Friday, June 27, 2008
Anyway, I have to stop and say how much I love Idaho. Yes, I LOVE Idaho. Living years with a love/hate relationship with it for the culture that seemed to set me up to hate myself for not living in a timeline, look, or life that fit with the ideals I'd been taught, I now am a semi-stable 33 year old that appreciates Idaho for its open spaces, people who generally will leave you alone but be friendly when called upon, and lack of crazy speed-of-life-stress that I've grown to accept as my constant companion. I still hold those ideals, but just don't stress over them! Even staring out the airport windows, I realize I feel at home.
I'm just leaving my IDLA conference (and scared to type in those little letters after learning "tech" tricks that had our CEO, Donna, admitting that she tracks every time it pops up on the web...even in our blogs! I know I gave an auditory little gasp, and began wondering if someone were tracking things like every time I mentioned Diet Dr. Pepper, Lehi, Dove Dark Chocolate, or some other obsession I might write about? I calmed down though, and have now returned to feeling safe in my posting...). Anyway, after that long side-note, I better pick up with a new sentence. As always, the conference was great! And I'm not saying that for those who might be watching! :) Wait, they're calling my flight. Yay!!! Hopefully I'll talk to you on the other side!
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
Monday, June 16, 2008
Anyway, off of that bright note...I finally got the memory card for my digital camera and stopped on my way home from Koneohe this past week to take pictures. I had just finished a two-hour workout (yes...two hours of pure Hades in my mind...) and couldn't handle being in my car when the perfect sun and perfect greenish aqua waters were screaming my name. So, I stopped at as many beaches as I could possibly stop at without getting hit by tour buses whizzing by, or get looked at strangely by locals trying to have a picnic and a swim without an annoying, camera-wielding freak stop in. Anyway, here's a picture that I took that I have to say could go right into a calendar if I do say so myself!
Isn't it beautiful? As I often do when I'm in a glorious place, I look around and try with all my heart and soul to embed the feeling of the place so that I'll never forget it. Hawaii really is one of those places that I can let go of the world, where I can feel more authentically myself, and can really begin to feel calm and at peace. Here, they call it the "Aloha Spirit," and it's so true. I taped a bit of the beach on my digital camera, let me see if that will load here as well...
Well, I thought I'd be reading my eyes out this summer, but have honestly only read two books so far. Man, it's almost shameful, but I've spent so much time in the gym and online getting courses reworked and teaching this English 12 class, that I just haven't cared. Weird, eh? I usually read this much at the height of the school year; even at my busiest I can crank out a good five to eight books a month! I will say this though, had I not burned myself within an inch of my life...which has now turned a delightful butterscotchy tan color :)...I'd be reading much more. I just haven't had another full beach day. I've only had one! How strange. In a beach day, I'll read either almost all or all of an entire book. When I was here in December, Kyle and I would hit the beach whenever the sun peaked it's little face out...and sometimes we hit it even without! (You have to come back Kyle! The sun is pretty much out EVERY day now! You'd really be a tan boy if you came now.)
Okay, one last tidbit that I'd like to remember/share, and then I'll hush for the night! Mom's ward, Laie 5th Ward, is having their annual ward campout down on the beach. Honestly, it's the coolest camping I've ever seen in my life, what with huge tents covered with these HUGE convention-like tents over their entire campsites, with campstoves, electricity, etc. It's awesome! Anyway, since mom and I call opening the bedroom window a little wider "camping," we of course did not join them; however, we went up tonight to the fireside. In the end, that fireside ended up being more moving than months of church attendance. Maybe that's shameful on my part, but I think mom would agree with me that the spirit was in such strength tonight, testifying of the simple truth of the gospel, that it blew us away. They had this couple come to speak. The woman was from an ethnic group in China known as the Urghuyrs, who are descendants of the Huns and Turks and are mainly muslim. Anyway, she went to a dance school when she was ten in Beijing, then toured the US where she eventually traveled to Hawaii and to BYU-H. After returning to China she remembered the feeling she had in Laie and wanted to go back. So, several years passed as she worked there in China, when she met a man who was from BYU-H on tour there. She took a chance and asked him if he could help her go to BYU-H. He smiled, helped her apply, and she came over to Hawaii. Well, during her time here, she felt the spirit, but knew she could never join the church because she couldn't do that to her Muslim parents. In the meantime, she was in Honolulu with a friend from China, and was out at a restaurant visiting and trying to recall the name of the street in her hometown where she'd been working when this man turned around and pronounced it to her in perfect Mandarin. He shocked her, and they visited and over time became friends. His name was John and was from Texas, where his Ecuadorian mother and Texan father raised him. John had gone to college in China and had always had an interest in the Urghuyrs. Well, they started dating, fell in love, got married, and both felt more and more drawn to the church. In fact, Elder Ballard met with her, gave her his book, and told her that when she got baptized to give him a call and he'd come do it! Well, it wasn't until they had their first child that she looked at her baby and she and her husband said they had to be together forever.
Needless to say, they both joined the church, went to the temple to be sealed, etc. While this is amazing, what's even more amazing is that Elder Ballard had told her years before that she would share the gospel with thousands of people in her land. Well, BYU-H approached her and wanted to take their choir to state in China. She went with them to her state, and even her hometown, where they dance and sang for 5,000 people. She had the opportunity to introduce the group and share her feelings about the gospel and the love she felt from the people of Hawaii. Well, now her sister is going to BYU-H, and there seems to be this whole exchange of students that all want to come from this state, among this ethnic group of people to go to BYU-H. And so the work rolls on...
I honestly had to choke back tears of gratitude for the miracles that work in the most mysterious of ways. While I often wish that I'd have a big miracle to see and hold in my mind, I think that it's just that I can't see and acknowledge the miracles in my life...yet. Some we see, and some we don't, especially if we feel abandoned or forgotten. You know, mom and I talk about how difficult it can be to have to face the world every day, facing the overwhelming loneliness and fear we sometimes feel. We know how easily we push people away from us, in an effort to hold it together half the time, but at the core of that is a deep desire to be a part of something bigger than ourselves, to be surrounded by family, and yet realizing that we need to be more centered and see the joy in life in our current situation. Well, for me, that's what this girl showed me this evening. The story is vastly different, but on a very personal note, I know that the same sentiments she shared this evening I can understand to some small degree not only from a woman that continues to strike out into scary situations in an effort to be brave and face life, having a hope that someday it won't be so scary and I might have the deepest desires of my heart, and also from the perspective of all that happened with Bob. I know what he has felt and learned, and I know the role I played in it all. I also know that I had to go to Kansas for him, which is also the thing that has had me out of the loop for awhile. How do you negotiate the pain of something like that? Anyway, not to get all personal and philosophical, but tonight I felt this calm that I haven't in a very long time, that what I did was the right thing, and that I can't be angry at God anymore for what happened. Bob had his free agency (just not from his family), and while I didn't get the dreams of my heart, that God DOES know what's in my heart, and the journey might be long, but he will guide me and help me to deal with whatever comes my way. In a strange way, the arrangement of that fireside tonight really felt as though it was put together for my benefit. One more thing to be thankful for.
Whew...I'm not sure I really want to post this! Oh well, it's my way of sharing not only my lack of taking the world seriously on one hand, but I guess my deeply personal side on the other. Enjoy or ignore...either way, Mahalo!
Monday, June 9, 2008
So, you might have noticed that I changed the template on my blog. Since changing it from a guilt-ridden blog about all my lack of preparation for the GRE, to a self-indulgent place to prattle on, I decided it needed a bit of a face lift. Thankfully, the blog can undergo a facelift much easier than I can...which I DON'T want to do anyway...yet. I spent way too much time randomly surfing through pages of free templates, if for no other reason than to be online for hours at a time and have a purpose. A certain roommate will completely appreciate the mindless surfing skill, as we practice it nightly all autumn, winter, and spring. I merely transferred the skill to my summer vacation in Hawaii once I'm trapped behind muggy doors in the evening. :)
Well, the temperatures here are hot and muggy at 85+ degrees with 80%+ humidity, but how can you complain when those tradewinds blow in off the ocean to make the palm trees sway and the curtains blow? It's too delightful to complain, and it adds to the vacation quality that Hawaii maintains. I will say though that if I didn't think I'd scare everyone, I'd share pictures of my blistered back from the 4+ hours I spent on the beach last Thursday. Monica asked me that night if it was anything close to the gruesome blistered mess I turned into after a much deserved nap on the beaches of Mykonos...and I said no...but give it a day and I can now say that it surpassed that Grecian burn!!! My back was the color of a package of raw hamburger, and felt about that enjoyable. The strangest part of the burn I picked up was the crazy singe I took down the front of my leg, aimed mainly at my left ankle. I've been miserable, but it brought back wonderful memories of yearly scorchings on ward youth float trips down the river, or that first swimming foray down at the Egin canal! Dang this lily-white English skin...I love it, but it sure doesn't pick up the sun very well. Mom now thinks I'm going to have skin cancer for sure and keeps dousing the backs of my ears in 80 spf. Too funny. She didn't worry about the hamburger burns at 8 when I playfully ran through the sprinklers in grandma's front yard, but at 33+ she's a mess if I even turn pink! :)
I started training again down at 24 Hour Fitness (slight gagging sound could be heard here...). No, I no longer enjoy the whole "fight against fat" as I once did. Yes, I sometimes enjoyed working out, but now...PLEASE. At over 30, I feel like it takes 10X the work it once did, and yes, I'm putting in that work at times. My goal is to put in a 2 hour workout all summer, and my trainer has me getting in touch with the whole food thing, but I still say that will take some major shock therapy and a psychiatrist to get to the bottom of my love for chocolate cake and Diet Dr. Pepper. Come on! I was raised in a state where roast beef and mashed potatoes slathered in the drippings from said roast were a weekly fare! Not to mention the homemade chocolate cakes and cookies my mom or grandma made all the time. Oh, and let's not forget that I was raised on a constant barrage of starchy carbs like potatoes (hello...POTATO state!) and as a veggie in the summer...corn! Sigh. While I've learned to adore anything HOT like curry (Thai is my preference...NO INDIAN food for now...but I won't explain that...will I?) or Latin foods, I still crave those Idaho basics when it comes down to it. In fact, mom has developed quite a reputation over here for her "Texas" Sheetcake. Ironic, but funny. (Yes, we finished off a pan of it and I had sweet memories of Uncle Brent in his mismatched plaid shirt...slightly unbuttoned...and plaid pj pants, digging into a pan of cake with a bowl full of milk and a smile!--Thanks Brent for reminding of my dad!!!) Sigh...well, those are my goals: get in touch with food (not in the overtouching mode), exercise (just not out in the ocean because I'm SCARED of Nemo-like adventures of my own and icky things that touch my toes), and continued sleep. Ahhhh....
Well, I'll close for now. My sarcasm has started to ring through, and while I thoroughly enjoy my sarcasm, it gets me all sidetracked! Besides, it might be cooling off so that I can head outside with mom for a nice little walk. In two weeks I fly back to Boise for my IDLA conference, so I will enjoy this first part of my summer until then...and then panic that summer will end too soon after!!!
Lots of Love to All...
Sunday, June 1, 2008
Ah...saw the movie last night, and saw these pictures posted in Vogue on another website and had to post them with the trailer. While I know that some will shake their heads at my choice of films to love, I won't be shy in saying that I loved the movie for its portrayal of seemingly together women who have the same weaknesses, joys, fears, and desires as I have (for the most part), and I love it! It's just nice, as a 33 year old singleton to be validated! :)