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Showing posts from 2009

Me and Vera. =)

So I've noticed this weird trend in my life- I really really like to give my inanimate objects human names. My Chevy Silverado is named Chuck (short for Charles Maximillian Chevrolet the First). My phone is Tiberius. My laptop is Alphonso. I realized this had gone a little too far the other day when I was talking to Brenton about his new guitar. My very first question about it was, "So....does it have a name?" Thankfully, he didn't think I was a total freak and said, "Not yet. But my other two guitars are Lindsey and Roxy."
This morning I realized an unforgivable fact. My snowboard didn't have a name. I started brainstorming...it's definitely a girl board...and it's cute and young-ish...but classy and not-quite-ordinary...Anna? Clara? Suddenly I thought of the perfect name. Vera.
And this is how nerdy I am: I named her after another anthropomorphized inanimate object. I named my snowboard after Jayne's gun from Firefly. I just had this moment…

This would probably be a good New Year's day post...but I'm writing it on December 22nd instead.

Today I had one of those magical moments where I found the answer to my own thoughts and prayers in someone else's words. I was reading my friend Todd's blog, and it near about floored me. He was writing about the way history tends to repeat itself, and said, "So my friends, don't be surprised if 2009 ends the way it started or if a semester comes to a close in the same fashion it began. The trick of it all is to learn from the often symmetrical journey and be better for it." Holy Cow. For me, 2009 is ending nearly exactly the way it started. I started 2009 with uncertainty and excitement, along with a fair amount of heartbreak and angst. It's been a year full of ups and downs, lessons, strange romances, wrenching of guts, and newly discovered strengths and weaknesses. And yet somehow, I'm ending the year where I started it. Same uncertainty and excitement, albeit about different people and events. And, unexpectedly, the exact same feelings of an…

Tree-freaking-house

I was running yesterday through the pretty-old-house neighborhoods near Provo Center Street and I saw the COOLEST. THING. EVER. On 500 East, there was this huge tree with a treehouse in it! But not just any treehouse. It had a...pointy roof thing with window? Gable? Hold on....googling.....I think it's called a gable. Anyways, it had a window inside of the gable too. And it was so high up that I was both terrified and immeasurably excited for whatever children play in that thing. I wished that I'd brought my camera running with me.
Also on that run I saw a little brick house with an extension built on the front. The extension was painted--wait for it--bright orange. A thing of beauty to be sure.

Silence

Today, I was trying to explain to someone why I don't listen to music when I run. I could've explained it better, but somehow, it touched a part of my mind that I was a little afraid to share. Not because of the nature of the things I was going to share, just the closeness, the fear I wouldn't be understood. But...I want to share this. Why I run, not just to exercise, not just to lose my belly fat. When I run...that is when I reunite with myself. I can think my thoughts...not the thoughts of BYU, or of the Provo dating scene, or the music program, or my apartment. I can think my thoughts, about love, religion, God, beauty, truth...or snow, quail, crunchy leaves, old houses, hair and wind. Whatever thoughts I want to think about, day-to-day or eternal, trivial or significant, they are my thoughts. I leave my life behind and surrender to a continual motion, a motion going nowhere particular, but taking me everywhere. When I run, I reconnect with my body. I feel my hea…

My self-imposed isolation

Sometimes, I get lonely. That's pretty normal I think. Right now, my roommates are home, but I don't want to talk to them. And yet, I'm craving human contact. So i browse facebook, hoping to see someone I know on chat. I write this blog post, both to figure out my thoughts and to quietly say, "Hey world...um...i exist. Just thought I'd remind you..." Somehow, this need for people makes me feel weak. I've been staring at my phone for half an hour, knowing all I have to do is text Jeff or Brenton and, odds are, I'll have myself a conversation. I could pick up the phone and call my Mom, or my grandma, or Jessie. But I don't because, for some reason, I feel ashamed that I need people. I should be able to sit by myself and do homework without having this unsettled feeling in my stomach, without wishing someone would call me just to say hi. I shouldn't NEED anyone except for myself!
And yet...I do. Maybe that's the way I'm supposed to…

The Comforter

In John 14, Jesus promises to send his disciples "another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; even the Spirit of truth." This Comforter was sent as a source of comfort and peace, and to "teach...all things and bring all things to your remembrance." Jesus would soon be leaving them, and they needed another comforter to guide and comfort them in his absence. We, like Jesus' disciples, live without Jesus' physical presence. This makes it so much harder to have faith and hope and to find meaning. I so often find myself wishing for more physical evidence, for something concrete to fasten my faith to. And that is why I am so grateful for the gift of the Holy Ghost in my life. The Spirit testifies of Christ to my soul and gives me a reason to keep believing. Through the Spirit, I can more easily see God's work in my life and I feel myself guided through decisions both small and significant. I also don't know what I'd do without …

Interesting thoughts on Environmentalism

Came across this while working on a research paper:
"Environmentalism includes desires to get closer to nature, to preserve it, to leave it alone, to clean it up, and to pass on stewardship of it to the next generation. We alternately feel possessive, defensive, protective, harmonious, and alienated towards what we blithely call the 'environment,' having very little sense of what the environment actually is. We frequently need to be reminded that the term contains no determining sense of what actually does surround us, of what place we find ourselves in, of how we may recognize or define it, and especially of how we come to value it. It is an obvious but troubling fact, for instance, that downtown Toronto or suburban Los Angeles are as much 'environments' as the Galapagos Islands or James Bay. We distinguish them by the degrees and kinds of human involvement in their physical or imaginative construction, rather than by some essential inherent difference."
O…

Compensation?

You know, today should be a really dreadful day. For parts of it, it was. I had an absolutely terrifying piano lesson, I haven't slept enough in a few days, I had to stay home from Divine Comedy to write a paper, and it looks like there is no possible way to get everything done in time. But on the other hand-my English class was canceled so I got an extra hour to practice, I woke up on time for the first time in recent memory, I got to see Jennie at the library today, Brenton brought me muddy buddies and gave me the best hug I've had in a while, I have beef stew in my belly and I'm listenin to some Ben Folds. I feel really happy and content and peaceful. And why shouldn't I? All the past few days I've prayed for my stress not to overwhelm me, to find a way to be happy. And so I've found little blessings strewn across my room.
So, in spite of it all....life is good.
Wow.

The rush

So yesterday I learned something about performing-when done right, it feels crazy cool. Last night at masterclass, I had to...I mean...got to...perform one of my jury pieces for the studio. I decided to play my Mendelssohn "Andante and Rondo Capriccioso", which is my longest piece and probably my hardest. I didn't really feel prepared, but somehow I didn't feel nervous either. My feelings could probably be best summed up in the phrase: "Ok, let's just get this over with." As I sat at the piano and began to play, I felt more focused than I ever have when playing that piece. My every thought centered on the music and I realized I was playing pretty dang well. Of course, as soon as that thought crossed my mind I slipped up--badly. But I was able to recover and get to the end of the piece. When I finished and stood up to take my bow, I felt unbalanced ,like I'd abruptly dropped an enormous weight I'd been carrying all day, or like someone I&…

The rest of my thankfulness. =)

I was so busy having a great Thanksgiving replete with..food...and food...and laser tag....and futile attempts at finishing my homework...practicing...yeah....so here's the rest of the alphabet!
H-Horchata. Best. Thing. Ever.
G-Glee. The emotion, not the TV show.
F-Frolicking. Except when I run into bushes. And dogs. And people. Sometimes I just get caught up in the moment, ok?
E-Endings. Like when a book or a movie has an excellllent finish. Like "Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog." Also when one phase of my life so a new one can begin.
D-Dogs. Because of them I can say, "Good news! I saw a dog today!" Yes I have two Elf quotes in this post series.
C-Correspondences. I love writing to my missionaries. Well, not writing. Just getting letters. And emails. And pictures and audio! Two awesome things!
B-Bread products.
A-Arches National Park. One of my favorite places on earth and the site of some freaking fantastic memories last year!

Giving Thanks

I have so much to be grateful for that if I made a comprehensive list, I'd be sitting here typing for eternity, and never get around to enjoying all the blessings I was listing! And that would be true ungratefulness! So, taking inspiration from the Alphabet, I will try to sum up a few things that I'm grateful for. And, in a feat of daring skill, I will do it BACKWARDS!!!
Z: Zeal. I love talking to people who are passionate about what they do, whether it's biology, education, Chinese, or swordfighting. People like this make me want to make a difference in my own field!
Y:Yams. I don't like them...but some people do. And I'm glad they get some happiness out of it.
X: X. The unknown factor. Because life wouldn't be fun if you knew it all before.
W: Wonder. Those moments when you see an enormous rainbow, a sunset, or a fascinatingly translucent leaf, and you just have to hold your breath and stop thinking for a minute.
V: Vacation. My justification for blogging i…

Under the fig tree, I saw thee

One of my very favorite stories in the New Testament is found in John 1:43-51. This story, found only in the gospel of John, tells of the conversion of Nathanael. And here is how it goes (or at least how I am telling it):
Phillip lived in Bethsaida, along with Andrew and his brother Peter. When Jesus went through Galilee calling disciples, he found Phillip and said, "Follow me." Phillip instantly discerned that Jesus was the Messiah, and searched for his friend Nathanael, eager to share this good news. However, when Phillip excitedly announced, "We have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write," Nathanael was skeptical, asking, "Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth?" I imagine he was filled with a mix of excitement and reluctance as he followed Phillip to see Jesus, thrilled that this man may be the Christ, but trying to guard himself against disappointment. I'll let John tell the next part,
"Jesus saw Nath…

"Angels round about you to bear you up."

There is music in my soul today!

I learned the coolest thing in New Testament this week. Did you know that several passages in the New Testament are actually quotes from early Christian hymns? Check this one out:
"Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord." (Colossians 3:16)
First, I love the phrase, "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom." If we allow Christ's words to really "dwell in us," permeating our thoughts, actions, and habits, our lives will be infinitely richer. And by surrounding ourselves with the words of Christ, the Source of all knowledge and wisdom, we will also grow until, as the hymn states, we have "all wisdom."
This hymn also speaks to me about the power of music in worship. Through the hymns, we feel the Spirit and learn important principles. According to this hymn, we can even "[teach] a…

Some thoughts on love

I know this is a somewhat radical concept in our society of fairy-tale ideals, but here goes: how bad is it to marry someone who you are not "in love" with? I'm not referring to marrying for money or convenience, or marrying someone you despise. I'm imagining a scenario in which you know someone very well, respect, admire, and even love them, but feel no romantic affection for them. Maybe you're even physically attracted to this person, but this attraction is something quite separate from your feelings for them as an individual. Is it so wrong to want to spend your life with someone who understands you, who you love to spend time with, and who makes you a better person, even if you don't get butterflies in your stomach when you hear their name and the the thought of them does not induce a giddy euphoria?
I mean, from what I've heard, the "in love " feeling usually fades some time into a marriage anyways, hopefully replaced by a deeper love t…

Insights from Matthew

For the most part, Matthew's narrative of Christ's death is extremely similar to the other gospel accounts. However, Matthew includes a few details and at least one extra anecdote that bring additional shades of meaning to the story of the Lord's death and Resurrection.
First, Matthew's narrative adds additional and unique detail to the story of Judas. While the other gospels tell us that Judas Iscariot betrayed Jesus with a kiss and got thirty pieces of silver out of it, Matthew goes further. In chapter 27, verses 2-10, we learn that Judas later regretted his betrayal. When he "saw that [Jesus] was condemned," he went back to the chief priests and returned the thirty pieces of silver, saying, "I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood." The chief priests more or less waved him away, saying, "What is that to us?" Judas, full of remorse than went and hanged himself. I find this additional insight into Judas’ betrayal …

The smell of paper and change

If I lived 100 years ago (or 200, or 300, or 400. Take your pick.) I would have wanted to work at a printing press. The crisp, musty smell of new paper, the thick, honest blackness of home-made ink, and the sounds of the press hard at work have an unmatched romance for me. I could get lost for hours in the methodical organization of setting type, and would grow strong pulling the levers of the press and inking the machinery. But most of all, I'd be in it for the feeling that my work mattered. I'd be helping spread new ideas and bringing the world together in a community of readers. I remember learning in elementary school about the lives of children my age in earlier centuries. I was shocked to hear that young boys had to choose their trade young, sometimes as early as 9 or 10. "How can you decide your life's work that early?" I wondered. Famously indecisive, I spent most of last semester worrying about what I would major in, and now that I've declare…

Away in a Manger (New Testament Blog Post)

So, about two weeks ago, I walked into my apartment to Michael Buble singing "Let it Snow," followed by Christmas song after Christmas song. For my roommates, the Christmas season evidently starts at the beginning of October. This irritated me at first, but as I've thought about it, I realized, why confine the joy we feel at our Savior's birth to one month of the year? We owe Him gratitude and praise every day of the year, not just during December. So along those lines, here is my blog post for today.

Looking at the two birth narratives in the New Testament (Matthew and Luke), I found it interesting that neither narrative contains “the whole story” as we commonly hear it. The main elements of our Nativity story seem to be split fairly evenly between these two books. Matthew starts with Mary becoming pregnant by the Holy Ghost, (1:18) and Joseph’s reaction to this. I really admire Joseph’s behavior in this story. First, when Joseph discovers his fiancée is preg…

Playing is its own reward

A wise friend told me this story last week. It really helped me put a few things in perspective.

Once there was a clever old man who lived in a suburban neighborhood. One day, this old man was in his sumptuous study, trying to take a nap, when the sounds of children playing on his front lawn woke him. This had been a recurring problem, and the old man decided to put a stop to it. Now, an ordinary ornery old man would have run out waving his cane and chased the kids off his property, but this ornery old man was clever. He stepped out his door, identified the ringleader, and said to him, "Oh, you children. The sound of your playing brings me such joy. If I pay you each a dollar, will you come back and play on my lawn tomorrow, just as loudly as you are today?" The boy agreed, and the children all came and played on his lawn the next day. Every day that week the children came and played on the old man's lawn, and every day he paid them each a dollar. However, when th…

New Testament Post

Who was Luke?
Luke was the author of the Gospel According to Luke and the Book of Acts. The Gospel of Luke chronicles events in the life of Jesus: his birth, ministry, miracles, teachings, death, Atonement, and Resurrection, and contains valuable information not found in the other Gospels. It is from Luke that we gain the most detailed account of the events surrounding Jesus’ birth and childhood. Without Luke, we wouldn’t have the story of the Angel Gabriel appearing to Mary, the birth of the Savior in a humble stable, or the announcement of Christ’s birth to the shepherds. Luke tells us about of Jesus as a 12 year-old boy, “going about his Father’s business” by teaching the doctors in the temple (Luke 2). Additionally, Luke’s gospel has more of a focus than the other gospels on Christ’s interactions with His female followers, such as the story of Mary and Martha in Luke 10. Acts, a continuation of the Gospel, chronicles the events of the early Church after Jesus' Ascension.…

I'm not waiting for my ship to come in, I'd just like the bus to be on time.

I'm about to do something revolutionary. I'm going to write a blog post that isn't for my New Testament class. I don't think that anyone really reads this blog, but if you do, listen up kids because this is big news. Well....not really. I just wanted to share some thoughts.
The other day, I was returning from the grocery store. I started for the bus stop carrying my heavy bags of nutritious goodness when I glimpsed, waiting at the stop light, THE BUS! My bus! I started running, but my human legs couldn't keep up, and the bus had soon paused at my stop, and carried on without me. Disappointed, I made my way to the bus stop, groceries in tow, and sat on the bench, only to have the sprinklers turn on. I jumped out of the way and found a place to stand where my groceries wouldn't get wet. As time passed by, doubts crept into my head, "Maybe...the bus isn't coming? No, of course not, the bus always comes. It's just in...BYU game traffic. Oh my g…

Mark's account of Jesus' death, 600 words or less.

Mark begins His account of Jesus’ death in chapter 14, with the woman who came and anointed His head with spikenard. When the disciples rebuked her for this apparent “waste” of money, Jesus defended her, saying “She hath done what she could: she is come aforehand to anoint my body to the burying. Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached throughout the whole world, this also that she hath done shall be spoken of a memorial of her.” (Mark 14:8-9). This woman understood that Jesus would not long be with them, and chose to honor Him.
That night, Jesus met with the Twelve for what is now known as the Last Supper. At this Passover meal, Jesus predicted His betrayal by Judas (Mark 14:18), His impending death, (Mark 14:23), and the unfaithfulness of the Twelve (Mark 14:27). He instituted the ordinance of the sacrament, introducing it as “the blood of the new testament, which is shed for many,” (Mark 14:24), speaking of the new covenant to come with His death and Re…

"Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-Jona"

As I've read the gospel of Mark, I've started to see how very real the people in these stories were. The details about Peter's character and personality especially have brought him alive to me. It's easy to think of prophets in the scriptures as higher beings who never mess up because of their superior spirituality. I'm not saying that I don't think Peter was an incredibly spiritual and faithful man, just that I've come to understand that he and the other disciples were human and it's been a great comfort to me.
Peter was definitely imperfect: he got confused about doctrine (Mark 9:5-6, 10), and at times openly challenged Jesus (Mark 8:32-33, 14:31). When Christ was in the garden of Gethsemane, Peter succumbed to his physical and probably emotional exhaustion, falling asleep at the most important time of his Master's life. In one of his most famous moments, Peter denied even knowing Christ.
Despite his imperfections, Peter still kept trying to f…

And so it begins...

Well, folks, here it is. My blog. Yep, a blog. I've watched several of my friends get blogs, enjoyed reading a few of them, ignored the rest, and silently vowed never to get one. I didn't see any particular reason, and the idea of spilling my guts to the entire Internet, or even to a small group of friends who "follow" my blog, sounded kind of unappealing. As any one who knows me can attest, I love sharing my thoughts about anything and everything, but, in a strange contradiction, I also enjoy a certain privacy with my "favorite" thoughts. Maybe I just like the mystique of having things I don't share-an illusionary secrecy, but an enjoyable one nonetheless. Also, I worried that blogging would become my next big addiction, a la Facebook or texting.
So, why, you may ask, am I getting a blog? Well, actually, you're probably not asking. You probably don't really care. But I'll tell you anyway. Honors New Testament. Dr. Holzapfel require…