Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Those who bring sunshine

I've never understood why everyone keeps things so personal. That's probably because I'm naïve and I haven't had enough encounters with malicious people to lose faith in humanity yet. But I can't help but think that on a fundamental level, we all have the same basic emotions, and even though we all struggle through different trials, there's always someone who understands. Shouldn't we share with each other? Shouldn't we rely on each other? Isn't that why we're all here together in this life?

So I've always felt the need to be transparent.
When people ask me how I'm doing, I like to tell them.
If I'm happy, you'll know it.
If I like a guy, he'll know it.
If I'm sad, you'll know it.
If I'm frustrated, you'll know it.
If I'm stressed, you'll really know it.

To me, it's a matter of honesty. In my mind, pasting on a smile when I didn't feel happy was a lie.

But my perspective is changing lately.
Recently I've been learning that smiling is an act of service. Have you ever had a stranger smile at you? A big, genuine smile, for no apparent reason, and all you can do is smile back. What a kindness! They shared their happiness with you. If only for a split second, your mood was lifted.

Acting positive and kind and upbeat even though you don't feel happy is a sacrifice. You're sacrificing your comfort or the ease of letting your mood rule your demeanor for the sake of improving the lives of the people around you. It's not to be fake or to put on a show so that everyone thinks your life is perfect, or at least that shouldn't be the goal. It's to make someone smile, to make someone's day better, to ease someone's burden.

You know those people that, whenever you're around them, you feel better about yourself and better about life in general?
It's because they're happy, right? They're happy to see you. They think you're a great person. They remind you of all the good things in life. They're happy in general.
Are these people happy because nothing bad ever happens to them? Do they act this way because they have nothing to be unhappy about?
I don't think so. I think they probably have just as many problems as you do.
But if they can have problems and be this happy, why can't you?
What if YOU were one of those people that makes everyone happy?
Guess what.
You can be! You are! YOU are 100% capable of making people happy!
What if everyone made the decision to be one of those people that makes everyone around them happy? What a happy place this world would be.

Uh-oh. My naivete is coming out.
Do I care?


Make someone happy today.

Monday, July 29, 2013


you have to go up to the canyon and have a bonfire with your best friends for no reason other than you have a box of extra firewood, graham crackers, chocolate and marshmallows lying around and you need to get it out of your living room.

you have to build a fort because life gets hard and you need blanket walls and mattress floors to protect you from work, school, sunlight, and home teachers who mercilessly remind you that you're single.

your best friend finally comes home from 2 months in Europe and you're so giddy that you literally cannot help but take several ugly pictures of yourselves because you're so excited to be reunited at last.

you have to throw your other best friend a late surprise birthday party.
You have to, because she was studying abroad during her birthday, and she had a rotten birthday, and she always goes all out to throw everyone else cutesey, thoughtful, fun, tastey parties and she just totally deserved it.
When this happens, it becomes absolutely necessary to have a Breakfast At Tiffany's theme because she loves Audrey Hepburn.
It also becomes necessary to annoy said best friend by dragging her from the aforementioned fort against her will and making her take you on a fake shopping trip that she doesn't even want to go on and preventing her from eating food she wants to eat because there's a party waiting for her at home and it's for her own good.

Hailey poppin' bottles

Sometimes there's no one there to take the picture and you have to photoshop Caroline in.
your friend from high school whom you haven't seen in over a year drives 30 minutes to come visit you because he loves you and when that happens, you have to spend the day watching scary movies in your fort and going out for authentic Mexican food and getting locked out of your apartment, because really, is there any other way to celebrate seeing an old friend?
you don't have time to blow dry AND straighten your hair before church, so for the first time in your life you attempt to do something you've always been too scared to do: blow dry your hair with a round brush. Sometimes, you just have to face your fears to find out that you can DO it! And it's gonna turn out OK! And there's nothing to be afraid of!

And sometimes,
you have to post a video from your childhood, partly out of nostalgia, and partly because it shares the name of your blog post.


Sunday, July 14, 2013

What women want

Can I teach you something about girls really fast? I promise it's useful.
I had a conversation with my friend Britney about what girls want in a significant other. Do I have your attention? What girls want. The big mystery. Here's what she said that really resonated with me: "What guys don't realize is that they could have almost any girl they want if they would just love her."

Now this statement in itself can be interpreted in a lot of ways, but I think it really stuck with me because it reminded me of something I read in 7 Habits of Highly Effective People (Sweet book, btw. Read that). Steven Covey told of how he counseled a man who was saying he wanted to leave his wife because the love was gone. Covey's advice was to "love her." This confused the man because he had just explained that the love wasn't there anymore. This is what Covey said:

"My friend, love is a verb. Love--the feeling--is a fruit of love, the verb. So love her. Serve her. Sacrifice. Listen to her. Empathize. Appreciate. Affirm her. Are you willing to do that?"

So you don't have to immediately FEEL love for her, as in, you don't have to feel like you're in love with her. But if you SHOW love to her, the feelings will come. What an interesting concept. 

That has sat with me, and the chord was struck again in my mind as I was listening to a talk about charity in my ward some weeks ago. The speaker shared the following quote from Dieter F. Uchtdorf's talk, Your Wonderful Journey Home:

"Have you ever wondered what language we all spoke when we lived in the presence of God? I have a strong suspicion that it was German, though I suppose no one knows for sure. But I do know that in our premortal life we learned firsthand, from the Father of our spirits, a universal language--one that has the power to overcome emotional, physical and spiritual barriers. That language is the pure love of Jesus Christ. It is the most powerful language in the world. The love of Christ is not a pretend love. It is not a greeting-card love. It is not the kind of love that is praised in popular music and movies. This love brings about a real change of character. It can penetrate hatred and dissolve envy. It can heal resentment and quench fires of bitterness. It can work miracles."

So you have to SHOW love, but not just any kind of love. There are different kinds of love. No, let me correct myself. There is one kind of true love, and many counterfeits for it. A man who shows charity--the pure love of Christ-- to a woman through his actions will set himself apart from other men. 

Have you ever wondered why girls fall for bad boys even though they treat them terribly? A big part of it, I think, is because they are hoping the boy will love them enough to change for them. They see these movies where bad boys change their ways in the name of love and the girl saves him and they live happily ever after. But they don't realize that this portrayal of love is artificial. It is a sorry copycat of Christlike love, a love that can supersede all of a person's imperfections and help them blossom into who they're meant to be. Many girls fail to recognize the difference between movie love and real love, pure love, charity. They don't realize that this is what they want.
I believe that to an extent, the appeal also comes from a woman's vanity and pride. She wants to be powerful enough or beautiful enough or lovable enough to change someone. She might feel that she would be validated or her self worth would be confirmed if she could be a positive influence in this boy's life and change him for the better. But this is also flawed thinking, because none of us can change each other. Only Christ can do that. We can only try to follow His example and submit ourselves to be instruments in the Lord's hands to help those around us.

Oftentimes girls think they want this electric romance--this passionate fireworks show with sparks flying everywhere that's supposed to be worth any fighting or mistreatment or hardship that may come--because that's what we usually see in movies. Because its the easiest to portray, and it's thrilling, and it looks like the best thing ever. It's used in ENTERTAINMENT because it's more entertaining than charity, because charity is so simple. But underneath all the perfect lighting and background music, these cinematic romances are, in reality, very empty. The truth is, that's not really what we want either. Again, we often mistake romance for a pure and Christlike love--we mistake kisses and sweet words and gestures that ultimately hold no promise at all for service and sacrifice that demonstrate a man's devotion, not only to his woman, but to his God. A love between a man and a woman is fallible and susceptible to failure. But a love between God and one of His children is perfect and complete. A relationship founded upon God will always succeed. Two people who have made obedience to God their number one priority will treat each other right. 

I guess I can't guarantee that loving a girl will make her love you. Like I said, we're easily deceived by the media into thinking we want things that really won't do anything for us, and it can be hard to break through all that brainwashing, depending on the girl's emotional maturity. But here are the facts, whether we girls realize it ourselves or not:

What we want, on a basic fundamental level, is to be loved as a daughter of God. We want someone to see our tenderness and our vulnerability, our individual worth and our grand eternal potential, and to do all he can to live up to that by working to meet his own grand potential. He can only do that by living righteously, which by definition requires him to be obedient, to treat his eternal companion with selflessness, kindness and respect, and to take personal responsibility for her happiness. 

Anyway, that's the answer. Love. Pure, Christlike love. Charity. 

Plain and simple. 

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Little tidbits from the last 4 months of my life

I forgot to blog.
For four months.
It just slipped my mind.
For four months.
Here is my humble offering of apology to you.. some pictures to pretty much sum it up.
Carli had a birthday.

I crashed my car :( It was my fault.

I ran a half marathon. All my friends came :D

Caroline and I tried to juice fast.. It lasted about two days

We had a girls' night to console ourselves while Taylor was attached to Landon's hip and Megan was in Europe.

I celebrated Mothers' Day.
I made my mommy a floral arrangement :)

I roadtripped to Lake Tahoe with my family, and I dragged Hailey along!

I watched the Miss Provo beauty pageant, just for fun. And Zhanna took me to Mongo's Stir fry. It was AWESOME!

I've been enjoying my time as a 5th wheel.

I had a devastating hair mishap. Dyed it a completely ridiculous shade of red.

And then I tried to color over it with brown, which was equally devastating.

I ran a marathon. I was blessed to have so many loved ones helping me get through it and waiting for me at the finish line.

Megan came home!

We threw Taylor a bachelorette party. The main activity was binge eating. We did not regret it.

We went boating.

We celebrated Hailey's birthday with a crepe dinner and an intimate bonfire.
Megan smashed a fly with her bare hands. She was very pleased with herself. Meanwhile, Hailey and I were unable to bear the violence.

Classes started, and I have been trying desperately to survive being a news reporter while working full-time. So far, so good I suppose.
Bright side: I got a press pass!!

 I started swimming in the mornings. Someday I will do a triathlon!

Meggy, I'm sorry I used the picture with you blinking. It's the only one I have with all of us :(

I celebrated 4th of July with my family. We ran a 5k. They entered everyone's race number into a raffle and my mom won the bike! Then we went boating.

I ended up with all the shnacks. This should be a surprise to no one.

That should do it. I'll try to blog more frequently. But it might not be until I get through this miserable term. You've been warned.