Friday, March 14, 2014

Home: A Playlist

This post is dedicated to my "Home" music. This is a place you can come when you're missin' me. Because these songs and how they make me feel.....It's me. And you can listen and love and laugh and remember. Here it comes.


This is basically everything about high school theater and all the friends I made. From the first time I heard it sitting in the drama room watching on J's big white screen, This has been a home song. I love all the people that I heard it with, that I sang it with, that sang it to me. This is a big deal one.


This one is sitting in the back of Mary's high school car with Kristen, and Connor in the front seat hanging out the window. And the club. And warm summer time playing around with really great friends.


I first saw this at the high school's showcase my Freshman year, Marco Vega.  It was immediately one of my favorite things. This whole show. Listening to this in the car so many times. Showing it to Crystal laying on her tramp one summer. Singing with everyone during Saturday morning builds. And if you wanna, go ahead and listen to every other song from this show. And that's me and Kristen jamming out on my piano and making Mary her birthday CD. It's me and Brooklyn driving around. It's me and Jon singing along in his car. This musical holds a lot. And this song is where it's at.


This one. Wow. Sitting cross legged on the carpet, surrounded by my cousins. Uncle Paul on the guitar and ALL of us knew this song. We sang it always. Uncle Dave would have tears in his eyes and we'd harmonize on the chorus. This one is all my family and all the times together.


This one is late drives. Brooklyn gave it to me and told me that it made her think of me. A song about a man who loves his piano, who loves his music, and loves the people that are important to him. It's also me driving Preston home from Subway, and driving with Laura with the windows down. It's a song that means more than it was meant to. 


This one is Kim and also all my brothers and sisters. Listening to it from the couch over and over and we all knew all the words and screamed the chorus together.


This one is so many things. But mostly Mallory singing for me at the piano. Which is always the happiest I can be. It's also calming myself down while I had to sweep up at closing time when I worked at subway. It's also USU and listening to it over and over.


This is the best video version I could find of this song. And this song so my summer at the Lyric. It's sitting backstage with Liz, and playing my clarinet off on the side. It's becoming friends with Kris and Juenee and TJ. It's midnight movies with Katie and Brooke and Jen. It's morning class with Nick. It's also crying so hard when we all sang it again at Kris's vigil on the night he died. Getting the text from Brooke that morning and then talking to Juenee on the phone and hearing that it was true. It's the song that made us a family. Falling asleep on my couch because nobody wanted to go home and be alone.


This song is VERY important. It's the end of my childhood and the closest bonds of friendship I've ever known. It's a lot of laughing and crying and being really annoyed but also really happy.


This one is USU. It's sitting with Crystal at her table when she made me rice and beans and cried in the parking lot. It's sitting in the basement with Jen talking about everything and watching more movies than our brains could handle. It's chocolate milk and nestle cookie dough. It's everything I learned and everything I lost and gained.

This has mainly been cathartic. I'm grateful for home. The friends, the memories, the experiences. All the different homes I have in all the places that they are. It's been quite a ride ladies and gentlemen. So thank you.

The Delay: Six Weeks

When I originally found out that my mission would have to be delayed because of the injuries sustained in the car accident, I was pretty frustrated. After all the time spent getting ready to go, I didn't understand why it was now necessary for me to stay home, waiting and waiting even LONGER to finally get out there and start serving.

However, rather than slipping away into the depths of despair, I decided to take the extra time as a challenge. I decided to look for reasons. To search for the things that were important to me, the reasons that my plan had changed and I had to spend an additional six weeks at home.

After this experience, I've developed a deep gratitude for what I call "The Delay". It's been a really good time for me. And rather than keep it all to myself, I decided to do a post--one of the last I'll be able to do before I head out--where I give a list of a few of the reasons I found. Some of the important things that were necessary for me to have in my life before I entered the mission field.

The first, and possibly most important thing, is people. There are some people that have been HUGELY influential to me lately. I have had experiences with people over the past six weeks that have really changed me, and I never would have had those experiences if not for The Delay. A few of those things/people are:

1) Temple trips with Preston, which has been awesome and SUCH a long time coming. I'm really gonna miss him a lot, and being able to do baptisms with him has been so good.

2) Zumba with Aunt Gennie, and Tiana and Ecko. I've grown so close to them, and we've been able to hang out and talk a bunch, which has been SO good. They're such incredible people.

3) The Maughan girls. These amazing wardies came to visit in the hospital and brought a guitar, and sang me a bunch of songs. That was easily the best day. And since then, I've considered them great friends. They're amazing people and I'm really grateful to have known them.

4) Drew and Krista. Over the past six weeks, I have spent more time with them than anyone else, and it has been GOOD. They are so extraordinary. Exactly the kinds of friends that everyone needs. I love them tons.

5) Not gonna give a name here, but I've been smitten hard right through the heart by the most INCREDIBLE female on the face of the earth. Never would have even met her or spoken to her if not for The Delay. LOVE. love.

6) Devin. He may be the most important, influential friend I've made in the course of The Delay. I just met him a few weeks ago, and already he has completely changed my life. His story is inspirational beyond all measure. After six months in the mission field, he was sent home to undergo intense brain surgery to remove a tumor. It has left him pretty incapacitated, and I can not imagine enduring the things he has endured. Along with being able to hang out with and learn from him, I have also been able to grow closer to Heidi, Jeremy, and Max Lee. This family has been such an amazing influence on me over the past weeks. Their sincere love for people, their sense of humor, and their deep conviction and dedication to the gospel. I don't know if I've had a happier moment than on Wednesday afternoon when I knocked on their door and heard Max running down to answer yelling out "It's BENNYYYYYYY!!" These people are amazing. So grateful for them. Everyone on the earth would be happier if they could come to a movie night with these folks.

7) Being able to go back and reconnect for a while with the fiends at Western Medical. Especially Rene. She became the "work mom" for me and Drew back when we were the minions, and knowing her has been a huge blessing in my life. She's an amazing woman. She made me laugh at work on days when I thought I was going to roll over and DIE of such boredom. She's such a gem.

8) Also, the past two weeks, I had the chance to cut and help direct the high school's One Act for the region drama competition. That was an awesome experience. I learned a lot from the show they did, and watching them learn, grow, and perform was awesome. They ended up walking away with first place, and will now spend the next few weeks getting ready for the state competition. So proud of them.

There are other things, but these are probably the biggest. The ones that come to my head first. Honestly, I wouldn't give back the past six weeks for anything. Obviously it would've been nice to leave on time, I'd already be deep into my first transfer in the field. But, as incredible as that would be right now, these experiences I have had through The Delay are irreplaceable. I've learned so much and grown so much and I'm really grateful to have been able to spend this extra time in good ol' Utah Valley. Best place on the earth. Love everything.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Counting Down

Twenty Days. It's a very strange feeling. I usually find myself in disbelief. It just can't be real that in twenty days I will be gone. For two years. Which seems longer every time I say it. Two years. Like an entire lifetime. Two years. 
And so much will change.
This past year alone, my world has made multiple 180 shifts. I can't even imagine what the next two will bring. Coming home is going to be a flurry of "Oh, this is your husband? Nice to meet you." "Wow, your baby is perfect, I wanna hold it forever." "So how long have you two been dating again?" "Wait, how'd you break that?" "Was your hair that color when I left?" I'm already getting overwhelmed. None of you will be the same, but in the best ways, none of you will change. Right? 
So I think I'm mostly just wanting to say thank you. I wanted to say thank you to all of you.
Thank you for making me laugh
Thank you for sitting next to me
Thank you for buying me food
Thank you for letting me buy YOU food
Thank you for showing me that song
Thank you for giving me that hat
Thank you for cheering me on
Thank you for saying I know how to dance
Thank you for holding my hand
Thank you for running toward me
Thank you for calling me a writer
Thank you for not walking away when I imploded
Thank you for driving me
Thank you for the second chance
Thank you for teaching me how to play that game
Thank you for letting me sit on your couch
Thank you for looking at me like none of it matters
Thank you for showing me your dream
Thank you for opening up 
Thank you for telling me honestly
Thank you for taking me seriously
Thank you for laughing it off
Thank you for introducing me to sushi
Thank you for watching those movies with me
Thank you for showing up
Thank you for being you
Thank you for everything
You guys. You GUYS. This is gonna be weird. It's gonna be amazing. I've never been more excited or more terrified for anything in my life. And I think the thing that scared me most is that none of you will be there with me. But don't worry. When the goin' gets tough, it will be thoughts of you that keep me holding strong. It will be the whispers of your smile and the memory of your voice that catch me. 
I love you guys. I hope to see you again. So don't go anywhere too distant. And don't do anything too crazy. Save the funnest things for when we're back together again. 
Until then.
Twenty Days.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Another Announcement

I need to make an announcement to make sure everyone knows. It has been made official that I will be leaving to the MTC on March 19th (aka 43 days). This means that my farewell talk will happen on Sunday March 16th at eleven oclock am. It will be at the stake center by my house. I've given Kristen Parker the task of making sure that all of my friends get an invite on the facebook event. So if you want to come and don't get an invite on fb, contact me or Kristen and we'll make sure you get on the list. The address of the church and everything is on the event info. 

SO ANYway. 

You guys, I watch Lost. And I love it. If you haven't had the joy, just go and partake. It is the neatest show. REALLY keeps ya on your toesies.


KP= Kim Peterson: Sister

KP= Kristen Parker: Close Friend

KP= Katy Perry: Future Spouse


Friday, January 24, 2014

Keepin' On

These were possible options for the title of my post today:

1) The ins and outs of netflix addiction

2) Waiting to walk, waiting to leave, waiting and waiting and waiting

3) When life is literally too boring to be real

4) How to lose friends and then shove them away even harder

5) Nancy Drew: The real hero

6) Nine to five jobs and why I would be suicidal if I ever ended up in one

7) Introspective analysis: when the real issue is YOU

8) Reconnection, grateful for the people who stick around

9) Eliza, Drew, Krista, Linda: A brief description of the only people I hang out with on a regular basis

10) Temple Lovin'

As you can see, none of those titles made the final cut. However, they may pop up later. The point is, the last few weeks have been bizarre to say the least. It's been interesting as the last few months have gone by, and I've gotten closer and closer to leaving (seven 1/2 more weeks!), to realize what things are actually, deeply important to me. And to see the things that slowly fall away because they just didn't have very deep roots in my life. Things like watching three movies a day, or purchasing seven movies a week (and running into Laura every single time I did and receiving a much-needed lecture about how unnecessary those purchases were), or certain activities (going out to eat like every single day [although I miss my half pound bean and cheeses]), or certain people, or different phrases I would say for the sake of being funny or different and now it just doesn't matter anymore. It's a good but also a very weird feeling, to be able to see everything lower than top priority just fall away. And it's sad sometimes, the spurts of nostalgia get a lot more raw, but it's also a relief. In so many ways it just lets you breathe easier.

I talked to a really good, old friend yesterday on the phone. It was really good to just go back to the basics. We talked for a second, right toward the end, about how life just puts people in lanes. Like the lanes on a running track. And it got me thinking about how, even though all people are going around the same track, in the same circle, and a lot of times we end up next to or nearby certain people as we're going around the track, there are only a few select people who are in our same Lane. And it's those people that just never leave. Because they never need to. And it's those kinds of people that you don't see for six months or six years, but then you just go to dinner together and nothing at all has changed. I think that's the big thing that has been happening lately, I've been seeing very clearly which people and which things and which paths are all in my Lane, and the things outside of my Lane are kind of speeding up or slowing down and the distance between our positions on the track has become greater and greater until one of us fades into the distance and we all just keep moving. The fun part about it is when we come around for yet another lap, and a lot of times we find ourselves lining up with those things and those people again, and you get a little while of being a part of each other again. Those times are great. But even through that, and onward past that, you still have all those things that are the lane with you. I'm not sure if this is making sense to any of you guys, but in my head I can visualize it and it brings a lot of peace. 

This post is getting tough, I told myself when I started that I just had to keep saying whatever came into my head and not delete anything, because that was the only way I'd actually end up publishing this one. So before we get in too deep to reach the surface, I'm just going to say that life sure is good. The world is good. People are good. And even when you hate sometimes, we all just need to come around again. 

Thanks for running with me. 

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Who Can Say

One day I woke up, and it was suddenly today. I don't know what happened, but it feels like I've been waiting for a train for longer than I can even remember so that I can finally get where I'm going but sorry sir because that train came and went thirty seven and a half years ago and this hasn't even been a train station since the autumn of ninety four when that highway came through the next town over and our railroad was demolished to make way for the mall that you're currently standing in and I'm sorry I didn't mention this before but I'm not really a train conductor in fact I don't even work here because I suppose technically speaking and remember I'm only telling you this because of my thing with honesty but I'm not literally alive in fact I don't exist at all except in your own mind where you're slowly beginning to realize that you've either been asleep or wildly interested in other things for the past little while actually LONG while as your entire world continued to switch and change and flip flop and grow and die and conquer and corrupt and breathe and live all around you and apparently you just...missed it?

And it's days like today that for some reason never take me by surprise. 

So please, life, just surprise me and give me a day, or even a week, when I just don't feel like everything is sneaking away from me. When things don't change and I'm able to keep track of the people I need to keep close. Because lately, by the time I realize they're necessary, too bad because they actually made it in time to hop on that train. And now I'm standing in some mall somewhere, oh wait, sorry, used to be a mall apparently now it's been transformed into some kind of wild life shelter. So basically I'm knee deep in artificial stream water, staring through the light reflecting through the fabric leaves of those metal trees where we pretend to keep all these forgotten animals alive so that we don't have to feel like murderers. But honestly, I'm just fine. 

I'm just fine. I say, keep the mall, let me shop, and it's not like we ever noticed those white-crested dolphins anyway.

Not to be sadistic or cynical, I'm just saying, when you can already see your face reflected in the front of a train that can't stop fast enough, why would I want my last words to be "help me". Why would I want my last words to be "oh no."


I want my last words, as that train that never left the station in this place where nothing can stay intact for longer than the time it takes to kiss my palm and blow it toward your face so you know I haven't forgotten, to be "I'm fine". Because I already know that you're not going to be able to run over here in time. And no, this isn't a goodbye. It's a reminder, to myself, that when I'm feeling short of breath, it's okay to turn the music up. And when my fingers can't find the surface of the water, it's alright to turn my face toward the sun and kick my feet a little. Nobody really needs to disappear. 

Because something I'm finally seeing, I guess, is that the train station wasn't really the important part to begin with. What I needed was a jet. And this mall-become-dead-animal-preserve doesn't have a landing strip. 

This is the part where we all just keep on walking.