A More Perfect Union

Hello, my friends.

I haven’t written on my blog in years. I’m sure that the things I wrote are trivial and hilarious to read… feel free to flip back if you want. But that’s not what this is about.

Please, read everything so you don’t misunderstand me.

It’s finals week. I don’t have time to be writing this. But I cannot sleep. I can’t get over the dread and anxiety I have over the state of the media, our nation, the world… and the fear I have for my future children. What will their world be like?

I’m getting ahead of myself.

There are so many debates going on all over this country. Let all refugees in! Ban Muslims! Gun control! A gun in every home! Trump! Hillary!

So much noise. So much anger. So much hatred. So much fear and bigotry and hate hate hate.

My heart is aching.

The words my heart whisper are things that you likely also believe. I like to think that most people who have been taught correct principles and who have allowed them to really sink into their hearts, regardless of race, status, culture, religion, or creed believe these things.

  1. Human beings deserve to be treated as human beings. Not as property, not as objects for us to act upon – but people. People with families, with desires, with dreams, with hopes and homes and plans and everyday struggles common to all men.
  2. “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…”

There are exceptions.

We both know there are exceptions. People abuse their spouses. Children are neglected. Terrorists perform heinous acts upon the innocent. Sociopathic serial killers take lives to satisfy their own desires. People lie and cheat and steal. People believe and subscribe to false ideologies that inform their poisonous actions.

But, for our purposes, let’s go with the assumption that you are not, in fact, a sociopathic serial killer. You are not neglecting your children, nor do you hit your husband in the head with a frying pan or beat your wife or bomb public settings with the hopes of destroying innocent lives. You don’t stalk people, you don’t kill them, and you’re not going to end up with a Law & Order: SVU episode based on your exploits.

Okay?

Let’s also assume that you care for people even when you don’t know them. You mourn the loss of people who die in car accidents on the freeway. You hope peace can someday find its way into the hearts of those whose loved ones die of cancer, are killed in battle, or go missing and are never seen or heard from again.

When you read about the atrocities of the Holocaust, you probably become uncomfortable. Maybe you feel anger. If you were to visit a Nazi concentration camp, you would probably feel a deep and sobering sorrow as you walked through their barracks, through the furnaces into which their bodies were stuffed, through the gas chambers into which they were herded like livestock for slaughter.

slave_ship

Diagram of an African slave ship. Not exactly a pleasure cruise situation.

When you learn about millions of Africans ripped from their homes to be stuffed into ships and sold into slavery, your heart breaks. You might even weep, if you think about it too much.

You and I both care for people.

We want what is best for them. We are fiercely loyal to our own people and especially to the safety of our families, and we know that others are, too. We want “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness,” but not at the expense of others.

If we truly believe the reasons early pioneers of our nation attempted to “create a more perfect union,” then we do, indeed, “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.”

Slavery is bad. (Duh.)

Naturally, we shudder at the treatment of Africans during the era of colonialism and slavery. Consider this thought by Thomas Carlyle, a proponent of slavery in the West Indies during the mid-to-late 1800’s. Speaking of African slaves’ emancipation, he explained:

Would the horses be next to be emancipated? [Carlyle] asked… It was only the white man who had given value to the West Indies, and the “indolent two-legged cattle” should be forced to work. The abuses of slavery should be abolished… The black African, alone of wild men, could live among civilized, but he could be useful in God’s creation only as a perpetual servant (196).

Carlyle later insisted that “more Africans” be brought into slavery to increase the economic output in such countries.

Painful to read, isn’t it? Surely such supporters of slavery and other vile treatment of human beings did not understand the worth of the people they were enslaving. They didn’t understand that just because the enslaved peoples were different from them, this did not make them bad.

We know better.

What was that, Mr. Jefferson?

In the United States Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson wrote, “we hold these truths to be self-evident [not needing to be explained; obvious].

  • We might understand that to mean, “by virtue of being a human, the following rights are obvious and shouldn’t have to be explained.”

“[T]hat all men are created equal; they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable [unable to be taken away from] rights.”

  • Who is endowed with certain unalienable rights? Only citizens of the United States? Only white people? Only Christians? All men. All men. Everyone. All men. All: the whole quantity or extent of a particular group or thing. All men. The whole quantity of humans.

Yes, the exceptions can give up their rights. You can’t kill someone and expect to “pursue happiness” alongside the rest of society. A mother or father cannot neglect the safety of their children and expect to keep them in their home. Yes, we can give up our rights by our own destructive actions. But an important part of those rights is that no one can take them away from you unless you give them up by your actions that demonstrate that you yourself do not care about others having those same rights!

Proud to be an American.

Yes, we must be safe. Yes, we must be sound. But I submit you cannot claim to be “a real American” and reject the very foundation upon which this nation was created. You cannot claim to believe in God as the father of all who are living on the earth (“their Creator,” as Thomas Jefferson wrote) and claim that an entire religion ought to be banned from the United States. Does religious freedom only apply to Christians? What about Jews? No one wants to be called an anti-Semite, but how can we restrict the freedoms of peaceful Muslims? What about atheists? Surely they have the freedom to not believe, too.

“Real” Americans?

I find it interesting to consider what might have happened if the Native Americans had been strong enough to keep us out of their land — insisting that all white men are evil because of the insane acts of the radical minority — instead of being less technologically-advanced than we were, succumbing to small pox and muskets.

Many native peoples were enslaved, slaughtered and forced to the most remote parts of the country, in case you missed that fine print in history class. I am grateful for a free land, but I worry that when we suggest that an entire race or religion or group of people is inherently bad, we forget our own history.

You can argue that letting in “too many refugees” will give the same problem, that we will be overrun. They will bomb us until we are all gone. But are all Muslims radical jihadists? When there is actual unbiased evidence to support this claim, I consider that as a possibility. (You cannot site the acts of the radical minority and say that all Muslims are evil! That simply does not make sense. Correlation does not equal causation. Check out these hilarious graphs for illustration that just because two things are seemingly related does not mean one causes the other.)

Okay, this is my favorite one. I have to put at least one in here:

3030529-slide-q54so25

If correlation were equal to causation, the more films Nicholas Cage stars in would cause a proportional amount of swimming pool deaths each year.

Fact: all children murder their parents.

Claiming without evidence that all Muslims are going to try to kill us is a sweeping generalization with dangerous consequences. As sinister as some of them are, the following generalizations almost become amusing when we attempt to accept them as truth:

  • All young girls brutally murder their parents with an axe. (Clearly taught by Lizzie Borden.)
  • Each and every British man is a serial killer. (Thanks for the warning, Jack the Ripper.)
  • All Democrats are bleeding-hearted liberals who want to take away your rights as an American citizen to protect your family. Your taxes will pay for their family trips to Disneyland, cell phones, and a new Ferrari in every driveway. (No evidence for outrageous claims.)
  • All Republicans are bigots who hate everyone but their own back-woods, inbred family. Your taxes will pay for their bunkers in the desert, complete with a small yet military-grade arsenal. (No evidence for outrageous claims.)

I know what you’re thinking.

“But this is different. All Muslims really do want to kill us. Really. [This newscaster on my favorite station] told me so.”

I would invite you to ask a Muslim what she believes. Have you done research to make sure you weren’t being baited by that newscaster into watching more t.v.? Have you made sure to hear both sides of what a religion believes? Not what others say about it, but what its actual believers happen to believe?

I’m sure you wouldn’t want people to proclaim that your religion teaches something that they do not, in fact, teach or support in any way. I know I feel very frustrated and just plain yucky inside when people tell me Mormons “don’t believe in Jesus Christ”, or that Baptists are all idiots for thinking they’re “saved by grace,” or that atheists are going to “burn in hell.” Did you ask the atheist why he believes what he believes? Have you discussed the teachings of your Lutheran friend’s preacher, simply with the intent to listen and learn, to seek understanding?

Have you taken a step outside of your own box, out of your own home, out of your own world view to learn what that person you have objectified actually believes?

If the answer to that is no, I think now would be a great time to do actual, unbiased research. I know it’s hard, and it’s not fun. Finding unbiased sources is difficult. It’s so much easier to listen to Donald Trump say we should “bomb the sh*t out of them” because then it takes no effort on our part. Friends, knowing the truth is better than lazily accepting what a radical-in-a-different-way, business-man-and-alleged-politician has to say on the subject. DO YOUR OWN RESEARCH. THINK FOR YOURSELF.

In Conclusion… hopefully.

In case you have some beef with me, I want you to know a few things.

  1. I do not condone violent acts of any kind. Wartime, when necessary, is different. But it’s that “necessary” part that is, well, necessary.
  2. I firmly believe that all men have the right to what Thomas Jefferson wrote in the Declaration of Independence.
  3. Hopefully this is obvious — but do not misunderstand me. Those who could pose a threat to our nation should not be allowed to come here. Black, white, Muslim, Christian, tall, short, old, young. If you are a threat, you are not welcome.
  4. I do not claim to have the answers — I know there are problems that need to be solved. I don’t know enough about the research that goes into foreign visitors and immigrants, and I don’t know how our nation determines if refugees are truly refugees as they claim or if they are posing as such to enter our country and do us harm. I know there are hundreds and maybe thousands of people in this country who are mourning the loss of their loved ones because of extremists’ actions. I don’t have the answers.

Here is what I do know.

  1. No one and no system are perfect. We will always be vulnerable to threats, inside and outside our borders. That is the world in which we live.
  2. We cannot fight hate with hate. We can’t smack our child across the face for hitting her brother and expect her to not internalize that the strong beat up the weak, and that she can use power to make people do what she wants.
  3. I love people. My goal is understanding and tolerance while maintaining my own values and the safety of my home, my life, my family, and my community.

I invite anyone who wants to know more about this topic to look to informed, unbiased sources. I do not have all the answers. What I have shared has been hurting my heart, keeping me awake, giving me nightmares, escalating my already intense anxiety. I have spoken my peace and now I will hold it.

Choose to love others. Choose to seek understanding. Protect yourself, protect your families, but not at the expense of others.

Pray for our world. Pray for world leaders. Pray for peace. Pray for understanding. Pray for your own losses and for the losses of others. Pray to know what you can do to make your own piece of this world a little better.

Let’s all work together, okay?

xoxo

JL

Hook-ed On Pa-haw-nikes Work-ed For Me!

Hello, world.

I’ve been pretty busy these last few weeks since I last posted. I’ve been doing a lot of shopping… and a little reading… and a lot of freaking out about how little reading I’ve been doing, because in just shy of four weeks I will enter the MTC.

Do you ever feel like you just woke up and 40 days had gone by? 40 days where you were going to be working out to losing that chubbiness in your face that magically appeared out of nowhere (or maybe from excessive amounts of G’s Dairy and Taco Bus)? 40 days where you were going to read a TON of Preach My Gospel and scripture and be at least somewhat prepared for your mission?

During that 40 days, you probably planned to visit all your friends and family so you could see them before you left. You were going to rest and relax and enjoy a little bit of real life before you enter the MTC and start your mission, which will soon become your real life. But now, with less than 25 days before you enter the MTC…. which means less than 20 days until you leave the Treasure Valley… it feels like you don’t have time to do anything.

Or maybe all that is just me.

Anyway, here’s some things I’ve been doing for the last few weeks!!

I’ve been day-dreaming about the Virginia Richmond Mission:

I’ve been shopping like a maniac:

I had a delicious birthday dinner with some of the fam’ at Tucano’s:

I bought shoes from beardy man at Dillards:

I’ve been doing some studying:

(Yes, with a Spider-Man Preach My Gospel study journal.)

I’ve been living with my absolute SAINT of a grandmother:

(making me a birthday cake)

(signing autographs for her newest book)

(posing with her newest book)

I’ve been trying to make sure that my suitcases aren’t over the 50 lb. weight limit… which makes me think of Brian Regan:

I’ve stopped drinking Diet Dr. Pepper (seriously!):

I’ve adopted a “conservative” nail color — none.

(Remember my post about my beloved turquoise nail polish? Now it is all packed away . . .)

I bought a few pieces of “conservative” jewelry, like this pic from the sister missionary dress guidelines:

… and I’ve been watching love stories:

 

 

Summer has been great… and I hope yours has been, too.

xoxo

Being Alive

I’m sure you’ve read this quote before. But today, here’s what I’ve been thinking about:

“Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on; you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised.

But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make any sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of – throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards.

You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself.”

– C. S. Lewis

While you’re here, listen to this song …

 

… because life is good.

xoxo

Sister Wylie

Just in case you wanted to see me opening my mission call…

I cry a lot…. I was excited, okay? And, in true Jeri Lynn fashion, I scream a lot. And freak out.

Enjoy!


P.S. – I know the video and the audio get un-synced… it’s like I’m in an Asian movie with weird dubbing…. and it makes me laugh every time I watch it! Hahaha

P. P. S. – I think I accidentally stole that shirt from Malary……… sorry, Malpal! :)

Hope for the Flowers [Funk-ified, part 2?]

Hello, my friends.

Today, I’m thinking about change. And flowers. And friends. Good friends. I have been thinking about what it means to be a friend. And to uplift and strengthen and love your fellow man. And Canada and Italy and Virginia. And perseverance.

Also, about this book:

This quote may be by Newt Gingrich… but it’s still good (it’s not about living on the moon):

“Perseverance is the hard work you do after you get tired of doing the hard work you already did.”

I’ve been thinking a lot about the kind of life I want to have and what it will take to get there. These past few weeks have been funny-weird, frustrating, and funny-ha-ha. It seems like every day there is something that tries to derail my path. Some outside negative force trying to get me to give up, and to surrender, and to fail. And every day, I say a little prayer of thankfulness that I haven’t yet. And that I don’t intend to. And that I’ve got that fire and ambition to keep on keepin’ on!

I’ve worried about money. I’ve worried about lalling in fove, as my dear friend Kimbo says. I’ve worried about the mistakes I’ve made. I’ve worried about being forgotten. I’ve worried about my ever-accruing student loan debt. I’ve worried about joint pain. I’ve worried about worrying (what?). I’ve worried about my grades. I’ve worried about my family.

Yikes! The funny thing is that all of those are actually funny to me. They’re funny because I start to feel them, and I think “Well… I don’t actually feel that way…. That must be false.” And I laugh, and power through, and carry on. Occasionally I have to make a mind-clearing phone call to Nena so she can repeat our mantra back to me: NOTHING BAD IS HAPPENING.

Persevere, my friends, is my word for this year. (I picked one a little late… the year’s more than half over.)

Wait, I don’t want this to be a “woe is me” post. I’m trying to emphasize that I am just plain happy! I’m the happiest I’ve ever been. I don’t know how many times I’ve said that this semester… I feel like every week that goes by helps me realize that more. Sometimes we get put through the ringer, and our hair is a little (or a lot) out of place, and our contacts are drying out and we feel like we can’t take another step…

And then we realize everything really is A-O-K!

This is my 1:07 a.m. face.

How does all of this relate? Let me give you (and myself) a little summary. It is, after all, now 1:10 a.m. and I’m getting more loopy by the second. But I really, really feel like that I’ve been pondering is important.

Summary:

  • Life is so, so good. All the parts of it. The hard parts and the weird parts and the oh-so-wonderful parts.
  • When times are slow-going, and evil/negative/mean/cruel external forces threaten our happiness and our determination, we ought to whistle while we work instead of whining while we…. don’t work? (I say “we,” but really I mean that I need to remember that.)
  • I want to work for what is real and authentic and peaceful. I choose that path. I hope you do too!
  • I AM SO, SO THANKFUL for every single thing that has happened to me — it has led me here. That is the cheesiest thing I’ve said on this blog to date, but it is 100% true.

In conclusion for tonight, I’m tired. And happy. And also shloopy (sleepy), too. Stay classy.

xoxo

How Can I Keep From Singing?

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First, allow me to preface this post. If you are reading this and you haven’t heard the following from me personally, I’m sorry. It’s nothing personal. Just know that I made the decision, and after I told my family, I told as many people as asked where my life was headed.

Also, this might be a sortof “religious” post. Sorry if that weirds you out.

I know, I know. Just play the song, Shneebly.

———————————————————————————–

“I will sing praises unto my God while I have any being.” Psalm 146:2

I’ve been talking about my plans a lot lately. In several posts, I have alluded to the plans I am making for my life. That they’re hard choices to make, that I’m confused, that I’ve received many a blessing and tender mercy to support me in this quest… all that stuff. So many times.

And a lot of you have been wondering (probably… possibly…) what those plans are. Or maybe you didn’t know before now that there were such plans.

Well, my friends, there’s no sense beating around the bush.

I have decided to serve a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

The picture I sent in with my papers!

Yikes!

That’s the first time I’ve said (or written) that whole thing out loud, in full.

I am going to serve a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints….

My dear roommate Lizzie bought me this Preach My Gospel last semester.

That feels good.

This decision has been a long time coming. Chelsea remembers me telling her before I was even baptized a member of the Church that I felt like I should serve a mission… which weirded both of us out, considering I wasn’t even LDS yet!

With that being said, I’ve never felt more thankful for Elder Nunley and Elder Watson for teaching me the discussions than I am right now.

Anyway. I’ve known for a long time.

Even when I was engaged, I knew that serving a mission would be a good path for me to take. I assumed that meant I would perhaps serve a couples’ mission later in life. When my life went a different direction than being engaged, I slowly began to realize that serving a mission is what the Lord intended for me.

Let us not be mistaken… I did not come to this decision easily. But I know it is the right choice for me. I know it is where I can find the most true joy and happiness. I know it will help me to become the person I want to be. It will help me become.

When I am making decisions, I often refer to “The Right Questions” by Debbie Ford.

The Right Questions:

  1. Will this choice propel me toward an inspiring future or will it keep me stuck in the past?
  2. Will this choice bring me long-term fulfillment or short-term gratification?
  3. Am I standing in my power or am I trying to please another?
  4. Am I looking for what’s right or am I looking for what’s wrong?
  5. Will this choice add to my life force or will it rob me of my energy?
  6. Will I use this situation as a catalyst to grow and evolve or will I use it to beat myself up?
  7. Does this choice empower me or does it disempower me?
  8. Is this an act of self-love or an act of self-sabotage?
  9. Is this an act of faith or is it an act of fear?
  10. Am I choosing from my divinity or am I choosing from my humanity?

When I have any sort of important decision to make, I look to these questions in prayer. If I want to make a decision… but I feel guilty about any of those answers… that’s usually an indicator that I am making the wrong choice.

Serving a mission will propel me spiritually toward an inspiring future.

Serving a mission will bring me long-term fulfillment in my life, in my future marriage and family, in my church callings, in everything.

Serving a mission is a hard decision to make and comes with many sacrifices — but I am standing in my power that I know it is right for me. 

Serving a mission is absolutely an act of faith — the act of fear would be to stay home. Fear of having no friends when I return, fear of having no family, fear of dying alone. Pessimistic, meaningless, useless fears that do nothing to my life force or my desire to constantly become better. A mission is an act of faith that God will bless me for serving Him and His children.

Serving a mission requires that I choose from my divinity and not my humanity. I have felt confirmation that this is the right choice — so I have no other choice but to move forward with it!

So, I’ve had my mission physical. I’ve been tested for tuberculosis and my blood test has come up nice and healthy! See:

We even went on a fun little photo shoot to take my picture for my mission papers! (click to enlarge it if you can’t read the captions)

And guess what! I just opened my mission call.

And guess where I’m going?

RICHMOND VIRGINIA.

And guess when I report to the MTC?

SEPTEMBER 12TH, 2012.

……which is in 69 days. But who’s counting?

So…… that’s exciting!!!!

xoxoxoxoxo
JL

My Papa

It’s hard to know what to get your dad for Father’s Day. The typical gifts like a tie, a new drill, a mug with my picture on it… that doesn’t really do my dad justice. I think those gifts are great… but I always feel like I never REALLY tell him how great he is.

So, this post is about some things my dad taught me.

1. My dad taught me to be kind.

I remember when I was a little kid… okay, I probably wasn’t that little. I was like 10. We were getting ready to go on a trip of some sort; I think we were heading to visit my sister in Jordan Valley.

In any case, we were fueling up and my dad noticed an elderly gentleman at the pump next to us was having trouble with his Albertson’s Preferred Savings Card (did that sound like a plug, or what?). He didn’t quite know how to use it and was getting visibly frustrated and even a little embarrassed. Before I knew it, my dad was rushing over to the man to help him out.

We didn’t have a lot of money growing up; we weren’t “poor,” but like most people buying gas was helped out a lot with those Albertson’s Preferred Points. I even have some vague awareness of my dad telling me how many he had gotten and that he was excited to use them.

I don’t know what my dad said. I don’t know what the older man said.  All I know is I saw my dad reach in to his wallet, pull out his own Savings Card, and slide it for the man he didn’t know. He was careful to show the older man how to do it and when to do it, so that next time he wanted to use his card he would be able to do so. The older man shook my dad’s hand and walked away smiling. When my dad got back in to our pickup, all he said was “That’s what it means to be a Wylie.”

Maybe this isn’t as incredible as I think it is… but let me tell you. With that simple act, my dad taught me to be kind and selfless and serving to everyone, even people you don’t know.

2. My dad taught me to laugh.

Maybe it’s the Cook in us. Maybe it’s that we’re short so we have to make up for it by being funny. But I submit that my dad is the funniest man I have ever met. Probably the funniest person I’ve ever met. When I picture my dad, I picture laughing with him. He makes everyone laugh around him. My dad has such a warm, welcoming laugh and smile that invites everyone around him to join in the joke.

This is one of my very favorite things about my dad, that he is so funny. When he gets around his 5 siblings, it is an absolute riot. Everybody is throwing their heads back, their mouths are open, and they are howling with laughter.

My dad has taught me to laugh.

 3. My dad taught me to love sports.

If you know my dad, maybe this one will make you chuckle a little. For as long as I can remember, we’ve been a Melba sports family. My dad coached as I grew up, taught me to love watching sports, and taught me to pace and jump around when the competition gets intense. I remember when I was a little kid, I loved Michael Jordan because my dad loved Michael Jordan. I thought it was awesome that Muggsy Bogues was so short an NBA player, because my dad was a short basketball player (sorry, Dad).

Just about everybody in Melba was coached by my dad at one point or another, in one sport or another. Basketball, football, softball, baseball… my dad did it all. I love feeling the adrenaline of competition… even if I’m not that athletic. Yes, I was a cheerleader. And my dad still loves me.

My dad is the coolest guy I’ve ever met.

He taught me how to work hard. He taught me how to have fun. He taught me to love Alien and Predator. He taught me to chew cinnamon gum and drink Diet Pepsi and eat all your food. My dad taught me to be a best friend, and to serve others and care for them, and to love with your whole entire heart.

My dad is my hero, the funniest guy I’ve ever met, and the standard against which every other guy is judged. I love my dad so, so much. He is so great.

Happy Father’s Day, pops. I love you!

“Catch Those Spring Days… We’ll Be Okay.”

TODAY IS DAY ONE!

(again).

I have this on my mirror, and I look at it every day:

“Patience is the companion of wisdom.”
– Saint Augustine

Patience is quite the game. Making plans while practicing patience is fun… you’re waiting, and waiting, and waiting, but you also have to keep working and working and working… it’s quite the game, indeed.

“Patience is waiting. Not passively waiting — that is laziness. But to keep going when the going is hard and slow; that is patience.”

Here’s another great quote on patience:

“Let nothing disturb thee; Let nothing dismay thee; All thing pass; God never changes. Patience attains all that it strives for. He who has God finds he lacks nothing: God alone suffices.”
– St. Teresa of Avila

Life is good.

Funk-ified (part 1)

Yes, I’m writing another two-part post. But it’s because it’s so late and I don’t have time to start what is going to be in part 2…

Before I drown my cold in Nyquil, I wanted to tell you a little story. I have so many stories… I’m sure you are tired of hearing about them.

BUT! For you few who keep saying, “Keep posting!” here is another story for you.

I’ve been in a little bit of a funk lately. This is the first I’ve been acknowledging it, because prior to tonight I’ve been fighting it with everything I have. I’ve been going full steam ahead and not really paying attention to the fact that maybe my soul was a little tired. Maybe I just needed a rest. Or a sleep. Or a chill pill. Or some patience. Or maybe just a few more mugs of peppermint tea.

I sound so dramatic sometimes! But isn’t that what a blog is for? To just spit out all the dramatic “truth” your heart is weeping so that your brain can tell you how logical (or illogical) it is?

But I digress. Where was I?

“I digress.”

Ah. My tired soul. You see, I’ve been working hard to learn, and to grow, and to become, and to work every single day to create and take baby steps toward the life I want to live.

But then I forgot to rest. I sortof rested between semesters… but as soon as I got back I just started running without even realizing it. I didn’t even realize I wasn’t resting and nourishing my soul until I went on a long, peaceful walk around Rexburg with a dear friend of mine.

We talked for a few minutes about what had been bothering me, but then we just walked around for a long time and talked about anything but that. We talked about what we believe and where we want to go and what we want to do and who we want to be. The more we talked, the more I realized that I had forgotten so many things about myself!

Where was I going?

How does that happen? How do we just forget the things that make us happiest, and that make our hearts go pitter-patter, and the things we need, and the kinds of people and thoughts and actions we want to surround ourselves with?

I don’t have the answer to that. I don’t know why we forget. It probably has something to do with how fast we try to go go GO, and that we try to use our own strength instead of relying on the source of our strength…

But what I do know is that it feels so great when you remember those things you forgot.

I remembered a lot of things…

I remembered that life is good! I have such a fire and passion for life and I don’t ever want to forget that. I remembered that I have dreams and dreams and dreams about what I want my life to be like, and that I’m working every day to get there. I remembered that I have hope that is bursting at the seams, and that I don’t ever want to lose that.

I remembered I love to create things… which will bring me to my next post. I don’t remember the last time I made something for MYSELF, not for a class or work or whatever… but because I LOVE TO HAVE PAINT ON MY HANDS AND DANCE AROUND WHILE I CREATE SOMETHING (and usually get it in my hair, too).

Life is good. Life is SO good. Remember back on Valentine’s Day, when I talked about gratitude? It’s okay if you don’t quite remember. You can read it here if you want…. and I hope you will. Anyway, I feel SUCH gratitude for my life today and the ESPECIALLY blessings in the lives of others.

Which brings me to my next point:

one of the coolest people I know. Nena will probably be embarrassed that I’m writing this about her… but I’m okay with that.

Here’s a picture from what we fondly recall to be “the good old days.” Me, Devin, Sarah, Nena, Cody, Norma, Andrea (where was Amber?)…. I haven’t seen most of those people in forever. Anyway.

The POINT of this picture is that Nena has always been such a good, loyal friend to me. No matter what. Even when I was a crazy little high schooler (and cheerleader). No matter where I was in my life, when Nena became my friend she became my soul sister.

I think I was a sophomore in high school here… this is when they graduated and we walked around Boise barefoot like the hooligans we were and jumped in fountains and yelled and sang and cried a little when it was over.

She taught me to literally breathe fire. Yeah. She’s pretty rad.

Powderpuff football, naturally.

Let’s fast forward. My 19th birthday!

Dallin, Jerrold (Me), Neenjie, Katie, and Tate.
Mission, BYUI, Grad School, married, Indiana.
Wow, I miss all these people!

Nena made me some delicious apple pies for me on my  birthday, a week after my baptism… I was going to post a picture from my baptism, but I don’t have ANY! Bummer. (If anyone has some, can you send them to me?) Anyway, I remember when I called Nena on her birthday…. even though I thought her birthday was the next day… to tell her I was getting baptized. She said that was the best birthday ever! I’ll take her word for it. Nena has always been such a great example to me on how to live.

She always, always, always makes the right choice. Always. It’s never a question for her. If someone needs help, Nena is there. I know that I can always call Nena and with all the loving kindness she has in her heart she will tell it to me like it is. I can call her to know nothing bad is happening, that life is going just as life goes — according to someone else’s plan. Nena has taught me so many things. Nena has taught me to not care (or to care less) about what other people think. Nena has taught me to BELIEVE even when things aren’t going like you hoped or planned or wished. Her faith is unshakable.

Nena taught me her wheys.

And among other things, Nena also taught me how to get past big, sweaty, angry metal heads in a mosh pit. I still don’t go in to the circle pits….. that’s just insanity….. but Nena taught me her wheys of navigating mosh pits at Warped Tour and beyond…. and even though she ALWAYS mentions the year when A.F.I. and NOFX were there at the same time (which was the year I couldn’t go)… I can’t WAIT for our Warped Tour miracle in just ONE WEEK!!!!!!!!!

This was taken last June, on my first trip to Rexburg. I visited the apartment that I now live in (but I didn’t know I would then)! I met all my Starfishes! That trip started an entirely new chapter in my life… and I’m thankful Nena was there to help a sister out.

My first trip to Rexburg last June… I don’t know what I’d do without her.

I feel like this was the summer that I basically lived at her house for like 6 weeks….. and we didn’t even get tired of each other! Wakeboarding is the beeeeest.

Nasty McNast-Nast — Lake Lowell!

And then we ACTUALLY lived together in Rexburg… I’m so thankful for Nena. I’m thankful she’s stuck by my side always, no matter what. I value loyalty above almost anything else…. and this girl is LOYAL! Also, she’s a genius that’s accepted in to graduate school to get her PhD at BYU!!!

She’s so smaaaaart.

Why am I posting all this? Because, friends, if anyone deserves to have the MOUNTAIN of blessings and blessings and blessings and MORE BLESSINGS poured out upon their heads, it is Nena Lundgreen. She works harder than anyone else I know to do what’s right and what she feels God wants for her; she won’t ever settle for less than what she deserves; and she is one of the most hilarious people I’ve ever known. Sometimes you just have to SHOUT to the rooftops how happy you are for your friends when they are getting the great and wonderful things they deserve…. and this is one of those times!!!!

Part 2 will come later today…. probably on Saturday…. and I’ll show you what my soul has been yearning for me to do.

XOXOXOXOXO
JL

Welcome to Idaho

I love this song.


And I love Idaho.

And I really love Melba:

And I love long drives to nowhere (like Rexburg):

I love summertime lake sunsets:

And I love Sonic…. especially the one by the Idaho Center.

I love my road trip partner:

And I love driving with my sun roof open:

I love non-Dudebros.

I love patience, and guidance, and patience and patience and patience.

“How poor are they that ha’ not patience!”

I love Shakespeare (and Trajan).

And I love the idea I’ve been toying with of taking another Facebook fast and never, ever going back…. Ever.

And I love you.

xoxo