Thursday, September 23, 2010

Shout out to Isaac and Camber!!

Dear Friends in Iowa,

Today I was listening to Ingrid Michaelson. Particularly her song "Everybody." It brought back some really fun memories. Here are a couple.

First, you guys introduced us to that song on our trip back from hiking around Nephi, which was a few weeks after Dave and I got married. I loved everything about love (such a newly wed!) and I also really liked Ingrid Michaelson, so I started singing this song all the time after that.

Second, Dave really likes to change the words to songs. I'm sure you've experienced this before. Well, soon the beautiful Ingrid Michaelson words "Everybody, everybody wants to love; everybody, everybody wants to be loved," became the somewhat morbid "Everybody, everybody likes to eat; everybody, everybody likes to be eaten." I don't know if you ever heard this version, but it has brought us a lot of laughs during the past year of marriage.

I guess the point is, we miss you, and can't wait to see you!

Your Friends in Utah (a.k.a. Your REAL Best Friends!)

Monday, September 20, 2010

In Which Dave and Merry Are Accidentally Awesome!!!

When Dave and I go running, we occasionally run down a trail next to a canal, because it's pretty and offers some variety to the run. We go by horses and dogs, and some fields. It's pretty fun.

This trail runs through several big city blocks. We usually run until it comes to a little side street, and then go around a fence and onto the side street so that we don't have to do a huge long run. But sometimes we take the trail until it hits 9800 North, and then run a few blocks back to 27th, and then home. This is one of our longer runs. But I knew that the trail also crossed 94th and 90th somewhere down there, and we planned on running that full distance to 90th someday, just to see how awesome we were.

Well, on Saturday, Dave suggested that we run on the trail to 94th. We'd never done this before, but we were thinking that a longer run would be fun, and this would bring us one step closer to our goal of running to 90th and back. So we started into uncharted territory! We ran by new dogs! We dodged around horse droppings that we'd never seen before! We scared a lot of ducks that hung out in that section of the canal! Okay, it really wasn't that much more exciting than our usual canal runs, but it felt good to know that we were pushing ourselves.

Well, we came to the end of the next section of canal. By this time, the canal had curved to the left, and we were heading just about west, instead of north. When we turned off the canal trail, we headed north, expecting to come to 94th so we could turn east and head home. Well, it turns out that there's no through street at that point! Or at least, none of the streets that we saw looked like through streets. And there was no 94th. There was 9490, and 9350, but no 9400. Uh, sorry honey! I THOUGHT our trail intersected with 94th!

We could have just turned around on the trail, but we'd already run quite a ways to try to find a through street, and we didn't want to turn back. So we ended up running 4 more blocks down to 90th and completing our really long run!

Lest you think that 4 blocks isn't really that much more to add, it was 4 extra blocks down to 90th, then 4 more blocks back that we wouldn't have had to run. And 8 block in Utah equals 1 mile. So we added an extra mile to our run. We estimated that our run was 4.5-5 miles long. Fun!

Friday, September 17, 2010


Yes!  It's the weekend.  This doesn't mean that I have nothing to do, but it does mean that I'll get a few more hours of time with my husband than I normally do!  And, seriously, who wouldn't want to spend more time with this man?

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Monday, September 13, 2010

September 11th/Autumn Time

On Saturday, Dave and I went for a run.  The weather was brisk and pleasant.  The sun was shining.  It was great to get outside and exercise after a week of school and work.  There were two things that I reflected on as I ran: 1) the date, September 11th; and 2) the season, with its oncoming harvest.

My thoughts on #1: Out on lawns that we passed, there were flags out to...I don't know the right word to use.  Celebrate September 11th?  That doesn't seem right.  Remind people of September 11th?  That's probably closer to the purpose of the flags.  Either way, I thought quite a bit about the events of that day 9 years ago and how it has affected my life.

I also reflected on the disturbance that this event has caused in the world and in our country.  There are lots of people who have been rejected or discriminated against because they are (or look) Middle Eastern.  There are people who have been attacked and abused for their religious beliefs. There are even Christians who think it is okay to show great disrespect to religious symbols and to the people who hold them sacred as some kind of protest.  I ask, why can't Christians forgive and show respect, even if there is still pain caused by memories of the September 11th attack?  Why can't people who weren't involved in that event be respected and loved?

September 11th should be a day when everyone everywhere thinks about the lives that were lost in the terror attacks, and also about the injustices that have come about and how we can change that.

My thoughts on #2: As Dave and I ran, I noticed lots of signs of approaching fall.  The temperature was fairly low.  There were apple trees and alfalfa fields.  We saw a full pumpkin field the other day, and it was the first time that we had recognized the crop as pumpkins.

I reflected that Autumn time is a time for harvesting again at the end of the year.  We're blessed with so much abundance.  But there's no more time for a farmer to improve his crop.  It has to be harvested how it is.

We (everyone) are going to be harvested by God, whether we're ready or not.  At the end of our lives (which could come any time) we will be judged with how we've acted and the faith that we've had.  We should demonstrate that faith daily.  And as a Christian, I don't think that disrespecting other religious beliefs and texts is a demonstration of faith.  So, beforfe we are "harvested", we need to try today to be the people that God wants us to be.

Friday, September 10, 2010

ELang 105

I've been pretty busy since school started.  It's the usual run-to-class, run-to-the-library-to-study, run-to-catch-the-bus-home thing.  But I have something new in the mix!  It's ELang 105.

ELang 105 is BYU's freshman writing class for international students.  It helps international students learn more (or something) about the writing process, academic writing, formatting, plagiarism avoidance, and research.  It's a way to get them started on writing without throwing them in over their heads with a teacher whose familiar with second language learners.  Then they do their normal advanced writing class in whatever area they are studying.

And I guess that technically ELang 105 isn't new to me.  I TA-ed this class for almost 2 years when Alison McMurry was the teacher.  I got to do a lot of the same stuff that she did as a teacher, but I started out slow, doing basicly nothing.  Alison was my mentor and she organized the class and how it advanced, and she taught me so much about teaching, and teaching this class in particular.

And now I am teaching it!  I am teaching a BYU day time course!  I teach 3 days a week for an hour, and have office hours 3 hours a week.  I am in charge, and I pretty much know what I'm doing, thanks to my great training.  We've just finished our 2nd week of class, and it's pretty nice.

I am technically considered a student teacher, since I am still a graduate student.  So I don't get my own office.  But I do get my own desk (that I only have to share with 2 people) in a student instructor office (that I only share with about 30 people).  But this is a great experience for me, to build my instruction skills and to build my resume.

And yes, this class does add to the amount of things I have to do.  It does make me busier.  But it makes me happier.  I enjoy teaching this class more than I enjoy the classes I'm taking right now.  And I think that's always how it's going to be.  I want to be a great teacher, and I have to take these classes to do that, but my real motivation comes from interaction with students in the classroom and I don't think I'll ever want to move away from that.