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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Rise of the Pocket Watch

Let's rewind a three months ago. Routine checking of my email. Subject line: Christmas wish lists. Click. Scrolling down...Sophie - baking supplies, games, a pocket watch...wait, a pocket watch? With a nutrition quiz due at five that evening I moved on forgetting about the strange or not so strange things my little sister might be asking for for Christmas.

Three days ago. Christmas morning. Michael Bublé on in the background. We were all sitting around in our pajamas. Sophie pulls the ribbon off a little box to reveal her treasured pocket watch. Check this out:

Now she wears this everyday. It is like she straight out of a movie, only I have never seen anything like my little sister in a movie. Trend setter or individualist? I am curious to find out.

Photo Challenge

On the last day of June of this year, I issued a photo challenge on my creativity blog. Day three: clouds.

I was looking at some old pictures of my attempt at the challenge, and I found, clouds.

There are two important purposes to this blog post. One: to share this awesome picture, (okay maybe only I think it is awesome) because to me it is a piece of the sublime.
                    Sublime: terrifying and awe inspiring at the same time.

It reminds me that an almighty God created all things. What is even more amazing is his person love for each individual. (Check out this same idea here.)

Reason Two: To reissue this photo challenge. January first is all about coming up with goals anyway, isn't it? To be totally honest, come January fourth, I will be busy with winter semester credits, indoor track season, and whatever else I can fit into my day, but that doesn't mean some of you can come up with some awesome photos while enhancing your own creativity and inspiring others'. You can find the challenge by following this link.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

I used to think everyone was just trying to understand the world  -  however each person can, in his own unique way. Now, I am not so sure.

Maybe some people are just enjoying the world.

Well, I am trying to understand the world. I guess, it is kind of cool when the rug is pulled out from under you. Sweep under the rug. . . or make designs in the dust. either way, is fine.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

What I have been reading...

When I was nine years old, I was in fifth grade. I woke up one morning to get ready for school. The phone rang and being the little kid that I was, I ran to answer it. My mom beat me too it. I picked up the receiver and listened in: "I just don't want the kids to be scared at school today. . .just turn on the TV it is all over the news." I didn't know what my grandma was talking about. I wasn't scared. I followed my mom downstairs and we turned on the TV. I saw the president frantically running in the wind, microphones to his face. I saw two large buildings on fire. I saw people jump off those buildings. I saw a replay of a plane fly straight into a building. I saw the buildings begin to collapse. This is what I saw, but I did not understand.

My mom started to explain. I can't remember what she told me. I remember being scared. Before school that morning I knelt behind the couch, childish tears in my eyes, and prayed that everything would be okay. After that, I wasn't scared.

Two years later. I was eleven. Seventh grade reading class required us to do a book report. I read Let's Roll, a story of Todd Beamer. He stood up to the hijackers and tried to regain Flight 93. He risked everything. He died. But that plane landed in a field in Pennsylvania, not wherever it was intended. That kind of courage, is the courage you read about. At eleven years old, I put him into my bank of heroes. I still think about him today.

Now, I am twenty-one. I am taking an American literary history class. I am proud to be American, not because it is any better than anywhere else, but because it is my own. The last day of class we started reading post 9/11 literature. My professor asked us: "How do you see these pieces responding to the event?" How do I answer that question? What do I understand of such a tragic thing? What do any of us understand?

In Cirum by Elena Alexander, I see a numbness of emotion in this vast universe of space. Where are we? Where am I? When it comes down to it, all that matters is people, other people. (The message of the Gospel can answer so many questions and bring so much happiness.) Life has pain, it has wasp stings: "Love and no love." "Please speak with your mouth full. I would love to hear; anything. You have to say." If we think of life as space, a sting will "crease the space we never see, but know is there." Maybe it will bring people together.

In How I Read since September 11th by Vivan Gornick, I see a shake of interpretation. Why does tragedy demand that we question all that we once held firm? Maybe it strips down all the glamour and shows us truth. (Like the truths of the Gospel. We can see those we lost again in the next life.) We all "stand at the end of history" as we create it. The future moves forward and with it, it brings the past.

In Travel Log by John Kelly I come closer than I ever have before to understanding what really happened that day. It was not just the twin towers that fell apart, but after tragedy, we can build back up to stronger and greater things.

I was only nine. Now I am only twenty-one. All I know is what I see, what I read, and what I am able to understand. After a tragedy, we have two choices: make the best or make the worse. There is still so much I do not understand about September Eleventh, but what I do know, is that that event contributed to the picture of America and because of people like Todd Beamer, America is a better place today.

Monday, December 5, 2011

notre arbre de Noël

Well my roommate Charity, loves Christmas, or maybe Christmas loves charity...Either way, a week or two ago we ended up with a little Christmas tree in our apartment, but no Christmas ornaments. So yesterday after getting home from a great Christmas Devotional (that you should really check out) we decorated our very own homemade tree. Christmas music in the background, popcorn pieces all over the floor, sour cranberries in our mouths  -  this is the way to go. Did I mention the smell of gingerbread? Okay maybe I am flaunting my sweet little Christmas night. Anyway, check out our tree, humble yes, but Christmas all the same :)

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

My Family

What I love about each of my family members:
My mom is so talented and she gives of all her love and talent so freely to us and to everyone she knows.
My dad is very intelligent and works hard at every thing he does, but what I admire even more is that he loves very deeply.
My brother Chris (CJ) cares about people a lot too. He is a deep thinker and I admire how much he is able to learn by observation.
My brother Zander is very intelligent, but he also never lets anyone feel left out.
My sister Sophie is a great example of service to me.

A note about nationals

So I was running in the national NCAA cross country meet. It was cold and wet. I was trained for this kind of thing. I was ready. Everyone was fast. I was fast. (I had to remember that one.) The course was hard. I was almost 3K into my 6K race. This was where I planned to serge. My heart was willing. My legs were trying. But I was falling behind. I could hear someone coming up behind me. "Right here, Mike." I heard my teammate Rachel say. All I had to do was stay with her. Here comes the hill. "This is my favorite part." She reminded me. Draw from her strength, I thought. I remembered why I was doing this crazy thing: it was for them. The six other runners our there battling with this race. They who put their whole heart into this sport that we love. It was because there is something so real, so raw, so...well right now it was so painful. I finished that race, turned around because I thought I was in dead last. I wasn't. I kept walking because that was all I could do to keep from falling over. Sure I have raced better, but I wasn't disappointed. That race had created me - like every race does. And I had crossed the finish line while giving everything I had left. That is racing.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Spilling Thoughts

I think it is important to pull truth out of literature. So, what if I know more truth, understand something, have more insight than the author? I am not to try and assume what the author did and didn’t understand, how he did or didn’t see the world. I have eyes. I see the world. However wrong I am, it is the only way I know and no one can prove anything otherwise. So I am to understand literature, and through my eyes, see truth — out of something written from the pen and through the mind of someone else. . . But can every human recognize truth? From my experience, it speaks to the soul. We can all recognize love. . . and love is truth (how different are they anyway?). So the beauty is that there is a piece of something shared in literature. That piece of truth. Which may be the only untainted line of communication between two different eyes on paper. . . But if this not true — for I admit, at least right now in this train of thought, it is speculation — then I must still seek the truth out of literature — and raw human to human communication continues, a little occluded, but as close as I know for this time now.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Do you ever feel like this?

"Once I ordered a sirloin steak and a chocolate sundae, but everything was so cunningly disguised on the table that I mistook the chocolate sauce for gravy and poured it over the sirloin steak."
-Tennesse Williams "A Streetcar named Success"

Such is life
Is this chocolate or a rose? Neither. It is a picture on this blog.
Is it real? What is the definition of real anyway?

A Streetcar

I don't know if you have ever read "A Streetcar Named Desire" by Tennesse Williams. I am not recommending it. It is a horribly tragic and depressing play. I didn't enjoy reading it at all. But, I could not put it down. I was so intrigued by everything that was going on between these characters - what they were thinking and feeling and why and how they were living. After finishing the play, I read an essay by Williams called, "A Streetcar to Success." I must say it was equally intriguing, but after reading it a few times, I cannot say I agree completely. But I can relate and understand his crisis of identity. (Sometimes I wish some of these authors just had the Gospel because I think it would make them so much happier) Anyway, Williams does have a few things right:

"That time is short and it doesn't return again. It is slipping away while I write this and while you read it, and the monosyllable of the clock is Loss, Loss, Loss, unless you devote your heart to its opposition."

Life is hard. But is that way for a reason.

I think Williams and I would agree, we don't want it any other way.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Our Kitchen

I absolutely love pita bread, and after this weekend, I found out how much fun it is to make. It is quite exciting when they pop open. Each one is hand rolled and each is a little bit different, but they are all loved and all delicious.

How do you eat them? Just like a sandwich - turkey, cheese, lettuce, cucumber - whatever floats your ferry. You can also put chicken (or lamb or steak), olives, fetta cheese, and cucumber sauce inside to make a Greek lunch. Or try it with peanut butter and jelly.

Why am I blogging about this? Basically because I love pitas and think you all should too.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Something to think about...

Is our sense of identity, sense of self, created from within or imposed upon us by our surroundings and those around us?

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Friday, October 21, 2011

Well yes, I should be studying, researching, writing the three essays I have due next week. But first, I just want to say... I finished all six of my midterms this week, both of my quizzes, and my three papers! Just now, I turned in my timed Shakespeare midterm, and it feels soooooo good to be done (for the week at least). Let's just say, I felt like I had a snake around my neck all week.

Believe me, I know what it feels like ;)

One thing I do want to say is that I never could have gotten through this week without the strength of my Father in Heaven. His love is so perfect. I am continually amazing at how much He loves me as an individual. My relationship with Him is one of the most treasured things in my life. I brings me so much strength and happiness. One of my greatest desires is to share His love with everyone because I know he loves each one of His children more than we can imagine. I don't know were I would be without it. (If you want to know more, look into the LDS (or mormon) faith. It is God's way of showing us how to be happy.)

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Let's all make a little more

       "Concord from Discord"

Maybe all I do is run, but that is not all I think about.

Monday, October 3, 2011


If you have been driving around Chicago any time recently, or any time at all for that matter, you may have noticed the McDonalds smack dab in the middle of the freeway. Legitly is the medium between the westward bound traffic and those going east. Why was it there? Don't ask questions. Who wouldn't stop for an oreo mcflury at 9:30 at night post-race?

We are sooo happy. (I mean, who wouldn't be?)

What I have been reading...

if you are an American, you know the basics of American history - the revolution, Boston tea party, slavery, Gettysburg, Pearl Harbor, Nine Eleven. But what most Americans don't know, and what I didn't know before I started flipping through the pages of my American literature anthology, is the personal and real stories of the people who made up America and American ideals today. They were wrong about things; they were right about things; they did things, things that made a difference.

Most recently, I just read Harriet Jacobs account of being a slave. Even a peek into the dark side of America reveals such courage and strength. Without strong men and woman like her, America today would be different. Even though she had almost everything taken from her, they could not take away her voice.  I shudder to read what happened during the time of slavery, but I also applaud slaves like Jacobs who changed her world, and changed ours.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

I love my Team! because we are not individuals runners, but one complete unit. Alone, we are just tearing up grass and kicking leaves, but together, we are champions.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

So maybe I am obsessed with my bike? Gotta say, I absolutely love riding it around - to school, to the park, down the road, whatever. A friend showed me this sweet biking web site and I just want to say, I think it is awesome.

Reasons why I love to ride my bike:

1. It is so much fun!
2. Often times I can get places way faster than if I walked or drove.
3. It saves the environment (every little bit helps).
4. It saves gas which is getting pretty pricey.
5. I get to explore new sights and enjoy the weather.
6. I meet other awesome people with bikes.

I am on team Promote bicycle culture everywhere!

Last thing I want to say, protect against stolen bikes. It is cruel.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Halloween Caterpillar?

What would you do if you saw one of these inching along?

Saw this up Provo canyon today. Didn't even know it existed. 
Still not sure what it is.
Life, is like Never Before.

Each new moment is a surprise. Each new second is unlike the one before. What will the next moment bring?

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

I've heard it compared to burning buildings, tight roping, or climbing up a rock slide - basically it's just school and life and all the craziness that comes with it. So today, I thought . . . I am sinking in my pile of books and quizzes and papers. Time to gear shift.

Sometimes life can feel like this:

And so, maybe I need something like this:

Okay, that is kind of creepy, but ya, I'm just sayin'.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Run lovin'

I don't actually know these girls. I hope they don't mind that I am using this picture. The thing is, my heart goes out to them. This morning I helped out at a high school invitational. I had the best job - working the finish line. This includes handing out water cups, making sure people keep moving and stay in order, and passing out the congratulations. It seems to happen anytime I volunteer, but I realize or re-realize, I am not there for them, they are there for me. Looking into their faces I saw courage and real heart. They put it all on the line, for themselves, for their teammates, for the pure love of racing. Slowly, with each step, each finish, each practice, each race, these girls are creating themselves. They are changing the world.

And then there are those sweet moments. The moments I live for. The two girls from opposing teams, one to the other, "Best sprint I have ever seen!" A boy to his teammate, "Dude, I seriously don't think I could have done that without you." Two girls supporting each other, breathing heavily in the shoot. The kid who comes in last and sprints with all his might. That is heart.

The thing is, racing, it's just like life.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Cross Country Camp

Sooo...whenever the end of August runs around, I usually have, well, lots to do before the new school year starts. Cross country camp can all too easily feel like one more thing on the list. It's not optional, so Monday morning after meeting after meeting after meeting, I hopped in the vans with my teammates and rode my little running legs up to park city for the week.
Now I wish I could describe what it is like to be on this team, but I can't. Trying doesn't give it justice, but try I will anyway. It is like being surrounded by thirty four sisters who would do anything for you. They honestly treat you like family - the whole enchilada of give and take. Real opinions come out. But the best part is not only do we lift each other physically and socially, but spiritually. Being around these girls brings be closer to Christ as I watch their examples.

Here we are making bead key chains. I love these girls. This is why I run.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Maybe I just want to post something, but then I got to thinking about this book I am reading. It is called The Help by Kathryn Stockett. All in one week, people just started telling me about it. It is a pretty good book, an easy read. It has good voice and tells a story. can't say it has made me think too deeply though. Still, it has made me think about change. What causes change?? Thoughts, ideas, writing, people. "Change begins with a whisper," it says. Just a wisp of something soft, but powerful.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

As much as I should be keeping up with literary current events, let's just say, well, I haven't. But, the other day I was listening to NPR and heard there is a new poet laureate, Philip Levine. After a quick internet search, I discovered his poetry to be quite good, although a little dark. Maybe after I have sampled more than two or three, I will be able to give a better analysis. But for now, long live the poet laureate! I absolutely love poetry, and I write a bit of sappy poetry myself. Not anything worth the screen, but it is all about love, not fame or publication, anyway, isn't it? Some of my favorite poets that come to mind: e. e. cummings, Billy Collins, John Keats, Wallace Stevens, T. S. Eliot, and maybe Yeats.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

I'll admit it is past midnight and I really should be going to bed (early morning run tomorrow), but what are summers for if not to stay up all night? This summer has not been what I expected. Honestly, it has stretched me in ways I was not expecting and still don't understand. If summers aren't for midnight parties, they most definitely are for sports camps. Best thing I could have done with these three hottest months of the year.

I was amazed at how much I could love these girls each week. Aren't they the cutest?

I probably couldn't have made it through this week without these four beautiful lacrosse girls.

Let's just say...that day was an adventure. Go volleyball campers!

The most important thing I learned from all this: I am nothing without my Father in Heaven. I am so grateful He shared His love for these girls with me. and...there are a lot of AWESOME people out there. I just keep finding them.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

To tell you the truth, there are many good reasons to start a blog. and to tell you another truth, I started this one because I read someone else's blog that made a difference in my life. If you can't judge a book by it's cover, then you can't judge a girl by her blog. Although I can't say I haven't done it before. But this girl, made me want to be a better person, all from those words and pictures and thoughts typed on her blog. It made me want to get to know her better, and maybe when I do, I will tell you who it is. For now, all we can do is live in the sunshine, swim in the sea, and drink the wild air. It has gotten me this far.