Sunday, July 24, 2011

Soccer Reffing Nostalgia

     My favorite games to ref were the little first grade boys. It seems to me that age six is the peak period of absurd language usage. There were two particular instances with those six-year-old boys that still make me chuckle. Sometimes there's nothing that you can do as a ref but stand there and silently laugh and groan inside.

     The first experience was when a rather blunt little boy in a blue jersey came sprinting across the field towards me. I don't know whether he thought I was on the opposing team, or rather he had been told of the conniving, evil referees, but either way he was not happy to see me on his field. He bobbed across the grass like a little baby rabbit, jerked to a halt in front of where I stood, stared up at me while blocking the sun from his eyes, and then called me "booger ears!!!" in his high pitched voice.

     Well, that surprised me for a second! Booger ears. How original; that must be a newly adopted insult. That definitely wasn't used when I was in elementary school. Really, when I was younger I was lovingly called "shrimp" or "four-eyes" for being short and having those gigantic coke-bottle glasses sliding down my face all the time. But the term “booger ears” was unique. It was actually really funny to see that tiny little guy call me names, thinking that he might do me some damage with his mastery over the English language. Well, ten points for creativity kid! Seriously, even when they're being hostile they're cute; what's up with that?

     The second incident was equally hilarious, if not more. Before the game started, two boys from opposing sides decided to exchange some cripplingly challenging banter to drive each other beyond the point of intimidation. A taller boy from the orange team strutted to the center line, mockingly glaring and looking down on another boy from the other team who looked to be about half his size and smirked, "Hey, you, we're going to beat you!" Not missing a beat, the smaller kid jeered back, "Oh yeah? Well, not if I can do this!!!" and without further ado, he scrunched his eyes and rolled them into the back of his head until only the whites were visible. The big boy looked stunned for a second, and seriously, I could practically hear the cogs in his head screaming, "what?!?" Oh how those kids made me laugh!

     Now that I think about it, it wasn't just the boys who were comical, the girls were equally adorable, and I have fond memories of their silly comments too. One day a girl with flaming red hair approached me, her huge brown eyes a whirl of complete awe. She looked up at me and asked in incredulity, "how do you keep track of all of this?" I pointed knowingly at my stopwatch and said, "This little instrument helps me keep track of the time, I just have to watch the game and blow this whistle if a rule isn't followed." The look on her face was priceless; it was if her whole world had been shifted. Lesson learned: a stopwatch truly is a magically magnificent object that can undoubtedly change someone's world.

     Isn't it great how kids are so easily amazed? Their innocence can make even the smallest and seemingly meaningless things in life have a purpose. I'm going to have a lot of fun being a parent in the future; needless to say, I will definitely be jotting down the funny things that those children say!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

My Favorite Quotes

Well, it seems like many people have become aware of the fact that I love quotes! I search for them, use them often, and read them to find inspiration, guidance, and the occasional laugh. It's about time that I share some of my favorites! Lots of time and effort has been put into this compilation of these quotes, and believe me I'm sure there are more out there. However, after a few hours, this turned out to be six pages long. Brevity is the soul of wit, I will not make it any longer than it already is.

After the work was done in typing them all up, I've divided them into four categories: Quotes from Authors and My Favorite Books, Quotes from Songs or Singers, Miscellaneous Quotes, And Quotes from Famous People.

These are Alphabetical by first name. Enjoy! Let me know what your favorite is ~<3 always="" br="" jojo="">

Favorite quotes from Authors and My Favorite Book Quotes:

Alexandre Dumas

“Now I’d like someone to tell me that there’s no drama in real life!”

“Happiness is like those palaces in fairy tales whose gates are guarded by dragons: we must fight in order to conquer it!”

“There is neither happiness nor unhappiness in this world; there is only the comparison of one state with another. Only a man who has felt ultimate despair is capable of feeling ultimate bliss. It is necessary to have wished for death in order to know how good it is to live… the sum of all human wisdom will be contained in these two words: Wait and Hope.

Ayn Rand

“But I still wonder how it was possible, in those graceless years of transition, long ago, that men did not see whither they were going, and went on, in blindness and cowardice, to their fate. I wonder, for it is hard for me to conceive how men who knew the word “I,” could give it up and not know what they lost. But such has been the story, for I have lived in the City of the damned, and I know what horror men permitted to be brought upon them.”

“For the coming of that day shall I fight, I and my sons and my chosen friends. For the freedom of Man. For his rights. For his life. For his honor.

Cassandra Clare

“Sarcasm is the last refuge of the imaginatively bankrupt.”

“The meek may inherit the Earth, but at the moment it belongs to the conceited. Like me.”

“Have you fallen in love with the wrong person yet?”
Jace said, “Unfortunately, Lady of the Haven, my one true love remains myself.”
…”At least,” she said, “you don’t have to worry about rejection, Jace Wayland.”
“Not necessarily. I turn myself down occasionally, just to keep it interesting.”

“One of the Silent Brothers is here to see you. Hodge sent me to wake you up. Actually he offered to wake you himself, but since it’s 5 a.m., I figured you’d be less cranky if you had something nice to look at.”
“Meaning you?”
“What else?”

“It wouldn’t be my move,” Jace agreed. “First the candy and flowers, then the apology letters, then the ravenous demon hordes. In that order.”

“There was a small wooden gazebo built over the water; Isabelle was sitting in it, staring out across the lake. She looked like a princess in a fairy tale, waiting at the top of her tower for someone to ride up and rescue her.
Not that traditional princess behavior was like Isabelle at all. Isabelle with her whip and boots and knives would chop anyone who tried to pen her up in a tower into pieces, build a bridge out of the remains, and walk carelessly to freedom, her hair looking fabulous the entire time.”

“You know,” Gabriel said, “there was a time I thought we could be friends, Will.”
“There was a time I thought I was a ferret,” Will said, “but that turned out to be the opium haze. Did you know it had that effect? Because I didn’t.”

“Let me give you a piece of advice. The handsome young fellow who’s trying to rescue you from a hideous fate is never wrong. Not even if he said the sky is purple and made of hedgehogs.”

Charles Dickens

“It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known.”

C.S. Lewis

“Numbers don’t win a battle.”

Dr. Seuss

“Be what you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.”

E.E. Cummings

“The most wasted of all days is one without laughter.”

Gail Carson Levine

“Step follows step, hope follows courage, set your face towards danger, set your heart on victory.”

Gaston Leroux

“Erik is not truly dead. He lives on within the soul of those who choose to listen to the music of the night.”

Jacques Prevert

“Even if happiness forgets you a little bit, never completely forget about it.”

J.K. Rowling

“It is our choices, Harry, that show us who we truly are, far more than our abilities.”

“It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live.”

“Wit beyond measure is man’s greatest treasure.”

“I’m never wearing them,” Ron was saying stubbornly. “Never.”
“Fine,” snapped Mrs. Weasley. “Go naked. And, Harry, make sure you get a picture of him. Goodness knows I could do with a laugh.

“Mr. Moony presents his compliments to Professor Snape, and begs him to keep his abnormally large nose out of other people’s business.
Mr. Prongs agrees with Mr. Moony, and would like to add that Professor Snape is an ugly git.
Mr. Padfoot would like to register his astonishment that an idiot like that ever became a professor.
Mr. Wormtail bids Professor Snape good day, and advises him to wash his hair, the slimeball.”

“If you want to know what a man’s like, take a good look at how he treats his inferiors, not his equals.”

John Whittier

“Of all the sad words of tongue or pen, the saddest are these, ‘it might have been.’”

J.R.R. Tolkien

“All we have to do is to decide what to do with the time that is given us.”

“All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.
From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
A light from the shadows shall spring;
Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
The crownless again shall be king.”

Mary Shelley

"Oh! Be men, or be more than men. Be steady to your purposes and firm as a rock. This ice is not made of such stuff as your hearts may be; it is mutable and cannot withstand you if you say that it shall not. Do not return to your families with the stigma of disgrace marked on your brows. Return as heroes who have fought and conquered, and who know not what it is to turn their backs on the foe."

Oscar Wilde

“Be yourself; everyone else is taken.”

“Always forgive your enemies; nothing annoys them so much.”

“I am so clever that sometimes I don’t understand a single word of what I’m saying.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.”

“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.”

“What you do speaks so loudly that I cannot hear what you say.”

“When it’s dark enough, you can see the stars.”

Rick Riordan

“It takes strength and courage to admit the truth.”

“Be careful of love. It’ll twist your brain around and leave you thinking up is down and right is wrong.”

“Dance you guys!” Thalia ordered. “You look stupid just standing there.”
I looked nervously at Annabeth, then at a group of girls who were roaming the gym.
“Well?” Annabeth asked.
“Um, who should I ask?”
She punched me in the gut. “Me, Seaweed Brain.”
“Oh. Oh right.”

“It seemed weird calling a teenager ‘sir’ but I learned to be careful with immortals. They tended to get offended easily. Then they blew stuff up.”

“Dream like a podcast,
Downloading truth in my ears.
They tell me cool stuff.”
“Apollo?” I guess, because I figured nobody else could rhyme that bad.
He put his finger to his lips. “I’m incognito. Call me Fred.”
“A god named Fred?”

Shel Silverstein

“I will not play at tug o’war.
I’d rather play at hug o’ war,
Where everyone hugs
Instead of tugs,
Where everyone giggles
And rolls on the rug,
Where everyone kisses,
And everyone grins,
And everyone cuddles,
And everyone wins.”

Tom Clancy

“Nothing is as real as a dream. Responsibilities need not erase it. Duties need not obscure it. Because the dream is within you, and no one can take it away.”

Vivian Vande Velde

“She sighed. Loudly. “Physical appearance is not what is important.”
Yeah right. Tell that to any girl who hasn’t bothered to put on a presentable shirt or fix her hair because she’ only running into the grocery store to get a quart of milk for her grandmother, and who does she see tending the 7-ITEM-OR-LESS cash register but the guy of her dreams, except she can’t even say hi- much less try to develop a meaningful relationship- since she looks like the poster child for the terminally geeky.”

Wayne W. Dyer

“You cannot be lonely if you like the person that you are alone with.”

William Shakespeare

“A fool thinks himself to be wise, but a wise man knows himself to be a fool.”

“Men should be what they seem.”

William Shedd

“A ship in the harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for.” William Shedd

Quotes from Songs or Singers:

Alexander Lloyd Webber

“Slowly, gently night unfurls its splendor. Grasp it, sense it, tremulous and tender. Turn your face away from the garish light of day, turn your thoughts away from cold, unfeeling light, and listen to the music of the night… Close your eyes and surrender to your darkest dreams, purge your thoughts of the life you knew before. Close your eyes, let your spirit start to soar, and live, as you’ve never lived before!”

“Too many years fighting back tears. Why can’t the past just die? Wishing you were somehow here again, knowing we must say goodbye. Try to forgive, teach me to live, give me the strength to try! No more memories, no more silent tears, no more gazing across the wasted years. Help me say goodbye.”

Taylor Swift

"In fairy tales you meet Prince Charming and he's everything you ever wanted... The bad guy is always wearing a black cape so you know who he is. Then you grow up and you realize that Prince Charming isn't as easy to find as you thought. You realize the bad guy is not wearing a black cape and he's not easy to spot; he's really funny, and he makes you laugh, and he has perfect hair."

“Romeo save me, I’ve been feeling so alone. I keep waiting for you, but you never come. Is this in my head? I don’t know what to think.”

“I’ll bet she’s beautiful, that girl he talks about, and she’s got everything that I have to live without… He’s the reason for the teardrops on my guitar, the only one who’s got enough of me to break my heart. He’s the song in the car I keep singing; don’t know why I do.”

"I'm in the room, it's a typical Tuesday night. I'm listening to the kind of music she doesn't like, and she'll never know your story like I do... 'Cause she wears short skirts; I wear t-shirts. She's cheer captain, and I'm the on the bleachers; dreaming 'bout the day when you wake up and find that what you're looking for has been here the whole time."

Walt Disney

“A dream is a wish your heart makes when you’re fast asleep.”

“No matter how your heart is grieving, if you keep on believing, the dream that you wish will come true!”

Miscellaneous Quotes:


"When you kiss your honey and your nose is runny, you may think it's funny, but it'snot."

Groucho Marx

“Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana!”

Murphy's Law
"The chance of the bread falling buttered side down is equally proportional to the cost of the carpet.”

Favorite Quotes from Famous People:

Abraham Lincoln

“It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open one’s mouth and remove all doubt.”

Albert Einstein

“Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I’m not sure about the universe.”

“The difference between genius and stupidity is; genius has its limits.”

Ben Franklin

“Well done is better than well said.”

“Hide not your talents, they for use were made. What’s a sundial in the shade?”

“We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately.”

Dale Carnegie

“Remember happiness doesn’t depend on who you are or what you have, it depends solely on what you think.”

Dorothy Parker

“The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity."

Eleanor Roosevelt

“Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is mystery. Today is a gift; that’s why we call it “the present.”

Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

“Well-behaved women rarely make history.”

Marilyn Monroe

“…sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together.”

Martin Luther King Jr.

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

Thomas Szasz

“Two wrongs don’t make a right, but they make a good excuse.”

Monday, July 11, 2011

Keep the Commandments

     Yesterday I had yet another eye opening lesson in church that lifted my spirits. It was about being a good person and trying to please God by obeying his commandments. That seems to be a major point of many Christian religions that deters people. Why would God restrict people so much if he sent us down here to make our own choices? Some people mockingly call it an oxymoron.

     But just think about it. How many tests have we had throughout our lives that have had certain simple rules to them? Some seem rather trivial, yet we don't question them. Don't write with a red pen, be prepared with your assigned homework next class period, and for goodness sake never forget your binder, lined paper, and plenty of pencils.

     Why then, when we so regularly follow ordinary rules, do we question what God asks of us? Commandments aren't in force to restrict us, and it never hurts to follow them. I know that I have a hard time following rules, countless times I've fallen below the standards that I've set for myself.

     The Parable of the Kite helped to remind me of how easy it can be to go astray, and how God with always help us despite our inconsistency in following his few rules.

The Parable of the Kite

There once lived a girl, so faithful and true,
With so much potential, so much she could do.
Her favorite past time was spent in the park-
Flying her kite, from dusk until dark.
Her father had built it, a bright, sturdy frame.
It seemed to hold up when the strong whirlwinds came.
It had a long tail, and what joy it could bring,
As it flew through the air, tightly held by the string.
Her father had warned her, to hold on quite tight,
The trial of the wind could put up a big fight.
This daughter grew restless, just watching it fly,
She wanted to see it soar deep in the sky.
One day she decided that it wasn't fair,
To punish this kite, and to hold back the air.
This kite deserved more than the same point of view,
If she just let it go, it could fly away too.
Because she was struggling- life was so hard,
She longed for the freedom to let down her guard.
Rules and commandments were causing such strife,
They just held her back, there was much more to life!
In just a brief instant, she cut off the string,
She took a deep breath as the air caught the wing.
It spiraled, it turned, and quite soon she had found
Her precious kite mangled and crushed on the ground.
She then heard her father, his voice calm and true,
My Child, these commandments are given FOR you
To help you and guide you and keep you in flight,
Just as the string has preserved your invaluable kite.
I love you. I need you. You're precious to me.
If you keep my commandments,
They help make you free!
Free to fly high, free from the sorrow,
Free to awake without guilt for tomorrow.
My daughter, please know that I'm sending my love,
I'll guide you; I'll hold you with strength from above.
As I hold your string, I won't let you down,
I promise, in heaven, that you'll get your crown!

Stacy Schofield Hair

On another side note, I believe it's also important to not be high and mighty about the way you live or what you believe. Sometimes it can be easy to be stuck-up and arrogant when you see how fortunate and blessed you are... Don't forget to spread your blessings to others.

"I dreamt I was a butterfly, or was I a butterfly dreaming..."

Lit wings
Awed, I reach out to her,

Diamond drops cascade down.

Pale shimmering;
Somehow she cannot see
Her Wings.

Entrancing; I lift her chin.
"With such wings you can fly!"
I try.

She wipes her tears.
Downcast wings start to

Enrapturing in her
Found Wings."

Tuesday, June 28, 2011


I ended up rewriting and creating a few poems today; although I prefer to put my poetry on my private blog, sometimes it's nice to share it. Some part of me feels as if poetry is just so personal. Reading a poets work is like stripping a writer down to her core and glimpsing the soul within.

Truth be told, I've never considered myself to be a great poet, even though writing poetry is one of my favorite hobbies. Lately I've been writing a lot more than usual


Do I Dare to Dream?

I now stand silently at a forked road,
But do I dare to Dream?
My sun-filled soul screams to be free,
My heardened heart whispers conformity.

But do I dare to Dream?
Still, the question gnaws at my fleeting hopes.
My heardened heart whispers conformity,
Wishing answers were as light as leaves.

Still, the question gnaws at my fleeting hopes;
My sun-filled soul screams to be free...
Wishing answers were as light as leaves,
I now stand silently at a forked road.


My Advice
Mind not the past, not a thing can change;
You are unique, don't think it's strange.

As often as ever give love to all;
Don't be rude, that may be your fall.
Vicarious living- steer clear away
I know only you can lead the way.
Calm yourself, don't let life pass by
Every piece of advice- a hypocritical try.


Mouths gasp in wonder-
mystical lights dance in tune,
breathless concourses wonder
As God creatures glow.
Brighter than cool, darkened nights-
Seas of fireflies ignite

(Free Verse)

It was bright Red,
My blush.
My jacket.
My racing, pacing blood.

It was Halloween night,
Supposedly scary.
Supposedly different.
Supposedly dating was easy.

It was my first date.
Just couldn’t wait.
Just teenage ‘”fate.”
Just Dad driving us, embarrassingly.

It was so fast.
We were unprepared.
We teenagers assumed our calm.
We were fearsome pirates for a night.

It was a dance.
Who remembers the songs?
Who saw our discomfort?
Who knew we were stifling our immaturity?

It was an awkwardly normal door.
Why the sudden silence?
Why the bashful hug?
Why the inwardly sung victory?

(Diminishing Hexaverse)

Fade to Night

When Day fades to Night,
Eyes give up their Plight.
Turning in Sweet Sleep;
Then, the Poet Dreams.
Banishing Logic.

Songs in the Dark,
Strolls through the Park.
Soar above Life,
Without a Strife.

Walk Alone.
Fly Free.
No Home.

Give in,
Dreams win.



Regained Memory

Gone, Diminish
Confusing, Forgetting, Regretting
Name of Kids, Place of Keys, Clear Sight, Lucid Mind
Encircling, Penetrating, Remembering
Vivid, Immense



Eyes enraptured enveloped
Toe touching toe
Hand holding hand
Mouth meeting mouth




Libra's Charm

A small speck of dirt on my floor
is worse to me than brutal war.
Gritty grime and nauseous noises;
ruin perfectly prime poises!

Once you're put together we'll talk,
I'll watch your details like a hawk.
Oh, us early birds get the worm;
if you are late, you'll make me squirm!

Foul bluntness never held my charm,
radicals cause so much alarm...
Life should be like a golden scale,
Beautiful balance never fails!

If you'd like to see more of my poetry click on the words in quotations "My Poetry on PoetrySoup" I hope you guys liked this post!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

The Man in the Glass

Recently I decided to create a graphic to depict my favorite poem. It's called "The Man in the Glass." by Dale Wimbrow

When you get what you want in your struggle for self
And the world makes you king for a day,
Just go to a mirror and look at yourself,
And see what that man has to say.

For it isn't your father or mother or wife,
Who judgment upon you must pass;
The fellow whose verdict counts most in your life
Is the one starring back from the glass.

He's the fellow to please, never mind all the rest.
For he's with you clear up to the end,
And you've passed the most dangerous, difficult test
If the man in the glass is your friend.

You may be like Jack Horner and "chisel" a plum,
And think you're a wonderful guy,
But the man in the glass says you're only a bum
If you can't look him straight in the eye.

You may fool the whole world down the pathway of years.
And get pats on the back as you pass,
But your final reward will be the heartaches and tears
If you've cheated the man in the glass.

Monday, May 30, 2011

This I Believe

     I believe that the colors brown and black clash terribly. It makes me cringe when my dad wears sandals with socks, and it makes me wince when boys brag about being able to fit into their sister’s pants. However, I believe even more in the idea that no matter what you choose to wear, that the most important thing is that you feel comfortable in those clothes. I believe that the greatest lesson for anyone to learn is how to be unashamed to be themselves whoever that self may be.

     I believe in the cognitive theory. I believe that the most important thing in a human’s life is the ability to think. There truly is nothing save thinking makes it so. Our thoughts influence how we interpret the world. What we think majorly influences how we face our personal challenges and goals in life. Whether these thoughts are positive or negative can impact everyone for good or ill. One person’s thoughts (or lack of) can change a world.

     I believe that there is no such thing as a perfect family. I believe that the family is a lot like playdough. Playdough is loved by everyone; it makes life a lot more bearable because it provides both fun and comfort to us. It comes in all forms, shapes, colors, and consistencies. If it isn’t loved and cared for, it will become hard and crusty, and if the playdough isn’t doing its best to stick together, it falls apart. Playdough can be formed into any assortment of figures; none of them are perfect; they are all different and artistic in its own sense.

     I believe more than anything that the world is a good place. I believe that hardships and tragedies can drive good people to do bad things or force them into unfortunate circumstances, and it is really sad. But I believe that it is important to try not to judge anyone no matter what they do or what they look like. Life is hard; all you can do is be good to everybody and try to imagine how their shoes feel.

     I believe that no matter how rough a situation is that people can transcend their circumstances and rise above the deck of cards they’ve been dealt. I don’t believe in chance; I believe that life is a masterfully crafted challenge that we can allow to make or brake us. I believe that we have an unlimited capacity to overcome obstacles and to succeed in life no matter what happens.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

I Know That Our Redeemer Can Help Us Overcome Fear

     At the beginning of this week, I was asked to give a talk on my favorite scripture or hymn... I laughed on Thursday when my favorite was mentioned in a talk by the New Stake president for seminary graduation. In this case, I hope that some things bear repeating.
     I’ve gained a testimony of the truth behind Doctrine and Covenants Chapter 6: 33-36 in my seminary class, these verses read:

“Fear not to do good, my sons [or daughters,] for whatsoever ye sow, that shall ye also reap; therefore if ye sow good ye shall also reap good for your reward.
Therefore, fear not, little flock; do good; let earth and hell combine against you, for if ye are built upon my rock, they cannot prevail.”
It goes on to finish:
“Look to me in every thought, doubt not, fear not.”

     I know what the word fear means through personal experience, but, I wanted to get a more “scholarly” translation for my talk than “the feeling we experience when we see an enormously gigantic spider crawling around on the walls of our lovely abodes.”

     According to the wizened Microsoft Word dictionary, fear is “an unpleasant feeling of anxiety or apprehension caused by the presence or anticipation of danger; an idea, thought, or other entity that causes feelings of fear; or a concern about something that threatens to bring bad news or results.

     The new graduates of the Bridgecreek Ward have much to fear. I feel confident in saying that I’m not the only one that’s felt afraid about the rise in tuition and the cost of living, or about majoring in something that will complete me or finding the right person for the same purpose. I’m not alone in being afraid to move away from my family and how it will feel to miss them and the amazing leaders and teachers that I’ve had here in this ward.

     But if there’s one thing that I know for sure, I know that I’ve had a class at Davis that has completed my experience as a high schooler and prepared me to face these fears, and that class was seminary. Seminary has taught me how to face my fears for the future head-on.

     Last year in seminary I was faced with a fear that I had never had in my life.

     Brother Burton asked me light-heartedly if I trusted the Lord. I firmly replied “yes...” He then asked me if I trusted him and the seminary class that the Lord had placed me into.

     Not really understanding what his questions were leading up to and feeling the heat of the stares of my fellow peers, I confusedly replied “yes” again without a thought. I was even more flabbergasted when he chuckled and asked me if I could prove my trust. With a knowing smirk, he took a blindfold out of his pocket and gestured for me to blindfold myself.

     It was then that I knew that he wasn’t asking for empty answers, he wanted solid evidence about my affirmations
“If anything bad happens to you, promise me that you won’t sue me?” he laughingly joked. I’m almost sure that my voice shook as I quietly replied that I’d take responsibility for my actions, no matter how crazy they might turn out to be with this whole blind-fold business. After I had tied a blindfold over my tightly clenched eyes, Brother Burton helped me step from a chair onto the top of my desk. The room was so silent you could hear a pin drop.

     A moment later, he calmly asked me to put my arms to my sides and fall backwards off of my desk.

     My heart beat faster; I knew full well the repercussions of falling straight back onto the hard floor from this height. If there was nothing there to catch me, it would definitely cause me pain. If there was nothing there to stop my fall, my back might break, which would not only hurt, it could potentially cause paralysis. Alright, it was only a few feet up, but I was a little afraid of being injured... But more prominent than my fear of injury, was my determination in proving that my words weren’t empty, I wanted to allow my faith and trust to overcome all my fears and worries. So without further ado, I fell backwards into the darkness, having no idea if I was going to have a soft landing. Needless to say, I am still happily intact.

     I have a testimony that if we are exercise courage and are unafraid to look for the good things in life like the gospel and seminary, that we shall all “reap” rewards greater than we can possibly imagine.
There is much to fear out there in the world, but with the knowledge that we as members of this Ward of people who have a love of the gospel and our Savior; I know that we can overcome any fears that we may have. “Let Earth and Hell combine against you, for if ye are built upon my rock, they cannot prevail.”

     In church we constantly joke about the typical “seminary answers:” read your scriptures, pray, go to the temple, keep the commandments, etc. etc. Sometimes we fail to recognize how important they are. Earth: aka the modern media, the radio, our friends who encourage us to follow all of these demeaning “fads” that mock who we are and what we stand for, and Hell, a whole third of the host of heaven is pitted against us solely for the purpose of scorning the faith that we cling to, are both currently combined against you, and they would love to destroy you.

     Yet, if we are built upon this little rock, these simple little seminary answers, prayer, scripture study, visiting the temple, keeping the commandments; Earth and Hell cannot prevail.

     I’d like to finish by reading the second verse of my favorite hymn.

     I Know that My Redeemer Lives
“He lives to grant me rich supply. He lives to guide me with his eye. He lives to comfort me when faint. He lives to hear my soul’s complaint. He lives to silence all my fears. He lives to wipe away my tears. He lives to calm my troubled heart. He lives all blessings to impart.”

     I personally know, with all of the bones in my body no matter how short they may be that our Redeemer lives. He loves me, he loves you, and if you will follow him and put all of your trust in him that he will not only wipe away your tears, that he will help to erase all of your fears. Have faith in him, have charity for others, and have a hope in the future that he has lovingly provided you with. I proclaim these truths to you in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Endings and Beginnings

     This has been a crazy month; honestly, the last three years have been crazy in and of themselves. It's hard for me to believe that I'm about to move on in life and graduate from high school. This post isn't going to be very entertaining or beautifully symbolic, but I believe that the things that have been happening in my life are worth a little lamentation and reminiscing.

     The month of May really has been a month of beginnings and endings for me. I've been brought to tears for multiple reasons; it was really stressful with AP tests coming on, the usual friend troubles, and thinking about going away to college college. It's hard to believe that in less than three months I will be moving out of my house and away from my family. But luckily most of my tears have been out of happiness, and I've thanked God every day for my fun life, because things are turning around. Admittedly someone who didn't know me very well could easily think that I've been developing a bipolar disorder with all these ups and downs.

     I grinned as I put my pen down after my final ap test (which was English language.) Somehow at the end of the test, my packet managed to have eleven pages worth of essays scrawled inside, ready to be sent out east and graded for potential college credit. The very last ap test that I'll ever have to worry for in my life is over.

     I grinned again several times as I played in my last soccer game; recreation soccer has been the most consistent sport in my life since Kindergarten, and now it's over for good. Soccer has been such a motivator for me to be active physically. My coaches have been amazing, it's crazy to think that I will most likely never play my favorite sport on an organized team again. Not only am I through with soccer playing, but I've also reffed soccer for the past three years; now soccer season is officially over I will never have to ref another soccer game in my life! No worrying about whether or not I make the right calls, no more worrying about parents complaining, no more worrying about coaches screaming in my face, no more worrying about the more snobbish kids getting angry at me. It's a truly amazing feeling of accomplishment and freedom that I've felt these past twenty four hours since my last reffed game!

     It's been an amazing beginning. Now I have new friends and my first boyfriend ever. Now I'm packing up my room to move away for the first time. There are so many new beginnings! I'm beginning a new life filled with more happiness than I've ever had before. I am so excited for life, it is truly going to be a good run. Through it all I'll remember my hard-working past, the good times, as well as the bad times so that I can progress and learn even more.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

A.P. English Literature

     I haven't posted a blog post in a little over a month. Fortunately, I can't attribute this to personal laziness. Lately I've become totally consumed with studying for my three AP tests this month: AP Psychology, AP English Literature, and last but not least, AP English Language.
Although I haven't posted much writing on my blog, practice essays have become a ritual of my daily life for the past week.
Yesterday I timed myself to a random poem prompt for the literature test; it took me a half an hour to dissect two poems and scribble my own piece of mind on the paper.
I'm going to type out the two poems that the essay was written about, along with the instructions and my own essay in the hopes that it might some other struggling souls going through AP English Lit or Language.

Total time--2 hours

Question 1
(Suggested time--40 minutes. This question counts as one-third of the total essay section score.)

Carefully read the two poems below. Then in a well-organized essay compare the speakers' reflections on their early morning surroundings and analyze the techniques the poets use to communicate the speakers' different states of mind.

Poem 1:

Five A.M.

Still dark, the early morning breathes
a soft sound above the fire. Hooded
lights on porches lead past lawns,
a hedge; I pass the house of the couple
who have the baby, the yard with the little
dog; my feet pad and grit on the pavement, flicker
past streetlights; my arms alternate
easily to my pace. Where are my troubles?

There are people in every country who never
turn into killers, saints have built
sanctuaries on islands and in valleys,
conquerors have quit and gone home, for thousands
of years farmers have worked their fields.
My feet begin the uphill curve
where a thicket spills with birds every spring.
The air doesn't stir. Rain touches my face.

Poem 2:

Five Flights Up

Still dark
The unknown bird sits on his usual branch.
The little dog next door barks in his sleep
inquiringly, just once.
Perhaps in his sleep, too, the bird inquires
once or twice, quavering.
Questions--if that is what they are--
answered directly, simply,
by day itself.

Enormous morning, ponderous, meticulous;
gray light streaking each bare branch,
each single twig, along one side,
making another tree, of glassy veins...
The bird still sits there. Now he seems to yawn.

The little black dog runs in his yard.
His owner's voice arises, stern,
"You ought to be ashamed!"
What has he done?
He bounces cheerfully up and down;
he rushes in circles in the fallen leaves.

Obviously, he has no sense of shame.
He and the bird know everything is answered,
all taken care of,
no need to ask again.
--Yesterday brought to today so lightly!
(A yesterday I find almost impossible to lift.)

2005 Free Response- Poetry

In "Five A.M." and "Five Flights Up" the respective poets allude to their own interpretations pertaining to the dawning of a new day. "Five A.M." is a flowing and metaphorical description that interprets the mysteries of allusions from the past, signifying that every day is a mystery to be embedded into the past. However, Five Flight up is a more literal interpretation. The poet uses broken enjambment and colloquial language to create a portrait of a less interpretive world as the poem explores how mornings begin, which in turn, complements a more modern state of mind.

In Five A.M., the poet uses personification to make his interpretation of the world come to life. "The early morning breathes a soft sound..." and "Rain touches my face." Not only create a tone for figurative interpretation, but also appeal to the senses of not only sight, but touch and sound as well. The poet creates rhythmic meter with long sentences with little to no breaks in between lines. This flow adds to the effect and tone of the mysterious allusions portrayed in the second stanza. The poet communicates a state of mind in which he or she views every morning as a scene of beauty, mystery, and unanswered questions as the author is enveloped in eloquent natural surroundings.

In the poem "Five Flights Up", the poet conveys the morning as a literal happenstance that is easily observed and can be described substantially with little to doubt or question. "Questions- if that is what they are-// answered directly, simply, by day itself." The poet then proceeds to use adjectives to describe how the morning appears to the world. Using enjambment, the poet creates a sense of blunt description, leaving the impression that like the poem's sentences, a morning lacks any eminent complexity and can be interpreted with little awe or wonderment.

"Five A.M." is a masterpiece communicating a mystery, surrounded by the dawn of a new day, defined by the personification of Earth's elements, complemented by flowing parallel syntax, and completed with allusions tracing back to the history of former mornings. "Five Flights Up" is a literal interpretation of a morning that is self-explanatory and presents itself bluntly through the use of juxtaposition, visual imagery and modern language that conveys the morning as a predictable, direct, and simple element to the every day flow of a provincial life.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Making Graphics

     I've never really talked about this obsession, but it's just a little quirk about me that most people don't even know about. I absolutely love designing things whether it be pixelizing people's faces in paint, playing around with pictures, or illustrating graphics on the computer; I just can't get enough of it. It's about time that my latest piece of work is posted onto this blog. At first my graphics weren't that great, they're still not because I'm honestly not a natural, but hard-work and persistence has increased my skills in designing!

     The graphic that I'm posting was one that I made for a Digital Media Festival at my school. It's titled "Mask of the world."

     The face of the Earth is becoming split between man-made technology and the beauty of nature. They can both be beautiful in and of themselves, but they are still very different aspects of what make up our world

Monday, March 7, 2011

Vietnam Wall

     The black wall reflected my white-washed skin, disheveled jacket, and loosely lopsided glasses that hung limply on my face like they had since elementary school. The smooth memorial seemed to stretch longer than death itself as I contemplated the list of names that had been etched into it.

     Memories raced through my mind, outlined by the dense rainforest battleground that reverberated with exploding artillery. I saw several comrades falling to the ground around me, visibly wounded. Others didn’t move a muscle. “Playing dead,” I forced myself to believe, trying to dam the tide of fear and panic that sent ripples of pain through my sinking heart.
“Will, help!" a young and bloodied soldier called to me through garbled groans. A hand gruffly grabbed my shoulder; I turned and met my commander’s steely grey eyes,
“We won’t survive with extra baggage, soldier. Retreat to the copter, now!” He hollered hollowly, his bruised and trembling mouth betraying his truly sorrowful regret.

     I pondered quietly: Die a hero? Or forever regret living? Without a second's hesitation, I hoisted Gabe onto my right shoulder; he seemed light, until I wrapped my other arm around my friend Jesse’s waist and hoisted him over the left. It was less than an hour later that I died from bullet wounds, after carrying them to safety.

     For a single moment, I thought I’d seen my own reflection in the teary-eyed man reading my name. All that I am now is a reflection embedded into the dark granite wall.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Gender Roles

     "Heaven help the American-born boy with a talent for ballet" said Camille Pagila, an American author and active feminist. This statement rings true for many who try to reach outside the bounds of normal acceptance, especially pertaining to gender conformity. As a whole, the American society expects both males and females to conform to certain roles in life based solely on gender. Less than a hundred years ago, it was unexceptable for girls to wear regular every day pants, and it was less than fifty years ago that an equal rights amendment between the two sexes was turned down. It is true in many aspects that men and women, no matter how capable and talented think and act differently from each other. Although we are all similar in our needs and the want to feel included, we communicate these wants in different ways: men tend to be more competitive, women are more articulate in detail oriented tasks, and men tend to be more interested in giving advice than in giving empathy.

     "... men's talk is more instrumental, competitive, and focused on "the bottom line." (Johnsetal 75) Boys are more engaged when they play games with set rules and less talk, this associates why men generally seem to be more interested in playing both sports and video games than their female counterparts. Women would much rather be able to communicate with each other in many different activities with their friends and why they would rather chat than becoming completely engaged in one task for hours on end. Men enjoy competitive environments where they can test their skills and prove themselves to their peers, whereas women would rather not belittle anyone who may not be as skilled as them at a task. As a general rule, girls tend to tease and make fun of fellow girls for their shortcomings in competitive areas rather than trying to physically show each other up.

     The difference between boy and girl competitiveness has been evident to me personally from an early age. It was much more common in Elementary to see boys challenging each other to races and getting holes and grass stains on their pants from competitive sports than girls. Girls can be fantastic competitors and have proven themselves to be highly capable of great physical feats, however, when they compete they generally do it to satisfy their own wants and goals. I go to the gym a few times a week, and I know from experience that men will lift more weight if they know somebody else is watching them, especially if that someone else is a female. They feel the urge to prove that they are capable. Women are a lot less likely to flex and show off their weight lifting abilities when men are watching them, because they don't want to appear manly. Men tend to be more blatant in showing off and competing, while women are more conservative and intrinsically motivated when it comes to competition.

     Women tend to be more detail oriented than men in many aspects. When it comes to planning. They tend to like laid out written plans, which in turn work as a sort of calendar or schedule. Men generally leave their time more open and are less likely to be offended if someone invites them to an activity at the last minute. Women enjoy it when their houses are decorated and color coordinated, while men, though appreciative of nice homes, tend to be more likely to care about having home improvements such as a big screen t.v. and a nice car rather than having pictures, paintings, and flower arrangements.

     My family is generally busy, and we get a lot of phone calls. I've become quite talented in telling whether it is a male of female on the other line based solely on the length of the conversations. Women like to make sure that everything is in balance emotionally and well sorted out. Men quickly convey what needs to be said, and its surprising how few details they try to remember about their other male friends. My friend Jim was teasing me about how he's a month and a half older than me. After three years and after determining that we had become 'best friends,' he had forgotten that my birthday was in fact only two weeks after his. I asked him in  good humor what the date of my birthday was, and was not surprised surprised to learn that he had forgotten even after being invited to my past three birthday celebrations. When it comes to details such as remembering birthdays, anniversaries, and little details like favorite colors, women are much more sensitive in trying to remember every detail. Guys on the other hand have a tendency to remember major details and points that they see as most significant in their relationships.

     Oftentimes men seem a lot less surprised after hearing gossip, they easily accept information and strive to find out why there is a problem and fix it. Girls are stereotyped as dramatic, because many times rather than trying to fix a problem, they will tell others what they have heard to increase bonding. Unfortunately that usually spreads the problem to more people rather than solving it. Girls would rather talk through things until they feel comforted about it, unlike guys who don't feel a sense of closure to problems through talking alone, they like to make sure that everyone involved is okay and see a final resolution to any conflict.

     An example of this is when I talk to my dad about relationship problems and ask his opinion about it. He has a tendency to tell me to move on or apologize to a guy that I've been having issues with. He never empathizes with how horrible I may feel in any given situation, and he never compares my situation to relationship problems that he might have had in high school. He sees the big picture and suggests ways that could resolve or end the conflict. My mom on the other hand offers me lots of advice, relates to me, tells me to go with what I feel is best, and tries to prevent my feelings from becoming more hurt than they already are. My dad is successful in helping me solve problems, while my mom is successful in making me feel better about how I handled problems.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Becoming a Young Woman

     Last week, Bishop Erickson asked me to give a talk on how Young Women’s has influenced me as a person. The young women’s program is specially designed to help teach girls going through the tough teenage years that they are divine spirit daughters of a loving Heavenly Father.
As I’ve worked on Personal Progress, I’ve learned to apply the eight Young Women values in my life.
       The first lesson I learned was to always have Faith. “In Alma 32: 21 it states: “Faith is not to have a perfect knowledge of things; therefore if ye have faith, ye hope for things which are not seen, which are true.” Having faith is to have a belief or trust in something, especially when there is no visual evidence that it is true. Faith also includes having a positive outlook and hope for the future, no matter what trials may cross our paths. Despite my few personal trials, I’ve been able to gain more faith in the young women’s program through prayer and scripture reading. Even though I haven’t seen a heavenly being with my own eyes, I have faith that there is a Father in Heaven that loves us and looks out for us. I know for myself that every trial we successfully face will be replaced in the next life with blessings that are totally worth it.
  The second lesson I learned was to recognize the divine qualities that I’ve inherited from my Father and Mother in Heaven. It’s much easier to become a better person when you grasp the fact that a royal system is still in force, even though we currently live in a free country. I’ve come to learn that everybody has divine and royal qualities passed down to them by our Heavenly Father, because he is our father and our king. How much better would we treat people if we always remembered that all women are literally princesses and all men princes? That is a question that I now aim to remind myself on a regular basis.

     The third lesson, closely linked to Divine Nature, was to realize my own individual worth. D&C 18: 10 reads, “Remember the worth of souls is great in the sight of God.” That scripture isn’t just to remind us of everyone else’s worth; it’s also meant to remind us of our own. By building up each other’s sense of worth, we learn to increase our own, to the point where we can understand that we each have different gifts and divine missions to work on and fulfill.
 The fourth lesson I learned was to continually acquire knowledge. Knowledge is information, facts, ideas, truths, and principles. As I’ve increased my learning over the years, the way that I see things has changed. When we do our best to gain knowledge, we learn to see problems creatively and understand other people’s points of view. A large part of what we learn is through observation and experience, and it is up to us to utilize our past experiences to better understand each other and the world. Knowledge gives us open minds, and the young women’s program has taught me a lot and helped changed my life for the better.
     The fifth lesson I learned was to try to make the best choices and be accountable for my decisions. The opportunity to choose for ourselves and have agency was the whole purpose of Heavenly Father’s plan. The Strength of Youth pamphlet teaches everything that we need to know about choosing the right: “Wrong choices delay your progression and lead to heartache and misery. Right choices lead to happiness and eternal life. That is why it is so important for you to choose what is right throughout your life… You should not blame your circumstances, your family, or your friends if you choose to disobey God’s commandments. You are a child of God with great strength. You have the ability to choose righteousness and happiness no matter what your circumstances.” I am by no means perfect, and I don’t pretend to be. However, I’ve learned through experience that making bad decisions makes me feel horrible and guilty. I’ve gained a testimony in young women’s that the best way to live life is by doing our best to be good to others.
     The sixth lesson I learned was to help others through good works. Jesus Christ’s whole life was devoted to selfless service. We had a lot of service projects over the six years that I was in young women’s; we caroled to the elderly, delivered treats to families in need, distributed food to the homeless at a soup kitchen, gathered and sorted canned food on multiple occasions, held a few carnivals for the Christmas Box Children, and didn’t even scratch the surface on all the service that Jesus Christ did. Young women’s taught me how important it is to follow Christ’s example. Little acts of service go a long way, and as you donate your time to serving those around you, you’ll become more like Him.
   The seventh lesson I learned was to have integrity. From a good teacher of mine, I learned the difference between honesty and integrity: “Honesty is saying what you’ll do; integrity is doing what you say.” Integrity in the dictionary is defined as ‘the quality of possessing and steadfastly adhering to high moral principles or standards.’ By trying my best to be honest, I’ve not only become a better person, I’ve gained the trust of friends and family.

   The final lesson was to become virtuous. When you are patient, pure, and virtuous, you invite the spirit into your life. Virtue permits us to appreciate and understand the value of the lives that we can create, and it also helps us to prepare ourselves to be worthy to take the sacrament and enter the temple. Through virtue, I have learned how important it is to be sealed to my future family in the temple.
    The young women values have and will help me to improve myself, and I am so grateful for the opportunities that the program has given me. My leaders were incredible, and I can’t thank them enough for helping me gain a strong testimony of the truthfulness of the gospel. I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Goodbye 2010

     In the cheerfully said words of Albus Dumbledore, I can honestly quote:
"Another year... Gone!"
This past year has had many, many twists and turns. All these years I've scoffed when people have told me that life is a rollercoaster. It’s just never really seemed like that to me. It’s been a calm rowboat ride across a peaceful river up until this year. However, that was then; this is now.
I've been mercilessly shoved into the world's craziest roller coaster ride. There are no stops and there is no turning back. The ride started in January. The coaster started ominously slow. As the ride began, all I could see was a dark tunnel up ahead. Yet somehow, my mind reassured itself.
Don't all roller coasters always start the same way? They clank loudly as they are cranked to the top, just before the first plunge.

     But not my roller coaster. January was a crazy blur, as a new semester rolled around the bend. My family faced unbelievable stress as my grandparents lost their house and moved in with us. They weren't happy to lose their house, and we weren't happy that they bickered about it. Lessons learned: don't buy more than you can afford, treat everyone lovingly no matter how upset you are, marry the man (or woman) of your dreams, and prepare for the future while you're young!

     February was one of the months where I did some upward corkscrews that gave me butterflies. I gritted my teeth and focused on school rather than on family problems. My dad could see that the super glue holding me together was wearing off. So, he did something that I didn't expect. He decided to take me on a dad and daughter vacation. His work paid for free Nascar tickets, and so we traveled to Las Vegas. There, we cheered in unison for Dale Earnheart Jr. and Danika Patrick. It was hard to believe how fast their cars zoomed by on the track. Sure, there were lots of hicks there doing really weird things (like setting up their living room couches and TV’s in parking spaces,) but hey, there was no denying how cool the races themselves were. Lesson learned: take a vacation if you're overworked and overly-stressed, and too much stress is never healthy.

     Near the end of that month, I swallowed my doubts and asked a boy that I had liked for six years to go to the girls' choice Sadie's dance with me. It made me so nervous that I was shaking when my brother doorbell ditched the clever contraption for asking him. Lessons learned: do what you're afraid to do; many times the rewards are greater than the risks, respect guys, because surprisingly, there are few gentlemen out there that are worth my time.

     March was kind of a plunge in the love department. There was a lot of pressure from everyone to break things off with a guy that I had really liked for a long time. It was really difficult, because he was my best friend at the time. Not only that, but I knew that once I had made the decision that there would be no turning back. So I made the decision for him and drove on. Lessons learned: your friends will rarely appreciate you when you take it upon yourself to do what’s best for them, making the right decision is often the hardest decision that you’ll make, and sometimes doing the right thing pays off much later.

     Isn’t that how life is? Sometimes we have to feel sad and alone, otherwise we'd never appreciate the friends who truly love us and stick by us. Happiness could never be happiness if it was how we felt all the time. Life is a roller-coaster, there are ups and downs. When we're at the top, we see the whole world laid out before us, and we know that it is the most beautiful place ever created. The blue sky stretches on forever and the sun gleams like the outline of heaven, enlightening us and helping us to see things for how they are. And when we're plummeting down the roller coaster, we become afraid and wonder if we'll be able to pull ourselves up before the crash. When we're down, we learn from our mistakes and we do our best to find more ways to pull ourselves out again.

     Honestly, there were a lot more interesting stories and mistakes that I made this year. With the recurring question- should I follow, my mind, or my heart? I've come to find that there's no good answer for that

For now, I’m not going to talk about the negative things that have happened. That’s not the point of blogging. It’s been my goal to maintain a positive tone and voice as I journalize my life’s story. Squeezing out a few smiles and laughs has been my main goal along the way... And that's why I haven't written anything for two months. There hasn’t been much good to report. Despite how quiet things have been around here, I have a feeling that there will be more to talk about in months to come.

     As for the more positive side of 2010, my family has had many adventures. Over the course of this year, we’ve been to Oahu, Florida, Yellowstone, Portland, and Las Vegas. In less than twelve months, we’ve been able to see more things than most people are able to see in a lifetime.

     Personally, I’ve had the fortune of being able to snorkel with adorable sea turtles, had great luck in making new groups of friends out of people that I never would have seen coming, and best of all, I was able to be there for my sister when she had her baby.

     All around me this roller coaster is changing, and many times it’s changed for the worse… Yet I can’t help but see these miracles happening every day. Miracles that would challenge even the most negative things those news men have the audacity to condemn our futures with on TV.

     Though it's true that life’s roller coaster is a trial and a test, it is also a gift and a miracle. Have faith, have hope, and have charity, but most of all, cherish life as it is. Don’t let it slip away from you, and don't ever ever weigh yourself down with regret. We have one chance at life, live it to the fullest. Be different, make a difference, and let this New Year be better than the last.