Sunday, June 27, 2010

Thy Hope, Thy Confidence

Weekend, In Pictures

Provo was GORGEOUS this weekend. I had a FABULOUS time, with many good friends, good foods, good fun, and all around good times.
Thursday to Sunday, in pictures and captions.

Many bus adventures. One meets many an interesting character on the bus. Stewart, if by chance you find this post, I hope your reunion with your newly-discovered biological family went

LaVell Edwards Stadium. Oh, how I love thee. Marching Band chores always make me happy. I was happy to see so many people again, and I'm SO excited for Band Camp. ^_^
Also, I love my cymbals, and I'm SO EXCITED for my cymbal section this year. Though, it should be noted that this picture is inaccurate, for Bro. Mac is ADAMANTLY against knuckle pads. LOVE ME some PLATES!

Watched "Alice in Wonderland" with a man-boy-guy-friend of mine (wow, haven't used that phrase in a while-- 327 girls, I *knew* there was a reason we invented it). It was fun; I'm not sure what I think of the movie. Not as good as I wished. But I still :-)
Also, we had some really tasty salsa. mmmmmmm.

Started work (first shift) at the BYU Creamery Outlet, where the original Creamery used to be. It was fun; my friend Stephen works there and it was nice to have a familiar face in a new place.

We were selling delicious tarts all day in chocolate and strawberry. I really, really wanted one. Luckily for me, there were TWO chocolate ones left at the end of my shift. I was happy. I carefully selected the prettiest tart, pulled out my purse, took it to the counter...

When my friend Matthew came up behind me to startle me. He succeeded, and the nearly-perfect tart went SPLAT, all over the counter (that I had just finished cleaning). Allison chastised him and Matthew felt bad (see his face in this picture) and offered to buy me a new one. I was laughing, and told him it was perfectly alright (surprisingly, it was-- I usually feel a mild pain at the worthless destruction of beautiful food. But I decided the laughter was worth the tart). I cleaned up the counter (after all, I work there), found a new tart--not as pretty, but still chocolate-- and we went outside to talk about the life, the love, the music, and the Kung Pao Chicken. AND they gave me a ride home.

We talked more, and I got ready for my date to the Lehi Roundup. For the record, I hate rodeos. I grew up in a rodeo town, and the booze'n'smokes lifestyle, the crude jokes, the pointless yanking, tying up, poking, etcetera of animals...not a fan. But, I can honestly say that THIS rodeo was tons of fun. I liked the events, the riders were good, the booze was contained/nonexistent enough that I didn't get a headache, and the company was fantastic ^__^. AND they played "American Rider" as the Canadian Air Force came out on their motorcycles. I didn't feel dirty at the end of the show. It was great. AND I wore a super cute, totally awesome cowgirl hat.

There was a dance after the rodeo. However, we got a little lost getting there, so there was a lot of driving and talking to and from and in between. We did get to the dance, though, and it was fun, but the DJ only played hip hop, except for two songs, and we were tired. So we danced for a while, then I decided we should leave (partially because we still needed to get back to Provo).

My date was a really 'sweet' guy and we stopped for ice cream sundaes on the way back. (And dropped by my grandfather's house, which was definitely NOT on the way home, but I realized I'd forgotten some important things so we went by. Note to future self: not necessarily a good idea to bring a date to Papa's house--he's a real tease, especially late at night when he knows he won't remember the conversation in the morning). However, again, date proved to be a really sweet guy and just took it all in stride. (Thank goodness). o.o

Saturday, I worked again, then came back and started reading "Elantris," by Brandon Sanderson. SUCH a good book, so far.
I was sitting on the porch swing, drinking an Izze, when my friend called and offered to help me with finance homework. I gratefully accepted, and went over and tried to understand varied information about home mortgages. O.O

Luckily, we made really tasty fake fajitas for lunch/dinner, as well, so that helped. :-) Then, we went back to my house, where we all gathered to hear where my friend Elise is going on her mission. Indiana: Indianapolis! She gave us hints, and the first one was a line from the musical "The Music Man," from the song, "Gary, Indiana," so I knew right off it was Indiana. Actually, that was a little misleading, because Gary, Indiana is actually in the Chicago mission. Oh, well.
Then, as it was Derrick's brother's birthday, we all went to Derrick's house for cheesecake and presents. Tori and Derrick (mostly Tori) made a BEAUTIFUL, *super*tasty cheesecake, that is much prettier than this picture of cheesecake, but we didn't get a picture of the real one, so this is all I have. They put trick candles on the cake, which was especially funny, because Jared tried to light the other candles with one of the trick candles. Haha.

Then I went home, which mostly means more driving and excellent conversation. I was reminded that God definitely does have a direct hand in our lives, especially those things that mean a lot to us. He will bless us with the happiness, courage and understanding that we need for a great many things. And while the future is nearly completely unknown, and a great many things are still up in the air, it is so wonderful to know that He has it under control, that He will help us in our choices, and to be reminded that

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Mine Angels Round About You

This is how we normally think of a priesthood blessing, at least I do.
Men in white shirts and ties or a suit, hands folded reverently,
eyes closed, calmly listening to the word of the Lord.

This week, my experience was much different.

I'm a little nervous to go into too much detail, because I don't want to distract from the message, but I feel like the full impact of the story is lost without some background. I feel like there's a good lesson here that needs to be heard. It's a little more personal, but here's the basic story:

I decided to visit Provo for Fast Sunday afternoon and Monday morning, because I a)missed everyone, 2)had some errands to run on campus, and C) I had no previous obligations.
After a thoroughly enjoyable Sabbath and a nice rest, I awoke Monday morning and prepared to go to the HBLL to pick up a book I've been waiting to read for MONTHS (you know how that goes). The Really Good Book that Started All This---->

On the way up Maeser Hill (south of the Benson) I suddenly had severe cramping in the left side of my chest. Now, before anybody panics, 1)I'm not dead, and b)these happen sometimes as a result of a different medical problem.
I was with my roommate. She helped me over to the grass, where I immediately sank to my knees. This cramp was worse than I'd ever had before, but I still assumed in would pass in a matter of seconds, as they usually do. I motioned my roommate to wave people on, as many had stopped to ask what was wrong. I assumed I would be fine, and I was extremely embarrassed to be causing such a scene.

After about a minute of extreme pain and next to no oxygen, I began to be concerned (and more than a little light-headed). These cramps had never lasted longer than 40 seconds, and usually only 10-15. This one had not only continued, but had become more and more painful (like, the worst Charlie Horse of your life, in your chest). I was not totally aware of what was happening outside the pain and trying to calm my muscles down, but I heard my roommate say "blessing."

I nodded, and probably babbled something or other.

She immediately looked to the paved path up the hill and saw two male students walking, presumably to class or work. I didn't see their faces. She asked if they held the priesthood, and attempted to explain the situation. I think they misunderstood at first (she first tried to explain with "muscle cramps" and they laughed, a little embarrassed. BOYS: "Muscle cramp" does not always equal "menstrual." Bah.)

She explained that it was the entire left side of my chest wall that was cramping, and that I could not breathe. I was aware enough to think "Wow, she's keeping it together really well....stupid boys."

They came quickly, and gave me a blessing. I felt bad for thinking they were "stupid boys," as I was suddenly aware that they were indeed righteous holders of the priesthood. Ruefulness at immaturity was replaced with gratitude that they were worthy, capable, and willing to give such service when I needed it.

I do not remember everything they said, as I was collapsed in on myself and trying so hard to regulate internally with an extreme lack of oxygen. But when they placed their hands on my head--me, a girl they did not know and may never see again--I felt the tightness on my lungs loosen. The pain was still there; the muscles still in tight knots that rendered me unable to move or stand--but I had air.

I felt the power of the Lord, and became aware of the things being said in the blessing. They did not know me, but the Lord does. He comforted me, both for physical pain and for other problems in my life (we all have them). I knew I would be Okay, and calm was re-affirmed in my mind and heart. It was a brief blessing, and the two students went on their way.

The pain did not subside immediately--it was many minutes before it even lessened-- but I had just enough of what I needed (calm, and air, and assistance) to get me through.

And that, wonderful friends, is the moral of the story. In my time of unanticipated, unsolvable pain, the Lord knew exactly what I needed. He sent His angels, in the form of my roommate, police and medical officers, a randomly-passing-by nursing student, and two worthy priesthood holders that I'd never seen before.

After the first crisis had passed, He knew I needed more help. Those angels came in the form of roommates and friends that assisted in transportation, came to visit, sent notes/phone calls/text messages, and provided the care I needed during my unexpectedly extended stay in Provo. I was physically incapacitated, and He not only sent me the "bare necessities" of survival, but sent friends to help comfort me and make my life so much happier during the last few days until I was able to return to Lehi.

The Lord will send us that comfort, and those tender mercies that improve our lives. The testimony was re-affirmed to me in a very physical, very see-able way. He knew I needed a re-confirmation of that testimony, and now I pass it on to you: That even when we experience trials, pain, and heartache, whether from something completely out of our control or brought upon ourselves, the Lord will give us what we need in our time of crisis. He will also send us tender mercies; little things to remind us of His love for us, and tokens of brighter days ahead.

He loves us, and He will never abandon us. He gave us access to His priesthood, and I have been so blessed to be in an area where so many worthy young men hold that priesthood and are willing to use it to help bless so many lives.

Never forget that. Never forget that He loves you.

Epilogue:To assuage any well-intentioned worries

I'm okay now; I have a really great doctor on the case with lab work and some meds. Physical therapist said life is to proceed as normal, which means I'm not an invalid, I'm just required to do some workouts and yoga-type stuff (oh, DANG ;-) ) Love you all!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Cool Guys and Dating Limbo

I know so many awesome guys. Seriously. I could make a list, titled "The Coolest Guys I've Met, Ever," and it would probably be really long. Which kind of defied the purpose of the superlative, I know, but sometimes, especially in cases like this, generalized superlatives are essentially useless.

And, with all of these amazing, coolest-guys-I've-met-ever guys around, I don't have a single one that I'm particularly interested in. Kind of weird. Not a bad thing, surely, but a little strange. I see my friends crushing on, dating, getting engaged to, and marrying quite a few of these CGIMEs, and there are quite a few CGIMEs that I look at and think "Okay, WHY are you not married?!", but none in particular that I'm interested in dating. Not that I would say no, of course, just...I don't know. It feels kind of strange. I'm not content, but nor am I mooning over one particular person, either. It feels like there's an empty space in my life, but no one quite fits in it. The sensation has been there for many years, waxing and waning at different times, but of late it merely grows stronger and stronger. It probably has a purpose, and in time I'll look back and say "Oh, THAT'S how it happens. Okay!", but it does me very little good in the short run. I love having guy friends, I love meeting people, I love going on dates with funny, cute, intelligent guys that like to have fun. I'm a huge flirt and I have a ton of fun. I definitely want to date someone; many people my age do. And's odd seeing so many of my friends pair off, or want to pair off with so-and-so, or maybe-we're-paired-off-but-I'm-not-really-sure...and I have nothing to contribute to the conversation. Not even a "Oh, hey, there's this guy that I want to notice me..." or anything.

And yet, the missing space grows more and more poignant.

I'm so glad today's Relief Society Lesson was on patience.

Maybe it wouldn't be so obvious if I was still associating with these friends on a regular basis. Living more or less socially isolated is not really helping the situation.

They say life's a gamble, and often make analogies to playing cards. The sharp difference is, in life, you can't just fold temporarily, then take the next round of cards. You have to just keep playing. My life is good. I just need more patience.

On a side note, people sometimes make dating much too complicated, which leads to awkwardness, which leads to damaged friendships. Sometimes, people need to just chill.
(You know, since I'm the dating expert here, as you can gather from the beginning part of this post. Probably shouldn't pay attention to me til I have a ring on my left fourth. ;-) )

Anyway. Not particularly eloquent, not looking for pity, just expressing a frustration I'm sure many people have experienced at some point.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Dionaea muscipula

I finally caved and got myself a Venus Fly Trap. Thus, the title of this post. It it so COOL! It's pretty small, but it totally defies the conventional ideas of the food chain. Love love love. I love exotic plants. My grandfather and I are putting in a greenhouse this summer; I hope to not only grow food in it, but get some non-Utah foliage. I like to sit and dream about traveling the world: the foods, the landscapes, the reptiles, the plants. And the people. And the languages. We live in such a cool place! The world is awesome, and we live in a time that lets us see PICTURES of it!! Even photos of under the ocean! Yes, many places we (and by we, I mostly mean people with money) can go to, but even places humans would never survive long term, we can get full color, high quality photos! And video! And sound clips! Aaah! This world is in a fallen state, and yet the Lord has blessed us with so much beauty and power and mystery. And now I have a little 3" by 10 centimeter piece of it, sitting on my desk, eating bugs. My life is so cool.

Also, I now have a date to the dance in June. *Yaysquee!!* ^____^ Not sure what our theme will be yet (a famous couple/pair), but it doesn't really matter. I'm so excited! This is going to be the best birthday EVER. Well, last year was great, too, but this year Eliza and Amy and Kyle and Matthew might all be there (maybe on Amy and Matthew, but for sure on the aforementioned en-gagged lovebirds), AND Caitlin (she made it super awesome last year) AND the Carlings AND the Batts AND La Casa Picante AND so many others!! **AND** I have a date. Usually a good thing, but especially as this date is with one of the coolest guys I've ever met, ever! I'll miss Emily DJing the dance, though. Meisha said she'd DJ this year, (and I'm excited for her to DJ, she has SUCH good taste in music!!) but I wish Emily was coming,too, cuz she makes parties awesome. But she went off and grad-eeated. [Are chemists naturally good DJs, or did I just end up with two abnormally cool ones?] And Amy&Ben, but they are off having summer adventures.There are obviously many a homo sapien missing this particular adventure, but they are moving on with life.

My ward is so great. My friends are awesome. I have a date with a great guy. And we're having a dance at my house.

My life is AWESOME.

As for year #22? Bring it on.