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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

farewell.

(last sunday I gave my farewell talk in church)


I don’t know if God knew that in order to get a point across to me he would have to do it through animals, or if I just have a lot of memories with animals because of all the pets I have had, or if animals are just one of the things that I always seem to pay attention to. Whatever the reason, it is clear that there have been a lot of experiences in my life that have strengthened my testimony that have included animals.


I am leaving in a few weeks to go on a mission where I will teach people all about the Book of Mormon and the savior Jesus Christ.

I was asked to talk today about the Book of Mormon and how it helps me in daily life including how it has helped me gain a testimony of the Savior; although the Book of Mormon has done that for me, my testimony seems to have been built more by lessons learned from life so I think that today I would rather talk about birds.

What I have learned from birds and how that has been proof to me that the Book of Mormon is true and that Jesus is the Christ.

I have had several pet birds in my life. Max was my favorite. Max was a starling that fell out of his nest at the fair grounds. He was too small to survive on his own so I took him home and made him a house in a plastic storage bin with a heating lamp clamped onto the side. He was a good pet and a lot of fun.

After days of blending up soggy dog food with apple sauce, and boiled eggs to feed him every two hours; after digging up my mom’s flower bed to teach him how to catch and eat bugs and worms; after tying a string around his foot so that he couldn’t fly away at the cabin; after letting him roost in the tree in the back yard so that the hateful house cat couldn’t get him once he learned that he could fly; after he came back less and less often when I called him, the day finally came when I called Max and he didn’t come back at all.

He had grown up enough and he was ready to fly away.



While a string around their foot works well for wild birds like max, normal pet birds are kept from escaping by having their wings clipped. By clipping certain feathers that are important in flight, the birds are no longer able to fly. At least they are no longer able to fly very well or very far. There are many different ways that you can clip a birds wings, but the result is always the same: the bird is unable to reach its full potential.

Poet Maya Angelou wrote a poem titled “I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings”.

the final few stanzas go as follows:

The free bird thinks of another breeze

and the trade winds soft through the sighing trees

and the fat worms waiting on a dawn-bright lawn

and he names the sky his own.



But a caged bird stands on the grave of dreams

his shadow shouts on a nightmare scream

his wings are clipped and his feet are tied

so he opens his throat to sing



The caged bird sings

with a fearful trill

of things unknown

but longed for still

and his tune is heard

on the distant hill

for the caged bird

sings of freedom.



Like the caged bird in this poem, with clipped wings and tied feet, there are often times in our life when we might want to also let out a fearfull trill or a frustrated note. We understand that we were meant for more and we long to reach our full potential.



I have on my i-pod a playlist that I like to listen to while I run because I have gotten to know the songs and I can rely on them to give me the energy and motivation that I need to get through whatever obstacle I might currently be dealing with: hills, hunger, boredom.

They seem to remind me why I am doing what I am doing and that it is in fact going to be worth it in the end, even if I’m questioning my decision mid-commitment.

One song in particular on this play list always seems to stick out to me and give me that extra push I am looking for no matter how sore my legs are or how badly I just want to be done and home.

The line that I love the most from this song is: “empty the pack and watch your wings grow back”.

What I like best about this line is the use of the word “back”.

This reminds me that I’ve had fully functional wings in the past and that for whatever reason, I’ve let life clip them; I’ve become the caged bird and found myself in an unfavorable situation and unable to reach my full potential. Hearing this line always helps me keep things in perspective and keep a better outlook on life.

One run in particular I remember struggling with the final uphill stretch back to my house. I think I must have listened to this song at least 4 or 5 times to get me through. The second time through it occurred to me that I could hit ‘repeat’ as many times as I wanted and I would always get what I needed from the lyrics. I further realized that, obviously, this happens because that is the way the song was recorded so each time I listen to it I will hear the same message and be able to apply it to whatever I am currently going through. It was declared finished, put onto an album, and released to the world.

By the end of the 3rd time, I realized that this same thing happens every time we read the Book of Mormon because that too was recorded a certain way, declared finished, printed, bound, and released to the world .

Just like the songs I listen to while I run will always help me find the strength to get home, each time I read the Book of Mormon I know that I can also find the strength to get home.



How grateful I am for the Book of Mormon in my life and for the strength that I can draw from it each day. The book of Mormon complements the bible and continues to teach us about the savior Jesus Christ. It helps us strengthen our testimonies of the savior and allows us to come unto Christ and be perfected by his atoning sacrifice and mercy.



I have always liked what section 122 of the Doctrine and covenants says because it reminds me that things could be a lot worse:

In verse 7 we read:

7 And if thou shouldst be cast into the apit, or into the hands of murderers, and the sentence of death passed upon thee; if thou be cast into the bdeep; if the billowing surge conspire against thee; if fierce winds become thine enemy; if the heavens gather blackness, and all the elements combine to chedge up the way; and above all, if the very jaws of dhell shall gape open the mouth wide after thee, know thou, my son, that all these things shall give thee eexperience, and shall be for thy good.

Looking back over the past few years, I think that the worst thing that has happened to me was probably finding out that my favorite Jonas Brother’s song was a cover. So yeah, it could be a lot worse.

Even if it gets worse this verse reminds us that everything that happens is for our good. Everything that happens is giving us experience.



The next verse reminds us that

8 The aSon of Man hath bdescended below them all.

And then asks us

Art thou greater than he?





We are taught in the Book of Mormon that anything the Lord asks us to do, the Lord will also provide a way for it to be accomplished.

We are never asked to deal with more than we are able to bear.



In First Nephi Chapter 1, Verse 20 nephi says: “I Nephi will show unto you that the tender mercies of the Lord are over all whom he hath chosen because of their faith to make them mighty even unto the power of deliverance”.

This message is strong and to the point, and as we read the Book of Mormon we see that it is also true. Christ has already paid the price, God has told us what we need to do, and by prayer and the power we can draw from studying the Book of Mormon we can carefully navigate through this life and get back home

___________



Another lesson that I have learned from birds is that of hope and faith and their ability to see us through hard times.

Noah is a wonderful example of faithful obedience to the Lord. He built the arc, gathered the animals, and was prepared when the flood came.

After the rain stopped and the skies cleared, Noah sent out a dove. The first time the Dove came back with nothing to show. Eventually though, as the water levels lowered, the dove brought back an olive twig, and finally didn’t return at all. Noah knew that this meant the water was gone and that it was safe to start a new life in a new place. He had obeyed the Lord and the Lord blessed him.

Earlier this summer I was down town one day and trapped in my thoughts. I was trying to sort through how you go about getting ready for a mission, how I was ever going to find a new job for just a few months, and how I was going to figure out everything that I needed to get done before I left my home and my family for 18 months to go serve.

I was so caught up in thought that I almost missed it, but there it was:

A pigeon carrying a stick in its beak.



Although far less glamorous than the sight Noah must have seen, my thoughts immediately went to him and his situation and the hope that he received from his bird.

Somehow, this humble replica somehow carried the same message to me and I knew that everything would be all right in the end and that everything would work out. The water levels would go down, the sun would come out, and I too would be safe to start a new life in a new place.





Michelangelo once said that a true and pure sculpture is one that is cut from a block, not cast or molded. This form of sculpture is known as subtractive sculpture and is done by taking a block of raw material and carving away bits and pieces until you were left with the desired outcome.

Everything that the final product needs is there from the beginning and nothing has to be added. All that needs to be done is removing the unneeded bulk, and then a little bit of refining.

Michelangelo explained his sculpting as the process of releasing a figure from the block of marble that imprisoned it. He said he could look at a block of marble and see the figure within. He could see all of the beauty and power and potential from the start, and all he had to do was remove the unneeded bits and pieces so that the rest of the world could see the figure as he did.

It is said that when he worked on his sculptures he would enter a trance like state and that his focus could not be broken. He would work with such intensity and such devotion that he often sent pieces of marble larger than his fingers flying across his studio.

Michelangelo took upon him the task of showing the world what he saw in each piece of raw material and worked hard until he had accomplished his goal. The end result was always beautiful, always perfect, and always a masterpiece.

Just like Michelangelo was able to see the potential in a raw piece of material, The Lord is able to see the potential in us—even in our roughest and most raw state.

I am excited for the opportunity to serve a mission and the chance to teach people about the Book of Mormon every day for 18 months. I hope that I am able to help the Lord in refining some of his children into what he sees them as so that they can stand before man and be seen the way He sees them.

Who Knows? Maybe I will even be able to chip off some of my own excess marble in the process.



Although there are a lot of things I don’t know, I do know that the Book of Mormon is true, that Joseph Smith truly talked to God and that through him the true church was restored to the earth.

I do know that that the only way to stay on track in life is to read the BOM, pray about it, and apply what we learn to our lives.

And finally, I do know that no matter what, your wings can always grow back.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Wow! Mission Watch!

Somewhere, some classy lady is sad.

This morning I was too lazy to run, so instead I took Hermes out for a ride and along the way I found a watch laying on the trails.  This is really a miracle and a blessing because lately I have been thinking a lot about the kind of watch I want for my mission.
I haven't ever had a nice watch--or any watch for that matter--because my mom doesn't think I can tell time and I have a cell phone.


It's really a nice watch too. I think.  It's small, and shiny, and gold and, classy.  It's Timex.  I know nothing about watches, but I've at least heard of this brand, so that's gotta be good.  Plus, It works and is even set on the proper time.
Bonus.
What a blessed day.



Before today the only stuff I had for my mission was my bike lock and lights.
I am so ready.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

time to retire the victim card...

There have been some heavy things in my life--just like anyone's.  In the past I've been so quick to predict the future based on the past and put way to much energy into my black holes and just let it get eaten up.
I am starting to discover that I've had a pretty immature attitude about some unfortunate situations in the past, and that only leads to misconceptions about the future.

I am going to eliminate the following words from my vocabulary:
-scared/afraid/nervous/anything to do with fear
-actually
-starting sentences with soooooo....
-unnecessary/incorrect use of the word Like
-litterally
-"weak words" like 'maybe' or 'we should_____ sometime' or 'i think' or 'kind of'

life is real and it comes fast.  I'm starting to understand that you just have to stand up and take it in stride and be assertive and know where you stand and who you are. 

fear makes the wolf look bigger.

If my wolves are going to fight dirty, so am I.  gloves off.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Friday, September 23, 2011

Empty the Pack and Watch Your Wings Grow Back.

As a person, I think it is important to always try to grow and mature and increase our education.  I also believe that there is beauty and light in tons of unexpected places and that inspiration is everywhere.  When you are in tune with yourself and in tune with the spirit you are able to see it and learn from passing thoughts, daily interactins, and songs.
I had heard about Atmosphere before, but never really listened to their stuff until I started hanging out with people that played them a lot in their car.  The first time i heard Get Fly I really liked it--espically the line "empty the pack and watch your wings grow back".  What I think is no interesting about music (and art in general) is that someone can take an expirence that meant a lot to them and create something centered around it and then share it with other people and somehow the people they share it with can get something out of it that means something to them.  The new reson that the new people make could have nothing to do with the original meaning that the creator had while creating but I think that that also all ties back into this constant state of evolution and progress that we are striving for.

An example:  those lyrics "empty the pack and watch your wings grow back".  I will never know exactly what Slug meant when he wrote that.  It could be pretty literal: maybe he is trying to stop smoking and he brokw down and bought a new pack.  Maybe he is trying to recommit himself to his goal and cick the habiot after this pack.  That would surely give him his wings back and let him fly again if he could finally break out of the addiction.... even the work WINGS gives you hope for flight without even having to say it.  Oack also tends to conotate bad things, like cigarettes and beers as opposed to a work like box or shelf where you could really store anything.

For me, I like to apply it in a similar process but with different facts.  To me it more is just about getting rid of the things that hold you down and trying agaion to align yourself with the Lord and be all he made you to be.  With the Lord on your side you can reach great heights.

All of this really hit home today when I was running and this song came up on my playlist.  It was getting to the end of the run where I hit about a half mile up hit chunk and it can get hard and easy to give up.  The song came to an end and I wasn't quite up the hill yet so I started it over and felt the same high at the farmiliar words that carried me up the hill and to my goal....
no matter how many times i go back and hit repeat and listen to the song the words will never change.  That is how it was recorded and that is how it is going to stay until the end of time.  It;s the exact same with the scriptures, the way they were recorded is never going to change and you're ability to recieve comfort and love from them is never going to change either.

Just some jumbled thoughts... but it's something to think about.

Friday, July 22, 2011

sunrise v. sunset

I can't decide if I love running through the sunrise or the sunset better.



At night you get to run under the stars, and when Frank is along you feel like you are running with the wolves. 
You almost feel feral.

In the morning you get the first crisp breaths of morning air and everything from the night before melts away under your feet.  You create a new day and know that it is full of potential.

At night you can run out all of the rage and crap that life threw at you that day, you know, before it all hits the fan...

At night the fireflies come out.

In the morning you know that you are one of the few people that are even awake in the city.

At night you own the streets.

In the morning you can forget the headphones becasue the birds will sing for you.

At night you can watch the constelations and know you are destin for greatness.

In the morning you can think about all the things you want to do better today.

At night you can think about all the things you learned.



Either way, lace up and hit the pavement.
every
damn
day

Friday, July 8, 2011

Seattle Love.

I went to Seattle on a last minute trip with my mom this past weekend.  We got to go visit some people that use to live in Rochester and be in our ward.  It was perfect and wonderful.
It was everything I ever hoped Seattle would be, and then some.
It helped me put a lot of things into perspective for me and helped me pin down some things that have been floating around in my head for the past week or so.

One of the main reasons we went to Seattle--other than seeing the brooks--was to get some new hand made, blown glass, pendant lights for our kitchen.  They are beautiful.  The gallery we went to was amazing and full of some of the most beautiful things I have ever seen.

As if Seattle wasn't grand enough--and I will get into all of that--I returned home to a letter from Brooke on the counter, and woke up this morning to an e-mail from baby Logan.
Life is so rad.

While we were in Seattle, we got to go Kayaking on the sound.  We met a very cute seal who wanted to be my pet, he followed my kayak for about ten minutes, then came back about an hour later while we were out watching the porpoises that were everywhere!
Fabulous!

I am in love and Seattle is definitely going on the list of possible contends for places to live when I have to settle down and get married.  I've had enough exposure to love and enough butterflies to understand that being married is going to be amazing, but for now while I am young and free I am fully loving the single life.  
Marriage and love will come.  And this--ALL of this--is just gravy baby.


I tend to love quotes/mottos/themes.  
Here are a few that have been rattling around my head lately:
-Turn your can'ts into cans, and your dreams into plans.
-Live a self centric life.  Make that shift and be your own center of gravity--you will pull all the things that need to be in your life in and put them where they need to be.
-be the change you wish to see in the world.




I need to write more.  And worry less.
Do more.  And Think less.

Even if things don't go the way you want them to--you get a story.  You get a lesson.  You get refined.
Even if you don't know what you want or what you are suppose to do, you are learning.  You are discovering who you are and what you are.
Even if things go completely not according to plan and nothing you try to plan ever works out, you are getting experience and learning to adapt to new situations.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Hermes.

 On tuesday, Jonathan gave me a bike to use for the summer--I fell in love the second I saw it.  It's thisrad old road bike from the 80s with tons of logos and little details. We are going to go in on it together and turn it into a fixie and have a custody battle for it at the end of the summer.  If i go foreign for my mission that will be settled really easily...
this dream that has been going strong for nearly three years will finally come true.

I named my bike Hermes.
He is the messenger God and also the God of travel and writing/literature.
 I thought it was fitting, considering what I want this summer to be about.


This summer has been amazing and just gets better and better.  I get to go to SEATTLE this weekend with my moms to go visit her friend Gretchen.

Something I have known for a while now finally clicked last night and it all made sense:

I spent so many years wishing I could have fun and hip people around me all the time so I could be doing fun and hip things with them.
Now i realized I can do fun and hip things all on my own and have cool stories to tell people when they ask "what did you do today?".

You really just have to take each day and make it great. realize this is what I am committed to right now--how can I make the most of it?
Learn to live a self-centric life and be your own source of energy and passion.
Don't waste your life waiting for someone amazing to come into your life and be the center of your solar system and think that everything will somehow get fixed...  Don't hold your breath hoping someone will come along and pull you into a better or more exciting orbit--just be you and do the things you want to do.
You can be the one to pull people in.
Take on new hobbies, goals and projects.
Don't sell yourself short and dont forget who you are and where you are going.

Life is short.
Don't forget to live it.


Here is the latest art the golden calf has cranked out:

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Life for Art's Sake.

I try to keep something with me at all times to write down thoughts as they come to me.  I figure if life and the Lord are going to take time to put them into my head, I should take time to write them down.  This usually resulted in me carrying around more non-school things than school things in my backpack and was starting to get a little out of hand when I finally downsized and bought a baby notebook I can fit in my back pocket with a pen jammed into the spiral.
I was really good at writing in it the last week of school, then it got boxed up, I moved home, and I kinda forgot about it.

The first week of my summer was l.a.z.y.  I walked Franklin, ran, cleaned a little and mostly bummed around the house and watched Heroes around the clock on NetFlix.
I am fully addicted and obsessed.
However, right as I was about to overdo it and O.D. on that show, Jonathan called me to ask if i was back in Rochester yet.  I told him yes and the next night we rode bikes around down town and caught up.
We've been hanging out a lot since then.
Even more recently than that, I finally unburied my little baby notebook and was reading through some old stuff and came across this treasure:

"Life for Art's Sake."  This quote by Oscar Wilde perfectly sums up what I want this summer to be: one of the one's that I look back and say "That summer made me who I am today".  It's time to grow up and actually do something with all the plans in my head.

So far this summer I have established my Artist name, started painting again, read when I had time, and started working on my wonderland room.
A weekend of art projects have made my room pretty sloppy, but progress has none the less been made.

As for my art, I've decided to work in all black, white and pink so that people know I am a girl.
I've decided if I am going to make it in the street art/urban art world I want people to know CALF is a girl--I feel like girls get overlooked in that genre a lot.

My summer so far:















Monday, April 4, 2011

Time Capsule

I have always wanted to make a time capsule.  I love the idea of leaving something behind for others to find.
I tried to get my friend Jonathan to make one with me the last day we were together last semester, but he wouldn't--he was being a brat that day.
He even said "That sounds really fun and is a great idea, but I don't want to do it".
woof.

I still think it would be fun, but what I think would be even MORE fun, would be filling a box with all of the things that I love and all of the things that have helped me become who I am.  The things that got me through the darkest days and also the happiest ones.  I want to take this box, and leave it somewhere special.  I want someone to find it, and open it, and have everything.

This is what I would put in my box:
The Perks of Being A Wall Flower (annotated)
The Catcher in the Rye (annotated)
The Book of Mormon(with my testimony in the front cover)
a Mixed tape with the following songs
-this is the first day of my life: bright eyes
-the remedy: jason mraz
-the world at large: modest mouse
-time to pretend: mgmt
-el scorcho: weezer
-the way i am: ingred michaelson
-hate me: blue october
-from a balance beam: bright eyes
-air mattress: conor oberst and the mystic valley band
-island in the sun: weezer
-bowl of oranges: bright eyes
A kite
A miniature Eiffel Tower
One of those safety manuals from a Plane with the instructions to travel as much as possible... and yes I could supply one for the box
A cheap photo album with poems in the sleeves instead of pictures
A  blank DreamBook that they could fill in with their own dreams and thoughts
An invitation to make the life you want to live
3 things from or suggested by close friends
post it notes on everything describing why I love them
and
5 bucks so they can go get something they want to add to the box.

Maybe I will just make one myself.
Who said I can't do great things on my own?


What would your DreamBox have it in?

Sunday, April 3, 2011

iMiss

This weekend has been so perfectly wonderful--exactly what I needed to get ready to kick of finals week.  The weather in ootah this weekend was a little bit gross, but by the time we got back to Idaho it was beautiful!  The drive from SLC to Rexburg is so beautiful, the valleys and mountains are breathtaking.
The only thing I am not in love with about the oncoming spring, is how much it makes me feel like I should be getting ready to go to Europe.

i miss:
Hearing "ciao Bella!" every time I walk anywhere.
Laying in the grass in the sun outside of The Colosseum.
Napping in the sun in castles in France.
Crossing the English Channel on a boat.

Saying "meet me at the Trevi Fountain tonight--we'll get gilatto.  For the fourth time today."
Seeing the Eiffle tower with my own eyes.  Sitting under it.  Feeling infinite.
Flunch. (google it)
Piling in and out of that coach bus.
Learning about Saints and Catholicism.
Going to Mass.
Being in Notre Dame.
Gypsies grabbing you and shoving things into your hands.

The Louvre.
The nuns at the convent we stayed in in Rome.
Living in a homeless shelter in Florence.
TKMK.
Toga parties.
French pastries.
Crepes under the Eiffel Tower.


Living out of a suitcase.
Driving through the Apls.
Not being able to speak to the natives.
Being a foreigner.
Art Boot Camp.
Packing up and moving every other day.
Watching Disney channel in German.
Getting pictures of James Franco given to me while we are flying to Spain.
The concierge in our hotel in Spain.  And the man who worked in the store next to our Hotel.
French boys.
High Class Day.
Having to verify on Facebook that I am "in an unknown location" when I sign in.
The crazy keyboards in England.
Seeing beautiful art every day.




















































































Most of all I miss living out of a carry on sized suitcase, looking like a beast, and being carefree every single second of every single day.



Thank you mom and dad every day of my life for letting me have this adventure.