closing the box

This past weekend I continued my productive packing streak and tackled the bins under my bed. I went through all the bins and packed the things I won't need anytime in the near future (i.e.- graduation cards, old school projects, work training books, my AP Calculus test prep book, etc.) in boxes. I decided to pack some of the things I'm taking with me in the now available plastic bins (i.e.- books, loose leaf paper, potentially useful old essays, etc.). It was actually really fun to go through all that stuff and experience that nostalgic flood of memories. I found writing portfolios from freshman year, an old 8th grade project, and old photos from my 15th birthday party. This cleaning out/packing endeavor needn't have taken all afternoon, but with the detours down memory lane, I was cloistered in my room for a good few hours.

It was weird boxing up all that school memorabilia, but what was probably most strange for me was boxing up all my graduation stuff. I think this was so weird for me because graduation wasn't that long ago; it seems like forever ago, but it only in May. I put my plaques, graduation cards, tassel, and jacket letters all into a box and I felt weird putting the lid on top. I didn't quite feel ready to box up all the graduation stuff; I know I won't need it and it won't be adding to my dorm decor, but all the same, it felt like I was instigating the definite close of the only chapter thus far of my life. It's an emotion combining post-high school excitement, anxious uncertainty, and childhood nostagia. In a month I'll be beginning the second phase of my life; this new beginning is also a strange feeling because all I've known thus far is the cocoon of public education and the safe haven of living at home. I'm so excited for college and all that entails, but it is such a bittersweet feeling.

I expect to feel more of the same emotions in the next few weeks as I pack more and see off my friends, so I'll let you know how it all goes!


packing productivity

I'm off to the Y come August and the frightening prospect of packing all my stuff looms in front of me. So I decided to avoid the huge few days of packing crunch and pack the things I don't need right now and wait to pack my other things (i.e. summer clothes, toiletries, etc.) until it's closer to when I leave. After a relaxing afternoon of watching "Lost," eating York Peppermint Patties and M&Ms, and drinking Mountain Dew, I ventured to my room with my biggest suitcase and dived into my dresser and closet for the beginning of my winter clothes packing.

Earlier this week I cleaned out my sock drawer and divided up my nylons between good pairs and bad pairs and threw out numerous belts from elementary school. Now I can actually close my sock drawer without having to move socks around and/or have socks and nylons peeking out from the corners! So with the sock drawer endeavor already out of the way I headed for the sweater drawer, pajama drawer, the 3 t-shirt drawers, the 2 junk drawers, and yes, even the underwear drawer. Come 7 pm I had a cleaned out and organized dresser! Shame I couldn't have taken on that project a year ago so I could have enjoyed a large, spacious dresser longer than a month, but oh well.

While cleaning out my dresser I made the Throw Away Pile, the Give Away Pile, and the Ironing Pile. The middle of the floor was completely covered in clothes. Plus I hadn't even started putting clothes in the suitcase at this time; I still had the closet to raid. The majority of my winter wardrobe comes from the closet and not the dresser. So I carefully folded and placed multiple t-shirts, sweaters, blouses, shrugs, and a red peacoat all inside my humungous red suitcase. (And then once I was ready to go bed and after I'd already zipped up the bag, I realized I hadn't packed my winter skirts and dress clothes. Snaps.) As I packed I took an inventory of my possessions, thinking that could come in handy someday. The inventory is organized according to what is packed where (so all my winter clothes are catalogued under the large red suitcase heading). I love organization--I'd go crazy without it!

So begins my adventure of packing and moving. Some things I'll be able to ship early or send with others like my bedspread, sheets, books, and other things of the like, but packing up all my stuff is still so overwhelming! Where do I put it all?! Well hopefully my packing will continue running smoothly--wish me luck!


Monday Discouragements

The common societal stigma of Mondays is negative; most view Mondays as the mere beginning of yet another long week. I think Mondays can be viewed in a few different ways; one can either see Mondays as a blah beginning to a blah week, as just another day in the succession of weeks, or as a chance to recommit and start over. I think you can connect taking the sacrament on Sundays to starting over on Mondays, but this is a thought that is difficult in execution.

I've lately come to the realization that change is a conscious decision, a "duh" realization I know but a crucial realization all the same. You have to choose to react differently; you don't just change because you want to. I think is something I've always known, but I haven't always realized it's true meaning of putting everything into my own power and capabilities. Something I've been having problems with lately is how to handle myself when John and Sarah start screaming and fighting and yelling at each other, completely shattering any kind of peaceful spirit in the home. Thier quarreling extends past themselves and affects Mom and Dad and Emily and me. Emily is probably the best at ignoring them and rarely reacting, and I am probably the worst. I am one of the most impatient people I know and so you can imagine how well I deal with the uncontrollable chaos of younger sibling tantrums.

As I left the house this morning to the dulcet tones of tantruming siblings I thought "Good grief, I'm sure glad I don't have to listen to this all day. I'm glad I have to work today," definitely not a feeling I want dominating my thoughts. I want to get along with John and Sarah and I want to be not only thier sister but thier friend, yet I find it so difficult to react well. They are either screaming at each other or being uncontrollably wild, both of which result in disruption, fighting, and widespread tension. Their fighting interrupts movies, family dinners, car rides, lackadaisical Saturday mornings, and more. I realize I can't change them, that I only have control over my own reactions. I realize that changing how I react will be a hard change and will definitely have to be a conscious one, but I don't know how to make this a more permanent change. Sometimes I have days when I handle myself really well and then I have other days when I lose it, allowing them to dictate my mood and attitude.

John and Sarah both are like night and day, black and white, Jekyll and Hyde, sweet and sour. Sometimes they are so amiable and helpful and then in a second they turn and are the complete antithesis of whatever they were before. I need some advice for how to change my attitude toward my younger siblings. Keep in mind, I am a very impatient person and when John and Sarah are so contentious, my tolerance level plummets. So, calling all siblings younger and older: how can I maintain a more constant attitude and keep my mood and spirits up despite heavy opposition and contention? How can I not react in such a negative way? I need your help!


An Ode to my Shel-Bell

Well, once again it is the birthday of a friend, my best friend as a matter of fact! Actually her birthday was yesterday, but we were so busy with 18th birthday festivities that I didn't have time to blog at all! So here's a quick birthday recap: Emily, Rachel (Shel's next door neighbor), Miki (another best friend), Rachelle and me went to the Denver Firefighter Museum around 11:30 or 12:00. Rachelle didn't know where we were going and so it was a fun surprise for her!

The museum was pretty neat actually; it had antique firetrucks and displays with old firefighter outfits and signs everywhere describing how firefighter equipment worked, the history of different styles of firetrucks, and other minutiae of the like. The museum also had self-directed hands-on activities for kids that our group of teenagers participated in as well! We got to step up into the firetruck and we put on some mock firefighter equipment and slid down the pole. It was really fun! We also raided the tiny gift shop and Rachelle and I both purchased a Denver Fire hoodie for a mere $25 each! Score!

After the museum we headed over to Civic Center Park for a picnic lunch (it was still early enough in the day in to evade the creepy park hoodlums). One of the funniest parts of the day was our somewhat frightening encounter with an aggressive squirrel at the park. This little squirrel would crouch down in the grass and creep a little closer and peek up to reevaluate his prey. Then when he was about two feet away from the blanket he started circling us as if he was honing in for the attack. It was just a little creepy!

We headed home at about 1:45, but Rachelle and I turned the wrong way on Colfax and drove about 45 minutes in the wrong direction before we realized our mistake, but no matter--we had a fun hour and a half talk anyway! We watched Annapolis after we got home and then Rachelle and I went to the Gap to look for new jeans. We found out that Rachelle's birthday plans for the evening fell through and I couldn't allow Rachelle to spend the night of her 18th birthday alone, so as an end to the birthday celebrations Rachelle and I got Mark and Ben (Shel's boyfriend) to go play foursquare with us at the local elementary school. We played on the playground equipment for a bit and then hung out at my house afterward. Overall, I think Rachelle's 18th birthday was a big success!

Rachelle and I had a rocky start to our relationship in freshman year. Our orchestra teacher Leah Rolfson introduced us and swore we would be best friends, but that's definitely not how it began. She thought me to be snotty and I thought she was mean and standoffish. A year and a half later we were in the same biology class and ended up being lab partners. We were both in the musical pit together and we roomed together when the music department went to New York City for Spring Break. This was the time when the ice was finally broken and we allowed ourselves to become friends, letting our guards down in order to learn more about the other. The rest is basically history, but I feel the need to add I've never had a friend like Rachelle. We both have strong personalities and sometimes it's hard to avoid clashing, but I feel we complement each other well.

I can tell Rachelle anything. We talk about school, friends, boys, church, clothes, cars, jobs, beliefs, politics, worries, excitements, sorrows, family, each other, and everything in between. We are very different in many ways, but something I appreciate and love about this friendship is that despite our sometimes significant differences, the most important thing for both of us is our God and His Son. We both believe Christ to be our Savior and Redeemer and while our religious beliefs are not identical, we both believe in Jesus Christ and in His saving Atonement. I don't always feel required to defend my choices or my lifestyle because we live in very similar ways.

Rachelle is undeniably loyal. She will defend you to anyone about anything because she knows you and trusts you, not allowing what others say to affect her opinion of you. I appreciate her loyalty and I strive to have that kind of devotion to those I love. Rachelle is stubborn, but she also allows those opinions of those she loves influence and affect her choices. She trusts her best friends, relying on their words and advice, regardless of whether she wants to hear it or not.

Sometimes I marvel at our friendship, wondering how we could withstand the obstacles in each other we've had to face. Then I realize that that is what love is: having the ability and willingness to look past faults and differences and embrace their person. (That may sound cheesy and hippee-ish, but it's the only way I could define my realization). I'm willing to work through our problems because my friendship with her is worth it to me. I believe our relationship to be strong enough so that I don't have to worry about moving away for school. I don't worry about how moving away to school will affect our friendship because I'm not worried that we won't be friends. I think there's always that friend or two from childhood who you will stay friends with forever. That's Rachelle and me.

So, happy birthday Rachelle and know that I'll love you forever--you're my best friend!


continuing to be a Wamulian

As most of you know, I work at Washington Mutual as a teller and I was always planning on tranferring branches once I moved out to school. However as of late, the company put a freeze of sorts on hiring, making it harder for branches to post new positions and making it so my transferring was not so much of a surety. I definitely need this job because it's perfect for what I need.

I need this job because:
  • The hours are flexible. I don't work any earlier than 9 am or any past 6 pm, so I'll still have my evenings.
  • I get Sundays, Saturday afternoons, and holidays off and get paid for it.
  • Tellering pays better than most other jobs I could work.
  • It's relatively easy work that's easy to learn; I don't need too much training.
  • I'm already a Wamulian (an employee of Washington Mutual) so I could just dive right in!
  • I already have the shirts.

Well, a posting came up for the Provo branch last week, but it was for a full-time position (blast). I e-mailed my old manager (the one who was working on this with me before he transferred) asking if I should apply anyway, (even though I'm interested in working part-time) and he said to go ahead. I applied today and then I e-mailed the Provo manager just letting him know I applied and expressing my hope we can work something out. He e-mailed me right back and said he'd be happy to discuss the position with me, so the transferring now looks like much more of a viable option. I'm so excited! I need a job badly and being a teller is so perfect. The only downside is that I have to deal with not-so-nice customers every once in a while, but it's still not bad!

I should be seeing more developments as the summer progresses!


heat wave

I hope this picture looks like it would be hot because that's exactly what it has felt like at our house for the majority of the past week. The tail end of the week was high 90s and then when the weekend hit, it was triple digits, leaving our un-air conditioned home a true oven. You know that phrase that "you could fry an egg on the pavement"? It's not an exaggeration.

We moved houses a couple of years ago and it's at times like these when the weather is so unbearably hot that I yearn for the perfect combination of swamp cooler and attic fan that once was ours. We have the fan routine down pretty well in this house: we have the fans that you can set to either blow in or blow out, allowing you to expel the hot air during the day and suck in the cool air at night, but when it's this hot, all the fans really do is just circulate the hot air because nothing is cool.

Yesterday at church I didn't even complain about the freezing cold air blowing on me all throughout the three-hour block because I knew that's the only time I'd be cold all week. The kitchen is so hot that when you're standing there getting some water to offset impending heat stroke you start feeling clammy and lightheaded and faintly sick to your stomach because the heat is so intense.

Last night I slept in shorts and tank on top of my sheets because the thought of sleeping in covers was truly nauseating. The weather forecast predicts the highs to drop to the low 90s by the end of the week, but as we all know, weather forecasts hold no promises.

On a less pessimistic note, I went to my first drive-in movie on Saturday! A bunch of us got together and drove some cars to the scary Cinderella City drive-in theater and paid $9 each for a double feature. We saw "Pirates of the Caribbean 2" and "Cars," both of which I've already seen but I think it's better to have already seen the movies before seeing them at a drive-in because it's harder to pay attention when you're outside. We were fully equipped with Reese's mini cups (which were really soft due to the heat), Starbursts, Lifesavers, Gummi Bears, Orange Slices, and water. The first movie started at 8:30 and the second began at 11:35, meaning Emily and I didn't make it home until 3:00 am. I thought the drive-in was a lot of fun and I think I'd go again because 1) there was a nice breeze to counter the end-of-the-day heat stagnation and 2) it was fun and relaxing to be with a bunch of friends watching a movie outside.

To end on a more reflective vein, this heat made me start thinking about our pioneer forebears and their perseverance despite harsh opposition. Pretty soon the LDS community will celebrate our pioneers and their trek west and they probably endured heat like this while crossing the Plains. They didn't have air conditioning in their wagons, fans to circulate air, or attic fans to suck in cool night breezes. They couldn't even dress accordingly; they donned long dresses, bonnets, and maybe even petticoats--I couldn't imagine living in this heat without short sleeves, capris, knee-length skirts, and the tank top for sleeping! They couldn't go to Grandma's house to get cooler because everywhere was the same. What is most impressing to me about the pioneer story is that they endured all the hardship, pain, and discomfort for a greater cause: their God. I think my testimony is strong enough so that were I asked to trek across the Plains in covered wagons, I'd do it. I think that if I have faith that our Heavenly Father can help me through math tests, keep me safe when the car breaks down in Cinderella City theater, and comfort me when I'm feeling discouraged about having enough money for gas that I can also have faith that He could get me across the Plains as well.

I think if your faith is real, then it's all encompassing. I don't know if it's possible to know of God's power and authority and still doubt His ability to perform great miracles. I do believe it possible for your faith to grow to encompass all; it can't be all enveloping initially. If faith is stagnant however, I don't think it's actual faith, only more of an inhibited reliance. The way to expand your faith and to make it grow is to take those leaps, putting out your trust and relying on Heavenly Father to keep his end. It's like if you have a testimony of Joseph Smith, you consequently must believe the Book of Mormon to be true, Gordon B. Hinckley is a prophet, and the Church is true; you may not have a separate testimony of each of these things, but you rely in the knowledge of their origination. You may rely on your faith of one smaller thing, leading you to have some acceptance of other things, but not true faith. I'd like to think that if I were called to do something akin to the pioneers trekking across the country, that my faith for other things would reassure me in going forth, leading to a greater faith in Heavenly Father.

I love Alma's faith analogy: faith starts out small (like a seed) and then grows if nurtured properly. Our faith may start out small; we may only have faith in one small thing, but if we nourish that small faith, it will grow to greater heights, grow to embody more. I believe that all encompassing faith is having faith that when tested will extend. That's the kind of faith I'd like to develop, the kind of faith I see in those I admire, the kind of faith that is truly reassuring and comforting.

Well, those are my thoughts emerging from the heat wave and the upcoming pioneer celebration. Hopefully the heat will die down so I don't feel like I'm melting, but after thinking about the pioneers and thier sacrifices I think I can probably just deal with it.


yo ho yo ho . . .

Well, I wasn't really home yesterday very much again, but I had a really fun day nonetheless. I already had plans to see the new Pirates movie with Mark, but what was originally intended as a few hour date turned into an all day affair. One hour prior to when Mark was supposed to pick me up, I get a call from Jacquelyn (a good family friend) asking me to stall Mark until 7:00 for a surprise belated-birthday party. So after lunch at Johnny Rockets I had no good ideas for a successful four-hour stall and so I just spilled the beans and told him I had to keep him away from his house for four more hours because of a surprise party. However, I didn't spoil the surprise because his mom had already told him so as to keep him from making other plans that night.

So after lunch we played the afternoon by ear and headed over to Jillian's for an intense game of air hockey (which I lost by one point by the way) and a weird horse racing game. After Jillian's we went back to my house where we watched "An Ideal Husband" (Mark's suggestion) and played a few hands of contract rummy with Mom. I think it was a successful stall overall, even though he knew about it, but whatever! The "surprise" party was fun; it was a small group, but we had a good time. Even though yesterday didn't go as originally planned, I had a really good time.

After I got home I updated Mom on the day and we watched a couple of episodes of "Lost." Today I had to be into work by 9 and I'll be off by 3. Emily, Dad, and Sarah come home from Girls Camp today (Dad went up as a priesthood leader and took Sarah with him last night) and I really do plan on just hanging out this afternoon. I know it's a lofty goal, but I can dream. This week has been crazy, but definitely a good crazy.

Usually when my weeks are so helter-skelter, I crash after it's all over. I'm pretty good taking it as it comes and handling the stress in the moment, but after a week of it, I need a break! Also when things are so wacky, time seems to pass faster; I can't believe it's already the end of the week--it just seemed like Sunday was two days ago! Well, wish me a relaxing afternoon and I hope it actually happens!


"and I say 'Hey! What a wonderful kind of day' . . ."

So begins the beloved theme song of the PBS show "Arthur," a longtime-running show about Arthur the Aardvark and his friends. I for one love this show. It's so funny! I find many humorous aspects about this show, one being that the characters are perpetually in 3rd grade. This show has been on for years and Arthur, Francine, Buster, Muffy, the Brain, Binky, Sue Ellen, and Fern never move from 3rd grade. It's the same with Nancy Drew: she's forever 18 and titian haired.

On the Fourth of July, Emily and I recorded an hour-long Arthur episode entitled "Arthur: It's Only Rock 'n' Roll," featuring the Backstreet Boys as Arthur characters. (It should say something when the Backstreet Boys are cuter as Arthur characters than as actually people ;) Other favorite episodes include Arthur's Music Video ("Havin' fun isn't hard when you've got a library card!") and the Singing Moose Episode. I find Arthur Reed, his friends, and their adventures hilarious. The writing is clever for little kids and obviously they're doing something right if teenagers find the show engaging. I started watching an episode this morning and Buster (Arthur's best friend who is a bunny) and he started talking about the adventurer Illinois Jack (haha! The city of Elwood's own Indiana Jones!)

The Arthur characters go as follows:
  • Arthur: the title character, an aardvark, older brother to little obnoxious sister Dora Winifred, 8 years old, likes reading, plays the piano
  • Dora Winifred (aka D.W.): younger sister, 5 years old, has imaginary friend Nadine, attends preschool, rival to the Tibble Twins, revels in pestering Arthur
  • Francine Frensky: monkey (we think), athlete, 3rd grade, very bossy, best friends with Muffy Crosswire, her dad is the trashman
  • Muffy Crosswire: 3rd grade, rich, snobby, best friend to Francine, monkey (we think), father owns Crosswire Motors
  • Allen (aka the Brain): 3rd grade, unnaturally smart, aardvark (?), mother runs the ice cream store
  • Binky: bulldog, 3rd grade but older than everyone else because was held back, comes across as a bully but is actually really nice, has connections with the 4th grade gang the Tough Customers
  • Mr. Ratburn: the 3rd grade teacher, gives too much homework, was thought to have eaten bolts, nails, and children until proven to be a puppeteer, rat
  • Buster: bunny, 3rd grade, best friend to Arthur, eats a lot, believes aliens will come to earth and prepares himself as a result, parents divorced, spent the summer travelling with his dad
  • Prunella: 4th grade, rat (?), into astrology and fortune telling
  • Fern: likes to read, 3rd grade, enjoys mysteries, reserved and quiet but not boring
  • The Singing Moose: a moose that occasionally appears on the show to musically narrate Arthur's happenings, made his main debut when Buster returned from his summer with his dad ("He's [Buster] a sad, sad, bunny. A sad, sad, sad, sad, bunny . . ."

Well, that my friends is a mere sampling of the world of Elwood City. You should watch it on PBS. It's on at 7:30 and 8:00 in the morning and is also on the PBS radio station at those same times. Arthur is a show not to be missed, a show to be enjoyed and cherished as a childhood staple.

I felt the need to document the wonderful qualities of Arthur not only because it's a quality, laugh-out-loud show, but I am also extremely bored at work.

I would post a picture of Arthur and friends, but all the ones I can find online aren't in the correct format. Blast.

utterly exhausted

Well, after today I will not have been home in three days and for those of you who know me, you know that's a big thing because I love my time at home. Monday I worked and afterward I met up with Rachelle (my best friend) and her mom at the Olive Garden for dinner. I ate the "Herb Grilled Salmon"--mmm I love salmon! After we finished dinner, Rachelle and I headed over to her hotel (she's been staying in a hotel for the past 2 1/2 weeks because they had severe smoke damage to their house on account of an ashen pot of beans found on a turned-on stove after 5 hours). We went to see the 9:40 showing of "The Devil Wears Prada" and came across Mark and his mom Kaye! It was definitely a welcome surprise! The movie was okay; it wasn't your traditional chick flick about a girl trying to get the guy. The plot was a little deeper than the signature chick flick and I love watching Anne Hathaway because she's so pretty. (However, most of us would always be drop-dead-gorgeous if we had a personal team of stylists too). After the movie we went back the hotel and went swimming in the 24 hour pool at 1 in the morning. We came back at 2 and talked for bit, then drifting off to sleep until 10:30 the next morning. We headed out at 11:45 and went to lunch at Chili's, followed by trip inside TJ Maxx and Ulta.

Despite this exciting Rachelle-and-Charlotte time, there was an ulterior motive: her sister planned a surprise birthday and I was the decoy/distraction (however I would definitely have had this fun night/morning without urging!) I had to stall a little in Ulta because her sister wasn't ready and fortunately there was some trouble in ringing up my purchases, so we weren't able to arrive at the house until 1:50 or so. It was truly a surprise--Rachelle had no idea! Ten to twelve of us were there total and we all went boating on Cherry Creek Resevoir for the afternoon. I love boating! However, I'm not a fan of my wet hair drying wavy because it looks dumb (why can't it be wavy all over instead turning wavy half way down my head?), but who looks great boating anyway? Back to the party recap: we went boating all afternoon, grilled hotdogs and hamburgers, boated some more when it was still light, had cake and went back to the house to open presents once it got dark. We opened presents pretty quick because a bunch of us had to get home. I got home a little after 11, so I was beat. Then I slept hard until I had to wake up to go to work all day. Blark. After work tonight I have a quick church thing to do and then I can go home and crash.

Even though I'm completely exhausted, I had such a fun time over the past couple of days. I think my favorite part was when it was just me and Rachelle hanging out. Whenever we hang out we don't usually go out to a movie or go out to eat, so this was a fun change of pace. We never run out of things to talk about and I have so much fun with her! I love having friends like that: friends you can do almost anything with, that you can tell anything, and stay up until 2 or 3 in the morning talking to. I'd rather have 2 or 3 really close friends like that than a bunch of acquaintence-like friends (I hope I'm making sense here). I'll do a real post about Rachelle on her real birthday which is coming up next week.

Well, after today I can crash at home tonight and tomorrow I'm going to see the new Pirates movie--I'm way excited! I'm counting the hours until I can leave work and it's only 10:30; we close at 6. Ug. Oh well, at least I'm getting paid, right? Oh, and one more thing to add to the utter exhaustion I'm feeling: I woke up feeling a potential migraine coming on and my vision was really weird this morning, a definite sign of impending migraine. I took something right away before anything happened and the vision disturbances went away mostly, but I still don't feel so hot. Oh well, I look forward to changing into my pajamas tonight and watching some mindless TV like "Everybody Loves Raymond" or "Lost" if I feel up for some intrigue. Sorry for the somewhat complain-y post and hopefully I will have something better to report later.

Oh, and another quick question: WHO IS THE ANONYMOUS COMMENTER? I definitely appreiciate your comments, but who are you?! The anonymous commenting is too mysterious for my own peace of mind!


rainy weekend recap

The majority of the past week has been rainy and I love it! (Especially when you're expecting blistering July heat) The weekend was great because it was rainy and cloudy the entire time, making for a cozy and weather-satisfying weekend. On Saturday I worked in the morning, which was nice because there were only three of us working and after work I went home and changed into my favorite blue suede vans. (Yes real blue suede shoes--I mean seriously what could be more cool? Eek, not bright blue though, a soft pastel baby blue). I dropped off a belated graduation thank you note and stayed talking for a bit then made my way over to Target.

I raided the dollar section and picked up some fun things to sneak into Emily's Girl's Camp bags and I also checked out the clearance DVD section and picked up some good finds. I bought the chick flick "The Prince and Me" for $7.50 and "Sliding Doors" for a mere $5.50. I went home and watched both movies, had scrambled eggs for dinner and caught up on a bit of "Lost." Saturday proved to be a fun, relaxing, perfect rainy day.

Yesterday I had a 2 1/2 hour nap followed by roast beef and mashed potatoes with ice cream sundaes for dessert at Grandma's house. I watched a silly made-for-TV movie and made plans for seeing the new Pirates movie. I think the rain was a good omen for this weekend. It was raining almost constantly, sometimes pretty hard and sometimes it was a light drizzle, but it was raining consistently the whole weekend.

I love rain because it is so cleansing. It smells so good and it cools things down. Whenever it rains, I feel a little more relaxed, a little less pressured to do things. To me, rain creates moments for renewal, moments to start over. And yes, we can resolve to start over anytime, but rain serves as a reminder. The sound of rain is soothing and I love when thunder accompanies the soft pattering of rain outside my window. The best combination however is rain in the autumn; not much can match that except maybe snow around Christmastime.



Last week I finished rereading one of my favorite books, East of Eden, by John Steinbeck and I once again marveled at the insightful writing. East of Eden is one of those books that keeps you thinking long after you finish and it helps you make connections to your life and to the Gospel. The book chronicles the relationship between two brothers whose lives mirror the story of Cain and Abel from the Bible, however you end up liking the "Cain" character more than the "Abel" character; the former has more depth and more conflict, making it better for the reader to connect to the character and the story. The central theme in this book is the idea of timshel, the Hebrew word for "thou mayest."

Here's a quick excerpt:

"Do you remember when you read us the sixteen verses of the fourth chapter of Genesis and we argued about them?

“I do indeed. And that’s a long time ago.

“Ten years nearly,” said Lee. “Well, the story bit deeply into me and I went into it word for word. The more I thought about the story, the more profound it became to me. Then I compared the translations we have—and they were fairly close. There was only one place that bothered me. The King James version says this—it is when Jehovah has asked Cain why he is angry. Jehovah says, ‘If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.’ It was the ‘thou shalt’ that struck me, because it was a promise that Cain would conquer sin.”
Samuel nodded. “And his children didn’t do it entirely,” he said.

"Lee sipped his coffee. “Then I got a copy of the American Standard Bible. It was very new then. And it was different in this passage. It says, ‘Do thou rule over him.’ Now this is very different. This is not a promise, it is an order. And I began to stew about it. I wondered what the original word of the original writer had been that these very different translations could be made. . .

“After two years we felt that we could approach your sixteen verses of the fourth chapter of Genesis. My old gentlemen felt that these words were very important too—‘Thou shalt’ and ‘Do thou.’ And this was the gold from our mining: ‘Thou mayest.’ ‘Thou mayest rule over sin.’ The old gentlemen smiled and nodded and felt the years were well spent. It brought them out of their Chinese shells too, and right now they are studying Greek.

Samuel said, “It’s a fantastic story. And I’ve tried to follow and maybe I’ve missed somewhere. Why is this word so important?”

"Lee’s hand shook as he filled the delicate cups. He drank his down in one gulp. “Don’t you see?” he cried. “The American Standard translation orders men to triumph over sin, and you can call sin ignorance. The King James translation makes a promise in ‘Thou shalt,’ meaning that men will surely triumph over sin. But the Hebrew word, the word timshel—‘Thou mayest’— that gives a choice. It might be the most important word in the world. That says the way is open. That throws it right back on a man. For if ‘Thou mayest’—it is also true that ‘Thou mayest not.’ Don’t you see?”

“Yes, I see. I do see. But you do not believe this is divine law. Why do you feel its importance?”

“Ah!” said Lee. “I’ve wanted to tell you this for a long time. I even anticipated your questions and I am well prepared. Any writing which has influenced the thinking and the lives of innumerable people is important. Now, there are many millions in their sects and churches who feel the order, ‘Do thou,’ and throw their weight into obedience. And there are millions more who feel predestination in ‘Thou shalt.’ Nothing they may do can interfere with what will be. But ‘Thou mayest’! Why, that makes a man great, that gives him stature with the gods, for in his weakness and his filth and his murder of his brother he has still the great choice. He can choose his course and fight it through and win.” Lee’s voice was a chant of triumph."

When I reread this I felt like Steinbeck accuately summed up the Plan of Salvation: choice, timshel, thou mayest. We have complete control over where we go and who we are. This is a heavy responsiblity, but one our Heavenly Father obviously thinks we can handle. I love the concept and applicability of agency. Choice is so liberating, making it possible for us to accomplish or not accomplish anything. Of course when it comes to our own salvation, we need rely on the Atonement, but that in itself is a choice; we choose to rely on divine power.

In the book, the Cain representation is faced with the idea of timshel, a concept that alters his destiny and a concept that makes the whole Cain and Abel story more understandable and applicable to our lives. I just love this book!

*what books are your favorites that make you think?*


an unlikely but possible combination

You frequently hear cute shoes are never comfortable--the two are just not very compatible. This is a fact hard for me to accept because I love cute shoes and I've usually been okay with the discomfort of cute shoes; the sacrifice of comfortable feet is definitely one I'm willing to make, but since I began working at Washington Mutual Bank two years ago and we had to stand all the time, comfort became more of a priority for me. I was initially torn between having cute shoes and having feet that didn't ache all the time when lo and behold, my mom and grandma introduced me to the wonderful world of Danskos. They are the most comfortable shoes I've ever worn and they're really cute! Who knew that you could have cute and comfortable shoes?! I have the two styles pictured and I love them both! While they are expensive, I willing to pay for style and comfort.

Well a quick recap of the first full week in July:
  • The rain and thunderstorm provided a fun twist on the 4th of July festivities and I had a blast playing charades by candlelight in our dining room.
  • Emily's friend birthday party was awesome! We played the dice game BUNCO (a game that requires no skill at all) and had ice cream sundaes.
  • The family party was fun as well. In addition to our immediate family, Grandma, Grandpa, our friends Melissa and Jacquelyn, and our former seminary teachers Eric and Brittany Buehler were all present at the soiree. We had a blast and played games after dinner. I love birthdays!
  • After Emily's friend party a few of us jumped on the trampoline in the rain, making for a fun (and damp) end to the afternoon.

I hope your week was a good opening to July and I look forward to a comfortable day in my much-loved Danskos!


Hats off to Emily!

Last night I decided that on a family or friend's birthday I'm going to dedicate a post entirely to them and I will start today with dedicating this post to my sister Emily. She is 16 today and it's quite frightening to me to realize that she can date now. AH! I'm not really sure how to respond to this; it doesn't seem like Emily should ever be old enough to date. It's bizarre for me to realize that Emily and I are both on the market now! I think it's the mentality of an older sibling that says "You'll always be the older one and your younger siblings will never be as old as you." I don't know if that makes sense entirely but I'm sure you older siblings out there can empathize.

Emily and I have always been pretty close, but we still have those sisterly spats most sibling relationships have. However despite our occasional tiff, I think we are best friends. Our relationship has grown more over the past few years as we've both grown up quite a bit. It's easier to think of your sister as your friend after you've grown up a little. We share many of the same friends and we like to do the same things. We're both homebodies and we both love spending time with family. While we are very similar in many ways we both still have our own style and personality. We complement each other in numerous respects and I love how support each other.

I admire Emily in many ways. I wrote a scholarship essay about Emily and one of her traits I admire. I don't have it available right now, but I'll post it once I do. I love her love of service. She is always looking for some way to help another and doesn't shirk responsiblity. She is dedicated to the things she loves: family, learning, music, and the Gospel. She knows who she is and she has a strong testimony. Emily knows how to have fun and she's good at involving others in her fun. Emily is an amazing sister and friend and I love her. (Once I figure out how to post pictures I'll post one of Emily!)


Cave in

After reading the various blogs of my cousins and their friends, I finally decided to cave in and create my own. I have yet to acquire a digital camera to easily post pictures, however I am in possession of a scanner so maybe I can figure out how to use that. I am the kind of person who does not quickly hop on the bandwagon; I like to take my time and see if it's what I really want to do. For example, I was not too keen on the mP3 player innovation, thinking my CDs and CD player sufficed just fine, but after many months and the growing popularity of the portable music device, I caved in and bought myself an iPod mini (which is one of my favorite electronics now). As you can probably see, this characteristic results in my being a tad behind on many trends (including the fashion arena--my wardrobe derives its style primarily from the suggestions of my Aunt Susan and my mom). After spending many months reading about the happenings of my cousins, combined with the frequent boredom accompanying the job of a bank teller, I created my own.

I love words and "minutiae" is one of my favorites. It is what I frequently think of as the little bits of life that create a person. That is really what these blogs are right? The chronicling of the little bits of our lives that mold who we are, where we're going, why we do what do, how we act is how I apply minutiae to my life.

I lead what many may think is a boring life. I like to stay home and I love spending time with my family. I also love spending time with my friends, but it's not like I do outrageous activites with either group. I have Popsicle Days with my sister Emily and best friend Rachelle (Popsicle Days: random days during the summer when we deliver popsicles to unsuspecting friends and family), I have fun raiding Target with a giftcard, I look forward to watching movies at home and having popcorn for dinner. The things I find fun and enjoyable aren't things like skydiving or travelling all over the world, but seemingly boring activities like card games and movie nights. Oh well, I have fun with what I do. I guess this is the beginning of my minutiae and I honestly don't know how much minutiae will be worthy of blogging, but here it goes . . .
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