Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Boots Vs. Buddies Update

Money spent thus far: $54.57
Items mailed: 4

Mailing stuff to people is still so magical, does anyone else feel that? I put these little presents into their containers and just paused for a second, trying to wrap my head around the fact that the items in front of me would somehow move 2,110 miles west of here in three days' time, without my help, or any effort on their part. Neat!
Russel went with Chocolate over Vanilla for his Georgetown cupcake request. I went with Salted Caramel. We both agreed my decision was wiser.
Doesn't brother look fly in his new jeans and the new hoodie I bought him??
Other updates:

Guess what I'm doing this evening?


Please oh please let me survive... cuz I'm going with a great crew, and the stuff we have planned for the rest of the weekend assures me it's going to be a weekend to remember! I just might not be able to stay vertical for the second half of it...

This has nothing to do with anything, but I've thought this every day for like the past three weeks and I need to say it:

Country music is ON FIRE right now! 

Like, the quality of music coming out now rivals country's high point in 2002 (the debut of Faith Hill's Cry album, the greatest album to cook to in the history of the universe!!). Here's what I've been rocking out to in the Rover these days (Sorry I don't have Spotify to collate them for you):

Lee Brice, "Hard to Love"
 Eric Church's hilarious"Creepin'"
Hauntingly ironic Kacey Musgraves' "Merry Go-Round" (The first line is basically written for YSAs)
Breezy, happy, "Lovin' You is Fun" by Easton Corbin
Jerrod Niemann's bright and blissful "Shinin' on Me" (you can tell this man loves his musical craft. Also, his jawline=DAYUM!)
Janna Kramer tells a heartbreaking story that everyone who's ever been involved in ward drama understands in "Why Ya Wanna"
The magnificent Zac Brown Band, "Goodbye in Her Eyes," which I just gotta throw up here, it's too good to simply link:

Friday, October 5, 2012

{From June 10th, 2012} Letter to God

Last week RS Pres challenged us to write a letter to someone we love and compliment them. I chose God. I debated whether or not my letter would be appropriate to publish, but then I remember how many oodles of assertions are out there in the interwebs saying that God does NOT exist, and that emboldened me.


Dear Heavenly Father,

I bet when I get to the other side I will feel like I barely got to know you at all while here on earth. I like that you said as much in the scriptures: "For now we see through glass, darkly," "My ways are higher than your ways," etc.

Whenever I try to compose a mental image of thee, the picture that always comes to my mind is the one Mom imparted to me, the same one she holds in her eternally youthful heart: she believes in you as a creature-- no-- a Father, full of love. For her!

And so I feel. It hardly seems fair to know thee as a good and kindly Father, with all the unfairness in the world that makes so many people mad at you, but that is how you bring yourself into my remembrance. Thank you for that gift. And you know what? When I think of you as loving and tender towards me, like one of the kind, caring bishops or stake leaders from my youth, I am inspired to be better, do better, and think better. All because I feel you love me. Thank you.

When I think of the gift of your love, manifested in the brilliance and beauty of your son, and also in every kind word ever spoken to me by your other children, I feel a renewal of my commitment to thee. I love thee and admire thy beautiful works, and I get to partake of a little bit of thy love for thy wonderful children when I remember to serve them. What a work, to create such a family. I'm sorry for our failings, which cause you pain I cannot fathom. I thank thee for every good thing, and every trial, and every tender mercy thou has sent me. I feel so rich at my 26 years of age and I know there is much more to come.

We had a wonderful testimony meeting today. Almost everybody spoke of the hope, and comfort, which they received through thy son. I'm excited to follow him. I always feel a stab of fear after I assert things like that, so I always follow that declaration with the petition, "Please bless me with the courage and ability to do any part of thy will that I won't like." And then I believe- I know- that thou will not fail me.

You are a great God.

Your daughter,

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

{From June 12, 2011} Cameron

This week is a big week for me. I'm celebrating the 25th birthday... of my all-time favorite movie!!

It is, quite possibly, history's only perfect movie. And throughout the years, through high school and college and work, my love for Ferris Bueller's Day Off has grown stronger... more importantly, my love for Cameron has grown into something eternal. Cameron is droll, Cameron is sardonic, Cameron has problems... but Cameron rises up to face his foes, namely, his father, the owner of the Ferrari! Here is my favorite scene in the whole movie (sorry for the slight expletive) that no one else seems to appreciate, but gets me ROLLING every time. Again, I love Cameron so much:

Ok, it's hard to just pick one:

Monday, October 1, 2012

{From about 6 months ago} The Westernized Concept of Time

I feel the need to affirm, again, that my life is pretty great right now! I don't know why I am compelled to compose these rather serious contemplations of life on this blog at this moment. I guess it's just part of being empathetic. Ahem.

As I sit with a few friends and wait for the passage of time (and the concurrent easing of their trials), I am put in mind of the value of time. It's so absurd that when time seems lugubriously slow-- during the passages we would give anything to skip over-- we are told to press on and if possible, be philosophical enough to find value in that time. That is our special challenge, and in it there is joy to be found. Supposedly. 

No, not supposedly. Really! I've felt this before, felt the triumph of sheer, simple, survival. In one of my favorite moments in the thousands of pages of the Harry Potter series, near the end of the final book, Harry muses with keen dread on this phenomenon, too: 

Finally, the truth... Harry understood [...]. He felt his heart pounding fiercely in his chest. How strange that in his dread of death, it pumped all the harder, valiantly keeping him alive. But it would have to stop, and soon. Its beats were numbered. How many would there be time for, as he rose and walked through the castle for the last time, out into the grounds and into the forest? ... As he did so he felt more alive and more aware of his own living body than ever before. Why had he never appreciated what a miracle he was, brain and nerve and bounding heart?

In a real-time situation of gravity (aka, in the wake of a nasty break-up :), my friend Stephanie once blogged about her similar, sudden appreciation of the sensations in the tips of her thumbs. She'd never realized how sensitive and dutiful they were before, these little ovals that sent her signals, and pumped tiny amounts of blood under their surfaces, every day of her life for the past 20+ years. Miraculous! 

She, like many others, found that only when life has crashed down around you, and you are sent scattering into every part of your being looking for truth, only then do you find immense meaning in simply being alive. And hopefully, eventually, you find happiness and salvation in that discovery.

My best friend's uncle is battling with cancer, and documenting the journey with the wry humor of a seasoned lawyer/father. On his blog there appeared a poem relating to the desire to identify and reach out to the ethereal, the timeless, the meaningful, during trials:

Of time you would make a stream upon whose bank you would sit and watch its flowing.

Yet the timeless in you is aware of life's timelessness,

And knows that yesterday is but today's memory and tomorrow is today's dream.

And that that which sings and contemplates in you is still dwelling within the bounds of that first moment which scattered the stars into space.

Who among you does not feel that his power to love is boundless?

And yet who does not feel that very love, though boundless, encompassed within the centre of his being, and moving not from love thought to love thought, nor from love deeds to other love deeds?

And is not time even as love is, undivided and spaceless?

But if in your thought you must measure time into seasons, let each season encircle all the other seasons,

And let today embrace the past with remembrance and the future with longing.   

Interestingly, the concept of being owned by time, secured in its straits, is limited to the Western world. Did you know that? Until this weekend, I didn't know that. In this month's book club book, The Shadow of the Sun, by Polish adventurer Ryszard Kapuscinski (a challenging, informative travelogue of his 30+ years of interaction with African peoples), he describes the African conceptualization of time thus:

Africans apprehend time differently. For them, it is a much looser concept, more open, elastic, subjective. It is man who influences time, its shape, course, and rhythm (man acting, of course, with the consent of gods and ancestors). Time is even something that man can create outright, for time is made manifest through events, and whether an event takes place or not depends, after all, on man alone. If two armies do not engage in a battle, then that battle will not occur (in other words, time will not have reavealed its presence, will not have come into being).
Time appears as a result of our actions, and vanishes when we neglect or ignore it. It is something that springs to life under our influence, but falls into a state of hibernation, even nonexistence, if we do not direct our energy toward it.
The absolute opposite of time as it is understood in the European worldview.
In practical terms, this means that if you go to a village where a meeting is scheduled for the afternoon but find no one at the appointed spot, asking "When will the meeting take place?" makes no sense. You know the answer: "It will take place when people come."
The author points to the value placed on collectivism by Africans as integral to this way of thinking. On their own, Africans would become lost: starve, be attacked, or die in the vast tangle of their massive continent. Thus they rejected the individualism so highly praised by Western society (America in particular), and instead found comfort passing their days and years as a group, a family. I like this idea. I recognize the fact that the spazmodic moments of time that you really wish you didn't have to go through are eased primarily by one great gift: companionship. Together with God, with friends and family, and the comfort of your own pulse in your fingertips, you carry on.

Prologue to a new project: "Breaking out of the Draft folder"

I found out that blogger keeps all your drafts in their own special folder, and I had a bit of fun going back and reading posts that I'd pulled from publication. Most were pulled because I'd felt they were too open, or too real, to keep up. Looking back at them months later, I actually enjoyed most of them (although, some WERE pulled just because they were total crap). I decided to publish a few of the better open and thoughtful ones at long last. GET READY.

On a related note, yesterday I was talking to my friends Megan and Rachel about the art of blogging. Megan, see the list on the right to find a bunch of DC people's blogs to stalk. :) Rachel said yesterday that she doesn't want to create a blog for the very reason I listed above; she's afraid she's too open. Now, Miss Rachel is one of the most interesting people I know out here: a deep thinker, with incredible style, and a passionate heart. The girl is a linguistic anthropologist, for heaven's sake! She researched the foundations of language! It's mostly for her that I put up the following old pieces, not to persuade her to either make a blog or not, but because her words inspired me to take a deeper look at what I wrote when I was most open. I remember some of these being so fun and/or cathartic to write, and I see now that the act of writing them helped me greatly to coalesce and coagulate my thoughts about certain topics I was very passionate about at the time. In that way, my blog has really been a boon to my personal progression. What I'm really trying to say in this prologue of a post is: I'm glad I'm a writer. That is all.

Gethsemane, by Richards.
Oh, and I found this RIDICULOUSLY good and genuine article by the only Mormon artist I really care for, J. Kirk Richards. You all should read it, especially if you have any kind of opinion on nudity in art:

WHY ARE YOU PAINTING THOSE NAKED LADIES? Or, What makes me think I can go to a nude drawing session on Saturday and then go to church on Sunday?