Tuesday, July 30, 2013

MY Mission Story

Tomorrow I will join the enormous fleet of young women invading every corner of the earth to teach about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I'm so excited, you guys! So here's how I got to this point. Sadly I will have to take a small (okay 18-month long) break from this here bloggins. You can follow my mission blog here: hermanaglazier.blogspot.com

And each of us has a different story, don't we? Well if you haven't heard enough yet, here's another story of how I went from somewhat school-focused 18-year-old to an excessively emotional and unfocused 18-year-old with a mission call in hand.

October 6, 2012. I was eating pancakes with my roommates, ready for another inspiring conference. I'm sure I'm not alone in saying that what would follow was shocking. The excitement and response could never have been foreseen by any of us. I'd heard rumors that the age for missionary service was going to be lowered - but I didn't expect they would take effect soon enough for it to affect my decision. Of course, I was wrong, and for once, the rumors were true.
When President Monson announced those fateful words, the words that would significantly alter the face of our entire generation and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, my heart quickened. Have you ever wanted to scream during a church meeting? (not because of that person who doesn't realize they are preaching false doctrine or using the pulpit as an inappropriate outlet for much-too-personal narratives, but because of excitement and happiness). This was definitely a first for me. We all felt bad for the following speakers. Facebook was fun that day.

There was an IMMEDIATE and ENORMOUS response. So many girls were and are ready to serve. Ready to get out into the world and share what makes them happy. I also saw some ecstatic boys - boys that were young for our grade, who could now serve at the same time as all their friends. Who were itching to go but had been previously constrained by their birth date. Such a beautiful and inspiring thing to see people my age, so brave, so ready to change the world for the better.

But then, as always, there comes a negative connotation with such a huge wave of people doing the same thing. The inevitable "bandwagon" label creeps out, contaminating the beauty of the spiritual wave sweeping over the world. The idea that people are joining simply for the sake of joining makes it a little less sweet. The idea that people feel social and familial pressure to submit their mission papers, the idea that girls are breaking off engagements when they never had planned to serve a mission before, the idea that girls are about to sacrifice 18 months of their life for the sake of joining a bandwagon, makes it less exciting.

I wanted to be sure I wasn't going on a mission for the sake of joining a bandwagon.

Prayer. Scripture study. Soul searching. Reflection.
Yep, I'm really supposed to go. I'm supposed to go THIS SUMMER. I'm supposed to leave before my brother gets home from his mission, supposed to sacrifice . . .
well, that's the thing. As soon as I decided that I needed to serve a mission, it didn't feel like a sacrifice. I toyed with the idea of just waiting until my brother gets home in September so I could at least see him before I leave. But it just didn't feel right. The Lord knows when he wants me to serve, and I shouldn't toy with that. He knows everything. And while it would be contrary to the idea of agency to assume that He orchestrates every detail of our lives, I know that missionary service is something He cares about very much. I know that every call is inspired and every call is extended for a reason.

Mostly I just knew that serving a mission was right for me, and that the mission age change answered a lot of my questions.

For example, I had always wanted to serve a mission. I really did. Both of my parents did, a lot of my aunts and uncles did, most of my cousins older than me did. Most recently, my two older brothers did. But whenever I pictured myself at age 21, I couldn't picture myself serving a mission. For some reason I just didn't see it. It was unsettling. Equally unsettling was my inability to imagine what the next school year would bring. Last fall semester I would try to think about where I wanted to live or work or what classes I wanted and I couldn't picture it at all. I couldn't come to any conclusive goals or even ideas of what I would be doing with my life. The announcement that I would be able to serve a mission explained everything perfectly.

I would like to believe that I was rewarded for trusting in the Lord's timing for me to serve a mission. Opening my call was the most enormous flood of emotion I have ever felt in my entire life. For one thing, I had been anticipating it for what felt like ages. I had submitted my papers the exact day I was eligible to. Then, my call came while I was on a trip with my friends in Las Vegas. We were gone Thursday - Saturday night, and my call came Thursday. I was FLIPPING. OUT. I tried to convince my mom to open it and tell me on the phone, but it's a good thing she didn't. I wouldn't have believed her without seeing it with my own eyes. See, that same week, my dear cousin left for a mission to Concepción, Chile. We grew up together and have always been best pals. When I opened my call and read that I would be going to the SAME MISSION as my dear best cousin, I was overcome. I started screaming before I could even read it out loud. (I'm sorry, family, I know that was cruel). And ever since then I've been so incredibly excited that focusing on anything has been difficult

It's strange how distracted we can become when we know what we should be focusing on. I think Satan tries to work against us more than ever when we are preparing for a mission, because he doesn't want us to serve, of course. The last few months have been quite a struggle. But I made it this far, and I'm [almost] ready to go. The whole packing thing, well . . . let's just say it's . . . coming. Ha.
I think something that made it hard to focus is that I didn't know precisely when I would be leaving. Soon after receiving my call, I did an oral Spanish test which placed me in the advanced program for the MTC - that means I'll only be there for 2 weeks! This made it necessary to change my arrival date. This is the evolution of my MTC entry date over the course of a few weeks:

July 3, Provo
June 19, Provo
June 19, Mexico
May 8 instead of May 22 (????), Provo
July 31, Provo

It took me a while to accept that July 31 was my REAL date. They kept calling and emailing with new things and I was so confused. The fact that they haven't changed it again (yet...) is reassuring.

People, this doesn't seem real! How can I be so excited about something, yet it feels SO unreal? I don't even know what to say anymore. I love you all, miss you all, be good while I'm gone. Hopefully the Internet will still exist in 18 months am I right? Ha. ha.

See ya later! (NOT goodbye).

Monday, July 15, 2013

1st Year College Tips

Your guide to success as you embark on your next adventure after high school. 

Hello there, class of 2013! I have compiled a list of what I think are some valuable tips that will help you navigate this big, scary world. Whether you're headed for the community college down the street or the Ivy Leagues, this comprehensive guide will lead you through a successful freshman year.

1. Forget about sleep. Everyone says sleep is so important, blah blah blah, but we all know there are much more important (and memorable) ways to spend those 7-9 hours. Examples:
  • Eating Nutella from a spoon in your kitchen
  • Spying on other dorms from your window
  • Driving around barking at people
  • Watching this video:
  • Or this video:
  • Or this video:
  • Need I mention Netflix?
  • Reading your textbooks? No. If you get to that point, you'd better just go to sleep. You won't remember what you read in the morning anyway.

2. Don't let professors get the best of you. 90% of test questions are specifically formulated to torture your mind. The best way to defeat this system is just create face silhouettes in your bubble sheets instead of wasting effort. Then you will have brain power left over for the REAL tests in life.

3. When emailing a professor, always use all caps. This lets the teacher know you are serious. If you don't use all caps you may as well put "don't read this, I'm wasting my time by sending it" as the subject line. 

4. Eat your roommates' food. They put it in the apartment, they want you to eat it. I promise you'll be doing them a favor. When they get mad at you, don't worry. They just don't know what they want.

5. Freshman 15? Don't worry about it. If it happens to everyone, then it won't seem like it happened to anyone. It's all relative, right?

6. You CAN read while listening to music. You won't take it in. But guess how much it matters. Guess. GUESS.

7. Don't wear sweats to class? Look presentable? More like wear whatever you want cause class is nap time AM I RIGHT?!?!?!

8. Bacon.

9. Greater satisfaction comes from cooking a meal without using a single cutting board than passing any number of difficult classes.

10. You haven't experienced freshman year until:

  • You've laid on your kitchen floor spouting nonsense to your roommates because you've taken one too many finals that day.
  • You've saran wrapped a car or apartment.
  • You've have wrestling matches with your roommates because you are THAT GOOD at procrastinating.
  • You've watched an entire season of a TV show without doing a single homework assignment in between.
Seriously though, when I say you haven't experienced freshman year until you've done these things, I mean your credits aren't accepted until you have. Send a monthly report to your school so they can see that you're dedicated to the stuff that REALLY matters for your education. 

There you go. I hope that was helpful, because college is a new, scary world, and you need all the help you can get. 
One final tip: disregard everything I just said.

Friday, June 28, 2013

The Cave

A wonderful song by the most stellar of stellar bands. But not what I'm here to talk about.

I'm here to tell you an epic tale of one girl's journey through the times of social media. It's the story of one teenager and how she became a somewhat distracted youth who loves to laugh at her own tweets.

The reason I must tell you this story is not something I'm proud of. I caved recently. I started using both Spotify and Pinterest. PINTEREST, you guys! I was never planning on using Pinterest because I was already spending a lot of time with my other social medias. Social media accounts. Forms of social media. Whatever. Both of these websites were things that I've known about, but until this week didn't allow myself to get distracted by. But something happened, as has happened many times in the past - the cave.

It all started with Hotmail. 
Don't worry, Gmail took over soon after. 

Then there was Bebo (I wasn't allowed to get MySpace, and this was kind of like an even more tweeny version or something. I dunno. Not my proudest cave. I don't know if it even exists anymore).
That led to Facebook. Facebook was enough for a long time. 

Somewhere along the line I created a YouTube account and started actually subscribing to people. 

It usually takes me a long time to cave for social media. I'm like "uh, I shouldn't because I already spend so much time on Facebook." (as if I won't find less entertaining ways to waste time...psh...)

That's why it took me so long to get a blog. BUT. Guess what. I got a blog. True, I have spent hours and hours writing less than useful gibberish to post to the interwebs. But it was probably better-spent time than what I would have been doing otherwise: staring at my wall. Taking pictures of my carpet. Trying to invent recipes that more than always end up being less than edible. Trying to convince my mom to buy me a puppy. Making sock puppets. Curling my hair (forreals how much time have I spent doing this TOO MUCH IS HOW MUCH). 

So, I caved to Blogger. This was one of my more dramatic caves. Because I also, for some lame reason, always have a hard time using social media just because it's what everyone else is doing. I'm like BUT THEN I'LL BE LIKE THEMMMM!!! NOOOOO!!! 
But I always get over it. 

Perhaps the most dramatic caves were Twitter and Instagram. Instagram became my most favoritest social media of ever. 

Facebook became pesky thing that you just keep around because once in a while you need to use it, you've spent a lot of time perfecting your profile, you have uploaded so many photos, and you hope that one day you can show it to your children (HA. AS IF). 

Twitter soon replaced Instagram as my most favoritest. I just really love words. 

The next cave was Vine. Twitter is still my most favoritest but Vine is fun. 

It's kind of sad that I can spend so much time talking about the history of my caving to social media. My absolute MOST favoritest is still real people. Chillin like villains (haven't heard that one since the "cool" days of Facebook have you?). Getting shaved ice in the summer and hot chocolate in the winter. Driving around and barking out the window at people (if a human has ever barked at you from a car, DO NOT consider this my confession. I'm sure there are other people in the world that do it too, not just me!!! ... I hope. I surely surely hope. And don't call me Shirley. I haven't even seen that movie since I was little. Why am I still dwelling in the land of the parentheses). 

The cave to Pinterest was purely business-related. Pinterest is a great way to promote an Etsy shop, which is exactly what I was doing. Speaking of which, check out my Etsy shop. ArbitraryArray. The link's on the right side of the page. Go there. Share it with your fraaaaands. 

I wonder what the next cave will be? I'm actually going to have NONE of them for 18 months, so it'll be really interesting to see what happens in the time I'm gone. It'll also be interesting to see what happens to my brain when I don't have a billion little outlets for all of my photos, less-than-140-character thoughts, etc. Will people get more and more into social media as time goes by, or will people start to reject and go back to more face-to-face interaction? These are the kinds of things that occupy my mind, and now can occupy yours because of this blog right here. So. I'm not sure what my point, conclusion, or take-home message is. We'll see what I cave to after the mish.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013


I usually pretty bad at keeping my own goals. But every once in a while I get something in my mind that I just can't not do.

This past week it was reading the Book of Mormon. (Non-LDS Followers, I know I'm going to lose you here. But let me just warn you, if you run away now, you will miss out on one of the most epic tales of all time. It is a tale of fierce bravery, adventure, insane chance encounters, cheesecake, sleep deprivation, and basically none of those things except sleep deprivation).

I am always reading the Book of Mormon, at least a few verses a day. My Bishop recommended that I study it for 30 minutes a day leading up to my mission. I did pretty well until I moved back home for summer. I still had been reading every day, but not as much as I should have. I calculated earlier last week that I would have to read 8 pages every single day to finish the whole book before entering the MTC. I was discussing this with my used-to-be-roommate/basically mom, when she suggested I should just read a ton at once and get ahead. I was like UM YEAH. SOUNDS GREAT. She was thinking like 20 pages a day for a few days so I can go easy later on.

Then, I got one of my most brilliant ideas ever! (FEEL my sarcasm. FEEL IT. It is DRIPPING from those words like a popsicle in a small child's hand in summer). I said "Wait a second, I should just read the WHOLE thing by the end of this week so I don't have to worry about staying caught up when I'm on vacation later." Roomie/mom said "yeah okay" like she always does. Just agrees with me to make me feel good. I was already in the book of Mosiah, and I was like "yeah I can do this, no biggie." That was Tuesday.

Wednesday I didn't read much, so I decided I needed something to motivate me. They say you're much more likely to meet a goal if you tell other people about it. So I tweeted that I was going to finish by the end of the week, that way I would be accountable to all 56 of my Twitter followers (although I'm fairly certain that like 40% of them are spam accounts. It's whatevs).

Thursday I finished the book of Mosiah. I planned to read the whole book of Alma on Friday, then finish the rest Saturday. For those of you who are unfamiliar, Alma has 63 chapters. BILLIONS of pages (yes, I'm exaggerating, but that's kinda what it seemed like). It came to be about midnight on Friday (so, yes, technically already Saturday. But I still consider it the same day if I haven't gone to bed yet) when I realized that I had 50 chapters left if I was going to finish Alma. I remembered that I had 56 faithful Twitter followers, plus roommate/mom counting on me, and I couldn't let them down!

I live tweeted the whole night, if you wanna check out my tweeeeeeter page.  Wait, if you don't already follow me on Twitter, what the heck, why? Oh. You don't have a Twitter account. Okay. That is the only valid excuse. If you have an account though, sheesh. Follow me. Okay. Moving on.

It. Was. Brutal. I'm not going to say how late I was up (or early . . . as the case was . . . ) because my parents would be like are you kidding me that's the worst thing ever you can't live here anymore you aren't our daughter GO LEAVE WE DON'T WANT YOU YOU'RE ADOPTED ANYWAY NO CAKE FOR YOU YOU'RE GROU-

Let's just stop that train before it goes any further. Okay. Deep breaths. Just don't tell my parents that I was up until almost 4:30, doing laundry and sitting in really weird positions to keep myself awake. I was also mostly speed-reading/skimming. Surprisingly, I picked up a good amount of the story. And the cool part it, it's easier to keep track of who everyone is and how they relate to each other when you read that many years worth of history in that small amount of time. It was actually a cool experience, except the part where I was thinking "WHAT HAVE I GOTTEN MYSELF INTO" the whole time.

The cool part is, I didn't hate everything at the end. Usually when I HAVE to keep a goal and I do something unwise like stay up until 4 am to do so, I just hate myself and the whole world. But when I read the concluding words of the 63rd chapter, I felt good. Relieved to be done, yes, but calm. I didn't feel like I was going to hate my life the next day and regret it. And I don't regret it.

I finished the rest over the next two days, and I feel great. I got a little less sleep than normal, yes, but everything worked out. I'm fine. And I actually kept a goal I had. And it was a worthy goal. The scriptures are great. You might be thinking, this is a terrible way to end such an "epic" story that wasn't even that epic. But the point is that we really can push ourselves and accomplish crazy things. And even if those things don't end up being worth it, they might at least make a blog-worthy story.

Friday, June 7, 2013

The Unfairness of Missions

I'm planning on serving a mission at the end of this summer. (I'm working on a post that tells that whole story, so stay tuned for that). I am more grateful and excited than I can explain. And guess what?
It isn't fair.

I attended both of my older brothers' high school graduation ceremonies. In other words, I endured the most boring hours of my life to support those guys. Seriously. Graduation is BORING. Don't even try to argue with me on this.
They were both serving missions in different parts of the world during my high school graduation. Not. Fair.
You'd think I might just give the same treatment for my other siblings, right? Nope. I'll be back in time for my other siblings' graduation ceremonies, and I will attend with all the love and support I can muster. (It will be hard, because like I said, graduation ceremonies are literally the worst).

My family always grows a big garden. One of my older brothers was here for the planting, but left for his mission before all of the harvest. This year, he will be returning in time for some of the harvest, after missing all of the planting.
I am here for the planting right now, and I will not reap the rewards. I will get the harvest when I return, of course, but I will also be home in time for the planting. Fair? No!

One of my brothers decided to go away for the summer to pursue an economic endeavor. (Sales. Wish him luck, that crazy man). So, while I was forced to play the piano at his farewell service and homecoming service, he won't even be attending my farewell. This one's just downright sad. And unfair. My other brother is still serving his mission, so he won't be attending either.

I could continue. But I won't, because I'm kind of illustrating the opposite of the point I'm trying to make. The importance of these examples is grossly exaggerated here - who flipping cares about whether they attended my graduation ceremony? My parents bought the DVD of it anyway. Who cares whether they are at my farewell? The important thing is that I am going to share the gospel with others, not who hears me speak before I leave.

The real point I want to make is this: We can perceive all kinds of reasons why missionary service is inconvenient. Why life isn't fair. And we are right about it not being fair. Just sometimes we're thinking of it from the wrong perspective. We think it isn't fair for us, when it's actually unfair on the other end. The Lord blesses us so much for the small sacrifices we make. The blessings of missionary service are immense, immeasurable, beautiful, and wonderful. No matter what we do, no matter how hard we think we are working, the blessings (whether they be in this life or the next), outweigh them by a million times. It's not fair that we only have to improve ourselves a little bit every day to receive strength and inspiration. It's not fair that we only have to keep the covenants we have made so that we can have the Holy Ghost with us constantly. It's not fair that all we have to do is speak a few words to ask for an answer to any number of important questions. It's not fair because God loves us just that much.

In the end, fairness doesn't matter. All things are justified in the end. What matters is doing what's right.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

I Can't Talk To People

My friends have been joking for years about how "awkward" I am. Ha, ha, very funny, guys. It's usually just a joke, but then there are times where I just don't know what to say to people.

About a month ago, I moved home from my first year of college. I started attending my home young adult ward. The first activity I went to, I was lost. I literally couldn't remember how to talk to people. Sounds silly, right? But it's true. The explanation I came up with was this:
For the past school year, I had been living with a bunch of other college freshmen, surrounded by people who were basically experiencing the same thing I was. It's relatively easy to start a conversation with these people, there are pretty standard topics that we can all relate to. But once I was back to being surrounded by people who are different ages, go to different schools, and are mostly in a different stage of life than I am, I couldn't think of anything to say.

While this seemed like a pretty valid explanation for a while, I finally discovered an even better answer. It was at another ward activity earlier this week. I talked to one of my old friends a couple times, and this is what I started with:
"I think I just kind of hit a deer" and "I really want a gazebo".
These are NOT normal conversation starters. No wonder I can't talk to normal people!
I either need to learn how to talk like a normal person, or just accept that I'm going to talk like a weirdo. I think the weirdo thing sounds pretty good, what do you guys think?

Monday, May 27, 2013

Safety or Happiness?

The Freakonomics guys love to talk about how humans are terrible at assessing risks.

I agree.

Why do we feel safe in the middle of cars moving at lethal speeds and nothing but symbolic paint lines to keep them from plowing into your face?

Why do we use social media so liberally?

Why do we eat basically anything someone else gives to us?

I guess when I think about it, we probably just don't want the stress that paranoia brings. Anything we could gain from being ultra-paranoid is probably outweighed by the happiness lost by living in fear.

We may be terrible at assessing risks, but I think it's better to be good at letting ourselves be happy.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Make Your Dreams A Reality

Good advice?

Once upon a time I went to my favorite super-authentic Chinese restaurant, Panda Express. 
When I say "super-authentic" I mean "I'm not really sure what this is but I'm pretty sure it's not Chinese and I'm VERY sure that it is DELICIOUS."
If you've ever been to Panda Express, then you know that with every meal comes a cute little fortune cookie.  (and if you haven't been to Panda, seriously what are you doing with your life). 
On this particular day, this was my fortune:

This would be a pretty average, generic, applies-to-anybody kind of feel-good fortune, except for one problem. What if I don't want to make my dreams a reality? I know it probably meant that I should shoot for the great things I want to accomplish in my life, etc. But all I could think about was my dream from the night before. I don't usually remember dreams, so this one really stood out.

I was at Target with my friend's older sister. A super creepy guy who worked there was following us around. He attacked my friend's sister but backed off when the store manager saw him. The manager didn't do anything about it. I tried to say "Hey! This is unacceptable! He should be fired!" but the manager just shrugged and walked away. 

I know that's not exactly the most horrific dream, but it was unsettling. And I definitely don't want to make it a reality. Please, fortune cookie writers, be a little bit considerate. Some things don't apply to everyone after all. 

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The Clap-Along

You can talk about pet peeves or things you hate or whatever.
You can ask me in a cute little get-to-know-you survey "what is your biggest pet peeve?" and my mind will go completely blank.
I try not to let every little thing bother me because duh then I'd be annoyed all the time.
But there is one thing I forget how much I hate.
Until it happens.
And it happens. A lot.

The clap-along, my friends. It's everywhere.
You're playing your favorite song in the school talent show. You're nervous, but the adrenaline gives you the boost to give it all you've got.
The audience is enjoying it, their enthusiasm gets you even more excited to be on stage.
Then they decide it's their responsibility to keep the beat for you. That one kid, the one who yells at everything, that makes it a goal to draw as much attention to themselves as possible, starts clapping. It spreads like a seething epidemic, infecting the whole crowd. Each member of the audience becomes a mindless zombie, their hands begin moving on their own, clapping to the beat. Ask them why they are putting their hands together, they will have no answer.
But the beat can't stay pure forever. It speeds up, becomes disjointed.
Do you speed up with them? Do you attempt to stay on the original beat? Do you tell the crowd to stop? There is no solution. You must continue the best you can, and wait for the mindless crowd to realize their folly. You may recover eventually, but there will forever be a dark spot on your performance.

Then there's the clap-along to recorded music at basketball games. Equally heinous.
It's awkward. It's unattractive. It ruins good people and turns them into mindless robots that conform to the will of the mob.

Let's end this madness.

Okay, okay, okay. It's not THAT bad. It's acceptable, even, but ONLY if the performer themselves starts it.
But other than that, seriously guys, can we just not?


Friday, March 22, 2013

Reflections on a College Testing Center

one student's epic poetic musings on the acutely stressful situation of taking two tests in one day, both of which she is desperately unprepared for, due to her own negligence. 

It always starts with denial.
"Hooommmeeworrrrrk?" says my brain. 
Every day the wall goes up. 
The wall that points to other, more enjoyable activities that won't make me fall asleep. 
Sleep? Oh. Ha.  
This time I am determined to sleep long enough. 
Determined to be alert for my 2-test day. 
They say 8 hours is enough. 
But you can't trust the system
Because I did what they said
And 8 hours later, there I was.
In the testing center. 
White paper.
Red bubble sheet. 
Red, the blood of martyred students. 
Martyred by their own apathy for the institution they pay to attend.
Orange pencil. Mocks me with its cheery hue. 
Cookies N Cream milk promises sugar rush and sweet, sweet reassurance. 
Too sugary. 
500 calories in all. Not comforting.
Woeful glances at the clock. 
No real time limit
But limited by sanity-meter
Drained by the second
I only shout in my brain.
I'd rather wallow in my own insanity
Than allow strangers to be in on the secret.
Sleep finds me now. It seems 8 hours can never be enough.
20 minutes? 30 minutes? You don't sense time when your head's against the wall. 
When you're far away from that dingy curtain and ice-cold vent by your feet. 
I wake up and fill in the bubbles.
In 3rd grade, filling in the bubbles was a courageous task.
The risk of wrong answer was outweighed 
By the risk of stray marks outside the lines.
Now I need to know which lines. Which. Bubble. Which bubble.
Test finished. Practically sprinting.
Drop it on the grading desk like a venomous snake.
Out of my hand, ye fiendish stapled stack.
It's what I deserve.
Study. Attempt to study. Another test awaits. 
A friend. We quiz each other. We don't know what lies ahead.
We only prepare the best we know how. 
It's too late for listening better in class
For reading the whole textbook
For taking better notes
It's here and now, the final countdown. 
I feel better
Not ready. Never ever ever ever ready.
Always just "as ready as I can be"
But this time I'm confident.
Too confident, perhaps, for we all must be humbled.
The Great Assembly Maximilian Robespierre Japanese Imperialism Charles Fourier Catherine the Great
I thought I knew you, Catherine,
But none of these answers look familiar
I throw my desk to the ground
Spring up with a rebel yell
Scream at the top of my lungs
Raise my fists in the air
I yell as I wave the flag of the impoverished university students
I am the standard bearer of the downtrodden
I run through the halls, a hero
I don't. I sit. 
I want that daydream to be real. But instead I must complete the task in front of me.
I must fill in bubbles and engrave words into a blank essay response page.
The essay embraces me, and we are friends together. 
I stride with dignity to the grading desk for the second time.
I watch dreams crumble.
Very, very bad score. 
Very very bad.
Very bad.
iPod, give me some comfort.
Oh you prophetic device. Feist speaks through you. 
The song is "Past in Present."
The words that play immediately into my eardrums are 
"It's okay you know
It's okay you know
It's okay you know
It's okay you know"

And it is. It really is. 

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Well, it COULD Have Been a Great Story . . .

Sometimes I think of doing something that would make a great story.
And then I get too scared and don't do it.
But then I realize it would have made a great story and I want to tell it anyway.
This is one of those times.

A regular day in the library. I'm studying at a table. I soon realize that I can hear faint music. It's coming from the headphones of the guy about 4 tables away from me.
Why, why, why. Why did I choose this spot.
It would be weird to leave now, I just unpacked all my stuff.
I can tell exactly what song he's listening to. It's "I Knew You Were Trouble" by Taylor Swift.
Oh, whoah, he starts dancing. Not really dancing, just moving a little bit. Nodding his head. Mouthing the words. I am so close to writing a note that says "I knew you were trouble . . . when I heard your music from 4 tables away" and leaving it in front of him while dramatically relocating to a different section of the library.
But I don't. I just sit there trying to study.
And he leaves the area before I do. And it's all over.

That story would have been about 29 hundred million times better if I had actually written that note. But I didn't.
This is a minute example, but the point is important. Don't let opportunities slip by. Yeah, you've heard that a billion times. I know. Me too. But apparently it never really sunk in. Here's to taking advantage of  our opportunities to do funny things that will make great stories. Or do other valuable things, too, I guess.

Irony Is:

when your dad always takes a 2-inch stack of napkins from every fast food restaurant he visits to stock in his car, but when a Vanilla Coke explodes, there are no napkins to be found.

when you turn right and switch to the left lane, and the left turner turns and switches into the right lane.

when you remember something as soon as it doesn't matter anymore.

when Walmart doesn't have the one thing you need.

when you only need to sneeze when you're trying not to wake someone up.

when you buy something and it goes on sale the next day.

when you forget your sunglasses on a sunny day, but remember to bring them on a cloudy day.

when you pick up your 3-handled laundry basket by the one side without a handle.

when it takes you 5 tries to type the word "attempt".

Irony is everywhere, seriously. And the great thing is, even when something ridiculously stupid happens in life, usually I can at least find some amusement by saying "how ironic is that?"

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Something Special Just for You (and everyone else. You're still special, don't worry)

I just want to take a minute to talk about this video. Yes, I'm aware I do this a lot. Yes, I'm aware I could produce much more educational and valuable things with the time it will take me to write this. But, seriously, guys, just, okay, yeah. Just watch the video. Then we'll talk.

Okay, reasons I felt this was worthy of sharing:
1. Asian guy playing the violin. Yeah.
2. Harmonica solo.
3. Filmed in a bike shop. BECAUSE I LOVE BIKE RIDES.
4. Guitar solo. Does he look like a crazy guitar man? Nooooope
5. Cleverrrr
6. They're kind of a little bit awkward because they're just funny and chill and like let's have a good time making this music video because we aren't all that famous but we're still pretty cool anyways.
7. Um, I just like it a lot, I hope you agree.

KBYE. Hugs for y'all. Baaaaaaye.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

On Being All-Knowing

Have you ever thought about what you would have to know in order to know everything?
This is something that has occupied my thoughts in countless quiet times. When I'm in the shower, when I'm falling asleep, when I'm driving by myself, when I'm doing my hair - you name a circumstance, and I've probably been thinking about this in that situation.

You would have to know every person. Their name. Everything they did, said, wore, ate. Everywhere they went. Everyone they knew. Every thought they ever had. Literally everything about every person who has ever lived or is currently living.

You would have to read every book, journal, magazine, poster, advertisement, essay, letter, email, Facebook post, Twitter post. See every movie, music video. Know every musical piece ever written. Know when it was written, who wrote it, know of every instance it has ever been performed. Know every musical artist, the names of their albums, how much they each sold. Know how many pages every book has. Know what books are in every library, what articles are on every website, Have read every article ever published in a newspaper. Know exactly the process every writer went through for each thing they've ever written - the typos, the mistakes, the things they re-wrote and re-worded. Know what was cut from every movie and every video.

You would have to know every country, every city, every town, every village, every building, every government, every neighborhood, every store, every house, the layout of them all. Know how long it took to construct every building. Know where every object in the entire universe is at this very moment. Know exactly how it got there, how it was made before that, and where it will be next. Know every street, stoplight, speed limit, freeway entrance, dead end, school zone.

You would have to know the exact name and history of every plant and animal. Know where they are at this exact moment, know everything about their way of life, know everything they've ever done. Know what will become of them in the end.

I could go on. In fact, it's not even possible to list all the things you would have to know in order to be all-knowing. Things to know are happening faster than they can be listed.

When we talk about God, we often lightly mention that He is all-knowing. Or that He "is aware of us." Or that He "knows our needs." We could all take a moment to appreciate how truly amazing that is. It's not even possible for us to think of everything that we would have to know in order to know everything, yet He is all-knowing. We tend to accept this easily, but do we understand what this means for us?

 I think we could all afford to trust Him a little bit more.
We can't know everything right how, and we don't really need to. That's why it's so amazing that we can pray to a Heavenly Father who does know everything, who can specifically tell us what we do need to know.