Friday, August 29, 2014

New Student Orientation

It's kind of neat seeing campus teeming with life again. Today, they are (for the most part) new students. Freshmen. With that terrified, "deer-in-the-headlights" look. Just hoping that they won't get lost and that someone will be their friend.

Those butterflies. I remember them all too well.

And now. Flash forward 5 years later. I'm on the other end. A senior. Getting ready to start my last year. The start of the end. It's so weird. But . . . it's good. Really good.

I'm glad to be on this end.

But I'm glad for the start, too.

And the journey. The growth. I am so glad that I never have to go through the experience of being a freshman again. Not because it was bad. Because that time of life is important. And I learned and grew from those experiences.

But just . . . I guess it's because it's like I'm one hundred feet from reaching the top of the mountain. The climb is almost over. And although the beginning of a climb is great because it's exciting to embark on a new adventure and it's fun to see the scenery, there are times on the trail when you wish you'd never started. And there are times when you look back and you are soooooo glad that you don't have to climb those rocks again.

I'm standing close to the summit now. But the beginning of the journey is crucial. The end--well, the end is rewarding. And just like I looked forward to the beginning, I'm looking forward to that accomplishment . . . and new beginnings, too.

nobody said it was easy, 
no one ever said it would be this hard. 
i'm goin' back to the start. 


Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Sufferin' Until Suffrage

Today is the 94th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment!

So, in honor of US women's right to vote, I'm including some of my favorite music videos about women's suffrage.

Like this one.

Dear, dear, Mrs. Banks. Well done, Sister Suffragette. [and yes. I KNOW that this song is about the suffrage movement in Britain, not America. But just deal with it. It's a great song. And it's about suffrage. And both American and British suffragists worked, campaigned, and went to jail to try to get the right to vote. So I feel like it's a solidarity in sisterhood kind of thing.]

Next up--another blast from the past. Enter the groovy and catchy tunes from Schoolhouse Rock. I mean, this is about as 1970s as you can get. Bell-bottoms and as many "right ons" and "yeahs" you'd ever want. And it's great.

Okay, last one. Just to let you know, it's a mixture of slightly disturbing and awesome. It's a spoof of Lady Gaga's "Bad Romance" music video (which I've actually never seen--but that's what people tell me), so there are some parts that are straight up weird. Nothing too weird--I think it's hilarious and does a good job of being pretty historical accurate (that is, for a Lady Gaga parody). But if you are looking for a historical, avant garde music video that depicts the American woman's fight for suffrage in the early part of the twentieth-century, this video is for you.

Now all of these songs will be stuck in your head. Simultaneously.

Monday, August 25, 2014

The heart of life.

It's the good things that fill you up, you know?

Freshly washed-and-dried hair.
Those last days of summer where everything you do seems to matter more than it did in the middle of June.
The nip of fall in the air.
Unexpected evening conversations--the kind where you talk about some unexamined facet of life or mystery of godliness for longer than you expected to.
Billy Joel.
Perfume that fits your personality (it's a thing).
Rice pudding.
Lightning over Timpanogos.

The finer things of life.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

i'm a lucky [woman] to count on both hands the ones i love

Tonight I reunited with these lovelies over frozen yogurt and good conversation (in both Russian and English):

Russian House, Spring of 2014. I'm sure glad that we all decided to room there at the same time. A spur-of-the-moment decision for me . . . and I am so grateful for that burst of spontaneity.

Because you just never know when you are going to meet four of the most wonderful women living in Provo, Utah.

I've been thinking lately how incredible it is that I have so many people to love in my life--and that there are so many people who love me. I can't put into words how wonderful that is to me. So. Thank you. Thank you all.

"Kindred spirits are not so scarce as I used to think. It's splendid to find out there are so many of them in the world." --Anne of Green Gables

Amen, Anne Shirley. Amen.

Monday, August 18, 2014

What I did last summer, part 2

I discovered this summer a few more reasons why I love to travel.
It helps me put things in perspective. 
It reminds me of those who love me. 
And of those I love. 
And it gives me more things and people to love. 
So, yes, travel. I think you can stay. 

Thank goodness for wonderful trips in the summer of 2014. 

ORCA grants are wonderful things. BYU will pay me money to go out to Boston and study the life and works of Lousia May Alcott? Don't mind if I do. 

 Guys, this is COOL. It is a book (Goethe's Wilhelm Meister's Apprenticeship) that Ralph Waldo Emerson gave to a young Louisa May Alcott and it was her favorite book. She wrote all over this copy and it was so neat to see her handwriting and read her comments. *NERD FREAKOUT*

 Harvard is pretty. 

 So is the Old North Bridge in Concord, MA. 

Oh, I'm already on the East Coast? Well, let's just swing down to DC. 

 The National Archives. 

 Oh, hello there. 


 Library of Congress.


By my great-grandfather's grave. 
Iwo Jima Memorial

 Utah marker at the WWII Memorial.

 View from the back of the Lincoln Memorial.

 Hello, Mr. Lincoln.

 Beautiful view of the Jefferson Memorial. With the Supermoon.

Of course, the best part of any trip are the people. Fortunately for me, I have a lot of amazing, beautiful people in my life who let me crash their apartments and eat their food. (Not the only reasons you are amazing, I promise, but it does add bonus points.) 

I've found my people and they can stay. 

What I did last summer, part 1

So. I realize that I have neglected documenting some pretty important parts of my summer, namely, a pretty cool internship and wonderful trips across the country to see sights, do research, and visit family and friends.

That needs to be fixed.

So, first things first.


I had the wonderful opportunity this summer to intern at the Church History Library in Salt Lake City. I traveled up to Salt Lake every week and lived every history student's dream--I worked in the archives. I got to handle 19th-century and 20th-century papers and artifacts AND IT WAS AWESOME.

My supervisor is currently working on a project about Mormon women discourses, which basically means that we collected talks given by Mormon women from the 1830s to now, and we put together a "best-of" book of some of the most inspiring talks from each decade. This book will be available to the general public and is meant to be used as a resource for people preparing talks for church meetings. My job was to research bio information for each of the women that we decided to include in the book.

So, I spent the summer researching the lives of lesser-known 20th-century Mormon women.

I know some people would think that is boring and useless.

I disagree.

If there is anything my internship taught me, it is that truly, we all have a story to tell. And the story of Mormon women is not a story to be swept under the rug. Mormon women truly are incredible and dynamic. These women's stories reminded me that Mormon women are not shrinking violets. It takes courage to rebuild a mission destroyed by WWII. It takes a different kind of bravery to close a mission because of war. It takes dedication and awareness to be involved in civic duties--from humanitarian aid to literacy committees. And it takes commitment to choose to live your faith.

Because when it comes down to it, faith is a choice.

And it is a conscious choice.

Faith is power.

And I believe that Mormon women are powerful because they are faithful.

"That I do not accept the faith that possessed them [the Mormon pioneers] does not mean I doubt their frequent devotion and heroism in its service. Especially their women. Their women were incredible." --Wallace Stegner, The Gathering of Zion. 

Minerva Teichart, Not Alone 

Anyway. I'm off my soapbox now. 

Basically, my internship was great. Mormon women are great. Church history is great. 

I think I'm going to eat some ice cream now. 

Sunday, August 17, 2014

This. Just this.

I cannot stop laughing. It gets me every time.

Just watch the video.

Eastern Europe. I love you.