a collection of certainly special, uniquely unusual, and equally momentous thoughts: memoirs of me

Sunday, December 25, 2011


I’ve had several very surreal experiences in my life. Winning a national championship in Latin ballroom dancing when I was 11 was a big one. The day I actually left for college was another one. Receiving my mission call, going through the temple, and entering the MTC was a big one all tied together.

This week I had another very surreal experience.

I received a personalized letter in the mail signed by all three members of the DC temple presidency asking me to come in and have an interview. That was cool enough by itself.

As per their request I arrived at the temple on Tuesday evening, dressed in my white dress that I bought the day I received my endowment, and walked to the temple president’s office. He greeted me with a friendly smile and handshake, already knowing my name, and invited me to his office. After briefly getting to know me he then told me I had been called to be an ordinance worker within the temple and wanted to know when I would be available to attend.

It was one of those happy moments when I felt the Lord confirming to me that my life was in accordance with His will and He needed me to do more.

You see, when I went to Boston a couple months ago and heard Clayton Christensen speak that Saturday morning he said something really profound for me. He explained that the Church and its programs are requiring less and less of us. We’re asked to spend an hour or two a month visiting teaching, three hours at church on Sunday, several hours more magnifying our calling. We’re asked to study the scriptures, pray, and attend the temple. All those things are the things we should be doing, but all together they still don’t add up to a lot of time (unless of course one is serving as a bishop, stake president, or in another capacity that requires more time than usual). In essence, the Church is not asking us to sacrifice a lot.

On the other hand, the Lord expects us to sacrifice all that we have.

Part of the covenants we make with Him teach us that we are to give everything that we have to Him and His kingdom. There’s a gap then between what the Church is asking us to sacrifice and what we must sacrifice of our own will in order to sacrifice everything for Him in the end.

Are you following me here?

What I’m trying to say is that I realized how much more I needed to sacrifice for the Lord. A lot more. I made the decision right there that I was going to commit myself to sacrificing as much as I knew how for the benefit and happiness of others. I wanted to show the Lord that I was willing to sacrifice all that I had.

When I sat in President Swinton’s office on Tuesday I was grateful for another large opportunity to sacrifice. As I’ve alluded to in previous posts, my life is a hectic happiness full social events, work, and dating. Not only are my weekends full of things to do but somehow I’ve managed to fill up my week days too.

Sacrificing my Thursday night every week to work in the temple is something I’ve looked forward to for a couple years now. It’s something I’ve wanted to do so badly but haven’t had the right circumstances.

The time is right now. I’ll be able to be in the temple of my Lord every week, be His representative within those walls, help others make their own covenants.

President Swinton laid his hands on my head. Using his holy priesthood he set me apart and gave me a blessing.

It was a surreal experience and I couldn’t wipe the smile from my face.

A Christmas Carol

Living in DC brings experiences I never imagined I would have. When I moved here eight months ago I made a DC bucket list and have been able to cross things off that list slowly but surely.

It seems like each day there’s something new to see, a new restaurant to try, a new museum to boast about. I love the never-ending sights and sounds that accompany this city of pride and honor.

For Christmas my roommate Katie Younger surprised us with tickets to A Christmas Carol at historic Ford’s Theater. What an experience I thought! Not only do I get to see a fabulous Christmas-time play but in the exact theater where President Lincoln attended and breathed and watched and was ultimately assassinated!

I adore my roommates with whom I can get dressed up on a weekday night, drive into the District with its lit up monuments, and attend the theater. I appreciate that they appreciate those kinds of things along with me.

We had fabulous tickets close up by the stage and when the performance started I was blown away from the start. Ford’s Theater is a smaller one, more intimate and personal. The actors were spot on, the costumes perfected, the music and theatrics the best I’ve seen. There wasn’t time to blink.

Two beautiful hours came and went and I promised myself that this would become a yearly tradition every year that I’m in DC for Christmas. It has to be a new tradition!

My life is good and fulfilling. I get to do things most people only dream about. I get to live a life other single and married people envy. I have adorable and intelligent friends, a job where I can progress and learn and shine. I actually have money to do fun things and create new experiences. I live in a city brimming with opportunity and life.

So often I feel myself caught up in the rush to get married. Everyone who truly knows me understands that that is my single greatest desire in life, but in the meantime I feel like I’m being allowed to live life to the very fullest.

My life is rich and vibrant. I couldn’t ask for a single thing more to make me happy right now. 

International Weekend

Sometimes I volunteer for some pretty random things. I don’t know what pulls me to volunteer for certain things over others but when I see an opportunity I like and an open night, sometimes I get involved in some pretty cool, random things.

Take Friday night for example. A couple weeks ago I saw on the listserve an opportunity to be a guest panelist at a conference for international students. I didn’t know much more than that but since my good friend Kathryn Moss had put it on the listserve in the first place and knew she’d be attending, I decided to sign up. Why not? I always enjoy a good cultural Friday night.

I really didn’t know what to expect.

I showed up and got to know the other panelists, all people about my age. Dinner started and we got to try dishes made by the students from all the around the world. I tried meatballs, and breads, and salads, and desserts from Europe and South America and every place in between. I even tried the Vegemite from Australia.

I will never try Vegemite again.

Once we divided up into groups the moderator asked us panelists different questions of what it was like growing up in the United States. We shared stories as part of our responses and described our different experiences.  We talked about stereotypes of American high schools (no, not every high school is like Mean Girls here in the US) and how we dealt with pressures to drink, use drugs, or have sex.

Next it was our turn to talk about our stereotypes of their countries. We played a game where the moderator would say one of the countries represented in the room and the panelists had to say the first word they associate with that country. You wouldn’t believe how ignorant I felt. Some of my responses were:

Germany- supermodels (I had just watched an episode of Project Runway and knew that Heidi Klum was from Germany.)

Poland- concentration camps (sad but true, the only thing I associate with Poland deals with WWII).

Bolivia- uhhhhh…..I have no association with Bolivia. The only thing I could think of is that it borders Ecuador which is where I lived. How pathetic is that??? There is nothing that comes to my mind when someone says Bolivia. I definitely need to work on that.

I won’t embarrass myself any more than that.

Needless to say that I realized I needed to learn more about different countries because I have just as many stereotypes for the rest of the world as the rest of the world has for Americans.

The last part of the night involved a US Jeopardy trivia game where once again the panelists (me included) practically embarrassed ourselves by our lack of simple facts about our country. Luckily the students knew even less than us so we didn’t feel that bad. It was really fun being on a team with students from Germany, Argentina, Poland, and Australia, and getting to know each of them individually.

I walked away from the night with a deep sense of wanting to know more about the world around me, of wanting to live in different countries so that I can really understand the people and culture, and have a better idea of how the world turns. This conference needs panelists every couple of months and you’d better believe I will be doing this again. Hopefully by next time I’ll be able to brush up on my facts and figures and have something intelligent to say when they ask me about Bolivia. Hopefully.

The simple pleasures

Written Dec. 11, 2011

Ten things about today I’m grateful for:

1) A good nights rest

2) Eating edamame for lunch- I recently discovered these little bean looking things and can’t get enough. Every day I look forward to steaming my little bag of deliciousness, sprinkling a little salt on my bowl of pods and feasting on my scrumptious soy beans. Weird I know. But they are SOOO good. I can’t believe I haven’t discovered edamame till now.  Where have you been all my life?

3) The cold crisp air that fills my lungs and helps me not feel nauseous- ever since moving here and being on a bus and metro several times a day I’ve developed an abnormal amount of queasiness and motion sickness. During the summer it was really hard getting on the metro after a long days work and being so hot in the humidity that I always felt like I was going to throw up. The cold air that fills my lungs and a piece of my Shaun White wintermint gum has made my queasiness non-existent. I’m so grateful for that.

4) Finding Carson’s perfect Christmas gift- I can’t say what it is on the blog yet since it’s not Christmas yet but with that said, I found the PERFECT gift. It involves tickets to a certain event in Salt Lake City and is something he would NEVER expect but will die to receive. I think of all the gifts I’ll be giving this Christmas I’m excited to see his reaction. It’s so much more fun this year to buy Christmas gifts since I actually have money to get cool things for the ones I love.

***Since it’s Christmas Day I guess I can say that I got him Harlem Globetrotters tickets. He was so surprised and so exited. (Enter comment about my rockin sister skills here.)***

5) Getting in the mail today a signed letter from all three members of the DC temple presidency. They want to meet with me on Tuesday. I felt really really special and excited.

6) Watching a movie with my roommates. It’s a rare event that the three of us have time to be together let alone enough time to sit down and watch a movie together. It was a special time.

7) The uncontrollable laughter that came after the movie. Those are the best of times, the moments when you can’t breath and you feel your face splitting apart because of the unbroken smile and the terrible muscle ache in your abs because they’ve been contracted so long in laughter. I live for those moments.

8) A workday that went by quickly. I love the days I have a lot to do and before I know it it’s time to go.

9) Going to bed earlier than normal. For me normal is about 11:30. Anything earlier that is a miracle. Today I’ll be in bed by 10:45.

10) Knowing I get to eat Café Rio tomorrow. This would be better if I had been able to eat Café Rio today but just knowing I will get it tomorrow is almost as good. I’m taking my coworkers Katie and Melissa and I hope they like it since I’ve hyped it up so much. A shredded chicken burrito, pinto beans, no enchilada style, tomatillo dressing, and a key lime pie could not make me a happier girl.

It’s the simple pleasures right? I have a blessed life. 

Beautiful nature

10 things about nature that I’m grateful for:

1) wind: one of the things you’ve gotta know about me is that my favorite weather condition is wind. Yep, you heard that right- wind. I think wind is so magical, whether it’s a soft breeze that slightly ruffles my hair or forceful gusts that make trees sway. I don’t know what it is. I could drive on the freeway with my window down at all times.

2) The Amazon River: at the end of my time of living in Ecuador I got to go on a side trip and live in the Amazon jungle for four days in a hut. To get to that rustic hut we had to take a motorized canoe three hours up the Amazon River. Over the next couple of days I got to live right on the river, float down it with only a lifejacket, and go river rafting down it. Let’s just say there was more than one National Geographic moment.

3) Absolutely perfect fall days: I thought I loved Utah falls (and when I say Utah falls I mean the three fall days we usually get in between the scorching summer heat and the cold snowy winters) and then I lived in Texas on my mission and I thought I loved Texas falls, but then I moved to DC and I fell in love with East Coast falls. There have been weeks and weeks of perfect fall days with colorful trees, leaves crunching, scarf wearing, boot walking days.

4) Delicious fruit from the earth: is there anything better than a perfectly ripe raspberry, pineapple, mango, or apple? I submit that there is not. Sometimes I’m amazed that we have such delicacies for our use and sustenance. I thank the moment that those uber delicious fruits were created.

5) Sand dunes: I seem to have a lot of family memories at sand dunes. It seems we always went out of our way on road trips to stop at some sand dunes so we could play and get our wiggles out. In April when we went to Mexico we spent a very windy day at some sand dunes by the beach. My dad got the idea to go to the bottom and videotape us kids as we ran down the dunes toward him. We trooped to the top and when he gave us the signal we sprinted down the dune straight toward him. It was hilarious and I was laughing at my brothers as they had their arms out pretending to fly. But then I tripped. The only thing you can see on the video are my brothers flapping their wings and me biffing it straight onto my face. They didn’t realize I was down until they got to the bottom, looked around for me and saw me laughing my guts out and spewing sand mid-way up the dune. It was a special moment for me.

6) Goblin Valley and Calf Creek Falls: they’re in Southern Utah. If you haven’t been than you need to. They will blow your minds.

7) Texas sunsets: now don’t get me wrong, I loved my mission, and I loved walking the streets of the Metroplex and the Texas country, but when it comes down to it Texas doesn’t hold a flame to Utah as far as natural beauty is concerned. There are no mountains, nor anything else really. But what Texas does have is sunsets. And believe me when I say that those sunsets make up for anything else it’s lacking.

8) Utah’s cool summer evenings: if you asked me to describe my perfect moment (as far as perfect moments I’ve had up until this point in my life go- I’m sure that getting married or holding my first baby will be different) I would say that my perfect moment is sitting on my porch in a chair under a table umbrella, eating a homemade cheeseburger hot off the grill, talking with my family, on a perfect summer evening in Utah. It doesn’t get a lot better than that.

9) Boogey boarding waves: to feel the crest of the wave, my arms paddling, my head raised….and then that sensation when I’ve caught a solid big wave that I can ride all the way to shore.

10) The first snow: the first snow means fires in chimneys, tubing at the dunes, plenty of snow in the mountains for skiing, the coming of Christmas and family time

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The people I love that are alive

I’m gonna be honest here, my gratitude list of living people is a little boring. Also, it’s more like my list of living groups of people since I didn’t want to spend my entire list on my parents and siblings. Either way, this is what I got:

1)      Parents: believe it or not I don’t think that’s cliché. When I lived in Ecuador I spent three months with 30 babies that had been abandoned by their parents just minutes after they were born. Some of these babies were found in trash cans, in bathrooms, or on streets. Some were given up by their mothers before they were even cleaned up after birth. Some were brought to the orphanage and left on the steps in the dead of night. So you’d better believe that I’m grateful for my parents, that they love me and care for me and sacrifice for me every single day. 

2)      Brothers: these guys are the best. They always have been. We really bonded when my parents were divorcing. During that time we’d jump in the car together and go house hunting (roaming the town finding our friends’ homes and neighborhoods just to see what they looked like). I would do anything for them and them for me. #siblingloyalty

3)      Daunetta and Cathy: these two women are my mom’s best friends. They’ve been there for my mom when I’ve been off conquering the world. Together they are the funniest bunch of women I have ever met. They describe themselves as a little irreverent, the type that has to be seated in a party room at such-and-such restaurant so they don’t bother the other guests with their contagious laughter, the type of women that go to NYC every year just to shop, see shows, and get into trouble. And you’d better believe they’ve gotten into trouble. From sleeping in dingy hotels to getting purses stolen to following the sketchy men on Canal Street all the way to their warehouses, that’s just their style.

4)      My girlfriends: my bosom friends. You can read about them here.

5)      My guy friends: Nate Mulliner, Scott Rowley, Britton Stanfill. The best guy friends a girl could ask for.

6)      Adele: her lyrics and sound speak to me more than anyone else recently. It’s like she knows my life. 

7)      The homeless black guy in the park who, when I walk past every morning, tells me I’m beautiful and that I’ve got killer hair and a killer smile. Thanks for that.

8)      Thomas S. Monson- recently read his biography. I wept every time I opened it. I know he leads the church I’m a part of. I know he’s God’s living prophet on the earth today. His stories and love get me every time. 

9)   Jasmine my boss: after struggling with the company I worked for in Rexburg and a boss that wasn’t open to creativity, change, or equality, I’ve grown to love Jasmine (my boss here at my job in DC) for all those things she does possess and so much more. I know there’s not a lot of people who don't like their bosses let alone admire them, but I do mine. Jasmine is fair, she respects me which then makes me respect her even more, she’s competent and intelligent, and she’s hilarious. I love her laugh and I love her style. Outside of work we have really similar tastes in movies and books. I couldn’t be more grateful for a boss that really rocks.

10)   Jesus Christ: He is reserved for last place because He is everything to me. More than anything or anyone else in this world I’m grateful for my Savior and Redeemer.  

Friday, December 2, 2011

The Grateful Dead

Thinking of 10 dead people I'm grateful for has definitely been the hardest gratitude challenge yet. But luckily I came up with some good ones:
1) my grandpa Hewitt: grew up dirt poor and searched for truth for decades until missionaries knocked on his door and he was perfectly prepared to accept gospel. He spent his entire retirement driving to the temple every single day spending several hours therein. I know there were thousands upon thousands waiting to receive him on the other side.
2) William Tindale: because of him I can read about the life of my Savior in the Bible and carry my own scriptures around with me. Watch this to be inspired even more. 

4) Dr. Burill Crohn and colleagues: he discovered why my body is so messed up sometimes and gave a name to my disease. Since being diagnosed at age eight I have come to identify myself deeply as a Crohn's patient. It is a bigger part of my life than I wish but has also taught me invaluable lessons that I wouldn't trade. Thank you Dr. Burill.

5) "The mothers who knew" in the Book of Mormon: We don't know a whole lot about them but we know they were good. The taught their sons to be strong and courageous and valiant. I want to do the same.
6) Steve Jobs: although I'm not the biggest Apple nerd out there, I respect how he revolutionized computers and marketing. He changed my generation more than we'll ever really know. He gained my respect after I watched this video.
7) Joseph Smith and President Hinckley: both are my prophets...and will be forever.
8) Jane Austin: a singular and elect lady who has been able to capture my heart and let me love classic literature. Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility, two of my favorites.
9) Seth: my cousin born a week earlier than me who passed away in 2004 in a car accident. I will always Choose To Remember.
3) Albus Dumbledore and Fred Weasley: they win my lifetime achievement award for being heroes. Can't wait to meet them someday as well :)
10) Dave Thomas and Donald and Doris Fisher: because of Dave I can always enjoy a grilled chicken sandwich, chocolate Frosty and the best fries out there and...well, the Fishers started GAP which along with Banana Republic is my absolute favorite clothing store and the only one at which I have a credit card. Thank you 50% off coupons.