As young adults, there is so much expected of us. There are days where you have to multi-task things that really shouldn't be done at the same time; Like filing your nails while driving. I'm a believer in enjoying everything you do and never doing anything simply because you think you "should." But this doesn't apply if you're a slacker. Being lazy is lame.

29 February 2008

ready...LEAP!

My mother approached me last night and we proceeded to have an insane exchange.

Mom: "Tomorrow is Sadie-Hawkins day. Who are you going to ask to marry you?"
Erin: "Ummmm, do you have someone in mind?"
Mom: "I don't know, I'll make a list"
Erin: "Who's on the list?"
Mom: "I dunno, who do you want to be on the top of the list?"
Erin: "*pause* Do you want me to get married tomorrow?"
Mom: "No, you just ask tomorrow."
Erin: "..."

Well, any takers? Just kidding. Sure, if the right man came along today, I'd grab him, kiss him, and ask him to marry me. It's about 1:30pm...the clock is ticking...

My future is planned, more or less, up to the summer. Things aren't turning out how I expected, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. There isn't any particular boy who is swaying me in any kind of direction, so I get to make these decisions for myself. As much as I like living at home, I'm feeling the urge even more to "leap." Somewhere. Anywhere. But where?

All I have to say is, have faith, and leap. If I land in a puddle, I'll just be wet for awhile.

Happy Leap Day.

28 February 2008

Tender

Each life is born with a whole, yet tender heart. Out hearts are inevitably broken throughout our lives, yet each time our hearts are broken they have a chance to be mended. Those angels willing to be our friends gently pick up the pieces, and put them back together as only a friend can. Those bonds make the heart a stronger one. When we try to mend our own hearts alone, we find the pieces broken easily. The strongest bond of all is the one our Father in Heaven will make, putting small pieces of His own heart to make us whole, and happy. A heart never broken is sealed, and will never learn to love, unable to let others in. Inevitable is the breaking.
Be careful when mending other’s hearts. Some have been broken into such small pieces that become easily lost. Use the help of the Father to locate and replace each tender piece. Take care not to break off even a single piece of another heart.
At times you yourself may not be able to aid in the mending. It require the Hand of the Master. No heart is lost, nor too deeply scarred that a loving Savior cannot make is whole. In the end, with a touch of the Lord’s hand, the Father will perfect that tender heart, if you let Him.

No Dark or Lonely Nights

Can you hear me calling out for you?
Can you hear the plea from my heart?
Oh, can you hear my soft surrendered prayer,
In my dark and lonely night?

Do you see that I am here before you?
Do you see my face moist with tears?
Oh, can you see my heart is no more whole,
In this dark and lonely night?

And when I call, I know there’s One who will hear.
And when I cry, I know there’s One who will see.
And when my hear is truly broken,
I know there’s One who will mend it once again.

He is there, just cry out and He will hear you.
He is there, just reach out and He will touch you.
Oh never, will He forsake you,
In your dark and lonely night.


(anyone want to compose music to put these words to?)

22 February 2008

New Flavor

Ice cream. Frozen treats. Creamy sugar goodness. Mix anything with it (within reason of course), and it will cure anything that ails you.

So, most people when going for a yummy treat, head to Baskin-Robbins, or a fast-food ice-cream cone. What I have to say to those, is MOVE ON! Onward and Upward I say.

First of my recommendations for those who would like to reach outside the box of normalcy, is a place called Spoon Me. 532 E 400 S. It's an environmental junkie type hang out, the cups being recycled and all that jazz. Atmosphere is light and almost bare. It was clean, though my particular server decided to indulge in some coconut and chocolate chip while we were deciding.

Your choice of base is from Natural, Acoi berry, or Green Tea soft serve. Add 3 toppings, your choice ranging from the regular banana, raspberry, blueberry, or be a bit more adventurous with Captain Crunch, Coco Pebbles, or pomegranate seeds. My only warning is to take your own spoon. Those offered have a rough feel on a tender tongue, changing the whole effect of creamy goodness.


Second on the list, but by far not any less than the first in priority would be Dolcetti Gelato. 1751 S 1100 E. Not quite like ice cream. Dense. Full of flavor in each bite. A small square, flat "spoon", if you can call such a tool by that name, is used. Though it requires you to take incredibly smaller bites in comparison, the experience is much more fulfilling.
Flavors offered are much more basic than those founds in places like 31. Pick your adventure with flavors like Pistachio, or Pink Lemonade. Chocolate Hazelnut (reminiscent of Nutella), Almond Joy, Chocolate Chip, Banana or Ginger. Of course they have Strawberry! They offer some non-cream based flavors as well.

Next date, or hang-out, or time to indulge, pick a new place. Salt Lake City has wonderful dining and places to play, if you know where to look. Just drive around. You'll be surprised at the experiences waiting if you venture a little from fast-food and chain restaurants. There is life beyond normal ice-cream, and what a wonderful one it truly is.

18 February 2008

Some funny faces

This weekend, the Institute Choirs performed in the Assembly Hall, presenting the Church Music Contest winners. It was a wonderful concert. Thanks to all the wonderful composers, but most personally, to the directors of the choirs. Especially Brother Decker. That man is amazing.

As is tradition, most choir people hang out after the concert. Chanel was kind enough to invite peoples to her apartment for a hang out. Dallin was the conductor of the activities for the evening, teaching us Dip Dip Dip, and personally coaching us on how to make an exquisite face for the camera. Sadly, I am prohibited to post his faces, but here are the results from other participants.









Brienne was unable to keep a straight face long enough...









Jake was too tired to do much but stand and grin into a corner...









I highly recommend the "Dip Dip Dip" game for a party hit. video
There is never a dull moment when you spend time with people who can sing. Here is the only legal picture I can post of Dallin, the party game mastermind. Though, it does take the rest of us to pull them off . You never know what will happen with Choir people in a small enclosed area. Unpredictable, but WONDERFUL!

12 February 2008

Analysis

What can be said about these men and women around the world who make such horrible choices to make them true menaces to society? Many theories arise, so let's start at some of the most obvious.

Parenting. Jeremy was raised in a single parent home, with no siblings. John's father drank and smoked. Maybe the other's families didn't pay enough attention to them.

Society. We are raised in a culture that almost demands instant gratification. Drugs are a quick fix to make you happy, to erase pain. Robbery is a fast way to get money, with little work involved. Violence and drugs are everywhere, in tv, movies, advertising, video games. Alcohol is acceptable for the majority of the population. It helps you "relax." We are also told we need to be strong on our own. We don't need any one else to help us. Find inner strength to get you anywhere.

Individual brain function. Maybe these are just dumb people who don't think like "normal" people. This is the most absurd of all. We are all born with the same potential.

The truth is, there is no one factor that sends a man (male or female) to prison. Choice. Hope. Love. In every man there is a gift called agency. No matter what your situation, no matter who you are, how you were raised, where you live, what family you were born into. People have a choice. Circumstance has much to do with choices, but in that circumstance, you have a choice of action. No one is forcing you to do wrong. We are all dealt a hand of cards in life, and some we are guaranteed to despise. We have a choice in what we do with that card. We can get mad, blame others, sulk, and sink into the bad situation. Or, we can take it as it is. Somethings we have absolutely no control over. That is what the Savior is for. He is there when we don't know what to do. He is there to succor us, to love us. What these men needed, but couldn't find was hope. They were driven to an alternative quick fix for pain, and drugs "act fast."

Each of them admitted they had no thoughts of other people at the time they got involved in drugs. Their actions were entirely selfish. So solution two, charity. Think of someone else.

Last two points: Patience and Trust. Trust in your Heavenly Father that He loves you and is forming your life to make you the most wonderful and perfect person you can be. Have patience to wait for answers. Endure pain, and let the hope of Christ fill you while you grieve, hurt, feel lonely or whatever you may feel. This is not something you can find once. You must find it again and again. Even when life is great and easy to be happy, you must continually prepare for the hard times that are guaranteed to come. Not a single day can be taken for granted.

The most wonderful thing is, the Savior and the Father constantly have their arms outstretched when we do wrong. They will always love us. Even those men who are in prison for taking another person's life. Should we not be working to become like Them? Practice Faith, Hope and Charity. Trust. Patience. Can you imagine the world we would live in if people strived to be this way?

11 February 2008

Prison

I will attempt to relate to you the experience I had this evening.

With my stake's Young Single Adult's, we went out to the state Prison. After getting off the freeway, we turned on to a dark road with no lights. Turning onto an adjoining road, there were massive potholes we crossed to enter the parking lot, which was well lit. We got out of the car and walked to the first gate. The fence was about 20 feet high, with 3 rows of huge coils of barbed wire extending the entire length of the fence, which stretched far, and around the corner of the building. I could see other sections of fenced areas, with the same barbed wire around them. We waited for the first gate to open, and after we all had entered through there we had to wait for the gate to close behind us. We waited for the second gate with the same tall fence around it to open, which we walked through before going through the doors, where a security guard took our driver's licenses to check. He stood behind a tall glass window, and just handed our license through a small hole. After clearing us a few at a time, he would unlock the second set of doors, and we were allowed in. There was a large lobby, with a few paintings on the white cinder block walls. The place we visited is called Con-Quest. There was another group, who went in before us. When it was our turn, they walked us into a chamber, sealed the heavy glass and steel doors behind, then opened the next door and let us through. There were lines on the floor. In front of a small window labeled "pills" there were lines that showed where you had to stand to receive your medication. We were led into a basketball gym. The walls were painted with "Dorm A" through "K", each with their own mascot. It felt more like a school than anything. We were seated with the other group in rows of plastic chairs. The chairs were made there at the prison, and as a video showed, so are license plates, the clothes they wear, and they bake a lot of their own food. Some inmates, those in category's 3, 4, and 5, are even out in public at times, cleaning roadsides, setting up benches at the state fair. Those in category 1, are those on death row. 2 is high security. They also categorize each inmate as a "Kappa", "Omega", or "Sigma." A kappa is a hard criminal, who is willing to fight. A sigma, the way the warden put it, is the 85 year old grandpa who molested his grandchild. One who would do anything to avoid a fight. Omega's are those who will go either way. If you push them, they will fight, but they can be docile as well. They never house a kappa and a sigma together, but omega's can be put with either. The rooms there are about 8 x 10 ft total, with two beds. Some inmates are let out for only an hour during the day. You are told every minute of the day, when you will eat, when you will exercise, when to work, when to play. The lights in your room are turned out by a person in the control tower every morning and every night.

After the warden spoke to us, 5 inmates walked in. Jeremy, John, Leslie, and two others who's names escape me. Jeremy and one other were incarcerated for DUI, one on alcohol, one on meth. They both had hit and killed a person, one a 15 year old boy on the sidewalk, the other hit oncoming traffic and killed a lady. Jeremy is 23. The others range from late 20's to early 40's. They had all been in for a few years, some with only a few months until parole, Jeremy is there until 2010 at least. John and Leslie are fathers. John was raised in the LDS church, even baptized at age 8. His father drinks and smokes, so not too long after the baptism, he had a drink as well, just sitting on the porch with his dad. Jeremy started with marijuana with his buddies when he was about 8 or 9. He grew up with his mom who worked 2 jobs to support them. Leslie was in the military until age 23, when his step-dad, 2 uncles and a grandma all died close together, some within a week of each other. He couldn't take the pain any longer. One who's name I don't remember, but is responsible for a life, was on meth. He described the effects as this: I started once, and 9 months later realized I had been high. He wasn't even aware of exactly what he was doing for 9 months.

Most started using drugs, or drinking alcohol around age 8 or 9.

These men appeared as I never would have expected. They all were drug users, and had committed crimes, enough to earn them a few years, yet their faces were soft. If you met one of them in a store, they would smile at you, and you would never know they had been addicted to drugs for most of their lives. The two that had taken lives had different looks though. Sober, still grieving. One spoke, and I think it goes for all, that they can't forgive themselves, until they can prove that they can live right on the outside. The warden pointed out that these men didn't come in that way. The rehabilitation there is intense, and it has a success rate of ~80 per 100. Daily they have group counseling, one on one counseling, they are taken care of medically. If they don't have a high school diploma, they have a chance to earn it there. They offer jobs at a rate of (it said in the old movie, it may be different now) 60 cents an hour.

Leslie, the military man, spoke of his children. An 18 year old boy who is angry and seems to be going down the same path as his father, and a 6 year old girl. This big black military man from the south was reduced to tears as he struggled to say he missed his children, and raising them.

At the end they all gave their words of advice. They say their families could hardly have done more for them. Except for a few things. Jeremy said three things. Communication, communication, communication. Watch out for your children, constantly. Don't give up on them.

The last of the tour was a walk around the horseshoe shaped hall of dormitories. These are much larger than the video said. There areabout 30 - 50 bed in each room. There are a few round metal tables, a TV, some weights in each room. We passed I think 5 separate rooms, each with a different mascot. I felt more like the fish in a tank walking through there. Most just ignored us, but some watched us walk past. Others did not seem as nice or gentle as the 5 we had met. My guess is they only let the best behaved men to do the Monday night visits.

I left feeling...slightly awestruck, surprised, contemplative, and shivering. The atmosphere there was positive, working for something better. As I sit here in a comfy chair (though the heat is off for the night) I realize my simple freedom of turning off my own light. I can eat when I want, wear what I want. I can walk out of a room if I get bored. These men have no such freedoms. So simple, yet we take for granted. What simple pleasure should you be more grateful for?

07 February 2008

Cause I can.

Why not a new blog? We'll make it in honor of the new February 2008. The only one that will ever be! Let's make the most of it! Last year's Valentine's Day brought complete and total surprises. I actually spent it with males! Imagine that. I went to KFC by myself, and was sitting in the parking lot eating my dinner, when I decided it was kinda lame for me to be all alone. A few days earlier, I had found a friend from Elementary School. He had sent me his number, and I decided to call it. The first conversation was "I'm doing homework." He called me back about 15 minutes later, and suggested we get some ice cream. I ran home, primped a little, and ran out the door. I stopped mid-stride to see a boy in a suit walking up the lawn. It was my good friend Josh, bringing me chocolates. I was shocked. To make the story short, I spend Valentine's night with two different boys. We'll see what happens this year.

I love my writing class. I mean, who wouldn't love to be told they are "exactly right" during a discussion, or get a paper with a "check +" (the highest out of "check-" "check""check+") and a "Great job!" written on it.

On Wednesday, I became an official member of Theta. I'm a Lambda Delta Sigma Theta girl!

I seem to have run out of shame. Several times in the past week I have been embarrassed, and apparently my face went bright red. Though my face would show otherwise, I really didn't feel much shame. I rather enjoyed the attention. Anything to get a laugh.


The end.
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