Sunday, December 25, 2011
Wednesday, December 7, 2011
Friday, December 2, 2011
Wednesday, November 30, 2011
1. my sewing machine: I had it shipped cross country and I've never been happier to have it back in my possession.
2. a comfortable and cute and warm bed: I know there are millions of people out there who don't have one of their own and never will. I count myself lucky that I do and that it has the cutest eclectic quilt on it in the world.
3. my Banana Republic jeans that fit perfectly: every girl needs a pair. Nuff said.
4. my collection of scarves: always the perfect touch.
5. my Droid smart phone: what I would do without it? I don't even want to imagine. My favorite app you might ask? the Spanish Mormon Channel or the one that shows me the constellations in the night sky. Pretty. dang. cool.
6. my collection of perfumes: I can blame my mom for this fetish but I love smelling good all the time. Nanette Lepore, Juicy Couture Couture, Versace Crystal Noir, and hopefully soon Armani Code and Dior Miss Cherie. All divine.
7. the wall hangings that adorn my bedroom: my hand carved board of the Mt. Timpanogos temple from a member of the church in Ecuador, a large framed H, and a picture of Christ.
8. my scriptures: these babies have been worn and read and handled and written in a lot, and I love that about them. On the leather cover you'll find my name embossed in gold and my missionary tag that reads Hermana Redford - La Iglesia de Jesucristo de los Santos de los Ultimos Dias.
9. my makeup: only a makeup girl would understand. The thought of losing that precious stuff is frightening. I love it because I love putting it on and I love how I feel with it on. That's that.
10. my special chapstick: I have to trust you to show this stuff. It's the best in the world and will cure any chapstick addiction there is. One application after teeth-brushing and that's it. It's gold. You know you're really my friend when I've confided to you what it's really supposed to be used for.
So this is me finally jumping on the bandwagon and committing myself to blogging about gratitude for my next TEN blog posts. Ready?
10 physical abilities I'm grateful for:
1. the ability to walk: have you ever thought about how hard not walking would be? Although I'm pretty sure I would love the awesome muscle-ness of arms I would get wheeling myself around in a wheelchair, I'm glad I have two working legs that can walk and dance and bowl and twirl and skip.
2. the ability to use my hands properly: sometimes when I'm bored in a meeting I try writing with my left hand. I doodle a lot with my left hand. It's supposed to make your brain smarter. I've actually gotten really good at it. I'm grateful for two working hands that can touch, write, cook, feel, and hold.
3. my fully functioning healthy active digestive system: if any of you know my past then you'll understand. Let's just leave it at that.
4. the ability to play dodgeball, volleyball and football: my three favorite sports. I'm grateful I can do all three and do them pretty well. I don't like sitting on the sidelines.
5. tasting delicious food: I'm grateful for that. I'm grateful to be able to savor.every.drop of something I love, something so delicious.
6. the ability to feel other touch: I love that spark that runs through my body when someone I like hugs me or touches my arm, or even better kisses me. I love the bond that touching brings.
7. the ability to carry and give birth and feed children of my own: now this hasn't happened yet but I can't wait for it. It's a miracle that my body will be able to do all those things. Geesh, that's awesome.
8. the ability to see colors and use eyes to behold beautiful things: there was a time when my family and I hiked Calf Creek Falls in Utah and when it started to rain on the way back, there were new waterfalls coming off the cliffs. It was something to behold. I love that I get to look at pretty things like temples and newborn babies and stores like Anthropologie and scrumptious hair-dos and rainbows of course.
9. the talent I have for sleeping well: I've always been a good sleeper. When the lights go out and my head touches the pillow I never have a hard time sleeping. And I never wake up during the night. It is a gift I'm grateful for.
10. hearing music that seems to transcend this earth: a while back I wrote this post about a song that makes my heart sing. I'm not a hard core music listener (also a really important fact about me, I love my silence) but there are still a lot of songs that really speak to me and touch me in a way I can't express in words. I'm grateful for those moments of bliss. I'm grateful that when I go home I can sit on my couch and listen to my brothers play the violin and the piano together. I would call that perfect.
And there you have it folks, my first blog on gratitude. Stay tuned.
sometimes by the end of the session I'm really really tired, having worked an entire day and attending the temple right after
sometimes I get really nauseous riding on the metro especially when I'm hot
sometimes the metro breaks down or a door won't close and we have to sit on the tracks while I freak out knowing I'm going to miss my bus by seconds, the bus that only comes twice an hour this time of night
sometimes it's freezing outside and windy and the last thing I want to do is stand at my bus stop for 29 minutes and 30 seconds and wait for the next one, especially when I don't have a good book in my purse at the time
sometimes I get off one stop later at Pentagon City and splurge
yes sometimes I splurge and take a taxi about two miles to my apartment and pay $8 to do it
and sometimes that $8 is the best money I've ever spent
Friday, November 18, 2011
So Mr. Miner and his group came on Wednesday. After months of waiting for this day it finally came and went and was something to be remembered.
We met up at the American History Museum. I heard him coming before I ever saw him. Mr. Miner's voice is distinctive and not something you argue against. He gave me a hug which made some of his students standing near us do a double-take. Then he introduced me as one of his former students. "Wait, you live here now?" was someone's reply. "Why yes, yes I actually do."
We walked around and I met some of his students. Nice kids. Good kids. Kids that didn't look all that younger than me. They would ask history questions and Mr. Miner would take a few minutes and answer all of them, he would continue to teach them, and they would listen. Just like it used to be with me.
He hasn't changed at all.
A student came up and asked if she could leave the building and walk to the Lincoln since she was leaving a day early and would miss seeing all the monuments. Mr. Miner and I decided to take a cab with her the short distance and show her the Lincoln, the Vietnam, and the Korean memorials. The day was overcast and misty. It was also a Wednesday and in the middle of the afternoon. I have never been to those memorials with so few people it was amazing. There were only a small handful walking around. They were almost empty.
We got to talk a little more, about my job and his, and our families. Even after all the hundreds of students he's had he remembered details about my life that I appreciated.
After re-joining the group we headed to the National Portrait Gallery. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it. I walked the long halls with Mr. Miner and we chatted some more. I told him what ultimately drove me to moving to DC, how I needed to get away from memories in Utah and Idaho and start a new life after a hard breakup, and how the thought I'd had six years previous had stuck with me, the thought that it'd be cool to move to DC one day. It was then that it hit me, I'd come full circle.
After an awesome Chinese dinner at Tony Cheng's in Chinatown I walked with the 40-student group back to their hotel in Rosslyn and got to talk to the students for a couple minutes. I told them my story, my ambitions, the reasons I'm here, how I got here, and how much I love it. I gave them pieces of advice that I wish I'd understood better at their age. I told them to work hard and be a leader. I told them to do everything in their power to live abroad and see different cultures and peoples. I don't them to set their sights high and never think they can't make it.
I hope I was a role model.
The night was over. I said goodbye to Mr. Miner again, shook his hand, told him that if I'm around next year I want to meet with his group again, told him I'd stay in touch, and then headed back to the metro and ultimately to my apartment. I'm grateful for days like this. Days when I can see my past and where I came from. Mr. Miner is someone that I will always respect and admire. I hope I can reach the potential he's always seen in me.
Why yes, yes I actually live here....and I love it.
Thursday, November 10, 2011
Friday, November 4, 2011
Monday, October 31, 2011
Growing up in Orem, UT, meant that I attended an almost all-white high school where the overwhelming majority of students were LDS and came from middle-income families. I liked it that way. At least in the area where I lived there wasn’t a lot of competition or pressure to become a millionaire or CEO of a Fortune 500. Don’t get me wrong, my parents expected the best out of me and I always knew they would push me to get the best grades possible, but the idea of every applying, let alone attending an ivy league university never even crossed my mind. I was content attending a smaller, less prestigious university where I could go about my business getting a good education without spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to get it.
I guess you could say that Harvard and MIT and Columbia and all those places really felt unattainable to me, untouchable in a sort of way. What I knew of those universities was all from the movies.
It wasn’t until I went to Ohio a couple months ago with a group of friends, one of which happened to attend Harvard Law School, that I got my first glimpse of what attending Harvard was like. The whole weekend I couldn’t resist asking Chris B. question after question of what his experience was like there. Luckily for me he wasn’t the type to put his nose in the air and snoot at all of us who didn’t go to a school like that. Instead he answered my questions and was really nice about all my inquiring. I found it fascinating to hear his stories and experiences, and even more found a new friend who I loved talking to.
My brother Spence also helped me understand what the culture of Boston is like since he served his mission there. His stories of the people, the general feeling toward organized religion, and the kind of life Bostonians live was so different than my stories and experience in the middle of Texas where I served and worked in the ghetto.
Finally, after years of being fascinated with these schools and the idea of going to Boston myself one day I got to go last weekend and made the 10 hours trek up to New England.
Almost immediately I was impressed with the scenery and skyline in general. The beautiful Charles River that runs through the middle of the city, almost constantly dotted with crew boats. What’s more, my roommates and I splurged and got a four-star hotel suite that had amazing beds and lots of space and mirrors (clearly exactly what three girls need for a weekend in Boston when we want to look cute the entire time).
The purpose of our trip was to attend the famous Boston Education Conference for YSA’s on the East Coast which, although we skipped out on some of the activities so we could explore Boston, was awesome and very well put together. I was extremely touched by the things the speakers shared and overwhelmed with the feeling that I need to sacrifice more for my Savior and tie up some of the loose ends in my spiritual life. Once again I was extremely grateful for opportunities such as these where the church uses its resources to get such amazing speakers for us like Clayton Christensen, Kristen Oaks, and Matt Holland.
Some of the highlights of the weekend were these:
1) The FOOD- either we lucked out on finding all the best restaurants in Boston or Boston just has the best food in the country. We ate incredible pizza topped with roasted potatoes, cranberries, and spinach. Café Luna treated us right for brunch on Saturday where we ate pumpkin pie stuffed french toast, homemade mint hot chocolate, and Belgian waffles topped with blackberries the size of quarters, and later we had authentic French cuisine where I ate a croissant made with so much butter it just fell apart in my mouth. Can I say delish???
2) Walking around MIT and Harvard campuses. Finally I found myself walking the streets of the universities I once thought were untouchable. MIT was surprisingly quiet and we enjoyed some of the incredible Danish architecture and marveled at the science buildings where cures for cancer are being found. Harvard was bustling with people, students, and tourists. Walking through the gates onto the quads with the gorgeous Harvard school building surrounding me was breathtaking. There I was, standing in front of the Harvard library, I couldn’t believe I was there. I imagined what it would have been like to walk the halls of that great campus an attend classes with world-renowned professors.
3) Walking along the Charles River and watching the Crew teams. We were also lucky because there was a huge crew competition the weekend we were there. I decided that if I had grown up on the East Coast Crew would have definitely been my thing. Everything about it was entrancing to me and I wish I could turn back time and sign up. Who knows, I’m not too old, maybe the next time you hear from me I will have joined a team!
4) Our Boston Harbor Cruise on Saturday night. I mean, who doesn’t love dressing up all formal, getting on a nice yacht with 300 other single Mormons, and dancing and eating the night away? Although the air was chilly I absolutely loved going to the top deck and watching Boston at night. We danced, we sang, we laughed, we ate, we danced some more, and a cute guy got my number (and although he lives in Delaware he’s coming down next weekend so we can go out). And finally, way too late we finally made it back to out hotel and almost died from exhaustion.
The only disappointment of the weekend was having to leave. It was way too short of a trip and I’m desperate to go back as soon as I can. I fell in love with this city.
I think I’ll go to Boston………again!
Adventure: FDR Memorial
Back in high school going to the FDR memorial was one of the most impressive sights we saw. We went after dark and I remember the backlit waterfalls and great stonewalls inscribed with the words of Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
On a perfect summer day a couple weeks ago I decided to venture once more so I could refresh my memory and enjoy the FDR memorial one more time.
It did not disappoint.
This time the sun was on its way to setting. I had taken the day to walk around the tidal basin, thinking, pondering, and just loving life.
As I walked through the stonewalls and admired the waterfalls I enjoyed thinking about life during FDR’s administration. Those were hard times, time beset by poverty and unemployment where people struggled just to survive. The great American spirit barely endured in the hearts of the people.
But it did endure.
As a people we’ve been able to pick up over and over again. Wars have taken loved ones, poverty has plagued our people, terrorism has beset us, but we’ve been able to find the hope and faith inside us….and move on.
Over the years we’ve become the most powerful nation on earth. We enjoy civil liberties and freedoms many countries don’t have. I live a luxurious life full of comforts and extras.
Strolling through these monuments makes me realize how blessed I really am. Thank you FDR for helping the American people through a hard time and believing that we could come out on top.
Monday, October 17, 2011
BYU will always hold prestige but eventually, someday, BYU-Idaho will be known around the world as well. It is already becoming that way. Folded quietly in the middle of Eastern Idaho with the foreboding winters and bone-chilling winds. Amidst all that there is a power and a spirit, a humility and a strength, that I will never forget. It is the Spirit of Ricks.
I'm proud to say that I'm a BYU-Idaho Alumni and attended under the direction of President Kim B. Clark.
BYU-Idaho is my school. It will always be my school. It will always be in my heart.
Monday, September 12, 2011
I was at my house getting ready for school. The TV was always on in the mornings although I rarely paid attention to it. I walked into my parents’ bathroom to grab something when the news caught my eye. One of the Twin Towers had been hit by a flying plane. Slowly I approached the TV to watch and hear more. It was then that I watched as another plane hit the second tower. I yelled for my parents to come and watch. We didn’t know what was happening. We were glued to the TV screen. Then bright red words came across the screen…
“America is under attack.”
My dad took me to school late because we didn’t want to leave the TV screen. I walked into my first period and the TV was on. All day long the TVs were on. The Pentagon was hit by another plane. The fourth plane landed in a field, obviously not reaching its destination. We didn’t know how many planes there were or when the attacks would be finished.
The day of September 11, 2001 was burned in my memory. I was 14 years old.
It would take weeks and weeks to sort everything out. Everyday the news reported something new, people that were missing, firefighters that had sacrificed themselves, the hijackers and their sinister plot, the terror they had created, and the American unity that ultimately prevailed.
I remember the day when they reported that ground zero had finally stopped smoldering. I remember watching over and over the video of the planes hitting the towers and the people in the streets trying to escape the dust and debris that clogged the streets and filled the air. The stories emerged, the dead were mourned, the survivors honored.
Weeks turned into months and months into years.
Slowly we picked ourselves up. Americans came together and we took revenge. We realized the value of our freedom. The masterminds behind the attacks were found and ultimately put to death.
Every year on the anniversary of 9/11 I would watch on the news as a bell was chimed for each of the people killed on that day. Every day for nine years the same act was repeated. Ground zero was cleaned up and the Freedom Tower was cleared for construction, a symbol that Americans will not back down, we will not forgot, and we will not be the same.
I didn’t know that on this day, September 11, 2011, exactly ten years later that I would be living in the nation’s capital. It is a privilege and an honor to be here. It is a privilege and an honor to be an American and to call this nation mine.
So today we will ring the bells again. We will continue to honor those who have fallen and those who were sacrificed. We will yell from the housetops and sing in our hearts. We will fly our flags high in the red, white, and blue
We will be proud to call ourselves Americans, for this country is ours, and no one can take that away from us.