Monday, January 29, 2018

followers of my faith [Mormon Monday 100]

When President Nelson introduced his new First Presidency and addressed the members of the Church, his advice was: "Keep on the covenant path." I believe that temple covenants are important and powerful, and that all members should probably be working toward the temple and keep the covenants they make there (and I do my best).

But what's been on my mind lately is my baptismal covenant. How do I use my baptismal covenants to help me stay on the covenant path? Two scriptures about the baptismal covenant come to mind.

First, the sacrament prayer in D&C 20:77:

O God, the Eternal Father, we ask thee in the name of thy Son, Jesus Christ, to bless and sanctify this bread to the souls of all those who partake of it, that they may eat in remembrance of the body of thy Son, and witness unto thee, O God, the Eternal Father, that they are willing to take upon them the name of thy Son, and always remember him and keep his commandments which he has given them; that they may always have his Spirit to be with them. Amen.

This prayer reminds us of the baptismal covenant, to take upon us the name of Christ and always remember Him and keep His commandments. In return we receive the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost.

We had a fireside Sunday night that discussed how we should always remember Him, because that helps us have the right mindset in our lives. We were to picture a lonely, inadequate moment and then walking into our room to pour out heart in prayer and the Savior's there. How does He greet you? How do you feel when His arms are around you? If you can hold on to that feeling, you're remembering Him, and the Spirit is there. Certainly an interesting exercise and one worth experimenting on!

And then Mosiah 18:9:

Yea, and are willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places that ye may be in, even until death, that ye may be redeemed of God, and be numbered with those of the first resurrection, that ye may have eternal life—

This scripture, in my mind, slightly illustrates one thing it means to take Christ's name upon us: to mourn with those that are mourning, comfort those who need comfort. And we should also stand as witnesses of God.

Boy do I struggle with both of those. I never open my mouth to speak words of witness or words of comfort. So that's kind of what I'd like to work on when I think of keeping on the covenant path.

Especially empathy. Stop trying to solve problems for a second and just listen! Just feel their pain with them. That's what's important right now.

We'll see how it goes. I always have grand ideas and zero follow-through. But I'll get better someday.

(PS: wow, 100 of these MM posts. My last one was in May, and before that December 2016, so I guess it's semi-annual instead of weekly now. Thanks for coming along!)

Monday, January 1, 2018

trace all my books [2017 pt. 2]

Hello and Happy New Year!

In the second half of this year I checked out 40 books from the library (some I had read before, some I had not). From those, I selected my Top 15 and made a video about them. Here it is. Angle's a little weird but since when has that ever stopped us? (Also my mom called when I was almost done with the video, so that's why it has that weird jump cut)

I didn't actually do a great job saying what these books were about in the video (I was rushing so it wasn't another boring 15 minute video like the one in July), so good thing blog posts also exist.

So this one, something horrible happens to this girl and she wonders if she'd made a different choice...or, rather, if the villain could've been persuaded to make a different choice, if things would be fixed. And she's heard of this Library where you can change the past...

Elliot Schafer can apparently see the Wall, which protects our world from the Borderlands or the...Otherlands? Anyway he decides there's no harm in joining the training camp, because it's not like there's anything worth sticking around for in the regular world. Of course he's a terrible person, (AND a pacifist in a war culture) so finding friends is difficult. He'll manage anyway, it just might take 4 years.

The main girl is for sure magical. But that's a big no-no when she's a hostage in the enemy kingdom. But then she gets framed for regicide and has to escape to her home country and everybody's counting on her to wake the land or something. 

The girl. Whose name i don't remember. Knows she's an amazing navigator and is kinda sad that the Royal Explorer is probably going to take her sister on a dangerous expedition. How can she prove herself?

The girl is an amazing painter. Faeries love to get their portraits done by her. She knows how tricky they are, though, so she tries not to accept their gifts. And then the Autumn King comes to get his portrait done and she way messes up by painting him with a human emotion in his eyes and now his rule is in question.

Bonus because I checked it out again.

Ben, Trix, Hero, Prince, Maggie, and Leo are just trying their best in this Prohibition-era world! (a Much Ado About Nothing retelling)

One thing everyone wants is a miracle. One thing everyone fears is what it takes to get one.
Saints are the best at getting miracles for people, but not everybody can get over their darkness revealed.
Set in like 1950s Southwest Colorado.
Plus some other books that I didn't get pictures of...but the only really important one is What Goes Up by Katie Kennedy, because that's the one I read twice in a row. The guy shows up late to his first day of Space Camp where they're going to choose interns, and things go downhill from there. But bad news, he really needs this. But so does she. Her parental expectations are so much pressure on her, she can't fail. And what's the rush, anyway? Are aliens actually about to invade??

So What Goes Up and, I'd say, Speak Easy Speak Love were probably my favorite two.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

there's a blessing in every moment every mile

I mean, why not talk about my trip to Oregon some more? It was a fun trip.
Among many other adventures,
I enjoyed hiking to the top of Multnomah Falls:

View from near the bottom of the Falls
A hole in the rock
The top of the falls!
Hitting up the Portland Temple:

Our Beach Day:
You can't tell, but I was recovering from a failed jump. That's what you do on beaches, right? Jump?
Tide pools
dat sky tho!
Beautiful, beautiful day
Cape Meade (amazing):
The day started cold and cloudy, very atmospheric
Do I recall correctly that it's the shortest lighthouse around? It was pretty diminutive.
A giant pine tree. This is like one of its branches?
Sunny and warm
Hiking University Falls:
it might've been nice to have warning we would need to drive a few miles on an unpaved road to get to the trail.
Also the trail was not marked. But it was beautiful.
Finally like halfway through the trail we discovered we WERE going the right way.

And I enjoyed it with Cynthia, who was very patient with my being a delicate flower and also with me taking pictures of her in her natural habitat:
Rose Garden! You can be sure she got way better pictures of the flowers than I did.
Oregon Coast!
yeah the coast!
University Falls trail
Not a lot of pictures of our city day because my phone was clinging to death most of the day, but Portland was fun and nice too. And so was the Lewis and Clark state park and Tillamook. (major shout-out to Great-Aunt Becky who let us stay at her house! It was wonderful.) It was just all in all a great trip. Sorry for those of you that saw it all on my insta stories at the time and are getting a repeat. Sorry for those of you that missed my insta stories at the time and will never get a full picture of the trip.

Like, Sorry. But Not Sorry?

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

I know, yes I know this story has to end

My online class just talked about fanfiction like it's a real thing. Apparently it's a pretty big social media tactic that works great for brands and they don't even have to ask people to do it; if it's a good enough product, fancreators will do stuff FOR FREE and it grows the brand. (The example the professor gave was for Game of Thrones; he linked us to a story that's "17 chapters and still going!!" wow......)

So I guess it's a real thing now.

So I guess I'll link you to my most recent project, because I read it the other day and thought "This isn't terrible." That's my new standard. I wrote like 4,000 words in like a week and then stalled on the second half for three months but it's done. Also my new standard. Done.

For some reason (the show's been over for 3 years) this summer I started a story based on Kissing in the Rain, which is a short webseries about actors playing opposite each other and kissing in the rain on camera, but not on the same page when film isn't rolling. I really like it, and it really made strides in the whole fancreator business by soliciting writings about each episode as it came out, and if the creator liked it, it became canon. It really increased viewer engagement and built the brand...3 years ago.

My story's actually an AU, though. An Alternate Universe. What if...James and Lily only acted together two times because Lily decided to focus on a music career? What if...WHAT IF THEY HAD TO FAKE DATE FOR PUBLICITY??? and then fell in love for real............

(Don't get confused by their names being James and Lily. They're not really Harry Potter characters.)

Anyway, I believe you can enjoy this story once I've introduced you to the relevant canon. It should only take 10 minutes of your time and then you can read my story (for which I have no good basis of how long it takes to read).

Episode 1: James and Lily

Then, this drabble (written by the creator, so it's legit canon) talking about a publicity coffee date they had to go on: Shipping It

Episode 2: Anne and Gilbert

And that's it! That's all you need to read my story and like it.

So here's my story: sharing biscotti with some brunette hipster (8K words, general audiences). I hope you read it and like it.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

summer move forward

At the end of May, Carly Rae Jepsen had a new single come out, and I was obsessed with it. I listened to it like five times in a row.

And that wasn't the first time that month I'd done something similar with a song. And it's not really my usual modus operandi to get obsessed with a song like that. I should probably put these in a playlist so I don't forget them. So I did. My Summer 2017 playlist was born. And because I think it's interesting, I'm going to talk about my playlist a bit now. link on spotify

1. The Outfield - The Night Game
sometimes i feel like walking up to your front door, but i'm so far away
Discovered this one when scrolling through someone's blog. She touted its summer jam vibez, its "lost recording from the Police" style, and I listened to it. Then...I listened to it a few more times. Then it became the only thing I listened to that day. And then, eventually, it ended up as the first song in my Summer 2017 playlist, because I discovered it first.

I wanted to play it at all the softball games. I sang it to myself when I ended up standing in the outfield during one fateful game. I jammed to the bridge, wondering why you gotta be so hard to get.

2. Cut to the Feeling - Carly Rae Jepsen
cancel your reservations, no more hesitations, this is on
YouTube came through for me here, knowing that I was...listening to a lot of CRJ. I happened upon the video site one day and this was a recommended watch. "A new CRJ? Yes please," I said. And we obviously know I loved it.

I turn this song on when I need a mood lift, when I need to be energized. Maybe dance a little (I've danced to this song in my living room more than once). When I wanna to say to someone "Let's skip to the part where we're in love."

3. Faint of Heart - The Strike
i been waiting forever, waiting on this to start
Hey, shoutout to Facebook sponsored posts! I clicked on one (but only because I already knew that The Strike was pretty cool) to listen to their new album, and this one for sure got me. And it fit in with the other songs on my playlist remarkably well, with its 80's style and yearning lyrics. (which literally can describe all three of these first ones.)

This one joined the playlist right when I felt like I'd been waiting forever, wondering if this was going to go anywhere or if I was going to be too faint of heart.

4. Honey and Milk - Andrew Belle
the moon's right there in front of me, I can see it with my mouth
Spotify's Release Radar alerted me to a new(ish?) song by this artist, whom I have been known to listen to. I can't say I ever got super obsessed with this one, but something about the dark lushness of this song appeals to me.

5. Cold War - Foreign Figures
ask myself what I want more, something lifeless or someone to adore?
So one reason I'm making this post is I found out this week that this is a Provo band. I discovered that because Spotify made me a mix of some REALLY disparate artists: Vocal Point, Paul Cardall, David Archuleta, Rob Gardner, The Strike, Piano Guys...etc. And these guys (and Mindy Gledhill, which is understandable, and Josh Groban, which is not). So I did some googling and discovered that they fit right in!

Anyway. I like the beat on this one. And the violence, even though it's a cold war. I also like the way they sing "overzealous."

6. Asido - Purity Ring
with our palms facing up
Just stalking some guy's twitter and he mentioned the new Purity Ring single. I listened to it and decided that it was weird, and it should still go on my playlist. (I listened to it with the lyrics in front of me just now; what I chose above was literally the only phrase besides the chorus I could previously pick out, but wow is this ever a depressing song.)

7. Cruel Summer - Daniella Mason
poolside, dancing on my own life
I added this one after Labor Day after hearing it on the Release Radar. It's catchy and, I mean, I do have to admit that my summer didn't turn out as I might've dreamt. Not that it was that bad. It just ended...anticlimactically. Whatevs. It was nice to have a song clearly mark the end of summer, so I knew when to stop adding to the playlist.

So that was my summer in seven new songs.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

the light in me will guide you home

Wow did Cape Disappointment live up to its name!!

I really liked our little excursion out that way but it actually was disappointing in a lot of ways:

  • As we drove into Washington it started storming. Since most of the day had been hot and sunny, this sudden change was a little disappointing.
  • We followed Google Maps' directions toward Cape Disappointment and it sent us to a military facility where we were for sure not allowed. A little disappointing.
  • There was another lighthouse in the same state park or whatever, so we went over that way. We had to pay to park there, even though it was the end of the day and raining so we wouldn't be using the pass any more. Disappointing because we'd really lucked out with not having to pay much thus far, and it felt expensive.
  • As we walked over to the North Head lighthouse (or whatever it was), in the visibility-reducing fog (disappointing!), we discovered that this lighthouse was under construction and largely obscured by scaffolding. How disappointing!
Here are some pictures of the event.




Rose it makes my heart smile

I love roses. I think they're amazing. I don't have any reason for thinking that, they just are. Beautiful and fragrant and wonderful. When I was a young girl, my mom would sometimes get a rose catalog in the mail. I would hoard it for months, just poring over the different varieties and picking my favorites. Sometimes I would ask my mom if we could plant some, but they were pretty picky about the types of soil that each variety would thrive in, and it didn't always work.

Some do, though. We definitely have some roses in our garden that I remember from the catalog.
Me as a 13-year-old by our rose bushes.

My obsession with roses was such that when we had to come up with a presentation about something in my Plant Breeding class, I remembered the catalog (which I believe came from the International Rose Test Garden, because it showcased the winners and stuff) and presented about breeding roses. It was a terrible assignment, but at least I talked about something that interested me more than corn.

I still love roses even though I don't think about them as often as I used to. On my recent trip to Portland we decided to hit up the International Rose Test Garden (where they test new rose breeds to see how they'll do in real life) and it wasn't until we were on our way there that I remembered that going to this garden was probably a childhood dream of mine. To actually see the place whence the catalog pictures came? How could I not want that?

(PS I paid a dollar to get in to the garden but it was actually free/voluntary donation. An unexpected boon!)

And it was really nice. I took some slightly blurry pictures (I'm an indifferent photographer but my camera is also the worst) that don't quite capture it, but maybe a little.

It was probably my goal to take a picture of the plaque adjacent to a picture of a rose, but then I realized I didn't want to do that so many times. But I did once!

Like, I'm pretty sure this is a Peace rose. It looks like what I recall from my childhood.

This is the guy that started the garden.

Blurry, but nice vivid colors
I loooooooved these.
Cynthia modeling some beautiful deep crimson roses
Here we are, blissful in our surroundings
A nice little poem as we neared the exit.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

trace all my books [2017 pt. 1]

Hello everyone!

I've read some great books the past six months and thought I'd make a little video talking about them. Only problem is...this video is so boring. It is 15 minutes of uninteresting blather about books, which is too bad because they're books I like and want you to like too (I guess).

Good news about the video: I look pretty nice. So you can watch it for a couple minutes and relish my face for a bit. Once you get to the part where I couldn't figure out how to edit it you can stop.

Because here's other good news about the video: I'll summarize it in this blog post! You'll still get all the information you otherwise would.

Most of the books I read fall under the categories of fantasy, teen romance, fairytale adaptations, and ... other. Here's the books in each category that I've thought were worth mentioning:

Thick as Thieves by Megan Whalen Turner: I've already blogged about this one.
The Queen of Blood by Sarah Beth Durst: Girls with magical skills have the opportunity to go to academy to learn to hone their talents. If they're really, really good, they might become heirs to the queen. The main character comes to the academy, determined. But she's actually a really bad student. So is she gonna fail out of the academy or is she going to be queen? Or something else?
A Crown of Wishes by Roshani Chokshi: A princess who's done what she's had to do to protect her kingdom and a prince who's never been allowed to do anything in his empire are partnered in a supernatural tournament where the prize is a wish. The writing in this one is beautiful.

The Pearl Thief by Elizabeth Wein: Prequel to Code Name Verity. Julie's last summer at her grandfather's estate.
The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald: Sara has come all the way from Sweden to visit her elderly penpal in Broken Wheel, Iowa. She arrives in a ghost town...but actually everybody's at the old lady's funeral. Sara stays at her house...and the town concocts a marriage scheme to get her to stay forever.
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas: If you don't know what this book is about, you might want to look it up before you decide whether to pick it up.

Rose & Thorn by Sarah Prineas: A fractured Sleeping Beauty retelling, sequel to Ash & Bramble. It was really enjoyable.
Disenchanted: The Trials of Cinderella by Megan Morrison: Second in the Tyme series, a fun adaptation.
Frogkisser! by Garth Nix: A fun fairytale thing. I love fairytale adaptations.
Hunted by Meagan Spooner: Probably the best book of the year so far. I did nothing but read this book. It's Beauty and the Beast but also Russian fairytales.

Guitar Notes by Mary Amato: They schedule the same practice room and start writing notes to each other. Music! Epistolary! Pretty good.
Alex, Approximately by Jenn Bennett: Mink (or, as she's known IRL, Bailey) just moved to the same town as Alex, her online friend who keeps inviting her to his town for the film festival. But she just...won't tell him. She wants to find him first, to hedge her bets. Meanwhile there's this super annoying guy at work....I really liked this one.
When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon: Dimple can't believe her parents are letting her go to coding camp without getting on her case about finding a nice boy. Rishi can't believe that he came all the way to coding camp to meet his future wife (according to their parents it's basically a done deal) and she a) didn't know who he was and b) hates him. I love it.
Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley: Rachel's moving back to the city after living on the coast with her family for three years. But she can't be around the ocean anymore. The only issue with the city is it's where Henry lives. He was her best friend...but not anymore. I just read this one today.

That's it! That's about how the video went. Except not as interesting. If you thought this summary interesting. Happy Independence Day!