Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Drive Home With Me

I've clocked out for my last time and I'm headed home for the day, want to join me? 
I'd love to share my favorite parts of this commute with you before I don't make it anymore. 

1st: As we sit here under the eagle gate, we better check to see if "extremely attractive young man" is  crossing the street. I'm not one to usually gawk at men, or care about their looks much, but there is this one young man who has crossed in front of my car on at least two occasions who just makes me so happy. I don't find "my type" very often, so when I do, it is exciting. I think he works downtown because he has a work badge and he's walking from downtown at just about closing time. I know it is unlikely I'll ever meet him, he might be married, he might be gay, or a real jerk, but no matter what, it is refreshing to know "this type" exists. Also, he's got great style! 

2nd: Next, we'll pass by the stunning Cathedral of the Madeline with it's Gothic gargoyles. If the bells are ringing, let's turn the radio off, roll the windows down, and drink in the Doppler effect. I wonder if people stop to listen to those bells often enough?

3rd: The Bride Shop window will be coming up on our right. There are three dressed mannequins in the window. These wedding dresses cycle every week, so it is customary to peak at the window and choose which of the three dresses is our favorite. I really like the neckline on the one on the left. 

4th: South Temple is one of my favorite streets for beautiful old houses. These are the magnificent mansions of the past with turrets, columns, big windows, and cornices. The Governor's mansion is only one of the lovely homes we'll pass. My personal favorite is the blue one with the big turret. It is currently up for sale, and I may have contemplated living there for a whole split second once.

5th: Here's the park. This park enjoys some of the most interesting patrons. My favorite are the quidditch players running around with sticks between their legs and aiming for three tall hoops. I've also seen some martial artists here as well. 

6th: This old cemetery happens to be the home of a giant herd of deer. Occasionally they will be grazing by the fence and we can catch a glimpse. I wonder if they know how to get out of there.

Thanks for joining me on my drive.
It's nice to have company. 

Friday, July 31, 2015

Dancing Extra Slow

Today, I feel like dancing extra, extra slow; closing my eyes and letting my soul take over. 
Drinking in the magic of two bodies becoming one body wrapped in the movement of music. 
I hear that Billie Holiday, sultry sound releasing my heart from its shuttered gables.
 I see temples mirroring hands clasped in purpose and connection. 
I feel lungs inhaling the essence of our being.  
But mostly, sense is lost because we are dancing extra, extra slow. 

Sunday, June 21, 2015

The Bouquet Chronicles

A few years ago I wrote a post titled "Weddings, Weddings, Weddings," which you can access  HERE. In this post, I quoted Jane Austen profusely and discussed the many weddings I attended along with the bouquets I did not catch.  
Although older, not much has changed...except one thing:

 Between the end of April and the end of June this year, I have attended the weddings of six of my closest friends.These women have each played a special part in my life, and have shaped me in distinct ways. Two I have known since Jr. High, three I have shared my college experience with, and one has danced her way into my heart and stolen my shoes. However, I haven't just attended these weddings, but I've also played the role of bridesmaid in half of them. This means, throwing showers, getting pedicures and manicures, buying gifts, being in photos, car decorating, taking care of logistics, fitting into bridesmaid outfits, cake eating, dancing, and finally, CATCHING THE BOUQUET!!!

I've been attempting to catch the bouquet for years. I've tried different angles. I've tried asking the bride to throw it right at me, and still it eluded me. You'd think my height would give me some advantage, but nope. I'd  been having about as much luck catching the bouquet as I have catching a man. Coincidence? Maybe, but I can't pass up a good analogy. Due to popular demand, here are the best tips I have for catching love from my many years of not catching the bouquet. 
  1. Keep yourself open and ready to catch whatever comes your way
  2. You must align yourself properly 
  3. Sometimes it is simply a matter of being in the right spot at the right time 
  4. If you really want it, be prepared to fight for it 
  5. It is not as fulfilling when you have to pick it up off the ground
  6. Sometimes both you and the bouquet take a beating before you come together
  7. It's OK to let a few slip into the hands of more willing and ready ladies
  8. Always be on the lookout for "sneak attacks" who come out of nowhere and steal your bouquet
  9.  Sometimes set-ups work, and sometimes they don't.  
  10. Despite failures, keep showing up with the hope that today you might catch the bouquet 
"Always a bridesmaid, never a bride" might be my motto this summer, but despite being completely single and having practically all of my best friends find their eternal companions, these weddings have left me feeling full instead of empty. As I watched these ladies run off with their other halves into the unknown of forever, I felt transported to the days of tutus and tea parties when I used to believe that good people always got their happy endings and true love was the most powerful magic of all. It felt good to be there again. I feel happy for these new husbands and wives, and hopeful for my own future fairy tale.

Sometimes finding love is like catching the bouquet at the wedding. It may take a lot of tries, and a lot of failures. It may fall into the hands of a girl who looks like she is no older than twelve, or even stolen out of your hands by a little boy who shouldn't even be in the game. You may run full speed only to fall flat on your face in the grass, but despite all the failed attempts, love is beautiful, healing, and worth every possible attempt to catch it.

And when you do finally catch it, don't be ashamed to let out a victorious roar!  

Yes, I finally caught the bouquet, but catching the bouquet is not the end of this story.  Undoubtedly, there will be more weddings, and I'll show up with arms extended to catch another opportunity at love. So, perhaps not much has changed after all, but before you point out my lack of Jane Austen quotes...

Monday, May 18, 2015


(I rediscovered this poem of mine penned in the back of one of my college notebooks Spring 2013)

My fingers feel new,
pale and pink like a baby freshly washed.
They ache as they uncurl
Released from the tension of holding on too tightly for too long. 

Spaces between my fingers expand to hollow imprints 
left behind from too much pressure.
Scars fade from bleeding red to hopeful white
blending into the milky paleness of my skin

Once locked, now free.
Free to reach and feel
Free to shake with uneasiness and vulnerability 
Free to work the ground and feather through the grassy blades
Free to write once more 

Thursday, May 14, 2015


I want to be your hiding place, your safe haven, your pillow of comfort. 
(Come to me)
Bring your streaking rain storms and sniffled thunder
for I've packed my puddle jumpers and warm hope  
 I'll wrap you in blankets of affection and pour you a cup of steaming love. 
Just come to me.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Be Ye Therefore Perfect

I am not perfect.
I have a weakness. 
It's not comparing myself to others.
It's comparing myself to...me.

Perfectionism is occasionally discussed in the Mormon culture with a focus on not comparing ourselves to others or assuming everyone has a perfect "Molly-Mormon" lifestyle that we somehow have to obtain. I've observed a room full of women commiserate with each other about the habit of comparing ourselves to other women and feeling unworthy when we don't measure up. Apparently this is a huge struggle, and I don't discount that, but that is not the struggle with which I grapple. Oh sure, I have my share of comparing myself, but it isn't often with other women, it is usually with myself, or more appropriately, my "perfect" self.  This is a different side of perfectionism, and I think it needs to be discussed. It takes a righteous desire to be good and turns it into an unrealistic expectation to be perfect NOW! 

I guess I'm what some people would call a "pleaser." I like to please people, I like to appease contention, I like to feel productive and fulfilled, I like to have purpose, and want so desperately to do the right thing all the time. Because of this, I am quick to say "I'm sorry" and can't last long when a relationship isn't in equilibrium. It gnaws at me telling me that something is wrong, that perhaps I did something wrong, and even if I didn't, I need to figure out how to make things right. 

But, what is right? What is wrong? And what is wrong with being wrong? Some people hold strongly to the belief that whatever we choose to be or do, is fine and perfectly human. We can't judge the man who continuously drinks his money away because there is something beautiful in his pain and desperation. It's the "whatever you choose to be is great, just be a good one!" mentality. As a humanist, I strive to see that beauty in imperfect humanness, but  I also feel strongly that there are in fact rights and wrongs as determined by God's laws. Sometimes this pull between my imperfect humanity, or natural man, and my desire to be like God causes cognitive dissonance and a distinctly uncomfortable imbalance.

Luckily, we are not left alone to constantly free-fall in areas of grey. We've been given the opportunity to receive personal revelation from God. We are told that if we ask, we shall receive, and are invited to "reason together, that [we] may understand" (D&C 50:10). We are also given the gift of the Holy Ghost to to testify unto us the things that are true and warn us when we give in to things that are not. Perhaps the most loving gift of all is Christ's atonement which allows us to make mistakes, be wrong, and still have the opportunity to wipe that all away. It is a freely given atoning love, and it can change our concept of perfection.

In Matthew 5:48, Christ says "Be ye, therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect." Even before I recognized the word perfect as meaning complete, this idea never bothered me because we have been taught to be like Christ and in doing so, develop to become as our Father in heaven is. But, I guess I didn't weigh in the difficulty of taking a mortal, human being, born with weakness and telling her to become like a perfect being, in order to become a god. Woah. Suddenly, I'm holding myself to an unrealistic expectation to be frankly "perfect."

May I introduce my idea of "perfect" Jenny? She is the epitome of balance. She spends just enough time with her family to feel that she is nourishing that most important relationship, while also serving and interacting with friends who buoy her up and make her happy. She is constantly seeking to better herself through learning and discovering new perspectives and insights. She isn't idle or lazy. When the spirit tells her to do something, she does it without hesitation or kick back. She is selfless and serving, but also takes care of herself. She knows who she is and where she's going, and knows God will help her get there. She is healthy in spirit and body, and helps others to be their best selves. She is beautiful without being vain, she is funny without being crude, she is gentle without being weak, and she is strong without being coarse. She is perfectly trying to be Christlike. Her path is straight and her promises are sure.

So that's who I am comparing myself to because that is who i'm trying to become, and the truth is, I'm falling short. It is exhausting keeping up with that! "The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak" (Matt 26:41).  The real trouble is I fight myself when my desires don't match what I think they should be, and beat myself up for being weak. Unknowingly, I've allowed Satan to sneak into my thoughts and discourage me. "You're better than this. Why don't you ever learn? It doesn't matter how righteous your desires are if you're not brave enough to make the hard decisions. Are you sure that's the right thing? I can't believe you're putting your selfish feelings above this. Is this the best choice, and if it isn't, why do you still want it? Time is ticking. Why is it taking you so long? You are not living to your full potential. You should do this, feel this, be this. etc."

 These feelings drown out peace, assurance, and joy. Men are that they might have Joy, not guilt trips! These feelings are full of fear, doubt, and discouragement. They are heavy. They leave me feeling physically and emotionally exhausted, but the difficult thing is that I'm not entirely sure how to take leave of them. 

It's a struggle. It's a weakness. But, what I'm coming to realize is that weakness does not equal failure, and being perfect does not mean I don't make mistakes. As Elder Gerrit W. Gong put it, "We can cease to be idle (See D&C 88:124) without running faster than we have strength (see Mosiah 4:27). We can be 'anxiously engaged in a good cause' (D&C 58:27) while also periodically pausing to 'be still, and know that I am God' (Psalm 46:10; see also D&C 101:16)."  I'm in the process of perfecting, and that is a process of trial and error. As a work in progress, I am enough. It is certainly not easy, but Christ's atoning love comforts me and enables me:

"Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest...For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light" (Matthew 11:28,30) 

In a way, I have to be imperfect in order to need a perfect savior. We all do. True perfection only comes through reliance on him, letting go of myself, and becoming weak. "I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them" (Ether 2:27) 

 Even as this imbalanced, imperfect, human, I am enough, and his grace is sufficient for me. "By his grace, [I] may be perfect in Christ" (Moroni 10). 

Friday, March 20, 2015

One Year Reviewed Musically: 2014

So I meant to post this back at the beginning of the year. It was a new idea for me to review my last year in terms of songs. I realize few, if any, of you will actually listen to all these songs, and even fewer will understand why I chose each one of them. However, I figure it is a good documentation for my future self to look back and listen to some of the feels I had in 2014. By clicking on the song titles, you will be linked to a youtube video playing that song. Enjoy!

January = ""Corner of the Sky"  by Pippin and "I'm Just a Bill" from Schoolhouse Rock
February = "Welcome to New York" by Taylor Swift 
March = "Mueva La Booty" by Raul Acosta y Oro Solido 
April = "Revolution" by Beatles
May = "Keep Your Head Up" by Andy Grammer" 
June = "Starts with Goodbye"  by Carrie Underwood 
July = "A Little Bit Stronger" by Sara Evans and "Amnesia" by 5 Seconds of Summer 
August = "I almost Do" by Taylor Swift 
September = "Sort of" by Ingrid Michaelson and "All Good things" by The Weepies 
October = "Shake It Out" by Florence + the Machine "Same Situation" by Joni Mitchell
November = "Tell Me" by He is We,  "Not Your Year" by Weepies
December =  "Are we There Yet?" by Ingrid Michaelson  and "Closer to Fine" by Indigo Girls 

Friday, February 13, 2015

Dear Future Boyfriend

Happy Valentines day! A song came on my ipod yesterday and it made me think of you, so this is me just dropping a note with a quick heads up. You probably don't even know me yet, but here are 20 things you might need to know up front:

1. I have Popsicle feet and cold hands. Yes, it will startle you often and I'm sorry about that. Please don't pull your hand away simply because mine happens to be frozen.
2. I apparently shed like a German shepherd, so prepare to find blonde hairs on your jacket, in your car, on your person... sorry.
3. I don't like Salt and Vinegar chips or Greek olives and I probably never will.
4. I don't understand the art of good condiments. I generally take my sandwiches dry, so if i'm making a sandwich for you, be patient with me when I skimp on the mayo.
5. If you spontaneously dance with me while we're cooking, or anywhere at all, I'll probably fall in love with you.
6. Sharing what I love is one way I say "I love you," so when I share a favorite movie or song, please don't ridicule it. I'm sharing a part of me with you.
7. I have a small mouth. Thus explaining my horror when the waitress at Red Robin brings out that huge burger. (How ever am I supposed to bite into that?)
8. Sacrificing my sleep is another way I say "I Love You."
9. I'm going to want a bite of your food, and I may just sneak a french fry or two.
10. I like to talk...a lot, but it'll feel useless if you don't talk back. I'm shooting for deep conversation, not introspective monologues.
11. Just fair warning, I really won't like it if you are playing on your phone during sacrament meeting. That kinda irks me.
12. I am the world's worst rock skipper; can you teach me? I also need tremendous help with my Frisbee skills and bubble gum blowing skills.
13. I'm a mouth breather, so I sleep with my lips slightly ajar. Also, since my nose isn't too helpful, if you kiss me too long, I may need to break for a breath.
14. I bruise like a peach and i'm probably not going paint-balling with you because of it.
15. Yes, everything can be made into a song, and any word can lead to song lyrics.
16. Honestly, I melt for love letters. If you write me a heart-felt letter for my birthday every year, I will be completely satisfied.
17. I love going on walks with you - anytime, anywhere, any season.
18. I'm a planner, so if you've made a plan and a back up plan for our special evening, I'm going to be super impressed.
19. If you can tell i'm getting frazzled, just pull me in for a hug and kiss me on the forehead. I'll be fine quickly with a good dose of affection.
20. I promise to be incredibly patient, but in return you need to be patient with my heart. I am thinking through everything and need time to do so. :)

Did I just scare you away now? I sure hope not because when I love, I love deep. I want to surprise you at work or school with a homemade lunch, and help you study for that horrible final. I want to write you a love letter and make you feel better. I want to take you to places you've never discovered and to thoughts you've never considered. So whenever you're ready, let me know! Otherwise, I'll find you later on. Happy Valentines day.

your future girlfriend

---- For more----
Meghan Trainor's "Dear Future Husband" - Click here
Amanda Torroni's poem - Click here
Joni Mitchell's "All I Want" Click here

Thursday, February 5, 2015


Sometimes there is nothing more satisfying than the sweet, tangy taste of an Orange.
 I once named oranges to be "ambrosia".
Although I don't love the orange dusting it leaves on my fingers, I will always adore the scent lingering on my skin. 

My grandpa used to love oranges. I remember him peeling an orange all in one peel. He would hold the spiraling rind up for me to admire before handing me a section of orange. I felt I had accomplished something magnificent the first time I successfully peeled an orange in one peel. I wish he could have seen it, maybe he did. 

When I think of Christmas, I often think of oranges. Our neighbor religiously gives us a giant  white box of oranges for Christmas each year. And for as long as I can remember, I have found an orange stuffed in the foot of my stocking Christmas morning. I asked my mother once why we always received an orange, to which she told me about her parents growing up during the depression. She told me that oranges were considered a great and expensive treat. I had never thought of oranges that way before.

As a child, I played a lot of soccer games. Half time seemed to always include orange slices. I remember putting the soft side of the slice in my mouth and sucking out all the juice. I would discard the rest and reach for another. My mother told me I was wasting the orange that way.  

Oranges are apparently the cure to all sickness. Whenever I felt a cold coming on, my mother would tell me to eat lots of oranges. I know it is because of the vitamin C, and to this day I grab an orange when my throat is feeling itchy. Whoever said "an apple a day keeps the doctor away" must have mixed up his fruits. 

Wintertime is orange time. It is the fruit I assume to be in season during the winter. Why is that? Do oranges grow well in the winter? All I know is that oranges and apples were my affordable produce purchases during those winter semesters. However, I remember a specific summer night watching the meteor shower out on the tramp. There were oranges and grapes, blankets and stars, and life was perfect for one evening. 

They are simple things, oranges. Rarely anyone's favorite fruit. They aren't even my favorite fruit, but they are a constant. They are reliable. Sometimes they are a pain to peel, they get stringy fibers all over, and sometimes they are sour, but I guess we are all like that sometimes. Perhaps if we are willing to dig deep, pull away at the strings, and endure the occasional sourpuss, people can be our ambrosia. 

Saturday, January 3, 2015

A Happy New Year

This time of year we often briskly wish people "Happy New Year" in parting without thinking what we are actually wishing them. It's simple, I guess. We wish them a brand new year with the hope that it will be happier than the last. 
2014 was quite the year for me. I moved across the country and back again, I learned more about politics than ever before, I gained new friends, reunited with old ones, traveled by bus, plane, train, boat, and automobile, visited at least 6 art museums, attended about 20 live theater performances, I discovered the reality of exhaustion and the will to continue, I lost hair and gained wrinkles, I was brave, I welcomed deep sadness into the depths of my heart, I was exhilarated, I went on more first dates than ever before, I made some big decisions, I started new jobs, I taught politics, piano, English, and theater, I relied on the strength of my family, I ran, I took three road trips, bought a new car, and finally, I looked at myself in the mirror and felt beautifully satisfied with my imperfections! 

Of course my year was so much more than that. It was the little things, the people who entered and exited my life, the lessons learned, the emotions felt and expressed, the struggles, the rejoicings, all of it! I realize that new years usually bring about resolutions, but this year I've decided to simply write out hopes I have for the upcoming year. Here are a few:
I hope...
I'm more patient with my heart this year
I stay fit and confident
I let go of the past in order to embrace the future
I celebrate the joy of others
I am close enough to the spirit to feel directed on my decisions about Graduate School
I  am brave enough to step out of my comfort zones
I'm bold with my feelings and careful with my words
I hope I allow myself the opportunity to be imperfect 
I laugh and cry so hard it hurts long after I'm finished
I fall in love again
I gain greater understanding of God's plan for me
I learn to trust that plan
I make a difference in someone else's life 
I can be a missionary
I will write, travel, sigh, and of course....
always stay hopeful 

So here's to a happy new year! May we be courageous enough to try something new in order to be happier. 

What are your new year resolutions, or hopes?

You may also like:
---- "Not your Year" by the Weepies
----- Alfred Lord Tennyson - "Hope Smiles from the threshold of the year to come..."