Monday, September 26, 2016

Friday, November 6, 2015

the best definition of beauty

she was afraid to ask questions she didn't want the answers to
so she avoided the conclusion

she worried too much what others thought
and acted accordingly

she criticized herself in the worst possible way
even hated herself at times

she compared herself
for better or for worse

her mirror image was nothing to be looked twice at
so she thought

she felt silly
out of place

she was too self-conscious and she knew it
she could be overbearing, needy, and stubborn
she was inadequate in every way

she loved.
she loved so deeply people felt it imediately

she empathized
she cared
she helped
she served

she made a difference. 

she laughed at the little things
and found joy in small moments

she never wanted to hurt anyone
she cared about others' happiness
she encouraged others to be brave, 
to ask questions, 
to focus on their potential, 
to love themselves. 

she brought people together
she made them laugh
and she cried with them and for them

her faith grew
she was passionate

she was a sister
a friend
a support

she was a light

and her soul was beautiful

Sunday, October 4, 2015

ordinary moments

"God must have loved the ordinary events because he made so many of them. Cloaked in their very ordinariness, the prosaic events that truly shape our lives—that truly are our lives—escape our notice." 
-Gary Saul Morson

Sometimes when I write I feel like I have to make everything exciting and worthwhile, but this quote has gotten me thinking for the last few months and I think what I really want to do in my writing is to capture the ordinary and keep it alive. 

These are the moments that shape us, and I really believe that if we can find meaning in these moments, our lives will be extraordinary.

every single day.

One of my favorite ordinary moments this week was walking to school with Tessa. We were running late and were behind on our homework (of course). As we walked, we both took out our books Tessa read in Spanish and I in Russian. We got the bottom of the stairs by the duck pond and we stopped reading, looked up and noticed the beautiful trees in front of us. If you ignored the street behind you for a second, it felt like you were in a forest. We stopped reading because we couldn't read effectively while walking up the stairs. I don't remember what we talked about exactly. We probably mentioned how hard it was to walked up those stairs every day at least a few times. But what we talked about didn't matter as much as the fact that we were talking. We were friends. We loved each other, and we were helping each other get through life. 

"Hi, we're representatives of the house across the street. My name is Michael, this is Joey. Can we use your rake?"

This was the third time they had come to borrow our tools and it just made me giggle. I feigned annoyance for a total of two seconds before breaking into a smile. I was happy to have someone using the handsaw that had been sitting in our back shed, and our white ladder that doubles as decoration in our living room.  I had been sitting on my porch for hours now, enjoying the weather as I forced myself to do homework on a Saturday afternoon. As I read, I would periodically look across the street to our friends hacking at the large bush in front of their house. Soon the bush was gone but a nasty clump of twigs remained. Everyone took turns with the ax, handsaw, and any other tool that had some kind of sharp edge and eventually they got rid of the whole thing, and then, in the spirit of yard work and manliness, they proceeded to trim every bush in the front of the house. I was impressed. They are only renting, but they cared enough to fix up the house and make it look nice. 
There are a lot of temporary things in our lives and it can be hard to enjoy them fully when we know that they could potentially leave our lives very soon. But think of every delicious meal you have ever eaten, or think of past favorite  roommates who have now moved on to somewhere new. What if you hadn't gotten that hazelnut/coffee gelato in Italy that was shaped like a flower because you knew you probably would never be able to taste it again? What if you had dismissed your new roommate only because you knew she would be moving in a semester or two? If we let these temporary moments pass in life, we will miss out on some of the sweetest friendships, memories, (and meals) of our lives!

I don't know about you, but I can't afford missing out on good meals and good friends. And I most definitely don't want to miss out on good meals with good friends.

So here's to the temporary.
Here's to the ordinary.

Because nothing is temporary, and nothing ordinary.
Only joyous, wonderful, extraordinary memories that will last a life time.

some of my favorite ordinary moments

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

on broken hearts (not the break up kind)

Tessa and I are...well....
emotional humans.

It's not like we are walking around crying all the time
We just...

a lot.
all the time.

Our toast gets toasted perfectly?
now THAT'S something to celebrate about.

We get to start a brand new notebook/journal?
there's a happy dance for that.

There's enough ingredients to make bruschetta?
that's it. we're dead. on the floor. of happiness.

you think i'm exaggerating.

It's really easy to get reaaallly excited about really small things
And pretty much everything is funny....
including this

and unfortunately...
it works the other way as well

it's easy to get our hearts broken.
when we see our friends hurting,
when we realize we've made mistakes,
when friendships don't work out the way we hope they do,
when people don't get along,
when we have to say goodbye,
when we aren't capable of doing a bajillion things at once.

it hurts.
i am convinced that there is an actual feeling of your heart breaking.
it's the worst....

but I've decided that is just a reminder that we're alive
we need to have our hearts broken so they can grow even bigger
and love even more

Have you ever heard the phrase...
There's always a rainbow after the storm?
Well, there is a always a happy dance at the end of every cryfest.

it's a fact.

so here's to broken hearts and ab-work-out-laughing fits.
couldn't live with out 'em

because I read 300 pages of Crime and Punishment in three days


i felt my heart break when one of my dearest friends told me that they don't have a very high opinion of themselves.

everything they said seemed blatantly false to me, because to me, they were incredible and they were kind, loving, and hard working and an example to so many others
but i couldn't dispute with them and their feelings

especially when i find myself saying the exact same things about myself.
i understand that those feelings are real.

we see our mistakes and we want to slap ourselves up-side the head sometimes
we look in the mirror and we hate what we see
we feel like our lives are falling part and we can't seem to put the pieces back together


we are beautiful
we are good
we are human

we make mistakes and those mistakes often lead to regret, shame, and guilt.
but we forget
we forget too many times

that we can change
we have the power to turn things around
we have the capacity to do good
and we are doing good, no matter how many pieces our lives may be in.

photo cred: Libby Baum

i realized that day, listening to my friend, how God must feel whenever we are hard on ourselves, whenever we don't believe in ourselves. 

i don't pretend to know exactly what God feels, 
but i imagine that he must weep as He watches us tear ourselves apart and lose hope on ourselves. 
He must feel anxious to let us know that we are wrong and that it is okay that we've made mistakes. 
He must do everything He can to remind us of the Atonement 
of  Redemption,

Christ suffered for our sins, 
not so we would torture ourselves with our past mistakes, 
but so we could grow
so we could learn
and move on 
and move forward
and move up towards Him. 

I am my hardest critic, as I'm sure many others can relate to. 
I scrutinize my every move. 
I pick out every flaw, every mistake, every possible problem.
I begin to hate myself for it and dwell on the past
I forget about the future, about the possibility to move forward 
the possibility of shedding my mistakes and letting the Lord change my heart

but i'm determined to change
i'm determined to see the good in myself 
and help others see the good in themselves
because God sees our potential 
and i guess it's about time we see that potential in ourselves too

Monday, June 15, 2015

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

the summer makers

It's 11 pm
Passion Pit blasting
All four windows the sun roof.  
The car is full of friends with no extremely pressing responsibilities.... Well at least until 7 am the next morning. 
I stick my head out the window periodically. 

Smelling summer. 

Fresh cut grass, 
Old rain,
The smell of leftover sun. 

I close my eyes and try to feel the moonlight on my face 
I can't

But I can see it. Along with the stars
I'm part of the heavens 

I am in heaven

You could feel the power of Henry's stick shift as I sat in the back with Sarah and Paige. Our hair blowing every which way in the wind tunnel we had created inside the car. 

Collin is DJ
Henry drives
And we are the decision makers. 

We get to the teeter totter that spins

It's terrifyingly fun
Jumping up and down like human grasshoppers 

No one died. Thankfully. 
No one was hurt. This time. 

Then came ping pong, foosball, and dress up. 
We meditated, became sultans, and broke precious magic wands. 

These are the decisions we make
These are the memories that last 

We are the descision makers 

We are the summer creators