Tuesday, July 30, 2013
Do you recognize this painting?
If you watched this episode, you might.
(It's just a tribute--for the real thing go to Netflix and watch Doctor Who: Vincent and the Doctor.)
I was at my grandma's on Saturday and she gave me three paintings.
The church with the monster in the window.
(I took the picture in the lamplight last night.)
And this one:
The paintings are on canvas. They are beautiful replicas of the originals. (My grandma is a poor widow--so no original Van Goghs here) She found the copies and framed them herself over 50 years ago and has had them with her in every home.
I keep crying as I look at this beautiful gift.
Of all the things she could have given me...
My heart just keeps overflowing.
I wish I could adequately express my overwhelming gratitude. Of all the paintings in the world to give me--Amy's sunflowers, the fields, and the church with the monster! I got chills when I realized which paintings they were!
This week has been filled with miracles and blessings too numerous to name. I feel carried right now. Wrapped in a cocoon.
Today I am grateful for my grandmother, for art, and for Vincent Van Gogh.
Sunday, July 28, 2013
There was one song, kind of hokey, but really touching, written by Tyler Castleton, called "His Love".
Today, I got to sing this song at St. Joseph's Nursing Home.
I am trying to evolve. I am trying to be better and to grow.
Remember my mantra, "I can do hard things."
Lately, that's turned into--"I can brush my teeth."
It's been difficult.
While I was on my mission, I got to sing a solo at a big conference. The song was, "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing". Since that day, this has become one of my favorite songs.
At choir practice, we sang that song. I got to luxuriate in the words and the melody. I got to swim in it.
My friend Clay came to visit today. I've known him since 2007 when we met during a Sunday School class in which Clarissa and I were chomping on tootsie pops in the back of the room.
It's a really happy thing when you get to sit with a friend who really knows you.
We've both grown over the past three years--since I last saw him.
It was comforting to sit next to an old friend.
The day would have been even better. My plan was to drive to Tremonton and spend the evening chatting with my dear friend Sara. We've known each other since we were 13. I love that girl. I have a picture of the two of us just before she got married and I went on my mission. Five kids and 14 years later, she's still my favorite person.
But I couldn't do it. I'm tired. And this week promises to be really long.
So I'm grateful for my three gifts and the promise that someday soon, Sara and I will enjoy some cheesy fries and belly laughs again. (Or maybe we'll evolve and have a delicious spinach salad...)
Today, I am grateful for Sara, Clay, and singing.
Saturday, July 27, 2013
When I get into the space, I think of all the things that could go wrong. I think of all the time we don't have. I think about how I want to make every moment count. And I beat myself up when I don't make every moment work--even though it's the first day in the space. I overwhelm myself and I'm sure I overwhelm my fellow actors.
But today, despite all the things I wish had gone better, there were moments of pure magic.
Our Julie, played by Amber Lee Roberts, is always on. Her voice sounds like a bell, and I absolutely love watching her. She is charming, deep, thoughtful, sincere, and when she sings the corny love songs--you feel like she represents that hokey part of your soul that you hope others don't see.... very much... even though you know that everyone knows you're a hokey romantic.
Billy Bigelow is played by the charismatic, forceful, and disgustingly talented Samuel Ross West. I sat back stage listening to him sing his Soliloquy. It was nuanced with tones of both confusion and conviction. He is perfect.
Errybody else (not a typo, this is how my mind is speaking right now...I'm watching Dave Chappelle while I type this) is wonderfully giving, energetic, searching, and improving with every rehearsal. I respect their dedication, their focus, and their willingness to give time, gas, and love for this project.
I took a picture backstage.
Think of it as a sneak peak.
Today I am grateful for the cast of Carousel. I'm really looking forward to performing with these folks.
Ticket info for the show can be found at Utahrep.org.
(In case you don't feel like clicking on the link, the show plays August 9-August 24 on Fri, Sat, and Monday at the Murray Theatre.)
Thursday, July 25, 2013
The end is this.. I am an active and believing member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
I am not stupid, brainwashed, asexual, naive, or afraid.
If you have decided that you no longer want to be a part of the LDS Church--I do not believe you are stupid, brainwashed, sexually promiscuous, naive, or afraid.
That is the end.
This is the beginning.
Alma 40:8--All is as one day with God.
Lael Woodbury said in an address to BYU students in 1974... a lot of stuff... that can be found here.
He said that God sees time in the same way that we see space.
Look out the window and think about all you can take in with your eye in a single moment.
Now imagine describing everything you just saw to a blind man.
We are like the blind trying to comprehend space. God sees all the events of time--past, present, and future--laid out in front of him. We experience time moment to moment, experiencing each event individually. But all events contribute to this grand vista of time.
When you tell me of ugly events and choices made by men and women of the past and present day church, I do not dismiss them. But I take it as a part of a larger vista. The tumbleweed cannot undo the beauty of the tall pine tree. They're all a part of the same vista.
Christ is the perfect bridegroom. And the church is the imperfect bride chosen by him, to marry with him and enter with Him into a state of eternal exaltation.
This whole earthly experience is littered with imperfections. This is why a Savior is necessary. Did you only think things outside of the church were allowed to be imperfect? Did you think that everyone and everything associated with the church were perfect?
Even Christ, called to his perfection as a part of his role as Savior, said to his apostles in Jerusalem: "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect." (Matthew 5:48)
But after his resurrection, he said to the Nephites, "Therefore I would that ye should be perfect even as I or your Father who is in heaven is perfect." 3 Ne 12:48
If the man called to save the world through his perfect life, originally credited only the Father with perfection, then I will embrace my own imperfections and the imperfections of my faith, my leaders, my friends, my loved ones, and even my enemies as a part of this vista of time and space.
I have yet to run across one factoid powerful enough to undo the mountains of experiences that shape my vista of faith. (That's not a challenge.) But my vista is constantly shaped by the actions of my present moment. Just as time is as one day with God--Is there really anything more than this present moment?
And I believe we're back to the end.
I am an active and believing member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
Whether you believe or not--you are a beautiful part of my world. You bring my life magic, contemplative moments, miracles, Art, Joy, Love. Divinity.
Today I am grateful for Faith, Hope, and Love.
(And capitalization to highlight my reverence for Art, Joy, and Love.)
Tuesday, July 23, 2013
I know it's a bit long, but if you have a moment, it's great writing.
And I captures my political leanings. Not that you care all that much, because you have your own leanings, and good! I'm glad! We're a freethinking society and I love your freethinking ways.
Today, I'm grateful for this television show.
Real news stories, told with the advantage of hindsight and the free format of a television drama.
For a historical fiction nut like myself, this is like chocolate frosting and strawberry cheesecake ice cream.
Monday, July 22, 2013
Sunday, July 21, 2013
Friday, July 19, 2013
The other day, I walked into a downtown Wendy's to kill 20 minutes and try and relax.
I looked forward and almost missed him. His back was arched and his arms were too skinny. His face was gaunt and his eyes were shifting everywhere. He had shoved himself flush with the wall. He was hiding in plain sight. Whenever I would lower my eyes, I could hear him talking. I couldn't hear him, but I knew he was talking to me.
I know that it costs about $3 for a spice joint.
He asked me for $2 for the bus.
I bought him a frosty and some chicken nuggets.
I was violently composed in the restaurant.
I fell a part in the car and let the sobs break through my composure.
Ten years ago, my brother died in Salt Lake City after overdosing on heroin.
Ten years ago, my brother was that man.
The only comfort I have right now is that at least he's dead.
I know that's a horrible thing to say, but there are worse things than death.
But after ten years, what could have been? Could he be better now? Could he have overcome his demons and gone on to live a fulfilling life? That's what breaks my heart. Life offers all of us redemption, sunrises, cleansing rain. But he's dead.
What have I done in ten years? It's been ten years. How have I honored the privilege of redemption, the hope of sunrise, the joy of cleansing rain? Where are the rest of us now?
I've done a lot, met a world of people, been a lot of places--but it feels like nothing today. It just feels like I'm the same sad girl who lost her brother ten years ago.
Anniversaries suck sometimes.
Today I'm grateful for life. I am grateful for the opportunity to be better at it than I have been. I'm grateful that I have tomorrow to start being better. Today, I am just going to breathe, remember, cry, and try and take advantage of the privilege of living.
I promise I'll write something less depressing about Jack on his birthday in a few weeks.
Thursday, July 18, 2013
I'm just really stressed out.
My arm has been tingling and I'm sick of popping pain pills. Today, I got a massage and went to the chiropractor. My back was on fire with every touch. She spent the whole hour working on just my back and pectorals. I tried breathing through the pain--but every touch was fire. I felt so much better after though--but I've done some real damage. I'm carrying my stress in my muscles and it's reaking havoc on me. Afterwards, I went to the chiropractor. He said my back was a mess. Because it is. He popped it in several places though--and I was really glad I had taken the time to get the massage beforehand. My left arm is still kind of tingly, but I'm feeling better.
Mainly, I'm just happy I was able to take a moment to care for myself today. I've got to figure out a way to relieve stress that doesn't involve food.
Today I'm grateful for a good massage therapist and a great chiropractor. She was a good fill in for my normal favorite massage therapist, Emily Anderson. That girl has magic hands.
I would be very grateful if I could somehow release this tension into the ethos.
Stress.... be gone!
Ala peanut butter sandwich!
Wednesday, July 17, 2013
I've been listening to him sing and play with his band Punch Brothers on their album Who's Feeling Young Now.
Give it a listen.
I have this fantasy about singing with a band. It seems like the perfect theatrical opportunity. You get just sing and create music and be in the moment--while being yourself. Sounds divine.
Last night, I put on my corset.
I looked awesome. I couldn't breathe, but dang, I have a purty figure
.... in a corset.
I hear that people look that good without one on...
Of course, they also watch what they eat better than I have done over the past week.
Must.... continue.... onwards....
Must... keep.... dieting....
(or more accurately, start dieting again since I fell off the proverbial bandwagon and have jumped on the horse going in the opposite direction...)
My back hurts. Ice cream makes it feel better.
This is a lie.
I'll stop now.
Have a nice day folks!
Tuesday, July 16, 2013
I can never seem to get ahead when it comes to money.
I just found out I have to pay back unemployment $129.
I got a ticket because the decal on my car is faded, so I have to pay $30 there.
But I have a job. I have a job.
I am grateful for opportunities to make money.
I need to make my life matter more. It just feels so mundane today.
Maybe it's the clouds. Maybe it's the fact that I see any sales bonuses disappearing into the abyss of new bills every time I think I might be able to get ahead.
Things just feel off.
I got called back for Brigadoon last night at Hale. I assumed I was called back for Meg. I'm not a dancer, so ensemble seemed out of reach for me. I'm larger than life. (That's a generous way of saying it...) I am happy to do ensemble--but most producers prefer ensemble cast members in a musical to be that triple threat--able to piroutte while belting a high C, with tears streaming down your smiling face.
I'm not that girl.
I'll blow you away, don't get me wrong, but choreographers generally do "special" things with me.
Cooper Howell has choreographed me walking for 16 counts. Turning, walking for 32 counts. Just walking. I love it! He gets me!
So when I arrived at call backs, I assumed it was because I was being considered for Meg, the funny girl. They announced last night who had been called back for Meg--and I wasn't on the list. I was called back for ensemble.
This makes no sense to me. But maybe I haven't quite grasped the concept of the show yet. Perhaps there will be a slew of non-dancing ensemble folks. If so, great! The choral arrangements in this show are absolutely heavenly!
I would love to do the show because it pays, because the singing is divine, and because there are a number of people on the production team that would be a delight to work with.
But I'm in that crazy limbo place where I'm just waiting to see what is happening--and I'm still in the throes of learning and preparing to knock em dead as Mrs. Mullin in Carousel.
I have a lot to be grateful for--but right now, I'm feeling that there's a lot to stress out about. Usually when it hits this point of stress, I just want to crawl in a hole and sleep for a week.
But--I have laundry done, I vacuumed, I have a new rug in the living room to hide the ugly stained carpet, I'm 2% points shy of the goal I set for the month of July at work, I am very close to having Carousel memorized, I have an opportunity to make some money freelance writing, and I'm helping to prepare an amazing Pioneer Day program at church next Sunday. All good things.
I have a lot to be grateful for, but as I read this bill and this ticket, I just don't feel very grateful as I waive goodbye to the happy moneys.
Things will improve.
Thanks for reading. (said in the voice of Eeyore.)
Friday, July 12, 2013
The maxi dress is this years fashion gift to me.
I have acquired three.
And today, I am grateful both for their cottony comfort, and for my large boobs.
As a short girl, without these knockers, I'd spend my days tripping over the maxnificent length of these long cotton nightgowns that the good people of the fashion world have kindly deemed "appropriate for wear outside of the house--yes, Eve, your dreams have come true."
God bless America!
God bless Cotton!
God bless the Maxi... Dress!
Sometimes you make plans. ( In my plan, I'm skinny and perfect and wonderful!) And while you wait for those plans to come to light, you make a friend. Plans require specific qualities and ambitions. Friends just require love. Until I step forward and become the woman in my plans, it's nice to have a friend who loves me for me. Right now.
Today I am grateful for my strengths, my weaknesses, and the friends who continue to care for me despite the fact that neither of us fits into one another's master plan.
Sometimes it's just nice to spend time with a friend who knows me super well and still thinks I'm cool. I am sometimes tempted to steer clear of people because I'm afraid they'll discover my true list of flaws. But then you have the friends who have been around long enough to know you in all the seasons, through weight gain, unkindness, etc... And yet time passes and the friendship remains. It almost gives a girl faith in love.
We're just friends, but I'm grateful for him just the same.
Wednesday, July 10, 2013
Tuesday, July 9, 2013
I watched a circle of capoeira dancers/fighters.
I sat in the face of a sunset talking to a new friend while my left hand dug through clean soil for a good hour.
I had a successful day at work.
My home is clean.
The storage facility is clean.
I can feel the memorization starting to click in my mind.
I said goodbye to a new friend as he rode away on his bicycle to try his labors in another part of the country. I don't know if he's going to survive.
Today I'm grateful for doughnuts, dancing, sunsets, dirt, and hope.
Monday, July 8, 2013
I lost about 25 pounds and I feel better. But I have a lot more weight to lose. But you think that because you FEEL better, you'll look better too. But that is NOT the case. The picture I have of who I am in my head does not match what I look like on the outside.
And why does this even matter?
Because you want people to see you for who you are on the inside.
In this video, Dustin Hoffman addresses the question, What would your life have been like, if you had been born a woman? Watch it.
Did you watch it yet?
Earlier this weekend, I noticed a friend just got engaged after attending an event put on by Utah's Matchmaker. I followed the link he posted, and found myself reading details about an upcoming event. Now, I watch Millionaire Matchmaker. I know how vicious these matchmakers can be about appearance, so I should not have been surprised to read the following:
Typically the clients we serve, are looking for active, temple worthy LDS men and women who are socially intelligent and in good shape physically. No, you don’t have to be a super model but mutual attraction for both men and women is an important part of the matchmaking process.
The matchmaker will decide who gets to attend the event based on a criteria determined by the men attending the event. They emphasized physical fitness throughout the description of the event.
I understand the realities of the world I live in.
But there's just something about this that makes my heart hurt.
I am bothered when I see a bad picture because that physical impression fails to capture the dynamic, powerful woman that exists inside of me. And I ache because situations like the Utah Matchmaker's event seem to legitimize seeing ourselves as less than when we don't fit the ideal physical standards. I understand that it is the nature of the business, but fat and ugly people are looking for love too, dammit.
Lately, I realize that what I really want from a lover is to be seen for who I really am and appreciated for what I bring to the table. And I hope to be able to provide the same mutual respect for him as well. I'm not saying that attraction isn't important, but it seems that the LDS Singles place undo significance on the physical appearance of the ladies. I'd explain this point, but honestly, those of you who have been around this crowd, you know EXACTLY what I'm talking about. I understand making a point of being our best, but I wish that as often as women are encouraged to look their best, men would be encouraged to grow the hell up and realize that women in their 30s are real and do not resemble high school cheerleaders. And if you wanted a high school cheer leader, why didn't you just marry one when you were in high school? Could it be she didn't want you? And why is that? Perhaps because you're as deliciously flawed as I am in other ways and why can't we all just get along?
Today I'm grateful for this core of rage inside of me. I'm grateful for Dustin Hoffman. I'm grateful for all of my lovely bits, and I'm grateful for the opportunity I have to continue to better myself on a daily basis. But please understand that I no longer do it for men, I do it for me. I do it because I love myself. My downfall is that after years of being single in the LDS community, once I get to a healthy weight for myself, there are men who will decide that they're interested, and I won't be able to see past the ugly truth that they couldn't see me. That's gonna take some healing.
Sunday, July 7, 2013
Friday, July 5, 2013
Here are some world changing words:
From Thomas Paine's "Common Sense" pamphlet, published in February 1776:
A government of our own is our natural right: And when a man seriously reflects on the precariousness of human affairs, he will become convinced, that it is in finitely wiser and safer, to form a constitution of our own in a cool deliberate manner, while we have it in our power, than to trust such an interesting event to time and chance.
From Samuel Adams:
If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or your arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen.
From the Declaration of Independence:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.
I know, I'm a day late... but I wasn't feeling great yesterday.
Besides... shouldn't we celebrate freedom every day? Yeah... that's my excuse.
I really love this country. But more than that, I love the people in this country. We're all fighting to live up to our birthright of Life, Liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
As we strive towards our own happiness, let's remember the words of Benjamin Franklin:
Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become more corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters.
Today I'm grateful for my birthright.
Wednesday, July 3, 2013
I have been having these thoughts about words lately.
But I can't seem to figure out how to put these ideas about words into words.
How's that for irony... or some sort of rhetorical conundrum that I can't define.
I've been writing this blog pretty regularly for 6 months. During the last week, I feel like I wasn't as dedicated to writing as I have been. And I felt a loss. Writing out my gratitude, putting in words the blessings of my life blesses the moment. It makes the every day seem holier somehow. And when I don't write, I feel the difference.
Then there are the words lovers say to one another. I think about the 5 love languages. I love words. I need to hear words of love spoken. But more than that, I trust words of love. I allow those words to have a power over me. But lately, I don't trust words of love as much as I have in the past. I hear them, and I dismiss them. The words have lost their power because they represent nothing anymore. When a person loses the power of their word, what have they lost? Is there anyway to really measure what that person has ultimately lost? And what am I losing by doubting the words of a lover?
We think that money empowers, but really, it's our word that empowers. Words are the expression of ideas before we put forth the effort to create concrete work, relationships, creative endeavors.
We hear the words from a fearless leader and we endeavor to collaborate and bring all of our efforts together under the umbrella of the leader's words.
When I taught English at Stratford University, I would give a big ol' speech on the first day of class about how studying the expression of language will enable them to become better leaders and managers in their respective fields of study. And it's true. If you can't convey with words both the idea and your confidence in their abilities to bring the idea to life, then you can't lead.
So what about the quiet types? The brooding, thoughtful types? Are they lacking power? Or are they silent because they understand the value of what they put forth when they share their words?
We must not be afraid of words. Our words propel us forward and give the dull hours meaning. A good conversation with a friend can turn dinner into a moment.
But we must be careful with our words too. To lie. To misrepresent your intentions. What are we losing when we lose the power of our word?
Today, I am grateful for the opportunity to express my words and my ideas across a vast miraculous interweb to beautiful friends. I will endeavor to express only my most genuine thoughts in order to give proper respect to the word.
Monday, July 1, 2013
He has spent years reading scripts and writing scripts. He has read countless books and interviewed several professional filmmakers to educate himself. After preparing himself well, he finally found the funding and the right crew to make his idea a reality.
It's pretty damned inspiring honestly.
It started with a thought. And he nurtured it, sought wisdom, worked his ass off, and now this initial thought is in post production.
(Special Thanks to Monique Lanier and Scott Newton from Double Vision Photograph)