it is something I have struggled with for a long time) so, I studied it out and prayed about it and gave my lesson on it today and received a lot of wonderful input from my lovely Relief Society sisters. Teaching is not only to help those being taught but to also help the teacher as well. I was so excited for today because I knew that I was going to learn so much from my Sisters. Here is what we discussed mixed in with a few of my own thoughts.

We know that developing a strong relationship with our Heavenly Father can improve our self-esteem by leaps and bounds. We can do this by praying, committing to daily scripture study, applying the Atonement more often in our lives, visiting teaching, and being a friend and servant to others. Visiting Teaching and Relief society are also wonderful ways to serve one another and develop everlasting friendships. We can go to the Temple to receive strength, direction, comfort, and give service. Why do we do this? To find truth. To find true and everlasting happiness. To find hope.

We also decided that speaking positively and thinking positively about ourselves and others can make a huge difference in the way we see ourselves. If we can find something to be grateful for always then we can be happy even in the most trying of times. I believe happiness is a choice. It is easier to be happy in some places of the world than in others but nevertheless happiness is always waiting to be found and remembered. Sometimes we must suffer in the depths of despair to appreciate the exquisite joy the simplest of things can bring. I have found that, often times, some of the happiest people have suffered the most pain. But in the end it is not who has suffered more or in what way, it matters how they decided to view their suffering and whether or not they chose to grow and be made better because of it. If we continue to compare ourselves to others we may miss the unique gifts and talents the Lord has blessed us with. How to we think more positively? We can replace bad thoughts with good ones. Whenever you are thinking something that brings you or others down, stop immediately and think of something that does not involve the physical that brings you joy. Some quality you see in yourself or another that lasts far longer than a haircut or a clear complexion. Replace the scowls in the mirror with smiles. List the things you can do for others. Serve someone. Help someone achieve a goal they have. Encourage those trying to develop talents. Listen to those who need someone even if it may be inconvenient for you. Express appreciation often. Show your love. Do the dishes for your roommates or clean up a room in the house for your mom. Whatever it may be, let it be positive and of eternal and everlasting value. Be determined to love others and yourself. Be willing to be happy. Try to see yourself as Heavenly Father sees you. Do not miss out on all the beauty and light in the world. We may have to put up a fight against despair and darkness but we will win in the end if we are on the side of truth and light and though it may seem, at times, that the sun will never shine and a cloud hangs ever over you it is as Samwise Gamgee says to Frodo in the Two Towers, 
Sam: "It's like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger, they were. And sometimes you didn't want to know the end. Because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? But in the end, it's only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer. Those were the stories that stayed with you. That meant something, even if you were too small to understand why. But I think, Mr. Frodo, I do understand. I know now. Folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back, only they didn't. They kept going. Because they were holding on to something. 
Frodo: What are we holding onto, Sam? 
Sam: That there's some good in this world, Mr. Frodo... and it's worth fighting for. " 

We also came to the conclusion that supporting one another in all our righteous endeavors was one of the most important steps in assuring that our positive self esteem continues to grow. A recent study has shown that those with a work-out partner are 90% more likely to achieve their fitness goals and maintain them than those who do not. So it is with most things in life. A house does not stand for long if it has no support beams. A garden does not grow without constant care. We are here to help each other and to love one another. Religious or Atheist, male or female, poet or mathematician we are all in this together. We are all on the same team. I am not a fan of alienating people because they do not share my views and I hope others do not discriminate towards me either.  There is good in everyone and I am determined to see it. 

Something to remember is to always have patience with yourself. I have a motto that I live by and it is "Patience not complacency." I am wildly imperfect. I make mistakes everyday. That does not mean I have to accept that that is just the way things have to be. I refuse to accept that I cannot change for the better. I refuse to believe evil is permanent. That does not mean I hate myself for my imperfections. I pick myself up, brush myself off and start anew with increased vigor. It is hard too do. Often times it is a struggle to stand back up and keep moving (especially with increased vigor). Sam carried Frodo up Mount Doom when his burden became to heavy to bear alone. He may not have been able to bear Frodo's particular burden but he could "share the load." "Frodo wouldn't have gotten far without Sam." And so we too can place our troubles and our sorrows and our inadequacies on the Lord, Jesus Christ's, shoulders. Unlike Sam, however, Christ knows exactly how we feel. He has suffered every pain and experienced every joy each an everyone of us has had. He will help us when it seems that no one else can. Heavenly Father loves us each individually and knows our names. He is always with us. He is there to share our pain but also to share in our happiness. Sister Holland's book a quiet heart quotes " it is okay to be imperfect while striving for perfection." So you didn't check off everything on your to do list, you forgot to do the dishes, there was a misspelling in your final essay of the semester, and you didn't get to go for a walk with your dog. It is okay. You can try again. You can simplify, prioritize and reflect on the things that matter most. "For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." At the end of the day, instead of recounting all the mistakes you made focus on the things you did achieve that day. Go to sleep smiling. It's good for digestion. 

Try not to forget that others struggle in many different ways. Women may tend to struggle with their appearance whereas men may struggle more with feeling under appreciated in the work place or whether or not they are providing for their families adequately. Don't forget that many wonderful men, although they may not express it very often, need a boost. They need encouragement from those they love most. There are many amazing men in the world and they, like women, can use some support. Father's Day is coming up, but you don't have to wait for it to express love and gratitude towards the men in your life. Today, tomorrow and forever afterwards son can thank father, mother can thank her father, sister can compliment brother, husband can express love for his wife, father can express his love towards his children. 

I came across a story while reading Elder Marvin J Ashton's "The Measure of Our Hearts" and I would like to share it with you. I do not know the original author and I apologize sincerely. 

"One night a young idealist had a dream. He dreamed there was a new store in a nearby shopping mall. He went in and saw an angel behind a counter. Nervously, he asked what the shop sold.

“Everything your heart desires,” replied the angel.

“Then I want peace on earth,” exclaimed the idealist. “I want an end to famine, sorrow, and disease.”

“Just a moment,” replied the angel. “You haven’t understood. We don’t sell fruit here—only seeds.”

And so it is up to each and every one of us to decided to be better. Not better than our neighbor or our co-worker or our friend but to just, simply, be better than we were yesterday. It starts with each of us as individuals. If you want to learn how to cook, sew, play tennis or golf, be an awesome mother or father, if you want to love more deeply, if you want to serve more often, if you want to help others do the same, you can. You just have to take action. You just have to nourish the seeds until they grow. Take heart, for with billions of people on this earth and a Heavenly Father that loves you, you never have to go at it alone. "ask and ye shall receive; knock, and it shall be opened unto you (3 Nephi 27:29)" 

I believe you can do anything you set your mind to. Do you?

Friday, June 1, 2012

Peter Pan

This is by far one of my favorite books of all time. I love everything about it. J.M. Barrie was a genius even if he was a little mad at times.  I am determined to read this book to my children and recommend it to anyone who will read it. The introduction at the beginning, by Jack Zippes, states "It is a self-help book written by a doctoring author for those adults who have lost touch with their imagination and need to regain it through a re-introduction to children's imaginative play." I believe the best medicine is preventive medicine. So I love books like Peter Pan. I hope I never forget to imagine things. I hope I never become too serious.

*Spoiler Alert

Peter and Wendy and Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens are both extremely tragic. Even more so than being out of milk after eating a large piece of chocolate cake. Down-right lethal even. However, I am a huge fan of tragic movies and books. What can I say? My family has a morbid streak. It is not the pirates, Hooks vengeful mind or even when Wendy, John and Michael begin to forget their parents that is so tragic as all the things Peter is missing out on by not growing up. He forgets things. People, sorrow, love and many other things. I can see some reasons why Peter might have rejected social conventions. Adults failed him. So many adults are filled with sorrow and discontent. They forget to find joy in the small things. For "there is almost nothing that has such a keen sense of fun as a fallen leaf." They forget to revisit realms they use to fly through on a daily basis as children.  They are plagued by the "What-Ifs" of life. Peter just forgets. He had a mother once. He ran away. She waited for a very long time for her child to come back to her, to leave the island in Kensington Garden behind. Eventually Peter tried to return. He found bars on the windows and a new child had taken his place. Returning to the gardens he became a guide for lost children. "It makes him especially kind to the House-Swallows when they visit the island, for the house-swallows are the spirits of little children who have died. They always build in the eaves of the houses where they lived when they were humans, and some-times they try to fly in at a nursery window, and perhaps that is why Peter loves them best of all birds."  He helps children to love, trust and be loved in a tumultuous but nurturing environment (1).
After many adventures in Neverland Peter was invited to become part of Wendy's family. He refused. Sad but resigned to respect his wishes she, the lost boys, her brothers and her parents (we can't forget Nana) began to laugh (and bark) and play and "there could never have been a lovelier sight; but there was none to see it except a little boy who was staring in at the window. Peter had ecstasies innumerable that other children can never know; but he was looking through the window at the one joy from which he must be forever barred." He didn't have a family. That is the greatest tragedy of all.  If I had to brave this dangerous grown-up world, suffer tragedy after tragedy, work day after day in a black hole, be a victim of extreme physical pain and anguish nevertheless surrounded by the love of my family or never grow-up, live in a magical land and know no fear or sorrow but without a family I would chose family. I am unwilling to give up my ability to love. I don't believe we have to give up imagination to grow up. I have faith that this life doesn't have to be devoid of fairies, adventure or flight. "For to have faith is to have wings." I just think, the longer we live, the more adventures we can have. To love is an awfully big adventure in itself. "Perhaps we could all fly if we were dead-confident-sure of our capacity to do it as was brave Peter Pan that evening."

Try this.

"If you shut your eyes and are a lucky one, you may see at times a shapeless pool of lovely pale colours  suspended in the darkness; then if you squeeze your eyes tighter, the pool begins to take shape, and the colours become so vivid that with another squeeze they must go on fire. But just before they go on fire you see the lagoon. This is the nearest you ever get to it on the mainland, just one heavenly moment; if there could be two moments you might see the surf and hear the mermaids singing."

I want my children to always believe in fairies (I still do). I want them to see mushrooms and know that they are "fairy chairs that the servants have forgotten to clear away." To stare at flowers long enough to see them wink (as Fairies often do). I want them to hear the sighs of a thousand ancient stars. I hope they do. I want to see their first laugh break "into a million pieces and skip about" and take the shape of a fairy.  I hope they never kill their fairy with disbelief.

(1) - Jack Zippes
(2) - A whole bunch of quotes from Peter Pan
(3) - P.S. The 2003 version of Peter Pan directed by P.J. Hogan is one of my favorite movies. I recommend it :) It has a lot of quotes from the book :)

Wednesday, May 30, 2012


So, I work at Guru's. I love it. Being behind that stainless steal counter makes me feel like a VIP. It's like sitting in the front row at General Conference watching all the Apostles breathe. Well, maybe not that cool but close. Greeting customer's with a sunshine smile, filling water cups like a champ, running out orders using my super speed, dodging little children like a Jedi, apparating from place to place like HP fleeing the Death Eaters, swooping in with refills until various cups runneth over with bubbly deliciousness, rolling silverware like I invented it all the while pre-busing tables like it is going out of style.  Oh yes, I'm a Guru's waitress,well, warrior really. What goes through the heads of the Guru's staff as we tackle work like a Spartan against an entire Persian army? Well here is a glimpse into the life of the Guru's staff, more specifically, me.

I must have been born with a love(obsession) with working. If I didn't have to shower I would most likely live under the counter at Guru's. I go to work for fun. My friends all work with me and I like keeping busy. Simple as that. I am sure my co-workers are probably creeped out a bit by it but hey, we go way back. I mean way back, about 2 months to be exact. I eat breakfast at Guru's at least twice a week with some of my awesome co-workers. Yes, Guru's serves breakfast much to my delight. I go into work early to eat a delicious Spinach salad and then clock in. Let the fun begin. Many of us get uneasy when there is nothing to do. When all the ice is refilled, the drinks restocked,cups refilled, the bookshelf wiped down and a million little tasks are all done what is a Guru to do? Fidget. Count our drawer, watch water glasses like Frodo stares at The Ring at night. As soon as a glass looks even slightly empty I am there with my vessel of Holy Water ready to top you off. I love to organize too. If I can, I try to organize around the work space. Things can get pretty crazy but from 4-5pm Guru's is like a barren wasteland. When a customer walks in it's a mad dash to the cash register in a hopes to take their order. When a "regular" walks in it brightens my whole day. I make sure to remember their name because they are awesome and I love people. Sometimes we will have bands play and some nights we have Karaoke. On these nights taking orders can be like trying to solve a expert level Sadoku puzzle. A game of charades really. A really fun game of charades I might add. Clean up is magical. Have you ever seen Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium? Or Night at the Museum? Yeah, it's like that. Cups sing sweet lullabies to us, the coffee machine plays the blues, tables and chairs dance until, eventually, the Guru's staff has to pull out the Tranquilizer guns to calm things down. I've become fluent in Spoon Speak. Forks are a little pokey but the knives are downright dangerous. Napkins like to sleep so we don't worry too much about them. The huckleberry soda is the coolest kid on the block. The trash cans cheer us on in all our endeavors. Eventually we turn the lights off when all the pans have burnt out and the forks and knives are conspiring in their napkins. I drive home and dream of asking customers "chicken, steak or pork," ever excited to begin work the next day.

People wonder why I like my job. Well, it's magical. Like Disneyland or Dumbledore.