Friday, July 31, 2009

Guess What!!

It's my second to last Friday in P-Town before I go to Arizona to get married!!!!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Recent Reading and Thinking

I recently finished reading a book, Where Angels Fall. It's the second book in a series of books called The Great and Terrible. And I think that it IS pretty terrible. The author, Chris Stewart (, just isn't much of a writer. A lot of what he writes about is action - mostly intrigue and war involving the Middle East, but sometimes branching out into fist fights and nearly fatal falls. The characterization is pretty thin on the men, and even thinner on the women. This is probably to be expected, coming from a "world-record-setting Air Force pilot" who has a lot more experience with action than with writing. And I'm sure that his experience, and the reality to his action that is created by it, is very appealing to some people. The series was recommended to me by a friend (a guy) who LOVED the series, and thought that I would love it too. *I* even thought I would love it. Unfortunately, I need something besides action to keep me interested in a book.

Needless to say, I will not be going on to read the other books in the series, The Second Sun, Fury & Light, From the End of Heaven, and Clear as the Moon. I probably should have read the second book after reading the first one, Prologue: The Brothers. But I love having book recommendations, and I like reading, so I thought I would try the next book and see if the series got better. It didn't.

Despite the fact that I'm not going to continue with the series, there's something interesting about them. They've made me think quite a bit. Yes, that's right, these books are not well written, and they're not enthralling, but they are thought provoking. They are a description (through the story of a few different people/families) of the war between good and evil. The first book (Prologue: The Brothers) is set in the pre-mortal world, where spirits interacted personally with Jesus Christ and Satan, and decided which one they wanted to follow. Then the rest of the books are about how the spirits that followed Satan were cast out and not given bodies, but they are here on the earth and trying to lead everyone else astray by influencing them through whispers of temptation.

It is these whispers of temptation (and the kind of events that they influence) that got me thinking about these books. Some of the times when Satan or his helpers are whispering in the ear of some unsuspecting mortal, it really is a horrible thing that they are trying to bring about. Some of it included influencing people to murder or hurt people. But one instance where Satan was trying to influence people seemed kind of silly. There were two boys rock climbing, and the whispers of temptation were to make the boys a little careless about what they were doing while rock climbing. One of the boys set up the equipment, and Satan tried to make him feel pride that he was capable and that he didn't have to have his work double checked. And the other boy was climbing and Satan tried to make him feel pride that he could do this really difficult climb. He almost died because of the incident.

I guess that I have mostly been thinking about how much Satan influences our lives. Does he really take interest in our everyday doings? Enough that he not only wants us to be sinful and hurt ourselves and others spiritually, but also wants us to put ourselves physically in danger? And are all of the problems that we cause through our mistakes under the influence of Satan? I don't think so. I think that we just have weaknesses, spiritually and physically, that sometimes motivate us to make mistakes. But does Satan play off of those weaknesses? How often are we miserable because we are giving in to the influences of a being that delights in making us miserable?

Reading these two books has made me realize again that I want to be the kind of person that has the spirit of the Lord with me. And through that spirit, I want to be able to discern what my weaknesses are leading me to do and what the temptations of the devil are leading me to do, and to avoid those pitfalls. I want to be sensitive to the spirit and what God is trying to lead me to do through it, so that I can also be making the kind of choices that we lead me closer to God. And while I thought these books were kind of out there, I'm glad that I had the opportunity to think about these kind of things.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

One Year Anniversary

Today is the one year anniversary of my very first ever Tag on my blog! I started my blog on July 4th, 2008, and my first tag was later that month, on the 28th.

To be honest, I wasn't sure that my blog would last this long. I liked it, and I thought that it was a fun way to get myself to journal again. But it also kind of seemed like a fad that I would get over. And in a way, my idea of blogging has really changed over the last year.

When I first started blogging, I was doing it mostly as a record-keeping endeavor. I had fun with it, and I would frequently think, "I should blog about that." I liked thinking that I had something to say about things, whether people read it or not.

Now when I blog, I think about what people will think about what I'm writing, and will anyone comment, blah blah blah. I have become a people pleaser on my blog!! And I also think way less about what I could blog about, and more,"I wonder who has posted today!"

THIS HAS GOT TO CHANGE!! I am going to try to go back to my blogging roots. I am going to try to think of things throughout the day that could be good material for a blog post. I'm going to be interested in blogging for me. And I'm going to start using my camera and posting pictures on my blog. It's been a long time since I thought about taking pictures to document my activities.

For a quick update: Dave and I ended up not hiking Baldy this last weekend, but we both still would like to go, so we're thinking of doing it this Saturday. If any of you would like to join us, let me know!
It'll be tons of fun!

Of Profiling and Snails

For those of you who haven't been paying attention there has been quite a bit of hubbub over the possibility that a white police officer was being racist when he arrested a black Harvard professor after he forced an entry into his own home (I know, weird huh?). The hubbub only increased when our dear president waded into the fray to offer his opinions on things.

I have no interest in the incident particularly but it started me thinking, am I discriminatory in the way I view others, namely in making a vertebrate/non-vertebrate distinction? On Saturday Merry and I were at a BBQ to celebrate Pioneer Day (I should note that we were not celebrating the Donners at this BBQ) and I tripped over a cinder block, which caused me to lose the hot dog I was so eager to eat. As I picked up the hot dog off the ground and started to eat it I noticed that I had unwittingly exposed an entire city of snails to examination by the kids (it made me think of Godzilla poking around in a trailer park).

It kind of makes me wonder why they would have a "Godzilla v. Mothra" but not "Godzilla v. Snailtron", yet another one of life's persistent questions

After looking at the snails for a while and talking about how gross they were, the kids did what naturally follows and picked up the snails and started playing with them; much as Godzilla would play with a Japanese businessman before eating him. Needless to say this was distressing to Merry and several of the other women who repeatedly enjoined the children to leave the poor snails alone.

At the time I thought all the angst over the snails was a bit overblown, I mean, if the French children can eat them for lunch, shouldn't the American children be able to play with them after dinner? Of course this line of reasoning has its problems which returns me to my initial point about not celebrating the Donners as a part of our BBQ. After a great deal of thinking about snails and my own prejudices I realized that I harbor a very strongly held prejudice against things without back bones.

When it comes to the invertebrates I am kind of a jerk, I let children terrorize snails with impunity, I eat lobster and crab without a thought of remorse, and I kill house flies and mosquitos with a gusto; in fact I seek out opportunities to smash them. All of this pondering leads me to realize that although my prejudices will probably never raise the ire of our president, they will probably raise the ire of Merry when I let our children enjoy ravaging colonies of snails and rolly pollys.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


This last weekend, Dave and I hiked Squaw Peak. I've wanted to hike it for a while now, so in one way it was the fulfillment of a dream! But it was also hot, and very buggy! I think that there were so many bugs because of the wet spring that we've had this year.

Despite the bugs and heat, Dave and I enjoyed the hike together, and we've planned another hike for ourselves this holiday weekend. I love that I get the day off of work for Pioneer Day! And the time spent with Dave is the best part! :D

This is what we'll be hiking this Friday: Baldy. I've never hiked it before, and it should be pretty fun. It will likely be hot again, but it will be a good hike, with some new views that I haven't experienced before. Also, I think that I'll bring my camera this time, and get some shots of Dave and I hiking. It's been a while since we've taken pictures!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Update on East of Eden

I finished East of Eden today. Having finished the book, I am surprised by the feelings of power that it gave me. One theme of the book (and I would say the main theme) is that people are able to choose who and what they are in this life. And they do that by either accepting themselves and the people around them, or by not accepting. Accepting or not accepting both have consequences, some good, some bad. But by choosing, people are powerful and god-like. Those that believe they act in a certain way because that is just how they are, feel and are powerless. It is really in choosing that we give ourselves power in our lives.

I've been thinking a lot lately about the power to choose happiness. And I really feel that I am capable of choosing happiness in a lot of different situations. And if that's the case, why wouldn't I choose to be happy? I think that sometimes I decline happiness because I want to have it given to me instead of creating it. Sometimes I decline it because it isn't easy to choose happiness. It takes work. And sometimes I decline it because for a little while I enjoy misery. But eventually, you have to realize that these reasons aren't good enough and that happiness is worth so much more.

These are some of my thoughts from reading East of Eden. Have any of you read it? And what did you think?

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Two weird things

Okay, so this isn't the most interesting post ever. But in the moment these things were interesting to me, and it was fun to write about them.

Weird Thing Number One: I read this post by my friend Ashley. She's been living in Iceland for the last little while, and she posted some pictures recently. If you scroll down, the second-to-last picture is of a starfish that they found. Here's what she had to say about it:

"We strangely found a starfish stranded in the middle of no where about 30 feet above water. No idea how it got there. We picked it up to find that it was still barely alive. We threw it back into the ocean to give it a fighting chance. Hope it made it!"

My first thought was, "What if the starfish was trying to commit suicide?" As ridiculous as that sounds, after that thought I gave at least 5 minutes more to thinking about the possibility/likelihood that an animal (like a starfish) would/could commit suicide. I'll admit I haven't convinced myself yet that it's possible. But I've had an interesting conversation with myself about it!

Weird Thing Number Two: For about the last 15 minutes or so, when I would use the mouse on my computer, a left click would engage an item about a half inch to the right of where I was pointing the mouse. I hope that made sense. What I mean is, if I wanted to minimize a window, I had to put the mouse a half inch to the left of the minimize button in order for it to work. It took me a while to figure out what was happening, so I was getting pretty frustrated before that!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Friday Fiction

I rediscovered a blog that we used for a few prompts at Two Good Things: The One-Minute Writer. And I've decided to start doing the Friday Fiction prompt each week. And while some of my writing may be inspired by real events or emotions, I will be keeping it fiction.

7/21/09 Edit: I realized that the author of The One-Minute Writer doesn't like people posting the original prompt on their blogs. So the prompt that I used for this piece of fiction is found here.

My hands caressed the dusty treadle sewing machine, and my heart swelled up with memories of my mother’s fondness for it. She had collected sewing machines from all over, had taught many people to sew (including me), and had sewn quilts for each of her children at their marriages and grandchildren at their births. But this machine had been special to her because she had inherited it from her mother. And now it was mine. Could I get it running again?

East of Eden

At the recommendation of some good friends of mine (Dave, Isaac, and Camber), I am reading East of Eden. It's my third book by John Steinbeck that I've read (The other two are Cannery Row and The Grapes of Wrath.). And it is good! I have really enjoyed reading it, and I'm about half way through. Have any of you read it? What were your opinions?

I'd recommend East of Eden and the other two books of his that I've read. They are easy to read, and...they feel great! I don't know how to say it other than that!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

July 4th

My 4th of July was wonderful! I slept in, and then I got to hang out with Dave for a bit and work on our invitations (Yes, we're going to get those out soon.). Then he and I floated the Provo River again! It was a lot of fun. We went with Isaac this time, and his brother and sister-in-law, Sean and Kathryn. The other three were in a canoe and Dave and I were in our inflatable raft (pictured a few posts below) for the first part of the trip. Then Sean and Kathryn decided that they didn't want to go all the way down the river with us. The water was quite a bit choppier than it was last weekend, and the canoe was very tippy. So Dave got into the canoe to help Isaac steer it down the river, and I maneuvered our craft all by myself! While it wasn't as fun to go down without Dave, I still had a good time. It was a beautiful day, and we got lots of sunshine. A tan, finally!

After that, Dave and I went to a BBQ that his family was having. Dave had a lot of extended family from out of town that I got to meet. It was a little stressful, because I was trying to remember everyone's names. But on the other hand, I wasn't stressed out at all about making a good impression. I felt pretty confident that his family would like me, and I KNOW that Dave loves me, which is the important thing. So it was overall a pretty fun evening. There were lots of little fireworks that the family lit, and they were getting a little creative, setting up lines of fireworks that would ignite in a chain. We were also on the route that the fighter jets from Hill Air Force Base took to fly over the Stadium for the Stadium of Fire, so it was pretty cool to see them.

I feel so blessed. I didn't have to work on the 4th of July (or the day before), I have a comfortable place to live and plenty of food, I live in a gloriously beautiful place with mountains and rivers nearby, I have religious freedom that I appreciate, I'm starting school in the fall in an area that I love, and (MOST IMPORTANTLY) I have a wonderful fiance that I love and who loves me! He is the most important thing in my life, and he makes me so happy. I hope everyone else had a great 4th of July, although I know it couldn't have been as great as mine!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Road Trip Pictures

I'm writing a lot of posts lately. This is because I have been busy, busy, busy. I have been doing a lot, and not having time to blog about it, so I've had several things to blog about for a while. I'll try to get back into the habit of blogging regularly as things happen, though, because it is better for my sanity.

Emily and me on the drive.

So, here's the update about my road trip to New York! Emily and I left on Saturday, June 13th. We drove through Wyoming to Greeley, Colorado, and stayed with our friends Melissa and Pat. They are great! They fed us, gave us a place to sleep, and took us to church. And the best thing, of course, was to catch up with them about what's going on in their lives! Pat has had limited use of his legs for most of his life, so it was great to see the progress that he's made in exercising and walking! And we had fun playing their Wii and laughing. It was so fun to see them!

These are some windmills that we saw while driving through Wyoming.

Sunday morning after church, we left Greeley and drove to Nauvoo. That was quite the day. We both really disliked Nebraska. First of all, there were a lot of inconsiderate drivers. They would drive in the passing lane, even if they weren't going fast enough to pass the vehicle that they were next to. There were also some car problems. And the GPS was directing us in a direction we didn't want to go. We eventually got it figured out, but the rest of the trip we joked about Nebraska.

This was a strange bathroom that we encountered on our drive.
If we aren't supposed to drink the water, is it safe for our hands?

We drove across the bottom of Iowa on the most direct route, Highway 2. Its speed limit was actually quite a bit slower than the freeway's, but that didn't slow us down. We arrived in Nauvoo, Illinois, about 12:30 that evening, and slept in the basement of some senior missionaries. They were so nice and let us sleep there, and eat some of their food. They were great.

Monday morning, we had planned to visit the Nauvoo Temple. But, after a couple of setbacks that took some time, we decided to just do a little driving around to see some of our favorite spots in Nauvoo and then hit the road. We drove by the Nauvoo Temple. It is so lovely. I can't wait until the next time that I can go inside.

We also went down by the river. I love the Mississippi River. When I first went to Nauvoo on my mission, I thought that I would miss having mountains near where I lived. I grew up with mountains, and there are plenty of mountains here in Utah where I live. The first time that I drove by the river during the daytime, I looked out from the car, and asked out loud, "What lake is that?" I couldn't believe that it was a river. The sisters got a good laugh out of that! But the Mississippi soon replaced the mountains in my heart. I loved the river road that we would drive on our way to Carthage.

I'll admit, I totally stole this picture from the internet.
But I have some pictures just like this somewhere on my CDs of pictures from my mission.

We also went to the Pioneer Cemetary up on Parley street. I think that's my favorite place in Nauvoo, aside from the temple. It's lovely and quiet. And there are people there who really lived in Nauvoo, and sacrificed there, and loved there, and died there. They really belong there in Nauvoo, and I envy them that.

Here are some pictures from the cemetary.

We drove all day Monday. The drive took us through Illinois (we were starting on the western edge of the state), Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New York. I had never visited Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, or New York, or Nebraska for that matter. So I got to "see" some new parts of the country. Mostly I saw them from the car, though. We were so tired of driving by that point that we rarely stopped. And when we did stop, we stopped at these weird convenience stations that they had attached to the toll road free way. You get a ticket when you get on the toll road, and then you pay your toll when you get off of the freeway, with the cost depending on how far you went on the freeway. If you have to get off the freeway to eat and get gas, it creates a longer delay, and I'm sure would use a lot of paper for the tickets for everyone. So the state has provided exits that lead only to these convenience stops with gas stations and fast food. They have barbed wire around the area to prevent anyone but freeway users from getting in and, I assume, to prevent freeway users from getting out without paying. They also had exits just for a car repair shop and for a police station. Interesting.

We got to Buffalo, New York, late that night. Benjamin had kindly made dinner for us, so we ate and then went to bed. The next day Emily and I lazed around a bit, went to the pool, and then went to Niagara Falls! I enjoyed seeing the falls, although I thought they would be bigger. Because I had been lazy and sleepy that morning, we didn't have time to cross over onto the Canadian side, so I still have never been to visit our friends to the north. But I'll make it to Canada one day!

Some fun pictures at the Falls.

I had no idea that Canada would be that close!
I thought that those building were Toronto, but it's actually the city of Niagara Falls.
If I had known then what I know now,
I would have taken the time to go to the Canadian side.

Emily was kind enough to drive me to the airport that evening. And she was kind enough to come back and get me when I realized that I'd missed my flight. I spent the night at their apartment again, and got to go out to eat Buffalo wings with them and a bunch of Benjamin's co-workers. Then, on Wednesday morning, I finally came home! It was so good to see Dave, and it has been good to get back to work, even if I am a little stressed at trying to make up hours!

And, in honor of Buffalo, here are the lyrics to the song that was stuck in my head the majority of the time I was there!

Buffalo Gals, won't you come out tonight,
Come out tonight, come out tonight.
Buffalo Gals, won't you come out tonight
And dance by the light of the moon.

As I was walking down the street,
Down the street, down the street,
A pretty little gal I chanced to meet,
Oh, she was fair to see.

Buffalo Gals, won't you come out tonight,
Come out tonight, come out tonight.
Buffalo Gals, won't you come out tonight
And dance by the light of the moon.

I stopped her and we had a talk,
Had a talk, had a talk,
Her feet took up the whole sidewalk
And left no room for me.

Buffalo Gals, won't you come out tonight,
Come out tonight, come out tonight.
Buffalo Gals, won't you come out tonight
And dance by the light of the moon.

I asked her if she'd have a dance,
Have a dance, have a dance,
I thought that I might have a chance
To shake a foot with her.

Buffalo Gals, won't you come out tonight,
Come out tonight, come out tonight.
Buffalo Gals, won't you come out tonight
And dance by the light of the moon.

I danced with a gal with a hole in her stockin',
And her heel kept a-knockin', and her toes kept a-rockin'
I danced with a gal with a hole in her stockin'
And we danced by the light of the moon.

Buffalo Gals, won't you come out tonight,
Come out tonight, come out tonight.
Buffalo Gals, won't you come out tonight
And dance by the light of the moon.