Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Moment of Clarity

This past weekend I had the opportunity to attend a YSA (Young Single Adult) conference for the southeast region. The speakers included David A Bednar, Sheri Dew & Brad Wilcox.

The firesides & workshops that were given were splendid & I did have the pleasure of meeting a handful of new friends that accepted me & enjoyed befriending me.

However, there was one specific part of this conference that was... disappointing. And it won't come as a surprise to any of you when I reveal what it is.

I do not pretend to be incredibly enthusiastic in attending the dance that is almost a requirement for any gathering of young people between the ages of 14 and 30. Although, of course as any female can attest, the opportunity to dance to a slow song is something so entrenched within us that we can hardly contain ourselves. And as Jane Austen astutely put it, "to be fond of dancing was a certain step towards falling in love." We're suckers for romance, what can I say?

But for some reason, this particular dance was even more depressing than others. So I kept on asking myself why that was?

This dance I did attend with my few friends was perhaps the first one I've been to in years. The last time I did attend a dance of this persuasion, I must've been in high school or early college and still not quite comfortable in my own skin; afraid of letting my true colors show & was downright shy. I would stand in the corner, maybe bob my head back and forth to beats, or just find a group of kids talking among themselves and situate myself in a certain way so that it would be easy for them to reach out and include me.

But this dance, I decided to let all caution to the wind & just do whatever came to me. I decided to let my guard down & just have fun with it.

Now to be clear, I'm not a dancer. I'm quite terrible at it actually, and I've never had a talent for graceful movements, even in regards to walking or running let alone when it's set to music. But, here's the thing:
 I don't dance because I'm good at it, I dance because I know it'll make other people around me laugh. I embarrass myself with wild, flailing movements to make others feel comfortable doing the same.

And yet, while I was at this activity, I was asked to dance by one guy. One. Whereas before, I would be asked to dance at least every slow song, which is usually five or six times, depending on the occasion. Not only that, but I would have gotten the attention of several guys, who would inevitably turn out to be new friends or even romantic suitors.

Yet, this dance was a particular disappointment. At least comparatively speaking to the old days when I would give a coy, coquettish smile with a trace of tell-tale blush on my cheeks. I would pretend to be docile and mysterious which would inevitably capture the fancy of quite a few men in the room. (course it wouldn't last long, but that's not the point.)

Contrasting my old tactics to my new one, of simply being myself & not caring what other people thought of me, I reached a sad moment of clarity as I drove home afterwards.

Not many people, men especially, like or even tolerate my true, natural, unbridled self. 

Wow. That's a difficult pill to swallow. Now, I'm sure that my friends will of course disagree with me on this point & I can certainly see why. But thinking back to the time I spent in Idaho, Utah and now Georgia, it's quite clear to me that I am not a typical girl.

I am not only an a-typical girl, but I'm not your average Mormon girl either.

Taylor Swift is not my favorite singer. Seven Brides for Seven Brothers or The Singles Ward are not my favorite movies. Downeast Outfitters is not my favorite clothing store. I don't say "Oh my heck," or colloquials such as "Totes adorbs" or "froyo." I do not have platinum blonde hair & I don't get eyelash extensions. Twilight and Gossip Girl are not my favorite books. I did not major in Elementary Education or Marriage & Family Studies at BYU-Idaho & I could never in good conscious watch Glee or One Tree Hill or Vampire Diaries.

I have naturally mousy brown hair. I look terrible without makeup on. I can't remember the last time I got a manicure. I have watched Schindler's List, Die Hard & the Hangover. I have listened to music from Breaking Benjamin to John Denver and everything in between. I swear more often than I would care to admit & I sometimes make dirty jokes. I want to be more than just a housewife & a homemaker--I want a career & my own aspirations. I do not have a direct lineage that dates back to Joseph Smith or Brigham Young and my family's favorite Christmas movie is Chevy Chase's Christmas Vacation.

I am an anomaly when it comes to Mormons and especially Mormon girls.

And I'm not really saying this to get attention or to complain. I'm quite proud of the fact that I'm not normal even for a "peculiar people." This just means that the man who I end up with, whether in this life or the next, will be just as strange and just as abnormal as I am. I believe it's a requirement for him to be able to put up with my shenanigans.

However, it does get a bit disconcerting and oftentimes can lead to loneliness when I am sometimes surrounded by men who are looking for a brand of Mormon women. When I'm surrounded by men who want a girl solely to keep house for them and bare children because that's all that they're good for. To come in contact with men who want trophy wives that enjoy nothing more than stroking their ego after they come home from work every night.

I'm not saying any of this to bash on marriage & family. Nor am I trying to pigeon-hole every Mormon girl that I've been acquainted with. I'd, of course, like to be a wife and a mom someday. & I, of course, know plenty of girls that don't fit the standard I've painted earlier.

All I'm saying is, that it seems to me that the majority of men I've met in my Mormon culture, aside from a few I've known & dated, have an image in their mind of what their future wife looks & acts like. And usually, I don't fit that archetype.

I never have & I don't believe I ever will.

And yet at this dance, it dawned on me that perhaps the reason why I had so many relationships in so little amount of time was because I did hid behind a carefully placed facade. And that they ended all too quickly because the alleged "boyfriend" began to see through it & didn't like what he saw.

He would see that at times I was short-tempered, sometimes irreverent, obnoxious, slightly volatile, irrational, rash & childish. He would see how eager I was to please, to prevent him from leaving me as so many other men had in my past. He would see me as a broken doll, far beyond repair. He would see the things I enjoyed, such as the Muppets & Beauty & the Beast, and was bemused as to why I was in my twenties & still watching silly, puerile shows. And he would see how sensitive I was, crying at certain scenes in movies and even ranting & raving about characters in a book that were completely fictional and would think how ridiculous and crazy I was for letting things affect me the way that they do.

Well, it's rather obvious that they weren't for me anyway. & although I'm not proud of my defects, if I could accept theirs, it was only logical that they should accept mine as well.

So at the end of this rather lengthy blog post, what's the point? So what?

Well, I know I'm not alone in being strange & weird. I've noticed that I'm attracted to the "black sheep" or the "rejects" or even the individuals who have a past or a story that's unlike my own. People who are different almost to the point of being outsiders.

I know that I have sometimes dated & surrounded myself with men who did not accept me for who I am, and were either scared off or put off by my personality.

And I also know that perhaps now, at the ripe age of 24, I'm finally comfortable with who I am.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

I weep for the future....

Okay, if it's not one thing, it's twelve, as my mother would say.

If my sister's situation in Kuwait wasn't enough to shred my soul, with some asshole vigilante destroying innocent dogs like a slaughterhouse, then this was just the icing on the cake of a glorious inhumane day.

I shouldn't let the ignorance and vacillation of others affect me the way that they do... yet, sadly they do.

I don't usually pass judgment on people. In regards to race, religion, background, disability, language, culture & certainly sexual preference, I am very easy going & have prided myself in loving everyone equally.

Except for douchebags.

Allow me to explain. There are really few things in the world that "gets my goat." I don't care what your views are on politics, I don't care what your career path is, I don't care what your religion is or your opinions on lima beans are. I really couldn't care less.

Some topics that would stir contention & anarchy in a debate really don't move me either way. You may find me at the back of the room with my feet propped up holding a bowl of popcorn and grinning from ear to ear as I fantasize about the next episode of Sherlock or what I might eat for dinner later. Sushi or Mexican? hmmm....

However, some of the few things that do affect me are things that you wouldn't think were that serious of a matter. For example, books. Specifically children's/teenage literature.

Now, why on earth is this such a big deal to you Megan? Oh, let me extrapolate!

Not only has children's literature influenced my early reading, so much so that my mother was forced to get me a library card because every time she'd buy me a book I would finish it in a single night, it has become a very vital part of my soul from day one. If I'm not reading something on a daily basis, I go into a form of imaginative paralysis and mental atrophy.

I firmly believe that the books you read as a child become a part of your identity in a way that no other form of reading ever does later in life. (Thank you Meg Ryan from You've Got Mail!) So many books and authors have shaped my character: from Roald Dahl to J.K. Rowling, to Amelia Atwater-Rhodes to Marianne Curley, to L.M. Montegomery to C.S. Lewis to Robin McKinnley & so on & so on it goes.

Children's literature has been so much a facet in my life, and a passionate, fiery, all consuming love (much more so than pretty much all of my actual relationships) that I have dedicated myself in writing children's and young adult literature. It has been my lifelong dream to publish books that will empower & broaden the minds of the future of our society. When I write a story, I write it thinking about my incredible nieces & nephews, who've been my inspiration & source of consolation in an ever growing awful world.

So when someone says that they "hate kid's books" or "books targeted at children" it shouldn't be of any surprise when I become mortally offended by that kind of remark. A part of my soul dies inside.

Going back to what I said at the beginning of this blog post, I'm not privy to judging or being biased towards others on any of the more important basics or fundamentals of a person. If you're Muslim, if you're of African descent, if you've classified yourself as being a homosexual, if you're suffering from the crippling effects of a mental or physical disability, if you're a Democrat or Republican, I'm pretty sure I'm gonna be more prone to love & trust you from the very first meeting.

But if anyone, regardless of background or identity or political affiliation, says those words to me, I'm pretty much gonna shun your from my social circle forever until you give me a handwritten & signed apology in addition to a list of children's books you've read & liked. (with a brief synopsis of each book highlighting the themes & what you've learned)

Now that seems a bit unreasonable, doesn't it Megan? Just because someone has an opinion, just because someone isn't a voracious reader or has a different perspective on children's books than you, that's no reason to judge them? Don't you think you're overreacting a bit?

And to that argument, I would simply say: yes. Yes I know it's extreme. Yes, as a matter of fact, I am overreacting. It is very unreasonable.

Inevitably, most of the time I start feeling like this:

But here's my reasoning:
1.) You have just insulted the very fabric of my soul. You have belittled the virtues of a genre that I've clung to in times of trial & affliction. You have demolished & desecrated a sacred place that I would escape to in times of trouble and despair.
2.) I'm a woman. I can be as unreasonable and as irrational as I'd like to be. I have a uterus. And cleavage. I win.
3.) I really don't care. At some point in my life, pre-college, I was very sensitive about offending others & confrontation. But the only delightful thing about getting older, is the less damns you give.


So if you want to completely obliterate my good opinion of you, please, do insult the one thing I hold dear & the only occupation I've found happiness in.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

My Life as a Writer told in GIFs

Yes, I'm going to do it. This past year as a writer has been a series of ups & downs, or high rises & pot holes. And here to explain my story perfectly, is a collection of animated gifs I've come across over the year.

So it kind of started after I got a BRILLIANT idea, and with me feeling like this:
and pretty much after every single chapter review in my writing group I'd walk out of there like this:
And then looking over it the next day, it would end kind of like this:
And then I'd go back to the drawing board to fix it looking a lot like this:
But then I'd get good reviews either in class or in my writing group & start looking like this:
Pretty much every day my mother would ask me the same question:
Then I'd come across a former classmate or friend or teacher who's having minor success & say something like:
And then after my last & FINAL draft I start to realize I have to edit all 40,000 words of what I wrote and it turns into something like this:
and this:
and some of this:
and a bit of this too:
but then I get a lil confidence boost & start feeling like this:
and then I start sending out query letters and get no response, making me think this:
and some of this:
but eventually I'm sure I'll start feeling like the badass that I am, which is something like:
and I'll probably say something like this to my haters:

because once the royalty checks start coming in I'll be feeling like this:

so here's to the first of many books! and the first of many successes I have yet to have! :)

Mega Mega

Monday, July 15, 2013


So, as all of you know, I'm a huge proponent of music. And every time I find a new song that speaks to my soul, I just have to share it with the world.

That being said, Sara Bareilles has been an artist that I've gradually come to love & admire. Her songs are written well, both lyrically & musically, and as soon as I heard her single for this next album I was instantly in love.

The song is entitled Brave and it is slowly becoming my anthem for this year. I know from personal experience just how hard it is to stand up for yourself, to speak up when there's something you see that isn't right, or even to just go out and do something you've always wanted to do, but could never summon the courage. Well, this song is for all of you :)

You can be amazing 
You can turn a word into a weapon or a drug
You can be the outcast
Or be the backlash of somebody's lack of love
Or you can start speaking up 

Nothing's gonna hurt you the way that words do
When the settle 'neath your skin
Kept on the inside & no sunlight
Sometimes the shadow wins
But I wonder what would happen if you

Say what you wanna say
And let the words fall out
Honestly I wanna see you be brave

With what you wanna say
And let the words fall out
Honestly I wanna see you be brave

I just wanna see you
I just wanna see you
I just wanna see you
I wanna see you be brave

I just wanna see you
I just wanna see you
I just wanna see you
I wanna see you be brave

Everybody's been there, everybody's been stared down
By the enemy 
Fallen for the fear and done some disappearing
Bow down to the mighty
Don't run, stop holding your tongue
Maybe there's a way out of the cage where you live
Maybe one of these days you can let the light in
Show me how big your brave is

Say what you wanna say
And let the words fall out
Honestly I wanna see you be brave

With what you wanna say
And let the words fall out
Honestly I wanna see you be brave

Innocence, your history of silence
Won't do you any good
Did you think it would?
Let your words be anything but empty
Why don't you tell them the truth? 

Friday, June 28, 2013

Life Goals as of 2013

Learn Portuguese like a native
Learn Spanish like a native
Learn French like a native
Learn Dutch
Learn Arabic
Improve my photography through workshops/classes
Improve my writing through writing groups
Get a Master's Degree
Travel to every country on my wish list
Finish & publish my book(s)
Read at least one book a week (52 books a year)
Take voice lessons
Write one song a month
Keep an updated journal
Take at least one photograph a day
Walk as often as possible
Buy as little as possible

Countries of the World Wish List

1. Ireland
2. The UK/Scotland
3. Iceland
4. New Zealand
5. Spain
6. Portugal
7. France
8. Italy
9. Greece
10. Denmark
11. Belgium
12. Czech Republic
13. Holland
14. Germany
15. Austria
16. Sweden
17. Norway
18. Switzerland
19. Liechtenstein
20. Poland
21. Croatia
22. Slovenia
23. Turkey
24. Jordan
25. Egypt
26. Israel
27. Hungary
28. South Africa
29. Thailand
30. Australia

Friday, June 7, 2013

Selling Yourself (& Your Mission) Short

This is going to be quite a strongly worded rant, that I probably should apologize for in advance, but I'm not going to. I refuse.

I guarantee you I'm going to offend one or many of you, but at this point, this is something that's been weighing on my mind for some time now, ESPECIALLY in regards to the young men in the Church. And I have to get this out in black & white so I can at least clear my mind of the anger, frustration and disappointment when it comes to many returned missionaries.

Now, I realize that this may or may not apply to everyone. And I will say that yes, I do understand that many RM's face unparalleled hardships when they return home that were maybe not as grievous as they were before they went out to preach the Gospel.

And I do realize that a few men in my acquaintance have chosen not to serve missions, and are faithful in keeping their temple covenants and worthy of the Priesthood which they administer. OR, are men who have served missions and are still perfectly active in the Church. These are men that I value more than anything, men who I admire and look up to always. Let me ease your conscious when I say, I am not aiming this at you. You have done splendidly so far, and I hope and pray that you keep on enduring to the end like you have always done.

My venting session today, my throw-down if you will is towards the men (and possibly some women, though they are rarer to find than the men) who served a full, honorable mission, made sacred covenants in the temple, sacrificed two years of their life willingly, performed & saw miracles on a weekly, if not daily basis, and not ONE YEAR after they return from their 24 months, decide to go inactive. Completely inactive. Like the last 21+ years of their life never happened.

They turn their backs on the Church, and forget about the 2 years they spent preaching, proselyting, tract-ing, etc. etc. Not only do they go completely astray, but they begin living a lifestyle and developing habits that they TOLD THEIR INVESTIGATORS AND CONVERTS NOT TO DO!

I'm sorry, but I have little to no sympathy of this epidemic. None whatsoever. I have had at least five guys in my social circle follow this exact same pattern. FIVE. Five too many.

Forgive me for going Jeffrey R. Holland on you S.O.B.'s, but that is COMPLETELY unacceptable. Reprehensible. Despicable. Yeah, I said it. I'll say it again. UNACCEPTABLE.

And you know what? I've found that a possible contributing factor among these men, is the fact that they are in their mid to late twenties and still unmarried. All of these guys are single and either dated a little and never got anywhere, or got their heart broken by some chick they thought was "the one."

Oh B.F.D.! Seriously. Big EFFING deal. If that's what got you so butt hurt to begin with, then maybe that just goes to show your real maturity level & the fact that maybe you have some growing up to do before you find her. Oh, and by the way, you're NOT going to find the mother of your future children and loving eternal companion in a BAR. or at a RAVE, or STRIP CLUB or wherever the hell you're hanging out, being a douche bag.

Wake up Sunshine, ain't gonna happen.

That being said, I'll also add that how can you look one of YOUR converts in the eye, a person you prayed for every day on the mission, a person you baptized & confirmed, a person you maybe even attended their sealing & marriage in the temple a year later? How can you look them in the eye & admit to them that the Gospel "is just not for me," or "it's too hard," or "I'm just figuring out who I am," or whatever B.S. excuse it is you're making up because you're simply too lazy to get your ass back in a pew?

OR, how can you look your companion in the eye? Your mission president? The people who were with you every step of the way, saw the good days & bad days, the light & dark sides of you and yet stuck by you every step of the way?

To give you an example about how wrong you are, let me just tell you that my brother served an honorable mission 2 months after my father's passing. While he was on his mission, my grandmother died unexpectedly. After he returned home, he was married and then divorced 4 years later. Yet he is STILL active in the Church, still attends his meetings, still honors his Priesthood, still attends the temple & still magnifies his callings. Doesn't he have more of an excuse than you do to quit? Doesn't he have more pull to throw in the towel & say "It's too hard" or "It's not fair" or "Why is it always me?"

Well he hasn't. And he won't. Because of one thing & one thing only:

Out of all of the people in Chile that he converted, the most important person he did convert was himself.

Elder Holland put it perfectly when he said this:

"How can any missionary could go do what we're asking you to do, and come home and not be faithful to that very doctrine and those very covenants and those very principles and those very ordinances, something is manifestly wrong. [...] We need to convert you and then you figure out how to convert investigators."

"When I said leave you nets, it was forever. When I asked you to follow me, it was forever. When I asked you to be an apostle, it was forever. When I asked you to be a missionary it was forever! When I asked you to see this through to the end, it's because it's not over till it's over. Now forget your nets, and forget the fish and jettison your boats and throw your oars away and feed my sheep. We're in this till the end. And that's the day Peter strode into eternity. [...] and the issue is for all time and all eternity. Do you love me? Do you love me? Do you love Him? You need to decide tonight whether you're on a course that's committed to the idea that you really love God. You really do love the Savior. And if you do, then your call is to feed His sheep forever. Now can you understand why you must never and can never come back? It will never be the same. Peter you can't go home! You can't go back to fish, you can't go back to Galilee. You can't go back to boats. It's over. It is a new life, a new day, a new time. This commission marks that hour in your life. You CANNOT go back. And if you do you will break my heart and the heart of God himself. If you turn your back on the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which you have pledged your life to teach. I'm here at 47 years and counting. I pray that it is never ever over for me. And I pray that it is never ever over for you. And if you are ever tempted on your mission or after to leave this faith or commit a transgression or to walk away from the covenants you've made, not assuming we're perfect & knowing we're gonna make mistakes, but your course needs to stay true. You can't go back. You've left your nets. And you're gonna feed sheep. You're going to be disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ for time and eternity."

Lastly, to leave on a bit of a higher note, I'll just share this:

If you have strayed, if you did know of a surety that this is the Gospel of Jesus Christ, if you had a testimony, it's not too late. It's never too late. And as Jeffrey R Holland said, it's not over till it's over.

Come back. Leave your nets. Feed His sheep. & do it forever.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Of Baskin Robbins & Harry Potter...

It goes without saying that I seriously have the cutest nieces & nephews on the planet.

So every time I get a chance to hang out with them, I not only jump, but LEAP at the chance. Suffice it to say, I was ecstatic when I was told I could go home early yesterday 2 hours before my shift was up to spoil my nephews: Nathan, Connor & Cole, rotten with double scoops of Baskin Robbins, fruit gushers, pirate booty and Harry Potter 7 part 2.

And I enjoyed every minute of it! My sobrinhos and books are the only things in the world I don't mind blowing cash on. Well, that and food :)

At the end of our adventures at the Atlanta History Center, throwing rocks and petting the baying sheep, we went home to watch the last half of Harry Potter 7. Even Nathan, who isn't as big of a HP fan as Connor & Cole, was enthralled as Hogwarts started getting blown to smithereens, wizards starting dying, giants were getting cut in half. So much so, that when my brother and sister-in-law showed up Cole actually started bawling saying he didn't wanna go home!

Who has two thumbs and is the best aunt in the freaking world? THIS GIRL!

By the way, have I mentioned that Nathan wants a German Shepherd when he grows up & Connor & Cole love Harry Potter? These kids have the BEST taste! And who did they learn it from... oh right, ME!

*Sigh* I'm really gonna miss these kids for a year & a half... really.


Tuesday, May 21, 2013


So, it's been a while since I've blogged about dating, or men in general, but recently I've thought a lot about the kind of guys I've dated in the past, and MANY of them have come with deal-breakers or red flags.

Many of my friends, guys in particular, have asked me what my "type" was & I've always said I didn't have one which translated to "I date anything male that moves." A gross misapprehension I assure you. However, I have been known to date a variety of douche bags, though I will say my taste in men has gotten better over time.

Since I'm happily single (and plan on being so at least for the next 2 years), and hormones & loneliness are not clouding my judgement, I've decided to make a list of things that are absolute DEAL BREAKERS for me. No exceptions. No leeway. No amendments or retractions.

That way, I can come back here and see the things that are essential for my happiness, and if said man does not fulfill all of them, he's on the next train back home. Now, when I say deal breakers, I'm not talking about superficial, idiotic deal breakers like Must have a six pack at all times or Looks exactly like Edward Cullen or Is making six figures by the time he graduates from college. These are things that mean a lot to me, and things that I absolutely CANNOT live without, and to be honest, things that are really not hard at all to meet. These standards aren't exactly Yale or Oxford worthy...

Here they are, a few simple, unadulterated, bare necessities of life:

-He HAS to love reading & be willing/excited to read to our kids. He doesn't need to be a voracious reader, like me, but he at least has to have a list of his favorite books, and books he wants to read in future. If I EVER hear anyone, male or female say they "hate reading"... I may end up throwing the 7th Harry Potter book straight to their gonads.
-He HAS to have dreams & ambitions. If  he doesn't care about anything, if he's indifferent about a career or a passion in life...no deal. (However, I have been enamored with many a man who wish to choose music or film or the arts as a viable career, knowing full well that it will take a while to make it a lucrative lifestyle, or will end up making no money at all. This is something I'm completely fine with and actually prefer in a lot of ways. He doesn't need to make a ton of money so long as he's EXCITED about what he's doing or planning on doing in future.)
-He HAS HAS HAS to love/desire/want to travel. If he's dead set against flying or if he wants to live & die in the same place he's grown up and always been, no dice. Sorry champ. I'm disgusted with complacency. & I've been bitten by the travel bug. There is no cure except to travel MORE.
-He CANNOT be obsessed with money or materialistic. I love a good Ferrari or Aston Martin same as the next bloke, but if it takes the place of family or husbandry duties, that's a BIG problem. One I will never put up with. ever.
-He HAS to have an incontrovertible sense of humor. If he doesn't make me laugh, it won't make it past the first date.
-He HAS to be tolerant of the following guilty pleasures:
the Muppets
Harry Potter
Jane Austen
Mystery Science Theater/Rifftrax 
He doesn't have to LOVE them all, he doesn't even have to LIKE them, just be able to stand them, and not bash on them. I don't think that's too much to ask, considering the fact that I despise football, but if the man likes football, I'm not gonna diss on it or try to talk him out of it. Door swings both ways bro.
-He HAS to like/be tolerant of animals--dogs specifically, considering the fact that my #1 dream is owning a German Shepherd and naming him Optimus Prime...
-He HAS to love music. He has to have favorite bands, musicians, songs etc. Soundtracks, melodies, lyrics are things that I always refer to and quote on a daily basis. Ya gots to keep up.
-He HAS to be an appreciator of movies. My love of movies borders on obsessive, so he has to be able to talk to me about them more than just "It was good." or "I dunno, I'd prolly own it" -_-
-He HAS to motivate me to exercise and eat healthy. I can't be the only one concerned with keeping us both healthy and lookin good.
-He HAS to be a man's man in many manly ways. I'm not sayin he needs to build me a cabin and kill & skin my food for me, but he has to have skills in one of the following areas such as:
-He HAS to respect/honor the U.S. military. Considering the fact that nearly 4 generations of the men in my family have served in the armed forces, including my pops, I'd say that's a big 10-4 good buddy.

And that's pretty much it. If I think of anything else, I'll certainly add it to the list.

Now that doesn't seem too unreasonable, does it?

ahhh Jim... the standards of love and romance will be forever altered because of you.


Thursday, May 9, 2013

I'm Not Gonna Write You An Essay

Cause you asked for it, cause you need one.

I understand that in this ever-changing, fast-paced technology-science-based world, many things have become obsolete and archaic. The written word in black & white on paper, is being replaced by e-books; phone calls and house calls are being replaced by text messaging; CDs and cassette tapes are being replaced by MP3s and iPods; maps are being replaced by GPS's and smart phones; dictionaries & common sense are being replaced by spellcheck etc. etc etc.

And, usually, these changes are necessary. There's no doubt that correspondence with other humans has become faster, more efficient, and less expensive. However, I believe there is a caveat to this "modern" electronic-forward world we're living in.

It's come to my attention that schools are considering eliminating handwriting/cursive classes from the elementary/middle school/high school curriculum. (If you're dubious, simply google 'teaching handwriting' and you'll come up with a bunch of articles discussing this matter.)

This not only infuriates me, considering the fact that American primary schools suck in every subject and that not 40 years ago children in the fourth grade were reading Silars Marner by George Eliot & now they're reading Diary of A Wimpy Kid, but this also frightens me about the future of my children's quality of education in addition to the education of the future leaders of this country & the world.

Now I understand how this can be seen as trivial and frivolous rather than worrisome, but if you don't feel as I do that this is a grave and alarming mistake, I'll simply point out a few reasons against removing the handwriting segments of education from the school systems.

1.) There's a book titled Try to Feel it My Way by Suzette Elgin. This book discusses the different learners in our cultures and how certain people communicate, specifically men and women who are touch dominant learners/communicators. Now of course there are visual learners, audio learners and kinesthetic learners.About 10% of the human population are of the latter, which may seem like a minimal amount, but I believe that it's much more than you would think. Myself, I believe I'm a combination learner, both visual and kinesthetic. It honestly depends on the situation. But I do remember the subjects and concepts that stuck with me the most were the things depicted in a movie, a picture, a photograph, etc. in addition to writing it out.

Let me give an example, when I am preparing to give a talk, a discussion, a lecture, or even trying to come up with an appropriate way to break up with a guy, I have to write it out! Whatever it is! Not only do I have to write it down, I have to SEE it written down. Both my hands and my eyes are soaking that information up, making it twice as easy to recall it to remembrance when the time comes.

Now, what does this have to do with handwriting/cursive classes? Think about it. Yes, there is something to be said for typing on a computer or texting on an iPhone, but writing includes the kinesthetic touch dominant learners. As well as the visual learners. Kinesthetic learners are able to actually physically write out everything, while visual learners see it written. Sorry, how is handwriting antiquated? If that's not a strong enough argument, feel free to see the next one.

2.) If students don't know how to write in cursive, they'll certainly not know how to read it as well. For example: If a student is reading the Constitution or the Declaration of Independence, or even their mother's diary after she's passed away, how on earth are they going to be able to read and understand what it is they're writing? Now, I know this is kind of hitting this topic below the belt, but I'm serious! I understand some documents, like the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, is already typed out but there are ALWAYS going to be records, scripts, speeches, diaries and more that are going to be handwritten as well as written in cursive.

3.) There are still things in this day and age that require good handwriting, and even cursive. People still write checks, people still write Thank You cards, people still write in Birthday cards, Baby shower cards, Wedding cards etc, people still write in Wedding guest books, people still sign their name, people still write notes, people still write their names on name tags, people still write in multiple games, doctors still write diagnoses, etc etc etc etc. I could go on!

So if that's the case, it would be disastrous for children to no longer learn the art of handwriting and cursive. If only to just encapsulate their learning and retain their creativity. Sir Francis Bacon once said:

#AUTHORHOUSE WRITING INSPIRATION  Today we celebrate Sir Francis Bacon’s birthday with some of his philosophizing

If we want our children and the people of this country to be full, ready and exact, we need to keep the subjects of writing and cursive in our schools.

And I'm gonna leave it at that.


Monday, April 22, 2013

Soul Food

Recently, I've been under very high stress conditions: my visa requirements to Brazil (where they want me to get every single paper I've ever had since day 1 of my life notarized and authenticated by the state of Georgia), my frantic juggling of my new 2 part time job schedules, family responsibilities and preparing to enter the temple to get endowed, to name a few.

So when things like this are happening behind the curtain of a carefully placed smile and tranquil exterior, needless to say, I need a moment to myself. I need a release, a single piece of the universe that I can bury myself into for a few minutes.

Now, I've always been a bit particular when it comes to certain things. With movies, photography, art, literature and especially music. Now, I say I'm particular, but some might stretch this concept and possibly call me... a music snob.

And this is definitely true. Whenever a family member puts on Miley Cyrus or a crappy country song *cough cough* Save a Horse Ride a Cowboy *cough cough* I do tend to cringe and curl into the fetal position with my ears bleeding.

But it's interesting to me just how much I actually do need music. Now, apart from the fact that I did play the violin through middle school, high school and college, in addition to a few songs I've written and singing in the shower or the car by myself, I would not call myself a music aficionado. Nor would I say I'm musically talented, though I do try.

However music has really been one of the core things in my life that I've desperately required. Looking back, there's never been a single day or night that I've gone without listening to a written ballad. It's been something that soothes my soul, relieves my anger, relaxes and calms my mind, inspires my writing, and reminds me of the experiences I've had that I don't want to forget.

And with the week I've had, music has been the one thing that's saved me from sticking my head in the oven & turning on the broil setting. Between trying to hire a notary, calling Salt Lake asking them what the hell a police clearance letter is, putting on my best face in interviewing for jobs I desperately need, stressing about making ends meet till my last paycheck comes in, doing the grim chore of going clothes shopping for ghastly missionary attire, it's any wonder why I haven't been found cross-eyed and muttering to myself strapped in a strait jacket.

Music is literally food for my soul. So why would I ingest anything that wasn't amazing? If eating junk food isn't healthy for your body, couldn't it be the same reasoning and logic for awful music for your soul?

In attending the Andy Grammer concert last week with my sister, I was able to see some incredible artists bare their souls on stage. And for those few hours I was truly happy and satisfied, forgetting everything that was making me pull my hair out.

So for your listening and viewing pleasure, here a few lyrics to a few songs that have spoken to my soul.

Falling for the Beat
Stole my heart
You took & threw it in your getaway car
You caught me
You caught me so off guard
And I kinda like... I kinda like it

I've got it bad
How did I ever get to where I'm at
Somehow I woke up in the palm of your hand
And I kinda like it... I kinda like it

How could I want you
Want you so bad
When I just met you
How could I let you
Take what's left of the love I had
Feels so wrong
It feels so right
Now I'm falling for the beat
I wouldn't change a thing
I'm falling for the beat
Falling for the beat

When your souls weary
When you find doubt
When you can't hear me
Lay your troubles down

In your dark moments
When your hearts weak
Bring yourself broken
You will find me

Who wrote the rain
Who wrote the sun in
Who called your name
Where are you running
I'm gonna be there near or far
I'm gonna meet you where you are
Who wrote the rain
Who wrote the sun in 


Monday, April 8, 2013

What e'er thou art

Act well thy part.

This past weekend, as most everyone knows, was General Conference. Although I didn't have a chance to see every talk and every session, there was one particular talk, other than Jeffrey R. Holland's, that really struck me to the bone.

Sister Elaine S. Dalton gave an amazing talk where she gave an account of being in Scotland after her father died, feeling disheartened and depressed, and then seeing a stone with this phrase engraven upon it:

What E'er Thou Art, Act Well Thy Part.

I've always been somewhat of a collector of quotes, and this one will probably be added to my small collection. Her story really touched me with the context of this quote, and with the changes that will happen to me in Brazil over the next 18 months. I know I'll have times of depression, frustration and discouragement, but in looking back on this story and this quote, I can only hope I'll receive the hope and strength that Sister Dalton, and President McKay received.

I can only pray that the small part I'll play on my mission, in my life and in the hands of the Lord.


Wednesday, April 3, 2013


I usually never do this. Not because of anything other than the fact that I never have cash on me. I mean never

But a few days ago, I was at the intersection of University Parkway and State Street, which is probably the busiest intersection in Orem, and I saw a kid probably no more than 22 years old with a backpack, holes in his jeans and a pair of worn glasses holding a sign that said 'Stranded, Anything Will Help.' 

I don't know why, maybe it was how young he looked, how different his sign was from the usual 'Family in Need' or 'Homeless, God Bless' boards I tend to see off little center streets, but I was struck and saddened by this poor boy. 

So, finding as much change as I could, and probably pissing off the people in the car behind me, I rolled down my window and waved him over. I apologized saying this was all I had on me and he looked at me with such sorrowful eyes and mustered a sweet 'Thank you, bless you.' 

I continued to my destination and still felt like I should've given him more. Now, I'm not blogging about this to get any kind of salutation or pat on the bat for 'being so Christ-like' but as I look back on that little moment I had with this kid, I wonder how many times we do feel stranded, for one reason or another. 

We maybe feel stranded in a dead-end job, in a dead-end relationship, in a dead-end phase or season of life. We feel abandoned. Left alone. Stranded. 

Now although I don't know the story of this kid's estrangement, (for all I know he may well be a drug addict or a good for nothing loafer), but as I looked into those sad eyes of this boy who couldn't have been older than me, I felt like I wanted to give him so much more than I did, and I felt righteous indignation against the people, or person, who left him there. 

Regardless of a person's circumstances, or disposition, no one deserves to be stranded. No one deserves to be cast off or shrugged off.

I hope one day I'll be able to see this boy again, in this life or the next, and hold him in my arms for a while, repeat to him that he's never alone and reassure him that I'd never leave him stranded. 


Friday, March 29, 2013

In honor of Easter Sunday

I have been on an Elder Holland kick recently, watching the CES Devotional firesides, Israel, Israel God is Calling, and Cast Not Away Therefore Your Confidence, the General Conference talk, None Were With Him, and talks on missionary work. I'm constantly amazed and floored by his powerful testimony. I just want to take excerpts from a few of my favorite talks:

Missionary Work & the Atonement:
"I am convinced that missionary work is not easy because salvation is not a cheap experience. Salvation was never easy. We are the Church of Jesus Christ, this is the truth, and He is our Great Eternal Head. How could we believe it would be easy for us when it was never, ever easy for Him? It seems to me that missionaries and mission leaders have to spend at least a few moments in Gethsemane. [...]

Now, please don't misunderstand. I'm not saying we need to look for sorrow and I'm not talking about anything anywhere near what Christ experienced. That would be presumptuous and frankly sacrilegious. But I believe that missionaries and investigators, to come to the truth, to come to salvation, to know something of this price that has been paid, will have to pay a token of that same price.

For that reason I don't believe missionary work has ever been easy, nor that conversion is, nor that retention is, nor that continued faithfulness is. I believe it is supposed to require some effort, something from the depths of our soul.

If He could come forward in the night, kneel down, fall on His face, bleed from every pore, and cry, 'Abba, Father (Papa), remove this cup from me,' then little wonder that salvation is not a whimsical or easy thing. [...]

The Atonement will carry the missionaries, perhaps even more importantly than it will carry the investigators. When you struggle, when you are rejected, when you are spit upon and cast out and made a hiss and a byword, you are standing with the best life this world has ever known, the only pure and perfect life ever lived."

"my Easter-season message today is intended for everyone, but it is directed in a special way to those who are alone or feel alone or, worse yet, feel abandoned. These might include those longing to be married, those who have lost a spouse, and those who have lost or have never been blessed with children. Our empathy embraces wives forsaken by their husbands, husbands whose wives have walked away, and children bereft of one or the other of their parents-or both. [...]

Brothers and sisters, one of the great consolations of this Easter season is that because Jesus walked such a long, lonely path utterly alone, we do not have to do so. [...] Trumpeted from the summit of Calvary is the truth that we will never be left alone or unaided, even if sometimes we feel that we are.

This Easter week and alway, may we stand by Jesus Christ 'at all times, and in all things, and in all places that we may be in, even until death,' for surely that is how He stood by us when it was unto death and when He had to stand entirely and utterly alone."

Sunday, March 24, 2013


So today's my birthday, and I actually have a confession to make. I forgot it was my birthday till yesterday. & sadly, I'm being completely honest. I really did forget. With my mission call, packing up my things, getting my hands on every novel I can find before I leave, and several photography assignments I've had, it simply slipped my mind.

And it honestly has been a good day. My good friends Lealand and Richard made me dinner and a cake with candles & everything, my adorable Relief Society presidency got me a little bag of candies, and I received some very sweet phone calls and text messages. It's been a simple birthday, which I'm actually happy about. For me, birthdays stopped being fun after 21 but maybe I'm an odd one.

So in honor of my birthday, I figured this song was rather fitting since I'm now 24 years old. And this song speaks to me more and more, with the changes that'll soon occur, and the person I hope to be one day.

Twenty four oceans
Twenty four skies
Twenty four failures
Twenty four tries 
Twenty four finds me
In twenty-fourth place
Twenty four drop outs
At the end of the day 
Life is not what I thought it was
Twenty four hours ago 

Still I'm singing Spirit take me up in arms with You
And I'm not who I thought I was twenty four hours ago
Still I'm singing Spirit take me up in arms with You 

Twenty four reasons to admit that I'm wrong
With all my excuses still twenty four strong

See I'm not copping out not copping out not copping out
When You're raising the dead in me
Oh, oh I am the second man
Oh, oh I am the second man now
Oh, oh I am the second man now 

And You're raising these twenty four voices
With twenty four hearts
With all of my symphonies
In twenty four parts
But I want to be one today
Centered and true

I'm singing Spirit take me up in arms with You
You're raising the dead in me
Oh, oh I am the second man 

Oh, oh I am the second man now
Oh, oh I am the second man now 
And You're raising the dead in me

I want to see miracles, see the world change
Wrestled the angel, for more than a name
For more than a feeling
For more than a cause
I'm singing Spirit take me up in arms with You
And You're raising the dead in me
Twenty four voices
With twenty four hearts
With all of my symphonies
In twenty four parts.
I'm not copping out. Not copping out. Not copping out. 

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Why I'm Going (Mission Post)

In case anyone is out of the loop or cares to know, yes I am going on a mission. An 18 month mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

To start off with, if anyone is offended or is befuddled as to why they're just finding out now that I've gotten my mission call, I'll just clarify right now. I told no one about this decision except for my mother and Bishop when I decided to go at the end of November. Not even my siblings knew of my decision to go until recently. I did that for a few reasons:

1.) There is always and I mean always a stigma that accompanies a girl who tells everyone and their mom that she's 'going on a mission.' I didn't want to disclose that information mostly because I didn't want to hear from my guy friends who had gone on missions (which are many) about their terrible/disastrous/awesome/dim-witted/crazy/amazing sister missionaries in their district/zone. I didn't want to hear any of the bad or good stories because I didn't want to be swayed either way. This was something that was extremely personal to me and something that I wanted to handle by myself for a while before getting feedback from others. I didn't want to be influenced by everyone. I wanted to be influenced by the Spirit and myself.

2.) I had doubts the entire time I was putting my mission papers in. Up until the day I received my call I still struggled in thinking this was the right thing to do. I doubted my future, I doubted if I was even worthy enough to go, I doubted if I could afford to go, I doubted if I'd be a good missionary (or at least as incredible as my brother and sister were), I doubted how my family would really feel about it, I doubted what my friends & family would think who aren't affiliated with the Church about it, I doubted I was even ready. Having said this, with all my doubts that seemed to crush me time and time again and ravaged my sleep, I didn't want to publicly announce what I was going through. It was a self-preservation tactic. I didn't want to run the risk of looking like I was wishy-washy or changing my mind in case I decided not to go. Which I did contemplate several times.

Still, once I had met with the Bishop & Stake President, things began falling into place suddenly. Within several days of posting my car on ksl, it was sold, my bosses were completely supportive about the possibility of me going home, I was able to receive financial help from the Bishop & many of my siblings became inspired as to what to say to me when I finally told them.

So, after answering why I kept this a secret from everyone, I'll move on to the more pressing question which is:

Why do I want to go on a mission? I'm 23 years old & obviously not getting any younger. When I get back I'll be 25. I'll be leaving a really good job at UVU that could possibly turn into a career, I'll be leaving co-workers I love at both Barnes & Noble and UVU, I'll be leaving my friends who've impacted my life so much in Utah for a year & a half, and I'll be leaving my family and especially my nieces and nephews who I'd give my life for. So why? Why now? A few people have heard me say things about me wanting 'an adventure' or a 'completely different experience' and they wonder why a mission? Why not go to Europe like I've always talked about?

Aside from all of the intensely personal feelings and revelations I've received, and my patriarchal blessing that I can't share here, I'll just say this:

When I was in Europe, me and the kids from my BYU-Idaho group went to a little church in Paris, France one Sunday. (Strangely enough, I saw Elizabeth Smart. She apparently taught in the same area as the church we attended.) I had felt disillusioned with Paris (to be fair, the Rodin museum was well worth the trip but that's beside the point); the Eiffel Tower didn't impress me as much as I thought it would, there was pornography on newsstands everywhere, & it was just a dirty, ghetto city. But while I sat in the make-shift chapel where we took the sacrament and as I listened to the missionaries translate the service for us, there was something so incredibly peaceful and there was such a different spirit that I hadn't felt before in a long time. Afterwards, our teachers told us that today was a special day for the people of France. That Sunday they were doing a country-wide fast and prayer for a temple in Paris. Almost instantly my eyes filled with tears of their own accord. The faith of the Saints in France seemed overwhelming and suddenly Paris didn't seem as dismal and amoral as I'd thought.

I think about that experience a lot, and I've gone back to it several times in my mind. Yes, I do want an adventure, and yes I do want to be out of my element for a while; to push myself and become a stronger, better person, but the real reason I decided to go was that experience I had in France with people I didn't even know. I realized how much I could love complete strangers and the desire I had to help them, to serve them. Even if I never teach a single discussion or never tract, I won't mind. I'll be more than satisfied with raking a lawn full of fallen leaves, helping a little family move into a new home, opening a door for a little old lady struggling to carry her groceries. A mission is an opportunity for me to do that everyday, without worrying about being late for work or running this errand or that--that is my job, that is my errand. To be there for others who have no one. To help someone in dire need of a confidant, a friend, a smile.

So there, in the most convoluted way possible is my explanation for why I've all of a sudden decided to leave everything behind and give my life to this for 18 months. I know it's crazy. I know it won't make much sense. I know some of you don't really understand exactly why, even now. But this time will fly by so fast, and I'll be faithful in writing to all of you. I'm so grateful for the support and the words of encouragement all of you have shown me. I really desperately need it, now more than ever. The next year and a half will be the hardest of my life. I'll experience more spilled tears, more frustrations, more disappointments, more sleepless nights, more blisters and swollen feet, more heartbreak, more exhausting hours and more hunger than ever before. And yet, at the same time, I'll also experience more sweetness, more selfless love, more incredible spiritual experiences, more unrelenting strength, and more compassion then ever before. & I'm okay with that trade off.

Sister Megatron (has a nice ring to it don't it? ;)

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

I wish I was in Carrickfergus

I have a confession to make. My nerd-dom has not only leant itself to the Hobbit, nor is it solely confined to the realm of movies, soundtracks, art or literature.

Maybe it's because of St. Patrick's Day, maybe it's my current love of Collin O'Donoughe from Once Upon a Time or Allen Leech from Downton Abbey. Maybe it's my obsession with fairy tales and Celtic legends, maybe it's the consistency of attending the Renaissance festival where I almost always get a celtic knot or some form of jewelry that's reminiscent of the emerald isles. Either way, I am obsessed with Ireland right now.

Re-reading W.B. Yeats poetry, loving the Irish ballad Carrickfergus about a beautiful castle off of Northern Ireland, listening to the Saw Doctors when driving up the English countryside into the wild, untamed land of Wales, watching cheesy movies that I could stomach because of the landscape of Ireland it was filmed, and currently reading A Week in Winter by Maeve Binchy about Stoneybridge off of the coast of Ireland has made me hungry for the Island of Destiny.

Seriously, I'm obsessed. There's just something about it that's so captivating. Engulfing. Of course I do love England, and I'll always love Wales, and Scotland will definitely be on my top Europe destinations to visit, but there's just something about Ireland. Dublin. Carrickfergus. Blarney Castle. Gaelic language. Giant's Causeway. Trinity Library. Castle Island.

Not only am I amazed and floored by how straight up gorgeous this country is, but the history and the people constantly blow me away. I absolutely love how Ireland struggled for independence from England. Regardless of anyone's political views on the subject, you have to admit these tykes REALLY fought hard for it. I mean, they were gonna stop at nothing till they were their own country. And lest we forget, Irish boys are probably the best looking boys on the face of the planet, except maybe Australian/South Africa boys.

Regardless, I'll just leave it at this: Ireland as of right now is at the top of my bucket list.


Friday, March 8, 2013

Pre-Spring Blues

I'm not entirely sure what's gotten into me lately. Maybe it's the occasional Christina Perri song that catches me off guard, maybe it's an episode of Once Upon a Time or Downton Abbey that is soaked with more romantic story lines than usual. Maybe it's simply the fact that I'm going through a certain "dry spell." Maybe it's my improper eating/sleeping behavior that has my hormones screwed up.

Before I continue on, I know several times I've said things that have warranted advice or concern. I'll just preface this by saying, I'm fine. I am not in a hurry to rush into anything at all. Quite the contrary. However, I'd be lying to myself if I didn't voice my slump that I'm residing in.

I don't want to be married. I'm happy not being married. Truly I am.

But I do miss being in love. I do miss the blossoming stages of amorous infatuation and the beautiful things that come of it when it matures into a full-fledged romance.

I've always had to be very careful in regards to what I subject myself to. With movies, books, music and the like. I guess it's no surprise that I'm more sensitive to things than I'd like to think. And it's true--with movies especially. My roommates can attest that I absolutely despise horror movies or anything like unto it. The images and the feelings remain with me for months afterwards and it affects my sleeping habits drastically. Any overly-gory, overly-sexual, overly-disturbing scene can send my emotions and my spirituality into a tailspin.

And this also accounts for romance. The Twilight books were my last paranormal romance books I allowed myself to read. I refuse to read them or anything like it. And there are several reasons for this, aside from the fact that it's a badly written, twisted, warped, co-dependent relationship based solely on the fact that the vampire boyfriend wants to kill the female protagonist, the main reason why I don't read them any more is that it teaches my idiotic female brain about my expectations for romance.

Whether I'm conscious of it or not, books similar to Twilight become a fixation for my hormones. And suddenly, if a boy is not brooding, dark, mysterious or tortured, he holds no appeal for me. Which, needless to say, is the epitome of unhealthy.

Having said this, I've been proud to say that none of my favorite books have an excessive amount of romance in them. Each book just has dapplings here and there. Sprinkled with occasional sexual tension and that's it.

Which makes me wonder why I'm feeling this want of male affection. What could possibly be causing me to miss holding hands, kissing, cuddling, making out? The book I'm currently writing has very little romantic entanglements, I'm not watching any movies or T.V. shows that are overly-ardent.

So why? Why do I feel so lonely?

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Shakespeare Sundays

Recently I've been on a William Shakespeare kick, which hasn't happened for quite a while. I rediscovered the 1968 film version of Romeo and Juliet by director Franco Zeffrelli. When I read the play in high school, I enjoyed parts of it, but realized just how awful of a love story it really was. Romeo is fickle & indecisive, while Juliet is easily seduced and foolish in falling in love with Romeo too fast. Both Romeo and Juliet are impulsive, rash and irrationally reckless.

However, there's a line that Juliet says to Romeo after they've promised themselves to each other faithfully.

"And all my fortunes at thy foot I lay and follow thee my lord throughout the world."

[start it from 1:49]

For some reason, that line struck such a chord with me that I literally Awwed out loud.  It is incredibly romantic, even in spite of the fact that these kids have only known each other for a grand total of 30 minutes. But as I thought on it more, I realized that this sentiment of putting everything one has at the foot of someone you love could easily be applied to Gospel principles.

How often are we willing, happy even, to lay "all my fortunes" at the foot of the Savior? And follow Him "throughout the world"? Not as often as we should from what I've concluded.

This new perspective that Shakespeare gave me yesterday as I watch Olivia Hussey speak those words has made me re-evaluate yet again how renewed my commitment to the Savior and to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

My prayer is that we all my be able to give up everything and lay it at the feet of the one who gave us everything we have.


Sunday, February 17, 2013

Le sigh

Sometimes I worry how skewed my priorities can get. I've become so fixated on my writing, I wonder if I have more faith in my books and my manuscript than with the Gospel or my friends & family. After attending a writing conference this weekend, I feel so overwhelmed with everything I have to do to get my novel finished and out there.

Don't get me wrong, it was a good experience. I had forgotten just how awesome it is to be around true nerds who dress up in black cloaks and Dr. Who t-shirts and make references to Lord of the Rings. I loved it probably more than I should have. But the fact was, I started becoming obsessed when it came to throwing myself into this passion of mine, and perfecting every little thing there. Until I realized, it wasn't a race. Even though my plan was to get my novel completely finished and revised by April, it's not a terrible disaster if I don't. And it's no reason to put off more important things, or make the people I love take a backseat till then.

I've decided to dedicate more of my Sundays to keeping this day holier than it usually is. Making sure the movies I watch, the music I listen to, and the activities I do are uplifting and turn my thoughts more towards Christ. I've even started picking up my violin and playing again & after some time of re-tuning it.

There's really no point to this rant other than this:

I recognize that I've been stagnant in a lot of things recently, in my true dedication to the Gospel, in my writing, in my relationships with the people around me etc. I need to be more Christ-like, I need to look for more service opportunities, and I need to be a true friend. Not just a friend for Sundays. Even though I've had mixed feelings about the ward I'm in, all in all, if I don't make friends simply because I haven't tried, then that's my own fault. No one else's. And if I end up finding out that the majority of the people at church are jerks, well I won't really know if they are or not until I give them a chance. And if they are, then at least I can say I've done all I can. But if they're not, then maybe I'll end up fortifying friendships that will sustain me through difficult times, and do the same for them.

And thus ends my narration. Thanks for dropping in!


Saturday, February 9, 2013

Siren playlist

Here are the songs that I play while I'm writing my YA Fantasy/Adventure novel, Siren.

1.) Radioactive by Imagine Dragons
2.) Easier to Run by Linkin Park
3.) Say by OneRepublic
4.) The Resistance by anberlin
5.) Imaginary by Evanescence
6.) Seven Devils by Florence & the Machine
7.) Demons by Imagine Dragons
8.) Explosions by Ellie Goulding
9.) Together Again by Evanescence
10.) From the Inside by Linkin Park
11.) The Lightning Strike by Snow Patrol
12.) Bleeding Out by Imagine Dragons
13.) Paperthin Hymn by anberlin
14.) Love is Blindness by Jack White
15.) My Fault by Imagine Dragons
16.) Lost in Paradise by Evanescence

Any guesses as to the plot? :)


Sunday, February 3, 2013

When it pours, it floods...

There's a tried but true phrase that says, "When it rains, it pours." When people usually apply this particular statement, it's usually to describe a situation that has gone from bad to worse. When bad things happen, there are LOTS of bad things happening.

But I'd like to alter this cliche slightly to describe when inspiration hits. "When it pours, it floods." As most everyone knows I'm working on a novel that I really feel could be the future of young adult literature. It's unique, with well-rounded characters, a female lead who isn't strong at first, but grows stronger through out the story, and a different post-apocalyptic/dystopian environment. The only thing that it's similar to that I can think of, is the movie V for Vendetta. But I'm happy to say, that the only thing I borrowed/ drew inspiration from it, was with the government banning the arts and music and having a tight control on its people. Everything else, my idea!

Currently I'm on chapter 10 in my story, but just last night I got inspiration for another book that could definitely be made into a movie. In fact, it's probably more fit for the silver screen than black and white and read all over. :)

Last night I had probably the worst case of insomnia ever. I'm not exaggerating when I say I maybe got 20 minutes of sleep in total. It was awful. And I really don't know where it came from. I was swearing and praying, sometimes at the same time that I could get some mother-effing sleep, that never came. As I dozed, however, I started dreaming about my experiences in retail, both current and past experiences. Some of the stories are funny, some are painful, and some are downright terrible.

This case of restlessness has lead me to a comedic piece of writing that I'm thrilled to pursue after Siren is finished. I imagine if this new story were to be made into celluloid, the producers/director of Pitch Perfect or Bridget Jones' Diary would be heavily involved.

Writing a comedy is probably the hardest genre to do. If it's not done well, it's a complete disaster no matter who is cast or who is directing it. But I'm excited for the challenge! Siren is a very intense young adult novel that at times takes itself too seriously, like The Hunger Games or Maze Runner but this new idea I received last night will be a breath of fresh air for me. None of my friends or family members will have to put up with my moodiness or angst like they have with me writing Siren.

I've always been afraid that as a writer, I'd run out of ideas for things to write about, and then my career as a novelist will be over. But after having 4 new story outlines I've produced, not including Siren, I'm confident I'll never be want for inspiration.

Here's to future best-selling novels & blockbuster films! And here's to the writers that started out with nothing who now have everything!

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Guilty Pleasures...

I'm going to incriminate myself slightly in admitting something that I can't seem to get enough of...

I cannot get enough of the Hobbit.

Now this may come as a puzzling revelation to some. As most know I'm not much of a Lord of the Rings fanatic. I definitely appreciate the films and the epic story, but for whatever reason I just couldn't relate to Frodo as a character I could see myself in. I also felt like there wasn't enough comic relief for me. & that's not Peter Jackson or Tolkein's fault. By default, the trilogy is not a light-hearted adventure like Harry Potter or the Chronicles of Narnia.

Which is why I was surprised how much I loved the Hobbit. And I really love it! I've seen the film a total of 3 times, and I'm actually contemplating seeing it for a 4th time on Saturday.

Why did I love the Hobbit when I felt indifferent towards Lord of the Rings? I mean it's almost the exact same story right?

I think there are a few reasons why the Hobbit spoke to my soul far more than the Lord of the Rings. First & foremost, there's Bilbo Baggins, who is a timid, cautious soul who is comfortable in his hobbit hole surrounded by good food, good books and good comforts. However, there is a part of him, however small, that does yearn for an adventure, though at first he fights against it and doesn't want to admit it. The truth of the matter is that he became so used to his life and what others expected of him that he buried those feelings of longing deep within him until Gandalf comes and changes his mind.

For being as faint-hearted as the other dwarves seem to believe he is, Bilbo surprises them slowly and time after time. He proves himself over and over again as a plucky, resourceful and clever hobbit.

The other reason I loved the Hobbit as much as I did was Gandalf. He's always known for his deep and insightful one-liners but there were several in this film that really stuck out to me.

When Gandalf gives Bilbo a sword, Bilbo is decidedly uncomfortable and says "I've never used a sword in my life."

Gandalf replies, "And I hope you never have to use it. But remember this, true courage is knowing, not when to take a life, but when to spare one."

Bam! Way to go Gandalf! There is so much truth in that simple statement, and I had honestly never thought of it that way before.

The next memorable moment with Gandalf is when he's explaining to Galadriel why he chose Bilbo for their quest. He admits he's not sure, but then goes on to say, "Saruman believes it is only great power that can hold evil in check, but that is not what I have found. I found it is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay... small acts of kindness and love. Why Bilbo Baggins? That's because I am afraid and he gives me courage."

This also hit home to me, not only for the Gospel references it alludes to, but also how remarkable one solitary person can be. Bilbo didn't have any extraordinary skills or abilities to contribute to their adventure--he was afraid for the majority of the film, and yet Gandalf gleaned great courage from Bilbo.

Something that has always been a huge contributor for my love of movies is the soundtrack. And Howard Shore does not cease to amaze me. The Misty Mountains by Richard Armitage was fantastic! & still gives me goosebumps. Over Hill is the very essence of an epic quest track, almost making you want to head out with the rest of them!

Another reason why I loved the Hobbit was because of how much comic relief was in the film. I actually laughed out loud on several occasions! I couldn't remember that happening while watching Fellowship or Two Towers. Radagast the Brown was hilarious! The dwarves were loud, raucous and delightful. Even Gollum made me chuckle several times.

Lastly, I loved the dwarves. Not only were they hilarious, but several of em were pretty doggon good-looking too! Thorin Oakenshield, Fili & Kili, & even Bofur were pretty hot!

So there you have it. The movie that I continuously go back to over & over again is a movie based on a book I wasn't a fan of, and part of a franchise I didn't particularly care for.

It's amazing how even at 23 I think I've grown up, and have specific tastes intrenched in me, but I continually surprise myself with realizations like this.