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.