Saturday, October 27, 2012

The Beauty of Grace is That It Makes Life Not Fair

Dang that F chord! Oh well :) Have a great Saturday everybody!

Be My Escape - Relient K

video

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

My face is the size and shape of a chipmunk


Otherwise, this whole wisdom teeth thing is a total bust.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Watching As The World Goes Hammering On

Do It Now - Ingrid Michaelson
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ksFNaVCg8ao

Some stuff about my life:

-I just switched my major to Family Life and Human Development with an emphasis in Family and Community Services, and a minor in Sociology. And i'm getting my Associate's in December.

As a side note, you know you've worked with insurances in a medical office too long when you go to type the word "human" and automatically type "humana". 

-My good friend Alyssa and I are learning to play the song that this posts' title is from. (Lyss on piano, guitar for me)

-I am in love with guitar. I'm still not very good at it, but i'm okay with that.

-I just watched the US Women's National Soccer team play Australia and win 6-2. I cannot get enough of the USWNT.

-Today started with being at the school at 8 AM to help Student Host the SUU Career Fair. I had some amazing networking opportunities and feel really good about a few job prospects gained there. I then took a test for my Honors Nutrition class, went back to Student Host for 4 more hours, went to Geology of National Parks, came home and had PB&J's with Jane and watched Pride and Prejudice. Took Michelle to Applebee's for her birthday, and then we came back to my apartment and watched the rest of the USWNT match. This is a fairly typical day.

-I recently applied for admission, scholarships, and the Honor's program at USU. Nothing is set in stone, but i'm seriously considering transferring next fall. We'll see how it all pans out.

-I am in love with the movie Brave. My roommate Becca and I quote it non-stop. In accents.

-ingridmichaelsoningridmichaelsoningridmichaelsoningridmichaelsoningridmichaelson

-My hair is weird. Not as weird as being bald. But still weird. Some days I think it would be easier to just be bald again. Only some days.

-College is amazing. Learning is amazing. Money sucks. But I already knew that. The past month has just been a wonderful reminder.

-Blog stalking tells you less about a person than Facebook stalking. It's a fact. But it tells you more about who they want to be.

-I miss my sister's dog. Which is weird because she peed on my bed all the time. The dog, not my sister.

-In my dream world, I graduate with my Bachelor's in two more years, take a year off and live inside random National Parks, and then either get some incredible career started, or go to grad school in Oregon. 

-I want to fall in love. It doesn't have to be now. It doesn't even have to be relatively soon. I just want to experience it for the first time, to see if what all the songs say is true.


"You know, the thing about love - it's the only thing that truly is everything its cracked up to be."

Monday, June 18, 2012

I Believe In All Those Days

Friends, Romans, Countrymen -

As you are about to see/hear, this is my first song ever. As I am quite new to this, and a girl, I would love all feedback that is constructive/gentle. I know I pause a lot, srry. I'll post the lyrics below because I think it's a little hard to hear/understand at times. Well, here goes nothing! 

Merissa Homer ALL RIGHTS RESERVED 2012

VERSIONS

video



Before when you would smile
I swear the sun was always shining
But now all you can find
Is one more reason to be crying

I know that word can give a fright
Sneak in your room and grab you tight
But I believe in all those days
Before you went and changed

Cuz when i'd see those eyes
That's how I knew things would be alright
Yeah when i'd see those eyes
I'd never seen a thing so bright

And I know it stands for something
When your face comes into view
Cuz now your heart is in a different place
And I see a different version of you



So now let's cut to October
Where we'll pray for a few warm days
And we can contemplate what happened
To those things we swore would never change

I guess we just had different thoughts
On who we were, or why we fought
I'd die for one more taste 
Of how things were before I left that place

Cuz when i'd see those eyes
I thought, hey maybe we'll be alright
Yeah If I could just see those eyes
I think i'd shed a tear at the sight

And I know it stands for something
When your face comes into view
Cuz now your heart is in a different place
And I see a different version of you


And maybe i'm over thinking it
We both know that's my pony trick
But I can't stop pondering those notes, that air
And why I can't bring myself to abandon this ship


I don't say this cuz I hate you
You know these words aren't out of spite
As a matter of fact I still believe in you
Even more than I did that very first night

And what I wish more than anything
More than I thought I ever could
Is to know if you meant it when you said those words
When you spoke that phrase "For Good"

Cuz remembering those times
I hope our things will turn out right
Yeah remembering those times
I think I could shrug off one more slight

I know it would stand for something
If your euphoric face came into view
Then i'd know your heart was in that good old place
I'd see my favorite version of you


And I know you'll stand for something
When you meet Him in that glowing hue
I just hope you'll accept the version He sees
Because He wants what's best for you

Yeah I hope you'll accept the version He sees 
Cuz He knows what's best for you

Yeah I hope you'll accept the version He sees
Cuz He just knows what's best for you

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Take Me Home, Country Roads

Country Roads - John Denver


My uncle, Rob, has had a love for the music of good ol' John Denver for as long as I can remember. I kind of grew up on it, and as I've gotten older (and worked at RMD) i've learned to love it. There are plenty of songs I hold more dear than this one, but this one just feels right for the time being.

So i'm back in beloved Logan, working at the Derm office again like last summer. I really do love working there, I don't think I realized how much I really missed it. Honestly, i'm just happy to be able to be saving up for school in the fall. Words cannot describe how excited I am to go back down to SUU! I've missed my college pals, the lifestyle, the learning, and I have the greatest living situation set up (assuming the building doesn't get condemned half way through the semester).

My family has been hit pretty heavy by the illness stick lately. My mom, dad, and older brother have had the nastiest cough/congestion thing going on for about 2 weeks. One of my older sisters has been having issues with her eye for a couple of years now and recently has had some more severe acute problems. One of my little brothers is in the process of being diagnosed for what appears to be a congenital defect in his spine that was unbeknownst to us for the past 17 years. Basically, i'm feeling really blessed to have the health that I do. But i'm also trying to mentally prepare for some potentially hard times with the fam. The crazy thing about medicine and sickness is that you never really know what's just around the corner until it comes up and smacks you straight in the face. You just have to pray for the ability to accept whatever comes your way and the patience to get through it.

Though to be honest, that pretty much sums up what you have to do with anything in life.

"Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home."

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

In The Belly Of The Beast

Well. This line is actually used in two different songs by the same band, Death Cab For Cutie. So I guess i'll post both videos since both songs are amazing. I love their music like cranberries love invading all other juice drinks.

Stay Young, Go Dancing


Why You'd Want To Live Here


I feel like i'm generally a fairly grateful person. Not always. Definitely not perfect. But I try. I try to notice the things around me that are amazing even though they are commonplace.

Take a pen for example. Those things enable you to write down whatever you want, at the click of a click-top or the twist of a cap. It could be poetry, a grocery list, a homework assignment, a love letter, a ransom note, a to-do list, it doesn't matter. The pen doesn't care. It just does what it is asked to do. It's an amazing little device, but most the time we don't even stop to consider just how awesome it is.

I have recently fallen ill to some unknown bug that is going around. Both of my roommates are now suffering as well, it's not a fun feeling. But it made me think about how many things I take for granted until they are absent from my life, like simple health. I don't realize how great it is to be free of sickness until I cough every 45 seconds. And when I do cough, my head feels like it is about to explode. Do you know how awesome it would be to breathe out of my nose right now? Unless you are also sick (in which case I sympathize deeply with you), take a second to realize how good you have it!

Anyways, today I was thinking about some of the things that I AM happy to have in my life. Things like microwavable minute rice, drawstring trash bags, and liquid soap. And then I started thinking about some of the things that i'm grateful are NOT in my life. And I came up with a small list. And since it had been a while since I posted, I thought I'd share. So here you go, a list of things i'm grateful are not part of my life.

-An ingrown toenail

-A mortgage payment

-Any serious/long-term disease

-Termites

-MOSQUITOS!!!

-Impacted wisdom teeth

-Horrible roommates

-Cockroaches

-A smoking habit

-Drug/alcohol dependency

-An eating disorder

-Deafness

-Blindness

-A gambling addiction

-A rabid animal attack

-A peanut allergy


When/if any of these things do become part of my life, I'm sure I will learn from them and chalk one up for experience. But until then, I'm glad they're not :)



"We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures."
- Thornton Wilder


Thursday, March 8, 2012

Kony 2012 - Awareness

First, i'd like to make the information i'm pulling some of these ideas, facts, and opinions from available to everyone. As there have been numerous responses and critiques to the Kony 2012 campaign, Invisible Children posted some facts and explanations that I believe help clear up a lot of the questions posed by anti-IC groups and individuals. The link to that page can be found here.

The following is a quote from the aforementioned Visible Children post. While VC is definitely NOT the only one posing this question, I feel that this quote represents the question/issue found in numerous other sources.

"Is awareness good? Yes. But these problems are highly complex, not one-dimensional and, frankly, aren’t of the nature that can be solved by postering, film-making and changing your Facebook profile picture, as hard as that is to swallow."


Ahem. 


Let me first remind this blogosphere of one of the many campaign slogans of the Invisible Children Kony 2012 project.


Make Him Famous


So yes, its true that one person changing one Facebook profile picture will not capture Kony. But if you think it doesn't make any difference, you don't understand social media. Have you heard of the snowball effect? 3 people change their picture, or post a status, or tweet a link, or view a video. And then 3 of their friends. And 3 friends of those friends. And before you know it, a video that has been on the internet for 3 days has nearly 40 million views. (which is exactly what the Kony 2012 video has done) People notice. And if people are willing to take their newfound awareness and turn it into action, action like writing a congressman, making their voice heard, etc... the government will take heed. The world can change. And those 3 people who changed their profile picture are part of something MUCH bigger. Allow me to quote something I wrote in response to someones anti-social media post, citing the Kony 2012 campaign as a passing fad to which a Facebook status will not aid and does not "put a bullet in Kony's head". (Which, by the way, is NOT the goal of Invisible Children. Putting him on trial in the International Criminal Court IS) 


"...I think the people who are opposing this "trend" don't quite understand the power of social media. A facebook status, while it doesn't physically put a bullet in Kony's head, spreads awareness. So does a tweet, a blog post, a YouTube video, etc... We are asking people to get educated, isn't that what spreading the word about Kony is doing? Allowing people to educate themselves? Justin Beiber started out as a kid on YouTube, and he's now one of the most famous individuals in the world. Social media and the internet are the new picket lines, the rally's, the marches, the protests. This is how people are spreading the word, its faster, cheaper, more efficient, and more widespread than anything ever used before."

So I agree that these problems are "highly complex, not one-dimensional". But since nothing will ever happen to solve the problem until people know that the problem exists, I cannot agree with the statement that these problems "...aren’t of the nature that can be solved by postering, film-making and changing your Facebook profile picture." This problem is exactly the kind of problem whose solving starts with postering, film-making, and changing your Facebook profile picture. A problem that has been going on for 20 years and has received little to no attention before now, a problem that was invisible, needs to be visible. And that's exactly why we are making Kony famous. Because it is the first step towards bringing justice to him, and towards giving all the children affected by the LRA a chance to be liberated, and to make sure another generation isn't forced to suffer through it. 

Overall, I don't even mind if people want to hate me for using social media, whether they understand it or not. To state my reasoning for such an attitude, allow me to once again echo what I have said on Facebook once before.

"Hate me for 'jumping on the bandwagon'
Ridicule me for being young and joining a cause
Criticize me for using social media as part of my effort to spread the word
Judge me for 'following the trend'
Bash on me for supporting one movement when there are so many others worth of support

No really, please do. Because when it comes to making Kony famous, even the haters help move the campaign move forward.

No publicity is bad publicity my friends.

If you're gonna support, support. If you're gonna hate, hate. But if you're looking to down this movement, just know that even negative attention is attention. And attention is what we are looking for.

STOP KONY 2012"

As i've said before on my blog, twitter, and Facebook, nothing I am saying is meant to be a personal attack on individuals whose views differ from mine. I put this information forward simply as a resource for those who would like to be informed and are interested in hearing all sides of the story. If you would like to discuss this topic in a civilized manner, I am more than willing to chat. Just message, comment or post and i'd be happy to talk. 

www.kony2012.com





Wednesday, March 7, 2012

A title that's not from a song...this must be serious. Kony 2012 - Finances


I originally started writing this as a Facebook status, but quickly realized it would be much too long for that. If you've seen my Facebook, or pretty much even been on Facebook at all in the last 24 hours, you've likely been bombarded by links, videos, pictures, and talk about Kony 2012. Well, here's another post to add to the list.

I'd like to say something about the Visible Children (henceforth referred to as VC) tumblr link and the "thedailywh.at" link that have been going around in response to the Kony 2012 video (click the word video to go to YouTube and watch the film. It's worth the 30 minutes.)

I realize that what I am about to say in no way completely discredits either of these posts, but this is one point that i'd like to focus on. I have a feeling that I may be backing up IC on more than one point in the future, so this one is entitled Finances.

May I also say that my forthcoming words are in no way meant to be a personal attack or slight on anyone that opposes the Invisible Children-led Kony 2012 campaign. That is their decision to make. I simply would like to bring up a few things to think about after these links attempt to 'educate' you out of supporting Invisible Children (henceforth referred to as IC).

It seems today has ushered in an abundance of "We hate Kony, but we're also anti-IC" articles, letters, posts and other such things who seem to enjoy pointing out finances when trying to debunk IC and discourage support of the Kony 2012 campaign.

"Last year, the organization [referring to Invisible Children] spent $8,676,614. Only 32% went to direct services, with much of the rest going to staff salaries, travel and transport, and film production."

^
quote from VC post

I'd like to look at this logically.

-Any organization that is based in San Diego and has offices in Central Africa will spend large amounts of money on travel. IC falls under that category. Makes sense to me.
-IC is run by none other than human beings. Human beings who have families to provide for, bills to pay, and thus must have an income. Any charity/organization will have staff salaries on their books. Otherwise there would be no staff.
-IC is an organization that was created by three filmmakers who originally went to Africa just to make a film about their adventures in a new place. When they saw the horrendous condition the children were living in and the conflict surrounding it, they decided to make it a documentary to bring back to the US to "make the invisible, visible" thus the name of their organization, Invisible Children. As an organization that specializes in advocacy and awareness-spreading films, it is inevitable that film production would take a large portion of the spending.

Being upset that IC spends money on travel, staff, and film is like being upset that an independent doctor spends money on a building lease, nurses, and rubber gloves. Sure, those aren't the main things that bring you to the doctor, but they are inevitable expenses without which, the practice would become defunct.

And I know this next bit isn't really a good argument, but I had to say it. Even just 32% of that approximately 8.6 million is $2,776,516.48 - Please show me any other "fauxtivist fad sweeping the web", as the "thedailywh.at" post so fondly describes this movement, that spends almost 3 million dollars on direct aid. I don't know about you, but if my main goal was to scam people out of their money and prey on their "white guilt", i'd be shoving that 3 million into my own pockets.

Lastly, i'd like to point out that IC DOES NOT claim anywhere that 100% of donations will go to direct aid. Many people have said they feel that IC is a scam and they cheat people out their money. If you are looking for an organization who has no money going to overhead, travel, advertising, etc...I wish you the best of luck. But don't feel like you are paying for IC to purchase yachts or convertibles when you see that there is another 68% not going towards direct aid. You're paying for the building, nurses, and rubber gloves.

PS - If anyone has opposing views, i'd love to hear them. In a civil manner. So send me a message on Facebook or something and we can have an open, non-name-calling discussion that would actually stay on point instead of getting out of hand. I can't stay on YouTube very long for that reason alone, it makes me angry.

*For the record, the video which was posted 2 days ago currently has over 11 million views*

www.kony2012.com MAKE HIM FAMOUS

Friday, March 2, 2012

Give Me A Pure Love

Song: Tell Me
Artist: He Is We





Under my bed, there is a box. It looks like this.





















And inside, it looks like this.





















Those are all things that look like this.





















Letters, tickets, buttons, postcards, notes, birthday cards, all sorts of fun stuff. I think a lot of people have one of these boxes. Mine contains pretty much every letter/note type thing i've received since I was about 8 years old. Occasionally (aka when I remember) I save tickets from concerts or sporting events or other such things as well. But mostly, its letters.

I love mail. Sending and receiving. Sure, stamps can add up quickly and going to the mailbox can be inconvenient. But I think it's worth it. There's just something  about knowing someone took the time out of their day to sit down and write a letter, just for me. Words cannot describe how happy I feel to see my name and address on an envelope, just waiting to be torn open and its contents devoured, in a manner of speaking.

On the other hand, things like Skype and FaceTime are awesome. I think video calls are some of the best ways to truly keep in touch with people. Every time I end a call with one of my sister's where I get to see them and their kids smile and hear them laugh, I walk away feeling awed and grateful for technology. I can't possibly number the Skype calls that got me through my first semester of college. I even got to see my friend's face and hear her voice when she opened her mission call thousands of miles away in China. If that's not amazing, I don't know what is. Technology gets a thumbs up from me.

Phone calls? Also excellent.

Emails? When they are from a Missionary, they are almost as good as letters.

A text message? Still feel the love, but maybe not quite as much.

Twitter or Facebook? Better than nothing.

Overall, I think letters are THE BEST. Maybe that's just me. I know some people like the cheap and free nature of more advanced communication forms. But if it were me, i'd rather receive a letter ANY day.

So, friends, if you want to make someone's day, send them a letter. Not just me, it could be anyone. Someone you haven't talked with in a long time, someone you see nearly everyday, your mom, your friend, that one teacher you had in 3rd grade who taught you to love math, your favorite author, your significant other, your old roommate, anyone who you feel like catching up with.

I can almost guarantee they'll appreciate it.

Unless it's a hate letter. In that case, don't send it at all. Burn it and wait til you are in a better mood.

I love my box. Every once in a while, when I have absurd amounts of free time, I'll pull it out and go through all the letters and notes and momentos and just sit and let the memories wash over me. It's a unique feeling, and I hope it doesn't turn me into a pack rat. But more than anything, I usually come away from those letter-reading sessions feeling loved and connected. And that's something I wouldn't trade for the world.



"It is easy to say how we love new friends, and what we think of them, but words can never trace out all the fibers that knit us to the old." -George Eliot

Monday, February 20, 2012

Not The Average Girl From Your Video

Title: Video
Artist: India.Arie


If you are a woman, especially a teenager, please listen to this song. Make these words your own.
If you are a man, please listen to this song. Help women believe the message in this song is acceptable, even beautiful. 


I've been watching a lot of movies lately. Angels in the Outfield, Brother Bear, Beauty and the Beast, etc... But the one I watched most recently has really stuck out to me. 

"My Sister's Keeper" based on the novel by Jodi Picoult. 
TTMySistersKeeper.jpg

I've heard from a lot of different people that the movie strays from the book quite a bit. I know that makes some people really mad, but I haven't read the book yet for myself. So I really don't know. (For the record, I do own the book and its next on my to-read list)

Kate, a 15 year old girl, has been battling leukemia almost her whole life. The story goes through the struggles that tear her family apart, and how they are sometimes the exact same things that bring them closer together. I won't go into it more than that just in case some of you haven't seen or read it yet, but intend to do so. (I'd recommend it) 

There is a scene where Kate's mom, Sara (Camreon Diaz) decides to try and help Kate not feel so self-conscious about being bald.
cameron-diaz-shaved-head.jpg

I hated that scene. Because it made me cry ;) 
But honestly, it was a really odd feeling to watch that. By no means am I pretending to understand what it feels like to have a child with cancer or anything along those lines. But that one portion of that one scene, I almost felt connected to their battle in a way. When I saw this movie back when it came out in 2009, that scene probably didn't even phase me. Now, I can't exactly say that.

Brittny, Mom, Kira, Jenny, and Shelly i'm sure could relate.
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Kristi too. She's usually the one behind the camera. (If you like her work, such as these two pictures, check out more HERE)
_DSC0157.JPG.jpg 

For those of you who don't know, back in November, a large portion of my family as well as some of the members of the Logan UT community shaved their heads as part of a fundraising effort for the St. Baldrick's Foundation. St. Baldrick's is an organization committed to researching and finding a cure for children's cancer. How it basically works is this:

A person decides they are willing to shave their head if a certain amount of money is raised. In order to generate the money, the shavee asks around neighbors, friends, businesses, etc for donations. 

For example, Dr. Robert Young and his medical practice, Rocky Mountain Dermatology, hosted the event. Dr Young said if $10,000 was raised, he would shave his head. Since the RMD/St Baldrick's event raised over $16,000 (setting a record for the state of UT), it's safe to say Dr Young was bald for a while :)

The inspiration for this whole thing was a 3 year old kid named Tyson. Tyson's mom is my mom's cousin. Last April he was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. Even though i've never actually met this little guy face to face, I feel blessed to have been able to be a part of this event in his honor. His mom keeps a blog of his battle, and if you ever feel like you need to be reminded what it is to feel human again, you can read it HERE.

Most of the time, Tyson is a normal little kid. He makes messes, plays video games, and hangs out with his brothers and sisters. 
IMG_4514.JPG.jpg


But sometimes, Tyson doesn't get to be a normal little kid. 

Right now he has to take 10 pills every Thursday. 
IMG_4506.JPG.jpg


Last night, he had to make a midnight platelet run to the "helicopter hospital" as he refers to it since there is a heli-pad outside the pediatric floor. 
0220020037a.jpg

Oh, and Tyson's dad, Brady - you can see him in the back there. Brady was stationed in Iraq when the diagnosis came back in April 2011. 

It is quite the interesting sentiment to watch a movie like My Sister's Keeper, reach up to my own head and feel the few inches of hair that have grown back since November, and then remember that there are real people, real families, who have to go through this stuff every day of their lives. Families like Tyson's. And it just makes me wonder how many more kids, how many more families will have to fight this fight of childhood cancer before we can finally find a cure. 

Here's to hoping, praying, and head-shaving-fundraising that the number is a big fat zero sooner than later.


Also, if you or anyone you know may be struggling with the hair-loss effects of chemo, I invite you to listen to this song. It played for about a month straight after I shaved my head ;)

I Am Not My Hair feat. P!nk - India.Arie


This is a video from when I was on the talk show at my college, Southern Utah University, for the St Baldrick's event.

This is a video that my cousin put together. Be aware, you may need a tissue :)

"Some days there won't be a song in your heart.  Sing anyway."  ~Emory Austin

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Within My Heart A Welcome Guest

Today's title comes from the hymn Abide with Me; 'Tis Eventide.


Whatever you are doing right now, STOP.

Look around you.

Think of five things that you can currently see/feel/hear/etc... that you are grateful for.

Here are my 5.

1 - A computer to type this on.
2 - Fingers and hands that function properly.
3 - My LTC bracelet.
4 - The music playing on my phone.
5 - This super comfortable couch i'm sitting on.

That wasn't too hard. 5 really isn't that many once you get going. I could have probably written at least a few dozen more off the top of my head, just by noticing what is around me right in this moment. And I bet you could too. How about eyes to see this screen? Or a mind that allows me to press these buttons and make words? I'm happy to have all these things.

The cool thing about being happy, is it gives you a lot to be grateful for. And when you are full of gratitude, you are usually happier because you realize how much you already have. So really I could have said, "Think of five things that make you happy" and you could probably list some of the same things.

That doesn't mean I can only be grateful when i'm happy. Maybe I got a paper cut; that definitely doesn't make me happy. But I can be grateful that it was a paper cut instead of a machete and I didn't bleed to death. And then i'm happy that i'm still alive. So maybe gratitude can bring forth happiness?


I've had a lot of time to think lately. And the idea of 'happiness' has been on my mind since I work at "The Happiest Place on Earth". What does that word even mean, happy? Is happiness the same for everyone? What makes me happy? Am I currently happy? If not, why? Sometimes I think my mind is its own 4 year old, asking questions ALL the time. And sometimes I think it's pointless to spend so much time thinking about random stuff like this. But nevertheless, happiness has been the topic of ponderance as of late. And here's what i've come up with.

You are exactly as happy as you make your mind up to be.

If I really, really want to be happy, i'll find things that make me happy. But if I have a sour attitude and think the world sucks, i'm going to seek out the things that make that idea true. It's called the confirmation bias in research and statistics. We have a tendency to latch onto the things that coincide with our ideal and brush away the things that disprove or disagree with it.

*Side note, I think this is a huge part of eating disorders and self-esteem issues. If a teenage girl thinks she is fat, she will ONLY notice the things that confirm this, but she'll shun any comments or facts that suggest otherwise. But that theory is for another time.*

SO, what i'm saying is this. I, as most people do, want to be happy. And I want to figure out what will help me gain that happiness. But when it comes down to it, it's all up to me. A mickey mouse shaped ice cream can't MAKE me happy. It can help. It can influence. It can bring about happy thoughts. But it  is up to me to DECIDE if i'm going to be happy or not. Truly, truly happy.

Lately, i've noticed that the more I realize the astounding quantity and quality of things I am grateful for, the easier it is to let myself be happy. How can I be in a bad mood when I sit down and realize that God gave me a respiratory system that keeps me breathing without me even having to think about it? My lungs are literally helping keep me alive and I don't even notice them most of the time. Or how about the sun? The sun is amazing! It brings beauty when it rises and sets, light and warmth during the day, helps nature grow, makes biological life processes possible, etc... And those are just physical things. I won't even get into what a miracle and a blessing Grace is, or how I truly stand all amazed when I think of what Jesus Christ went through for me and what it allows. All in all, when I understand how much i've been given, i'm completely overwhelmed with gratitude. And guess what follow soon thereafter? Happiness :)

I don't know if there is really a "secret" to life, but I think gratitude is at least a hint.

PS: Totally unrelated side note - It's Abraham Lincoln's birthday today! 203 years. He was an incredible man, whose picture is currently hanging on my wall. If any of you were wondering "Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln" at the Opera House is my favorite part of Disneyland. Nerd status, I know. But he's just that great :)

"All that I am, or ever hope to be, I owe to my angel mother." - Abraham Lincoln

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Your Heart Is Big Enough For Two

Song: Cross My Heart
Artist: The Rocket Summer




MUSIC

It's a beautiful thing. It's one of my passions. Which is a strange thing to say when you consider that I don't play a single instrument, I can't read a lick of music, and the closest i've come to performing was a community theatre production of The Wizard of Oz when I was in 5th grade. But if you've been in the same room as me for more than 20 minutes, you've probably heard me sing or hum or whistle.

My sister Kristi once taught me and my friend the cure for the blues pretty early in my high school career. She said that when you need to be, to just exist and think, this is what you do. And the first step is optional depending on if you feel like spending money. But here it is.

Step 1: Go to McDonalds and purchase ice cream.
Step 2: Roll the windows down in your car.
Step 3: Turn up your music.
Step 4: Drive.

I never forgot that lesson. My favorite place on earth to follow those steps is in Logan, taking the long way home along 1st Dam from the Lundstrom Park area to Cliffside.



If you want to know the quantity of music in my life, here you go. You can even ask my roommates. If i'm doing the dishes: there's music. If i'm waiting for water to boil: music. What does my alarm clock do to wake me up in the morning? Plays music. It is constant. If i've ever posted something you don't quite understand or doesn't seem applicable on Facebook or Twitter, it's more than likely lyrics to whatever song i'm listening to at the moment. Where does the name of my blog come from? Lyrics from a song. What does every single one of my blog posts contain? Each title is from a song, and there's usually a link so you can listen to it. What is taking up half of one of the two drawers I have? Band t-shirts. I've made it a point to get a t-shirt at every concert I go to. What do I write at the bottom of every entry in my journal? The name of my favorite song for that day.


It's gotten to the point that I sometimes don't even realize that i'm doing these things.

Yesterday when I was riding the elevator up to my apartment, I noticed the other two girls in the elevator were kind of shooting me confused looks and that's when I realized I was singing out loud.

 Last week one of my roommates said she thought she recognized "that song." I said "What song?" She said "The one you're humming."

I can't tell you how many times i'll be having a conversation with someone and i'll pause and say, "That reminds me of a song." Needless to say, music is a fairly prominent part of my life.

I once had an experience with music that was the closest i've ever felt to transcendent. I won't attempt to describe it because I honestly know that the inadequacy of my words compared to what was felt would be disgraceful. I legitimately do not think the words exist in the English language to be able to adequately portray the experience. I think the friend that was with me will be the only human being i'll ever be able to try and discuss it with. There is one song in particular from that experience that I still can't bring myself to listen to. That is undeniably the most infinite moment that music has ever brought to my life.


The funny thing about music is that it can help you feel so many things. And I choose my words carefully because I don't think music is forceful. Powerful, yes. But not forceful. It can't MAKE you feel anything, it can only amplify what is already in you.

I don't think "that one song" that reminds you of your high school prom MAKES you nostalgic or teary-eyed, it's just a pathway for those memories to flow through. And I don't think my favorite hymn is in and of itself a monolith of spirituality, but what it directs my thoughts and feelings towards, that is what makes it so powerful. 

Don't get me wrong, I realize that not all music is rainbows and butterflies. I think music is one of the most powerful influences in existence, for both good and bad, but that's all it is. An influence. Individuals are still responsible for their actions. And to go one step further, we are responsible for what we let influence us. If I don't like the direction a song is directing me , I am fully capable of using the on/off switch or clicking fast forward to the next song. Don't praise the music for the good, don't blame it for the bad. It's still people making choices when it comes down to it.

That felt a little soapbox-y. Sorry.

The reason I started writing this post in the first place is that one of my favorite songs of all time came on shuffle. (Don't you love when that happens? It's like iTunes is giving you a hi-five.) And now that i'm to this point in the post, I realize that i'm going to need more than one post if I want to truly chronicle everything I feel about music. So i'll cut to the chase here of why I started this one.

The title-song for this post, as mentioned above, is Cross My Heart by a band named The Rocket Summer. I could do an entire post on TRS itself, and come to think of it, I never did write about that concert back in September. I'll save that one for another day though. Anyways, this song is just...amazing to me. The Rocket Summer is one of those bands that is definitely not for everyone. His voice is quite unique and i'll even admit that the first time I heard one of his songs, I was not a fan. I thought his voice was annoying and not that good. And even now i'll admit that he probably is not the most technically sound singer, but I choose to look past that. So many of his songs are just chock full of incredible lyrics. And the story behind his band is just so great if you ask me.

Okay i'm sorry, i'm getting carried away. Back to the point.

Cross My Heart is one of those songs that I could listen to 30 times in a row and never get tired of it. I know this for a fact because after I went to his concert, I did just that. Probably more than 30 actually. Something about the rhythm and how ridiculously upbeat it is and how honest the words are and how intimate the sound is and the way it builds from the simple strums at the beginning to the full blown "If I listen to this song anywhere but my locked bedroom or my car, people will think i'm insane because of how I dance and scream along to the lyrics." and then back to the softer but still upbeat bridge-thing (I don't know what it actually is called). I don't know.  It's just one of those songs that I think could help me smile no matter what kind of day i'm having. 

And my point in writing this post is to ask: do you guys have a song like that for you? If so, I want to know what it is. Comment or write your own post and tell me what song is your Happy Song. When did you first hear it? What memories are tied to it that make it so great for you? What's your favorite line? Tell me YOUR story :)

"After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music." -Aldous Huxley

Monday, January 30, 2012

The Only Way To Really Know Is To Really Let It Go

Song: Maybe
Artist: Ingrid Michaelson
(I warned you I was on an IM kick. Which i'm totally fine with because she is AMAZING.)





Do you ever sometimes wonder what kind of conversations you could have with random strangers? Maybe i'm weird, but I think these sorts of things ALL the time.

Think about the last really good, thoughtful, meaningful conversation you had with someone. When I was at SUU this fall, I was lucky enough to have these kinds of conversations almost daily. I had some of the best chats of my life with the friends I made down there. I clicked with a few people there in a way I never had before. Let's just say I haven't had many 5-hour talks about a single subject with too many people. And that's what I miss dearly. Just talking to people.

Well, sometimes I think about the fact that before I talked to those people, I didn't even know they existed. They went to their own high schools, had their own families, did their own things. Yet when the time came for us to sit and chat, there was so much to talk about. Even though I literally had never even heard their name just a few days or weeks or months earlier, there we were. Sitting in the honors common room, or the dining hall, or the balcony, or the grass on campus, or a random bench, or the student center, or all around town, or the picnic tables outside the dorm, or a curb, or a couch, just where the heck ever. And two individuals who had only known each other for a matter of weeks could sit and discuss things for hours. How amazing is that? Sometimes, I love being a human.

Since I ride the bus to and from work, I have a lot of encounters with strangers and time to think. I mean, I also work at Disneyland where I run into at least 20,000 new faces every day, but most of those are just in passing. But at the bus stop, on the bus, walking to and fro...the bus is different I think.

I see these people for the first time ever, and then sit next to them for 5 or 10 minutes and most the time we never exchange a word. But sometimes I think about all those other people at SUU who used to be strangers. Until we talked. And I think that maybe someone who could be my best friend is sitting a bench away from me at the bus stop, but we'd never know because we never talk. Maybe that guy my age sitting by himself could make me really happy. And I could make him happy. But we'd never know.

And maybe I don't even have to have a relationship with these people to benefit from talking to them. Maybe the crazy homeless guy in the powerchair who blasts music and shows up at the same bus stop every night has great stories to tell, and I could learn the importance of education or something. But I won't know because I dismiss him as the crazy homeless guy in the powerchair. And maybe the bus driver has a kid at home whose birthday party he's missing because he has to work that night, and I could learn about sacrifice. Or maybe the guy standing and holding onto the rail is going to his first job interview, hoping that this will be his big break, and I could be excited for him. There are just so many possibilities. And i'd never know the truth behind any of these stranger's faces because I never open my mouth. Instead, I stare out the window or check Twitter for the fifth time in 10 minutes. And i'm not saying I need to become best friends with every person I ever see. It's just interesting to think about. Why is it that I am willing to open up and have people open up to me at school, but not on the bus? I understand that there's this thing called privacy and I shouldn't walk around wearing a shirt that tells my life story. But it's still intriguing to think about. At least to me.

I've heard people say that if you can love someone, that's all they ever really need from you. But I think the most important thing you can ever give someone is a chance. A chance to hear what they have to say. Because if you think about it...

You never really know anyone, until you do.

"A ship in harbor is safe - but that is not what ships are for." -John A. Shedd

Sort Of

Song: Sort Of
Artist: Ingrid Michaelson (I've been on a huge IM kick lately. Her lyrics are so real its unreal.)


Hello friends :)

So I guess this is why I never had a ChiaPet. Or a real pet for that matter. And why I'm only on page 53 of my spanish copy of the Book of Mormon which I began in August. And why it took me two and a half years to finish one journal. I am just not all that consistent.

BUT

I'm turning over a new leaf. I've recently discovered how amazing blogs can be. I never thought i'd say that. But being able to sit on my couch in California and read about my friend in Utah or my cousins in Oklahoma has made me realize that they can be a really good way to stay in touch.

So, I want to try and start updating this thing more regularly. However, I want it to be something that you guys want to read. I don't want to just type words that will sit on the internet for nothing. I want to know what interests you guys!

With that being said, i'm going to have to ask a favor. I need you guys to comment and tell me what you like to read. It could be "Missy, I love you, but I hate when you talk about work all the time. Tell me more about living in California!" or "Hey, it's great that you live in a high-rise apartment, but I want random Disney facts!" or "Tell me a joke." or "Tell us a story about when you were 13."

I will write about whatever you guys request. So PLEASE, tell me what you want!

*cue Spice Girls song*

"I could never convince the financiers that Disneyland was feasible, because dreams offer too little collateral." - Walt Disney

Saturday, January 28, 2012

That's What You Get For Sticking Out Your Neck

The title is from a song called Giraffe by a band called Miniature Tigers. Very clever if you ask me.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7O9EyyOXljw

So I guess sometimes when people have a blog, they do things like update it regularly. Obviously, I am not one of those people. Maybe I need to feed my blog Activia so it can become more regular, but that just sounds like a sticky mess all around. So I probably won't do that. Sorry if anyone was looking forward to that. With all that being said, I don't feel like anyone was really missing my blog since I don't really have a theme for my posts and most of them are way too long to be entirely read. Anyways, let's get on with this.

I currently do and for the next 8 months will live in a state called California and work for a company called Walt Disney at a park called Disneyland. You may have heard some of these names. It seems like whenever I mention any of these details to people back home they usually say one of two things.

1 - "Wow! You're so brave. 8 months is a long time. Are you gonna be Mickey Mouse or something?"

2 - "So can you get me a discount? Hahaha just kidding...but kind of not kidding."

Which i'm fine with. If I had a friend or family member who worked at Disneyland, i'd probably try and get  some benefits out of them too. I understand. Here's the only problem. I'm not Mickey Mouse. And half the people who want me to get them in for free, probably had no intentions of acknowledging my existence once I passed the state line until they knew there could be something in it for them.

I'm a custodian. I sweep the grounds, pick up trash, take out trash, clean up vomit and other messes, and many many things that are far less glamorous than being Mickey Mouse. And at first, I was not too excited about this. I didn't even get a cool themed costume like the space-looking outfits for folks in Tomorrowland, or the Indiana Jones-like outfits for Adventureland. I got a white shirt, white pants, a crimson belt and pouch, and all black shoes. I look like a marshmallow. And for the first day, I was almost ashamed or embarrassed. I thought, "No one would ever want this job. I don't even get paid that much, I have to work weekends, and the shifts are at crazy times of the night half the time." And don't even get me started on how much my feet hurt at the end of the 8 hour shifts of constant walking or standing. I was thinking that it would be a looooooooong 8 months. But then one little thing happened.

One of the days of on-the-job training, we were sent out to Main Street to do "guest interaction", basically just make someone's day a little better by taking a picture for them so the whole family could be in the shot, give a little kid a sticker, go pin trading, help someone find directions or give them a map, etc... Just go be a helpful resource, ya know? So we go out, and it was my first time in costume, with my name tag, out in the park. It was kind of one of those surreal moments. It was neat. So I pin traded with a couple people, took a bunch of pictures for people in front of the Castle, picked up some napkins that had blown away from some folks. It wasn't miserable, but I didn't think it was all that magical either. Until one I spotted one little girl.

At the time, there were a lot of people sitting and waiting for the parade to start. It was toward the end of the day, and a lot of kids were tired and sleeping on their dad's lap or in the stroller. Well, one specific little girl wearing a yellow dress just like Belle from Beauty and the Beast caught my eye. I hadn't given out any stickers yet, so I figured this was a good time to do it. As I was walking over, I noticed that her head was kind of in her hands, bowed down a little. I couldn't tell if she was tired or crying or what, but I had already started walking over there and I didn't want to be weird, so I just kept going. I knelt down on the street to get down to her eye level, and just started talking to her. I told her that her Belle dress looked great and asked if she was excited to see Belle in the parade, and when she looked up, I thought my heart was going to melt right out of my chest. This girl had the biggest alligator tears running down her cheeks. It was heartbreaking. But she looked up and she nodded and said Belle was her favorite. So I kept talking to her and she kept nodding while the tears were just streaming down her cheeks. Finally, I asked if maybe a sticker would help the wait for the parade go by a little bit faster. And i'll tell you what folks, in that moment, I understood why people are willing to go through all the sweeping and garbage and messes and marshmallow looking outfits. I have never seen someone's face light up so fast as when I told that little girl she could have a sticker. Just one little sticker turned her whole situation around. She was smiling instead of crying, laughing at my dumb joke about Goofy being goofy, and most importantly, I could see her parents smiling out of the corner of my eye.

That's the magic of Disney, folks. It's not in an overpriced corn dog or a hundred princess themed movies. It's seeing a little kid smile, and seeing how happy it makes the parents to see their kids smile. Maybe i'm still just a rookie and the magic will disappear after a few more months of Code V's and aching feet. But in that moment of giving that little girl one simple sticker, it sure didn't feel to me like it would be wearing off any time soon. And to me, that's even better than being Mickey Mouse because I got to talk to them and show interest and truly interact. Plus I hear those character costumes weigh a ton and are super hot.

So, next time you hear of someone who works for Disney, instead of asking if they are Mickey Mouse or if they can get you in free, ask them when they saw the magic. I bet you'll get a kick out of watching their faces light up too :)

"I only hope that we never lose sight of one thing. That it was all started by a mouse." - Walt Disney