Saturday, April 14, 2012

Published Thoughts

Today it was time to run away. Truthfully it was for no other reason than to face my thoughts. Today is a day where they are difficult to discern, to organize, to feel.

So I sit here alone, listening to the simple and calming tones of Iron & Wine. Perfection just may be tangible.

To my right come the noises of a small coffee shop, the smell of coffee beans mixed with cream and carmel lulling me into a unique state of bliss.

To my left is knowledge for the taking. Shelves and shelves of it. I listen to the bustle of thoughtful and anxious customers, the bags of previous purchases clutched closely to them, crinkling against their clothes as they meander from aisle to aisle. Teenage girls trying to feel grown-up strut past my small, round table wobbling in and out of their four-inch-wedges. I am swimming upstream amidst a sea of intellectuals, philosophers, fanatics, athletes, pretenders, teachers, free spirits and those of us still young at heart.

I am surrounded by dear friends I have never met. Faulker, Fitzgerald, Austen, Dickens, Conrad and Shakespeare.

The strums and finger-picking of the melodies playing softly in my ear take me away to different places, remembering long-ago loves, and moments of eminence.

I find joy in the simplistic.

Today, I wish to spend time with my thoughts. Change is in the wind; I feel its westerlies billowing toward me brushing the hair that frames my face softly against my cheek. But it's a feeling I can't brush away as easily as a wisp of hair.

Today I attended the temple. I was filled with overwhelming love for God and for the life he has blessed me with.

Here is an excerpt from an entry in a journal too often neglected:

"Time passes. Wounds heal. Memories fade. Hurt distills.

Today I walked out of the temple with my mind eased, though no less full. Peace became the barrier between making it and barely managing.

I walked outside on the beautiful April afternoon, the beauty and goodness of life swelling inside of me tempting my heart to burst. I had stepped into the cool shade. I was so preoccupied I hardly noticed the crisp feeling on my skin. I walked seven steps forward into the sunlight. Warmth, beauty and brightness engulfed my body.

Spring...My life these last few months seems to have been in sync with the changing seasons. My dark and cool winter has mercifully melted into a tender spring. There are still days of rain, days of clouds, days of gloom. But the sun comes out, its rays washing away any memory of cool despair. I bask in the radiance, knowing what lies ahead are days of summer."

Today some of my thoughts will be published, some will not. Some will be shared with those I love, those I trust. Some will be saved for only God. Some thoughts will be trapped in my subconscious until an unexpected force can make me feel what is necessary to face them once again.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012


Today I smelled the rain before I felt it. This has not happened in months and was a sensory pleasure I had forgotten. The combination of the cool, spring precipitation combined with the dusty, warm smell of the pavement brought a smile to my face. Summer is close.

Today I wrote over two thousand words informing the upper valley about election bonds, 21st century grants, education reform passed by the Idaho legislature and local awareness for child abuse.

Today I ate french fries and chocolate custard, catered by Nielsen's.

Today I heard from someone very far away and it brought joy to my heart.

Today I exerted my body. The muscles in my thighs, calves and core protested in agony as I steadily increased the speed on my treadmill. Sweet endorphins flooded through me leaving me refreshed and renewed.

Today I put a serious dent in my dwindling block of colby jack cheese.

Today I was reassured by someone I love.

Today I separated my whites from my darks.

Today I successfully operated the Canon on manual, adjusting the ISO and playing with the foreground and background.

Today I played my guitar like the amateur I am, wishing I could refine yet another unfinished talent.

Today I opened the blinds when I woke up and smiled in sweet and simplistic satisfaction as the sunshine poured through my window filling the depths of my room.

Today I was able to joke with someone I very much respect and found myself feeling fulfilled.

Today I watched Mega Mind and ate popcorn.

Today I was confident and happy with who I am, where I am, what I am.

Today I missed a friend I have not spoken to in years.

Today I wore my aviators.

Today I drank a liter of Diet Coke.

Today I was once again grateful for the beauty that is constantly surrounding me, lifting my calloused heart, reminding me of the goodness of my Lord and my God.

Monday, April 9, 2012


Let's be honest. I know a lot of you are Pinterest fanatics. Well Justine Wren Kelly and I have made a tutorial on kool-aid dying your hair. You're welcome. Confession session: this has been a dream of mine for years. But I may or may not have been freaking out. I'm a little vain, and was scared that this would end up going horribly wrong. Well, one open flame, one reset smoke detector and one crick in my neck later- boom. I now have a kool-aid streak in my hair. It's red. It's rebellious. It's hot. Follow these next steps carefully and you too can be as cool as us. 

Step one: put your hair up like a ninja. And raptor hands?

Step two: Be really awesome.  
Step three: make a kool-aid witch potion. 

Step four: don't set off the fire alarm. 

Step five: because you almost set the towel on fire. 

Step six: make sure you have all the right ingredients

Step seven: if it comes out like sewer water, try again. 

Step eight: black cherry smelled better. 

Step nine: pretend to have a conversation in the bowls without the string. 

Step ten: soak for a long time and break your neck. 

Step eleven: have fun trying not to get kool-aid in your ear. 

step twelve: enjoy almost no difference
step thriteen: look like a babe. 
And for more awesome tricks, tips and recipes you can follow my blog. It's fine. 

Colors and Words

Today I wore blue. Blue cardigan, blue jeans. The sun shined yellow, but from my perspective sitting in my red car, behind my brown tinted aviators, the world looked like a beautiful sepia photograph.

Sometimes I think of periods of time in colors. Today is a warm green. Happy, full, beautiful. Yesterday was a lilac. Thoughtful, nostalgic, peaceful.

I think of these past few months. They have been a pallet of cool grey, deep blue and dirty white. I think of summers in Montana; the deep amber, bold yellow and hunter greens remind me of life and vibrance.

We live in colors, yet we don't think in words. All the time.

Today, a number of moments happened that left me forming sentences that I hoped would appear on this blog. I came to this discovery: my life is very much like the film Stranger Than Fiction. The most mundane or insignificant event will happen, cuing a voice that eloquently begins to write. The voice narrates my actions, describing the colors and the emotions. The voice is my own.

Almost five years ago I knew I wanted to be a writer when I would walk through campus writing everything I saw in my head. At first I thought I was crazy, then I realized I was merely passionate.

Today I sat on a bench at the courthouse waiting for the commissioner's meeting to reconvene for the public. I spoke with a man who is running for a county office. We discussed the upcoming profile I would be writing on the candidates, and joked about giving him a four-page spread.

This man then told me he was a patriot. He described a few experiences serving in the Air Force, and I thanked him for his service. He talked more about his country and his desire to serve wherever he is.

"You are a patriot through and through," I told him.

He paused. Looked at me slightly sadly, and ventured into his next story. He used jargon I didn't understand and named places I had studied years ago in dusty, musty smelling history books. But it wasn't a chapter in a 700 page text book to him, I realized. As he would speak about his experiences and the people he knew, now long gone, he would look past my face. He had left the courthouse on the corner of Main and Second East. He was halfway across the world. He was in a dusty village. He was on the rooftop evacuating his men. He was being beaten as what I assumed could only be a prisoner of war. Occasionally he would come back to that building in a small town in Idaho as a woman's shoes clicked across the marble floor.

I could never fully understand the experiences this man had. But that's not what his intent was. This man was a patriot, through and through. It was in his blood, his heart, his soul. The voice in my head began to write his story; in it, a new chapter would be written of how this devoted patriot had touch my life as well.

We live in color. We don't always think in words. But we thrive, we love, we influence in a little place called reality.

Sunday, April 8, 2012


A red Chevy Cobalt idled grumpily on the chilled asphalt. My mood easily matched my trusty get-away car. Except this morning the only place I wanted to escape to was back to my warm and inviting sheets and memory foam. I had only been awake for nine minutes, but they had been unpleasant ones.

I had crawled unwillingly out of bed and muttered a prayer I don't even remember. I stumbled out into the hall and looked in the mirror. At the crack of dawn, I didn't care about how the monster looking back at me looked. I groggily wiped the leftover mascara from under my eyes and pushed up my smudged glasses to rest more securely on the bridge of my nose.

Bring it on, I thought sarcastically to myself as I slammed the door of my car. Normally I am quite the morning person. But even the soft glow of the sunrise couldn't pull me out of my sleepy, grumpy haze. I put on some John Mayer, and we were off.

My roommate chatted thoughtlessly the entire ride to the airport. I was really going to miss this girl. But I could offer only a meager response as she questioned me about an internship I had taken over three years ago. We pulled to the drop off zone, finding no one else in sight.

We said goodbye, and I began to make the 30 minute trek back to Rexburg. As I turned onto Highway 20 it hit me. It was Easter. The sun was rising bright and beautiful into the clear morning sky. I quickly switched Mylo Xyloto to music from the past two semesters of From the Heart.

A song came on describing the my very favorite bible story. My Savior, my Redeemer heals a blind man. I imagine the man: tattered, torn, destitute of hope. I see his sightless, hollow eyes. I sense his sallow skin, his lifeless face, his lips downturned from the years of heartache and pain. Suddenly, the Savior is there before him offering him life, salvation, even sight.

I listen as the song describes the healing of this blind man. My own thoughts reflected on the countless times my unfailing Savior has healed me from a variety of ailments and maladies. The reality of my ingratitude lumped in my throat, and tears welled in my eyes.

I am a sinner. I am selfish; I am judgmental; I am weak. I am prone to fail, wander, quit and surrender to the power of the one who does not love me, even the adversary himself. Yet each and every time, my Savior is there with open arms.

The song changed. The London Symphony Orchestra filled my grumpy Chevy Cobalt and melted the icy strings of my heart. In my cracked, froggy voice that I had barely used that morning, I lifted my voice in praise to my Lord, my Savior. To the one who has been my everything, and given it back to him.

I had barely gotten three sentences in when the tears came again. This time, tears of complete and utter joy. My Savior lives.

Then came these words:

"Ten thousand gifts could I employ to show my praise, my thanks, my joy. All of my life, yea all of my days, still not enough to sing thy praise. Ever I'll sing thy praise."

I feel as if Rob Gardner has become a friend. I have listened and echoed his testimony thousands of times.

I looked around me as I drove home, too moved to even think in complete sentences. More than two thousand years ago, a man who loves me beyond all comprehension gave the ultimate gift – his life so that I might live for eternity. But not just live. I can live redeemed, clean, whole, pure and refined. It's done through the matchless and merciful power of his Atonement. I have never understood this powerful love. Yet as I drove home this morning, I was filled with it. It was an experience I wouldn't trade for anything.

I love the man named Jesus Christ with all of my heart. He lives. I testify of his mercy, his atoning sacrifice, his miraculous power and his unending love. He beckons each of us to come unto Him. As I strive daily to do so, I grow from my weakness, learn from my imperfections, and am strengthened through his loving grace. I love him. I testify that he loves us infinitely more, with a beautiful perfection.

Ever, I will sing His praise.

Melodious Nonsense

I started close to seven different blogs tonight. Often times, it is a strong emotion that will inspire my thoughts to form words far beyond my own abilities. Perhaps it's a means of escape as to not overwhelm my very being.

Another sleepless night left me alone to think. To ponder. I turned on the song that has won my heart this week: Jason Mraz's A Beautiful Mess. It has played on repeat for the past 27 hours.

It seems to me that my thoughts often become a broken record. Stuck on the same chord or phrase unable to progress. I get lost in my own reality that when left to my own devices can more than once become distorted, altered.

That is why I love music so much. It can pull me out of the haze, and make me feel once again, putting words to my emotions. It combines a beautiful thought with a beautiful sound. It evokes some of the strongest feelings within us, allowing us to connect as we search within the depths of the deepest, most frightening caves: ourselves.

There is something about the emotion displayed in music that moves me. "Tell me what I did," sings John Mayer in one of my favorite songs. Each time, it makes my heart ache, knowing and remembering the feeling of being at a total and utter loss because of a person I loved.

This as well as so many other brilliant pieces of art inspire me to keep living, keep striving, keep loving.

The words laced through the measures, movements and melodies of a song inspire and enlighten me. They fill my soul, they fill my mind.

I have always wished I had the talent of making music. Instead, I'll settle for the ability to describe how it affects my heart.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Favorite Genre

It's a rare night when insomnia wins the battle between asleep and awake. I watch as the clock changes from 1:38 a.m. to 1:39 a.m., the events of what is now the previous day still swirling restlessly in my mind. So many moments can occur in the space of just a few precious hours.

I reflect; I repine; I respond; I recall.

Despite my alertness, I am exhausted. My eyelids experience the strange almost salty feeling of being heavy and droopy, yet the cogs functioning behind them, trapped in a skull of thought are working overtime. My shoulders, slumped and defeated are practically hunched over the glow of the computer screen. My hair, disheveled and full of static falls in my face, framing my view. My oversized hoodie engulfs my smaller than average wrists, the only thing pacing my mind from the words that form while my anxious fingers type. I sit cross-legged in utter darkness. My knees begin to feel the low and dull ache of exhaustion. The muscles in my calves, still tired from the 10 miles they have run in the past three days.

1:47 a.m.

My thoughts are beautiful. Not because of their importance, but because of their formation. In the beauty of the stillness and silence of a new day, my thoughts are raw, pure, whole. They are not hindered by emotion, circumstance or relation. They are true. They are mine. And suddenly, they become a perfection of their own, giving life to the hope of tomorrow. Still, they are small, tired, worn from the exertion of the day.

But in the stillness of my mind, my night that is ever turning into morning, I find it is my heart that has born the brunt of the day. This calloused organ has been through the refiners fire more times than I can count. It has never failed, even when my beautiful and raw thoughts feared it would. Yet, despite it's battle scars, this small part of me is the home of all emotion, all concern, all compassion.

Here in this exhausted heart I keep the most private and precious thing I have to offer: myself. One hundred tiny chambers have been opened at least one hundred times to a friend across the country, a boy I once loved, a mother who never fails me, a brother who wraps his arm around me as I cry, a neighbor who asks how I am, a stranger I met in Montana, a family I served, a woman I desire to emulate, a God I love.

My beautiful thoughts wonder if the thousands of other chambers that have yet to be discovered will be enough to keep my calloused heart pumping, loving, caring, feeling, being.

2:00 a.m.

Another hour has passed. Another closer to my alarm waking me, beginning a new day of words. A day of emotion. A day of growth.

My thoughts now turn to the words written in the last 20 minutes. I smile in spite of myself. Nonsense, after all is my favorite genre.