Friday, July 31, 2015

"Yer a wizard, Harry."

This is what happens when you give me Harry Potter glasses and a wand on Harry Potter's birthday:

I'm gonna take selfies. It's inevitable. It's like "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie." Except in this case, "If you give a Megan Harry Potter glasses, she's going to ask for an Ollivander's wand. If you give her a magic wand, she's going to want to take selfies with her new glasses and wand. If she takes pictures of herself with her new-found accessories, she's going to post them on her blog." And so on and so forth. 

But really. Love Harry. Love J.K. Rowling. Love the Harry Potter universe. 

#sorrynotsorry my Harry Potter obsession has only grown with age. 

. . . also, this is a wonderful motto for the weekend, if I do say so myself: 

Make cupcakes, not horcruxes. 

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

just some thoughts.

"There is always something left to love. [. . .] Child, when do you think is the time to love somebody the most? When they done good and made things easy for everybody? Well, then, you ain't through learning--because that ain't the time at all. It's when he's at his lowest and can't believe in hisself 'cause the world done whipped him so! When you starts measuring somebody, measure him right, child, measure him right. Make sure you done taken into account what hills and valleys he came through before he got to wherever he is." --A Raisin in the Sun 

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

I've been doing a lot of reading this summer.
Reading, writing, and thinking.
And although right now is not the time nor place to recap or analyze what all of this reading and writing,
pondering and thinking has done for me,
I think it is safe to say
that a lot of it has to do with love.
Real love.
The kind that heals and changes.
And I am learning
that just like a soft heart
can turn to stone
a stony heart
can become soft again.

Reality stings.
There's no doubt about that.
Life is hard.
It was meant to be.
However, even though life is hard and reality does sting,
I do hope that I never become
"so aware of 'reality' that I am unresponsive to the whisperings of heaven."

We have to want a softened heart.
But before that, we have to realize that we need it.
And then want it.
Because it's not easy to want it.
It is not easy for a stony heart
to become soft again.
It hurts.
It's painful.
Like that scene from Voyage of the Dawn Treader 
where Aslan peels off Eustace's dragon skin.
It hurts to become human again.
To allow yourself to feel again.
But those soft hearts
are much more prone
to "measure a person right"
and see things as they really are.

But it's hard
because so often we want to be right.
We want our opinions,
our comments,
our stereotypes,
our paradigms--
we want all of them to be right.
We want to be right.
The heroes.
The protagonists.
Or perhaps the victims.
Everyone else must be wrong.
Or at least not properly informed.

We are so resistant to change
when that change means changing ourselves.

But choosing to be an agent
free to act for herself
and realizing that I don't have all the answers--
nor am I right all the time--
is liberating.
Not that I am perfect at it.
And part of me knows that it will be something
I have to relearn again and again.
But I do believe this.
That being an agent to act
is so much better than being acted upon.

So yes.
This summer I have read.
And I have let it change me.
If just a little bit.
Because I am trying to apply.
It's always the application that is the trickiest.
"How is it done?"
And how do I get it from my head to my heart?
Measure him right, child. Measure him right. 

Account for the hills and valleys.
Including your own.
Because really.
We're all just children.
A long way from home.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Run like the wind

I've never considered myself a runner. I still think that "runner's high" is made up. But I guess that just because I haven't experienced it doesn't mean it doesn't exist.

Anyway. I'm not the world's biggest fan of running. 

But I don't absolutely hate it, either. 

Because there is something liberating and cleansing about running through the streets of your hometown or by the river. It is a wonderful thing to feel alive. 

There is also something so satisfying about running a race. And doing well in that race. 

Yesterday I ran the "Temple-to-Temple Run" in Provo. The course goes from the Provo Temple to the new Provo City Center Temple on Center Street. It's just a 5K. Nothing too strenuous. 

But I trained for it. And I performed well. I ran the race in 27:00 minutes flat--which I know is slow for some people, but for me it is a personal best. 

And I am proud of myself. :) 

 Exhausted but happy after the race. 

I was supposed to write down an ancestor's name, but I forgot. Oops. So I guess that it was dedicated to the memory of "blessed, honored pioneer."

I don't see myself training for a marathon anytime soon, but a 10K? Yeah, I could see that happening. I'll keep you posted. :)  

. . . also, why do I always look so young? Like, I know I should be happy that I look young. But I kinda look like I'm 14 in this picture. And the other day someone legitimately thought I was 18. Agghhhhh. 

Friday, July 24, 2015

In which Legacy is actually one of the best things that happened to my childhood. Or my missionary preparation days.

It's Pioneer Day.

Last year, I wrote a post about how Oregon Trail was the go-to game of my childhood. I don't think that I can really top my Oregon Trail post (which is one of my favorite posts I've ever written). So this post is an extension of that post, which just confirms that my childhood love for pioneers that has never gone entirely away. Because there is no way just one blog post can encapsulate all the joy and imagination that went on in my seven-year-old head when I pretended to be a pioneer.

So in the spirit of '47, this year I'm talking about Legacy. 

Legacy was one of my favorite movies growing up, rivaling Swan Princess and Anastasia. But Legacy was particularly special for three reasons:

1. It was about pioneers.

2. I only got to see it when we visited family in Utah and went to Temple Square (this was in the 90s before Legacy was available for home use and was only broadcast at the Joseph Smith Memorial Building--now you can watch it online). But the novelty of seeing it only in Salt Lake was all very exciting to a seven-year-old girl from Las Vegas.

3. Did I mention it's about pioneers?

Because it is. And I loved those stories about pioneers. Still do. I am unashamed about that. Even though there are parts of the movie that I watch now and am like, "What?" or, "They just glossed over that bit of history really fast." Oh well. You only have an hour, so you've got to do what you can.

For those unfamiliar with Legacy (and especially for those familiar with it), let me give you a taste of why I loved it so much:

1. First of all, let's look at these awesome panoramas:

[Home on the range. Simply stunning.] 

2. Also, I loved scenes like this where you can sense soul-illumination:

[ask and ye shall receive.]

 [by the power of the Holy Ghost, ye may know the truth of all things.]

3. Like I said earlier, there's only so much Church history you can pack into an hour-long movie that also has to include romance, drama, and intrigue, but scenes from the movie gave my parents opportunities to talk to me about Church history and what happened in Missouri and Nauvoo. Like the Haun's Mill Massacre and the malaria outbreak in Commerce, Illinois.

 [Governor Boggs's infamous Extermination Order which said that all Mormons were to be driven from the state of Missouri or killed. When I want to be someone particularly scary for Halloween, I dress up as Governor Boggs. Or General Clark. Also, as an aside--did you know that the Extermination Order wasn't officially struck from Missouri laws until 1976? Yeah, it was there for over one hundred years. Yikes.]

[Rough times in Missouri.]

[The malaria bout in Illinois.]

Another aside: I had a mission companion who loved watching Legacy on preparation days or after nightly planning (and I certainly didn't protest). There was a time when we were watching this scene and she grabbed my arm:
"Sestra. Sister."
"That is me (pointing at Eliza), and that is you (pointing at Joseph Smith)."
"It's that bad, huh?"

4. Okay, I have to be honest. One major reason I loved this film was because of the romance between Eliza and this 1840s British dreamboat:

[That guy on the left. In the brown suit and with the chiseled nose. David Walker.] 

David Walker is quite the man. Like, did the other guy even stand a chance?  

 [Now the Other Guy is on the left talking with Eliza's dad and David Walker is looking intently at Eliza, not even knowing that she's engaged to marry the other guy. But will that stop the charming David Walker? Nope.]

[The Showdown: David Walker vs. Other Guy.]

Remember the time he proposed to her on their first date? 

 ["I have little to offer but . . . these hands, my faith in the Lord, and a promise to cherish you with all my heart. And I will make you laugh." *Swoon*]

And then he gives some killer relationship advice: 
["Marriage is a grand reward for kindness."]


You don't marry someone just because he or she is nice to you. Like, it's important, but it's not THE reason why. 

 [But she's still not convinced, sooooooooo . . .]

[That should do it. Because love is also exciting, happy, and splendid.]

Of course she is going to pick the attractive Englishman. Did the other guy even have a chance? I mean, she calls the other guy "Brother Jacob" and he calls her "Sister Williams." They're not even on a first name basis and they probably haven't even kissed. So, um. No contest.

[Yup. Called it. Nauvoo's newest couple. Mawwage is what bwings us together today.]

Okay, sorry about my fan-girling. Moving on . . .

5. This movie is also wonderful because it shows some wonderful Mormon woman spunk (which, I assure you, was and is found in abundance). 

Like the time Eliza represented thousands of Mormon women who crossed the plains with children and while pregnant--and who refused to give up: 

 ["If you don't go, I will carry you on my back."] 

Yeah. Don't mess with determined Mormon women. Especially determined Mormon women who have been driven out of their homes four times.

Also, this scene where she prays and asks God to heal her ox is quite memorable.

[People, this is cool. It is based on a real experienced that happened to Mary Fielding Smith. You should read about it here, here, and here.]

[all is well.] 

I loved this pioneer story because even though the events are dramatized, they represent real events that happened and people who did live. Stories of my ancestors, even. I love their stories of faith, conviction, and determination. They are inspiring.

And I know that Legacy is melodramatic. Believe me, I know. This is not meant to prove that this is the BEST MOVIE OF ALL TIME.

Because it isn't.

But I think it is a touching tribute to those who gave so much.

And their stories inspire me to give more and to be more.

But if our lives are spared again 
To see the Saints their rest obtain 
Oh how we'll make this chorus swell: 
All is well! All is well! 

And all will be well.

Monday, July 20, 2015

The little things

-Costco Chocolate Cake is great for parties.

-The waiting game is hard. Especially in regards to visas and the like. Because you can't do anything except wait. And sitting still is not something I do very well. Grr.

-OneRepublic's "I Lived" is my new favorite summer jam. Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

-My hair is getting longer. But I could still pass as Anya from Anastasia. 

-Yep. Lovely, sassy, intelligent Anya. Love her.

-You know those times when you're growing your hair out and it gets to an awkward stage? Yeah. Don't like those stages very much. But luckily my hair just grew out of that stage. So I'm a fan of my hair again.

-Whenever Erika and I are in the car, "Mirrors" comes on. Without fail. It's our song now. Love it. And love that girl. Lovely, sassy, and intelligent Erika.

-Speaking of sass, I had a . . . well, let's just say I had an incredibly sassy moment today at a service activity which explains a lot about my current relationship status.

We were making crafts, blankets, and dolls for a local children's hospital. I decided to help tie a quilt because #1--it's not that hard, and #2--you should really keep me away from sewing machines. People were deciding different things to do, and this one guy walks up to the group tying the quilt and quips:
"Not to be sexist or anything, but I think I'll avoid this one because this is women's work. *pause* Just kidding!"

Me (after staring him down for awhile and trying to decide what tone I should use--I decide on a light-hearted tone): Haha, you know, prefacing a phrase with "not to be sexist or anything" still makes it sexist.

Guy: Well, it was just a joke. I didn't mean it.

Me: Honestly, if you don't want to tie the quilt, you can say that you just don't want to do it. :) (Because there is no way to account for tone in a blog post. I promise I said it with the tone of a smiley-face emoticon. I'm not that mean.)

Soon after that, the guy decided to leave.
Guy: Well, I'm heading off. I'm going to hang out with my girlfriend. 
Me: Oh, so your girlfriend is more important than service?
Guy: Well, isn't that the point of singles wards? To get married? So I'd say I'm doing pretty well and doing what I'm supposed to.
Me (rolling my eyes): Whatever.


I may have elaborated on this incident a little bit. (But only a little bit.) Honestly, it wasn't as bad as I'm making it sound. I promise. And sometimes sassiness is a good thing. Even in these scenarios. I mean, I became friends with one of my good guy friends after I called him out for his comments in a Russian literature class.

So sass can be good.



Oh well.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

the black river of loss whose other side is salvation

thoughts for the day: 

Look, the trees
are turning
their own bodies
into pillars

of light,
are giving off the rich fragrance of cinnamon
and fulfillment,

the long tapers
of cattails
are bursting and floating away over
the blue shoulders

of the ponds,
and every pond,
no matter what its
name is, is

nameless now.
Every year
I have ever learned

in my lifetime
leads back to this: the fires
and the black river of loss
whose other side

is salvation,
whose meaning
none of us will ever know.
To live in this world

you must be able
to do three things:
to love what is mortal;
to hold it

against your bones knowing
your own life depends on it;
and, when the time comes to let it
to let it go. 

     ---In Blackwater Woods, by Mary Oliver


song of the day:
i can let go now, nathan east, featuring sara bareilles 

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Out of the best books

I've been on a Mary Oliver kick recently.

So, for your Sunday refinement, here is a beautiful poem and a pretty picture:

Mysteries, Yes
by Mary Oliver

Truly, we live with mysteries too marvelous
to be understood.

How grass can be nourishing in the
mouths of the lambs.
How rivers and stones are forever
in allegiance with gravity
while we ourselves dream of rising.
How two hands touch and the bonds
will never be broken.
How people come, from delight or the
scars of damage,
to the comfort of a poem.

Let me keep my distance, always, from those
who think they have the answers.

Let me keep company always with those who say
"Look!" and laugh in astonishment,
and bow their heads.

Happy Sabbath.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

"you guys are matchy-matchy."

sometimes em comes over.
just to make brownie batter and talk.
of course.
we're always talking.
about those little things.
big things, too.
but mostly those little things that make up life.
the prosaic, you know.
maps. quotes from tolstoy professors. chocolate chips.
rain. literature. chekhov.
and we eat the brownie batter.
on the kitchen floor, of course.
behind the counter.
because where else would you eat it?
and where else can you hide from the kidlets
who end up finding you anyway
and so you share of course.
because brownie batter is meant to be shared.
a little bit, anyway.

did i mention that we were matching today?
yeah. totally planned it (not).
but there seems to be this eerie telepathic connection
a kind of mother-daughter thing
where we wear the same things.

 emmers, i like you.
and brownies and maps with you.

^^because haikus are my specialty. obviously.

some things are meant to be.

what will i do when we're in different time zones? 
[don't want to think about it. so i won't. living in denial is always a good thing, right?] 

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Bruno Mars meets Jack Kelly

So this just happened and it's one of the greatest mash-ups in the history of mash-ups:

I just want to watch it. Over and over and over again.

Two of my guilty pleasures in one.

Now just add Ben and Jerry's Half-Baked ice cream.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Park City

. . . I've been meaning to post these pictures for awhile.

But let's just say Park City is great.

And so is family.

So put them together?

The best stay-cation ever.

 [main street.]

 [on the corner of main and heber.]

 [can't beat a location like this.]

 [or views like these.]

 [i mean. amiright?]

[hills are alive, baby.]

 [i don't know what we're doing. but being cute is obvious.]

 [don't mess with us.]
[also. just look at my face and my brother's face. like. we could kill someone.]
[also. we look like twins. even if we are nine years apart.]

[feel the rhythm. feel the rhyme. get on up, it's bobsled time!]

 [there was no cake at the cake boutique. we are not amused.]

[just some professional graffiti on main street.]

 [russian art. i loved this piece.]

[it's like an ice cream truck. except with books. so obviously i was in heaven.]


 [typical #2.]

[i have cute siblings.]

[case in point.]