Monday, November 12, 2012

"Where is your favourite place to blog?"
(NaBloPoMo, November 12, 2012)

No question. No contest.

My bed. It's so big and warm and comfy. It's my favorite place to do everything, really (making me sound incredibly sketchy and/or lazy)...

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

the good rain

"Talk about the last compliment you received."

Much to the chagrin of my friends and family, I do not accept a compliment well. It's one of my biggest challenges--to be more accepting and believing of others' good feelings about me. Negativity and criticism is so much more believable to me.

That being said, I really did NOT want to blow this prompt off. But honestly, I am wracking my brain and I cannot remember the last compliment I received.

Maybe it's because I've had a lot of post-election criticism thrown at me today. Maybe it's because one of my primary friendships has fallen by the wayside in the last 3 days. Whatever the reason, my brain is muddled and distracted, and I can't recall anything.

Instead, I'll share something related (and awesome) from Institute last night.

(Yes, I was paying attention...while refreshing election results on my phone, including the call when Ohio came in and the world exploded.)

Anyway. The parable of the sower. How seeds were scattered in many different places: the way side, stony places without much earth, among thorns, and good soil. So we spent a good amount of time talking about soil and the implications of that representation.

What kind of soil is your heart? And how are you farming it? Do you have stones of pride or other blocks in your way? What kind of thorns are you allowing to grow in your heart? Many farmers, literal or otherwise, fail by not paying attention to the soil.

We finished the class talking about rain--many of us have good "soil" but are thirsting for rain. Service, love, or praise from others. That helps those seeds grow. Without rain, even the best soil can fail. So I left class resolving to find ways to better bring those good rains, that essential water, to people.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

"If you were President of the United States, what would be your first act in office?"

Oddly enough, election reform.

Maybe it's just on my mind a lot since I've been watching the election for the last few hours. (Yeah, I know...I couldn't stay away as much as past-self wanted to hide)

I think the electoral college is not serving it's purpose anymore. We don't have the final popular vote count, but right now it stands at 50-49 split, and yet the electoral count is 303-206. It just makes no sense to me.

When you are able to win the multiplicity of the electorate by barely eeking out a win in the popular vote...that sets up a dangerous situation. It becomes very possible that one could win the Presidency without winning the popular vote. For a small moment, it looked like that had happened this year with President Obama.

Not to mention, oh yeah IT ACTUALLY HAPPENED IN 2000.

It just seems silly and a misrepresentation of the US population. So yeah, electoral college = out or reformed.

Almost as important, I would reform or eliminate the use of Super PACs and reform election spending. It's ridiculous how much money was spent on this election...and really, to no effect.

We continue to talk and stress over the national deficit, declining schools, health care, military spending, the economy in general...and that amount of money would've made a dent in SOMETHING.

No, it would not have erased our national debt. But I feel very strongly it could've been used more productively. Those billions of dollars were spent on fueling a media circus, a dog-and-pony show...the worst type of reality entertainment.

How does that help the overcrowded classrooms? Or the ignored veterans? How does that help restart the economy? All of these problems will still exist when the sun rises tomorrow. And our political climate will remain the same--the money couldn't even change that.

And luckily, that is the last politically charged prompt NaBloPoBo has this month...I can now step off the soapbox where I am so uncomfortable standing.

Monday, November 5, 2012

red, white & blue? I pick white.

"What are your thoughts about tomorrow's election in the United States?"
(NaBloPoMo, November 5, 2012)

(Oh hey, it's just me...the Donkephant)

Honestly, I just want to hide under a rock for the next 2 days. Or my bed. My bed is warmer and softer.

Ok sold, I pick the bed.

But seriously, the upcoming election makes me ill. I am SO not looking forward to the inevitable gloating from one party...and the sullen, bitter, and vitriolic response from the other.

And I'm just talking about my Facebook news feed. (Yeah, that place is a cluster of madness. I just don't have the heart to delete people, no matter how unkind or crazy they are...)

Not to mention the bastion of craziness: talking heads on the television. I have yet to find what positive contributions they make to the American political system. Yeah, I will be avoiding the TV for a few days after the election.

Back in 2008, I felt very similarly. Disheartened with the level of political discourse and education in the United States. I was just more passionate about it back then. Now I've grown increasingly hopeless that it will change, so I've stopped speaking up as much.

It is really no fun being moderate or independent. Trying to balance viewpoints and make decisions outside of party...while still trying to remain kind to not as fun as extreme emotions, rhetoric, funny memes, and hyperbole.

I just want us to be better. So much better. I want us to be able to disagree, but still remain charitable and calm.

I want us to be able to work together. I want politicians and citizens to look beyond rigid partisan boundaries when cultivating solutions. I have loved how Governor Christie and President Obama have worked together to help rebuild post-Sandy for NJ residents. If only every policy and government action could be like that.

I honestly have no idea how things will shake out tomorrow night. I was fairly confident in my 2008 predictions, but this time around I am far more uncertain.

I do know though, as the country map lights up little sections of red and blue, neither will represent me. I choose white instead. The color of peacekeepers. White light is created when all other colors are combined--I'd like to think that's where I lay politically, a combination of many viewpoints.

And whatever the outcome, I hope the responses will exceed my expectations. 

Friday, November 2, 2012

if my heart was a house, you'd be home

"If you could live anywhere, where would it be?"

I have been so fortunate to spend many years of my life in beautiful places.

I've spent 9 years living in the Willamette Valley of Oregon, 5 years in rural New England, vacationed in Hawaii & Canada, and driven across the US twice.

Hawaii was absolutely gorgeous. That's obvious. You can't beat the landscape and island life of Kauai.
I'd be crazy not to want to live there.

If I had to pick where I feel the closest connection to the land, it would be rural New England, HANDS DOWN. Specifically Hanover/Dartmouth/Upper Valley. I just can't even describe the feelings I have when I'm there. Just instant happiness. 

Palmyra is pretty fantastic too. That close to the Sacred Grove? YES PLEASE.

And if it was possible, my dream location would be Disneyland. I know, you're incredibly shocked ;)

But as I've gotten older and spread my heart across the earth, I've realized that my ideal location is less about a specific place...and more about who is there. There are too many amazing places on the earth to choose JUST one. And really, they mean nothing without the people I love.

Honestly, Dartmouth isn't that great without my best friends from college. Disneyland isn't magical without others to share it with.

I could honestly live in a shack with all of my loved ones and be happier than in a mansion all alone. 

So if I could live anywhere, it would be the place where all of my family and friends were gathered together. I will probably never have that in this life, but it's something I look forward to in heaven.

To me, the celestial kingdom means never having to say goodbye. Never having to be apart. That's what I'm looking forward to.

And it'll be even cooler than Disneyland :)

Thursday, November 1, 2012

false measurements

"Tell us your favourite quotation and why."
(NaBloPoMo, November 1, 2012)

Oh boy. I mean, quotations are great. I just feel like with the advent of social networking, image bookmarking, Pinteresting, etc., we've become an incredibly cliche society...relying on the words of others to express ourselves, to make points, feel inspiring (and inspired)...

However, I have found great value in the words of those much more clever than I.

And after I joined the Church 5 years ago, my life was suddenly FLOODED with a huge sources of quotations. Prophetic counsel, scriptures, General Conference...more quotations than I could possibly ever hope to memorize in this life.

It's been wonderful, really.

If you know me at all, you know I never have TRUE favorites. I can never pick just one than I love more than any other.

So today, you get the quotation I've been thinking about most on this particular day.

I decided to stick around at the Institute for an extra hour and sit in on a class I don't normally attend.

We talked about false measurements: how we use so many different standards (grades, clothing sizes, money, education, etc) to somehow determine our worth.

But really, when we return to the Father, we could never present those silly things as proof that we're important. That's we're SOMETHING.

It's funny how we use all these measurements to tell if we're good or bad, better or worse than the next person. And nothing about it gives us lasting joy.

We compare, find that we are somehow inferior, and that obviously sucks and helps nothing. Or we compare, finding ourselves the "superior," which also profits us nothing long term.

Calling someone stupid doesn't make me smarter. Calling someone fat doesn't make you thinner.

Pointing out others' imperfections does not make you perfect.

We look externally for worth. We think we are here on earth to somehow acquire value. Little do we know: we came to earth with our value already intact. 

True love cannot be felt by a heart that uses these false measurements. 

And true joy cannot be felt by a heart in the throes of comparison.
It's been so long. SO LONG.

I think about the bloggity occasionally. And feel only slightly bad at my negligence. I've been ridiculously busy (in the very best of ways) and my purposes for writing have all but dwindled.

But I'm trying to be better.

I was reminded yesterday that NaBlogPoMo was starting today...and in some Halloween-candy-binge-sugar-high, I thought it would be a great idea to commit to.

Also, aiming to do another round of Grateful Grensdays this month. So yeah, double commitment.

Let's do this.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Reason #29824514 I want to join a convent (or just run away and live on an island alone): I was recently confronted by a guy--he told me how he was desperately in love with me, and had been for almost a year. He literally had our whole future and marriage planned out. He said I completely shattered his heart in a way no one has before and that he was unsure if he could get over me...and if he did, it would be the hardest thing he'd ever done.

le sigh. I will never be good at this kind of stuff. I hate to say that this isn't the first time I've had this experience. (Any advice on how to still remain a member of society while not leaving broken hearts in my wake is incredibly welcome.)

Anyway...on to more fun and wonderful things. Like this week. It was BOMB.

*Played legit Laser Tag for the first time--it was so intense. Definitely a huge 40 min cardio workout. We all left the arena completely drenched in sweat!
*Went to the always epic VooDoo Donut at midnight...when all good donuts are to be had. You MUST get the Bacon Maple Bar. 
*How I felt after said Laser Tag and donuts...
*Look at who I found at Voodoo!!!! Seeing that picture made me so stupidhappy

More wonderful things and people I love. :)
They keep me from joining that fantasy convent when things get awkward.

Some lessons:
-Although I know I can be apparently gets REAL bad during things like laser tag. I'm grateful my friends are equally as competitive and also forgiving. 
-Related: I legitimately stress out if I think my team will lose. Luckily we won all 8 rounds by a huge margin.
-I am much better at aiming a fake gun in real life than I am when I play Halo or Call of Duty.
-One should not eat copious amounts of sugar after running around. 

Life is great. :)

Sunday, June 3, 2012

What a Sunday.

Stake Conference
A powerful and packed baptism
Studying the Atonement
Spontaneous BBQ pow wow and playing at Bishco's house
Long car convos
Beautiful wonderful people
Coming to better understand my divine worth
Learning to trust God

Every Sunday isn't like this...but man, when they come, I am SO.GRATEFUL.

This is happiness.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Music Monday: Ships in the Night

My love for Mat Kearney knows no bounds.

Saw him live 2 summers ago in Eastern Oregon and it was fantastic. I love every single song he comes out with...which is not something I can say about many musicians.

Even better: he's from my hometown! So legit.

Anytime I hear his music, I'm instantly happier. If it was possible, I'd want him to play at my wedding.

The song is off of his newest album and is just starting to gain some traction and popularity with a few radio outlets.

love love.

Like ships in the night
You keep passing me by
We're just wasting time
Trying to prove who's right
And if it all goes crashing into the sea
If it's just you and me
Trying to find the light

Like ships in the night letting cannon balls fly
Say what you mean and it turns to a fight
Fist fly from my mouth as it turns south
You're down the driveway... I'm on the couch

Chasing your dreams since the violent 5th grade
Trying to believe in your silent own way
Cause we'll be ok... I'm not going away
Like you watched at fourteen as it went down the drain

And pops stayed the same and your moms moved away
How many of our parents seem to make it anyway
We're just fumbling through the grey
Trying find a heart that's not walking away

Turn the lights down low
Walk these halls alone
We can feel so far from so close

Like ships in the night
You keep passing me by
We're just wasting time
Trying to prove who's right
And if it all goes crashing into the sea
If it's just you and me trying to find the light
Like ships in the night
You're passing me by
You're passing me by
Like ships in the night

And I'm at the airport waiting on a second plane
Had to pack and you had cramps and I was late
Headed to a red carpet they won't know my name
Riding in silence all that we wanna say

About to board when you call on the phone
You say "I'm sorry. I'll be waiting at home"
Feels like we're learning this out on our own
Trying to find a way down the road we don't know

Turn the lights down low
Walk these halls alone
We can feel so far from so close

Like ships in the night
You keep passing me by
We're just wasting time
Trying to prove who's right
And if it all goes crashing into the sea
If it's just you and me
Trying to find the light
Like ships in the night
You're passing me by
You're passing me by
Like ships in the night

And I'm gonna find my way
Back to your side
And I'm gonna find my way
Back to your side

Like ships in the night
You keep passing me by
We're just wasting time
Trying to prove who's right
And if it all goes crashing into the sea
If it's just you and me
Trying to find the light
Like ships in the night
You're passing me by
You're passing me by
Like ships in the night

Monday, May 21, 2012

Music Monday: Karmin

I've been following Karmin for awhile now. I love them. This is one of the first big covers they did and it took OFF. They both studied music in Boston and are legit trained musicians in their own right.

Plus man, that girl is amazing. Pretty sure she has bottomless lungs.

(When I'm alone, I like to pretend I can keep up, but she beats me everytime. I need to work on my rapping skillz.)

Now they have their own songs and signed with a label, taking over the radio. I couldn't be happier for them!

But even with all the new stuff, this is still my favorite. :)

Sunday, May 13, 2012

"There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear..." 
(1 John 4:18)

I know many people say this.

But really, my mom is THE best.

She really is. I come from some dang good stock.

She's my best friend. My biggest cheerleader. She loves me unconditionally. She's my favorite traveling companion. When life gets hard or people are mean, she's my pick-me-up. She reminds me of my inherent worth. She gives me strength and courage when I am seriously lacking.

And if you've met my mom, you know how hilarious and fun and ridiculous and cute she is. She loves to dote on all my friends.
She's also super stylish.

And makes some of the best faces in pictures....

She is one of the strongest women I know. It's crazy all the things she's lived through. And yet, she is still positive and kind to everyone. She taught me all the fundamental values that make up who I've become. They say you can't pick your family...but if I could, I'd still pick her!

{ my very favorite picture of her :) }

I just love her so much!

It's so encompassing and sometimes I feel like my heart is going to explode. 

I'm so grateful that God sent me down here to her and that we could travel together on this great journey of life. Our life hasn't been perfect and full of sunshine and's not supposed to be. It's definitely been hard. But it's been that much easier having her in my corner. I've been so grateful to help her and be with her for the last 12 months especially.

We were meant to be together here on Earth. It was no arbitrary assignment.

I can't imagine my life without her. I'm so grateful to have her here at this time during so many milestones of my life--my heart aches for those without parents during their growing and young adult years. I get to make so many memories with her and those are worth more than anything I possess.

At some point, we will part for a season. But how great is the plan of happiness! We get to see all of our loved ones again! We were together here on Earth and will be together in the eternities. It is so beautiful.

Happy Mother's Day to the greatest lady in my life :)

Monday, May 7, 2012

Music Monday: Heartbreak Warfare

Up until yesterday, I really had no idea what song I wanted to post today.

On the drive home last night circa 2am, this gem came on in the car. My brain was hit with a ton of memories/happy feelings/whathaveyou.

I have very distinct memories of driving home from work at midnight--this song was very often playing since it had just been released that year. Sister and I went to see him play live on his Battle Studies tour when he came to Boston.

Without fail, his music makes me happy.

I love watching the video because it makes me feel like I'm back at his concert last year.
The countdown, the B&W, exactly the same.

(And in case the video doesn't work...)
Heartbreak warfare by John Mayer on Grooveshark

Lightning strikes
Inside my chest to keep me up at night
Dream of ways
To make you understand my pain

Clouds of sulfur in the air
Bombs are falling everywhere
It's heartbreak warfare
Once you want it to begin,
No one really every wins
In heartbreak warfare

If you want more love,
why don't you say so?
If you want more love,
why don't you say so?

Drop his name
Push it in and twist the knife again
Watch my face
As I pretend to feel no pain

Clouds of sulfur in the air
Bombs are falling everywhere
It's heartbreak warfare
Once you want it to begin,
No one really ever wins
In heartbreak warfare.

If you want more love,
why don't you say so?
If you want more love,
why don't you say so?

Just say so...

How come the only way to know how high you get me
is to see how far I fall
God only knows how much I'd love you if you let me
but I can't break through it all.

It's a heartbreak...

I don't care if we don't sleep at all tonight
Let's just fix this whole thing now
I swear to God we're gonna get it right
If you lay your weapon down
Red wine and Ambien
You're talking shit again, it's heartbreak warfare
Good to know it's all a game
Disappointment has a name, it's heartbreak...heartbreak.

It's heartbreak warfare.
It's heartbreak warfare.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

for the beauty of the earth

I love living in places where the seasons are so striking. It helps me better appreciate the beauty and gift of this wonderful planet.

But of all the season changes, the arrival of spring makes my spirit sing the most. 

I live in a gorgeous place. The last two weekends are evidence of that.

Our ward went on a fantastic trip to the Portland Temple on a lazy Saturday afternoon :)

{ Our new Visitor's Center is pretty dang fantastic }

{ favorite moment. lazy warm spring sun low in the sky }

As per tradition, we also ventured back up north to bask in the splendor of the Tulip Festival. My favorite flower = absolute must activity.

We went last year during a very bright and sunny day, spending hours at the farm. I took tons of pictures then, so I didn't feel the need to make an effort this year to do the same. 

The lighting and sky were much different this year, so I couldn't help taking a few from my iPhone while we traipsed around :)

(90% of these are untouched--I was really impressed with what little Jeeves accomplished)

 { just love all the long huge rows. the fields feel never-ending }

{ I really love how they always plant these two next to each other. I love the sharp contrast between the yellow and dark purple }

{ i always love their flowerbeds stuffed to the brim. my ideal garden design }

{ one of my favorite shots }

{ another favorite shot. I love the striated flowers }

{ 2nd favorite shot. favorite landscape. The cloudy sky was an amazing background and contrast } 

{ absolute favorite moment. close up, flower color, gorgeous sky }

I adore how beautiful it is, whether bright and sunny or darker and cloudy. Morning, afternoon or evening, this earth can still stir me to the depths of my heart. How can you not be moved by it?

For the beauty of the earth,
For the glory of the skies;
For the love which from our birth,
Over and around us lies...
For the beauty of each hour,
Of the day and of the night;
Hill and vale and tree and flow'r,
Sun and moon, and stars of light...
For each perfect gift of thine,
To our race so freely given,
Graces human and divine,
Flowers of earth and buds of heaven...

What a wonderful gift this earth is.

Spring, most of all, reminds me how much God loves me.

Monday, April 30, 2012

spring break spoilage

Spring break was glorious.

We spent most of it on the coast--shopping, eating, and relaxing.

Trusty Jeeves was there to document it.

{ one of my favorite places to hit up in Florence. Been going there since I was kid, before we even moved to Oregon. }

{ drove about an hour north and stayed at an awesome golf and spa resort--our little cabin balcony's overlook. I'd never get tired of that. }

We spent the last day relaxing in the spa. Super swanky. I was highly spoiled.
{You wait in this hearth room overlooking the bay before your massages. There's also a hug fire pit in the middle of the room }

{ awesome hydrotherapy pool overlooking the bay. I loved how it was outdoors--you get the coolness of the young spring air while sitting in a giant heated pool. It's like the classiest bathtub you could have. Definitely our favorite part post-massage }

{ Women-only heated pool. They told us we didn't have to wear clothes anywhere on the women's side of the spa, including the pools. No one else was there, but I still couldn't bring myself to run around in the nude. I know, I'm a pansy. }

{ robe time post-swim }

Once we got our fill of the spa, we took a little walk & picnic to the beach
{ path around the bay to get to the ocean }

{ absolutely gorgeous day on the coast. wonderfully warm and dry. deserted beach }

{ mine }

{ tons of seafoam everywhere }

{ I love finding little beach moments like this :) I always love to create stories about where these trees came from and how they ended up on our beaches }

Our beach day was the same day as Nanny Jo's birthday. She would've been 85 this year. We decided to bring her to the ocean to celebrate.

love love. life is great. :)