Thursday, December 31, 2009

Out with the old and all that...

As 2010 creeps up on me, I find myself reflecting on the past year. There have been ups and downs, triumphs and failures and frustrations. I have made some better habits, and tried to kick the bad ones. I've made new friends, treasured old ones, and made a life for myself away from my family.

I haven't been able to find work in the collective six months I've been at home. I'm currently living off my accident settlement. It makes the whole taxes thing a lot simpler, but it does nothing for my nerves.. (name the movie...).

I had a nasty little bipolar episode summer semester, but I managed to scrounge up a B average. Fall semester went much better- 3.94 GPA. Can I hear a 'hallelujah'?

I made friends at school- something that I treasure after the semester from hell fall of '08. Melinda and Jen and Sarah were there for me during some pretty ugly times. They all are married or getting married in the next few days. I wish them all the best. They are incredible women who are making three men very, very lucky.

I learned a lot of things at school. I learned that eating healthy is frustratingly expensive. I learned that I feel a lot better when I eat healthy. I learned to be kind to people who are rude to you. Often they have a reason to be, at least in their eyes.

I now have 2010 spread out before me- zooming toward me at lightspeed as the clock winds down. I have some great hopes for the coming year. It will be beautiful and crazy and scary and exciting and bewildering and so many other things.

It's the end of a decade- the end of my childhood, too. I turn 21 in April. I'm not quite ready to leave the nest just yet, but we'll see what this new year brings.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Silver Bells and Pumpkin Scented Candles

Fall is in the air- and maybe winter too. The trees have turned, the landscapers have dug up all the annuals, each morning brings a hard frost, and last night and all day today, it snowed. Having just finished up midterms for the most part, I am free to enjoy a highland desert fall. The weather went from eighty degrees to thirty in less than a week, and has sustained autumnal temperatures for nearly a month.

I love this time of year. The summer things are put away, not to emerge till late next spring. It's finally cold enough to enjoy a comfortable hoodie. Hot chocolate or spiced cider no longer elicits odd looks from the roommates, and now the fight over the state of the window begins with the roomie. I like the room to smell fresh. I don't mind a little chill to achieve this. There is a reason why I lugged my electric blanket six hundred miles, after all. She would rather have a warm room, and deal with the stale air. We'll see who is more stubborn.

I'm looking forward to pumpkin pie, daddy's greenbean casserole, and yams smothered in marshmallows and brown sugar. Unfortunately, we are not allowed candles in the dorms, so I'll have to wait to go home before I get to smell the pumpkin and spiced cider candles mom buys every fall. I can't wait for the first serious snowfall. I get to go home for Thanksgiving in three weeks, and I am raring to go. Don't get me wrong,, I love my roommates. But two engaged girls and one seriously involved relationship in the apartment is more than enough estrogen to send me packing.

Snow is in the air, I'm wrapped up snug in my bed, and I have six weeks of school left before my refreshing three month absence from this campus. Life could be better, but I'm not complaining.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Making the Rounds

My roommate is sick. That is the catalyst for this very random and rambling post.

Everyone is freaking out about swine flu. They're freaking out here too. I think it's kind of funny. Let me explain myself. My poor cousin has two beautiful little ones, and another on the way. They all have the swine flu. Cousin, hubby, kiddos. She called the doctor and was told to not even bring her little boy in, because they were so slammed.

There are a few cases on campus, but they're all being quarantined. My roommate has the flu, but no fever or anything,so we're pretty sure its just a nasty flu bug.

From the CDC:From April 15, 2009 to July 24, 2009, states reported a total of 43,771 confirmed and probable cases of novel influenza A (H1N1) infection. Of these cases reported, 5,011 people were hospitalized and 302 people died.

Although more children under 5 were hospitalized, people between 5 and 24 were the hardest hit.

There have been four major quakes on the Pacific Rim in the last week. Over two hundred people have been killed.

California has been on fire since March. We have been "fighting" a war for over eight years.

We have been lucky that there have been no major hurricanes this year.

Our Government is spending us into slavery to other nations. People are losing jobs right and left.

Even though everything seems to be going wrong, I am unafraid. Well, mostly.

Mormon 8:29-31 says:
Yea, and it shall come in a day there shall be heard of fires, and tempests, and vapors of smoke in foreign lands; And there shall also be heard of wars, rumors of wars, and earthquakes in divers places. Yea, it shall come in a day when there shall be great pollutions upon the face of the earth, there shall be murders, and robbing, and lying, and deceivings, and whoredoms, and all manner of abominations;whern there shall be many who will say, Do this, or do that, and it mattereth not, for the Lord will uphold such at the last day. But wo unto such, for they are in the gall of bitterness and in the bonds of iniquity.

But there is so much to be happy about. Missonaries are spreading the Good Word, temples are full to bursting and new ones are being built across the face of the Earth. Families are being sealed together. People are being found through the mists of time, and their work is being done. We do not lack for voices of warning and comfort in our day. We are in the final stretch. But it's ok, because we know that if we are obedient to God, and specifically our covenants, everything will come out alright.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

What It Taught Me

Today was the last day of Spring Semester 2009. It's sad and happy, anxious and boring. I've made a lot of memories this semester. It's been a ton of fun- hikes and parties and take out with the cousins. I've stressed and cried and been seriously ill. I've served and been served. I've stretched and grown in ways I never would have imagined four months ago. Being seriously ill without family close is a scary thing. But I made it through, and I learned that I can do anything, if I give my will over to the Savior.

I've made a lot of new friends. D'ya know what I mean when I say that sometimes you meet someone, and know you've known them forever? My friend Melinda is like that. We've only known each other for a little less than four months, but we communicate on a level that usually takes years to achieve. It's special.

I struggled through a math class. I conquered a little pride and went to the Math Lab, and requested a tutor. Danny was awesome- very patient, and explained things over and over, until I understood, then challenged me to prove it. He was a blessing to me.

I'm still very single. Not that I'd tell you any different unless it was very serious.

I've learned how to deal with some new personalities. It was a trial, let me tell you. I dealt with the in-your-face, loud personality, with the reserved, quiet passive-aggressive, the youngest child, and the emotionally nervous. I learned that I need a lot of peace and quiet, and I strongly dislike being suprised by physical touch. That could be a problem....

Because I was seriously ill for quite some time, I missed two and a half weeks of class. The result is that I'll be happy to scrape by with B's. I'm coming to terms with that. I'm learning to accept that my strength isn't as strong as it used to be.

I took a weight lifting class this semester. I lost a decent amount of weight and exchanged it for muscle. Not that you can tell. But I'm very proud of the fact that I leg-pressed 300 lbs for my final evaluation. That's 1.3 of me.

But most of all, I learned how very involved the Savior is in my life. That is an answer to prayer that has been a long time coming. He knows when I get up, He knows how I loathe my medication, He knows the struggle I have sustaining my attention. And He puts things in my way to hold me up, and keep my head above water. I am forever grateful for His sacrifice, that makes it possible for Him to succor me in such an intimate way.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Father's Day

Today is the day when we celebrate fatherhood, in all its various forms. I am blessed to come from a two-parent home, with parents that love each other. Let me tell you about my father.

Daddy was born the fifth of six children. He has three sisters and two brothers. Both his brothers and two of his sisters were quite a bit older than he was, and so he essentially grew up with just a little sister. Grandpa worked a lot, and I assume that keeping track of six rambunctious children kept Grandma on her toes.

Dad moved around a bit as a child, and finally moved to Moses lake when he was about 13. He joined the Navy at 17, and "celebrated" his 18th in boot camp. Daddy doesn't talk about the years between joining the Navy and getting ready for his mission.

He served a mission to the Brazilia Brazil mission in the late eighties, at the same time that mom was serving in Taiwan. He's always wanted to go back. When we go to SLC, sometimes we go to an authentic Brazilian restaurant called Rodizio's Grill. It's food to die for, and daddy says it is exactly what he ate on his mission.

Daddy got home Thanksgiving of '87, and, after writing mom all through his mission, was engaged before Christmas. Mama and Daddy were sealed on January 22, 1988.
Daddy enrolled in pharmacy school at WSU, and worked hard in his classes.

I showed up in April of '89, and Paul, Viki's husband, became Daddy. And he's never looked back.

When I sliced my head open when I was three, it was Daddy who saved me. When there was a Daddy-daughter date for Activity Days, Daddy was there. When he lost his mother, Daddy was there for me, even though he was grieving himself. It's been daddy who makes time to go to lunch with me while I'm home, giving up his hour of recharging in his frequent ten hour days. It's daddy who stays up late to help me understand a doctrinal or political question. It's daddy who bends over backwards to make sure I'm healthy and happy.

This is not to say that mama doesn't do these things too. It's just that lots of girls aren't that close to their dads- I'm learning that here at school. I'm lucky enough that my parents are my best friends. I laugh and plan and talk girl talk with mama. Mama gets me through the ups and downs of my challenges. But daddy is always in the background. He's always laying the groundwork for my success, and I want him to know that I've noticed.

Daddy works hard at everything he does. Whether it's beautifying our land or cooking a gourmet meal for a birthday, Daddy is there giving his all. Daddy sacrifices and scrimps and saves so that I can have a neat experience. Daddy is up at night, worrying about me, and comforting mama. Daddy is always one step ahead, trying his darndest to smooth the road for me.

I could go on and on and on about my daddy, but I think he's gonna be embarrassed enough as it is. Happy Father's Day, daddy. You're more than Father. You're Daddy.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

I know it's a week past Memorial Day, but I'm still catching my breath. Part of the problem may be that I went from Memorial Day to a dash through 3 days of classes, and then I was lucky enough to have my mom come up for Mother's Weekend. It's a ton of fun having her here, and I get to brag about her all day tomorrow.

I could spend a week posting about Memorial Day, so I'll just give you a picture fly by.

I went for a "hike" up in the Mesa Falls area. It was really only about three miles, but the majority of it was uphill, so it was quite enough for me. I'm not exactly a backpacker...

I went on a family history documentation trip- done in many parts- to verify vital information for several of my ancestors and relatives in my dad's maternal line. It was a very humbling, spiritual experience.

My dad lost one of his aunts. My parents were able to drive down for the funeral, and so did all my dad's siblings, except for one- and he had a very good excuse for not being able to make it.

I did a lot of other stuff, but those are the main highlights. I spent a lot of time with friends, and not so much time doing homework. But that's ok. I am making a point of living a little more in the moment this semester, and am teaching myself to be a little more laid back about my schoolwork. I'd spend more time on this, but I am going to go enjoy having my mother around.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

We Have Forgotten

This Memorial Day weekend has been incredible. I've been going nonstop all weekend, but I don't want to talk about that right now. Right now I want to say thanks. Thanks to over 1.5 million American soldiers who gave their lives for freedom in various conflicts.

They died in a Revolution brought on by much less than we quietly surrender to now; they died in a conflict with our southern neighbor; they died in a major conflict over state's rights; they died in jungles and prairies and forests and deserts. They died with rifles, muskets, and machine guns.

They died far from home, and one field over. They died unaware, in terror, and with the greatest love known to man. They died in field hospitals, on roads, and on fields of battle.

They left behind husbands, wives, children, parents, nieces, nephews, brothers and sisters. They died, abandoned by the cushy politicians. They died in the arms of their brothers. They died alone.

The common denominator is that they died for freedom, with love for their country and their fellow man. They died for strangers. They died for ideals and concrete issues. They died. And more died. And more died. And even more will die.

With all these sacrifices, with all these testaments in blood, we still have not decided that freedom is the most precious thing we have. We give it away, like a vendor sells hotdogs. A right here, a right there. One more tax, one more regulation.

One more Memorial Day spent playing, not remembering these heroes.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Remember those abject failures??

If you'll notice, up in that orange lettering I mention something about 'triumphant accomplishments and abject failures'. Today is an triumphant accomplishment day, following some serious abject failureness.

On Monday, I got a C on my Theories of Personality quiz. That sucked, but oh well, ya know? Life moves on.

Then on Thursday, I got my math quiz back. The one I spend five hours poring over. The one that kept me up half the night worrying about whether I gave correct answers.
In the trademark, expected fire engine red of a teacher's marking pen was my grade. 62. No positive encouragement, no percent dealiemabob, just that 62 staring me in the face. 62 is a heck of a lot closer to zero than I was hoping for. That's like D range. This brings my D range accomplishments up to four. If I get a nice round five accomplishments, I might just fritz out. Not joking.

But today a sweet friend who sits in front of me in Math 223 spent an hour of her Memorial Day Weekend doing service. She sat down and walked me through my errors, then explained what I should have done. I am so grateful. My teacher is merciful enough to let us correct our errors, then turn the whole thing back in for reassessment. It doesn't get rid of the scary grade, but if I'm lucky, I'll pull an 80 out of this mess. 80 I can handle. 80 says moderately competent. Not like 62. 62 says "I Have No Idea How To Run This Thing", in big caps, just like that.

So adding my abject failures and triumphant corrections, I'm averaging out to a positive expectation for the weekend.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Consider the Beauty

It's the middle of May. Springtime. Almost summertime. And it's an absolutely B E A Utiful day today in the Rockies. Blue skies, eighty degrees, light breeze. The flowers are coming up, the grass is green, and the fields are green. Thanks to the windstorm that has lasted for the last week, the air is fresh and light. The temple is shining on top of the Hill, and people are walking, driving, and moped-ing to church in their Sunday best.


I was up and about early today, because I had ward council at 7 AM. I was sure I would be falling asleep on my feet, not able to pay attention, and spend the morning wondering why I was obedient and went to council. I was surprised, however, to find that those early hours while the world is asleep are some of the most peaceful and fortifying I've come across. As I walked up the Hill, I breathed in the sweet, fresh morning air. I admired the dew on the plants as I crossed through the gardens, and listened to the tiny songbirds twittering in the foliage. It smelled like rain because of the sprinkler systems that were on. I had a peaceful walk up to the Ricks, and had a few minutes to rest before ward council began.

Then there was a theme all through the block of becoming more Christ-like and loving. The speakers in Sacrament spoke on the meaning of virtue, and of how Christ may have acted had he been a contemporary of ours. I went to Gospel Essentials to support some new members, and we talked about the nature of God, and how we first had to know Him, before we could really know ourselves. Relief Society was about the gifts of the Spirit, and left me with some food for thought.

I am thankful for the opportunity I had to get up this morning and see the world through new eyes. I have no doubt that there is a Supreme Creator, that He is intimately involved in my life. I hope that I will be able to see the world with such clarity every day. I want to see the Lord's hand more clearly in my life, and to be able to appreciate my blessings more clearly. These are the Latter Days, with all its majestic glory and terrifying pervertedness. I know I was saved for this point in time. My birth and life were not a mistake. Even the fact that I am attending a Disciple Preparation Center is a stitch in the fabric of my life. I am excited to see what the next few years bring- they are so pivotal in my life. The decisions I am making now will direct and shape the next sixty years. If that's not pressure, I don't know what is. But I am sure of one thing. The Lord is with me, so long as I walk in His way.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

For Her Price is Above Rubies

Today is Mother's Day. My mother has been a mother for 20 years. And today is the first time I haven't been there to celebrate it with her. It's strange. I don't think I've ever needed her more than I do at this stage in my life, and now we're apart. But I don't want to dwell on being apart; I want to share my mom with you.

Mother means so many things. These are some of the words and phrases I associate with "mother".

Love- Mom always has a hug and smile, a tub of icecream, or a shoulder to cry on, regardless of how her day has gone. She loves when it is wonderful, and she loves when it hurts. She teaches me everyday what Christ-like love is, with the way she treats everyone from the grocery bagger to her sister.

Patience- Heaven knows I've tried mom and dad's patience more than once, and in many ways. But they have a lot of patience. A lot. They waited for 18 months for me to pull my head out of the sand and put my brain back in my head. Mom waited for me to smile, to play the piano, to learn to express myself and cope with the situation. She waited for me to stop feeling sorry for myself. Dad was there too, and taught me to be strong.But mom was the one who came after me when I took off in a blind rage. She was the one who sat up with me late as I cried. She referred me to dad, and he helped me work out some very important issues within myself.

Forgiveness- Mom has a stubborn streak a country mile wide, but she also has a soft heart, when she allows herself to. Mama always forgives me when I say something incredibly hurtful and acidic. She forgives me when I don't keep my word. She forgives when someone hurts her. She forgives all the insensitive, inconsiderate, selfish, self serving things I do. She is incredible.

Humor- Mama always tries to laugh about life. Even when the situation is patently un-funny, she finds some piece of ridiculousness to laugh about, and to fend off the tears and anger. She has a dry, sarcastic sense of humor, and can be completely irreverent. I love it! Every time I talk to her, I find myself laughing so hard I get teary-eyed.

Courage- Mom is an incredibly strong person. Even with all the things she deals with, personally and in the family, she gets up in the morning, and moves on. She loves even knowing she'll probably get hurt. She gets up and faces another day of rollercoaster emotions, another day of frustration and fatigue. She gets up and loves us when we aren't exactly loveable.

Kindness- Everyone comes before herself, in Mom's mind. She always criticizes herself, and never allows herself feel that she has done enough. When she hears of a need in the ward, she is one of the first in line to help. When a family in our ward lost their mother, she was at the door with food. She took food and company when one of her good friends had a hysterectomy, even though she was insanely busy with the drama in her life. When the ward lost several members in a three week time span, she consecrated her time and effort to serve the bereaved families. She spent all day helping with the setup, service, and cleanup.

Tenacity- Once mom gets an idea in her head, it is virtually impossible to shift her, unless she realizes it was not the best idea by herself. She is impossible to manipulate. I'm not sure if that's a personality trait, or a skill taught by many years of motherhood.

History- Mama knows what color my hair was when I was little, what my temper tantrums looked and sounded like, how long it took my to learn my letters, and what I looked like asleep when I was little. She knows things about me that I don't know about myself.

Mom is so many things to so many people. She is my father's wife, my uncle's sister, my grandparent's daughter. She is a sunday school teacher to the youth, the organist to the ward, the stubborn landowner to the farmers. She is a comic, a shoulder to cry on, and advisor and chef. She has too many hats to count, but today the hat we celebrate is the one called "Mother".

I love you, mama. If I turn out to be half the woman you are, I'll be pretty proud of myself. Thanks for everything.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

It's a Wonderful Life

Verily, verily, I say unto you, ye are little children, and ye have not as yet understood how great blessiings the Father hath in his own hands and prepared for you; And ye cannot bear all things now; nevertheless, be of good cheer, for I will lead you along, The kingdom is yours and the blessings thereof are yours, and the riches of eternity are yours. And he who receiveth all things with thankfulness shall be made glorious; and the things of this earth shall be added unto him, even an hundred fold, yea, more.

- Doctrine and Covenants 78:17-19

For the last few days I've been thinking a lot about gratitude. It's been on my mind more often than not, and sadly, I have found myself sorely lacking in the aforementioned department. I have no rhyme or reason to why the subject has been on my mind, other than that the Lord knows I need to pay more attention to my very blessed, insulated, mostly peaceful world. These are in no particular order, but I feel the need to share some of the things I am blessed with. Call it a thank-i- mony.

I am thankful for warm blankets. Sleeping is just so much better when you are completely cozy and comfortable.

I am thankful for incredible roommates. Sometimes you just need a girlfriend to laugh with, grouse at, and have someone to screw your head back on straight when it comes off your shoulders and spews green vomit.

I am thankful for comfortable shoes. Living three quarters of a mile from campus when campus is all uphill from your current location can and does wreak havoc on the unprepared individual's feet.

I am thankful for medicine. It keeps me in more or less running condition, figuratively speaking, and is greatly to blame for my steadiness and lack of imagination.

I am thankful for cold, clean water after a long hike uphill. It's a great reward for my scramble at ten minutes to the hour when I should have left ten minutes before that.

I am thankful for spandex. My skirt flew up today. As in completely. As in completely mortifying.

I am thankful for those split seconds of inspiration and revelation that allow me to be successful and stay somewhat coherent during the week.

I am thankful for priesthood leaders who are gentle with me, and see my potential, even when I can't.

I am thankful for inspired professors, who both teach me in a gospel oriented way, and get me to think about worldly issues, especially as they pertain to myself, and a possible future career.

I am thankful for Aveeno stress relief lavendar lotion. It relaxes me like little else.

I am thankful for the blessing of a strong mind, and determination, even after I achieve a state of brain smashedness.

I am thankful for wise parents, who allow me to flounder occasionally where it's still shallow enough to touch the bottom.

I am thankful for being bullheaded. I probably wouldn't be where I am today without that little streak of personality.

I am thankful for men who honor their priesthood, and equally importantly, womanhood. They make me want to be a better person, and to live worthy of being a future mother to their children.

But most of all, I am thankful for a loving Elder Brother and Lord who picks up all the slack when I can't handle it anymore. I am thankful for the power of prayer, of the priesthood, and of blessings. I am thankful for the good fortune to have been born where, when and into the family that I have.

I am challenging myself to come up with two blessings every time I put something in my mouth. I'm hoping that I'll learn to think of my blessings more often than my challenges. That's the theory, anyway.

Oh, and I'm thankful for gum.

Saturday, May 2, 2009


Today I have done absolutely nothing. Zip. Zilch. Zero. Nada. Well, I showered and ate breakfast. But that's about it. And it has been wonderful.

Last week was the second week of classes, and things were, predictably, crazy. Professors changed their minds about syllabi, room mates made life-changing choices with all the emotion that goes with it, the weather raged and rumbled and soothed, and above all, I ran around like a headless specimen of poultry. Life moved so fast I couldn't keep my head on straight. I found myself praying for the physical strength to bear the walk up the hill one more time, for my mind to un-fry itself long enough to grasp one last concept, and for my attitude to rise above the petty grumbles and snarkiness I am prone to.

And then today came. I went to a late show last night with a roomie, and then fell into bed. And slept. And slept. And slept. I slept for close to twelve hours, got up for one, and fell back into the comforting world of down blankets and fluffy pillows. I woke up and my roomies made fun of me for sleeping like an overexhausted two year old. Which, for all intents and purposes, I was. But I have a point to this post.

I have found that I need seasons of rest. Life is exciting and breathtaking and invigorating. But sometimes I need a timeout. I need to rest and regroup, to center myself again in the quiet sluggishness of a rainy Saturday afternoon, and to pool my resources for another trying day. And I think that the Lord recognizes this in me. As I look back (not that I have that far to look back), I can see periods of frenzied activity, followed by quiet, peaceful, routine months. Maybe I need to learn to do that for myself- learn to be still. I can learn to balance the frenetic pace of my life with a quiet half hour in the morning for me and the Lord to talk; to pause as I scurry to class and admire the beautiful grounds; to really listen in devotional- not only to what the speaker has to say, but more importantly to what the Spirit would have me know. I need to slow down at the end of the day and truly thank my Father for His innumerable blessings and tender mercies. I need to savor my scriptures, not regard them as the last hurdle in a seemingly neverending day. I need to get on my knees and say prayers of simple gratitude, not asking for a single thing.

This is what I should do, and I know it. And I recognize that I need to do it. I'm trying my best to do as I should, and I hope the Lord knows that. But today, smelling the rain and listening to it fall, I'll just rest.

Friday, May 1, 2009

There Never Really is a Beginning, is There?

I did it. I started a blog. Not quite sure what will go on here, but here we are. Currently I'm laying on my bed, listening to the rowdy neighbors in the next complex, and enjoying the hamburger-and-hotdogs infused evening air. From my window I can see the corner of the Hart building, and have a direct view into the maw of the enormous pile of steel and concrete that is our auditorium, or will be in eighteen months. The guys in the next complex and several doors down are enthusiastically tossing anemic paper airplanes over the third story railing, cheered on by a swarm of giggly, sweatshirt clad college girls located on the ground, next to the dumpsters. I'll admit, it's a nice night. But are paper airplanes truly fascinating enough to constitute forty minutes of muffled clapping and pseudo-shrieks? You know, the kind that girls scream when they are trying to be cute but really aren't (insert your emotion).

Oh, I guess I should mention that my name is Josslin, and I'm starting my second semester at Brigham Young University- Idaho. Yes, believe it or not, I made it into college, and oddly enough, am surviving. We'll get into that soap opera at a later date (read:never.) Someone might want me to post a picture to put with the face, but let me lose a few more pounds on my all-uphill- 3/4 mile walks to class every day. Then I'll think about it. Contemplate it. Get pressured from various characters in my life. And be passive aggressive, refusing to post for several weeks. Or I might just post one tomorrow. Somebody knows, but it Isn't Me.