Monday, October 31, 2011

Apartment Goal Setting

I went for a walk last night with one of my favorite people on the planet: my roommate Amy. We were talking about different things we wanted to change and work on. After realizing that we had similar things in common under those categories, we decided to set some goals together. So check out what we've decided to do:
1. Healthy Eating
a.) No eating after 8:30 p.m.
b.) Eating at least 4 servings of fruits/vegetables
c.) Only can spend $2 eating out a week---if not used, can be saved week to week.
i.) Only buy things on your list--only things you need--ingredients for a meal.
d.) Must make a new meal weekly--one we've never tried before.
i.) Eat 2 meals a week together.
2. How to be fitt---Let's get physical, physical
a.) CARDIO five times a week--40 minutes
b.) 5 day abs EVERY DAY at 9:30 p.m.--except for Sunday
c.) Bedtime at 10:30 p.m.
d.) Wake up at 6:30 (or 7:30) Amy will be easing into 2c and 2d.
3. Time Management
a.) Facebook--15 minutes twice a day
b.) Monday-Friday: No hulu--no internet tv, movies, youtube, etc
c.) Constructive ways to fill your newly found time--read a book, get homework done early, quality scripture study, write in your journal, write a letter, service, etc.
4. Churchy goodness
a.) Temple attendance--once a month
b.) Be ten minutes early to church to read the scriptures/mentally prepare.
c.) Scripture study
i.) Personal in the morning (at least 15 minutes).
ii.) Roommate in the evening. After abs. 1 chapter.
d.) Roommate prayer after scripture study.
e.) Go to FHE every Monday.
5. Roommate/social
a.) Every Thursday night we have to invite at least one other apartment over.
b.) Dance party? Book club?...something hilarious TBD

Anyway I just got so stoked about all of these goals because I've just been feeling like I haven't been progressing very much lately and I feel like making these tweaks will be super helpful to be more effective with my time, be happier, spiritually in tune, and still be able to have a solid good time. I'm just excited about all of this and felt like posting it. Happy Halloween!

Monday, October 24, 2011

"Endure It Well"

I read a talk today that I really needed. It's called "Endure It Well" by Elder Neal A. Maxwell. I don't really have a hard time with the "why me?" attitude, but rather I feel frustrated if I can't understand the purpose/lesson behind challenges that I face. I know that every challenge or trial has a purpose and is for my overall growth and progression. I think I just have a hard time letting it go on as long as it needs to. Sometimes I just want God to tell me the purpose behind trials right when I recognize them. So this talk was really helpful for me to understand the need for patience during trials and the purpose behind their longevity. I need to stop asking to understand the lesson at the beginning of the trial and instead, endure it well, and realize that I'll understand more in retrospect than if He tells me the lesson for a trial that I haven't yet fully endured. I hope that makes sense. Here are a few favorite quotes. Spiritual deliciousness.

In any case, brothers and sisters, how could there be refining fires without enduring some heat? Or greater patience without enduring some instructive waiting? Or more empathy without bearing one another’s burdens—not only that others’ burdens may be lightened, but that we may be enlightened through greater empathy? How can there be later magnification without enduring some present deprivation?

Moreover, we find that sorrow can actually enlarge the mind and heart in order to “give place,” expanded space for later joy.

Otherwise, if certain mortal experiences were cut short, it would be like pulling up a flower to see how the roots are doing. Put another way, too many anxious openings of the oven door, and the cake falls instead of rising. Moreover, enforced change usually does not last, while productive enduring can ingrain permanent change. (See Alma 32:13–16.)

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Males: Anti-parties and institute twists

So as you probably know, I think random, themed parties are always a good time. As you'll see from this post, they're not always the mature and dignified kind. haha Last semester, we uh...had a "man hating" party. Yes, we are 5 years old. My roommate and I had just been on some pretty terrible dates, we were feeling frustrated with the guys that we were interested in that weren't asking us out, and the guys we weren't interested in WERE asking us out...and weren't always on their best behavior during the date let's say. So we had ourselves a themed party.
It was all planned out. We made a big man cookie, made and decorated party hats...just making funny comments on them as a way of expressing our frustrations, and in closing we watched "John Tucker Must Die". haha Yes, this all happened and it was hilarious and satisfying.
haha I love Tinille. And she makes a good point. Why would we be all giddy and grinny at a party celebrating a gender that has been giving us nothing but stress?? haha
Whitney's party hat. haha I die laughing looking at all of these photos because...who does this?!? We do. And we laugh about it the whole time. Are we really full of rage and anger toward men? Not in the least. But yes, sometimes a ridiculous themed party is just what we needed to get through a string of bad male experiences.

So although I genuinely thought this evening was hilarious, I feel like I haven't posted it until now perhaps in part because there's more to be said. As a general rule, dating post-mission has been alright. Yes, as you know and have read, I've gone out with some...unique lads, but I hope I don't ever come across as a boy-basher. The guys I've dated since I've been home have been nothing but kind to me. I'm pretty protective of myself from some pre-mish experiences, and I can honestly be nothing but grateful to the guys that I've dated since the mission. They've been so kind to me, clearly cared for me, and treated me like I mattered. So yes, I jokingly complain about some of the awkward guy experiences I have, but I've been blessed to date some great guys who've seen me and treated me like a wonderful, worthwhile, beautiful lady. I do feel fortunate.

In my "Prep for Eternal Hitching" class this last week, we've been talking about the differences between males and females. There are a lot of quotes from general authorities that talk about how wonderful women are. We were reading general authority quotes and writing qualities that each gender has on the board according to what the quote said. There was a long list of beautiful qualities for women and under men it said, "Aggressive and competitive." haha I think there just aren't a lot of quotes when they point out male qualities...they just usually give those types of talks to women it seems. Well one of the guys in my class raised his hand and said, "I hope this doesn't sound bad but...I feel like we're always getting told that women are better than us. It just kind of makes me feel like less and wonder what good qualities I have." The teacher then asked us girls in the class to come up with some qualities that we could put on the board in the "men" category--qualities that men have that we're grateful for.

I sat there pondering what qualities I truly appreciate about men. It was kind of an interesting experience because it hadn't really crossed my mind before--thinking about what qualities males (in general) have, that I admire. Well I've thought about it, and wanted to write some down.

I love that they're genuinely willing to help and fix whatever is not going right in your life. Sometimes it's frustrating for me and for them because they can't actually fix it. But the fact that they care enough to ask and be there honestly means the world to me.

A lot of men in my life are dear friends. Men can make great friends. They're fun to be around, easy to talk to, and always have a new perspective or good advice.

I'm afraid I haven't always appreciated the priesthood to the extent that I do now. I am so thankful for worthy priesthood holders. The fact that they're willing to stay worthy and live good lives in order to obtain a gift that is only theirs for the purpose of serving others, is a beautiful, selfless quality. Through the priesthood, I have been healed, comforted, blessed, instructed, and reminded of the closeness of my Father in Heaven and His very personal relationship with and awareness of me. I admire men for being worthy to hold the priesthood and being kind and helpful about using it.

I can't quite find words for it, but I think about all of the men in my life and can only imagine how different of a human being I'd be without them. I've learned a lot from them. I respect them. I value their opinions and our friendship. They have definitely left an impact on me and who I am. I don't think men really understand how much of an influence they have on the world and the people around them. Yes, I absolutely believe that women and mothers have a massive impact (I can write a massive post on that another time). But I also think that men make contributions that they're unaware of...and that we (or at least I) forget how grateful I should be for.

I hope that guy in my institute class didn't walk away feeling unvalued and unimportant. I know his comment was a good opportunity for me to reflect on why I'm thankful for the men in my life. I probably should be better at letting them know. I hope they don't ever wonder, like the boy in my class, if they have value or if I value them. Because I do. I might occasionally have evenings when I feel frustrated because certain members of their sex aren't representing them well, but I think they're wonderful. Just thought you should know.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Friends and Visitors

So I haven't posted for a wee bit. Not because there's not a lot going on...mostly just because I don't know how much of it is valuable to anyone else but me. Though, I suppose, that's what I think before posting anything on this blog own excuse has just been rendered invalid.

First of all, panic attack...also...apparently exaggeration. The fifteenth of October is in the past. It is not only my lovely mamas b-day, but also the date that I entered the MTC back in 2008. It's super bizzarre to look back and think that whole wonderful experience began 3 YEARS ago. How is that supposed to make me feel anything but elderly? I've also been home as long as I was gone. The stress-case in me gets worried because I wonder how I could ever do as much good in any year-and-a-half space of time as I did as a missionary. I know that I've done great things and I've learned so much since I've been home...but I still long for Italy sometimes. I still find days that I have to convince myself that my mission wasn't a dream. But it really wasn't. I forget my dreams 10 minutes after I awake. And my mission is in my thoughts daily. Clearly not a dream.

I went to the mission reunion a couple of weeks ago. I never tire of seeing fellow missionaries from my mission. There's a type of love and respect for each other that...I dunno...just doesn't form between fellow students in Sociology classes, for example. Something about being able to see someones growth as a missionary and inner strength as a person is so beautiful. Miss Layne Watson and I will always have a super tight bond. We were in the same MTC group, would always spend our PE time talking while working out, wrote each other throughout our missions, and are dear friends after. It is a friendship that's nothing but satisfying to me. I hope everyone has a friendship like this. I learn so much from her, laugh my face of with her, and yet am inspired to be better around her. I just love the mutual love that we have for each other. We adore each other. Everyone deserves to be genuinely adored. Satisfying and beautiful.

We got Aubs for breakfast while Russ was golfing. We went to eat at Angie's. It's just a random local place that apparently, according to the slogan, the locals dig on a consistent basis. Yes, apparently my eyes are uber sensitive and I squint like mad when the sun merely glances my way.

Jacquel got home from her mish this summer and I was employed VERY part-time so we were able to spend a lot of time together. One of my favorite things was star-gazing with her. Do I actually know how to find any constellations? Err...not really. First of all, it's free. So I now keep a blanket in my trunk at all times because sometimes star gazing sounds so delightful and just must be done. Something about staring at the stars helps me gain perspective. Our talks under the stars somehow always seem profound, though I'm sure it's just because I'm looking at something beautiful and majestic while it's all going down. Love this lady. She's wonderful.
Aubrey and I always have a blast together. We have very similar humors and therefore, sometimes forget to filter what we say. It's not ever just not always politically correct. And the fact that we've lived in Europe together and witnessed many-a-person take peace sign pictures...we feel like we can do it in front of the "local" restaurant. Something about acting like gits and standing out just to remind ourselves of Europe is the type of behavior we indulge in on a regular basis. Good times.
Anywho, yet again, random post. I think I just sometimes get the feelings that I should just stop and do appreciations posts. You know? I have a GRUNDLE of nonsensical parties and thoughts that I post on here. But sometimes there's just something lovely about stepping back and finding life and the people in it beautiful. That's all. :)

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Guest Speaker

So in my Sociology of Gender class we had a guest speaker: a cross dresser.

I kid you not. An adult male, probably mid to late 40's, in a dress, heels, whig on, and make up.

I walked into class, saw the guest speaker, took my seat, and wondered how the next 50 minutes of my life were going to play out.

For the most part, it was quite interesting. He wasn't pushy or defensive about what he does. It was okay with him if we thought it was weird. He was just there to explain why he does it and give us some perspective. I think because he wasn't pushy or anything, it was easier for me to be open minded.

He argues that women cross dress everyday (wearing pants, t-shirts, tennis shoes etc) so it's only fair that men get to cross dress sometimes too. I don't really agree with this though (the idea that women cross dress everyday) because I wear pants for comfort and practical purposes--not with the intention of being more masculine or more like men.

Another thing that surprised me is that he's married with children. Getting all gussied up is apparently just something that he does as a "hobby" he calls it. He said he doesn't feel like he was born in the wrong body, but dressing like a woman is just something fun for him to do from time to time. When he's dressed that way, he still talks with his normal voice...which is kind of hard to get used to. haha Nothing high pitched or feminine, he just speaks with the low voice that he has. His wife and kids know that he does it but no one else does--not his neighbors, co-workers, etc. He dresses like a man around them.

I don't know why I'm telling you guys about this. It was an interesting experience. He was very nice. And while I don't agree with what he does (I think it mostly bothers me because he has a wife and children and I would think that'd be hard) it was interesting being exposed to somebody that's not the "norm".

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Star Wars IV-V marathon

I've never seen the original Star Wars flicks. So we decided to have a movie marathon...we watched two of them in one night.

The graphics are comical.

So many funny lines. "Where could he be?!"

We've unanimously decided that we'd rather date Han Solo than Luke.

Why did Darth Vadar choose the moment right after he cut off Luke's arm to tell him that he was his papa? The timing of that was just...unsavory.

Some of my favorite parts were the commentary coming from the spectators.

"Maybe I'm just hungry, but does Chewy look like walking pulled pork to anybody else?"

"I feel like Bear Grylls did something like this in one of his episodes."
"What? He also killed an abominable snowman with a light saber?"

Tomorrow I have to go for a long run, 8 hours of work and then apparently we're finishing the last one. I'll let you know how it goes. :) G'night!