Sunday, July 31, 2011

Whoa, what a week!

This week has been so freakin amazing for me! I haven't been this busy since the week before I left Washington. Every day has been filled with some kind of fun with my new Rexburg friends or my sister's family. Last Sunday, I took a significant step of faith on my part and went to a student ward my sister found for me, on my own. In my last post, I related my nervousness and whatnot. Well, I'm so glad I took that step and did something a little scary.

It really goes to show that it's totally worth it to step out of that comfort zone in which we seem to always put ourselves. We limit ourselves so much with unfounded fear of rejection or failure when in the long-run, how important will it really be? In ten years, 15 years, will we care if we made a fool of ourselves in front of someone we were trying to impress? Nah. We probably won't even care that we did poorly on a test one time in class. And why should we? We have so many more important things to think about, more important things to dwell on and develop.

Anyway, I've really gotten to know some new people over the course of this chimerical week. I feel pretty lucky because this time last week I was pretty lonely and not sure if I should really be here in Rexburg or what. But now, I'm having too much fun to want to leave. A few weeks ago I started panicking about my choice to attend BYU-I over BYU in Provo because I never really pondered the choice or prayed about it or anything. I just went ahead and made the decision. But I think I got my answer and I think I kind of knew it all along. I have some real good friends going to BYU right now and in the fall, and I can totally see myself just hanging out with those people and not really expounding upon other friendships. Here, I don't really know anyone so everywhere I go, I'll be trying to make friends. Although I love my friends over in Provo, I know that in this time of my life I need to strike out on my own and really test the social waters. Rexburg is where I'm meant to be.

Funny part of all this, my new friends range in age from 21 to 24. Needless to say, I feel very young when I think about the age gap. Luckily for me they don't often call attention to the fact that I'm, at most, 5 years their junior. At first it really made me nervous to hang out with them but now I couldn't mind less. Each has made me feel included and even wanted for the fun. They're an awesome bunch of young adults that really know how to have fun. And I'm just lucky that I get to tag along!

To top off my really awesome week; I GOT A JOB!! My first job ever and it's at a theater. Basically I've died and gone to heaven. I'm so very excited to start, it's not even funny. Check back in about a month and that may have changed but I sure hope not. When that small little paycheck starts coming in that's when the party really starts. Just kidding. 

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Hope's Journey

I just finished a new book that I picked up at Deseret Book the other day; Hope's Journey by Stephanie Worlton. Hope's Journey is about this young woman who made poor choices with her boyfriend during her senior year of high school and ended up pregnant. Both the young woman, Sydney and her boyfriend, Alex, were active LDS kids with so much going for them... The moment they find out that Sydney is pregnant, the two separate for most of the pregnancy and we get to experience each of their struggles individually.

As I went through everything with the characters, I started to feel a little chastised. I've always kind of looked down upon pregnant teens. It's horrible and evil of me to do but the society that we live in has put such a horrible stigma on these young women and young men that have lost their way. I'm in NO way condoning sex outside of marriage. Nothing good can come from indulging in those desires before you have made that special and sacred promise with the man or woman you are going to spend the rest of eternity with and your Father in Heaven. It's like playing with fire, it doesn't matter how careful you think you're being, you are still mocking the special power you've been given by Heavenly Father to bring life into this world. Even if you don't get pregnant, emotions will be altered. Forever.

Of course, I'm not saying that if you have fallen and made this mistake that you're a horrible, trashy person. No. You are still a beloved son or daughter of God. He loves you beyond all words can express. He knows how you are feeling and what you're going through. He will never forsake you, no matter how unworthy you feel of His attention or love. You can really find forgiveness for anything, but it won't be easy. The best things in life take time and patience and a little effort.

Anyway, this novel made me feel for the characters. They were truly repentant for their actions and knew what they had done was wrong. I found myself feeling sorry for the young woman as she dealt with the judgement of other women and families in her home ward. They had no idea the things that she was going through or the things she had done to gain forgiveness. It made me reflect on myself; I don't know the circumstances, thoughts, feelings, or steps that have been taken towards repentance. There is so much going on behind the scenes. So much hidden from the world. Who am I to judge them when I am not perfect?

Monday, July 25, 2011

Baby Steps

So my mom just left me in Idaho with my kinda feels weird but hasn't completely hit me yet. I don't feel like I'm on my own yet. It'll probably hit me like a bag of bricks in a few days. Till then I'm just gunna enjoy a little more independence.

A few years ago I looked forward to this time when I would be done with high school, living in a different state and getting ready to start college...but now that I'm here? I'm not so sure I'm ready. I don't feel old enough to be rubbing shoulders with these kids here. They all seem so much more educated and mature than I. Every day, I'm reminded by some small thing or other that I have so much more to learn and experience. Am I really ready to start this next chapter of my life? There are times when I feel like that answer is a firm NO but then again I know that I must do this. I need to stretch out of my comfort zone and try new things. Fail a few times and pick myself back up again, without the help of my parents or people I've known for years.

Yesterday, I took my first tentative step away from all things familiar and went to church on campus in a student ward for all the kids that are staying behind for the summer. My friend was going to meet me there but her ward didn't get over till about half-way through the service, so I was on my own until then. When I found myself freaking out about going Saturday night, I kept saying to myself "What do you have to worry about really? You're just going to sit and listen to people talk. You get to hear some really good messages that will really help you out. Just go and sit. There really is no downside." So I went. And I was my FIRST ever student ward! When all those heads swiveled to look at me enter the room, it was too late to back out. But I did end up making a new friend in Sunday School. A young man took pity on me and asked if the seat next to me was free and we got to know each other a bit. It was refreshing to have a real conversation with someone closer to my age. Being constantly surrounded by children can be draining.

Tonight is Monday night and that means Family Home Evening (or FHE for short)...and that means that there is an activity. Tonight though they're just doing a kind of dinner thing and probably some 'ice breaker' games. The bishop said he wanted to get to know us all, seeing that we're going to be going to church together for about 6 weeks.

Wow, I only have 6 more weeks till I move into my apartment!? WHAT?!!!?? I'm soooo excited. It's going to be amazing to finally have a bigger room. Haha. And to meet my roommates. Just hope none of them are crazy....

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Pros and Cons

Have you ever had one of those decisions that you just need to make but both choices have such awesome qualities? What's the best way to make up your mind in this case? I have come to really love pro/con lists in just the past few weeks. Even though these lists are really helpful they have made my brain hurt; simply trying to think of enough things to go in both columns is so difficult!

A good friend of mine and I were just talking about our plans for the future (living arrangements, money and where to live for college breaks) and my first suggestion for her was a pro/con list! It's kind of a running joke between the two of us because of the other reasons I make pro/con lists. She makes fun of me because they're usually really stupid things to make lists abouts (boys, clothes, things-I-want-to-buy.) But I still think that it's a very effective way to map out the good and bad things about a choice. For some reason, seeing the qualities written down in black and white (or color) just makes everything so much more final and clear.

Now that my life is really starting to take off and I'm finding myself standing on my own two feet a little more; it's becoming more and more important for me to make my own choices. With that power I need to make choices that will benefit me in the long-run. I don't want to give up what I want most for something that I want in the moment, you know? I tend to over analyze every outcome and agonize over the choice for a few days or weeks or months, depending on the choice. It's not good, making lists makes things so much easier.

If you've never made a real pro/con list; I encourage you to try. It's a little bit of a relief to see the good and the bad, black and white, no gray or middle ground.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Pre-College Experiences

Last weekend, I travelled to Provo to visit some friends from home who are already attending BYU there and goodness did we have fun!? I'd have to say yes we did. We filled every day with so many sweet experiences and made so many great memories that are unique to this period of time in our lives. I laughed so much last weekend, a much needed work out for my tummy!

My friends showed me "Rape Hill." So named because of this sign and the fact that a young woman was once raped here... 

NEVER again will I hike all the way to the top of the Y on the side of the small mountain in Provo while I'm out of shape! Definitely the hardest hike I've ever been on, though going at 1:30 in the morning really helped; it wasn't nearly as hot at that time.

We hiked to the top of that Y.
Marissa and I hiking. Oh and Ben's finger too.

But after the hike we drove to Krispy Kreames to Dumpster dive for some discarded donuts (They were sealed and perfect just in case you were wondering). Oh yeah, it was now 3 in the morning.

Tanner, Alex, and Marissa getting the booty. :)

Dancing has always been one of my absolute FAVORITE pass times. I with more than anything that my mom had forced me into dance when I was little, cause it's almost painful to watch myself dance (like in old cheer stuff). But anyway, I got to go to my first college dance while I was over in Provo and had a blast. My buddy that also took me to Prom escorted me to this dance as well, so we had another really fun night dancing the night away!

Haha, I love how Ben is the only boy in this picture. These girls were so awesome!!
So basically I'm loving being an almost college student that can basically do whatever she wants. It was so much fun to just go out every night and do something new and exciting. I'm not nieve enough to think that's how it will always be but it's nice to have a break from reality every once in awhile. Healthy even. Even though I'm spending the majority of my summer in Rexburg, it's nice to know that I'm only 4 hours away from some people who will welcome me back whenever I need them. I can't wait to finally start meeting new people here in Rexburg and to start school in September.

Monday, July 18, 2011

How many months has it been?!?

I am so horrible! It's been months since I've written and  there have been some pretty big events in those couple months. 1st, I turned 18 back in May. Something I never really looked forward to or anything even though everyone else looks forward to it for years and years. Now I'm an official adult, whatever that means. It's not like I can do anything special now that I've reached 18....I don't have any new freedoms or responsibilities. Basically, I do the same things I did when I was 17. Being LDS, I don't smoke or gamble so it wasn't like I wanted to go out immediately and buy a pack of cigarettes or a scratch tickets. But enough about that mundane topic. Let's move on shall we?
Prom. Was. AWESOME! For so many months before the dance I was not looking forward to it at all because I didn't think I'd even end up going with a date cause no one was talking about it to me or dropping hints that maybe they would take a chance and ask. I remember hating hearing people talk about their plans for prom and whatnot. But then I reconnected with an old friend and thought, "What've I got to lose by asking him if he'd take pity on me?" Possible shunning. So I took a chance and asked if he'd like to go and you guessed it, he said yes! And how wonderful that was; our personalities meshed really well as shown in our pictures. I've never gone on a date or to a dance with someone who loves taking pictures as much as I do. And as a result we took a lot of pictures. Another plus was that he was an awesome dancer so that was really fun; especially seeing the jealousy on the other girls faces when he'd spin me around or dip me. Yeah that's right ladies, SUCK IT! Just kidding. But seriously, soo much fun. Wouldn't mind doing it again sometime. Haha

Next on the list...GRADUATION!! It's official, I'm a high school and seminary graduate and a very happy one at that. It didn't seem real at all walking out across the stage to get my fake diploma. It still doesn't seem real, I keep thinking that I'm going to have to go home soon and go back to GK for some more schooling. I don't think it will really hit me until September when I'm checking into my apartment at BYU-I. Even then it'll seem weird and not right. I'm not old enough to be out of high school and out fending for myself in the world. I'm lying here in my friends bed typing this thinking that I'm so not ready to be on my own. I still need my mommy and my daddy to guide me through everything. I didn't even know where to find batteries at Walmart the other day, if that doesn't scream "Not ready for life." I don't know what does. But then again, I know that I have to do this on my own. I know that I need to get out and experience failure and success without holding the hand of a parent. When I'm not thinking about how much I don't know yet, I'm not too worried about being so far away from everything with which I've become familiar. I'm pretty excited actually. Mostly I just really want to meet new people and have new experiences that I would not have had at home. I always thought I would know so much by the time I graduated from high school (and seminary) but...I really don't know very much. There is so much more out there that I need to learn and see. And what better place to do it than at a church sponsored school. I can't wait to start and end every class with a prayer to invite the Spirit into the room. How much easier will it be to pay attention and glean something new from the lesson if the Spirit of my Heavenly Father is present and willing to help me as long as I put the work in as well?

My sister had another baby a few days ago; a very healthy baby boy named Dax. I've never been lucky enough to be around brand new babies and I loved this opportunity. Being able to hold this precious little guy was so special. He had come from the presence of my Heavenly Father and Jesus only hours before I was holding him. This tiny little spirit, so new to this world, still knew Heaven and angels. He still knew for a surety of their existence. Or at least I believe newborns can. I believe that babies and infants can see the spirit world, or Heaven, all around us when they're young. I believe they can see angels. Looking down at Dax really started the old cogs going in my brain, and filled me with questions I would love to ask him but I know I wouldn't get an answer. What was in like in Heaven? Did you speak with the Savior much? What did you do while you waited to come to us? Have you been watching our family for long? At the same time I'm a little sad because he did have to leave that perfect place to come here, a very imperfect place full of sorrow, pain, heartache, wickedness, and sin. Although it's necessary for his progression, I still feel for the little guy. I look at him and want to protect him from ever knowing the bad parts of life but I know he must. For if he doesn't know the sorrow, how will he know the joy? The must be opposition in all things.