Sunday, December 8, 2013

Dear Me

I like to write letters.
Sometimes I write letters that I never actually send.
I find it therapeutic and helpful in expressing and understanding my feelings.
Sometimes I write letters to myself.
Here's one I found today... dated April 18th 2013

Dear Jenny,

     Good job finishing another semester! Sure, that research paper probably needed one more look over, but maybe the score will pleasantly surprise you. You've got your first final tomorrow and I hope you do a fantastic job. But whatever scores you get, you've learned a whole lot more than that number represents.This was a crazy semester and I'm proud of you for making it. You did a lot of hard things, but both of us know you did not do them alone. I'm sorry to say that more hard things are bound to come. You've got a lot of big decisions still ahead of you, but don't be afraid.  You can make the right decision. You know how...Trust in that!
      It's ok to be scared and it's ok to feel lonely sometimes, but know that ultimately you are so very taken care of and surrounded by love. Love can still be magical and beautiful even if you are not dating anyone. And, speaking of that, remember that you are very young and still have lots of experiences coming ahead. Better things are on their way. Be an optimist and happiness will find you!

     I know you feel unsure about the future, but relish in the possibility of possibility. The world is your oyster...go get your pearl! Don't let anyone put you down or make you feel like you've sold out. You are an amazing woman. You are talented and so smart. You are capable of doing anything (well, maybe not computer programming---But, I bet you could learn!)

      Did you know that you are so lucky? How many people have had the education that you have? How many people have had the opportunity to travel like you have? How many people have enjoyed a family-love like the one your family has? You are going to do great and inspiring things. AIM BIG!!!! Don't forget your purpose and the way God sees you. Reread your patriarchal blessing if you need a reminder.

     You are beautiful. Even though you feel chubby and out of shape right now, you are beautiful. You'll wish you still had this body years from now. Someone will recognize your body for its beauty someday and he is worth waiting for! There will be more than one boy who will ever love you, and you are capable of falling in love again too. It will be beautiful and sparkling again. Just be patient and don't let yourself go while you wait.

    So here's to us - you and me. Good luck with finals! Just do your best and move forward. Get good sleep, eat a good breakfast, and breathe. You are almost there...did I mention that you get to sleep in your "big girl" bed for a straight five days next week? Heaven!!!! Now go get 'em done!

   I love you. I know your great potential and the depth of your heart. Let's stay best friends ok? Thanks.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

What can I give him?

"What can I give him?
Poor as I am.
If I were a Shepherd, I would bring a Lamb. 
If I were a Wise man, I would do my part.
Yet, what I can- I give him.
Give my heart" 

"In the Bleak Midwinter" is one of those Christmas carols that isn't played on the radio often, but I adore it. Even though it likely wasn't snowy or midwinter when Christ was actually born, I don't think that matters much. Even if the earth wasn't "hard as iron, water like a stone", I feel that sometimes our hearts are that way - frozen, hardened, cold, and with one good hit - shards of ice. But, when we give our heart away, or simply open it to let in the love from others...warmth engulfs us. 

Angels and arch angels may have gathered at Christ's birth. Kings in royal regalia and shepherds with wet earth on their shoes knelt before him. If I had been there, what would I have given the babe? Yes, my heart--with all its longing and love. But, what else? It's an interesting thought. I suppose I would give him a smile, a kiss, and a lullaby.

What will you bring the babe in the manger? Merry Christmas

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Change is Good

I've been waiting on a call about a job I interviewed for last week 
and that call finally came last night. 
"Embrace Change...Change is Good" 
Those are the words I wrote down from Stake Conference this past Sunday. 
So here's to embracing a big change.
Starting this January- I'll be writing my lovely blog posts from a new home with a new job.

Washington D.C. Bound! 

Monday, October 14, 2013

Swiss Roots

Do you believe in coincidences?
Someone once told me that coincidences are just God's way of going under cover....I don't know if I would go as far as to say that, but sometimes it is miraculous the ways things fall into place.

The main reason I wanted to go on this trip was to trace my Swiss roots. Since both of my grandmother's parents were from Switzerland, I believe part of my blood must be Swiss chocolate.

So there we were - driving in the pouring rain, holding an old photo of my Great-Great Grandfather's house and an outdated map with little red circles and no street names. We were bound and determined to find this house.
Up and down, back around, turning here, stopping there. We sifted every house on this one street in this tiny cow town at least twice. None of them matched the picture and I was beginning to lose hope...and patience.
"Can we please just stop and ask someone?" I plead. So we pulled over at a random business and went in hoping for some answers.
COINCIDENCE #1 - Not only did we find someone who speaks fluent English, but this little business also happens to be the real estate agency that tore down my Great-Great Grandfather's house in the late 90's. They looked up the information and pointed us to the place the house used to stand.

Even though the house was gone, I was pleased to know we hadn't been looking on the wrong street after all. With new hope, we headed to the next town and the next house hunt. We climbed the green hills and there it was. Perfect. I was so happy to find it still standing. We met the woman who lives in the house currently, took lots of pictures, and directed our paths toward the rock quarry my Great-Great Grandfather used to own.

I assume not many tourists drive their cars into rock quarries, because a car followed us in and certainly was curious as to our intentions. The lady asked if she could help us and we (with the aide of pictures and family trees) explained our purpose for being in the rock quarry.
COINCIDENCE #2 - This woman just so happens to have the same last name as my relatives and her husband is the current owner of this quarry. She invited us to her restaurant, where we swapped old photographs and attempted to piece together the possibility of our connection. We didn't ever pin it down because the language barrier provides some difficulty, but her husband's family happens to come from the same city that my Great-Great Grandfather's brother was from. Even if we are not related, what were the chances that another Bruderer would run into us in the quarry??

Reading my Great-Great Grandfather's autobiography and then seeing the places he described was something very special. I saw my Grandma's brothers in each of the Appenzeller men - the similarity in stance was undeniable. Perhaps heightened because I lost my grandma just last winter, but I felt my family with me in the most peaceful way there. They were proud of me (for what I am not really sure), but I felt of their happiness and love.

So even if Switzerland weren't one of the most beautiful places with the best chocolates and cheese, it would still be dear to my heart because it's part of my history.
My Great Grandparents

Friday, October 4, 2013

Love Locked

I'm back! Did you miss me? I've spent the last 18 days trotting around Austria and Switzerland with my mother and of course I could share endless stories, but I figure I just want to post a few of the moments that aren't caught in the pictures or the journal entries...the pure experiences.
So today we'll start with the love locks. I first noticed them in Salzburg on this pedestrian bridge. As soon as I saw the hundreds of locks on this bridge, I knew it had to be something important. Was it a traveling art piece? A temporary memorial? I didn't know, and I couldn't find any sign to explain it. As I continued through the city I occasionally saw signs in shops or booths offering a lock for sale. My German is so limited, but from the few words I knew, I could piece together that these were Locks of Love.

So here's the experience-I walked across the bridge and handled a few of the locks. I saw names, dates, hearts, etc. Most of the names were boy and girl pairings, but a few seemed like friends or even mother-daughters. My mother's friend commented about how crazy these locks were, but I was basking in their beauty. It struck me that each of these locks represented one single moment where someone (hopefully two people) felt loved. A frozen moment of being somebody cherished. So sappy me, almost started crying because a midst all the sadness, loneliness, hate, and prejudice in the world, here was the hopeful reminder that people are loved. Hundreds of people held a single moment of love on this bridge, and it doesn't even matter if most of these couples never ended up "working" because sometime in their life they felt loved...and that is beautiful.

The locks didn't leave me when I left Salzburg. I continued to find them on a bridge overlooking Neuschwanstein Castle and then a guard fence overlooking a waterfall in Lauterbrunnen. They were everywhere reminding me that love still exists. It even found me in the last five minutes of my film on the airplane. In the flick, it said something about how people will throw the keys to these locks into the river to keep their secret / lock their love forever.

So here's to those who have ever felt a moment of being loved. It is special and sparkling - something we should lock up into our hearts good and tight.

Stay tuned for more European experiences.

Friday, September 13, 2013

That is exactly how it feels!!

Apparently I have a thing for poets who write novels.
Perhaps one day I'll marry one, or better yet, become one. Anyway, my most recent pleasurable discovery came in the form of "Hannah Coulter" by Wendell Berry. I knew it was going to be good when I was reading it on the beach with tears coming to my eyes, warmth to my heart, and the frantic need for a pen! And in the margin I wrote -"That is exactly how it feels!"

I like to mark up my books - no I LOVE to mark up my books. It's the way I salute the author for their beauty and technique. But more importantly, it's the way I discover things I need.

 I needed this book. I needed Wendell Berry to put my feelings into words and also engage me in a good story. Besides the accomplishment of perfectly capturing a woman's mind in this faux autobiography, Berry also captured my own raw heart. Here's what I found:

1st. ME The perfect definition of my right now  = "I was a half lost, ignorant girl, trying to find my way into womanhood and a decent-paying job" and "Time doesn't stop. Your life doesn't stop and wait until you get ready to start living it"

2nd.  LOVE. I've been in love once. You can scoff all you want at that and claim I know nothing of true sacrificing love since I've never been married or given my "whole" self to someone, and perhaps this is true, but what I know of love so far is all I can go off of. When you are in love, it's as if there is no time and the clock on the dashboard is your worst enemy. I think I once described it as "the time when I feel like all those outside realities that clamp down on our being "us" don't really exist. It's a dream. It's another time and a different world where the possibility of us just being together actually exists and it feels good." But, Wendell Berry got it better. Here's his definition:
"The room of love is another world. You go there wearing no watch, watching no clock. It is the world without end, so small that two people can hold it in their arms, and yet it is bigger than worlds on worlds, for it contains the longing of all things to be together, and to be at rest together. You come together to the day's end, weary and sore, troubled and afraid. You take it all into your arms, it goes away, and there you are where giving and taking are the same, and you live a little while entirely in a gift" 
That is beautiful. I look forward to that room of love, but Berry writes that "you can't get there just by wanting to...the meeting is prepared in the long day, in the work of years, in the keeping of faith, in kindness"

3rd. Grief In many ways this goes along with the discoveries on love because "you can't give yourself over to love for somebody without giving yourself over to suffering" (Berry). Love requires vulnerability - the possibility to hurt and be hurt by the ones we most care about.  Sometimes break ups feel like new beginnings and sometimes they feel like deaths. When a part of you dies, or when that someone you loved has died (literally or metaphorically), you grieve. It's natural. It's the memories running through your brain as you fail to sleep, or the explosion that hits you in the morning when you realize -yes, this is still real. "But grief is not a force and has no power to hold. You only bear it. Love is what carries you, for it is always there, even in the dark, or most in the dark, but shining out at times like gold stitches in a piece of embroidery" (Berry). 
And here's the thing. Life always calls you back and we are loved all the way through. We don't quit living. We beat on. Life "calls [us] into work and pleasure, goodness and beauty, and the company of other loved ones" (Berry). Soon times passes and we heal. Little pleasures return from the most ordinary of things -green grass, crickets, clouds, laughter. Love carries us.

So there you go. My gushing about my most recent read. Hopefully I've intrigued you enough to want to pick this one up at the library, but if not---thanks for indulging me and my raw thoughts. I know I've been posting a lot recently, but now i'm heading out of the country and you can have a break until I return with more musings.

Monday, September 9, 2013

And My Heart Aches

Syria. There's been a lot of talk about it recently: A lot of questions and opinions stored away and sometimes too freely given. I first heard about Syria a little over a year ago from my sister Tammy (who is much more informed and involved than I am - honestly, she should be writing this post). Back then the people in Syria were dying, children were dying, and it was as if no one was listening. Sadly, things have only changed for the worse since then. In my mind, I keep hearing the song that John Adams sings in the musical 1776 - "Is anybody there? Does anybody care? Does anybody see what I see?"

Yes, we are here. Yes, we see what is going on. Yes, we care....but we are scared and we don't know what to do.

 I'm not saying this is an easy decision -cause it's not. In many ways, it is likely a lose-lose kind of battle. I'm not saying it's the United States job to go in and fix everything, but I am saying that the world should care. I believe in our unified humanity and is not the cause of humanity worth standing up together as a worldwide civilization and saying, "Hey, we won't stand for this"? And yet, it is so much trickier than that. I realize I don't know all the facts, nor all the consequences. I'm a humanities major who lived in the Provo bubble without news for way too long. I'm a "feeler" and thus my emotions probably too often sway my logic. But right now, I sense a lot of fear - fear about political sway, fear about unwanted outcomes, fear about stepping on others' toes, etc.  I don't want to go to war, but my heart aches for these people and their suffering.

Yet what can I do? My own country's hands are tied in trying to figure out what to do, so how can I expect to make any kind of a difference? Prayer -That's all I have. But what do you pray for when hundreds of innocent people are dying like this? Deliverance. Deliverance from suffering, pain, etc. What if death is the only deliverance happening? It's all so hard.

My sister says that sometimes all we can do is bear witness to one another's pain. The "I recognize that you are suffering and I am so so sorry." It's the tears shed for the pain of another. It's the comfort that someone out there does care. Is that enough? Perhaps not, but it's something.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

When I Grow Up

The elementary school library was empty except for a friendly mom and her camera set up in front of the green leather chair. The cool of the leather swallowed my awkwardly pubescent body and the combo of my red shirt and evergreen chair created the sensation of too much Christmas.

It was the end of 6th grade and I had a perm. We were filming for our graduation video and all I had to do was say my name and what I was going to be when I grew up. Simple enough. "My name is Jenny Thorup and when I grow up I'm going to be a Mom."

Apparently that wasn't the answer this PTA mom was looking for. I think she kindly said that it was great I wanted to be a mom, but proceeded to ask me what else I wanted to be. Like a job? Hmmmm... "My name is Jenny Thorup and when I grow up i'm going to be a Broadway singer." Great. That's a wrap.
Although I'm a 7th grader here, this is the same shirt and hair style I had in the 6th grade movie....
Fast forward exactly 10 years to another exciting graduation. Thank heavens I've finally grown into my body and left that perm behind. I suppose you could say i'm "all grown up" now. I've got a college degree on my wall, a savings account, and a retirement plan. But, if i'm all grown up...shouldn't I know what I want to be by now?

In my current phase of life, I get a lot of questions like "If you could do anything (for a career or job), what would you want to do?" or "What's your dream job, where do you want to end up?" or my all-time favorite, "well, what are you good at?" These questions are supposed to help me find direction, a career, a purpose after school, but somehow they often leave me feeling even more confused.
BYU Graduation
In some ways I think i'm still stuck in that awkward angsty 6th grade mindset. Can't it just be ok that maybe I want to end up at being a stay-at-home Mom making lunches, running errands, fueling dreams? Is that somehow a waste of my potential, my brain, my talents? Do I have to prove something by being a successful Broadway singer, a professor, a lawyer, a business woman, etc.?

Now you're probably pegging me as that "molly-mormon", brainwashed, BYU girl, who went to college for the sole purpose to meet a husband and ultimately fulfill her one goal of bearing children. WRONG! Despite how it may seem, that's not it at all. I went to college because I didn't want to be that person. I wanted to be the woman who was independent and fit to support herself if life needed her to. I wanted to be intellectual, accomplished, cultured, able to make some sort of difference in the world. I wasn't trying to get married necessarily, but trying to become the type of woman that the man of my dreams would want to promise eternity for. And although I really want to be a Mom, I didn't want to be an undergraduate mother. (I still don't see myself having children till the latter end of my twenties) I wanted to be knowledgeable enough to teach my children about the world and empowering enough to show my daughters how to reach for the stars! 

For some, their University years are about becoming what they wanted to be when they grew up - the doctor, the history teacher, etc. And that is awesome, but my education was more about becoming a better me. Becoming Who I want to be when I grow up, instead of What. Admittedly, I watch friends get married, go to grad school, pursue PHDs, accept salary-paying positions, and that little feeling of being left behind as if i'm not living up to my full potential creeps up and sits on my shoulders. But, I'm realizing those feelings are only poor comparisons and comparing never leaves anyone happy. I'm me and I'm great. In a lot of ways, I'm still growing up. But, when I do grow up I am going to be something / someone beautiful and sparkling like a word, or a curling wave, and one way or another I'm going to be in love - with my life, with my husband, with my kids, and perhaps even with a career.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Zen at the Zoo

So I live by a Zoo. 
Sadly, I've probably been to the Zoo more times as an adult than I did as a child, and perhaps I have my niece to thank for that. 
This is baby Zuri and her mom Christie. Zuri just celebrated her fourth birthday and is much bigger now (she and my niece are the same age, so they feel like kin). If the baby elephant wasn't cute enough, Zuri also lives with her grandmother (Dari) who is the oldest elephant in North America!
I like to watch these female elephants take care of each other in their matriarchy.
 Currently, my Dad is the only male in a house full of women - this might drive him nuts eventually.
With my mom, my two older sisters, my niece, and myself, we make up a fine little matriarchy raising a four-year old baby elephant! except she actually thinks she's a lion, but that's ok. 
We also have a baby giraffe at the zoo! She's so beautiful with her awkwardly skinny legs. I first met her when she was just a month or two old. I saw her learning how to run as she scampered off amongst the slow moving adults. I laughed seeing the adults tolerate her energy and wobbly legs learning new strides.
However, I think my all-time favorite are the seals. I could watch them forever floating on their back like a smooth torpedo through the cold water. They are so zen. Sometimes I imagine coming to the zoo when a day has been especially difficult and just watching the seals until I feel at peace again. I love to watch them transition from land to water. On the land they move slowly and awkwardly as they wiggle themselves one blubber piece at a time, but once they hit the water- they glide! They thrive in their element (their niche) and they seem blissful. 
Maybe we are all like that at times. We flounder around trying to be someone we're not, or in a situation we aren't used to, but once we hit the water (that thing that makes us feel most ourselves) we zoom, thrive, glide, and bathe in the glory of our niche. I guess i'm trying to find that right now- trying to reconnect with my niche. Wow! The things you discover about yourself at the Zoo.

Friday, July 26, 2013

An EFY experience

These last four weeks I have been working as a counselor with EFY (Especially for Youth). This program is a week long experience put on by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints to help youth (ages 14-18) come closer to Christ as well as have a whole lot of fun! 

Honestly, I came into this EFY experience having just graduated and feeling uncertain about my future decisions. EFY was my only stable certainty. But, now i'm leaving it a completely different woman. I feel changed. Although my actual situation hasn't changed much at all, I am filled with hope, trust, joy, love, and peace. 

It's hard to sum up four weeks like i've had, but i'm gonna try: 
4 weeks, 2 campuses, 1 broken shoe, 2 broken fans, 1 broken pair of sunglasses
46 beautiful young women I call my own
2 Counselor Polo shirts 
1 sun hat
10 Bloody Noses
6 Co-Counselors 
4 pizza nights, games nights, and talent shows
8 crazy dance fests
3 opportunities to sing
18+ firesides 
24 days of Cafeteria Food
5 Testimony Meetings
8 Classes attended
24 days waking up at 6 am or earlier 
2 Firework shows missed
2 Handkerchiefs well-used

I can't put a number to the amount of times I prayed, read my scriptures, bore my testimony, led a line of young boys escorting girls to and from the U of U institute, smiled, laughed, cried, and was way too sweaty. But, honestly the most amazing thing about EFY for me cannot be measured with numbers or events. 

Yes, the youth are amazing even amidst their lack of focus and occasional immaturity. They are strong girls and boys going through some very difficult trials with hope and a firmness of faith. 

I learned from them all the time, but I also learned with them. In each fireside, class, and activity, I became the participant. I became the youth this program is especially for. In my hoping to bring these kids closer to their savior and to a knowledge that their Heavenly Father loves them, I subsequently found myself applying the atonement in my life like never before. I lost myself these last 4 weeks. My fears and insecurities were gone and I was stripped down to my pure eternal essence. I received answers to prayers, my heart healed, I learned lessons, and I grew "firmer and firmer in the faith". 

It isn't a perfect program and I am not here to bear my testimony of EFY. However, I have seen what turning to Christ does for the youth as well as for myself these past four weeks. We change, we grow, we stretch, we enjoy, we discover,  and we become. 

Monday, June 17, 2013

Too School for Cool

 It's happening. I knew it would eventually happen, but now that I am here it just doesn't feel right. I've been a student for seventeen years.

 In all honesty, I don't remember much of those four-five years before I entered kindergarten, so school as really been all I've ever known in some ways. Sure, I'll admit that there have been those days where I whined about homework, tests, teachers, etc. but all in all I really always loved school.

Even now as I walk across campus for what might be my last time as a student, I love the feeling that I belong here. I love the backpack on my back, the books in my hand, sitting at the desk and unloading my water bottle, notebook, and pen automatically. I thrive on the "I'm-in-the-zone" writing phase where words seem to pour out into 5, 10, 15 page papers as time ticks by. The wonderful feeling when you press the "print" button and realize you just added something to the world.

Looking back on it, maybe I was a bit too school for cool. I was a student first and foremost. I didn't do many wild and crazy things like most college students. Perhaps I missed out...but I think if I had it all to do over again, I know I still would have given it my all. I'm here to learn after all, and I certainly learned a lot. In the classroom I learned how to think and analyze, I learned how to not be afraid of research papers, I learned about the world, I learned about the sky, I learned about the gospel, geology, politics, history, the scriptures, literature, art, music, photography, film, folk dance, tap dance, marriage, child development, mythology, and the list goes on and on.

But perhaps the better list is the list of what I learned outside of the classroom. To do it complete justice, I would have to blog about each bullet point separately and add many more bullet points, but here goes nothing;
  • I learned about friendships- the ones that stick together through all the hard times and make every day worth while.
  • I learned about families - the way they rally together to help one another and the way I've totally taken for granted the amazing family I have. 
  • I learned about myself- I came into my own- so to speak. I discovered my identity outside of "the singer," "the nice girl", or even "the student." I have passions, dreams, hopes, fears, and all of them create a special me. 
  • I learned the joy of Zumba dancing and cooking
  • I learned how to lip trill :) 
  • I learned that it is ok to be spontaneous every now and then. 
  • I learned that I'm stronger than I thought 
  • I learned the power of hope and faith in the midst of trials 
  • I learned that I can overcome fears 
  • I learned the joy of frozen grapes and British herbal teas
  • I learned that I can juggle work, school, friends, family, exercise, sleep, and do it gracefully!
The list goes on! It's sad that my career as a student may be coming to a close, but they say that Every New Beginning Comes from Some other Beginning's end. So here's to beginning something new. Something unknown and exciting. At least I can find comfort in the knowledge that I'm bound to continue learning and growing even outside the classroom. So here I am- Jennifer Thorup BYU Graduate! 

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Weddings, Weddings, Weddings...

"Human Nature is so well disposed toward those who are in interesting situations, that a young person, who either marries or dies, is sure of being kindly spoken of" - Jane Austen (Emma)

I have had the pleasure of reading an Austen novel a week for class this term. Interestingly enough, each novel has ended in about the same way my weeks have a marriage! Since the end of April, I have received, and covered my refrigerator with, 11 wedding invitations. Granted, I was not able to attend all 11 wedding receptions, but during May I averaged at least one a week. 

Despite being single, I actually love weddings. I remember once accompanying my mother to a wedding reception of someone I apparently met when I was three. I had no emotional connection to them at all, and yet as I stood there watching the father of the bride toast his beautiful daughter, I began crying. No--weeping. A lady next to me passed me a kleenex asking how I knew the bride (Surely assuming I was an intimate relation), but I didn't have the heart to explain that I didn't know her at all. 

Still, it's not just the beautiful observation of two people wholly in love. It is the total package: the food, the flowers, the dress, the music, the dancing. I love LOVE and a party completely in celebration of love is my idea of a great time. I like the little wedding traditions, but in all my wedding-going days I have never caught the bouquet.

Since I would be attending so many weddings this season, I decided to challenge myself to attempt to catch the bouquet at each wedding I attended. For the first few weddings, I played with the various positions of "in the front", "the middle", " the back", "the side", etc. in hopes of discovering the secret technique. I did this without positive result. 

One wedding I reached my arm in front of another girl with the knowledge that I could easily snatch it from her path if I wanted, but it was the bride's best friend and maid of honor! Isn't it more fitting for her to catch the bouquet than me? 

Bouquet after bouquet was tossed and each time I came back empty handed. Finally, at a dear friend's wedding I saw my chance: There I was, in the back with no one around me to compete against. What were these other girls thinking pushing to the front? The bride has always been athletic and she is going to have a great toss. I just knew that it was finally my turn. The bouquet left her hands and (as if in slow motion) made a perfect path toward me. I felt the flowers in my fingers and saw my long awaited victory, but before my fingers could wrap tightly around the bouquet, it was gone. 
Out of nowhere a young boy had darted toward me and snatched the bouquet out of my grasp taking off in a dead run into the gardens. (Did that seriously just happen?) 

Another bouquet was tossed as a "do-over", which of course went to a different girl and I stood there dumbfounded wondering how in a split second I had gone from feeling the flowers in my hands to watching it snatched away by a little boy running into the distance. 

Maybe it just isn't meant to be. I'm not going to be the next one married. Maybe it's because I am not aggressive enough, and perhaps that is the very reason I am not the one tossing the bouquet. Who knows. 

My dear friend Jane Austen has pointed out that "It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife." (Pride and Prejudice) And Yet, 'There certainly are not so many men of large fortune in the world, as there are pretty women to deserve them" (Mansfield Park). 

I have at least one more wedding left and one more chance at the bouquet, but if it's not my time that is alright. I'm enjoying the weddings and getting some great ideas for one of my own in some future date. Check out what i've gathered for my own perfect spring/summer wedding. Wish me luck on the bouquet toss!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

I Dwell in Possibility

-So Jenny, now that you are graduating college in two months, what are you going to do after that?
- Good Question. I don't really know. There are so many possibilities...

I suppose you could call this my most recent mantra. I can't claim credit for it though because it comes from this poem by Emily Dickinson

I dwell in Possibility-- 
A fairer House than Prose-- 
More numerous of Windows-- 
Superior--for Doors--

Of Chambers as the Cedars-- 
Impregnable of Eye-- 
And for an Everlasting Roof 
The Gambrels of the Sky--

Of Visitors--the fairest-- 
For Occupation--This-- 
The spreading wide my narrow Hands 
To gather Paradise--

If you were hoping I was going to enlighten you on what this poem means, I am sorry. I really have no clue despite my love of analyzing poems. Your guess is about as good as mine. However, I can tell you what it means for me. 

I really love the last three lines of the poem. Mostly because people keep asking me what job I want to do when I finally decide to grow up. "For My occupation--this!" This, the spreading wide of my narrow hands to gather paradise. This, the experiencing everything life has to offer. This, the discovery of my marrow of life...this, will be my occupation. If only right? Sadly, money and your place in society will always act as a sure reality check for us idealists. And yet...

I dwell in Possibility.
I dwell in the possibility that these next two months might be my last as a student
I dwell in the possibility of graduate school 
I dwell in the possibility of a real career with real responsibility
I dwell in the possibility of still being young 
I dwell in taking time to explore and discover
I dwell in the possibility of travel
I dwell in the possibility of new and scary
I dwell in the possibility of old and comfortable 
I dwell in the possibility that lightning could strike
I dwell in the possibility of being happy even if i'm just blown by the wind
I dwell in the possibility of endless possibilities. 

I realize that my unknown future might connote that I am unplanned and unprepared. This is not who I am, and I don't want to reflect that. You should see my planner -I plan out my days, my weeks, my months, but I never planned for this. I never prepared to be graduating from college, single, and with no carefully crafted plan made for my new life. And so I suppose I am unplanned, but I don't feel completely unprepared. I simply dwell in Possibility. 

Thursday, March 21, 2013

i carry your heart

Our Women's Chorus theme this semester is "i carry your heart" taken from the poem by e.e. Cummings which you can read by clicking here. For our upcoming concert, we gave this text to a composer to create a never before done piece for us. 
I had loved this poem before this semester, and waited in anticipation to sing such a beautiful love song. 
However, when my conductor started playing the first few chords of the piece- pink and fresh in our hands, I knew instantly that this avant-gaurde piece would not be the classic love poem I had remembered. 
It was heavy 
It was eerie 
but it was still somehow very beautiful.
In an instant, the poem changed. As I sang these dissonant chords and heard the heavy beating of the heart carried through the alto bar, I realized a new meaning of this poem. 
"i carry your heart with me (i carry it in my heart) i am never without it"
This line is haunting. It has ran through my mind each night before I go to sleep.
Carrying other people's hearts can be heavy at times. When someone you love is burdened down by illness, or temptation, or trial, we often want to take their hearts into our own. I have many hearts nestled in my own and I know how it feels to be "never without it." 
This carrying of one another's hearts and burdens is the true love poem. Christ said that we should "mourn with those that mourn and comfort those in need of comfort." By keeping others written on the fleshy tables of our hearts, I believe we do these things. And yet, it is heavy to carry another's heart at all times, especially if that heart is troubled with burdens. 
But- "Here is the deepest secret nobody knows (here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)"
"And even to your old age I am he; and even to the hoar hairs will i carry you: I have made, and I will bear; even I will carry, and will deliver you" (Isaiah 46:4).
He is the true "tree of life." He carries my heavy heart even when it holds the weight of the hearts of others. He makes my burdened heart light
In Mosiah 24: 15 it says 
"and now it came to pass that the burdens which were laid upon Alma and his brethren were made light; yea the Lord did strengthen them that they could bear up their burdens with ease"
He carries our hearts. 

Monday, February 11, 2013

Love Reunited: A Valentine's Day Post

Happy Valentines Day!!
I realize that it has been a while since I posted anything to my blog. I celebrated some wonderful birthday surprises, but also mourned to loss of my dear sweet Grandmother who passed away unexpectedly in January. I feel so blessed to have been able to spend so much of my life with my grandparents. I will always remember my sweet Grandma Glad's big smile and soft hands clasped in mine. 
I will certainly miss her, but I know she is reunited with her husband and that is worth celebrating! Valentine's day post is for the joy of love reunited and a special focus on my sweet Grandma and Grandpa Wise. 

When a love goes away (whether for a mission, just a break in the relationship, school, a job, war, or death) it feels as if a part of our own heart is missing. The poet John Donne wrote of the parting of love:
" But we by a love so much refined, that ourselves know not what it is, Inter-assured of the mind,
Care less, eyes, lips and hands to miss.
Our two souls therefore, which are one,
though i must go, endure not yet a breach,
but an expansion,
Like gold to aery thinness beat."

Love is the most powerful magic in the world. It makes us happy, dizzy, warm, secure, giddy, hopeful, and sparkling! 

On the back of this photograph, my Grandma wrote "Rolly, the Love of my life" and dated it years before they ever got married. I love his joyful laughter and her teasing wind up to lovingly tap him on the shoulder undoubtedly for some teasing. 

Right after my grandparents were married, my grandpa was called off to war. World War II took many young men away from their sweet loves. 

My grandparents exchanged hundreds of letters. I remember once talking with my grandma about this special time. I was writing a missionary at the time and I loved hearing her stories of letters and love and the fear that her one and only may never return. I can only imagine the joy they both felt when they were reunited again. I imagine a long lingering hug. On leave, my grandpa came home to meet his new daughter.
After my Grandpa died, my Grandma missed him very much. She didn't know how to go on after loving someone so deeply for so long. I know that was difficult for her even though she was always surrounded by loving children and grandchildren. I know they are reunited now and happy to know they will never have to part again. What a thought! Here's to love that never ends and never dies. If it is parted, it is only for a brief moment. 
No matter how far apart we may temporarily be, 
"I carry your heart with me ( i carry it in my heart) i am never without it (anywhere i go you go, my dear; and whatever is done by only me is your doing, my darling)"

Till we are reunited Grandma and Grandpa, Happy Valentines!!! 

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Ring in the New

It has been a wonderful Christmas break with my family and friends. I couldn't ask for a better break from school and work. In fact, I kind of don't want to go back next week.
I know I can't include everything I've done over the past few weeks, but I'll just show some highlights!
Christmas Choral Concerts

Singing in a choir at Christmas time is one of my favorite ways to celebrate the season.

I decided to try something bold this Christmas break. I've got a brand new life ahead of me this year as I graduate, so I thought I'd kick off the new year with a new look. 
Family Parties
The best part of Christmas time is being together with family. A Christmas party is never complete without a good Nativity reenactment and singing!


My Mother always says that Christmas is for Children. I couldn't ask for any better kids to spend Christmas with...we'll be welcoming two more this year :)
Lights, Sweaters, Santa, and Food

Alex's Birthday, Movies, Games, and New Year

 I saw a lot of good movies both at home and in theaters this break. "Les Miserables," "The Hobbit," etc. were all fabulous! New Years always includes lots of games, but this year I also got to go to a dance at the U of U Institue. I'm not much for raucous partying, but dancing is one of my favorite things.

Happy 6th Birthday Alex!
Ring in 2013!
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all! I hope your holiday season was as wonderful as mine. I'm sure you'll be seeing a new year's resolution post from me soon...if  I can get my act together enough to make some resolutions... :)