Monday, August 23, 2010

So Long, Sweet Summer

Age Six Racer by Dashboard Confessional. Possibly the greatest summer song of all time.

Fictionist, Making April, Third Eye Blind, Sherwood, Steel Train, Priscilla Ahn, Allred, Vedera, Neon Trees, Relient K, Nick Hexum of 311, and last but not least, Chris Carrabba of Dashboard Confessional.

What do all these fabulous bands have in common? I was graced by their presence this past Saturday Aug 21st at the Candlelight Serenade Acoustic Festival in Lehi. It was an all day event and I LOVED it. The tickets were a little pricey but it was for a really good cause. It was a benefit concert for Child Rescue, which is an organization dedicated to combating child sex slavery and exploitation in North America. I didn't realize this was such a big issue in the US. You can check out or for more details.

The concert was the bomb. I'd seen Relient K before in May when they came to SLC with Paramore, but I can never get enough of Matt Theissen and his beautiful voice and mad piano skills. All the artists had acoustic sets and it was so neat to hear some of my favorite songs played a little more mellow and in person. When he played Therapy, it was a totally different feel from the album version, but in a good way. SO MUCH TALENT! Anyways, sorry for the sketch picture quality, an iPhone can only do so much from so far away.

It was a different experience for me to see Third Eye Blind. I feel like their music has just been around forever. They have some really excellent songs and the singer was a pretty good entertainer. They played Motorcycle Driveby and I pretty much died from happiness. That song kills me just listening to it normally, much less live, 30 feet away from the band. And of course Semi-Charmed Life was a crowd favorite :)

Christopher Ender Carabba. What a beautiful man. What beautiful music. What beautiful talent. I had tickets to see Dashboard Confessional last November, but the show was cancelled the day before the performance because of some family issues or something. Dashboard is on my top 10 list of favorite bands ever. Possibly top 5. I have every song they've ever released, including EP's. It has taken me forever to get around to going to one of their concerts, but man oh man it was SO worth it. By the time his set came around, it was too dark to get any real pictures, but here goes nothing.

In other news, the 'New Spice' guy from the 'BYU Study Like A Scholar' YouTube video was one of the announcer dudes and I got my picture taken with him! Nice guy and SUPER funny. He said he felt weird that everyone knew who he was, so he was acting like I was the famous one.

In OTHER other news, I got a game-worn BYU football jersey signed by the kicker, Mitch Payne! You guys are probably like, woopdy-doo, a kicker signed a shirt. But this guy was in my brother's ward when my brother went to BYU and Mitch was a really nice, down to earth guy and i've always kind of respected that about him. Not all college football players are like that.

In OTHER OTHER other news, I got to see an old friend, Zack Konecki from my California days. His mom and my mom were in the Stake YW's Presidency together back in the day. We were good pals then, but I haven't seen him in literally a decade. My how things have changed. He has already graduated from high school and is enrolled in classes at a local college, and will have completed his bachelor's degree at BYU Hawaii before he even goes on his mission. What a stud! He's the one that's not a girl. And his mom's the one that's not my mom.

PS here's the New Spice video :)
"It's not about how full of days your life is, but rather how full of life your days are."

Saturday, August 21, 2010

To my fellow 2011 seniors...

I guess we made it
Or at least we made it this far
And it all looks smooth from here

Oh and in a future day
There may be waves
But I must say
The skies have never looked so clear

So I guess we made it
Cuz it ain't far to go from here

Sunday, August 8, 2010

My Darling, Believe Your Voice Can Mean Something

Title from the song Futures by Jimmy Eat World. I've been on a Jimmy kick lately. I'd recommend it to anyone :)

Things that have been chopped:

1- Rain Forests

2-The arms of the dudes at the Waters of Sebus after Ammon was done with them.

3-My Hair :)

Thursday, August 5, 2010

It's Like Walking In Sunlight

I have a new found respect for those who do manual labor. Here's why.

I posted about how we are going to Tijuana in December. Well, that takes money. And we get to earn it. One of the ways to earn it is to rip out these huge railroad ties in our backyard that have been there since the dinosaurs roamed around. I never knew how much effort it took to remove ancient pieces of wood. One of the pictures are of the ties loaded into the trailer to be taken away forever. I don't know if i've ever had dirt in so many places where i've never wanted to have dirt. The worst part is hauling them up the stairs to load them into the trailer. I'm not positive, but i'd guess that each one is between 50-100 lbs. Not so much fun.

This one is what they looked like before. Nicely placed and oh so patterned. Seems nice right? And they look pretty old. How hard could it be to dig out some old, half rotting pieces of lumber? I'd try to explain it, but you can just ask the shovel in the next picture.

That is metal. Not just some cheap wooden play thing. And the only thing down there is wood and dirt! Those railroad ties are determined to stay put. Thankfully, we had another trusty shovel just waiting to be abused. So I used it. The square head was okay but its not as easy to wedge it into some places. Anyways, I went back to work and sweated some more. Wiped some more dirt onto my face trying to remove said perspiration. You get the picture. Oh and those gloves have got to be about the nastiest, dirtiest things i've ever put on my hands. I'm not sure if they keep the dirt out or just trap it in there. They seem to be preventing blisters though, so that's a positive.

It's kinda hard to see, but the ties are dug down into the ground quite a bit. I tried to use the shovel as a sort of a scale but i'm not the best at setting up picture things.

Those are the ones that I ripped out today. My forearms have never been so sore. I won't lie, it kind of feels nice to be this utterly exhausted. It's a bone tired that reminds me of TJ :)

This is what happens when you try to drop things off of your shoulder onto the ground and there are many sharp nails sticking out. You have to sew your sleeve. And if you are Merissa, you pick the randomest thread and do the ugliest patch up possible. It makes it look like a more legit work shirt. The hand is there to show you how big the rip was. And i'm not the best at formatting pictures into the blog post, so here is the part where I ramble about absolutely nothing so that the pictures will kinda fit right. I still don't have enough words on this picture so i'll keep telling you about how much fun it is to hang out with dirt and shovels for the last few weeks of summer. Let me tell ya...doesn't get much better than this.

This is an example of what caused the aforementioned rip. If you can't tell, those are nails. Lots of them.

"Opportunity is missed by most because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work."

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

I'm Living Again, Awake & Alive

Title from: Learning To Breathe by Switchfoot. See previous post for link.

I found out last night that my family will be going to Tijuana Mexico once again in December :) I'm stoked out of my freaking mind! We will be going with the Charity Anywhere Foundation. This will be my third time in a 12 month span. I'm sure this will be another week I'll never forget ;) Also, I have a slideshow of the first time we went down that is on my facebook page if you were curious.

I don't think it's truly possible to explain the caliber of joy I find in doing service in The Homeland. It is honestly where I feel the closest to my Savior. That may change once I'm able to go through the temple. But for now, TJ is my Home away from home. I can't find the words to describe how it feels to see the way that the people live their lives on what the world would consider as almost nothing, and are still some of the most willing, loving and grateful folks I've ever had the honor to meet.

I believe that Gabriel Valenzuela is one of the most inspirational and down right faithful people I've ever known. I feel blessed to have had the opportunity to meet and serve him. If you've ever heard me talk about the Obispo, this is the guy. The first time we went down, my family got to replace his roof. The second time, my crew (including Brent) had the chance to build him a Hamburger Stand outside his house so his family could have another source of income. He is an artist by trade, the early morning seminary teacher and has been a member of the church for about 10 years (7 as Bishop). Mostly, he's one of my biggest heroes.

I could tell a million different stories about my love for TJ. One of the things I love most about these trips is the people we go down with. Some of the greatest examples I have in my life are those that I've served side by side and ridden in cars for 15 straight hours with.
I don't know anyone more crafty than Mi Hermana Holly. She can bedazzle a fanny pack in less time than it takes her to run the hurdles. She is really neat :) Our other hermana, Lexie was an inspiration to give my friend a BOM. And their man, Hector will teach them to be amazing dancers someday. Cami and Courtney...are there really words? I can't describe them apart from each other. It would be like a Mexican cola without a glass bottle. Okay but seriously, these two are definitely in top five most dynamic duos of all time. Special asterisk by their name for most hilarious. And without good old E-Flems, I'd have nothing to do on a college student's spring break. And no one to blog-stalk, which would really be a shame. Jason and Kaden are like my brothers. Seriously, I see them just as often as my real family if not more. I already knew Madi Dodd, but that doesn't make her any less amazingly freaking adorable with those orphan kids. Cortney, Isaiah, Jess, Mary, Stephanie, Amandrew, Bethany, Ise, Tink etc...the list goes on and on. Amazing, every single one of them.

Approximately 3 months and counting... :D

"You can stand tall without standing on someone. You can be a victor without having victims."

Sunday, August 1, 2010

The Amount Of You That I Reflect

The title is from Relient K's song "Forget & Not Slow Down". The previous line is... I'll watch the glint in my eye shine off the spring in my step, And it could be blinding depending on the amount of you that I reflect.

Call me crazy, but I like to think of this line as if i'm talking to Christ. I talked to Laycee about it this week while we were at EFY. We talked a lot about the light in your eyes. And I definitely believe that Christ is the source of that 'glint in my eye' and the 'spring in my step'. I don't think i'm too far off base seeing as how Relient K is a Christian group. But even if that's not what was meant by it, I don't think it hurts anyone for me to think of it that way :)

I could talk about EFY for a month and not have done everything justice. There were so many little testimony building moments. I loved the theme this year, Courage To Stand Strong. It comes from Joshua 1:9. One of my favorite moments was when singing the theme song so I guess i'll write about that one.

So we sang the theme song before most of the morningside devotionals. While singing on the last day, Lyska (a girl in my company) turned to me and said that she felt like we should be standing to sing it. And I got a little smile and told her i'd stand if she would. So we did. And a good 3 or 4 lines went by with us 2 being the only ones standing in a huge room filled with people. But then the people in our row stood up. And then the rest of our company. And then the people behind us. Then the whole back of the room. Then on the line of the song where it says "It takes courage to lead, and sometimes it takes faith to follow", the rest of the room stood up. And if that wasn't one of the most amazing feelings ever, I don't know what is. It was just beautiful to see the principle in action. I'll tell ya, it's hard to stand with one other person for a whole verse in a room full of peers. But when the whole room stood's hard to describe. It felt like a little bit of heaven.

There were a trillion things I could write about. But I am superbly tired and haven't slept in my bed in way too long. So, if you want to hear more of these experiences, feel free to ask.

"Mistakes of the past don't define you, they refine you."