Saturday, January 28, 2012

My Life in Song

Everyone has seen the chain email that is a "life soundtrack" thing. You set your music player on shuffle, and whatever it comes up with is a song that represents a certain aspect of your life. This can sometimes be really funny. Still, yesterday I had a moment. I was walking into troupe through the parking lot. The sun was shining and it was an excellent 60-something degrees. I was happy, and listening to a certain song. It matched the moment PERFECTLY.  If I had been in a movie, that song would've been playing at that moment. Amazing.

It got me thinking: if my life was a movie, what would be on the soundtrack? I have some ideas.

1. Thousand Miles - Vanessa Carlton
2. Plant Life - Owl City
3. Rain - MIKA
4. Helena Beat - Foster the People
5. Drops of Jupiter - Train
6. Sort Of - Ingrid Michaelson
7. Chasing Cars - Snow Patrol
8. You Belong With Me - Taylor Swift
9. Good Life - (Originally by OneRepublic) Alex Goot
10. Fireflies - Owl City
11. Animal - Neon Trees
12. Hey, Soul Sister - Train
13. Somewhere Only We Know - Keane
14. We Are Young - MIKA & RedOne
15. Stuck Like Glue - Sugarland
16. Lift Me Up - The Afters
17. Happily Ever After - He is We
18. Paradise - Coldplay
19. By Your Side - Tenth Avenue North
20. Sunburn - Owl City
21. Everybody Wants to Rule the World - Tears for Fears
22. Safety Dance - (Original) Men Without Hats or Glee Cast cover
23. Girls Just Wanna Have Fun - Cindi Lauper
24. Skip to the Good Part - He is We
25. Enchanted - Taylor Swift
26. Through Being Cool - (Original) Devo or They Might Be Giants cover
27. Strip Me - Natasha Bedingfield
28. Firework - Katy Perry
29. Give Me Your Eyes - Brandon Heath
30. Waste - Foster the People
31. Emmylou - First Aid Kit
32. We Are Gonna Be Friends - (Original) The White Strips or Bright Eyes cover Feat. First Aid Kit
33. Wouldn't It Be Nice - The Beach Boys
34. Lucky (feat. Colbie Caillet) - Jason Mraz
35. River Flows in You - Yiruma

There are some embarrassing songs, some I proudly declare that I adore. It was really interesting to go through my music and pick 35 songs that I felt represented my life. It was funny to see the many different styles that appeared on this list. I would go through and explain each song, but it's a little personal. I'm sure that most of you who know me well already know why these songs are here.

Peace from the East,

Monday, January 23, 2012

Getting What You Want... Wait, Actually??

The problem with life is that sometimes you don't get what you want.

But everyone knows that.

Sometimes, when people want something, it is assumed that it is "too good to be true", and it gets taken away. People just subconsciously expect it. It stinks, but I don't think that that's the REAL issue here.

The actual problem with life is that sometimes you get exactly what you want, and you can't believe it.

It's like "Wait, what?"

I am extremely religious. I believe in a loving God, Who knows me as an individual and knows what's best for me. He loves me. I am His daughter. He wants me to return to live with Him. I try to live my life according to His guidance for me, given through prophets and personal revelation. When I'm making a major decision, I work it out in my head or I talk it through aloud,  and when I come to my conclusion, I pray about it. When something's wrong, I'll know. I feel sick to my stomach, and I get confused and angsty about everything. I can't make up my mind. When something's right, however, I feel confident about my choice, and sometimes I'll get a strong positive feeling.

I have a situation that I've prayed about. It's one that seems to go against every sensible thought in me. It is totally something that I would otherwise think of as childish and unlikely of leading to much positive in the long-run. BUT. I want it REEEEALLY badly. I want this to work. Like I said, I've prayed about it often. It's been something that I would assume would be a "Forget about it. You know that it's not good for you right now" kind of answer, just because generally, that's the answer for this. But I keep getting "You're fine. This is good. You are supposed to pursue this." I kind of can't believe it. Now, I don't want to keep asking, because eventually God will be all "FINE! I'll take it from you if that's what you want." But I HAVE to be sure this is right. I don't want to confuse my desire for this with the Spirit confirming it for me. Still, I am getting more and more confident every day. I am being to realize that, yes, this is for me. It's pretty intense.

It got me thinking though. The attitude we approach Heavenly Father with when we ask for instruction is essential to the answer we receive. I was going into this looking for the "no" answer. I thought it was "too good to be true," "It happens to people, but not me. I mean, why would it? I'm not special," "This goes against my plans!" (I think the last one was a biggie. I have my plans, and why would anything stray from MY MASTER PLAN?! Oh wait, because it's God, and He's God. He knows everything.) I guess when we want things so badly, but we are willing to give them up if that is what is best for everyone allows us to be more perceptive than we otherwise would be. Example of me doing the opposite: summer before freshman year, I wanted to go to EFY at BYU. I would miss my Girls Camp, but I didn't really care. It was Brigham Young University! I made all my plans, and then... Everytime I time I thought about it, I felt sick. But I WANTED IT! It was EFY! Isn't that a good thing? Well, after much turmoil, God won, and I ended up going to EFY in Virginia with some girlfriends of mine. One would not have gone if I had gone to BYU. She later said that her testimony was struggling, and that EFY is what strengthened her. It was one of those facepalm moments for me. Of course, Heavenly Father knows better than I do what I can do as an individual. I didn't save my friend. It was between her and her Father in Heaven. I just was a way of moving her to the place she needed to be.

I wish I could be submissive and humble all the time. I love being able to know what my Father would have me do and become. It's hard though. That's a reason why we're here - to work on self mastery.

I want to just say before I close that I am SO thankful to my Heavenly Father for, well, everything. I am grateful for the opportunities I have been given to learn and become more. Right now, I am extremely grateful for the fact that I have been given a blessing that I never would have imagined receiving now. (I feel kind of like I cheated the system. "AHAHAHAHA - I win.") In all seriousness, I really am grateful. Now, the real work begins. I get to enjoy the blessing, but I have to work to keep it. I am still just SO THANKFUL. I am so excited. You have no idea how excited I am. I love my Father in Heaven.

Wow. I am so lucky.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

The Physical Touch Love Language: Misunderstood

Let me start out by saying that my love language gets a lot of grief- Especially from teenagers. So, let me make something VERY clear: THIS DOES NOT HAVE TO DO WITH THE BEDROOM. Thank you.

The love language theory has five "languages" that people use to express and perceive love in their relationships with others. They are gifts, words of affirmation, quality time, acts of service, and physical touch. One isn't better than another, they're just different. Knowledge of the love language theory has definitely proved helpful to me in my relationships with family and friends. I know that I need to let Friend A know that I love her by giving her a present that I made, while Friend B needs to go to lunch, just the two of us. I want to talk a little bit about my love language and what it means to my fellow "touchies", to clear up any misunderstandings about us.

1. We like hugs.
It's been said that humans need seven hugs a day to remain healthy. Hugs are a way to show someone that they are protected and supported. Do not, EVER, force a hug on someone that is not showing interest. It's just as violating as having someone breathe down your neck from 2 inches away. If you aren't a touchy, but have touchy friends/family, try to accommodate a little and give a relaxed but stable hug. You're sending a message to your touchy friend who will read into your hug (without trying to). Hugs that are too tight are smothering, while hugs that are stiff are insincere. A hug that is barely there (or done from 3 feet apart), is again showing that you don't really want to be touching this person. Nothing hurts more than having a good friend tense up when you give them a hug. You are expressing something to your touchy friend when you hug them that is more effective than saying it out loud: I'm here for you/I'm sorry this happened/I love you/ I don't want you to go/You make me happy/I trust you/I'm scared/I'm worried/I'm proud of you/I'm so grateful for you. I've given and received these messages through hugs before.

2. High fives are great.
It's a simple way of showing friendship without the intensity of a hug. If a notorious touchy gives you a high five instead of a hug, don't be offended. Remember, hugs mean a lot to a touchy. High fives do too. It's a way of saying "Great job!" or "That was awesome".

3. Hand holding is a bit tricky.
It's a way to show anything from friendship to romantic commitment. This is where touchies split a little, which makes things very confusing for both us, and everyone else. There are some touchies who will want to hold hands with everyone. They just see it as another way to show friendship (like a high five). For me, I link hand holding with a deeper friendship. I will only hold hands with girlfriends I'm really close to, and guys, well, I will not hold a guy's hand unless I really feel like I'm interested in him. I equate hand holding with "I respect and trust you, and really enjoy spending time with you." It is something special to me. You can tell exactly what someone, guy or girl, is thinking by the way they hold your hand, and it is a special way to connect with a friend.

4. Face touching.
I have some friends who get really creeped out when someone touches their face. DON'T. If you are close friends with a touchy, this is a way that they show that they really care about you. I'm not talking necessarily about a long, lingering caress, but maybe a pat on the cheek. It's again a sign of affection and friendship.

5. Arms around the shoulder.
....Are excellent. They are extremely comforting, and always make me feel safe. I love holding people. If they need to cry, I love to hold them. If I need to cry, I want someone to hold me. All I need is an arm around the shoulder, and life is better. It's sweet and innocent, and just.... Well, love.

This love language website had an article on the physical touch love language:

"Disappointments are a part of life. The most important thing you can a time of crisis is to love. If her primary love language is physical touch, nothing is more important than holding her as she cries. Your words may mean little, but your physical touch will communicate that you care. In a time of crisis, a hug is worth more than a thousand words. Physical touch is a powerful love language" (

6. Poking, teasing, etc.
Sometimes, this is ok. If you are good friends and your touchy friend does these things to you, it's like tiger cubs "fighting" their siblings. But if there is any, and I mean ANY, tension in your relationship at the time, do not, and I mean DO NOT EVER, physically "fight" someone. It will hurt their feelings far more than any insulting words could. It is the WORST thing you could do. I have had times when I will have to sit by myself for a while to emotionally recover from a "fight". No harsh words are spoken, and there probably won't be bruises, but there can be lasting consequences that will last longer and hurt deeper than a bruise. The words "I love you" are empty if someone just took their anger out on you. DON'T EVER PLAY-FIGHT A TOUCHY IF YOU HAVE FRUSTRATION WITH THEM. It is abuse. They feel the anger.

5. Pushing, shoving, etc.
A physical touch speaker will feel literally "cast off" if you push them. I once was dancing with a young man at a church dance. He was a good friend of mine, but we had been a little more distant than normal. We laughed and joked during the dance, and had fun talking, but at the end, he pushed me away from him. He was totally joking, but it HURT. Again, it wasn't physical pain, but it was not nice. DON'T EVER PUSH A TOUCHY. End of story.

6. Hitting, slapping, lack of touching, etc.
This is serious. This is abuse. A rule to live by: Don't hit anyone. But this is especially true for a touchy. Please don't ever take your anger out by hitting or slapping. It is a horrible thing that makes physical touch speakers feel worthless. Now, you may have noticed that I placed "lack of touching" on the same level as domestic violence. I did that completely on purpose. It is the same thing. If you avoid touching your touchy loved one, they will feel the same way as if you hit them. Think about that.

I hope that this makes things a little less confusing for you. Don't freak out and think that every time you hug a friend that they're going to think you're in love with them. That is false. It's just that now, when a friend is having a bad day or has some great news, give them a hug or put your arm around them. When you're watching a movie with a friend, don't move to the other side of the couch. Sometimes just sitting next to them will make them feel loved. Some people don't like touching others. Tough cookies. If you want to have a relationship/friendship with a physical touch speaker, you're going to have to open up a little. If they are a good friend, they will return the favor and try to show you love through not only PT but through yours as well. (i.e. My best friend is words of affirmation. Throughout the years, I have gotten better at telling him with words that I value his friendship and how awesome I think he is or at knowing what to say in a time of crisis, and he has gotten better at knowing when I need a hug or a high five, or if I need some space. It is great to have that kind of transition, and it has been great for our friendship. We have been best friends for ages, and it looks like it's not going to change anytime soon.)

Be careful with this though. There can be people that claim to be PT, but use it as an excuse to be careless in their actions. A true PT will NOT want to just touch everyone, but only people that mean something to them. (Unless there are deeper emotional problems going on.) Don't lose control. PT is a totally sweet, innocent, and beautiful love language that has been corrupted by teenage hormones and adult stupidity, to put it bluntly. I hope and pray that everyone will get the love they need in a way that they understand. This is my primary way. (My secondary language is quality time, but we'll talk about that later.) I can relate with the babies in the Russian orphanages who died because they never were held. I hope everyone can be sensitive to each other and that we will express our feelings and openly communicate with our loved ones.

Here is the Love Language Test. I encourage you to take it and to think about what love language you and your loved ones are. It helps relationships so much.

Peace from the East,

Thursday, January 12, 2012

The Lullaby of Broadway

In my life, there are times when I catch in the silence the sigh of a far away song, and it sings of a world that I long to see. I see a mountain and I want to climb it. I see a river and I want to explore. I think I'll try defying gravity, and you can't pull me down.

No canary in a cage for me! This canary's ready to fly free! I'm gonna wash that man right outta my hair. Forget about the boy! I'm gonna wave that man right outta my hair. If that's love it comes at much too high a cost. I don't think you even know what you're looking for. So for my own sanity, I've got to close the door, and walk away. Old man sunshine, listen you! Don't ever tell me dreams come true... Too many years fighting back tears, Watching older dreams grow dim. This was nearly mine. No, no, they can't take that away from me. But, I'll never have the moon.

Five hundred, twenty-five thousand, six hundred minutes. Five hundred, twenty-five thousand moments to plan. Five hundred, twenty-five thousand, six hundred minutes. How do you measure the life of a woman or a man? In truth that she learned, or in times that he cried? Now you know what's out there in the world. All I have are memories. I need a task to do. Someone give me a task to do! I need a- .....Sunrise, sunset. Sunrise, sunset. Swiftly fly the days.... Seedlings turn overnight to sunflowers, blossoming even as we gaze. Before I gaze at you again, I need some time for tears. Before I gaze at you again, let hours turn to years. I have so much forgetting to do... Memory, all alone in the moonlight. I can smile at the old days... Turning, turning, turning through the years. Nothing changes, nothing ever will. Somethings will never end: the thrill of our magic ride, the love that I feel inside for you.

From this day forward nights won't seem so black. From this day forward we will never look back. In whatever time we have, we will make the most of time. And at least we'll be together As long as you're mine. And though there's no future, for us as a pair, and though I may know, I don't care. There's a place for us, a time and a place for us. Hold my hand and we're halfway there. Hold my hand and I'll take you there. You won't believe all the things you'll see. I know 'cause you'll see them all with me. If we're together well then, we'll hear it again. Like an unexpected song, an unexpected song. Suddenly there is music in the sound of your name! What if we kissed?! What a crescendo! - There was love all around, but I never heard it singing. No, I never heard it at all, till there was you.

The lullaby of Broadway.


In My Life - Les Miserables
Spark of Creation - Children of Eden
Defying Gravity - Wicked

Forget About the Boy - Thoroughly Modern Millie
Wash That Man Right Outta My Hair - South Pacific
Defying Gravity - Wicked
There's a Fine, Fine Line - Avenue Q
Be Not For Me - Crazy For You
Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again - Phantom of the Opera
Far From the Home I Love - Fiddler on the Roof
This Was Nearly Mine - South Pacific
They Can't Take That Away From Me - Crazy For You
Stars and the Moon - Songs For a New World

Seasons of Love - Rent
Lament - Into the Woods
Fire Within Me - Little Women
Sunrise, Sunset - Fiddler on the Roof
Before I Gaze At You Again - Camelot
Memory - Cats
Turning - Les Miserables
Somethings Are Meant to Be - Little Women
In Whatever Time We Have - Children of Eden
As Long As You're Mine - Wicked
Somewhere - West Side Story
Last Night of the World - Miss. Saigon
An Unexpected Song - Song and Dance
Rosemary - How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying
Till There Was You - Music Man
The Lullaby of Broadway - 42nd Street

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

On a Swing At Dusk

(NOTE: I wrote this last summer. Some of you who have been with my writing for a while may remember this. I just felt like I should share this again. The lessons I learned that night are still vital to me now. I'm still a kite, but I hope that one day, I can be the plane I long to be.)

"On a Swing At Dusk" - 6/2/11

 Swinging on a swing at dusk, just thinking.

                Wow. I can’t believe everything that’s going on. I can’t believe that people have wronged me like this. I never imagined that I would be in this situation. I’ve just been numb. I’m through being angry. Sad. Confused. Lost. No more. Just numb. I need to leave it behind.

 I feel the breeze through my hair.

                I know my hair is a mess, but I don’t care. It’s just me, the wind, and the sky. The wind whispers consoling words. The sky beckons me into its arms. Maybe one day I’ll have the courage to let go of my swing and fly. But not today.

I see the sun set behind the rooftops.

                The colors draw me higher and higher. I know that the ground is just inches from my toes as I pass, but I feel weightless as I soar. I feel my worries pull me down, and I fight to break through.

I watch a plane fly high above me.

                I envy that plane. It has the strength to leave the ground. It has flown through thunder and snow. It has crossed oceans and continents. It is my role model.

I notice a kite flying and falling.

                I am not a plane yet. I am a kite. I fly. I taste the wind. I hear the sunset. I feel the silence. But I fall. I soar high, but sometimes I fall. It hurts, and I yearn to fly again. I can’t always do it on my own. But there is always someone to run alongside me and throw me to the wind. Thank you. I explore the feeling of flight, and all that comes with it, including falling. It is worth it.

I look up at the clouds.

                God is there. He made this all. The sky and wind and clouds and colors….the ground. He made the potential. He made the starting point. He knows me. He knows my limitations. He knows my potential. He knows my desires. He gave me my righteous desires. He knows my need to climb. To grow. To learn. To dance. ….To soar. He gives me strength to get up and break through gravity. Through low expectations. Through trials. Through fears. Through this.

I close my eyes and look inside.

Wow. I’m not numb anymore. I have a new feeling. It’s not anger. Not disappointment. Not sadness. Not self-pity. What am I feeling? It’s peace. It’s a love of God. It’s a love from God. It’s a courage for the future. It’s a new understanding. I left it all behind. I let it all go. I’m sky-high.  I’m elevated. I’m soaring. I’m free.

Swinging on a swing at dusk.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Gendercide - Real or Imagined?

What is gendercide? It is killing someone based on their gender. Simple, right? Yes. Totally horrible, right? Yes. Not an issue today, right? Wrong. Gendercide is a serious issue that most people don't seem to realize is there. We don't hear about it much in the US, but it's definitely happening. This goes back to abortion and child welfare. Sorry for repetition.

I love diverse cultures. I love studying them, learning their customs, eating their food (especially eating their food.). But there is in some cultures a dated and incorrect practice - devaluing women and girls as burdens to the family. Girls are unwanted. The cultures require a dowry to be paid to the man that marries the daughter of the family. They place financial stress on a already struggling family. "A study of a Mumbai (Bombay) clinic found that 7,999 out of 8,000 aborted [children] were female. In families where food is scarce, girls ages 1-5 were 43% more likely than boys to die of hunger or malnutrition, according to another study," (James M. Rubenstein). While girls create a burden, boys create opportunity for financial gain. They can get higher paying work, as well as marry for a dowry. It is an awful practice that must be stopped.

Abortion. Giving the child lowest priority when it comes to eating. Abandoning babies. Having sex change operations when the child is an infant. WHAT KIND OF WORLD IS THIS?? It is the world we live in. Gendercide is a real problem. We should not ignore this as an "imagined crisis" or a "cultural custom". It is evil. We are looking for the Lost Girls that will never be found. Life is precious. We cannot afford to treat it like it is something that we can recycle.

A lack of women leads to another problem. Sex trafficking becomes more and more prevalent as the gender ratio difference gets larger and larger. We're talking about kidnapping and selling GIRLS into prostitution! This is all linked to the idea that we are smarter than we really are. That we can bend the laws of nature, limiting each couple to one child. I guess they forgot about the cultural variable in their equation. We are HUMANS. We are not all-knowing (even if some of us seem to think so). Let's please STOP trying to control the minuet details in other people's lives. It isn't only that it's girls that they're killling. It's that they are taking AGENCY and the FREEDOM TO CHOOSE from both the child they are killing and the parents they are regulating. This comes down to human rights. What has God given us as humans. Even if you don't believe in God, is slavery wrong? Is murder wrong? Is torture wrong? In forcing abortions/sterilization on those women who WANT to have more than one child, they are committing every one of these crimes.

All Girls Allowed is a foundation that is focusing on ending the gendercide caused by the One-Child Policy in China.

This is what I mean about being "pro-life". It's not just about abortion. It's about defending LIFE, physical and spiritual, from whatever may attempt to destroy it.

Think about it.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Austen-Style Plot Twist....

Am I living in an Austen novel? Sometimes I feel like Fanny from Mansfield Park - the best friend and confidant who is overlooked as Edmund is looking for his "dream girl", someone sweet and virtuous. "I'm right in front of your face, STUPID." Other times, I feel like Emma, trying to be smarter than I am, and sometimes making messes along the way. Or, I find myself in Elizabeth's place, from Pride and Prejudice. I think I've figured someone out, and then *POOF!* they do something totally opposite of what I thought them capable of. That can be exciting, to see someone be better than you imagined they were, (like discovering Mr. Darcy was actually a sweet guy), and it can also be disappointing, (like when Elizabeth learns that Wickham has run off with Lydia, even though he made advances toward her, or Emma discovering Frank Churchill has been secretly engaged and STILL flirty).

I've learned that Jane Austen is an incredible novelist. I've always enjoyed her works, but she is truly insightful. That she was able to write books that are applicable now too, is amazing. There is one theme that she discussed often in her books, and that is this: passing judgements.

All the SGA kids know I say often: "we don't judge people here." I must say though, I'm human, and have recently caught myself in a few judgments I have passed on people that did not deserve it. There have been a few young men I know who I have thought as obnoxious and full of themselves because of a friend's recounting of some stories. As I've gotten to know them better, I've realized that yes, they are teenage boys, but they are good people. I feel bad that I didn't let myself give them a chance. I am changing my ways, and I hope we can be friends in future. New Years is a great time to think about this. :)

Also, sometimes you'll think you know someone well, and then they change. This isn't meant to sound cynical, but people are fluid. They are constantly changing and growing and evolving. It's what we are suppose to do - work on making ourselves better people. Sometimes people change for the better, and sometimes for the worse. It's very interesting. But that's the root of drama and conflict - when people believe they know something, and then get swept off their feet by the rapids of change. Rapids are created when water flows over something constant. All friends have their times of smooth sailing, and their times of rafting class 5 runs. Good luck.

But, with every shocking reveal, there is a resolution of another relationship. Thank heavens for that! Although one person may disappoint you, there will always be another someone who makes you smile. Thank you Jane Austen for teaching me that! I want most of all is to avoid being Anne from Persuasion. I will not let people talk me out of being friends with people. I want my Captain Wentworth, but why should I make the mistake of rejecting him initially because of other people's judgements? I will take advice, but not will not allow others to press their judgements on me. I'm getting older, and I have to be able to make decisions for myself. This is one of those things I have to learn. (Yay.) I'm grateful for my Janes, Bingleys, Mr. Knightleys, Mrs. Westons, and my Edmund. I know I'll have to meet my Mary Crawfords, Henry Crawfords, Caroline Bingleys, Mr. Eltons, and Frank Churchhills (Hopefully I'll meet very few Mrs. Bennetts.), but I pray I will be able to assess people justly and fairly, and cultivate those relationships that will uplift and better myself and those around me.

I love you, Jane Austen. Thanks for your books - reading them is the ultimate girl talk.