Monday, November 29

the adventures of a monday

I just dropped way too much money to print off 8 articles for a research paper about Tom Stoppard's play, Arcadia. At least that was what I meant to do. Instead, I printed off 100+ pages worth of the exact. same. article. At least now I'll become intimately familiar with "The Playwright and the Professors: An Interview with Tom Stoppard" by Katherine E. Kelly and William W. Demastes. And the best part? Yes. I printed all 100 sheets, though black and white, through the color printer.

And that is officially the dumbest thing I've done this week.
It's only Monday.

blizzard (not the delicious DQ variety)

This is what my Sunday looked like for 11 straight hours.
For those of you who aren't familiar with the commute between B-town, OR and Provo, that is an entire four hours longer than it usually takes.
Luckily, little Dekker (who isn't that little, interestingly) drove through all of the ugly stretches. Which as it turns out, was 9 of the 11 hours on the road.
Dekker=my hero.

So are these things, which I happily rediscovered on this marathon roadtrip:

And Taylor Swift, who might as well be crowned Princess of America, who served as the official roadtrip entertainment.
If you haven't heard this album, I honestly am at a loss as to how you've managed to avoid such a large chunk of pop culture.
Just go listen to it. Do it. Give in. All the cool kids are doing it...

Ps: this is my attempt to preserve a portion of Project: Gratitude...
Today I am grateful for: these cutie boots! I'm starting to fall hard for all things North Face. And my warm toes are definitely not hating.

Pss: BYU lost to Utah :( Sad.

Psss: MY BROTHER'S TEAM WON THEIR GAME!! Needless to say, after screaming pretty much the entire four-hour game long, my voice was a little pained. They won 47-29 and will be playing next week for the state title. Exciting, no? And that little guy ran for an 81-yard kickoff return! Ha he's so cute. You can read all about it here and here :)

Saturday, November 27

a great day for football

Anybody else ready for this?
I think things look promising for the cougs today :)
I remember after last year's victory when Max Hall went off on this controversial little tirade. Everyone shook their finger at him publicly, but privately was thrilled that someone had finally voiced what we have all been feeling for years.
Amen, Max. Amen!

On a related topic, my baby brother Colten is playing in the semi-finals of the Oregon 4A state championship football tournament! Here is his adorable little mug in the newspaper.Fortunately, as per Thanksgiving break, I will be able to actually watch the game! I'm excited. My family is in Hillsboro, on the west side of the state right now waiting for a few hours before the game starts. In the meantime, my dad is spending his energy by loudly making snide comments about environmentalists when we find ourselves in large groups of native western-Oregonians. At the very least it's been pretty entertaining.

Holy War kickoff is at 1:30 at Rice-Eccles Stadium.
Baker-Gladstone kickoff is at 2:15 at Hillsboro Stadium.

Ready... BREAK!

Friday, November 26

Project: Gratitude, Day 16

I am a little ashamed at not having finished Project: Gratitude the day I was supposed to. I was so good about it until the very. last. day. How annoying is that? Sigh. Well I'm going to make up for it and finish this project though it is almost a full two days late. Over the past few days, I have been grateful for technology.

Isn't it so cool? I mean think about it. There are people literally all over this giant world who I love and I can communicate with them in a matter of a few seconds. And today my family drove more than 300 miles in a few short hours and the whole time, I was communicating with people in Utah. Back in the days of the Oregon Trail it would take a month to get that far and letters took about the same amount of time! We can have conversations with people who are hundreds of miles away, travel quickly, send letters and notes in the blink of an eye and access information about pretty much anything in the world faster than has ever been possible in the history of time. Just take a second and think about how blessed we are to be alive today. It really is incredible.

Thursday, November 25

Project: Gratitude, Day 15

Well, I am nearing the end of Project: Gratitude. For those of you getting sick of this series, hang in there. I only have two left. Who knows, maybe I'll start another series after this? Either way, today I am grateful for (please brace yourself for the corniness that is coming) love.

On Monday during my last class, we were having a conversation about a scene in Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf when Clarissa Dalloway's husband, Richard realizes how much he loves his wife and resolves to go find her and tell her. He goes and buys her flowers, but when he reaches her, he only gives her the flowers and can't bring himself to express his feelings.

It seems like situations like this are the case far too often. Why is it so hard to say those words, not just to a significant other, but to a parent, sibling, or friend? It is such an intimate phrase. There isn't a higher expression of attachment or respect in our language and saying it really opens up the possibility of rejection. On the other hand, we can't expect someone to reciprocate our feelings, because that is not love. Love is unconditional, whether reciprocated or not.

It is such a miracle to love someone! I mean honestly. Is there a higher compliment you can give somone than to love them?

So. My challenge to anyone stumbling across this blog is to not make the same mistake as Richard Dalloway. If you love someone, tell them. Right now. Each day. Every time you think it. It is such an amazing blessing to be able to love, and that is what I am grateful for today.

Tuesday, November 23

Project: Gratitude, Day 14

Today I am grateful for rest.
Since being home (approximately 24 hours),
I have taken a ridiculous amount of time to do this: watched way too many hours of this: Spent an inordinate amount of time using pretty much all of these:

and not worried for a second about this:

Yep, my life is great. And that is why today, I am grateful for rest.

Project: Gratitude, Day 13

Today I am grateful that prayers are answered, as evidenced by the fact that I am home safely despite Mother Nature's best efforts. And yes, I realize that this particular point is a little ironic considering my Day 11 post, but after staring at this scene for four hours as I tediously made my way from Happy Valley to my happy home, I am quite wintered out for now.

I know that the many micro-prayers said as I traveled along slushy/icy/snowy/windy/blizzardy roads today were answered because there is someone listening to and answering every word I pray. The ability to communicate with our loving and concerned Heavenly Father is amazing. It's not just because of this experience that I know that prayer is real, but today I am more grateful for it than usual.

Sunday, November 21

Project: Gratitude, Day 12

Today I am grateful for music. As per the previously mentioned snowstorm last night, I broke into my stash of Christmas music and have been enjoying it all day long. And I feel perfectly justified in listening to it even though Thanksgiving has not yet passed. Also, today in Relief Society it was announced that my ward choir is preparing for a Christmas music fireside, so I happily went and sang my little heart out. And had more than a few flashbacks to BHS Bel Canto, Thomas L. Isaacson, Vespers, and clingy black dresses that hugged all the wrong curves of my body. Mmm... good times. I have always loved music and over the years have become a bit of a popular music snob. And I don't usually broadcast this {at least loudly} to the world, but in high school I was the epitome of a choir geek. Glee was seriously my life. Except for the part about my voice being so sublimely beautiful that people put me on TV. I did somehow get a part in the single musical that I auditioned for, but that's all I can brag of. Oh, and did I mention that my choir was ridiculously amazing? I guess not. But seriously. It was.

Anyway, I figure that some of you might be in the market for some new Christmas music, so here are a few of my favorites :) Enjoy!

The First Noel--Mormon Tabernacle Choir {arr. Mack Wilberg}

Infant Holy, Infant Lowly--Mormon Tabernacle Choir {arr. Mack Wilbert}

Winter Song--Ingrid Michaelson & Sara Bareilles

Christmas Eve--Celine Dion

Jingle Bells/Sleigh Ride through the Snow--Mickey Mouse and Friends :) {this song is like listening to my childhood. I seriously love it!}

The First Noel {feat. Faith Hill}--Josh Groban
I couldn't find a youtube video, but trust me, this song is awesome!

What Christmas Means to Me--Stevie Wonder

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas--Martina McBride
{please ignore the fact that this video is hideous}

Really beautiful music has a little bit of a crazy effect on me. I remember the first time I discovered music that I loved {Jimmy Eat World, circa 2001}, I obsessed. Let's talk about playing a single song on repeat for hours in a day and days in a week. I bet I drove my mother to the breaking point. But man, I just can't get enough when it comes to awesome music.
Enjoy the Christmas {as well as all types of} music, friends! It's awesome!

ps: do not under any circumstance listen to Green Day/Simple Plan/My Chemical Romance/Secondhand Serenade/anything with a whiny lead singer who clearly hates his life. Nobody should like that garbage. Ugh.

Project: Gratitude, Day 11

Though it is now well into day 12 of my day 11 post, yesterday I was grateful that winter is coming. Last night I was driving through Provo Canyon with Michael in the middle of a snowstorm and had a hard time keeping my eyes off of the snow and on the road (which was kind of scary, actually. Turns out that Provo Canyon is a little bit of a dangerous place to be during a snowstorm). There is something hypnotizing about falling snow (thank you, Michael for pointing that one out), and the first snowfall of year is particularly magical. Honestly, I don't think there is much in this world that is more beautiful than brand new snow falling to the ground in the middle of the night, before it gets dirty and squished by tires and feet. I love it.

Yesterday, I was grateful for snow.

Friday, November 19

Project: Gratitude, Day 10

Today I am grateful for the pop culture phenomenon that is Harry Potter. Books. Movies. Trivia. Overpriced paraphernalia. Butterbeer. Hatred for Lord Voldemort. Hogwarts. Dumbledore before he was gay. Etc. etc. etc. I believe everyone else in the world is grateful for this as well today, when we can all pretend that our bespectacled, parent-less magical hero is real, that his journey isn't quite over yet, and that he is our personal best friend. As of 10:10 pm tonight, I am going to escape into his magical world and battle Tom Riddle at his side. Ah yes, today I am way too grateful for The Boy who Lived.

Project, Gratitude, Day 9

I'm 36 minutes past November 18, but I need to say what I was grateful for today because I was thinking about it all day long.

Today I am grateful for organization. Why? Because my mother's organizationally gifted (and recessive) genes somehow did not make it into my genetic makeup. I am sloooowly starting to realize that when my life feels messiest, it is always reflected in the state of my bedroom. Homework. Habits. Hairstyles. Stream of consciousness. Lowered tolerable levels of stress. Etc times infinity. You see, just as a mess is prone to do, it spills over into all sorts of places that it shouldn't.

Why am I thankful for this, you ask? Well. Because rather than let the general clutter that fills my life takeover and eat me alive, I have decided to declare war. No more of this disorganized nonsense. You see, someday I aspire to be the woman who made this happen:
And this:
oh yeah, and this:
this:and finally, this:
Just get it in your heads that someday, I am going to be super-mom.
I'll try to get it into mine too.
But for today, that is what I am grateful for: organization.
And the knowledge that someday I can be just that.

Wednesday, November 17

Project: Gratitude, Day 8

Today I am grateful for BYU Cougar basketball. And for my friends who started waiting in line at the Marriott Center at 10:00 am to watch the Utah State game. It was well-worth it. Mmm... I love me some basketball season.

I echo this message to Aggies out there who actually entertained the thought of beating us:

I hope the ride from Logan was worth it. Maybe next year.
Or maybe not...

Tuesday, November 16

Project: Gratitude, Day 7

Today (and every day when I finish a great run) I feel so grateful for my body. In particular, I am grateful that it is well-functioning and puts up with all of the demands I place upon it. As examples, the Redrock Relay and the Halloween Half Marathon. Despite running it into the ground during both of these events, it is happily handling the daily grind as I get ready for another beating in April. I am grateful that I have a body that works exactly the way it is supposed to and that I enjoy using it to its fullest capacity. That's my favorite. And that is also why today I choose to be grateful for my body.

Monday, November 15

Project: Gratitude, Day 6

Today (and every day) I am grateful for this boy. I don't know how much he's going to appreciate me writing a blog dedicated entirely to him, but just like he had to put up with playing dress-up on Halloween, he's going to have to put up with me raving about him to the world :)

Speaking of Halloween... Here we are as Jack and Sally from The Nightmare Before Christmas.
He hates dressing up, but he told me that I could do whatever I wanted for costumes.
I think this picture pretty effectively sums up our respective feelings about the night.

Anyway back to the subject. Michael Everton. My favorite person I have ever met. He makes me happy. He listens to me. He makes me a better person. He puts up with my craziness. He makes me laugh. And he loves me despite my many...oddities. Because of these reasons and so many more, he is what I am most grateful for today.

Ps: this is my favorite picture of us. Except for the fact that my pallid skin makes me appear almost Twilight-esque, I love it. And him.

Project: Gratitude, Day 5

Today I am grateful for my calling. Yes, you read that right. I'm grateful for my calling. I love teaching Gospel Doctrine! This lesson touched me so deeply as I taught the ten people (ha) who came to my class.

We discussed trials and how they shape us. I had a thought that one of the reasons we have trials is to be able to empathize with others. I was thinking that one of the reasons I go through trials might be because I might have a child some day who has to face the exact same problem and I'll know how to comfort him or her because I have been through that same situation. This got me thinking a little. I realized that this is the very point of the Atonement. Jesus Christ has experienced every single trial that I go through and every intimate detail of pain that I feel. Why? So that He would be able to know how to comfort me because He has suffered through that exact experience. Every time I think about this incredible gift, I am overwhelmed by the amount of love that went into the planning of this life. That's what it all is about. Love.

The point is that I had this revelation because I have the opportunity to teach every other week in my ward. Because of this, today I am grateful for my calling.

Saturday, November 13

Project: Gratitude, Day 4

Yesterday I was grateful for my boys, but today I feel especially grateful for the girls I have been privileged to be friends with in my life.

The daughters Barfuss (Emily and Whitney in the first picture and Rachel in the next). I would just like to say that I am really grateful that we are still friends after more than a decade.
I think that's a sign for something :)

SHS (From the left: Sara/Ally/Jill/Jessica/Beth/me).
Coolest high school clique. Ever. Not to mention incredible friends.

My Dormies (From the left: Crystal/Loraina/me/Lauren/Hannah/Meagan).
I don't think anything can compare with the fun we had together. Love love love.

And today...
(Top row from the left: Audrey/Lene/me/Sarie;
Bottom row from the left: Sara/Lynne/Rachel/Rachelle).
I love all of you. Way too much.
Thank you all for being such amazing friends. I am grateful for each one of you!

Friday, November 12

Project: Gratitude, Day 3

Today, I am grateful for the weekend. Specifically, I am excited about this combination of men in my life (in order of appearance) all within the same four-hour period of time:

Yep, I am grateful for the ability to take a break from life and have fun. Especially when the last boy is involved. And the first... Because my heart belonged to him first so I think it's only fair to be able to appreciate them both together.

Ps: I saw this video last Thanksgiving season and loved it. Mr. Red-Striped-T-Shirt is my favorite, fyi. So here you go, blogosphere, enjoy!

Thursday, November 11

Project: Gratitude, Day 2

After taking a 2-hour lunch today with this kid...

figuring out what I am grateful for is easy.

I am grateful for this eternal bff...

This lovable goofball who chose to give two years of his life to preach the gospel in California...

This punk who thinks he's too cool for school (but loves us all deep down somewhere):

This little sharer of interest in brightly-colored toenails, who is so easy to love...

And these two who put up with way too much grief from me in high school, who I will never be able to adequately thank for all that they've given me...

To all six of you (yes, even you, Colten): I love you and am so grateful for you!

Wednesday, November 10

Project: Gratitude, Day 1

Though already ten days into November, I have decided to spite the University and never-ending slew of homework and celebrate the holidays!

I'm just going to pretend that I didn't forget a whole 10 days worth of gratitude and plunge headfirst (because let's face it, that's how I approach most ideas that pop into my mind anyway) into the first day of Project: Gratitude.

Of all of the incredible blessings in my life, which am I most grateful for today?

There are many, many answers that pop into my mind, but of them all, the blessing I am most grateful for is the Atonement of Jesus Christ.

Story Time:
A few weeks ago I was having a hard time. I was frustrated with myself (as is a common human experience, I believe) for not doing as well as I thought I should have been in several different areas of my life. After dwelling on this for awhile, the thought came into my mind that Heavenly Father doesn't see me in terms of my failures and struggles. When I look at myself, sometimes this is all I can see, but when Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ look at me, they see who I will become. I am not measured by them in terms of what I can (or can't) do, but by how hard I am trying to become that person They already see in me.

Isn't that amazing?

More than anything else, that is what I am so overwhelmingly grateful for each day of my life.

Because of Him, I can change.