30 October 2017

I'm Safe and Okay, but This Has To End.

I can't really think of anything else to do but write.

I'm not really a political writer. Don't like politics.

But this is not okay.

Tonight after my Administration Theory class, I walked to the stadium with my friend Chrissy to our cars to go home. Normally I ride the TRAX  and go to the campus gym after class until about 10 pm, but I felt I should go home and get some other homework done. As I am sitting at the light to turn, 4 cop cars come flying up 500 S. An accident,  I thought. Please let everyone be okay.

While I'm still sitting at the light, THREE MORE cop cars come from two different directions and fly up 500 S. A pretty serious one, I wonder where it is, I hope everyone is okay.

As I turn up 1300 S, TWO more cars fly past me towards campus.

Something isn't right. This is more than an accident.

Then I get the text.

"Shots fired. Red Butte Canyon. Shelter in place."

I call home to tell my family I'm safe, I didn't hear anything, and I was headed off campus. (I let Sarina give Mom the news. ) I didn't want them to hear it on the news and not hear from me.

A person was shot in the head tonight. On campus. A little over a mile from where I was. I would have been on the train up to the student life center. Closer to the scene.As I am typing this, I get another text about a description of the suspect. Students are still on lockdown.

This is not okay! Why does there have to be so much violence in the world? With all of the shootings and bombings and terrorism around the world, my heart has started to go numb from pain and tragedy and heartbreak and awfulness. To have something hit this close again (figuratively and literally) is scary. I know that things are going to get worse before they get better, but I'm ready for it to end. I'm ready for it to stop. I don't know how to stop it, and there is too much hatred from all sorts of perspectives right now to accomplish much. I know I have prejudices and privilege of my own to battle, but I pray and hope for a better, kinder, safer world each day.

27 October 2017

October Blitz

I LOVE OCTOBER! (It's seriously one of my favorite times of the year.)

Volleyball is in full swing, football and corn mazes dominate Friday nights, and the crisp and clean air make stargazing wonderful. (Oh, and all things pumpkin, but that should go without saying.) It's also the last enjoying outside before settling in for a long winter.

Four things in October have forever changed my life:

4) Siri made its debut.

I remember going to visit my friend Nolan in Laramie over fall break. I didn't really care about the new Apple iPhone that had just been released, but Nolan dragged me to the mall to show me the new-fangled thing. "It's YOU!" Overnight my name came out of obscurity and suddenly everyone was saying my name and not slaughtering it. Now I've heard all (and I mean ALL) of the Apple jokes, and I've begun to introduce myself as "The Original." Because I am. :)

3) I participated in the Idaho Junior Miss Program.

Surprise! I was in a scholarship pageant program in high school. I grew up watching girls from church do it, and I wanted to do it. I knew nothing of high heels or makeup or fancy dresses or even how to curl my hair, but I learned a lot about myself and I loved it! It helped me feel confident in who I was and what I could do. I was lucky to win at my school, so I got to go to the state program. I was so nervous! Someone gave me a piece of advice to make sure that everyone else was having a good time, and that I would too. It's served me well past that week. I made some good friends, had a blast, and I still follow and support the program today. (It was also a surprise that my mom got to come and see me after being in the hospital with Jay for 4 months! She got to bring me home and surprise my siblings. :) )

2) I got my mission call to Iowa.

 Many of you may know that I was a few years older than the average missionary, and I had been waiting to go on a mission for a while. (But that's a story for a different time!) My stake president told me I may have to wait a few weeks extra because of general conference. I'd been anxiously waiting and checking my mailbox every day. I had an inkling of an idea of what a mission entailed, but I had no idea how deeply I would be changed for the better.

The summer before I left, I had contemplated moving to the Midwest just to have an adventure/be a grown up for a while. The specific thought of Des Moines came to mind; I had a couple of friends who had recently located there, and I didn't hear much about Iowa in the news, so it must be safe, right? Little did I know that was exactly where I was headed, just on a slightly different adventure.

And most importantly...

1) This girl was born.

I was very little when she came, but I know my life hasn't been the same since. She is one of the most hilarious, kind, crafty, studious, creative, passionate, witty, and wonderful people I know. I'm really grateful that we've become closer the past couple of years. She inspires me to be a better student constantly, a better family member, a better friend, and a better human.

What're your favorite things about October?

23 October 2017

If we were catching up, I'd tell you... (aka I'm Alive and Typing)

I'd tell you I'm loving my long hair. It's the longest I've ever had it in my life, and it's fun to get compliments about it.

SuperSmasher214 was my student who worked super hard and nailed the Calvin Cycle. I read the questions to him so he could participate, and it was the first time he ever got on the winners' podium. He gave me a hug and was so excited. #ilovemyjob


I got to go back to Arizona for some much needed R&R! I got to spend a few days in Kingman with my familia for my fall break. I got to see Clara and some of my club girls play volleyball, I got to visit many of my friends, and received many needed hugs. I also got to sleep in my hammock outside and watch the meteor showers. It was happy. :)

While I was there, I also received a lot of affirmation that moving on was what I needed to and that I am where I need to be. I still miss the friends I made in Kingman, but I'm glad that I was able to leave when I did. Every time I have lived somewhere then got back to visit, things were always completely different and I never went back. I had gotten attached to students/people who no longer lived there when I went to visit. Kingman will be easier to visit because people live there permanently. :)

Also really random story... At the Kingman Wal-Mart, EVERY.SINGLE.ROW has handicapped spaces except one. That row was equidistant to both doors and always had an open space within the first 5 spaces.  Always. I called it my lucky row, and it only ever failed me once in my two years of living there.  I had to get a couple of things, so I chanced it to see if the magic still held up. Before I turned up the row, there were no spaces, but as I turned the corner, the very first space opened up. 😉MAGIC, I tell you. 

I was at Smith's the other day and found this display slightly...indescribable. Several of these things are not like the others...(WHAT IS GOING ON?! WHAT HOLIDAY ARE WE CELEBRATING?!?)

Then I got to go on a hike with my favorite Hannah! We now live in the same city instead of different states, so we got to catch up on life (and breath) while we hiked. It was BEAUTIFUL. This is the kind of fall weather I have missed.

Our stake conference today was in the Assembly Hall on Temple Square! It was a very neat experience to sing in that magnificent building and imagine what it would have been like 150 years ago. Singing "How Firm a Foundation" with the organ in there is an experience I will never forget.

 Things are going well, and I can't complain. I'm over halfway done with my 1st semester of grad school, and it hasn't killed me yet! 

What about you? Leave me a comment about a highlight of your week!

27 September 2017

Breathing is Hard (aka Why Implementation Dip is REAL and God is GOOD)

I am so very grateful that breathing is a built-in function to our bodies. :)

As you might surmise by my lack of posts, I've been busy!

But can I just tell you how grateful I am right now?!

This week has been particularly stressful. (Most weeks are, but this one has gotten to me.)

Word to the wise- school full time and work full time is not for the faint of heart. My three classes have been kicking my trash the last little bit, and with midterms, papers, projects, and presentations looming, I've been a little overwhelmed. 

Half of my stack...

I've been able to keep up with homework all right, but readings not so much. That leads me to feel like an uneducated fool and completely inadequate. (Which is mostly untrue...but crippling nonetheless.) Trying to find more time to do major projects and papers outside of the weekly homework has been hard and a little bit daunting. That leads to staying up late to get things done, which leads to lack of sleep, which leads to more exhaustion and more stress...vicious cycle. 

Can I teach you something valuable I've learned and it has changed my life?

This is the Implementation Dip. Whenever we do or learn or try something new, there is always a dip in performance, right? You've experienced that. A "learning curve." Things always get worse before they get better. That's the pink line. The goal is always to make the dip shorter in length and shallower in depth, more like the purple line. Friends, family, support systems...lots of things help that dip! (And I have lots!)

Well, being in a new state, new house, new job, new friends, new school, new environment...you can say my implementation dip/learning curve is a bit steep and I'm sliding toward the "it's going to get worse before it gets better" phase. The bright spot and thing that keeps me going is that IT WILL GET BETTER. It just takes time.


I've been praying, pondering, and pleading a lot for help because I know that I can't do it all on my own. I've tried...and it doesn't work.

Can I just tell you that Heavenly Father knows? And that He cares? And that you matter to Him? AND that Christ's Atonement is real? That His grace applies to you too?

Sometimes I doubt that. (Okay, I doubt it a lot.) But the last few weeks have been full of "I'M RIGHT HERE!" moments that I want to share with you.

1) In my Admin Theory class, we were supposed to submit 5 case study analyses through the semester that would be at least 5 pages long, plus a 10+ analysis on top of that. I haven't started them yet, and they were starting to panic me a little bit. On Monday, our professor let us "negotiate" the number to one 5 page case analysis and the 10 page analysis. Hooray!

2) My roommate got recently got engaged, and I'm super excited for her! However, I was worried that I would have to move out really soon. (She owns the house.) That's not the case! Hooray!

3) In my Nonprofit Class, we each had an article from our reading that we had to present to the class. Mine was this week, and  I had coordinated with one of the other presenters to bring treats/snacks for our class, but I hadn't been to the store yet to pick it up. I normally leave for class at 5:15 so I'm a few minutes early. I didn't finish my presentation until 5:25, and I didn't leave until 5:30. And I still had to go to the grocery store. I was praying the entire time "please let traffic be smooth...please let the parking lot not be crazy...please please please let me find a parking spot because the parking lot is crazy....please let the checkout line be short...please let me out of the parking lot quickly...please let traffic flow...please let me get there on time..." And I was. I walked into class at 6:00 and we hadn't started yet. Hooray!

Aftermath of my treats...I definitely gained "social capital" tonight! :)

4) I wasn't able to finish reading my article until yesterday. (BAHHH!) Today I was able to put together the presentation in about an hour and a half, but I was worried it wouldn't make any sense and that I was completely missing the point. (Again...self doubt...get thee hence!) We usually start with resentations then move to lecture, but we went in reverse order. That helped me finalize my presentation and tie it to what we were learning in class. It made so much more sense in my head. AND it went well. The people who seem like they know what they are talking about were nodding along and agreeing with me, and it seemed to make sense. (And if you want to see the presentation, here it is!) Hooray! 

Sometimes you have moments where things seem like a coincidence. I know too well that they were orchestrated by a kind, loving Heavenly Father who is concerned about His daughter who has almost reached her limit. I'm so grateful for His tender mercies that come when we need them, and come often to remind us of who is really in charge. As I have been doubting my abilities, I get reminded over and over that everything else up to this point didn't necessarily make sense, but it all worked out...why discount it now?

My heart is overflowing tonight...and so are my lungs. Because I can breathe-ish again. :)