Sunday, December 22, 2013

Registering... Marriage is only one month away!

I have been registering for gifts from Amazon for the past two hours. It actually pretty fun, though dilemmas like this have occurred more than once-

What I would have bought if I were still single in college:

What a responsible, mature, married couple should have:

Also, registering is a funny concept to me. Everyone does it, but I can't help but think we won't get most of the stuff we register for. So, in a way, it makes it even more fun- "Oh! That looks cool- click! Maybe someone will buy it. Or maybe no one will spend $500 on a blender for us, but you never know! Maybe they'll get that sweet bamboo serving tray instead."

Friday, December 20, 2013

Every New Beginning Comes from Some Other Beginning's End

Today I wrote my last research paper for my last final for my last class at BYU. I turned it in precisely 3 minutes before it was due, as per my usual strategy. Though the past few years have made me pretty strategic at writing papers, the whole conception of giving myself plenty of time before it's due is still fuzzy. Either way, once I had clicked "submit", I sat back in my chair, and let it soak in that I was done being an undergrad.

I was sitting in my favorite computer lab, located on the 4th floor of the library, and began thinking about all the other homework I'd done there. It was funny but I actually felt a sense of affection for this lab, and also sadness to be leaving. I began thinking of all the time I'd spent at BYU- all the assignments, classes, and professors. It feels as if a chapter in my life is ending, and another is about to begin, especially since I'm getting married next month. (NEXT month!!)

As part of this chapter closing, I've been thinking about what it is exactly I got from my college education. I've switched majors multiple times, which I know sounds crazy but I actually liked it. But, if I could sum up the main turning points, they would include the following.

I took a lot of good classes, but one of the first more profound learning experiences happened when I was sitting in accounting when the professor gave a lecture on micro finance. As I learned about the programs people create to help those that are disadvantaged, I remember being really excited, and deciding then and there I would likely change the world.

Also in this class, the professor gave a lecture on being rich. He mentioned that it is good to seek wealth, but to remember that after you die, all of your belongings will just go to someone else. This changed my mentality completely.

When I came back from my mission, I began the international development minor. I started learning about what exactly a third world country was, and some of the issues they faced. The highlight was simply awareness- awareness of things like rape, genocide, corrupt governments, malnutrition, and civil wars. It blows my mind that I had to take a class to learn about these things, but I'm glad I at least had an introduction.

I also started the sociology major- woohoo social problems! One of my favorite jokes is that between Sociology and International Development,  I find new reasons to be offended every day. Sad, but true.

Between international development and sociology, pretty much all of my personal beliefs, religious or not, have been challenged. What I understood about religion, God, women, homosexuality as well as heterosexuality, and the world in general was suddenly put to the test. I learned about so much unfairness and cruelty, and also manipulation. These courses have opened my eyes to what humanity is capable of, for good or for bad.

I feel like my last year especially has been formative. Between several close friends coming out with their sexuality, my sister giving up her baby for adoption, the role of women being questioned, and religious ideals challenged, I have finished my time at BYU and also my chapter of a single adult less certain but also more open to life.

I guess my education has taught me to jump to conclusions less, to be patient as more information comes, and to understand the world just a little better. I honestly wish I could stay in school longer- I feel like I'm naturally such a tool, and getting my degree only chipped away a small part of that. I still plan to save the world, though, so we'll see what happens.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Sometimes Proposals Come in Threes

I don't know- it just happened that way?

The first time Nate proposed was, I think, my personal favorite. A few days before we had decided getting married was going to be a thing, and then when we realized we only had a few weeks left of the beautiful autumn colors, that sped up the process. So, after day one of grueling ring shopping (I may just dedicate an entire post to how frustrating ring and dress shopping were... it's just hard when you know what you want and no one seems to think it's credible. Upon finding both, I have the strongest urge to go back to every jewelry and dress store and say, "SEE?!?!?! IT IS REAL, I'M NOT CRAZY!!!!" while brandishing my ring and dress in their face. Though, then they probably would have their crazy suspicions confirmed... sorry, bridezilla coming out.) 

Anyway, after day one of ring shopping, we went to dinner and then to a show, and finished the night by snuggling up to a movie at my house. We started talking about getting married and being engaged, and Nate talked about thinking of ways to propose. I told him that I didn't care how it happened- I'd be happy with whatever he did. Nate, surprised, asked, "Really?"
"Yeah," I shrugged, "I don't care."
"Oh. well..." Nate sat back, "Caitlan. Will you marry me?"
 "Yes," I nodded, "yes I will."

Nate teared up a bit, and I just laughed as we hugged. That's pretty indicative of us- Nate being sweet and thoughtful, and me just... I don't know- being inappropriate I guess. It fits though.:) So then we talked about how excited we were, how much we loved each other, and how obviously our lives were going to be perfect because we are such a perfect match and we do everything right. 

So, that was Saturday, and after ring shopping on Monday and Tuesday, we found the ring! I just have to take a minute and say that ring shopping with Nate made me realize that he is the most perfect guy. Not the fact that we were ring shopping, but more the concept of how wonderful Nate is when I am upset.  I thought ring shopping was the most frustrating thing in the whole world. You saw the picture- my ring is the simplest thing ever! Anyway, I would stress out and he was extremely patient and kind. Nate is way too nice to me- and he's like that with everything- nice when I'm unreasonable, and then still considerate in every way- making sure I get exactly what I want. I don't know where I found this guy, but he is the best and I am keeping him.

Anyway, when we finally found the ring, we realized it was going to have to be made and would take a while. So, in the mean time, we picked up some Wal-Mart bling. You would not believe how many compliments I got on this thing- it doesn't even look close to real, but whatev! And so here we have proposal #2. Nate got on one knee in a movie theater parking lot, and proposed with this big plastic rock. I said yes, again. 

Not bad, Wal-Mart. Solid plastic is not bad.

But... this one is a lot better. And real. :)

So I wore my fake ring for about two weeks. I told Nate I felt like we were fake engaged because I had a fake ring. I say the sweetest things, I know. 

Anyway, Nate had been telling me that the ring was taking longer than expected and he wasn't sure when it would be done. Meanwhile our WalMart bling was starting to turn my finger green, and the silver shine was turning a nice copper color. So yesterday he came and picked me up from work, and I thought we would go home, but instead he took me to the Provo River Trail. 

This trail has special meaning for us as we have taken many a walk there, and it is also where, after much perseverance on Nate's part, I finally told him I liked him back and we could start dating. So, agreeing that this was a good spot to take engagement photos. Nate took me there under the premise that we were looking for good photo opps. I noticed, however, he was walking a little more quickly than usual, and to be honest it was my secret hope this walk was more than just photo spots.  

We reached the bench where we had sat to have little chats, and sat down. The leaves were beautiful next to the river, and even the sunlight was at a perfect afternoon gleam. As we sat there, we talked about other times we had been there, and about getting married. Nate mentioned that he had wanted to marry me for a long time, and so we talked about times we had both felt that way. After some sweet nothings were exchanged, he said, "Well, that reminds me, I have a question for you."

He stood up, knelt on the ground, and asked me if I would marry him, and spend forever with him. I said, "Yes, and I'll love you forever too." So then we kissed and it was very nice. :)

Nate is the greatest guy in the whole world. The more we're together, the more I feel like I snagged him and like it or not, I'm going to keep him because he is so wonderful. He's so nice, caring, patient, considerate... I could go on forever. Know that he is the best and I could not ask for more. :)

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

A Real Story

So it turns out I don't keep my whole life on facebook. And so, here's the full, juicy, long version of the story via blog. :)

I met Mr. Nathan Parkin about two years ago when I went to do proxy sealings at the Provo Temple with my roommate, Cynthia. I had woken up about ten minutes before we left, so my hair was sticking out at unnatural angles and yesterday's makeup was covered by glasses. Whenever it wasn't my turn to participate in a sealing, I was falling asleep in my chair. Nate always describes this part as seeing the most beautiful girl of his life and being distracted the whole time. Not sure what he found so appealing, but we'll go with it. :)

Apparently Nate hurried quickly to the dressing room so he could be changed and outside before we were. Cynthia and I took our sweet time and finally came outside the temple. There I saw this guy sitting at the fountain and briefly mentioned to Cynthia, "Hey- that guy was in our group." He came up and started talking to us. I was mostly disinterested, but Cynthia humored him and they talked all the way to the car. Expecting him to ask her out (Cynthia is absolutely gorgeous), I made my way to the other side of the car. He spoke over her and asked me if I'd like to go on a date sometime. Unamused, I  responded, "Um, I don't know. I'll think about it. You can have my number though."

A few days later he called to ask me on a date, and I said no. 

Meanwhile, I became friends with Brock, a guy I met in an English class. We often did homework and projects together, and became fast friends as we exchanged dating advice and tried to set one another up. And the end of the semester, Brock and I went to a party together. Upon picking me up, he asked if I had ever been asked out at the temple before, and if one of those times was by a red haired guy named Nate. I responded in the affirmative, and he laughed and said, "That's my roommate!!" I couldn't believe it. We went to the party, and sure enough, there was temple guy. Yikes.

For the next year and a half, that was pretty much the story. I'd hang out with Brock, and Nate would often be there. For whatever reason, anyone who came over or ran into us would ALWAYS ask, "How do you guys know each other?" Amusing for Brock, mildly uncomfortable for me and Nate. As I got to know Nate better, I began piping in, "And I should have said yes!" any time the story was told. If it came up when Brock and I were talking, I would usually mention something about regretting saying no, just in case that info ever got passed on. Convinced that my time had passed with Nate, I never entertained the thought too deeply.

So, time passed, and Nate and I realized we had a lot in common. It turns out we both have deep abiding love and trust for Banana Republic, and so Nate began inviting me on shopping trips. Then he began asking me out on dates. After about two months of dates, I finally made up my mind and we started dating. Unfortunately, differences came up and I broke it off.

I feel like the cute way to tell this story is to say, "And then we got back together!" as if it was a simple mishap. Nope. The reality is that it was super hard and confusing and painful, and not fun. After a few weeks, however, we realized we could work through things and tried again.

I'm not really sure what happened this time. Selfishness, perhaps.  I just didn't feel like things would work. Either way, after another brief stint of dating, I broke up with him for the second time. 

When I initially broke up with Nate this go around, I felt really confidently about it. No turning back. I figured it would be a distant memory in a matter of weeks, and I was on to the next. I dated other guys, and pretty much put it behind me. I kept being surprised, however, at how often Nate would turn up in my thoughts. I'd write in my journal about whatever, and then add a line at the end to the effect of, "Oh, and I miss Nate today."

The more time that went by, the more frequently he was on my mind. Along with the frequency also came the reminder that none of these other guys were as kind as Nate, or treated me with as much respect. I also didn't respect them as much as I respected him, it turned out. I began to see my breakup with Nate as one of the most interesting types of pain I'd ever felt, because for the first time I still loved and still respected an ex-boyfriend.  Instead of my usual insensitive indifference to an old beau, I still really cared about Nate's happiness and hoped he found it. 

At the end of the summer, I went up to Seattle with a few friends, and we stayed at Brock's parents' house. Maybe it was because Brock and Nate are so close, maybe it was because Brock's family and Nate are so close, or maybe it was because I knew he had been there before, but the thought of him haunted me that whole trip. I couldn't get him out of my head. Finally, the night before we left, I was alone in the kitchen with Brock's mom, Lesli. We were just talking about whatever, and she casually asked about my dating Nate.

Finally someone asked! "YES, and I'm going crazy!" I erupted, relieved for a chance to talk about it. She was a good listener and apparently asked the perfect questions, because I went on about how much I missed him and how happy we'd be together and how I didn't know what to do because I felt like I was out of chances and I couldn't hurt him anymore and just basically how I was still in love with him. I also had this crazy feeling- I've never experienced this before or since- of just like my heart growing. Haha I guess it'd be like the Grinch when his heart grows three times its size? Either way, I felt really strongly that I wanted to see him, know how he was doing, be around him, care about him, and just talk to him again. Lesli's parting words before going to bed were, "Well, you have a lot to think about, don't you?" 

Wise words, Lesli. 

The next day I had a 14 hour drive back to Provo. Plenty of thinking time. Oh, and I was also with 4 of the most assertive, direct girls I know. Between peer pressure and my own wanting, I called Nate and asked if he wanted to get lunch. That darn kid- he is super composed and handled the conversation really normally. I, on the other hand, was all over the place like a nervous wreck. We agreed to lunch the next week, and didn't speak till then.

Lunch ended up being dinner and shopping, and we decided to have our chat over dinner. I decided to speak first since I had initiated the reunion. I basically told him the story of my summer as I gave the waitress the "Get out here" glare. After some spilling of emotions and thoughts (no crying though), I then found myself saying, "I don't deserve you, and I certainly don't expect you to say yes, but I'm going to try either way and ask you to take me back." 

See ya later pride. 

Nate nodded and said that as much pain as I had caused him, the way he felt about me had never changed, and that even in that moment he would do anything for me. He also mentioned that he was still considering himself lucky that we had ever dated, let alone the future prospect of being together. (He gets all the winning parts, I know)

So we talked about how we might do things differently, and decided to just start going on dates for now. This notion was short-lived, however, as we went on a walk following dinner and he reached out and held my hand. This was probably one of the most meaningful times that we've shared, because our holding hands symbolized so much- the things we'd overcome, our willingness to try again, and of course, love.:) He also kissed me goodnight, which was equally meaningful.

So, fast forward about a month. Marriage had always been a topic of discussion, at least hypothetically, in every instance of our dating. Both in our mid-twenties and a history of friendship, it wasn't too out of place. So, we had been talking about it here and there, and after a few weeks of dating for time #3, he mentioned that my favorite month of May probably wasn't soon enough. At this point I turned into a 12 year old girl and started giggling, asking him what he was trying to say. Here is where marriage was no longer hypothetical, and we started making plans.

And so we started ring shopping (a nightmare of its own, but after 7 stores we found it. goodnight that was crazy). And so January 21st sounded like the most beautiful day. And so the Provo temple, where it all began, was scheduled. And I have never felt more confident, assured, and happy about a decision in my life. :) 

Extended Version Coming Soon...

From the outside, I can definitely see how Nate and I getting engaged seems like it came out of nowhere. However, it didn't. :)

Nate and I met about two years ago when we both went to the Provo temple to do proxy sealings. He waited outside the temple until I came out, and asked me on a date. I not so gracefully declined. I thought nothing of it until a few months later, I went to a party with a good friend who ended up being his roommate. He was there and... talk about awkward- everyone at the party thought it was hilarious though.

So for the next year and a half the three of us were good friends and hung out all the time. As I got to know Nate better, I wished I could take back my initial decline. After more than a year, Nate gave me another chance and started asking me out again. After 2 months of going on dates, we started dating. Things didn't match up, and I broke up with him.

A few weeks later, I came crawling back and we dated again. Again I changed my mind and broke up with him.

This time the break was for the summer. I kept waiting to get over Nate, but instead of the feelings going away or diminishing, I found myself missing him more and getting over him less. No one treated me as well as he did, I didn't respect anyone as much as I did him, and I guess I just plain missed him.

More later, but, long story short I called him and just told him I didn't expect him to, but I wished he would take me back. And the nicest guy in the world that he is, he did. And now we're getting married. :)

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Short Lived

Last Sunday, almost a week ago, I was online and decided to just look at LDS Singles (an online dating site for Mormon single adults). Pretty soon I found myself setting up a profile. It was just a series of clicks and answering random questions about myself, and before I knew it, I was out there! For the whole cyber LDS male world to see! It happened very quickly, and I was soon a part of a world I had previously been so far removed from, I didn't even have negative feelings toward. It simply didn't apply or appeal to me. But here we went. Online dating.

So after about a day I had a handful of "smiles." Apparently if you find someone attractive, you click on a link to smile at them. Smiles, I quickly learned, are free. However, messages or anything else are NOT free. As in $60 not free. Heck no am I going to pay for that.

And so after 6 days, my stint with LDS Singles came to a close. I deleted my profile along with the unread messages, unavailable because I wouldn't pay, and said goodbye to all the smiles from goofy dudes I collected.

 Looks like I'll be sticking with the more sincere, real, and free way of meeting people. It's been real, LDS Singles. Or, shall we say, it's been virtual? Sayonara, online dating.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Love Trunky

I have recently discovered Ed Sheeran. At first I judged him because his only song on the radio was that stupid A-Team song. But then there was Pandora, and now I know he has other stuff. Other stuff that is quite good. Like the following two songs- which- I love because they are good, but hate because they make me realize that I actually don't prefer being single. #gettingmykicksthroughlovesongs

This song is sad, but I think it's so pretty.

This song is adorable. That's all. 

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Surprisingly Accurate

I took one of those random, self-absorbed, lacking in substance personality tests on the internet, and was surprised at the accuracy of the results, especially the "How to Get Along with Me" section.

How to Get Along with Me
  • Give me companionship, affection, and freedom.
  • Engage with me in stimulating conversation and laughter.
  • Appreciate my grand visions and listen to my stories.
  • Don't try to change my style. Accept me the way I am.
  • Be responsible for youself. I dislike clingy or needy people.
  • Don't tell me what to do.
What I Like About Being a Seven
  • being optimistic and not letting life's troubles get me down
  • being spontaneous and free-spirited
  • being outspoken and outrageous. It's part of the fun.
  • being generous and trying to make the world a better place
  • having the guts to take risks and to try exciting adventures
  • having such varied interests and abilities
What's Hard About Being a Seven
  • not having enough time to do all the things I want
  • not completing things I start
  • not being able to profit from the benefits that come from specializing; not making a commitment to a career
  • having a tendency to be ungrounded; getting lost in plans or fantasies
  • feeling confined when I'm in a one-to-one relationship
Sevens as Children Often
  • are action oriented and adventuresome
  • drum up excitement
  • prefer being with other children to being alone
  • finesse their way around adults
  • dream of the freedom they'll have when they grow up
Sevens as Parents
  • are often enthusiastic and generous
  • want their children to be exposed to many adventures in life
  • may be too busy with their own activities to be attentive

Friday, July 19, 2013

Too Fast

Last night my friend Farris and I wanted to go play tennis. We weren't 100% positive on where the courts were, but I knew the general direction and so we decided to go with that. 

Mistake. I get lost enough to know that me knowing the "general direction" is a recipe for a lot of wasted time looking for our destination.

Anyway, when we finally found it, we realized we had only brought one racket. So, we opted for the swings next to a playground where some kids were playing ball tag. (Like tag, but someone throws a tennis ball at you to tag you. Painful- yes. Fun- also yes)

They invited us to play, and quickly began inquiring about our relationship and lives while we all dodged ther person with the tennis ball.

Kid: How old are you guys?

Me: Guess

Kid: Hmmm... well, I think he's 17 (he's 27) and.... you're 16 I bet. (I'm 24)

Me: Haha nope. We're older.

Kid: Do you have kids?

Other kid: No way! She's way too fast to have kids!

Me: Haha uh yeah, I don't have any kids.

Kid: Are you guys married?

Me: No

Other kid: Yeah but they like each other! Look, she's chasing him! (why can't we just go back to that?)

And we continued to play, while Farris told them I was just shy about it, but we were actually in love. Good times.

PS Remember when I gave that old man a fantastic high five? I've been running several times since, and three times I have reached out for a high five with different people, and three times I have been rejected. I wonder if that was just a magical once in a lifetime thing. Because I'm starting to look like an idiot when I go jogging with my unappreciated high fives. 

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Nice Notes

I've been making an effort lately, as in the past week, to be more involved with my ward. So- tonight I went to ward prayer, and we did nice notes. It's fun to see what people have to say, and there were some normal "You are nice!" ones, but I thought I'd just post my favorites. :)

-Nice Barbie pink nail polish.
-Make your bed every morning after you leave it, otherwise it feels naked and exposed. I like your comments.
-You gorgeous. Fo real. (everyone in our ward is white...?)
-So um, I don't want to make things awkward but... oh wait, yeah I do.. um..
-I have the biggest crush on your relief society lesson.
-I have the biggest crush on YOU.
-You are a butterfly in a swarm of mosquitoes.

Glad I went. :)

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Opinion Time

Ever since the idea that I might be ridiculous entered my head, I have often wondered if my life really is crazy, or if I am the crazy. That perhaps no matter what life gave me, I would forever be overwhelmed. Or maybe there is really nothing unique about me or my life. It is all crazy all the time for everyone, and I just keep being surprised and almost offended that life can't just be comfortable.

Either way, I always have something to talk about. Lately it's been the church. I have friends all across the board as far as ties to the church go. Some have left the church, some are leaving, some are staying but wishing they were leaving, some are indifferent and just stay out of habit, some are fighting to stay, and some like staying so much they teach at the MTC (a sentiment that not only cements membership, but encourages others joining as well). I guess we've all just hit that point in our lives where we are no longer accountable to our parents, we don't yet have a spouse or children to influence us, and so it's down to us. Do we actually believe all of it? Does it actually sit right? 

What I have been surprised most by is my empathy with those that are between wishing to leave and actually have left. That although the idea of leaving the church threatens a mental implosion for me, I don't find my friends apostate or crazy. I was raised to be aghast at the thought of not adhering to all the particulars of our faith, and so expected myself to have complete disdain for those who left. Gratefully, I feel differently. 

The way I see it, God just wants us to be happy. If He gives a commandment, it's simply for our lives to run more smoothly and for us to experience less unnecessary pain. He gives us church, prayer, scriptures, church callings, and a host of other resources to help us be closer to Him and thus also happier. Personally, I like these resources. They provide structure and meaning for me. I believe in God and worship the way I do because I want to, and it makes me happier to do so. 

In fact, one of the articles of faith of the LDS church states that "We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may."

Now, where is the surprise in this? The surprise is that I used to think I knew best what other people should do to be closer to God. I'm finding that I can't make that call. (I know- shocker) You cannot determine  what living "according to the dictates of their own conscience" means for another person. Let them worship how they may. This may seem contradictory seeing as my job is to teach missionaries, but I don't think it is. The purpose of missionaries is to invite people to Christ, not force them. 

Do I believe in the LDS faith? Yes, I really do. But more than being LDS, I believe in a loving God and a compassionate Christ. Being LDS is how I make those beliefs part of my life, but I am learning that I cannot hold it against someone for manifesting their beliefs another way, or really even judge it. I don't think religious superiority or even division of any kind is what God intended. I just think He wants us to find truth, and I think part of that is pushing the limits of our own understanding and learning from each other, wherever we stand in whatever faith.

There is much to learn. Here's to life.   

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

I wish I had a soapbox. A blog will have to do.

I was driving to work today and almost killed someone. This is frequent, actually. Not because I am a bad driver, but because my victims are usually having an identity crisis. I'd like to solve this for them, once and for all, with the following statement:

If you are a bike, you are NOT A CAR.

Let me just say that countless lives have been saved by my break pedal and ability to manipulate my steering wheel on a moment's notice.

Cyclists drive me absolutely insane. Literally, because they alter my driving.

  1. Do not get in the lane at a stoplight as if you can keep up with the rest of us when it turns green. You can't. My car has an engine, your bike has your legs. Get on the sidewalk. 
  2. Do not do the weird straddle-the-lane thing by going in between cars. It makes me so nervous that I am going to clip them with one of my mirrors, or that they'll get just a little too close and I will just clip them altogether. Get on the sidewalk.
  3. Do not cross lanes of traffic because it is most convenient for you. This leads to me to conclude that your behavior is unpredictable and no one has any warning for which lane you will enter next. You think you can make your own rules. Get on the sidewalk.

Cars are bigger and stronger than bikes, so why are we accommodating them?

That is all. If you are a bike, you are not a car. Know yourself, and stay on the sidewalk.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Paradigm... Shift

Last week was so full of life I forgot to pay the bills. I never went running. I was always short on sleep. And I cried twice.

Crying is an interesting thing. For me it's when the emotions are past words and I feel so much, it can't be expressed any other way. I'm pretty good with my words, so I don't cry super often. If I can articulate, there will not be tears.

But this week I had an experience or two past words. The first is that I witnessed a baby being born. I arrived at the hospital right as my sister began her final pushes. First of all it was something else to see a child come into this world. It took it to a whole new level to have the giver of life be my little sister. Add the fact that the adoptive parents were standing by and I really had no words. I just cried, and I didn't even really know why. The baby was so beautiful, the adoptive parents were so happy, my sister just had a life altering experience. Life- life was happening in this room. And I couldn't find words.

I think it was all the emotions combined into one experience. The pregnancy that had initially been so upsetting to me was now a miracle and the source of painstakingly long awaited and well deserved joy. I think I was overwhelmed at Heavenly Father's ability to smooth over a situation and turn it into a blessing, and that little girl was seriously one of the most beautiful beings I've ever seen! Just watching her yawn completely melted my heart. And my little sister's strength was humbling. It's possible that my ice-shielded heart is trying to thaw.

There was more. But I am tired. I did, however come to the conclusion as to why I blog. I blog because I would love to have someone to tell about my day. For the moment, that is you, ambiguous online crowd. Watch my life.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

The. Best. Run. Ever.

This is short, but it made my entire day. I was running up a hill, and passed an old man walking the opposite direction. I smiled and waved, and he did the same. A little bit later, I had turned around and was now running down the hill. I was listening to this song- (which made the moment even better)

and saw the old man again. We smiled and waved again, and then brilliance struck. We should high five! So- I raised my eyebrows and held out my hand. He totally reached out and we exchanged one of the best high fives of my life. I sprinted all the way home from the euphoria. 

It was very similar to this. 

The Usual Woes

I have been wanting to post something for a while now, but have yet to find something either post worthy or appropriate for a blog. Today's post may be no different, but that is for you as the reader to decide.

I won't dwell especially long on this, but I would like to say a word about heart breaking. I feel like I was under the misconception when I was younger that people labeled as 'heart breakers' feel no pain. That somehow they are the lucky ones, holding another person's feelings at bay and feeling nothing in return. I thought being a heart breaker was a compliment. Maybe it is and I just don't have a ton of experience, but in the times I feel like I may have contributed to a broken heart, I'd like to say this- it isn't fun and it's not a compliment. Because then not only are you alone, you have hurt someone else in the process. Cool- your magical ability to stay single is now leaving casualties in its wake. Heart breaker = lame.

This last experience left me aching to take the pain for the person. Shouldn't the one who inflicts be the one who also suffers? I don't know how much pain he actually felt (past experience leads me to think that these boys think they are feeling so terrible, but the speed at which they move on to someone else reassures me that they were actually fine and only reacting in the moment), but I did feel pretty bad.

However, this experience and others always leads me to these questions: Am I missing the sustainability factor? After all, it seems 3 months is about as long as I can take. Or- am I just some sort of prepper? Like my mission- I began teaching so many people who did eventually get baptized or meet with missionaries, but baptisms I personally attended were quite few. So- I date countless people who do eventually get married or have their own relationships, but my successes are quite few. As in none. Question #3- am I so used to being single that all my actions will eventually perpetuate that? It is, after all, where I'm comfortable. It's like on the outside I might be dating someone, but deep down I'm still single. And, certainly not lastly, but the final questions I'll leave for today- am I expecting something that doesn't exist? This is a tricky one. We all have things we really want in a marriage, and in life really. And it is a crushing thought to think that maybe that is asking too much. I am desperately holding on to the thought that I can be truly happy though.

I'm not expecting this happiness to come without trials or conflict. In fact, I like conflict. A theorist by the name of Hegel talks about having a thesis, antithesis, and synthesis. The thesis is your original situation, the antithesis represents its opposite or conflict. The synthesis is the eventual result of the two, and you're in a better place than you started. If you both have a goal of reaching a better place than where you're at, I think disagreeing is totally good. And I want someone to disagree with because I want us to both progress.

And what I really, really want is to laugh. I didn't realize my sense of humor was such an anomaly. This is my fear- is that too much to ask? I'm not even asking that he be tall, dark, and handsome. Not even rich. Not even good at sports. Not even possessing those beloved long lashes! (don't get me wrong- I don't mind any of those) I do ask that he prioritize the Gospel, but other than that, all I want is for him to be funny.

Keep on keeping on.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

You Know You Have a Problem When...

When it's been 2 weeks since you've cleaned your room (problem #1 I guess), and the majority of the clutter is bags and boxes and tissue paper, and, unfortunately, receipts. I'm getting dangerously close to being a shopping addict. I just love Banana Republic so much, and when a sale is good, I can't be stopped. (I also felt like this blog needed a lighter post, just to break of the monotony of my drama)

I didn't think I was that bad until I was cleaning my room this morning, and it seemed almost every other item I picked up was a remnant from a shopping trip. Granted, my room is small, but still- when the laundry is equal to the new clothes, it's time to cut back.

The trick is really for me to just not go. I never think I need something, but then suddenly when I'm at the store it's like, "Oh my gosh- I have needed that for SO long. I better buy it." Good job marketing, you've successfully created false needs and thus real expenditures. Yikes.

But- look at how cute these shoes are! I got them for 50% off, and I love them.

See? They're flats, black and white, a little bow... I had no choice.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Why Don't We Talk About It {Revised}

I feel like sometimes life teaches you things in a sequence. And you could exchange the word life for God. Either way- learning takes place over a series of events. Or at least it does in my life. I'll give away the ending and say that the lesson I am learning is that there is so much more than meets the eye, and we do ourselves, and everyone around us, a disservice when we pretend to understand something or someone perfectly. There is so much more to understand than labels, judgments, and blanket statements. Life is teaching me this by helping me learn more about those around me. In my life, I have at least two of the following:

A good friend is homosexual, which, at BYU, is going against the grain, to say the least.
A good friend grew up in an abusive home and is realizing the effects.
A good friend's mother recently passed away.
A good friend struggles with anxiety and depression.
A good friend struggles with a pornography addiction.
And, lastly, feminism deserves more credit than I've given it in the past.

These aren't just people I've heard about or perhaps caught them mentioning the issues in passing. These are people I know well, and love very much.

And I of course have my own set of issues that I deal with. Perhaps I should disclose them since the theme of this post is my frustration that we are so hush hush about our issues. That'll come in a moment. But really- I just think we should just talk about it more. A sentiment from the first Harry Potter book has always stuck with me- Dumbledore is talking with Harry, and Harry starts to label the villain Voldemort as "He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named". Dumbledore stops Harry and says something to the effect of fear of the name increases fear of the thing itself. I propose that it is the same with our issues.

 In my perfect world, nothing would be shared in confidence, or at least fewer things. We could break down so much stigma if we didn't feel we had to wait for the only the right moment to disclose. We could also avoid a lot of rude shocks. I could be wrong, but I think it's like the Dumbledore thought. When we keep secrets, we increase the stigma or fear of the problem itself. And here's the thing- I have yet to get to know someone really well, and not discover something that makes them other than cookie cutter. We all have problems, surprises, and secrets. And I think it would do a lot for tolerance and acceptance if we could stop being so afraid of other people knowing about it. And if we could stop responding to people in a way that perpetuates this fear.

I could be wrong, there could be more to add to this thought, but for now, I say- love everyone. I'm just finding I rarely have any idea what people are actually going through. That could just be me though- I do sometimes tend towards oblivion, but I am trying to open my mind.

As for my own push back, I want to do a recall on my last post. I mentioned dating a boy and realizing we weren't a perfect match. Why did I say that as if it were simply a mild inconvenience? That situation was and continues to be heart breaking. I am so sad about it, but it's a different kind of sadness. The kind that is sometimes pushed aside because of all the other emotional responses I had to the situation (turns out total surprises blindside me and can be an impetus to anxiety attacks). But all other feelings and decisions held stable, I am sad. It's like some sort of thread that weaves in and out, and at the most random moments of the day, I realize that this situation was painful. I've always wished my emotions were more... organized. That my sad feelings would all be together and then be felt together, and thus leave together. But no- it's like some sort of mixed salad of feelings. Happy, stressed with homework, joking with friends, a pang of sadness, focus on lecture, go for a run, eat dinner, grief... and so it goes. I am sad because I loved him. I am sad because it was so fun and exciting, and we can't go back to that. I am sad because he is sad. I am sad because no one wins. I am sad because I don't like it when good people feel pain. And I am sad because I hate when the list of failures grows, and this list doesn't just have losers on it. They are actually really good guys. And that makes me sad.

And for some reason it is my lot in life to never stop dating. I don't know how this makes me feel, except for resilient.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Life: Experienced (Fitting Thoughts on Easter Sunday)

On this particular Easter, I am especially aware of my Savior. I've had a lot of events/conversations/thoughts this week that have helped me recognize my need for Him, and that would have prompted blog posts, as it were. Possible titles for these introspective posts included the following:

"How to Get the Girl"
"The Importance of Kindness"
"Small and Simple Truth"
"Pain, Part 2"
"The Testimony Last of All- He Lives"

I suppose the last is most fitting. After all, nothing is more all encompassing than the love and Atonement of our Savior Jesus Christ. I don't know how many people read my blog, and so I don't know if there are any readers that don't have a religious affiliation. Affiliated or not though, I would echo the words of the prophet Ether in the Book of Mormon and encourage everyone "to seek this Jesus of whom the prophets and apostles have written, that the grace of God the Father, and also the Lord Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost, which beareth record of them, may be and abide in you forever." I know God lives for a lot of reasons, but I'll be honest and say one of the driving forces is that I want to. I want to trust that things get better, trials can be overcome, and hope lies ahead of every situation, no matter how dire. This is the good news- the world is sad, but the Gospel of Jesus Christ heals. And I want that.

On to the titles.

Beginning with the first: "How to Get the Girl", I began dating one of the kindest people I've ever met. After a long friendship and his persistent pursuit, I conceded and we started one of the most well met beginnings of a  relationship I've ever had. The most attractive thing to me about him was his goodness. That's how you win- girls just want someone to be nice to them. However, it wasn't a perfect match, as we quickly learned, and is now over. But it was a good start, and I think we both learned in the process.

"The Importance of Kindness" was spurred only the next day when I crossed paths with a young man who had pursued me last year. When dating hadn't worked out between us, we had almost turned into nemeses always trying to one up one another with snide remarks. Fortunately time passed, we both apologized, and went our separate ways. Upon seeing him again just a few days ago, I learned that his rudeness towards me had originally stemmed from the pain of losing his mom (her passing is fairly recent). I was shocked, to say the least, and embarrassed that I hadn't responded more kindly. I had no idea. Turns out that we never know what people are going through, and even if they are rude to us, we still need to be kind.

"Small and Simple Truth" would have been inspired by the gay marriage debate. I will not pretend to be educated or understand this issue. I will say this though- God loves all of His children in a much more personal, involved, and invested way than I think many of us realize. His love is not conditional on our choices or even our weaknesses, which is truly a lucky break for all of us considering our ability/inability to understand everything. I have dear friends who are gay, I have dear friends who are straight. There is much I don't understand, but I do know that God loves His children.

"Pain: Part 2" is in the works, and will likely be its own post. I learned a lot about myself this weekend, the main take away being that I can't handle everything as well as I'd like, and I have some more growing to do. It was jolting, considering I had convinced myself I was impervious. Ah, don't we all.

But here is the testimony last of all- Christ lives. We have a Savior, a partner in our pain and sorrow. Nothing is easy, but at least we're not doing it alone, and we can appeal to strength from Him who is mighty to save. On this Easter Sunday, I am grateful for Christ.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Les Midge

This past week I went to a comedy show with one of my good friends, and my favorite sketch was easily "Les Midge" where they told the story of Les Miserables via The Hobbit. You have not lived until you have heard Gollum sing, "I Dreamed a Dream". Anyway, it seemed a fitting title for this post.

Life's lesson lately seems to be having lots of good options to choose between. It's mildly aggravating as the best choice isn't always apparent, but I suppose there are worse situations I could be in. This plethora of options has manifest itself in both dating and job opportunities. Equally stressful, actually. However, I suppose making choices teaches us what we really want, and thus helps us to grow. Sure.

This is how I feel about dating currently. It's like I'm vegetarian and I keep getting offered meat. Steak? No, I don't eat meat. Well how about some pork? Still meat. Chicken? Meat. Hamburger? No Life- you cannot offer me another meat from the same animal- it's still meat! However many options arise, I'm still hungry/single! And then suddenly I'm offered a veggie burger, and the choice is less clear. To be continued.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

As a Way of Expressing

Tonight I read the blog of a girl a year or two younger than me who had experienced more than one miscarriage. It reminded me of a blog of a girl my age who wrote about her divorce. For some reason, I feel like these girls are too young to experience that kind of pain. That even though I feel like I've had a taste or two of real life and thus pain, they shouldn't have to. (And who am I kidding- I used the word taste on purpose. I wouldn't pretend to really understand the kind of pain either of these girls described, though I think once a heart has been broken, you have a sort of kinship with mankind.)

Either way, it got me thinking about blogging in general, and why we often post our more personal feelings for the world to see. Sometimes I feel like writing things on here that I don't feel like saying. Somehow, though the audience is much larger and much less intimate, the information can be closer to home. Why is that? Among other reasons, I think it is because we need somewhere to express ourselves. Journals aren't enough- we want someone to see, someone to understand, and someone to connect with. We divulge in hopes of anyone and yet no one in particular to validate us.

Pain is such an interesting factor. It looks different on everyone. According to recent sources I am the sort who implodes when things get to be too much. I suppose it's true. I experience some sort of internal destruction, and then it eeps out with me letting someone have it, thinking I'm releasing what has been suppressed towards this person for too long. Only later do I realize that it actually had little to do with them, that I could have continued enduring whatever was bothering me, and the fire was really fueled by other pains.

And pain cuts deep in its effects. It always leaves its mark, affecting the rest of future experience. But along with its cutting is also its deepening. I don't like my heart breaking experiences, and I don't often think of them or bring them up in great detail. However, I am grateful for the depth of perspective they have afforded me, and for the link I feel to those around me because I too have been disappointed.

And so I write this blog. Not to any one in particular, but just to contribute my thoughts in the blogging world. Pain in my mind always conjures the image of a sunrise. Whatever happened the day before, the sun will rise again on a new day. Nothing bad has happened yet, and yesterday is, well, yesterday.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Keep it Classy

The further along in my major I get, the smaller my classes become. The smaller my classes become, the more talkative and involved I am (which, considering how much I like to talk regardless of class size, means that I comment about every 5 minutes). The class I had yesterday is such a class. There are roughly 30 students, and I've had the professor before. Needless to say, I am talking all. the. time. 

So yesterday we were talking about the culture industry as critiqued by Theodore Adorno. (I highly recommend researching it- it is fascinating.) The gist of the "culture industry" is that producers of media and other mass consumption goods are pacifying and influencing us in anyway that will make money, hence the emphasis on loose morals and lenient attitudes. After about an hour or so of discussing this and its horrible effects (many consider the culture industry a large factor leading up to the Holocaust, for one), my professor gets on YouTube to show us just a fun example of a pop song. It was Sam Tsui covering King of Anything by Sara Bareilles. What a fun, clean, appropriate song to show us how ideas permeate. Perhaps in an effort to please the class, he asked if we'd like to watch another.

I apparently couldn't help myself and said, "Ooh! I love this guy- we should watch his Summer 2011 medley! It's SOOOO good!"

Professor, "Is it appropriate?"

Me, "Well, I think so- yeah, I'm pretty sure!"

Now, keep in mind how we had been discussing the morally degrading effects of media, and listen to these songs you used to love. 

After about 5 seconds, I was blushing and gasped, "Oh no! I'm SO sorry!" The class was in uproar- most probably, like me, shocked at how inappropriate and persuasive popular music is, and also laughing at our professor's shock. He paused it and I apologized a few times and said we didn't have to finish it. The funny part? The rest of the class was like, "No!! We like it- it's good!" So my professor continued the video, and that, my friends, is the culture industry, right here at our very own BYU.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Story of My Life

I went to the temple today, and I had intended to do sealings. (I've been doing this thing lately where I rotate through the ordinances) (I also figured out how to not faint doing sealings, so don't worry- marriage is still a go someday) However. a good looking guy came in about the same time as me, and I figured he would most likely do a session. I decided I could squeeze in the time, and figured why not?

I was right about him doing a session. What I was not right about was his availability. I had forgotten that Provo is never safe, and had totally missed his bright shiny wedding ring. And now there I was, already set to do a session for the next two hours, even though I had only planned to be there for one hour. Now I was barely going to make it on time for my class later, and the dude was married. Sacrificing for naught.

Watch out for this sucker. 

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Life isn't Fair

Fairly often, I come to this pleasant realization. Life isn't fair. Before you think this is going to be one of my emo posts, keep reading.

I have often felt that a belief and trust in God allows for all sorts of benefits. First of all, when we trust in Him, He can help us make decisions. I usually feel uninformed when it comes to making important choices. Do I know all of the background I should? How could I know how this will pan out? Will it pan out? Like getting married. Granted, I'm not even dating someone, but sometimes I think about making that kind of decision and almost have a panic attack. Then I remember that we can ask God, that He knows me better than I know myself, and when I put myself in the right place, He can help me to know the otherwise impossible.

Next, my life has rather gracefully fallen into place, starting most consciously with my mission. I hadn't eliminated the possibility, but I wasn't going for it either. A kind God helped me see that it would be a good option, and now I really can't imagine not having served. It has come to define nearly every facet of my life for the better.

Most recently, career opportunities have started to open up. This has been a mild source of anxiety for me for a while. When I made the choice to major in what I could be passionate about, I knew I was kind of snipping the ties to a profitable career path. But even as I type that it seems so ill-fitting to think I ever thought I belonged in a lucrative career simply for the purpose of affluence. Nope- I've come to decide that's my husband's job if I ever meet him! :) The way I see it, I will either be only providing for myself, or I will have my income combined with another's to provide for a family. And so- I am doing what I really want to do- humanitarian aid. This has been a bit of a step in the dark for me, but I love learning about it so much and really want to be an active part of helping others, so I'm just moving forward, hoping and praying it comes together. Events from the past week, whether they come to fruition or not, have helped me to know that God, so generously, has a hand in it. That He will help me. Uninformed, not necessarily deserving, and likely under-qualified as I am, I take comfort in knowing that I have a bit of assistance.

So, it's not fair. But, it is great, and I always accept help. :)


Monday, January 21, 2013

Whoever said you can't run from your problems...

... simply didn't have the right shoes. 

I know what you're thinking. "Those shoes kick a... lot of things." ;) And you're right. They do. These minimal heel Brooks champions were my birthday present from my parents this year. I got them Saturday and was pretty excited to try them out. Today ended up being one of those days where you just need a long run. Well, more like yesterday was, but it spilled over into this morning, and basically I woke up ready to test out these shoes and just run. After 6.5 miles, I felt better about life and also have a solid crush on my shoes. Who wouldn't feel like a baller wearing those? Look good, run good.

Along the same lines, my mom and I were talking about the therapeutic qualities of running. I often feel like I can't control everything in life that I'd like to. Or even when it comes to things I can control, I often make mistakes and they don't go as I intended. Allow me to tell you, nothing fuels a run like frustration or anxiety. Today I just kept going, running away from things that I don't like. Apparently there was enough to propel me for 3 miles. Not too bad, really. By the time I reached my destination, I felt like I had conquered something, and because I had conquered that, I could conquer the things I had originally run from. And so, the equidistant return was more of an achievement or even an affirmation of my ability to overcome. I came home feeling empowered, and also confident. Thanks Brooks, I love you. And I know you love me too.

Other things that I love include Banana Republic, Costco, and my new car, Legolas.

I didn't know I needed this dress until I saw it, and then immediately knew there was no leaving BR without it. 

The product of my accident over Christmas Break. Meet Legolas- mostly awesome and just a little bit girly. I love him. 

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Target Audience

In a lot of classes I've taken, we talk about a "target audience." The people whose attention you are assuming you'll capture and retain. The people who will care about what you're trying to share. Common interests, if you will. Basically- the ones you would like to win over.

Tell me why, my whole life, I haven't been able to quite get this "target audience" right when it comes to stunning people with my personality or dashing good looks. Allow me to proceed with examples.

I spend all day on a campus full of young adult men. Most of my coworkers are young adult men. Many of my friends are, you guessed it, young adult men. This, ladies and gentleman, is my target audience hopeful.

However, it is only when I go to the Reading Office at the MTC, employed by senior couples, that a woman stops mid answering-my-relevant-question to tell me that I should go out with her son, and that my appearance would really do a lot for their gene pool. Points for being clever, old woman, but no points for your son that never called.

Or perhaps when I went to the TRC, another office at the MTC employed by senior couples, that an elderly man shakes my hand and starts asking me questions about myself. Never letting go of my hand, he steps closer, tells me I am beautiful, and asks for my number so that his grandson can go out with me in his place.

How about the most recent? I am in the temple, asking a senior sister a few questions that are related to the situation at hand. Instead of answering, she comments on my great complexion. I say thank you, and again ask the original question. Instead of answering, she reached out and touched my face and hair, commented again on my coloring, and really never responded to the beginning inquiry.

I do appreciated the compliments, really. I mean, who doesn't like it when someone says nice things? But I'm starting to feel like I'm writing an arctic ice climbing article for a knitting magazine. I need to come at this from another angle so that I can address the audience I'm intending to sway- that is, the young adult male. It would be super great if they would stop mid-sentence and tell me I was breath taking.

Sweet dreams are made of these.

Thursday, January 17, 2013


Flirt fighting -> flighting.

The age old way to get someone's attention. It begins in elementary school, when the boy steals your pencil case.  You get so mad and threaten "to tell". But secretly, you love that he even noticed your pencil case.

It progresses. In middle school, you tease each other about test scores or make fun of each other at track practice. Same thing. Pretending you hate each other, but caring enough to still talk to them or get their notice.

High school the game continues, but it's slightly more intelligent. A battle of wits, a dis on the kind of music they like, or even commenting on their clothes. Still flighting.

And onto college. Here is where we digress. Perhaps because we've had all this experience with flighting, we're ok at any level. Back to stealing things. Back to teasing each other because we have nothing else to say. Flight on, young adults, flight on.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Mocktail from Now On

Last night Jessie and I had a combined birthday party.

It. was. awesome.

Fairly simple, but I think it turned out pretty well. We told everyone it was 1920s themed, and that we would be serving mocktails. So basically we dressed up and drank virgin pina coladas and strawberry daquiries, and had a great time. :)

Jessie and I wore tiaras. It was our birthdays, after all.

Us with a few dapper gentlemen who stopped in.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Something Positive

Earlier today a friend and I were discussing the content of our blog posts and I realized I should post something positive. The last few posts have been rather somber. Or at least less than cheerful.

Things have actually been pretty good lately, outside of dating anyway. Just a short few points on the matter- I have had the opportunity to run into a couple close friends I haven't seen in a while, and when the question inevitably comes up (not that I'm avoiding it- I obviously love the topic of dating and what I do and don't love about it) it's slightly comical because nothing. has. changed. The names are different but the situation is really the same: A few boys here and there- some I am interested in, some that are interested in me. That one that things almost happened with but it ended up not working out, which has caused a new list of self realizations and goals for next time. A few insignificant, but still worth mentioning updates on, long standing crushes in the mean time. Yep. Always the same.

In my classes we talk about data and the ability to predict the future with it. Somewhat cynically but mostly amused, based on the given data I can surmise what the coming semester will bring. Let us look forward to the same things! And so it goes. At least I always have a good story to tell!

In other news, my life has taken a turn for the awesome. A scary car wreck on Christmas Eve lead to a brand new car (as in, I am the first to drive it!) and an experience with the miraculous healing power of the priesthood. Long story short, I had whiplash that was so painful I was on the brink of tears all day every day. I received a blessing, and by the end of the next day, the pain was gone and hasn't returned since. Truth! (

I LOVE love love my classes. Sociology is the best thing that has happened to me in terms of BYU classes, and I am also extremely pleased with my International Development minor. It is fascinating and I am always looking forward to lecture. I am glad I didn't just stick it out with one of the previous majors I tried simply because I am so legitimately pleased with this course of study. So what I'll be almost 25 when I get my undergrad- I will be as happy as can be on my way there. :)

Also, I am still so in love with our little townhouse. And my roommates are awesome- 4 rad RMs just living life.

And lastly- the last district I had was probably the most adoring I've had yet. That's not my goal for them- I of course want them to grow as missionaries and develop their testimonies as much as possible. But I do kind of love when they love me. :) This is one of the comments one of the missionaries left that made me laugh and think, "Haha yes, I love this part of my job."

"Sister De Arton is the absolute best teacher that the MTC has! She made my experience the best experience possible at the MTC. She listened to the spirit and "punched my soul" (in a good way) with the spirit. I loved having class with her every day!"

So, all in all, I have much to be grateful for. And at least my little baby missionaries always provide some sunshine. :)