Monday, January 23, 2012

Stretching

I like to jog, I like soccer, and I like (love) ultimate frisbee. Because I like those sports I've had to learn to stretch. If you don't, you deal with pain, soreness, and injuries. Some of you might not know that I recently had knee surgery where they had to put screws into my femur and drill into my tibia. It hurt(s).

To be mobile I have to work out some of the tension from the surgery and from the crutches I have to use. Stretching now is way harder than before; it hurts more. If I don't stretch, the tension in my body makes it hard to sleep and I wake up with a sore body and headaches. If I do stretch, that pain subsides in a moment and is replaced by greater wellness and calm. The pain can be intense for a second but if you push through there is greater peace than before.

(see, even lions get it)

I've been experiencing some things lately that have been very difficult for me. They go beyond a knee injury and they are specific to me. Through them I can grow and improve, but it doesn't stop me from being scared of them. It doesn't stop me from dreading those moments of stretching. They hurt. There are even days when it would just be so much easier to quit, stay in bed or emotionally check out for the day. I might even think I can avoid some of that pain, or at least postpone it. It isn't true. Those reactions only stunt my growth.

Though sometimes I need reminding, I believe in stretching. I believe it reduces tension, overall pain, soreness, and injuries while increasing our calm, relaxation, wellness, and chance for continued muscle growth. Spiritually, I believe it allows each and every one of us the opportunity to be shaped and molded into celestial beings who will recognize the great Redeemer when he comes. All we have to do is push through the discomfort, refusing to give up on, postpone, or sidestep our chance to become.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Believing

The other night I was studying my scriptures at the end of a very long day. It was late and I was tired. My brain wasn't working at peak efficiency. I'm a curious person and sometimes I try to explain the things I observe around me. This time, I didn't have answers to the questions my brain was asking. Doubts started to creep in.

I realized I couldn't explain some of the things I believe with my current understanding. In fact, there are lots of answers I don't have. In that moment I remember thinking to myself "I choose to believe. I don't know the answers, but I believe anyway." I'm not saying this because I'm a great example of faith, but because I learned something I want to share.

Faith is a choice. Is doesn't spring from knowing the answer, and it isn't something you can work through in your mind. True faith involves choosing to believe even when you don't have a good explanation. Maybe everybody else already knew that, but as I grow older it has become increasingly more important for me to be okay not having the answers.

When those moments of doubt or uncertainty creep in, I hope that you and I will always choose to believe and exercise faith. I know that Jesus Christ is our Savior and that the Atonement is real. That knowledge means everything to me. Merry Christmas, and I hope you feel the true spirit of the season.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Flattery will absolutely work

I've come to a critical realization in my life today: I am influenced by flattery. It wasn't a stunning revelation, I'd had my suspicions for months. However, today's evidence proves it conclusively.

I was sitting in my Evolutionary Biology class minding my own business when my professor started to talk about a super exciting topic: stick bugs. Don't judge me too hastily, they are cool. Since you aren't science geeks I'm not going to try and explain why. They just are. He asked the class a specific and difficult question about their development and I knew the answer. It was one of those moments where my brain was working at peak efficiency and I reached the answer before he even asked the question. Cue "Pomp and Circumstance"...

Time slowed down as my teacher said "Very good! In all my time teaching this class I've never had anyone answer that question as effectively and completely as you just did. So, good job." Applause broke out as I waved my hand and thanked my admirers...Okay, the teacher did say all that, but...maybe the music and the applause was only in my head. I left my class that day feeling like the nerd version of a million bucks. I had answered the teacher's "Expert" level question.

The teacher that mere moments before I'd been thinking was disorganized and repetitive was now on my Christmas list. How?! Flattery my friends. I'd actually been thinking about the review I was going to write for his class and the points I was going to give poor marks, and then he asked that question and I folded like a lawn chair.

On the plus side, now I know what to tell interviewers when they ask me what weaknesses I have. "I care to much" was becoming a bit unbelievable.

Monday, November 7, 2011

The Christmas Controversy

There is just something about Mormons, and possibly with people in general - maybe I've been in Utah too long - where they start playing Christmas music whenever they want to. Most of these free-thinkers start playing Christmas music November 1st. Since Lehi was right about opposition in all things, there's a counter-current that believes playing Christmas music before Thanksgiving is borderline sacrilege. As a free-thinker I chafe at categorization...but I listen to Christmas music whenever it tickles my fancy.

There are times in the middle of a beautiful summer where I pull out my Josh Groban Christmas CD and listen to a few of my favorites. Why? Because I can. There are also occasions when I think watching Elf and The Grinch are great activities regardless of the month. Similarly, I believe reading A Christmas Carol is suitably uplifting for any season. For the record, I'm sure Charles Dickens agrees with me.

So, to all those who vocally or silently groan when they hear me playing Josh Groban, Bing Crosby, or even John Denver and the Muppets Christmas albums: I don't actually care what you think. To all the free-thinkers out there who listen to Christmas music whenever they feel like it, I salute you.

So, whether you think it's too early or whether you are secretly listening to "Silver Bells" while you study, Happy Holidays!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Repent Ye, Repent Ye!

Today I was walking (crutch-ing) up to the library to do some homework. Just as I was about 12 feet away from the doors, two guys came out, opening both the double doors. I watched as both of them let the doors swing shut right in front of me. The girl who was walking behind me rushed ahead and opened the doors for me before I could do it myself.

I don't need people to hold the door open for me, but it's a kind gesture that saves me time and energy. Though I'm getting really good at being on crutches, doors are still challenging and I appreciate the help. Having said that, what the crap guys?! How were you so clueless that you didn't see the kid in the 26" brace who was right in front of you?! Hint: I was the one on crutches. It was disappointing because they were oblivious to everything but themselves.

We come home from missions, we go to Elders Quorum and Relief Society and we study our scriptures. We talk about virtues and ways to improve. But, we wake up in the morning, look at our "To Do" lists, and put on our blinders. If I pray morning and night for opportunities to lift others and serve then I should leave the blinders at home.

I wonder how many times I've prayed for opportunities to serve and then walked right past them because I was late to class/hungry/day-dreaming. No more blinders. No more letting the door slam in the face of people who need my help.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Bwahaha! I win.

I have been wearing a cast for the past three weeks. I'll just say that it has been a good experience, but it's been hard. Crutches stink, and not being able to use your leg also stinks. But yesterday I switched doctors and I'm getting the cast off tomorrow. Turns out it's good to get a second opinion.

I was just sitting here at my computer working away when I got a magical text message from the student health center. It said "reminder: You have an appointment with Dr. Schow tomorrow at 9:00 AM". I smiled really big, leaned back in my chair, and pressed repeat on La Vie en Rose by Louis Armstong.

Then, over gChat, I pretended to plan with my friend a day trip to Paris. Because when I'm pretending, I'm rich and have a private jet. And we eat at a little cafe where we can watch the sunset over Paris and listen to some uncharacteristically good musician on the street corner. And since we're pretending to be rich, we give that musician a really nice tip. But, we're only pretending.
You know what isn't pretending though? I'm getting this dumb cast off tomorrow. And that might as well be a Paris sunset as far as I'm concerned.

Monday, October 3, 2011

TMFW


Dear Future Wife,

Sometimes I get angry and send text messages, emails, or letters that I will regret moments after clicking send. They tell me that recognizing it is the first step. They haven't told me what the second step is though...

Your mission, should you choose to accept it: Proof-read my angry texts, emails, letters, and correspondences. In return, I'll run interference between you and the rest of the world when your hormones are going crazy. Deal?

Gratefully,

Your Future Husband