Tuesday, December 16

Woah.

And then life exploded. Hello everybody! I'm still here, albeit a little flustered and confused about the speed at which time has been passing the last few months. I suddenly realized it was December when I turned 24 the other week.

Strange . . .

Does adulthood come when you have children? I mean, I'm 24. I feel like a teenager. I have friends who are married. They still kind of feel like teenagers. I have classmates who have a baby or two. They don't feel like teenagers at all. They feel like something else, apparently, which I can only assume is adulthood. But they seem to like it, so I'm not very afraid.

Ian and I are still on track to get married next year. We've pinned a time down to "early summer" whatever that really means (considering that "summer" for BYU students seems to start in April, the season we refer to as summer technically starts in June, and most of my life I've considered May to be the start of summer because it's traditionally been the start of vacation.) We're hoping to go to Cuba in July, so I personally hope it's all settled by then so I can have even more of an excuse to hang around someone who is fluent in Spanish.

If there's one good thing about waiting more than a year before getting married, it's that the nervous angsty side of you starts quieting down a little bit because the impatient, excited bit of you gets a chance to grow stronger as you learn more about your semi-quasi fiancĂ© and that he isn't perfect but you two can get along splendidly while also not always being perfectly ok with each other.

My hands smell like feta cheese.

Punchline, I still feel like a teenager, albeit a silly one that has decided to get married even though she doesn't feel like she could possibly be old or mature enough to take on such a commitment. But I guess that's what makes this entire endeavor so strange and interesting . . . 

Now I'm finishing up finals while helping Ian finish up applications. 

Here is where I may move next fall (in no particular order):

  1. Connecticut
  2. Indiana
  3. Illinois
  4. Wisconsin
  5. California (specifically near Los Angeles)
  6. Texas
  7. North Carolina
  8. New York
  9. Philadelphia
  10. New Jersey
  11. Massachusetts
Honestly? I have no idea what I'd prefer. I want Ian to be happy with the school he goes to. But each place sounds like an adventure (though frankly Wisconsin would be pretty cool just because I freakin would be living in my mission. Whaat?) 

I guess we'll see in the spring! There is, of course, a chance that he will not get into any of them and we will stay at BYU. Or, you know, fulfill all of his wildest dreams and go live in Mexico for a year or two and do some schooling there. Also an adventure. Maybe certain death. For sure a world of digestion issue. ;)

SO yeah, that's my life. Don't worry, I'm back on board with writing (I know you all missed me.)

Friday, October 31

Deep Thought

This is simply beautiful. I had to share. It's changed my life. :)

"I’m a Christian not because of the resurrection (I wrestle with this), and not because I think Christianity contains more truth than other religions (I think God reveals himself, or herself, in many forms, some not religious), and not simply because it was the religion in which I was raised (this has been a high barrier). I am a Christian because of that moment on the cross when Jesus, drinking the very dregs of human bitterness, cries out, “My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me?” (I know, I know: he was quoting the Psalms, and who quotes a poem when being tortured? The words aren’t the point. The point is that he felt human destitution to its absolute degree; the point is that God is with us, not beyond us, in suffering.) I am a Christian because I understand that moment of Christ’s passion to have meaning in my own life, and what it means is that the absolutely solitary and singular nature of extreme human pain is an illusion. I’m not suggesting that ministering angels are going to come down and comfort you as you die. I’m suggesting that Christ’s suffering shatters the iron walls around individual human suffering, that Christ’s compassion makes extreme human compassion—to the point of death even—possible. Human love can reach right into death, then, but not if it is merely human love.

"Such a realization should ease loneliness—even for the griever who is left alone; it should also, in time, help to propel one back into life. Nothing is served by following someone into a grave. Somehow, even deep within extreme grief, the worst pain is knowing that your pain will pass, that all the bright particulars of life that one person’s presence made possible will fade into mere memory, and then not even that. Consequently, many people fight hard to keep their wound fresh, for in the wound, at least, is the loss, and in the loss the life you shared. Or so it seems. In truth the life you shared, because it was shared, was marked by joy, by light. Cradled in loneliness, it becomes pure grief, pure shadow, which is a problem not simply for the present and the future, but for the past as well. Excessive grief, the kind that paralyzes a person, the kind that eventually becomes an entire personality—in the end this does not honor the love that is its origin. Is, not was: our dead have presence. You don’t need to believe in some literal heaven to feel the ways in which the dead inhabit us—for good, if we will let them do that, which means, paradoxically, letting them go.
“But the world’s evil,” cries out the woman in “Home Burial.” “I won’t have grief so / If I can change it. Oh, I won’t, I won’t.” She’s right: the world is evil, and grief is too little acknowledged and honored in our culture. But I have a feeling that I’m speaking here to people who, like this woman, are conscious of this fact and determined to resist it. I don’t know if the woman in “Home Burial” is pathological; I don’t think so. What I do know, or sense, is that within the love that once opened up the world to you—from the birth of a child to meeting your mate—is a key that can let you back into the world when that love is gone."
-Christian Wiman, in "Mortify Our Wolves", The American Scholar

Wednesday, October 8

How I Take Notes (As of a week ago . . .)

I feel like college is a never-ending quest to discover 1) how you learn best, 2) how to take notes that you will actually use, and 3) how to avoid procrastination.

Now, having been in college for . . . like 5 years (sigh), I have finally stumbled upon something that is actually working.

First, you need to find a flash card website. Personally, I favor Quizlet, but I know there are a ton out there so I don't suggest you have to go with Quizlet (though it is fantastic.)

You go to your lecture.

Every time you talk about a word, a concept, etc that you are unfamiliar with or that you will need to remember, create a flash card for it. (This where Quizlet is useful to me. If you buy the "plus" version, one of the features you gain access to is the auto-define feature, meaning you can auto-define any term using the quizlet database. Meaning, it will look for other sets made by other people that have used the same term and present you with a list of possible definitions that you can choose from. OR you can write your own. Either choice makes for quick notes.

I create a folder per class, and each day (or each subject, depending on the amount of information being presented) I create a new set of cards.

Following class, take a time or two and glance over your cards to review what you've learned. If you have trouble with any cards or you had any words you weren't able to clearly define, you know what you need to focus on a little more or what you need to study more carefully.

I do this with reading as well! As I read, I take notes in flash cards.

Then I don't have notebooks full of information that I won't readily go back and look at. My notes are in my phone. Heck, if I have a few minutes I can play a matching game to look over what we talked about in class the day before. Then when it's exam time, I can flip through my cards to see what I remember and what I don't.

This is still a beta-concept. Meaning, I've only just really started doing this. But let me tell you, my retention of each molecular biology has increased by 110%. Now I'm not just writing stuff down to review frantically during the few days preceding the exam. I'm actually learning and becoming fluent with concepts as I go.

So . . . comments? What has worked for you? Does this sound insane?

Wednesday, October 1

Update: Inadequate feelings do cause stress

A few posts ago I came up with a hypothesis about feeling inadequate and how I can basically maintain any schedule and provide any service as long as I feel adequate and competent.

THIS IS TRUE.

Being a pseudo-scientist (as we all are), I've been tracking stress levels since I wrote about this, and I am pleased to announce that, yes, I am only truly "stressed" when I feel inadequate.

Now that I write that, it is a no-duh.

But look, I have a pretty basic schedule right now. I work at various times throughout this, but work currently consists of sorting through dirt which, face it, is a mindless process.

I will highlight these days green or red depending on if I feel calm or stressed. (The strength of the color is also indicative of the level of discomfort.)

Monday
Genetics
Chemistry
Great Questions

Tuesday
Plant Bio
Chem Recitation

Wednesday
Genetics
Chemistry
Great Questions
Institute

Thursday
Plant Bio
Chem Recitation
D&D (sometimes.)

Friday
Genetics
Chemistry
Great Questions
Hang out with Ian

Saturday
Whatever needs to be done.

Sunday 
Church.

WOAH. So true! A few observations:

1- I feel inadequate in my science classes because I am playing catch up and I am surrounded by medical students. My great questions class is full of honors students who discuss philosophical concepts and extravagant ideas, etc. They are all very talkative, versatile, and experienced (or portray themselves as such.) Of course I'd feel stressed on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. 

Note, however, that while Monday is hard, Wednesday (and the prospect of teaching institute) make a substantial difference. I am immensely more stressed throughout the day because of the prospect of standing in front of my students and feeling basically ridiculous. 

But it's cool, I'm getting better at it. I estimate in a few weeks Wednesday levels will be closer to Monday levels.

Also, Fridays are hard, but the prospect of being with Ian (who has the power to make me feel perfectly adequate at everything) tempers it drastically.

Other days I feel basically calm. But playing D&D and going to church are things I am super confident about, so the whole day gets a bonus. 

So, anyone want to try this? It's interesting. You don't have to be weird like me. :)
I guess I need to do some things I find really easy and really enjoyable on Wednesday. Hmm . . .

Final note: I visit Facebook, blog, and Pinterest at random times. This doesn't seem to significantly impact anything for good or bad. (Though if I spend too much time doing them inadequacy sets in because I am not using time wisely . . . which OBVIOUSLY is something only inadequate people do.)

Life!

Also, now you all have a pretty good guide for when to ask me for stuff. Haha, who'd have thought? I wish my professors had this guide. XP


Tuesday, September 30

Puppies and Brothers

This conversation happened today. I try to relay to friends and relatives what exactly it is like to have William and Andrew for older brothers. This really shows it for me. Enjoy. :)

Emma: I'm renting a puppy for Sunday at puppiesforrent.com
E: This one.















...
E: No puppy feedback?

Andrew: Falcor! Dread Lord of The High Order!!!

E: He's so DANG CUTE!!!

Beth: Wait, you are getting a puppy?

A: She is. Puppy prostitution is a real thing.

B: 0.o

A: Well you can't afford to keep him.

E: He's totally not a prostitute. :( He's adorable. I'm just renting!!

A: Just leave his money on the dresser. And cab fare.

E: Grrrr...

B: Em, I think puppies need way more attention than you have time to give. :/

A: Haha she's just renting.

E: I'M NOT BUYING!!

A: It's a trick. You rent them and then you can't bear to give them back! Ha

B: Ha true :) how long would you have him?

A: Also. Falcor is such a rad name.

E: There are hardly any slots to even rent. They are all full, and you have to apply to adopt after renting and its first come first serve basis on qualified applicants.
E: I'll have him for 2 hours.

B: Yeah, I feel like someone in this family needs a pet named Falcor.

A: But not a bird. No birds.

E: STAHP! Falcor is mine.

A: He is... for 2 hours.

E: Yup. Then NEXT Sunday I'm renting this one.
















A: Then I'm naming Will's 4th born Falcor!

E: NO!! FALCOR IS MY NAMEEEEE!!!

B: False. Just for 2 hours.

E: STAHP IT!!!

A: How much is the rent?

You added William Black to the conversation.

B: Will, you need to name your next child Falcor.

E: Hahahahahah KEEP HIM OUT OF THIS!

B: Too late I invited him to the convo. I think. Not sure how that works.

E: $15 for the first hour, add $5 every extra 30 mins. My friend is going in on it with me.

A: It says you did. Whether he's grateful or not remains to be seen.

E: DON'T STEAL MY NAME WILL!!

A: That sounds fun.

B: Yeah Em. Do it. :)

A: What do you have planned for your puppy play date?

E: We are going up to Sundance to play and take cute pics...

A: I'm gonna do that for a date with a girl.

E: Puppies are better than relationships. I'm going to have puppy date night once a week since Brok's not here to date.

B: Haha are you going to tell him.

E: No. :| He gets jealous. Not Brock... falcor.

A: I knew what you meant.

B: ?

E: I <3 puppies.

Will: I'm bothered. And I didn't get the first part of this so I'm confused too. I am in law school so I can deduce that Emma broke up with Brock and is now dating a guy or girl named falcor who looks like a bichon frise, but beyond that I don't know what you're talking about.

B: Oh sorry! Haha, Emma is renting a puppy named Falcor.

W: Renting?

B: Yep. For 2 hours. We liked the name Falcor though and would like it to remain in the family.

A: It's immoral. Borderline prostitution.

E: :(

W: When?

E: Sunday.

W: Wtfetch Emma?

B: I think it's a cool idea. :) Kind of expensive to do it regularly though...

W: You better take it to a nursing home at least.

A: Of all days.

W: Can you dye it's fur?

E: No Will!!! He's perfect the way he is!!

A: He has a lazy eye though.

W: No rental is perfect.

E: He does not have a lazy eye!!

W: Is he vaccinated?

E: Yes sir.

W: What kind of puppy is it?

A: Canine.

W: Oh for cute!!!!!!!

E: 
















W: Oh Emma! You don't see what this is?!

E: I know EXACTLY what it is. Hahaha.

W: You'll break its heart? What if ppl went to orphanages and rented kids for the day. Just to see. Except the kids were too dumb to know it wasn't permanent?

E: He gets rented all day every day!!

W: And he gets his heart ripped out every time they put him back in his CAGE and he never ever sees his "new mommy" ever again. I don't want to tell you about the lasting effects on his self esteem and sense of self worth.

A: I wonder how these dogs develop socially. What kind of identity will he have?

W: Further, he's gonna start going to greater lengths to achieve approval from others in hopes that eventually someone will actually want him for more than his body.

E: STAAAAAAHHHPPPPPP!!!!!!!!!!!!! I'd keep him but Brock will get mad! D:

W: No Emma. You stop. You. Stop!

A: So the truth comes out.

W: Gotcha.

E: D: I want him!!!!

W: Got her. He wants you too.

E: NOW YOU'RE MESSING WITH MY HEAD!!!!!

B: Woah. What have I done.

W: Hi Beth

A: Stop running from your feelings.

E: :( How do you leave group messages...

Emma Black left the conversation. 4:00 PM

New iMessage 4:00 PM

W: Same way you leave a puppy after raising his hopes. Drop him. Hard and fast.

E: OH MY!!!! I'M BEING HELD HOSTAGE!

W: I think it's a good idea Em. They should do this with orphans. And refugees.

E: I just wanna puppy for 2 hours... :(

W: Yeah some ppl just want a kid for 2! No commitment, no responsibility.  I totally agree.

A: puppy>human

W: Oh. Right I forgot.

A: monkey>human

W: Haha. Higher standards.

E: ABORT ADOPTING FALCOR!!!!! AAAABBBOORRTT!!!!! Does anyone remember what movie that name is from?!

B: Neverending Story?

E: Yes!!!!! EW!!!

W: 















E: Ahhh!!! I want him!!!!!

W: I'll rent him to ya.

E: By the time he is shipped from Iowa... He'll be dead.

W: How do you know that

A: Haha was that a jab at the postal service em?

E: Yes. Yes it was.

A: Well done!

B: Haha. Cool. So... Verdict?

E: Uhm... undecided.

W: Yeah it's a toss up. If I send him by USPS he'll almost certainly die. But he's so cute!

A: I still vote monkey.

W: Monkeys are survivalists. They could be shipped.

A: Easy.

E: Just get me a baby pet here by Sunday.

Fin

So, thoughts? Similar feelings? Older brother woes? :) Frankly, now that I'm older I realize that they way they tease beyond fairness is one of my favorite things about them.


Tuesday, September 23

The 11th Virgin

The Book of St Matthew, Chapter 25


https://www.cctvcambridge.org/sites/default/files/imagefield/virg.jpg

Verse 1: "Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps and went forth to meet the bridegroom.
Verse 2: "And five of them were wise, and five were foolish [ . . . ]
Verse 5: "While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept."

The iPhone tone "silk" begins to twinkle through the room.
I struggle awake and lean down to the floor to switch the alarm off.
With a stretch, I turn over and accidentally kick my stinky dog. She grunts but remains asleep.

Sunday. Go back to sleep, says my brain.

Internally, I sigh with contentment. Today is the temple dedication. Therefore, I don't have to be anywhere until 10.

Verse 6: "And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him.
Verse 7: "Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps."

I glance blearily at the window. Somehow, the rainy gray shining through is more lovely than anything I've seen for days. I look back at my phone. It's 8:00. I stretch again, roll out of bed, and go upstairs to shower. With the morning ahead, I am in no hurry.
A luxurious 20 minutes later, I am eating breakfast and doing my hair.

Verse 8: "And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out.
Verse 9: "But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you."

I shrug on some comfortable church clothes and start reading my scriptures. I'm in lazy sunday morning mode. The rain continues to drizzle outside, and I feel light.  I send a text to Ian:

9:18 AM "Did you want to come?"
9:22 AM "Oh poop. I just woke up. Let me see if I can hurry."
9:23 AM  "K bro."

I run upstairs to find my mom ready and (slightly) dismayed. Apparently Moroni is on his computer, undressed.

"Aren't we supposed to be seated a half hour early?" she asks worriedly.
I run downstairs and look at my recommend. Indeed, it requests that all be seated 30 minutes early. The service will begin on the hour, the doors will shut, and no one will be allowed in after.

I run upstairs again, this time with a Clif bar. Mum leaves, and I tell her not to wait.

Verse 10: "[ . . . ] the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut."

9:33 AM
Ian: "Are you still at your house, bro?"
Me: "Yeah bro."
9:37 AM
Ian: "Jk, my car has no gas. I'm just going to the church by my house."
9:38 AM
Me: "Boo. We can drive to you..."
9:38 AM
Ian: "Just go without me. Ttyl I am about to go in."

I run upstairs. Moroni is dressed and ready minus an impressive mop of hair. I hand him the Clif bar, suggesting he have it for breakfast.

He goes into the bathroom to do his hair.
He comes down the stairs.
We leave the house in a rush, locking the door behind us.
It's raining.

"Oh!" I look down at my white shirt, realize some untoward implications, and turn to try the door. It's quite locked." Moroni shrugs and heads off into the rain at a light jog. I start after him, my heels clonking. Immediately I take them off and we sprint - me barefoot - towards the church. Moroni is scarfing down his breakfast.

Verse 11: "And afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us."

We arrive. The wind is crazy. My skirt is blowing around. My feet are covered in bits of wet plant and who knows. I shove them into my heels and we rush in. Dripping stingy wet hair plasters my face. We are both out of breath.

Ushers are waiting. One, obviously the elder, looks disapprovingly at me. I hope he didn't see my skirt blow up. He takes my recommend and examines it. Moroni is behind me.

The second usher, slightly younger, looks highly entertained. His kind eyes glimmer delightedly. I smile at him and he grins back.

Verse 12: "But he answered and said..."

"Alright, go on in." Usher 1 hands back my recommend. I walk over to the doors. I see mum. She saved us seats despite all doubt.

We settle in and wait.
It is about to start.

"The bridegroom looked the virgin over with amusement. 
"We are so happy you got here in time," he smiled, at last embracing her. "Come inside, we will find you some dry clothes."
"Sorry I am so late, I didn't realize we had to be there 30 minutes early and I was trying to work out meeting up with someone but it didn't' work out and-"
"No matter, all is well." He ushered her inside. "You look lovely."

Thursday, September 18

A Relatable Post?

I am neither analytical enough to be a scientist,
nor fluid enough to be a philosopher.

I am neither pensive enough to study the arts,
nor confident enough to create them.

I am neither empathetic enough to be a teacher,
nor persistent enough to be a student.

I am neither precise enough to be a cook
nor complex enough to engineer.

I am neither passionate enough to be a historian
nor observational enough to be a sociologist.

You get the idea.

But, I am analytical enough to enjoy science.
Fluid enough to absorb philosophical ideas.

Pensive enough to wish I could study the arts.
Confident enough to create art . . . for myself.

Empathetic enough to try to teach . . . when I get the opportunity.
Persistent enough that I want to be a student forever . . . although I will never be a really good one.

I am precise enough to create reasonably good food.
Complex enough to appreciate and get excited about engineering.

Passionate enough to study history in spastic bursts of enthusiasm.
Observational enough to question as a sociologist does and then lament lacking the necessary skills to seek answers.

I like to float along. Absorb a little here, a little there.

Because I am nothing strongly, I am everything vaguely.
I experience sudden, powerful addictions that suddenly fade.

But they remain, like scabs. And when I am not paying attention suddenly I am addicted again, acting against reason to pick at them. Gross, but accurate.

I don't have the time. I need to focus. I need to become somebody and benefit society.
If I follow one track, my heart secretly pouts because I am ignoring the others.

Call it what you like, multiple pursuit disorder or something.
This is why I am the way I am. And this is why I will never be satisfied.

-Beth

p.s. I wrote this to practice my ellipses because despite Grosland and various English teachers correcting x amount of papers and each time pointing out how to do them properly, I still suffer from incorrect-ellipses-syndrome. Woe is my ellipses . . .


Wednesday, September 17

Inadequacy (Another rant and/or attempt to understand myself.)

I'm beginning to recognize a pattern of stress in my life. I used to think it was all about my workload, a result of having too many things to do at once. At the same time, I have often recognized that one of my favorite ways to live is to have many diverse responsibilities and opportunities.

In fact, I need the resulting level of "comfortable stress" that this way of life brings. I thrive on it, I accomplish more, I feel better about myself, and I don't focus on the negative aspects of my life.

So why do I go into phases of intense stress? Is it because the work load tips over the edge? Just 0.009 mm beyond my breaking point? Do I really live in such a way that I am always hovering near "too much"?

Today I finally realized what causes stress for me. It is when I feel inadequate.

I make an accident in an experiment. I get a poor result in an exam. I don't understand a concept we're covering in class. I feel poorly about how I am performing at my calling. I'm trying to apply to programs for grad school and my qualifications are repeatedly scraping "barely adequate" because I am trying to skip a Masters and go straight into a PhD.

STRESS.

Now, as far as I can tell, life requires us to recognize our weaknesses and learn to overcome or cope with them; we learn to rely on God more and to allow his grace to show through our inadequacies and teach others of their potential.

So... I guess there's not much I can do.

I mean, I am following a non-medical biological track at BYU. Guaranteed that there are feelings of inadequacy in store. I already feel like I'm out of my league. But I love what I'm learning and, even if I am not the best, I want to learn it. So that's good.

What I need to do, I suppose, is to focus on my success. I mean, this entire situation is a secular replication of my mission. In order to function appropriately as a missionary, you have to learn to accept correction while still recognizing and appreciating your capability.

Sister Bastian would always quote: "You're doing so much better than you think. But you can also always do better than you are."

I need to remember this. And keep trying.

Frankly, understanding this might help. I don't need to blame stress on my way of life (which isn't something I can easily change) but I can blame it appropriately on my attitude (something I know I can adjust.) I guess I have more control than I thought...

p.s. Haters gon' hate, but here's my Christmas countdown chain. :)

Sorry, I just love Christmas. And this Christmas marks the end of a really stressful period for me, so I have more reasons than ever to look forward to it...

Sunday, September 7

Sunday Thoughts

I am prepping for my institute lesson on Wednesday. (Ian and I are teaching a class about the Book of Mormon to the Springville "Young Adults" every week.) Needless to say, I am very nervous. Despite teaching on a daily basis for a year and a half, I still dislike standing up in front of people and speaking from my heart about what I believe.

Anyways, we'll see how it goes. 0_o I can't believe how lucky I am to teach with Ian. I'd been praying for ways to increase the depth of spiritual discussion and focus in our relationship (which is generally really hard due to both of us being school-a-holics) and I consider this calling an answer to those petitions. Funny how directly we can receive answers sometimes...

This week we are discussing the introduction and the testimonies of the witnesses. I was reading through some stuff about the experiences the witnesses had, and I came across this awesome quote from the History of the Church by Joseph Smith:


"...we beheld a light above us in the air, of exceeding 
brightness; 
and behold, an angel stood before us. In his hands he held the plates which 
we had been praying for these to have a view of. He turned over the 
leaves one by one, so that we could see them, and discern the engravings 
thereon distinctly. He then addressed himself to David Whitmer, and 
said, 'David, blessed is the Lord, and he that keeps His commandments;' 
when, immediately afterwards, we heard a voice from out of the bright 
light above us, saying, 'These plates have been revealed by the power 
of God, and they have been translated by the power of God. 
The translation of them which you have seen is correct, and I 
command you to bear record of what you now see and hear.'" 
(History of the Church, 1:54-55)

Isn't that beautiful? I can't help but think of the few (private) but powerful instances when I have been told, perhaps not in words, that the Book of Mormon has been revealed by the power of God.

Obviously I am not a perfect witness, nor a perfect scholar of the Book of Mormon. But I am grateful to teach and learn about it more this next semester. I have a testimony that it is true and that, most importantly, the experience of studying the Book of Mormon will draw you closer to God. It testifies of Christ with perfect purity and directness. It is precious to me.

Well, wish me luck!

-Beth

Wednesday, August 27

My Life

Things I needed to accomplish once I got home from work today (in order of priority):

1-Finish and submit my abstract for a presentation in Long Beech.
2-Study the scriptures and my institute manual for 30 minutes.
3-Do my laundry.
4-Study a chapter of my molecular biology textbook.
5-Do 30 minutes of GRE study.
6-Eat dinner.

Things I accomplished once I came home from work today:

1-Planted my baby tree.
2-Wandered around the back yard planning out what we're going to do before winter to prepare everything for our renovations next year.
3-Visited with my relief society president.
4-Watched Good Mythical Morning (2 episodes).
5-Ate dinner.
6-Ate second dinner when Moroni came home with pizza.
7-Ate a bowl of ice cream while attempting to study my institute manual.
8-Frantically edited and sent off my abstract when I suddenly remembered..
9-Tried to study again but got distracted with Facebook (posting about gratitude), Pinterest (looking for egg roll recipes), and Instagram (no good reason).
10-Made a video and sent it to Emma.
11-Studied for a few more minutes.
12-Wrote this blog post.

Speaking of which, I'd better go throw in my laundry.

For those of you with pets, do you ever put your glass of water on the ground and then the pet in question comes over, laps up a bit of it, and then wanders away? GAH. The whole glass is wasted!

Have a good week!

-B.

Sunday, August 24

Temples

Marriage is on the horizon. Meaning... if there is a place between the "steady dating" phase and the "engaged" phase, I'm somewhere in there. We have discussed it often and both plan on it, refer to it, and look forward to it. But, for several reasons, we are taking some time and waiting until next year.

I'm always trying to get Ian to plan things out with me, but it's hard to get a good discussion going because, to him, it's far enough off that things like grad school applications and school need to be discussed more regularly at present. Details (such as where we would have a reception, how we could announce it, etc) can be decided when the time comes.

Being a woman, I don't like this.

But there's not much I can do about it. He is pretty stubborn. And preoccupied with some pressing deadlines.

Lately, however, I've pried enough to open up the topic of temple choice.

I've never had a real preference on temple choice. I really liked the look of the Provo City Center. But it isn't likely to be finished by next summer, so it's not a likely option. Most of my life I've vaguely hoped that my husband-to-be would have a preference and make the decision. Little did I know that I would get my wish and, as they say, I should have been more careful about what I wished for.

It seems like his preferences so far are these:

1) Not in Utah.
2) Mexico.
3) If not Mexico, somewhere far enough away that only people who really care about us will make the trip, AND a temple that we both like the outward appearance of (for pictures, of course. Isn't that wicked?)
Albuquerque is only an 8 hour drive away, right?

*sigh*

My poor family.

So, thoughts? He is being a tease about the whole thing, but part of me thinks he is serious and he really would love to go away somewhere for more of a private experience. I can't decide how I feel about the whole thing. Part of me has always wanted to go away somewhere dramatic, but I can't help but think about the cost and the number of people who wouldn't be able to come...

Saturday, August 16

Let's just get to fall already.

Seriously. I just got my FIRST email from my FIRST professor. The suspense is killing me. And it already looks horrible.

Just a quick summary (as usual):

Jazz Dance Technique
Gettin my dance back on so I won't be as lazy as a bum. I took basic jazz previously so I figured it wouldn't hurt to try out a higher level class.

Grad School Prep
This fall also brings the horrors of grad school application. Ian and I will be pushing our way through several school applications and we agreed that this class might be a way to push ourselves to focus on said applications despite the craziness of school. Plus, I get to take a class with him. :) Go figure.

Great Questions Tutorial
There are several requirements for honors graduation. Besides a "service learning" opportunity and writing/defending a thesis, you need to either do an extensive great works project (lots of culture and summary of said culture) or you can do a "great questions essay" which we will prepare and write in this class. Pretty much you need to ask a "great question" and spend the semester trying to answer it. I'm thinking of examining the relationship mankind has with nature/the land. Thoughts please?

Molecular Biology
Pretty much my "pre-genetics" course. One of my friends (who is doing her masters right now) said she could begin teaching me how to sequence DNA. I'm going to shadow her over the next few months. SO cool! In addition to this class, I hope my understanding of genetics will increase dramatically this semester. I'm so interested, particularly as we will be working with DNA for my thesis project! 

General College Chemistry
Yep. Here goes nothin. BYU's chem classes are notoriously pain-in-the-bum because of all the pre-med students taking it. I guess. Poor little ol' plant loving me gets the stick again.

Plant Classification and Identification
Pretty self explanatory. I get the feeling there will be a lot of memorization here. 

So yeah. I'm excited and afraid of what this semester will bring. I'm going to be pushing 17 credits while finishing/defending my thesis and applying for grad school. AUGH. But this is going to be awesome. I'm so excited at the prospect of starting a PhD program! Hopefully I can get my work together....


Sunday, August 3

Incentives

What-ho?

A few months ago I was called to be on the "Family History Committee" in my ward. It's a tricky calling, because you always feel like you are calling everyone (yourself included) to repentance.

And for good reason! We need family history badly! We need the blessings it offers desperately in the world today.




Because studying our family history and going to the temple is such a powerful protection from the adversary it seems like it is the one time that people don't understand, don't want to do, or cannot find time to do. ESPECIALLY young single adults. We're at a point in life when we feel like we're super busy (even though we don't fully grasp what busy means) and pretty much always overwhelmed. (Again, I like to think I am busy and overwhelmed. But let's be real here, I don't have anyone to take care of but myself. My time is pretty much my own.)

SO when someone at church pulls out the family history guns, we might feel immediately overwhelmed because it seems like we're being asked to take on an insurmountable task along with all our other duties and responsibilities.

At least, that's how I feel sometimes.

So here is my family history accessibility system. :) I thought I'd share it with you. It works for me (or it has thus far) and I've been sharing it with the members that have come to our class. Please adapt it for your needs. Remember, it's not so much the quality of your research. It's time desire you have and the time you put in. And the Lord will help you. Rememer Elder Scott's message in 2012?

1. Set a goal. 

Some people set goals like... taking x number of names to the temple, etc, which is awesome! Personally, I am motivated by time goals. For example, even though I'm busy with school, I've set a goal of doing one hour of family history every Sunday. At least one. (Frankly, I usually find something interesting and keep doing it for a few hours beyond that, but one hour is less intimidating.)

2. Create a log.

This is a way to make sure you are keeping your goal. :) Here is what mine looks like:


This has the added bonus of motivating you to keep up the hour a week, as well as helping you keep track of what you were working on so you can pick up where you left off. :) Remember, we are a record keeping people.

3. Communicate with your family.

Try to find a starting point. There is a lot to be done, EVEN if you're like me and you feel like all your work has been done back to Adam. Figure out who the "family history buffs" are in your family and talk with them! They can point you in the right direction. Or if no one is, you will probably find someone else who wants to start working on it as well. You can support each other. :)

4. Come up with a list of family history activities/ideas you are interested in or enjoy.

This is the hardest step because you are setting up how you will use your hour (or whatever) a week. Draw from what you discussed with your family in step 3.

For example, my Aunt Stacy has recently assigned out several lines to different family members to research! I think it's such a good idea. Or if you are intimidated, you can just spend an hour getting familiar with your family or with the church website: https://familysearch.org/.

The value in family history isn't just in hunting down names so you can do their work in the temple (though that is awesome!), it also lies in becoming familiar with your ancestors. You can literally just pick a family and start looking for information about them. Try to collect their records from family search or simply google their name! (I've found LOADS of info doing this. Just type their name in quotation marks e.g. "isabella sim" and either their spouse's name in quotations, or their birth date, or any other identifying information, and you may just find more than you expected. Stories, pictures, even books that they have been mentioned in! SO COOL.)

I mean, yay, they are in the database and their work is done. But do you even know who they are?! If you look at family history this way, it is much more accessible and also nEveR EnDInG!!!

And then sometimes I don't feel like I have the umph to do much at all. But you can always do a bit of indexing. :) That's like... the same level of effort and desire that it takes to play around Pinterest for an hour. And remember what Elder Scott says about THAT:

So, if you needed some ideas or incentive I hope I have helped. I offer my witness that one of the great purposes of technology is for the pursuit and examination of our histories and our ancestors. When I am actively setting and keeping goals to work on my family history I am happier, and I stronger, and the Spirit is more evident in my life. As Elder Scott says, you will feel wonderful.


Loves!

-B.

Monday, July 28

Repentance and Mission Planners

Last week I bought a new RM planner.

For those of you who haven't seen them, they are available in the BYU bookstore for all those sad lonely returned missionaries (like, I admit, I often still am.)

Feeling particularly crummy, I made a decision that I needed to set some goals and return a bit to the "missionary lifestyle", not just in the degree of gospel-sharing and charitable-ness, but in the routine and what I used to call the "care and keeping of disciples" type of stuff.

So I got a planner.



Somehow, having a planner makes you feel like you matter again. Like your choices aren't just yours. Like you have the capacity to waste valuable time and you shouldn't. Isn' that strange? That might just be how I am, I haven't asked other missionaries. So I started filling it out and putting down goals. Some for exercise, some for eating and budgeting, some for temple attendance, and some for scripture study.

I already felt way better, haha.

This morning I woke up and felt like I'd rather die than go for a jog.

But I remembered that I had written it in my planner and I needed to trust my yesterday-self. So I got up and went jogging-something I haven't found the desire or time to do since April. :)

Now I have sat down to begin studying the scriptures for a bit-like REALLY study them. Write down my thoughts. Focus on a topic. I haven't done this since probably April either... at least not regularly. And man did it feel good. :) The topic I had written in my planner (yes, there is a space for study topics) was "repentance".

As I opened my study notebook and glanced at my last entry (June 1st) I realized that I was repenting. Heck, in a way, by beginning to exercise again I was repenting as well haha. Too often we view repentance as something difficult and reserved for others. We might not feel like we deserve to. But as you return to an active lifestyle (spiritual or otherwise) the Lord is with you. He wants to help because he knows that you've been a little lazy and it's hard to get started again and to keep it up. You'll get discouraged. You'll have to overcome some obstacles you've gained since you stopped. But it's always doable. You just have to be consistent and rely on those around you. :)

Yeah, it's been a while. But it doesn't matter. Because you're trying again. And that shows your faith. And He will meet you at whatever point you can make it to. :)

Saturday, July 12

Betty Ford Alpine Gardens

Colorado was beautiful. Seriously. I fell in love with the rocky forested wilderness that we drove through each day. :) Our last night (and sabbath) we spent in Vail, CO. Vail is sort of a "Park City" of Colorado... sort of a ski resort. Ian's family has a timeshare in a condo, so we got to spend a day with them.

Sunday I had some time to myself, and I took the opportunity to go discover the Betty Ford Alpine Gardens, which I had heard about and never seen.

It was lovely. Just thought I'd share some of my favorites!




















Friday, July 11

All Lies...

Haha, once again, I've been traveling. So much for goal setting and the like.

I just want to take a second and mention how happy I am. With Ian. :)

(NOTE: Sorry if you find this mawkish. Mawkish is a GRE word. I am trying to use my vocabulary and this is one of those sorry attempts.)

When all is said and done, I feel really peaceful about him. Things keep trying to get messy and complicated, but every time I get all tied up I go to him and we are able to fix things and re-set.

He is helping me to learn how to do the one thing I fear most-to ask for help. To ask to have my needs fulfilled and made a priority. How is he doing this when no one else can?

He is patient. He is encouraging and persistent. He asks me to speak my mind and gives me opportunities to do so. And when I do, he responds by validating me and my worry or frustration. I feel like the one great difficulty I could ever have in a marriage would be the way I harbor anger and frustration as I have always tended to do to those with whom I associate. But somehow Ian keeps that door open and helps me to filter it out where it can do little harm.

I feel as though a part of me is healing...

Tuesday, July 1

Epic Fail with Purpose

Sorry, my desire to blog has been hampered by my camping experiences lately. :) Last week I got to camp in the La Sal Mountains with my dad's side of the family for a reuinion. Lovely time!! Sorry, most of the pics are of my nieces. I'm a little obsessed... Anyways. And this week I'm heading down south to Mesa Verde with Ian and two of his brothers. :) We will loop down through there and then up to Black Canyon, Hanging Lake, and Vail for a relaxing stay at his family's time-share condo. Here's hoping I can take the 20 hours of driving!

-Beth
Teagan and her daddy.

Such a beautiful area! This is right by our campsite at Warner campgrounds.

Hiking trail. :)

Teag after she "fell" into the lake. (Pretty sure she jumped in, but we will pretend.)

My uncle Jim and his wife Jalaine with Kim and Kenny.

Gracie in her element.

Teag being a smurf. She just kept coming back to our fire pit with more and more blue. Her poor mum. 

Google made this for me haha. Gracie eating grapes. :)

Sunday, June 22

Being Quiet

I'm a mumbler. (Yes, Sister Jones, you brought this to my attention multiple times.)

Well, not totally a mumbler.

But I am quiet. Like...

There are many Beths in the world, shy and quiet, sitting in corners till needed, and living for others so cheerfully that no one sees the sacrifices till the little cricket on the hearth stops chirping, and the sweet, sunshiny presence vanishes, leaving silence and shadow behind.

Not to say I live for others so cheerfully as Beth from Little Women. But when I was little I found this quote and decided that I wanted to be like this. To be quiet and helpful and not to draw attention to myself. I don't know if this weird connection has anything to do with how quiet I am now, but it's all I can think of.

The problems with being quiet include having to repeat yourself multiple times, being reminded by your mission president remind you every time you meet with him that you must pray loudly enough for him to hear, and not being recorded properly when you are in movies.

There are others. ;)

Are any of you quiet? Or are any of you loud and would like to tell about the problems with being loud? Life is ridiculously difficult.

I'm just plugging along with school. Now that I want to go to graduate school, I need to take the dreaded GRE. According to Ian, successful GRE-takers study for 5 hours or so every day leading up to their test (and, yes, this is his goal.) The idea of studying ANYTHING for 5 hours a day makes me gag, and I guess I might not but up for grad school at all if that's the case. ;) So I'm going to give it 1-2 hours a day depending on my mood and see how far that gets me.



Wednesday, June 18

Grad School Woes


Aw shucks, I didn't get this done in time for Wednesday. I can be flexible, though. ;)

Source

Ian is a scholarly fellow. He is excited to get his PhD and be a professor. This summer is he preparing to take the GRE and then to apply to grad schools in the fall. He's narrowed down his choices, including the following:

Yale
UNC-Chapel Hill
Duke
Northwestern
UCLA
John Hopkins
etc.

This list terrifies me for a few reasons. One, if we indeed get married next summer, his acceptance to one of these colleges will determine where I go to live, what kind of living conditions we'll be in, etc. As we discuss these potential outcomes, Ian keeps prodding me to apply to graduate school myself.

Now, I'm all for grad school. I really want to get a PhD myself and do research with students. It's sort of a new dream of mine. But even as he kept suggesting I apply, I felt myself getting very defensive and resentful of the whole idea.

Why?

I dunno.

Maybe it's the fact that no matter where I get accepted (or even IF I get accepted), I want to put his needs and acceptance first. So it feels like a waste.

Maybe it's the fact that I am terrified of the GRE and the monstrous load of molecular, microbiology, genetics, and chem I need to take in the next year to be barely qualified.

Maybe I'm afraid of failing.

Maybe I'm afraid of starting a program and then having to stop halfway through because of starting a family or needing to have a job, or whatever.

There are so many unknowns.

I started looking at other options. Just waiting until I knew for sure where he was going. Trying to apply next year instead. Or maybe going in a completely different direction. Teaching science in high school or working in a pathology department for a landscaping division.

I feel really lost. All I know is that I really love what I'm doing now. The research I get to do each week is really fulfilling! I've never felt this way about any job or any activity I've been involved in. I want to keep doing it. I'm excited for each new prospective project.

Should I take the plunge?