Tuesday, December 27, 2011

"And I take the sardines? No, I leave the sardines. No, I take the sardines..."

I've been trying to write another blog post for a couple days, but everything I start typing sounds super cliche and lame. Or incredibly sappy. So, I've hesitated. Then, I was going through some old pictures, reminiscing, and I came to the realization that November marks a year that I have not been in a play or on stage performing in some form for the first time since I started theater in the 6th grade. That's like what? 8ish years? In all that time, I've been in 14 plays/musicals, including being having a lead role in the comedy Noises Off (my favorite), a crazy old woman in the musical Anything Goes (playing the comedic old woman was like my trademark), and performing Oklahoma professionally with my sister and cousin summer before last. I love theater. I love being on stage performing in front of huge audiences--particularly making them laugh. I kind of view just being in big groups of people a small production in itself, and I like to be the center of attention, cracking off jokes, often being loud. I'm sure it bothers some people, but I don't really care. Its what I did all through middle and high school.

Being in plays in middle school really wasn't taxing, but in high school, our theater program was hard core. My director had such a love and passion for theater, she would push the kids to more than they thought they could be, and I saw such moving shows produced at that school like you wouldn't believe high school kids could do. There were nights I would get up at 5 am to be ready for early morning Seminary, and then I wouldn't come back home til almost 10. Rehearsals were hard and long, and for the show Noises Off, there was a day we literally were excused from our classes to rehearse--we ran that play for 8 hours straight. That same play we practiced for close to 3 months, including the week before we opened we were on that stage until 10...getting me home around 10:30, 11ish, (my family lives out of town.) Now that took a toll. But it was probably one of, if not my very favorite play. I love straight plays best, but I also love being in musicals, but I can't really sing, and I'm not that coordinated, but they are so much fun, and I love singing and dancing regardless of my lack of talent in those departments. Luckily I do have a knack for acting and comedic timing...Let's face it, I'm kind of a riot.

I've cried a lot because of theater, I've laughed even more, I've made best friends, I've received some really bad grades, there were nights I got maybe 3 hours of sleep, but mostly, I've had some amazing experiences and have grown a lot. I'm so glad to have been a part of every one of those shows, and for all the people that came into my life as a result. I hope and wish and pray that I will be in another production sometime in the not too distant future. I love theater.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

I Get A Little Bit Stronger

I believe everything happens for a reason. There are no chance experiences. There is not one trial, not one person you meet, not one giggle you release that don't in some way, big or small, touch your life.
Things have been hard. I'm sure I've written that in every blog so far, but this is how I'm trying to deal. I've noticed a lot however that its not just me, it seems everyone I know is going through one thing or another. But, in coping with it all, in talking with friends and trying to help them through their hardships, in crying to people about my own troubles, I've recently hit this peaceful bliss.
Not too long ago, I met a boy. The night I met him, he was basically nothing but rude to me, but I'm usually a good sport, so I laughed, although through my smile, occassionally the thought ran through my head "keep it up homeboy and I'm gonna knock you out." Then he added me on facebook, and we started talking. It was a weird time for me because my love life was just out of control, and being a girl, I was going through all kinds of emotions, and I was positive this new friend of mine thought I was insane. Yet, he didn't leave. We talk a lot, and he is probably the most arrogant person I know--and although I hate to admit it, and if he reads this I'll deny it, but most of the time, I actually agree with what he says, and I think he has the most enlightening insight. Well, a couple weeks ago, I fell apart. I cried for the better part of probably 4 hours, and I had so many thoughts going on, and no one I felt like I could share them with. Then, I called this friend, and he picked me up, and he talked me through it. He said a lot of worthwhile things no question, but he ended by giving me two options. He told me I could either blame God for these trials, and be angry with Him, or I could ask Him for help--like that poem about the footprints in the sand--ask Him to carry me. This friend has also told me before that I need to let people help me, that I need to ask for help and favors, because "you love those whom you serve, and if you never let anyone serve you, how can they really love you?" I've replayed our conversations about a million times in my head, and I've been trying to hard to open up and follow his advice. And, it hasn't been until I started talking about it, and praying, and literally taking my problems to the Lord and asking for Him to lift me and help me that I've been feeling better.
So, I guess the point of this post, is to thank him. I don't know if he'll even read this, because I just read in his own blog that he doesn't really read other people's, but whether he does or not, I want everyone who does read this to know the importance of a friend. That friend may be a sibling, a roommate, someone you've known for years, for a month, or that friend may be the Lord, but in any case, they are a neccessity in life. I also just spent all weekend with another close friend of mine, and we spent so much time talking about life and everything, and I also want her to know how thankful I am that I can call her at any time, and she'll talk to me for however long I need, and that she calls and talks to me too, and needs me to listen. Most of all, I just want to express my gratitude for the fact that I'm never really alone. Even when no one is physically near me, my Father in Heaven is just a prayer away. In all this talking and praying, I've accepted the fact that I can't fix everything. I can't take on everything on my own. I am a weak thing that can only be made strong through the Lord. This Christmas season, I really want to reflect on what really matters, and keep in mind what my sister always tells me: "does it matter? In the eternal perspective of things, does it really matter?" Christ matters. The Atonement matters. Family and friends matter. Love matters. I want so bad to emulate that perfect love of Christ, not only through the Christmas season, but for the rest of my life, towards everyone I meet. Sometimes I don't love everyone the way I should, but I want to. Everything is so much brighter, life is so much happier when there's just love. Pure, unadulterated love. I love this Christmas season. I love the Gospel. I love my family. I love the people I know--and I want to love the people I don't. I love love!!

Monday, December 5, 2011

"God Gave Me You"

In light of recent events, I've been reflecting a lot on the life I have, and all the blessings I have been given. I have so much in my life to be grateful for. I have a job, I have a bed, I have this beautiful, wonderful gospel, I have real happiness, and I have my family.

Never will you see two people more perfect for each other, more in love than my parents. My dad is the kindest, most charitable, most Christ-like person I know. He is always thinking of and serving others. He is always happy and smiling, and has a way of lighting up the room at any time just by walking in. We can't ever go anywhere without him seeing someone he knows, or meeting someone new. I've never met a more friendly person, and everything he says, everything he does, is absolutely, and genuinely from his heart. And he cherishes my mother. Any boy I date, even if its just once, I will notice everything he says and does, the way he treats me, and I will compare it with the way my dad treats my mom. I was raised that girls need to be ladies, and boys need to be gentlemen, and we all ought to treat each other as such. I love that my dad is so old fashioned like that, and you better believe I look for gentlemen because of him. I'm also always grateful that he is and always has been a worthy priesthood holder. If ever I am in need of a blessing, there has never been even the slightest moment of hesitation to ask him.
My mother is amazing. She sacrifices so much, every minute of every day, for her family. She is so sweet and loving, kind, beautiful, and tender. She's a talented writer, (and has 3 published novels, and a published childeren's book), and I admire her dedication to that. As a mother of 10 kids, I am astounded that she has time and patience for writing, since she always puts her family first, and trust me, we're a needy bunch. My mom is also one of my best friends. I can tell her about anything going on in my life, and I don't know if she realizes how much it means to me to hear or see her excitement when I tell her things. She's the strongest woman I know. Both my parents have such solid testimonies, and I can't begin to describe the gratitude I have that they raised me with the love, gentleness, and warmth that they did. I would never have the testimony I have were it not for their teaching me and demonstrating the power and comfort of the gospel. I'm so blessed to be their daughter. When I get married and start a family, I want nothing more than to raise my kids the way I was raised, and have the same relationship and set the same example. I only pray my kids will look up to me the way I admire my parents.

I have always looked up to my big brother Clayton. The two of us have always gotten along fine, and when he got off his mission, we really got close. I love spending time with him, because without fail, I am always just laughing. Granted, most of the things he says are super inappropriate, but at least now, when I meet people, and they think they've said something to offend me I'm just like "have you met my brother?" Haha. Somtimes I think we're trouble together, and sometimes I know my mother is appalled at things that come out of our mouths, but we always have a lot of fun! I really admire the kind of boy my brother is. He's an Eagle Scout, he served a mission, and he is always looking out for me. He is respectful to my parents, and especially to his wife Malae. I'm so glad they found each other. She's so perfect not only for him, but for our family. She has the same sense of humor, she's so sweet, and basically explodes any time she sees anything cute, baby, or fluffy. Her heart is so kind, and she is so nice to my brother. They just fit together. I love that she's my newest sister.

Angela, my oldest sister, is so unique...in a good way! She's the most artistic, creative person you will ever meet. When I was little, I used to always wish I could draw like her. Over the past few months I think is when our relationship has grown the strongest. She is very compassionate, and is always willing to come pick me up and comfort me when I need her. I've relied on her more these past few months than she probably realizes. Angela is beautiful, has an amazing voice, and has one of the strongest testimonies of anyone I know. She is someone who knows what she believes, and she will fight for it with everything she has, no person, event, or thing will sway her from what she knows with her whole heart. She's grounded and down to earth, and I'm thankful every day that she is my big sister. I really look up to Angela, and I love her so much. As excited as I am that she got into the Disney Program, I will miss her too much when she goes away to Florida:(

My other big sister Rachel, is like my other half. We joke that we share a brain, but sometimes...I almost believe it. She is crazy, and we always have the dumbest, funnest time together. There are times that I am even amazed  at the things we do and say, and that we still function in society. Someday, we are going to live in my parents barn together. Our husbands are welcome to join us if they want, although, we may just skip getting married...unless it becomes legal to marry your sister. Rachel has the biggest heart, and really takes after my dad in that she's always looking to serve others and build people up. She is also so beautiful, inside and out. Whenever anyone needs her, she's there, no matter how late, far, or the situation, she will always help out and do what she can. In high school, I was always her shadow, because I always wanted to be just like her. I'm sure she and her friends grew sick of me always tagging along, but Rachel regaurdless always tried to make me feel included and important. My big sister, my best friend, I miss her, and wish she lived in Utah right now.

Just turned 16, ladies, Logan is now officially on the market. This kid is crazy. He's about as smart as they come, and he is so witty. I love just talking to him because he says the most ridiculous things. But, as crazy and sarcastic and stubborn as he is, he is a little softy. He is always watching out for others, especially my brother Noah, who idolizes Logan. Logan is so obedient to my parents, and so willing to work. All the little girls at school and church have big crushes on him, because he's such a stud, and he is the boy that opens the doors for them, treats them nice, and really cares. I went home last week and got to see him get ordained to a Priest. I'm impressed every day at how hard he works to keep his testimony, and be worthy to one day serve a mission. I'm convinced one day he's going to be the prophet. Logan is the kind of boy, that when my seminary teacher asked us one morning as we were talking about Joseph Smith, if any of us would believe if one of the 14 year old boys in our ward told us that he'd seen a vision, without hesitation every kid in my class said "if it was Logan Talley."

My little sister Madolyn, is totally a babe. She is such a pretty girl, and she has the biggest heart. She is always thinking of others, leaving little notes for family members around the house, doing little, annonymous favors for people, even though we all know its her. About every week, she will send me a text "hello beautiful, I miss you."  I love her texts. I love talking to her. Our relationship has also grown a lot recently, especially just before I left home. I was really sad to move and not be able to hang out with her anymore, so I really look forward to the little messages she sends me. She is so bubbly and caring, and she comes off so often as shy, but boy, when you get that girl going, she is crazy. I love spending time with Madolyn, and I look forward to the kind of woman she's becoming, because she's so genuine, and I actually hope to be more like her.

Like the rest of my family, Savannah is also crazy, although sometimes she's crazier than the rest of us. She loves to laugh and have fun, and is always looking out for my youngest brother...she's really the only person he likes except my dad. That girl has a lot of spunk, and is one of the best piano players I have ever heard. Savannah is such a cute girl, and she is always striving to be righteous. She has such a stong testimony that she bears all the time, and I know how hard she fights, and how much she has to stand up to others for what she believes. I'm always impressed when I hear about her ability to not only stand up for herself, but that she still treats those kids that are picking on her with kindness.

Noah is just about the cutest kid you will ever meet. He has the biggest blue eyes, and the longest eyelashes, when he looks at you with those, your heart just melts. Noah loves to play soccer, and he's actually pretty good. Absolutely a momma's boy, he asks almost every night if he can stay home from school and hang out with her. Its sweet because he loves her so much, but everyone also knows Noah would rather do anything in the world than actually go to school. Every time I see him, he runs up and gives me a huge hug and tells me how much he misses me, and he is always so willing to do anything he is asked, and make sure everyone else is happy. Also, he has this new found obsession with Lord of the Rings, and he'll make little figures from it with clay, because that boy has this crazy talent for molding, its the cutest thing.

The best way to sum up my baby sister Emma, is by saying that she, herself, likes to inform everyone that she is a "seventeen year old trapped in a seven year old body." Emma has the energy of 10 seven year olds, and the attitude of 10 teenagers. But, lucky for her, she is super adorable. She is so funny, and slightly insane, since she thinks she has 3 imaginary friends that live in her head and control her actions. I love seeing Emma because she will without fail, cling on to my leg and hold on to me whenever I visit, and tell me how much she loves and misses me, and for my birthday, she wrote me the sweetest note telling me I am as "butiful as a fower." I love her energy, and I love all the things she says. If my mom would let me, I'd take her to college with me so I could see her every day, and she would just keep me forever entertained.

I often refer to my littlest brother as Jack Jack Attack, because if you poke him enough, he totally freaks out like this. Its super funny.
But seriously, this kid is a criminal master mind. He is five years old, and absolutely plots and schemes on ways to bug everyone else in the family, and he knows he won't get in trouble because he's too cute. I really am so happy Jared is part of my family. He is proof that Down Syndrome children are exaclty the same as everyone else. Jared is one of the funniest little kids I have ever seen, and I grew up in a family of 10, with my cousins (who are on baby number 12) across the street, I was a substitute teacher for elementary school kids, and I taught Sunbeams--believe me, I know kids. Jared loves Spongebob and computer games, and he can't stand to have sticky fingers, so he eats cinnamon rolls with his hands behind his back. That kid can entertain me for hours. I love him so much.

Every life is precious. Love all those you meet, and realize that they are a daughter or son of our Heavenly Father, and they are so loved by Him, the most great, most wonderful Being. Never take one day, one moment for granted, because in the blink of an eye, it can be over. Appreciate your life and be ever grateful for all that you have. I love my beautiful, wonderful, crazy family!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

once upon a time, i started a blog...

Recently, I've been hearing a lot it seems about relying on others. Not completely, but simply not relying solely on yourself. If you know me, you know I am very independent, and as a result, I tend to be very closed. Granted, if you ask me about myself, I may tell you pieces, but normally, I don't like other people in my personal life. And though I may tell you some or even many things, I won't tell you everything. I keep so much inside.
Today I read a blog by a friend, which is actually what inspired me to start this, about leadership--which branched into solitude, which branched into friendship. The blog continues to quote a speech by William Deresiewicz given at West Point called “Solitude and Leadership," that though it seems counter intuitive, they go hand in hand, because everyone needs a friendship with not only themselves, but a person "you can trust, to whom you can unfold your soul. A person you feel safe with enough to acknowledge things-to acknowledge things to yourself-that you otherwise can't. Doubts you aren't supposed to have, questions you aren't supposed to ask. Feelings or emotions that would get you laughed at by the group or reprimanded by the authorities." He goes on to say that "sharing your thoughts alone..or with someone you trust...is vital for us becoming the best we can be. To not just be 'professional hoop jumpers' that seek to please people and get gain by doing so, but to raise others up to a higher level of living."
I have been hearing in Church and just recently at Institute about people today becoming "too independent." This I can relate to, because the majority of my problems, I keep inside, and it's not until I have broken down, crying, on my knees, that I finally turn to the Lord--a fault I have struggled with my whole life. At Institute, we were going over faith vs doubt, hope vs despair, and charity vs selfishness, and as we reviewed what brought on despair, one of the many reasons covered was independence. This of course caught my eye, because who'd have thunk? But I knew, that was for me. Not that I am depressed or in despair, but I recognize that I don't open myself to people completely. In general, I keep so much to myself because, like so many others, I fear that people won't like what they see. For this reason, I jump from groups of friends, always on the move, trying to avoid people growing tired of me, or really, I guess people knowing the real me, and rejecting that--resulting in a constant lack of belonging. I have always felt like I can't seem to find my place. And still I'm searching. But I have realized, that until I trust people, and have faith that I will be accepted and loved, and recognize that I am a daughter of God, and acknowledge my worth, I will never feel like I have a place anywhere. Also, as long as I feel inadequate and like I'm still searching, I can't help others. After all, how can you help someone out of a hole you both are in? I have been taught my whole life to be charitable, that to be perfect, we must all acquire that pure love of Christ. Through His entire life, Christ had not only followers and disciples, He had friends. He had family. He had the Spirit and the Father, and kept all as His constant companions, whom He trusted, served, and loved with all His heart.
So that's what this blog is. This is me sharing my thoughts, trying to be open, a little less independent, hoping that this will help me to grow, to trust more, to better myself, that I can better raise those around me. If then, there are people out there who want a closer look into what's running through my head, here it will be.