Friday, December 9, 2011

There Are Miracles

Hey kiddos

Next week is finals week, so I really shouldn't be blogging. But I wanted to hurry and post this video. Long story short: I, along with many family members and fellow Loganites, shaved my head in November to help raise money and awareness for children's cancer through the St. Baldrick's foundation. We were inspired by my 3-year-old relative, Tyson, who has been battling Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia since April.

You can read more about Tyson's story here.

I have connections with a few of the girls who run the local SUU talk show down here, and they invited me to be on their show, The T Bird Word, and spread Tyson's story and the story of everyone who was involved with St. Baldrick's. Here is the video. Hope you enjoy it, and have a great holiday season!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Here - It's the Most Beautiful View (THE FIRST 50)

Recently I have really gotten into the musician Allred. He played a concert on campus last month and it was REALLY good. Today's title is from his song "Here".

The other part of the title comes from the fact that today is the 50th day i've been here in Cedar City. I really wouldn't have known this little fact except that I started something when I came here. I call it my Success Journal. I basically just write down the little things that go right for the day. Most of them are things like

"Woke up on time for my 8:00 class."
"Remembered to put wiper fluid in my car."

Really pretty simple. It just is another way to try and stay positive. And some of them kind be kind of funny to look back over.

"Refrained from shouting expletives when I stubbed my toe so bad it bled."
"Thoroughly enjoyed wearing the neon vest required for my job."

Anyways, the reason this has anything to do with today being the 50th day is that I write the date and the day at the top of each page. And today, October 6th, is the 50th day. Since everyone loves a good round number, why not celebrate? To celebrate, I decided to write a blog post, since i've been slacking lately. So here ya go! And I made a playlist of songs that have held significance these first 50 days. Just a warning, I went to The Rocket Summer's concert in September, so there is a definite overload there. But its okay because those songs would probably hold significance no matter how many days I was recognizing. I considered posting all the links to all the songs, but I should probably study sometime today. So here it is, the playlist of all playlists.

The First 50
1. Tara, I'm Terrible - The Rocket Summer
2. How Many Times - The Rocket Summer
3. Cross My Heart - The Rocket Summer
4. Folding Chair - Regina Spektor
5. Happily Ever After - He Is We
6. Give It All - He Is We
7. All I Have - The Rocket Summer
8. Roses - The Rocket Summer
9. Starts With Goodbye - Carrie Underwood
10. Starting Now - Ingrid Michaelson
11. Thug Story feat T Pain - Taylor Swift
12. Do You Feel - The Rocket Summer
13. Good Riddance - Green Day
14. The Places You Have Come To Fear The Most - Dashboard Confessional
15. Come Thou Fount - Reflections of Christ
16. Amazing Grace - Reflections of Christ
17. So Much Love - The Rocket Summer
18. Hey! - The Rocket Summer
19. Save - The Rocket Summer
20. Skies So Blue - The Rocket Summer
21. I Need A Break...But I'd Rather Have A Breakthrough - The Rocket Summer
22. Crystal Baller - Third Eye Blind
23. Friend Like You - Joshua Radin
24. Break It Out - The Rocket Summer
25. For You To Notice - Dashboard Confessional
26. Perfect - P!nk
27. Right Now - Peter Breinholt
28. Brand New Day - Joshua Radin
29. Be Still, My Soul - Reflections of Christ
30. Gonna Get Over You - Sara Bareilles
31. Getting Into You - Relient K
32. The Lining Is Silver - Relient K
33. Thick As Thieves - Dashboard Confessional
34. I Dreamed A Dream - Les Miserables
35. A Little Fall of Rain - Les Miserables
36. Lie To Me - Allred
37. Tomb - Allred
38. Hurry Up - Allred
39. Golden - Allred
40. Radio - Allred
41. Video - India.Arie
42. I Am Not My Hair feat P!nk - India.Arie
43. Let The Rain - Sara Bareilles
44. Two Birds - Regina Spektor
45. Slow Motion Machine Gun - Pearl and The Beard
46. Skyscraper - Demi Lovato
47. Winter Song - Ingrid Michaelson & Sara Bareilles
48. Title And Registration - Death Cab For Cutie
49. Passenger Seat - Death Cab For Cutie
50. So, In This Hour... - The Rocket Summer

I really feel like The Rocket Summer concert deserves its own post. But since that's probably not gonna happen, here are some pictures. It truly was one of the best shows i've been to, and i've attended my fair share of concerts. After he played So, In This Hour... I probably could have died happy. SUCH A GOOD SHOW!

Look up the music video for "Do You Feel" if you don't understand this.

Shannon, Holly, Kelli, Me, Alyssa, and Savannah

Holly seriously COULD NOT take a picture without laughing
Wait, maybe she can!
Never mind. She's hopeless.

Not very good quality, but that's Bryce Avary!

I sadly wasn't smart enough to wait around for Bryce to come out, but Holly and her sisters were.

I got to touch his hand one time when he came out into the crowd, but I didn't get to meet him like the Rindlisbacher's did. Sad! But I did talk to his wife Tara, she was so nice! She didn't mind me asking creeper fan questions. We are basically best friends now. I'm expecting a dinner party invitation any day now.

In my first 50 days, here are some of the things i've done.
Got a job as an Usher at the SUU Football games

Played in the PowderPuff game
Had my first boyfriend and got my first kiss. (We've broken up since then so please, spare me the marriage jokes.)
Took a road trip to Logan for The Rocket Summer concert with 4 girls from my dorm.
A girl in my dorm won a pig at the rodeo and kept it on a leash outside our building for a few days until she could figure out what to do with it.

Went to the new Science building dedication with Emily. Complete with drinks served in beakers.

Some of the fam came down for a weekend. PS Those are Tyler's glasses, I just stole them for the picture.

My ward got to go to the St George temple to do baptisms. I never realized how much I took having a temple around for granted until it was 45 minutes away instead of 3 blocks.

Well, that certainly is NOT a comprehensive list, but it's a start. I hope you all (2 readers) have had a wonderful 50 days. I know I have :)

"When you get knocked down, pray that you land on your back; cuz if you can look up, you can stand up."

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Say You're With Me

Title from The Rocket Summer's song Hills And Valleys.

 I saw him in concert a few weeks ago, and it probably deserves it's own blog post. But that's not what this one is about. This one is about me vicariously living my dreams through my Hermana.

Yes, the same Hermana from the "I Think I Need A Sunrise" post.

And the "I'm Living Again, Awake & Alive" post.

You get the picture. Holly is a pretty big deal. And today, she reached a milestone in becoming a pretty big deal in a lot more people's lives. Today, My Hermana received her mission call. She has been called to serve in the Scotland/Ireland mission, English speaking, reporting to the England MTC. I kind of feel like i'm cheating just saying that right at the beginning. Let me back up a little.

It was a MESS trying to find out where she'd be serving. I knew she got her call, but she wasn't gonna open it until after work. And when she got off work was when I was playing PowderPuff. And then I couldn't find anywhere where I had service on campus for the life of me. And I would get voicemails, but it wouldn't show missed calls. And then i'd find somewhere with service long enough to receive a text, but then I couldn't send one. It was ridiculous. We must have played phone tag 800 times, because I had to hear it from her. Text simply would not do. But eventually, my phone rang and the call actually went through and there was screaming and jumping up and down like a fool in the middle of campus and I finally found out where my Hermana would be spending the next year and a half of her life.

The first time I remember Holly mentioning a mission was on one of the van rides either to or from Mexico this past December trip. I don't remember for sure if it was on the back to the states or if it was on our way down, but I do recall that it was the same conversation that she told me about The Rocket Summer. (I didn't know it at the time, but they'd become one of my favorite bands. Obviously.) Anyways, I don't remember exactly how it came up, but as soon as she talked about the idea of serving a mission, I was positive that it was the best idea i'd ever heard. She hadn't made up her mind yet, but I knew. I knew from that moment that she was gonna be called to serve.

You see, I have a lot of faith in Holly as a person. She's just a solid friend and one of those people who i've never had to worry about. And I mean, you can read the whole Sunrise post if you want to know about what it means to be an Hermana. And truly, that's the best way I can possibly think to describe our friendship. Hermanas. But besides just being a great friend, I know first hand that Holly's gonna make a phenomenal missionary. I know because even before today, before she was called to serve, even before January 19th when she reports to the England MTC, she was the missionary that brought ME to the gospel.

Now, I don't mean to cause confusion. Holly was just living life the way it's supposed to be lived, being an amazing example, being a "member missionary" as its called. And I was born into a great LDS family and I was baptized when I was 8 and all that good stuff. But it really wasn't until I met Holly that I really took church seriously or really understood that this was the stuff in life that matters. Again, you can read those other posts if you want to understand the change of heart that took place after "the carpool list that changed our lives" and the first trip to TJ. But as i'm just sitting here today in my little dorm room in Cedar City, UT, thinking about the psychology book I should be reading or the PowderPuff football game I just played in, I can't help but become ECSTATIC for the people in Scotland and Ireland who are doing similar things - probably sweeping the floor or watching soccer or whatever it is people do there. I get so excited for them because I know the difference the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ has made in my life, and how much happier i've become because of it. And when I think about those Irish and Scottish people just sitting there, some who may not even know what the Book Of Mormon is or know that Joseph Smith ever existed, when I think about the fact that one of my best friends in the entire world, the fact that my own Hermana will be directly instrumental in bringing the Gospel to their lives, I can't help but smile. Well, smile or cry depending on which 5 minute period of thought is occurring at the moment, but you know what I mean. I can't help but feel something powerful for those people because I know what it's already done for me. And I know that Holly knows how to get that incredible message of the LDS faith across effectively because I've been on the receiving end. And I know that she'll be able to be an instrument in the Lord's hands to change even more lives and bring them the joy the gospel has brought me.

I think about all of it and it just hits me. Today, My Hermana has been called to serve; her everyday life for 18 months will be committed to doing for other people what she has already done for me. And I feel so incredibly grateful that i've had the gospel in my life this long. And to have the desire to spread that light. And that my Heavenly Father cared and loved me enough to give me a friend like Holly when I needed it the most. And that in a few short months, there will be people half way across the world thinking the exact same thing. They're gonna be so blessed by the gospel, they'll feel so loved to have had Sister Rindlisbacher come into their lives right when they needed it and they'll want to spread the good news of the gospel. And when it comes right down to it, i'm just so incredibly excited for my Hermana to get out there and do her thing and find strength in the Lord and come even closer to Him than she already is, and bring folks with her as she becomes closer to Him.

I guess it all just culminates into one huge mess of me not doing anything even close to Psychology homework.  But that's okay, because it's not everyday that my hero, my closest friend, my Hermana gets her mission call. Today, my friends, today was a good day.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Lean on Him

Well, it's official. Samantha Emmett has inspired me once again. If the girl who doesn't have WiFi unless she's at the classiest McDonalds on earth can keep a blog updated, I should be able to too...right? A combination of Sam's faithful posting and Ali Noorda telling me at LTC that she reads my blog like a novel has lit a flame under the efficient/responsible/blogging portion of my soul to last at least long enough to eek out at least one post. At least it will be fun to look back and see how long this stays in the drafts ;) (For the record, I started this on 7-4-11. It is now 7-14-11. Oops)

This link for this post's title probably won't make sense unless you read the whole post. So go for it if you'd like, or don't. It sounds like a personal decision.

Click here to watch Lean On Him video

Okay i'm gonna start this post out in the best way possible. With a really horrible, not actually funny at all, something I made up by myself joke. Ready? Here it goes.

What kind of fruit do you take on a submarine?


Or, if you were Paige at LTC, you would have told the joke like this.

What kind of watermelon do you take on a submari....I totally messed that up didn't I?

As you can probably deduce, LTC was a few weeks ago! If I had been a good girl (Like Sam), I would have posted about it before now. As in, any time in the last 7 or so months. You see, let me take you back in time to the Fall of 2010. It was a chilled, foggy day in early-November....

(Also, it might be helpful to read this post as a reminder of some of the things i'll be referring to in a moment. Click here to read Another Reason Not To Fear The Sky post.)

As mentioned in the above linked previous post, I decided not to play basketball (the sport I have eaten, drunk, and slept since before kindergarten) this year based on the feelings I got from what one man said. It helps that that one man has been called of God and I know that whatever he says, goes. Essentially, he said that we need to stop basing our self esteem off of how long our to-do lists are and start focusing on the things that truly matter most. I can honestly say that my decision was made by the time he ended his talk. The months of praying and fasting and earnest self-reflection all ended when Bro Uchtdorf gave his talk in Oct 2010 General Conference. Was it hard not to be able to tell people the real reason why I was giving up the sport that I had loved my whole life and played Varsity since I was a sophomore? Was it hard to leave my teammates, many of whom were my very best friends and girls who had become my second family behind? Was it hard when my coach practically begged me to change my mind? You bet. 

BUT if you could have felt the burning that I felt...if you could have sat and listened to the talk that was so profoundly the personal answer I was searching for that the message couldn't have been more clear if he had started his talk "Brothers and Sisters, today I'd like to speak to Missy Homer of Logan UT"...If you could have felt the tears stream down my face as I realized that the decision had been made, you could do it too. You could move forward with faith, with trust in the Lord, understanding that He knows what's best. Was the hardest part not really knowing WHAT I was giving it all up for? Certainly. But that didn't matter because I knew WHO I was giving it up for. 

So, the decision was made in the beginning of October. I tried to maintain normal-ish friendships with my former teammates, but in all reality, it just was not the same. To be perfectly honest, I felt really alone and really vulnerable. Sure, I had other friends who didn't play ball, but it was hard for them to understand what I was going through. Well, for some reason it had gotten into my head that if I did what the Lord asked me to, it would automatically mean smooth sailing. It would take me until the week of LTC during Lindsey Peterson's Faith lesson to fully understand that "God promises a smooth landing, not a calm passage. If He brings you to it, He can bring you through it." Sadly, I didn't understand that back in November when basketball workouts were going on but I was still sitting, trying to figure out WHY it was so critical for me to quit basketball this year. Sure, I understood the basic principles in Bro Uchtdorf's talk, but I had played basketball and been crazy busy before and I survived it. Well, then for a time I thought it was all so that I would have time to work on Sterling Scholar. But it really didn't seem like that was the meat of it all.  And then, little did I know that when the Stake President's secretary called me to set up what I thought was a random meeting with Bro Champlin, that it would be changing the next 7 months of my life, and probably all of the years after that.

You see, it was a chilled, foggy day in early-November...

Wednesday, November the 10th if I remember correctly. I knew it was gonna be a stressful day because there was a Hub meeting for the December Tijuana trip that day at 5:30 and Bro Champlin asked to meet with me at 6:15. Alas, I couldn't say no to either meeting so I did what any normal 17-year old girl. I wore my sunday clothes to the TJ meeting so that I could drive straight to the Stake Center and hopefully not miss much of anything in either place. So I went to the TJ meeting, filled out the contact info sheet, said Hi to Holly, met Brad real quickly, and yelled a quick hello to Katie as I hurried out to my car. As I was driving to the Stake Center, I realized that I had absolutely no clue what this meeting was going to be about. I couldn't think of any serious sins that I had committed, I'm not old enough for a temple recommend interview, and I had already submitted my BYU application weeks ago. I remember literally saying to myself as I got out of the car, "Well, here goes nothing." I recall one of my teammate's Dad's being in the Stake Center and asking me why I wasn't playing basketball this year before I even sat down to wait for Bro Champlin. Maybe I was just scared, but whenever people asked, I almost felt like it would desecrate the whole experience of finding my answer if I tried to truly explain the whole process to everyone that asked. So I smiled and gave the quick 15-second version of "Oh, I just had a lot on my plate. You know Sterling Scholar, colleges, scholarships, senior year, the works. *Awkward laugh to try to ease tension*." Next thing I know, i'm sitting in Bro Champlin's office and he asks the exact same question. I swear, word never travels faster and to more people than when you have something that you don't really want to talk about. Alas, I felt okay giving him the real, nevertheless summarized, version of the whole process. He said something to the effect of "Wow, that must take a lot of faith." And I secretly said to myself "You have no idea." because obviously, as a 17-year old high school girl, this trial of my faith was far above what any 1st Counselor in the Stake Presidency could have possibly faced...or something like that. 

Anyway, that was the perfect lead-in to him extending the calling that I never thought I would get in a million years - First Counselor in the Youth Presidency for LTC. I held the girls that were in the YP last year in such high could I EVER measure up to those girls? (You can read in my post De La Souls about last year's LTC experience here. ) Well, I timidly accepted the call because I didn't know what else to say, was set apart right on the spot, and stumbled out to my car in a delirium similar to when you wake up in a tent and for 1.4 seconds you swear on your life you have no idea how you got there. I sat in my car, unnerved and completely unable to make any sort of movement for what seemed like hours, but was probably more like 15 minutes. I just sat there thinking that there was no way I could ever be adequate for this calling. I just knew that they had somehow made a mistake and that Bro Champlin would walk out any second and tell me they accidentally called the wrong girl and I could go on living my simple life. Alas, despite my patient waiting, no one ever called to tell me they accidentally extended the wrong calling. So I went home, still stunned and a little numb.

I couldn't think of anything besides wanting to know who the Youth President was and who else was in the presidency. Bro Champlin said he couldn't remember, but knew the YP was from the Central stake. Now, you are all going to think i'm lying, but I had the biggest feeling in my gut that it was Kandyce. I don't know why. I was never particularly close with Kandyce before. I had a lot of respect for her and thought she was cool from what little I knew her. But really, I just had this feeling that it was her. And then I thought to myself, "Oh crap. I've got a lot of ground to cover before I can possibly catch up with Kandyce." I realize now that that's just never gonna happen. But at the time it seemed logical to pull out my scriptures and start immediately trying to make up the huge spiritual deficiency that I felt. And then, just as the Lord never fails to perform or allow, a small miracle occurred. The very same chapter that I had been reading at LTC the year before when I decided that it was time to take church seriously and that this stuff mattered, Alma 26, is the exact chapter that I opened up to and found what would become my personal theme for the next few months.

Most of Alma 26 discusses missionary work and what great joy comes from it and how important it is and how nothing is impossible if you are doing the Lord's work. And my favorite part comes when Ammon is talking about how happy he is that he and his brethren were able to bring so many of the Lamanites into the fold of God. And then Aaron tells him to cool it and reminds him that it's not a good thing to be prideful and to boast of oneself. And in verses 11 and 12, Ammon says exactly, and I mean EXACTLY what I needed to hear right at that moment. 

v11) But Ammon said unto him: I do not boast in my own strength, nor in my own wisdom; but behold, my joy is full, yea, my heart is brim with joy, and I will rejoice in my God.
v12)Yea, I know that I am nothing; as to my strength I am weak; therefore I will not boast of myself, but I will boast of my God, for in his strength I can do all things; yea, behold, many mighty miracles we have wrought in this land, for which we will praise his name forever.

I wasn't feeling like I had much strength or wisdom to offer. I certainly knew that I was nothing and I was weak as to my own strength. But as soon as I read those verses, I knew that it was okay because this calling wasn't about me being qualified. It was to help perform mighty miracles for which the girls I would be serving the next 7 or so months would praise His name forever. Besides, life is not a resume. And if it was, the Lord would qualify me for the work.

Kandyce Ausen, Leticia Pradera, and Shannon Burgess (the other members of the youth presidency) became some of my best friends. We cried together, laughed together, grew together, ate together, parking lot dance partied together, prayed together, planned together, and best of all, felt the spirit together. I'll tell you what, if you want to grow to love someone you've never known, serve with them. It doesn't matter who or what, just serve. And your capacity to love will grow, I guarantee it. I will respect these 3 girls for the rest of my life and into eternity. It wasn't always easy, but it was DEFINITELY always worth it. 

Sister Horsley has single handedly become my role model. If the 90 or so girls knew even a glimpse of how much time, sacrifice, and effort Amy put into this camp just for them, they would never feel unloved ever again. And I don't just love Amy to death because of how well she magnified her calling and made our jobs so much easier, but I love how Amy lives her life. The way her kids respect and love her. The way her husband treats her. You know she's been living the right way for a long time and it shows. I feel so blessed just to have gotten to interact with Amy, much less serve with her and meet in her home for months on end. I pray that someday, if I obey all the commandments and never hit my little brothers and always do the right thing,  i'll grow up to be half the woman Sister Horsley is.

I think one of my favorite things about LTC is that there are no barriers. All the girl's are up at camp for the same reasons. There's no "Okay, cheerleaders over here, nerds go over there, drama people sit at that table, blah blah blah blah blah." I've never felt more truly like Sisters In Zion than every moment spent at Camp Lomia. I can honestly say that through serving all those girls, through praying and learning together, through striving for righteousness together, the Lord allowed me to feel a portion of His love for each and every single one of the girls at LTC.

And if that weren't good enough, my value group was out of this freaking world. SO AMAZING! The Divine Nature/Individual Worth group this year helped make my experience better than I ever hoped for. So many laughs, tears, hugs, spiritual thoughts, and more laughs shared during that week :)
I want to thank our YAGL, Kendra, for being a freaking all-star. You made everyone feel so welcome and you brought us up to your level instead of preaching down to us. You'll probably never know just how much your trust and love has impacted me. I think you are amazing and I fully expect to be one of the 13 bridesmaides at your wedding. Paige can probably sew us up some Confederate flag dresses if you'd like.
I also would be amiss if I failed to thank our Value Group Presidency. I just don't think I can say enough about you 3. Tosh, Paige, and Tammy - Thank you for understanding that you had an important role to play. You each took your calling personally and seriously and made it clear that you cared for each of our girls and that you knew that your lessons could change lives, and prepared them in such a manner that they did.
Tosh - Though you may just be the funniest person I know, you are also one of the most powerful women that I know. You have so much power behind you when you speak, the spirit is just thick whenever you open your mouth to give us some gospel related insight. I knew that you were meant to be the DivNat/IndWorth president from the very first group night devotional. You are amazing :)
Tammy - You always were so willing to contribute. It was easy to see that you had put a lot of time and effort into your lesson and i'm grateful that you took your calling seriously and uplifted it. I'm glad that you accepted me and how i've grown even though we were in the same group last year too.
Paige - Where can I even start? We hit it off SO well from the very first. I don't know when or how, it just sorta happened. And i'm so grateful that we did. Even in the what, 3 weeks?, that we've been friends, you already have a special place in my heart and you display exactly what a true friend should be like. You were one of the few people who saw me cry up at camp, consider yourself lucky ;) But in all seriousness, your testimony is so strong, so pure. Every time you would bear witness, I could just feel the room get thicker and thicker as the spirit grew. It's not hard to believe the words you say because you live them, straight up. I'm blessed to call you my eternal friend :)

I wish I could just carry a video camera around with me the whole time at LTC so I could look back and remember all of the amazing things that were said, not only great quotes for the brethren, but the amazing, inspired, powerful words of the girls that were there. Girls said things to me after Testimony meeting and after Tree of Life that I didn't think I would ever hear in my lifetime, spoken personally to me with a big hug and a few tears shed. I do remember a few things though, but don't think that i'm trying to come up with exact quotes, because I can't. I'll just highlight a few of the most memorable things for me. And I hope sincerely that these girls are okay with me sharing some of what they shared because I found so much strength in their stories.

One night in group night devotionals, Ruth told us that she was determined to get married in the temple because she didn't ever want her kids to have to search for her. I have so much faith in you Ruth, and I can just feel your determined nature when you share what you've learned and what you know you will and will not become. I admire your strength and I know that your kids are gonna be the lucky ones because truly, they will never have to wonder where their mother stands.

In her Knowledge lesson, Jocelyn shared some of her conversion story with us. At just the tender age of 10, she had enough courage, faith, and trust in the Lord to respond to her mother's protest of her baptism with, "I'm sorry Mom, but i'm ready." Even typing and looking at those words just makes me want to be more like you Joce. I've known you for what seems like forever, but it's taken me this long to get to know the spiritual side of you. I'm SO glad that you got to come to LTC even though you live out of boundaries because I know even if no one else listened (which I know is false), you touched my life and my testimony with your conviction, and that's enough to make a difference. And your testimony about wanting so badly to be sealed to your family gave me a big reality check and made me realize just how much I take for granted. You truly never cease to amaze me my friend.

Maybe it's a good thing that Lindsey Peterson doesn't go around just chatting about the gospel all the time or else my eyes would never get dry. I don't know why you seem to have so much power over when I feel the spirit Linds, but honestly it goes unmatched. I filled pages of notes at the Stake President's lessons, heck, i've been to LTC twice, i've heard President Monson speak in person, but at least to me and my perception, no one has ever had the spirit behind them so strongly and so purely as when you speak about the gospel and bear your testimony. I can't ever say enough about how much your Faith lesson meant to me and just how much I loved all your incredible quotes. I hope someday i'll be able to speak with the kind of force that you speak with. I love you to freaking pieces dawg :)

Lilia, Katie, Laycee, Kaylee, Kesaia, Le, and everyone who joined in our little musical number at the end of the week - can I just say wow?
Lilia GIRLLLLLLLL! I think it's safe to say you shocked us all the first day when you just whipped out your ukulele and started jamming. You brought the spirit so strongly with your music, and i'm extremely grateful for that. You also brought us all together and made everyone feel so loved every time they saw you.

So if you are wondering about the title of this post - here's a long story short. Lilia is a jam master on the ukulele, and we all kinda threw together this mash up of slightly rearranged versions of some popular songs. Lean on Me turned into Lean on Him. Wavin' Flag turned into, My Testimony. Lilia taught us some sick Samoan song, the English version of course, and then to cap it all off we sang I Need Thee Every Hour, Lilia sang it in Samoan, I sang it in Spanish, and then we had everyone in the room stand up and sing the 2nd verse. It was an awesome experience, and most of it was captured on video if you want to follow the link :)

Because LTC is such an amazing place with so much sacredness, I don't feel comfortable just typing up every spiritual experience for the Internet to look at with a critical eye and misjudging heart. Sort of a "pearl before swines" kind of idea. 

But, I can tell you this

The gospel is true. I felt it with everything I have in me for a week straight, and so did the other near 100 people in attendance. I know that my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ died for me, but more importantly that He now lives. I know that through Him, I can gain my fondest dream of living with my Heavenly Father once more. I know that I want nothing so desperately and so determinedly than to be married for time and all eternity in the temple to a man who loves me almost as much as he loves the Lord. And I know that these truths are eternal. I will not decide that these things are unimportant next week. I will not decide to turn my back on the way I felt at LTC. I will not settle. And when I feel weak, when I know that I can't do it alone, I won't. Instead, I will Lean on Him when i'm not strong. He'll be my friend, He'll help me carry on. And I write this post not to boast or to make those who did not attend LTC feel bad, but I write this post to boast of my God because my heart is brim with joy, and I know that it won't be long til i'm gonna need my Savior to lean on.

"Feed your faith and your doubts will starve to death."

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Believe You Me, You Are Not Alone

I wrote this thing as a note on FB, but then realized that not everyone has Facebook who might like to read this. *cough* Holly! *cough* So I just copied and pasted it here. Enjoy! 


I have a blog, but I don't think anyone actually reads it ever. So I figured if I was going to write something like this and I wanted it to be read, I should probably just do it on FB since nothing is official unless it's on FB. So here it goes.

If you know me at all, you know that music means a lot to me. I find a lot of meaning in the words and the melodies. And i'm not convinced that it would ever be possible for me to pick one singular favorite song. But for now, for today, for this week, for this time in my life right now, I can't stop listening to one particular song.

Walls by The Rocket Summer

[The story of my life I can't quite comprehend.
Don't tell me if you know how it ends.
When everywhere you go feels like a mirror maze,
And you're not sure how you're stuck in this place...]
I'm leaving everyone and everything I know in less than 4 months. What will the story of my life be? I don't know. Will it be everything I've worked so hard for every day of my life up to now? I don't know. Will things be the same when I come back? I don't know. Am I nervous and scared out of my freakin' mind? Well, that one I do know. Every thought I'm having right now feels like a mirror maze. And i'm not sure how I got to where I am right now where everything feels so unsure. It feels like I worked my tail off in school so I could have all these doors open and choose whatever option seemed the best, but all of this 'stuff' makes the whole situation feel more like walls than open doors.

[And you got nowhere else to go
And you're lost within your own home,
And you're trying so hard to win,
You keep trying, it's embarrassing.
And how you don't even know,
But you know you're off the tracks...
And how did you get in here?
Thinking how did I get in here?]
It's not that I feel this overwhelming need to stay in Cache Valley for the rest of my life. I love Logan for making me into the person that I am. And that person isn't perfect, but i'm alive and I have a testimony of Jesus Christ, the most important thing in my life. Logan has been pretty good to me. But i'm not done growing yet. And I feel like it's time for me to see what else is out there. In no way am I saying this is the case for everyone. For some people, a lot of people actually, Logan still has more to offer them. USU is a great school and i'm so happy for everyone who has decided that this is where they belong for the next little while. But that's not me. If I stayed in Logan, i'd be lost within my own home. This is where i've done most of my growing up, but if I tried to stay here and move on at the same time, i'd be lost. I'm trying so hard to win the fight of my own contentedness. But there are so many sides to this whole situation. How I even got to this crazy mixed up place of needing to get out of here but being so nervous to leave-I don't know. But it's embarrassing to think of how much flip-flopping is going on inside my own head and especially in my own heart. Do I want to get out of here as soon as possible and just get on with my life? Or do I want to cherish every moment I have left with the people I love? How did I get in here? I don't even know. But I know i'm off the tracks of how I imagined this time in my life would be. Somehow I drempt up a flawless, stressless time where I could just be excited for new things and everyone around me would be super supportive and there would be nothing holding me back. But now that i'm here, there are these walls, and it seems like with every passing day, they are getting more and more daunting.

[Does anybody know where February went?
I was hoping that by now it would be the end of this:
When you open up a book and read a thousand lines,
But you don't really read you just move your eyes.]
Ha, anyone know what comes after February? Yeah, that's right. March. If you didn't know this, March and I don't get along very well. By the time I got through March this year, I was hoping we could just be at the end of all this nonsense. On top of all this internal turmoil, there's still high school. I still gotta get up and go to classes and take tests for grades that don't even matter. I'm already accepted to the 4-year university of my choice! I already have an academic scholarship! I'm already accepted into the Honors program! Why are we still going through this robotic routine of high school? We're all still opening up our books, but really we are just moving our eyes. And sometimes we don't even go that far. And perhaps, even if we did actually read those thousands of lines, we still wouldn't be learning as much as we learn just from plain old life. I think all the seniors right now feel a need to break out of the walls of pointless high school drudgery.

Despite all these walls, I feel something even more dominant and full of prowess than these barriers. I feel something more important than the fear. I feel something more prominent than the need to move on. I feel human love.

To each person who takes the time to read this, thank you. It is because of each of you that I keep pushing on. I keep getting up and going through the routine. I keep facing the hard decisions. I keep hoping that the future holds something bright for me, not just something hard to deal with. At one time or another, I feel that each of you have sung the next few lines to me at least once through your words and deeds, and many many many of you more than once.

[I'll help you break the walls down.
I'll help you break the walls down...
Bust you out, and take you home,
Believe you me you are not alone,
I'll help you break the walls down.]
More times than I would like to willingly admit, I've looked at these walls and considered them insurmountable. I've felt like this is impossible. I felt like I can't do it alone. And in reality, it's more than just this specific situation. The walls that i've seen and felt and cowered in fear of have all felt unbreakable. It's just that this situation is what's on my mind in this moment. And you know what? I think I was right in feeling those things. These walls ARE insurmountable for me. It really IS impossible. But here's where the beauty lies.

I am not alone.

I've got the most incredible, loving, thoughtful friends and family. And most importantly, i've got my savior Jesus Christ on my side through thick and thin. You guys all help me break these walls down. When i've found myself off the tracks, you guys have busted me out and taken me home, wherever 'home' may be. For I believe that home is more than where I reside. Home is where I feel like it's okay to be me. But that's a whole different subject. Allow me to further dissect this particularly stunning line.

[Believe you me, you are not alone.]
I could write a whole note on how there was a time in my life when I would not have believed this line. I would not have understood or accepted that I wasn't alone. I had removed myself so far from the ability or even the desire to trust. But through especially the last 2 or so years, i've found that there is nothing more important. It's because I am not alone that I can even think about breaking these walls down. And heavens knows i've only started to chip away at some of them. But when i've got all of you on my side, I know that we'll diminish them soon enough. With enough hearts on my side, what once was a barrier becomes rubble soon enough.

[And all the weight,
You carry,
Will disappear,
And I will willingly,
Embrace you so,
You lay your head.
So come on home,
Come on home,
Come on home.]
Perhaps it would be best for me just to leave this stanza in its pure, untouched form. It's simple enough. It's meaning is sublime just as Bryce Avary created it, so I will leave it unaltered but invite you to be inspired by it as I have.

I would love to be able to end this post right here and know that it got the message across that I hope to convey. But I think I know people better than that. When I said "you guys", I know each person reading this said to themselves that I was referring to everyone else, but not themselves. And I wish dearly that I had the time and energy and space and brain power to write about every single person. But I don't. So i'll try to highlight a few of you, but PLEASE do not be offended or think that i'm not speaking to you when I say thank you for helping me break down my walls if I do not specifically mention you.

Family - Wow. Where would I even start. Each of us are so different from the next. We are weird. We sing musicals to each other. We eat dinner at 10:00 at night. We would all be lost if Apple shut down. We go on 2 day camping trips that we have to drive 12 hours for. We think it's normal to play full-out game shows on family vacations. But I wouldn't have it any other way. Parents: thank you for having me and for putting up with me. 
Kira: thank you for letting me room with you all those years even though we are like a decade apart. Thank you for showing me how much love a mom can have for their kid even when you're pregnant, tired, and sick and the kid is screaming and crying. 
Brent: thank you for letting me be cool enough for you. Thank you for including me and allowing me to grow up. Thank you for recognizing when I try and accepting what and who I am even though i'm still just a work in progress.
Brittny: thank you for showing me that it's ok to be goofy. Thank you for proving that you can be an awesome wife, mom, baker, employee, disciple of Christ, and sister and still have a fun attitude about it all. 
Kristi: thank you for changing my life. Thank you for sharing your taste in music with me. I've said it before and i'll say it again - the summer you left for Alaska and left me all your CD's is the summer I decided who I was and who I was not going to be. Thank you for making me laugh until I cry. Thank you for having your own opinion and still accepting and loving those whose opinions differ. Thank you for letting me be in on yours and Brent's late night conversations. Thank you for being my sister. 
Tyler: thank you for teaching me patience. I know i'm still not very good at showing it, and it's been kind of a rough road getting there, but i've learned how to love you for who you are, even if that means someone different from what I picture as a little brother. Thank you for letting me be your big sister, even if i'm not very good at it. 
Chris: thank you for showing me how to be quirky and be okay with it. Thank you for showing me that if you love something, it shouldn't matter what other people say. And thank you for not punching me even though I tease you about your mustache sometimes :) 
If I tried to go through all my amazingly wonderful cousins and aunts and uncles and eveyone, i'd be here for the rest of my life. Just know that you all amaze me and I cherish the memories I have with you all.

Katie Sorensen - You are one of my oldest friends. We've been through a lot together. A lot of ups and our fair share of downs. But somehow through it all, through all my weird moodiness and changing and general high school drama, you've put up with me. And not just that, but somehow, I think we've enjoyed it. We have our differences, but that's what keeps things interesting. I know that you know I trust you more than almost anyone, and I think that's amazing. This has been a hard year, and I know I probably don't even know the half of it, but I admire you for getting through it. Not without pitfalls and U turns and road bumps and all those other cheesy metaphors, but you kept pushing through it all. And it has taught me how to be a better friend, and sadly, that I need to be a better one. The memories of our trip to TJ can not and will not soon be forgotten. I thank you for letting me talk your dang ear off so so so many times. For all the thousands of sports memories. That includes watching you play soccer and learning what it means to have a passion for something. Your example concerning soccer and choosing what matters most to you taught me more than you'll probably ever now. And of course, for all the spontaneous things that I could never come up with without you. Psych sandwiches? Promontory point? 2-legged 2-armed, 2-headed person? etc? I respect you a lot and look up to you and I am so very grateful for our friendship.

Kaylee Merrill - For the record, I had a really hard time not writing Murl right there. Kaylee, where do I even start with you? First of all, you have taught me how to laugh. Not just a little chuckle. But a deep belly laugh where I usually end up wiping tears and having to pick myself up after rolling on the floor laughing so hard. I honestly don't know if there has ever been a time when i've felt sad around you. And that's not to say that you can't be a serious person. I admire your reverence and respect for the things that deserve reverence and respect. But another part of that is that you can have the total goof-ball side and the respectful side all in one person without coming across as two-faced. I haven't always been a very good friend to you. And in some cases, i've been down right awful. I apologize for those times. I think you should know that one of the legitimate main reasons deciding not play basketball this year was so hard was that I knew you and I would grow apart. And I don't know if I ever really told you why I had to quit. But if I haven't, you deserve to know and you should ask me sometime. Thankfully, even though it's not the same teammate friendship that we've shared since as long as I can remember, we've managed to stay close enough through this year. Thank you for ALL the basketball memories, especially Freshman year. I don't know that I could have made it that season without you. Thank you for singing Rihanna with Kristi and Chuck, and for coming to random family events with me, and for letting us make ice cream shakes at your grandpa's, and for not cutting me out of your life even when I call you Greyhorse :) Again, I feel blessed to have you as a friend.

Leticia Pradera - Well, let's be honest. If someone had told me that by the end of my senior year, you would be one of my best friends, I would have laughed in their face. Fortunately, there's a plan a lot bigger than mine that included you in my life. I honestly thank the Lord every night in my prayers that I was given the chance to get to know you and Kandyce and Shannon this year. It couldn't have happened any other way. I think we have been able to become such good friends so fast because we know each others' testimonies so well. And let me say, yours is one of the most beautiful testimonies i've ever heard. I look up to you so much (no short joke intended) and I seriously learn something new from you everyday. Even in the short few months that we've been pals we've had our differences. But who wants a friend who thinks exactly the same as they do? Not me. And I don't think they've been anything but learning experiences. I do apologize that things have been so up in the air with me lately and I have not been very consistent. But I know we're still cool because that's the kind of friend you are. And I freaking love your family. Where does Nora come from? Macamoni and Lecheese. If I ever have a bad day, i'll just come to your house and the twins will make me feel 1000 times better about myself. Thank you for letting me tell all my STUPID jokes and for even laughing at some of them. I'll try to take a hint when certain things are getting old :) I think it's so ironic that we've become friends at such an uncharacteristic time of our lives. Me without basketball, you without good ol' BK. I still can't believe i'm not gonna be here to see how the heck that whole story unfolds. But that's okay because you made me get Skype :) And even if you want to replace me, i'll still be grateful for the memories and good ol times that we've had already. Parking lot dance parties? Arches? Interpretive dance to Grenade? La Tormenta? Making like 47 batches of cookies in one weekend? The Zone? Lactose intolerance? Speaking in 'code'? Trying to understand Portuguese? Swinging in the blizzard? Boston? Nertz? Anything and everything to do with LTC? All of our freakin' phrases - Good night! Bogus! Freak yeah Dude! Just one of those things. And i'm pretty sure i've never called you the same name twice in a row. And who could forget all the Brazillian food you have graced me with? You are one of the few people who truly understand the madness of March. I consider myself honored to be your friend.

Maddy Allen - For everything I just said about how short of a period of time Le and I have been friends, it's even crazier for us! I don't know that I have one single memory of our families together and not being just plain happy. For as long as i've known you, it kinda makes me sad that it's taken me this long to really get to know YOU. I'm so glad Kristi or Brent or whoever invited your to Arches. I feel like i'm a better person just talking to you. And I love how much love you have for other people, we won't go into specifics :) And i'm glad that we realized that we almost have the same birthday after knowing each other for almost two decades. I'm glad that you came and listened to the serious music even though we are both really wimpy drivers. I'm glad that you could hold the reflector thing oh so well. I'm glad that you came and watched us eat our dessert pizzas today even if it was just for like 20 minutes. And i'm super excited to get to work with you like every day this summer and to go camping every weekend, right? Mostly, after you putting up with me singing like the same 2 lines of this song every 40 seconds or so for 48 hours straight, I couldn't just not tag you in it. It wouldn't even be official if I didn't. Either way, Rock On girl. I am grateful for our newish, oldish friendship.

Well, I didn't sit down intending to write a novel. But I guess I did. If you sat through reading that whole thing, you deserve a pat on the back. Thank you once again for helping me break my walls down whether it was earlier today or 4 days ago or 138 months ago. I am blessed to have you in my life. :)

After posting this on FB I realized that I left out a couple of really crucial people. That includes all of the Tijuana crew, but i've written about them all so many times on this that I figure you can go through my old posts to figure out how much I love them. To be historically correct, TJ was probably the place where the most walls have fallen and the first place I decided it was time to start breaking them down. Special thanks to Holly R for introducing me to The Rocket Summer in the first place.