I want to be a missionary now…

I get asked all the time if and where I served an LDS mission. I never know how to answer. Usually I resopnd with “Actually, I never served a mission” but I always want to respond by saying “I’m currently serving a mission. Right now.” It doesn’t ever bother me but it does cause me to wonder–no matter how often I’m asked or how often I tell people why I didn’t serve–I still wonder how my life would be different if I went.
Sometimes I get funny responses. One guy responded “that’s okay– girls aren’t supposed to serve missions… it was only the best two years of my life.” What do I to say to that? Plus, how unfortunate for him that the best 2 years of his life have come and gone! The comments I enjoy the most are the well-intentioned but short-sighted gentlemen who vow to only marry a woman who has served a mission. I follow the logic but… if only they knew what they were missing.
I wonder this about many things I have yet to experience. Am I missing out? Usually I think – How can I do the most possible? And then get sad when I obviously can’t do everything. This often backfires in many ways but I still can’t shake the desire.
Some thoughts on the subject my brother shared with me have helped:
President Brigham Young said, “There is neither man or woman in this Church who is not on a mission. That mission will last as long as they live, and it is to do good, to promote righteousness, to teach the principles of truth, and to prevail upon themselves and everybody around them to live those principles that they may obtain eternal life.”

Neal A. Maxwell said, “One’s task is to do more and to perform well within his callings, but it is not something else or another work he should seek. God will not judge us according to the calling of another. Therefore, how we utilize the seemingly ordinary experiences of our life and how well we keep the commandments are true tests of our performance in this second estate. One can, while in the employ of a railroad company, learn something of patience while struggling to keep the train schedule meticulously up to date. But the patience will long outlast the printed train schedule… But it is also true…that a civil servant who has forgotten how to be civil may have some sway now in the procurement division of a vast governmental direction, but he is headed in just the opposite developmental direction needed for sway in the next world.

“On the other hand, one who listens more and more effectively to others with a genuine desire to understand and to help, if not always to agree, will have no regrets later on. Such an individual may occasionally run out of time here, but he is fitting himself for eternity. Love and patience are never wasted; they only appear to be. The devoted wife and mother who is a quiet but effective neighbor but whose obituary is noticed by a comparative few may well have laid up precious little here in the current coin-of-the-realm, recognition, yet rising with her in the resurrection will be relevant attributes and skills honed and refined in family and neighborhood life. Contrariwise, the civic leader whose thirst for recognition causes him to do things to be seen of men has his reward. He too will receive the gift of immortality during which expanse he can work on meekness and humility.”

This also can stem into a conversation about the pressures for men and women to build a career and a reputation rather than fine-tune divine attributes and qualities. Possible to do both? Yes, but only with a concerted effort.
Kind of random. But also connected in some way. I’d love your thoughts.
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Happy Birthday to my Sisters!

Two of the best friends a girl can ask for! Seriously. And I miss the days when we would have July Birthday parties (happy b-day to Mom and Boyd, as well) by the pool at Grandma’s complete with diving contests, sun-bathing, and bbq chicken. I miss you both and can’t wait to see you both in a few weeks.
Happy Birthday Afton and Jylare!

Everyone should have an art friend.

Melanie Dame (now Iverson) and I met over the study of greek and roman mythology. Professor Duckwitz, was it? I don’t know if it was daphne or zeus that sealed the deal – all I remember is talking after class in the classroom of the LRC and realizing we were both humanities majors. Melanie and I studied together through 3 or 4 different classes. We visited planetariums and asian restaurants – even became training partners for our first triathlon. I think it was Asian Humanities when Melanie met Paul. They got married and we still spent time together. We rode bikes in Spanish Fork, went Swimming in the Springville Pool and went running around the RB. Needless to say – I love this girl. We have had many a great conversation about gospel subjects, art, philosophy, dating, families, you name it. I loved hearing about Melanie’s mission stories (she served in Chile) and especially loved our discussion about the temple when I was trying to decide to go. Melanie is a great swimmer, loves to rock climb, and recorded her own CD once. Melanie is a mom now, living in Texas. She has one little girl – Hattie – and another on the way. I just found out about a few complications with the delivery, but of course, nothing phases Melanie — she seems perfectly confident everything will turn out fine. We all need a little more Melanie in our life.
Here are a few of my favorite Melanie qualities:
Great attitude, proactive, logical, consistent, thoughtful, active, motivated, methodical, fun, easy to please, great laugh, stimulating conversation, considerate, passionate, happy, and above all– kind.
love this girl.

my favorite diva: brookie cookie

Here she is in all her glory: Brooke Rieder. She’s got purple and pink tights, every type of black and white dress you can imagine, a can of hairspray in her purse, and all kinds of spunk. I love this girl. She’s taking a nap on a lawn in hyde park (top right) and chillin’ with FDR and Churchill (above left). Notice the sweatshirts and tennis shoes everyone else is wearing.
Brooke is all fun. She is happy and positive all the time and is the nicest person you know. She is fabulous with kids because she just gives and gives. She doesn’t care what people think about her and just does her own thing. Brooke is always up for ANYTHING – she will go anywhere or do anything and is just generally content. She really gets excited when talking about shopping or dance parties or chocolate. And I mean REALLY excited. I am so glad that I got to spend 3 straight weeks with this girl. She single handedly makes the MPA program a little more diverse. 
I’ll let the pictures/videos speak for themselves but I really do think that brooke rocks the house. But don’t just take my word for it – find out for yourself…

A tribute: Seth Melling

So, I’ve been wanting to do this for awhile but… well sometimes blogging just exhausts me. I think it’s one of those bad habits that you can’t seem to get rid of – you are addicted and just when you say you’re done, you think of something you want to post about. Why can’t I just be satisfied with my journal these days? There is just something about having an audience – no matter how small – that makes writing fun and worthwhile. 
Okay so I’m hoping this will be the first of many in a series I like to call “people who rock my world”. I might think of a new name later but for now – deal with it. 
Person #1: Seth Melling
Seth rocks my world for multiple reasons. First, he surprised me. I thought I know who he was and then… I really became friends with him. (Lesson #1 in why it is important to get to know people at a deeper level.)
Seth is such a people person – he loves involving people and talking with people. Sometimes I hate being social but I don’t think that has ever happened to Seth. He once took the initiative to find out what people are grateful for and then have the group guess who said what. Everyone loved it!
Seth is also a conversationalist. He asks some good questions and his answers are very methodical. After one conversation with him – you might be a little lost but after the second you’ll come to love his way of thinking. He is analytical and explains himself in a very articulate way. 
Seth is amazing with kids and so much fun. In Ghana he was ALWAYS in the middle of a large group of children. He did magic tricks, sang songs, and entertained them in a way none of the rest of us dared. It was awesome to watch. I think he should teach 3rd grade or run a day care. Or maybe just be a father. 
Seth has a great smile. Don’t you think? I never saw him smile more than I did in Ghana. 

The above pictures are Seth and I when we matched one day in the tanner building. Aren’t we a cute couple? (Don’t get any ideas though… I want him to marry a girl I will post about in a future tribute.) The second pic is in Ghana with kids surrounding him. 
Any one else want to say why Seth rocks their world?

{ the exercise ball }

I have a light blue exercise ball in my room, right next to a wooden coat rack, below my favorite wall hanging – a world map. Some would think I actually use this ball to exercise – if only that was the truth! This ball (which was given to my by my father for Christmas) has only 2 functional uses at the moment.

The first is around 7 or 8 in the morning. I usually am sitting at my desk contemplating the day ahead (e.g. doing last minute work) and my roommate Catherine comes in to sit (and bounce) on this light blue throne as we discuss the events of the previous day and the plans for the one at hand. With me in my swivel chair (which I {confession} selfishly stole from Cath’s room before she moved in…) and Cath, in her red and green striped pajamas, bouncing on my ball — it is in these moments that we discover great truths about our lives.

The second use of the ball comes about 16 or 17 hours later when; again, I am at my desk studying (how boring am I?) and my roommate Jana comes in to discuss her most recent date or law school experiences. Now, it is I in my pajamas (light blue polka dots with a 2006 Rex Lee Run shirt) and her looking classy/happy/earthy/lovely (those who know her, know there is no one word to describe Jana Barker.) She bounces as she speaks – so pure and genuine, almost falls over – and seems to discover something new with each bounce.

I have the world’s best roommates. Every conversation brings new meaning and gratitude into my life about the great friends I am privileged to know. During these early morning or late nights in my room, I often wonder – is it possible for them to know how much I depend on their daily bounces – how much I crave their presence? To this great conversation, what have I to contribute? What have I to offer to this great friendship?

For now, all I have is a light blue exercise ball.