Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Christmas 2015.

God is really good to me. It's kind of overwhelming--in the best way.

My first flight from California to Louisiana was delayed, and I ended up missing my connecting flight. There were no other flights leaving to any airport in Louisiana that night. I was stuck in L.A. Alone. Being the chicken that I am (and also having just taken a women's studies class that focused heavily on rape and sex trafficking) I was soooooo not okay with staying in the scary city all by myself. I had a little freak out/breakdown. Looking back, it's pretty laughable. I was totally fine. But in the moment, I was just not having it. It all worked out in the end. I found a flight to Indianapolis and Grandma and Ron rescued me by picking me up in the wee hours of the morning with very little warning. But here's the thing: it was exactly what I needed.

Everyone warned me that the first Christmas post-mission can be hard. Let's face it, there is nothing better than celebrating Christmas by serving Christ. Nothing. It was a tender mercy to be reminded that I don't need a missionary tag in order to be His hands. He knows where He needs me and when He needs me there. I just have to trust that and be willing. I needed to be on the specific flights I ended up on. I needed the lessons I learned from my seatmates, and hopefully they were blessed by our association as well. God is so good.

The extra day in Indiana meant I got extra Grandma time, which obviously rocked. It also meant I got to Skype into the Christmas festivities back home for the 3rd year in a row--just like on the mission :) The fam-bam traveled up to Indiana for Christmas Eve and Christmas day. There is just something special about Christmas at Grandma's. My heart is so happy.

Great-grandma Marge

Awkward family photo.
Strangely reminiscent of the time we all tried to pile on to one pool floatie.

These little lovebirds <3

...oh well.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015


There are a lot of things to like about California:

1. Josh & Jordana. I FINALLY got to meet my cute new sister-in-law. Just in case you aren't aware, she is wonderful. She is so easy to love. And boy oh boy does Josh love her. It's the most beautiful thing. My heart is FULL of GRATITUDE for being able to spend time with them. I am very blessed in the family department.

2. Kugel and Lilly - Josh & Jordana's furry babies. They liked me, so I liked them.

3. Kayaking with otters. Seriously, why do I not go kayaking more often? 

4. The aquarium. Because aquariums are  fantastic places. Also because I got very excited about touching a sting ray and launched my arm into the tank without thinking. My sweater was SOAKED to my elbow. Worth it.

5. Purple sand beaches. NOT A JOKE. Absolutely magical.

6. Pizza My Heart. That place was seriously delicious.

7. The guest bed. Every night it felt like I had died, gone to heaven, and was sleeping on the best cloud. 

8. The weather. Leaving snow for sun? Yes, please.

9. Nice plane people. I had two flights leaving from California airports and my seat mates on both flights were absolutely delightful. Plane people are my favorite. Strangers should chat like plane-mates more often. I think it would do some good in the world.

10. Also, there's this boy from California. He was in Provo while I was there, but I think he still gets to make the "things I like about California" list.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

A special story for those who read my blog even when I don't post it on Facebook...

I went on a date this week. I still don't know the guy's name.

A mutual "friend" (I've only talked to the guy that set it up a couple of times, so I'm not sure that classifies as friendship) set us up. He introduced me and ???. I didn't catch ???'s name, but for some reason I decided I wouldn't ask. I decided I would wait to hear someone call him by his name, and then I would know. Smoooooooth. Except no one used his name. So, I went the entire date not knowing his name. At the end of the date, he asked for my number so we could go out again. In my brain, this translated into "Great! Now I won't have to admit I don't know his name!I'll give him my number and then he'll text me his name so I have his number. Problem solved." 

...no such luck. The text was nameless. 

UPDATE: I found out his name. Just in case you wondered.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

My life is rocks.

This week has been a miracle week. I had too much to do in too little time, but I was absolutely miraculously able to finish everything in an absurdly timely manner. I have been behind for so long, that being a day ahead made me feel like the richest woman on earth. Rich with time, that is...and I think that is one of my favorite kinds of riches. Not my #1 favorite, but it's up there. This new-found wealth has left me in the happiest of moods. So, instead of working on all the semester long projects that I've been neglecting, I  decided to fully enjoy this gift of time. Instead of reading the loads of academic reading I "should" have been readings, I took the day off to read a novel...and I didn't stop until the book was over. After all, I had no hope of re-focusing on school until the book was done.  It is good to be reminded of my love for reading. Perhaps it will help me view my academic reading more positively. Maybe I'll even be able to muster gratitude for my textbooks and the never-ending journal articles? Only time will tell. Time and my choice, that is.

Because this week has been so joyous, I figured I should quickly write down some parts of the recipe for making a week with cloudy forecasts full of SUNSHINE:

  • Temple attendance - I attribute most of the good things this week to the fact that we had a roommate date to the temple on Saturday. 
  • Service - I was overwhelmed at the service hours I had signed up for this week. How would I find the time? MIRACLE. Desire to serve and bam the stars aligned.
  • GRATITUDE - I am absolutely convinced that an attitude of gratitude can move mountains. I know from personal experience it can move mountains of homework. You might have to push on the mountain for awhile, but it does move. And it moves easier with a grateful heart.
Life is good.

ps, I still have a draft post about WCF9...maybe I'll post it one day.

pps, I also have Halloween pictures to share

ppps, yes - I do realize I accidentally titled this post "My life is rocks." instead of "My life rocks." However, it makes me laugh way too hard to change it and ruin the simple laughter I might need one day in the future as I recall this blog post.

pppps, I'm pretty sure I'm a real adult now. I took the day off from responsibility and all I did with my self-given freedom was read an entire novel and clean the bathroom.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

World Congress of Families IX - Day 1

I have a new dream. When I grow up, I want to be a professional conference-goer. My job description would consist of getting paid to travel to fun countries, stay in fancy hotels, eat fancy foods, and meet "movers and shakers" (people who make a difference). Unfortunately, I'm not 5 years old anymore and people are starting to insist that my dreams be a little more realistic. So maybe I'll just have to be a mover and shaker myself. Then people might actually pay me to come to their conferences and speak. Maybe.

WCF 9 was a blast. Exhausting, but a blast. I could probably fill an entire blog about the things I learned, but I'd probably get bored of writing and you would get bored of reading, so let's just stick with some highlights.

To truly understand my WCF experience, you must first understand my little secret: I'm an undercover shy person. Truly. Most people think I'm outgoing, but I'm just really good at faking it. Well, I'm really good at faking it when I have a security blanket. My roommates are great at being my security blanket, and I'm with them the majority of the time, so usually we have no problems. But the roommates weren't coming to WCF. In fact, I didn't know a soul that was going. I knew talking to people was a must in order to have a good experience, but I was a pretty nervous that I would regress into my little shy shell and stay there for the week. And then God sent me Staci.

Seriously, God was looking out for me. I had to make a transfer from the FrontRunner to the Trax to get to the hotel. I'm pretty directionally challenged. I knew I was supposed to get on the red Trax, but there were red Trax going both ways. Sigh. I did not anticipate that. I missed the one I was supposed to get on because I was staring at the signs in utter horror that there were 2 different reds - there are definitely enough colors that having 2 reds is completely unnecessary in my book. Finally, I approached Staci and asked her if she had any idea which direction went towards Salt Lake. We began chatting and found that we were both headed to WCF. Miracle! She had missed the train too (divine intervention) so we grabbed the next train together and became instant friends. We ended up sticking together through the whole week, which meant I was able to be my little outgoing self instead of turning in. God is so good. He's always pulling strings to get me the best friends.

The conference officially started on Tuesday, but all the scholarship recipients (did I mention that I got to have this experience for free?) were supposed to arrive Monday. Part of our Monday night festivities included a tour of temple square. We broke into small groups and headed off for a short visit downtown. I think the whole week was worth those 2 hours. Almost immediately Staci and I stepped back into missionary mode as our new Latvian friends, Davids and Matiss, began asking us questions about the Church. Then we met Nathan from Michigan and began showing him around, too. It was so much fun to show them around temple square for their first time. There was also a guy in our group from Mongolia. He was LDS, but had never been to that states and was thrilled to be seeing all the sites for the first time. His enthusiasm renewed my gratitude to have so many temples close by. I AM SO BLESSED. 

...so it's looking like the summary of just 1 day is going to take a lot of time...maybe we'll stick to a day by day summary post.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

The mystery of the missing birthday cards (aka SOMEONE STOLE MY BIRTHDAY CARDS!)

I've checked the mail every single day for 2 weeks. I get home from school/work, drop off my backpack, grab the mail key, and skip to the mailbox. I then throw away the junk mail and slump back home, because every day I become a little more convinced that the postman stole my birthday cards.

It has been confirmed that Grandma and Joe & Kori mailed me birthday cards over 2 weeks ago, but the cards never reached my mailbox. Wedding announcements have arrived from across the country with no problem during this time, but birthday cards must be my mailman's favorite. Here is what I would like to tell my dear mailman:

Dear Sir/Madam, 
I am fairly certain you are in possession of my birthday cards. Maybe it is your birthday, too. In that case, happy birthday! I hope you received many birthday cards from your family/friends, as I can tell that you really love cards. You may keep my birthday cards, but I would much appreciate a photo copy of the notes written inside, and, if there were adorable pictures of my nephews included, I would really like to have those as well. If you are using the money found in the cards to feed your babies, escape an abusive situation, or some other worthy cause, be my guest. However, if the money was used to feed an addiction, I am not okay with that and request to be paid back.

On a brighter note, only one week until I get to attend the World Congress of Families!!!

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Elder Beck

Once upon a time when I was a missionary, I met a boy named Kory. Now, it's Kory's turn to be a missionary in South Africa! I am sososo excited for Kory. He is going to be the BEST missionary. He's only been a member of the Church for a short time, but he is way more prepared than I was when I left for my mission. Kory goes out teaching with the missionaries in Eugene all the time, and he has a solid testimony. The best birthday present I received this year was being able to go to the temple with Kory for his very first time. It was the best.

It's my party, I'll smash cake if I want to.

I'm not quite sure how you're supposed to react when your friends throw you a surprise 23rd birthday party, but I decided to revert back to "what would 1 year old Lisa do?" See this beautiful cake?

I decided the best way to eat it would be not by the slice, but by the handful.

Definitely the right decision.

The Roommates.

I was talking to this cute boy the other day (he's my favorite),

and I explained to him why college is the coolest (partially convincing myself, because midterms always make me question if college is really worth it). I told him that college is great because you get to live with your friends. And, if you're really lucky, you might even have friends that you super enjoy living with. That's me. I am very blesssed in the friendship department. My roommates are my best friends, and they are the COOLEST.
1) They are hilarious. Living with them is the best ab workout .
2) They are good listeners, and they care about the non-interesting things that you still want to tell someone even though you know it's boring.
3) They are SO good at words of affirmation. Seriously, if you need to feel good about yourself just come on over. You'll never go a day without someone telling you you're beautiful and wonderful. It's the best.
4) They will usually go along with my random requests for piggy back rides, a definite perk in any relationship.
5) They're good little chefs, and they like to share.
6) They are are well-dressed, and they like to share.
7) I often catch them studying their scriptures. It makes me very happy.
8) They don't get mad when I let my other friends live on the couch.
9) They love fiercely.
10) They embrace vulnerability.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

10 years later

When people find out I'm from Louisiana, they usually follow it up with one of three questions: (1) What's the food like? (2) How's the weather down there? or (3) Were you there for hurricane Katrina?

I was in 7th grade when Katrina hit. Let's just pause from the Katrina story and talk about 7th grade for a second. That is a tough year. You are trying to figure out who the heck you are while surrounded by 100s of other pubescent kids who are trying to figure out who they are. You're experimenting with wearing makeup for the first time (most likely doing a terrible job, which does not help since you probably already look pretty awkward). You're probably a little boy crazy. People are mean, and you care too much about what people think. Especially the mean people. Brand names are important. You've lost your childhood confidence, and you haven't quite learned to love your quirks yet. Never have I ever heard anyone say, "Man, I miss 7th grade."

Add to that having both grandpas die less than a month apart only 2 months earlier, and you've got a pretty good idea of where I was when Katrina hit. We knew it was going to be a big one. Our first really big one since moving to Louisiana the summer before 5th grade. School was cancelled for a week to encourage people to evacuate. We lived far enough inland, away enough from waterways, and high enough up that I don't remember being scared our house would be destroyed, but the thought of not having power for a week in the middle of Louisiana August sounded absolutely terrible. Mom, Liv and I packed up the car and decided to go to Grandma's house (in Indiana). Dad and the boys decided to ride out the storm from home.

I remember going to the junior high in Indiana to meet up with my cousin and elementary school friends for lunch. I felt like a celebrity because when you move away from a small town and then come back to visit during school hours, you're a pretty big deal. I went to the Friday night football game and thought about how if I had stayed in that little bitty town, I'd probably be popular (which was a very big deal in 7th grade). I'm sure I milked every ounce of "your home might be destroyed by the hurricane" sympathy I could get.

...watching the news was scary. Waiting to hear from Dad and the brothers was scary.

Katrina was more devastating than I had anticipated. My family, friends, and home were fine. But watching the images on the news...seeing all the people who weren't fine...that was scary. Hurricane Katrina did change my life. But not in the storm. I was one of the lucky ones. We lost a little siding on the house, maybe a few shingles, and a branch went through a window screen. We lost power for awhile. Nothing major.  We were so blessed.

At the time, my family owned two businesses. Our ice cream shoppe was still pretty new, and with the loss of all our inventory we decided not to re-open.  We tried to keep the other business, LaDon's (a Cajun seasoning and sugar-free jellies and jams business that sold to restaurants and grocery stores), going--turning it into a real family affair. I remember Mom picking me up from my now over-crowded school (we welcomed a lot of New Orleans students into our classes) and taking me to LaDon's where I would do my homework and then go out to the warehouse and start sticking labels on jars of sugar-free jellies and jams until it was time for bed. Strangely enough, despite how dang cold that warehouse got, those are some of my favorite memories from junior high. We were there in a small room with just the family, love songs with Delilah on the radio, and plenty of time to talk while our hands were busy trying to keep our business alive.

A year later, my dad drove me down to New Orleans. He took me to the lower 9th ward. The watermarks from Katrina were still visible on the remaining buildings. So many people returned home to New Orleans, but many didn't. A lot of the restaurants and stores that helped keep LaDon's in business didn't reopen--or at least not soon enough. So we moved on to our next adventure.

7th grade was a stretching year. And although I have no desire to re-live that year, I am so grateful for the things I learned.

"...the tests of life are tailored for our own best interests, and all will face the burdens best suited to their own mortal experience... We can be reassured that our challenges will be the ones we needed, and conquering them will bring blessings we could have received in no other way." 

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

The Fairytale Summer

Two weeks after I came home from my mission, I thought I was going to die. Being home was so hard. I needed progression in my life. So I bought a plane ticket, found random housing with random people, applied for a job and made the move cross-country. It was totally last minute and I anticipated it being a completely okay summer (which was better than the miserable summer I was sure I would have in Louisiana).

...and then church was far away. 

I needed a ride. I shyly knocked on Elizabeth and Lucy's bedroom door. It started as rides to church and quickly became a lifetime kind of friendship. Actually, throughout the majority of the summer I had every intention of it being a summer-only friendship. No need to get too attached. But somewhere along the line, I let my guard down. And that, my friends, has been the biggest blessing all summer.  I discover new reasons every day why God placed them in my life. We needed each other. Elizabeth and Lucy have helped me understand myself. They've helped me be comfortable in my own skin. They'v loved me unconditionally. They are the best examples of vulnerability (one of the traits I most admire in people and struggle hardcore to develop myself). And they are so fun

I have definitely discovered my inner-weirdo with these two around. You know all those crazy ideas you have, but would never do? These two DO IT. It's the best. 

Whether it's breaking into The Josh to rearrange the cupboards or waiting for them to come home to Lucy in a wedding dress, these two are game.

It's been a pretty magical summer. Now it's time to move on. Evidently spending every waking non-working hour at The Josh with Elizabeth and Lucy is not good for my progression. So it's time to move across campus and go back to school. Maybe stop letting the Joshs kill our chances of finding husbands and start letting ourselves fall in love. 

This summer. These people. It's better than I ever imagined this summer could be. And these people, they're lifers.

I love you.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Story Time: Catch Up Edition

Once upon a time, we made cardboard cars for FamilyHomeEvening (Mercy loves when I say it like its one word).

 Then we drove our cars to the "drive-in theater" in a very buggy lot down the street. We promptly dissembled our car so we could lay on the cardboard
It was fun.
The end.

Once upon a time, we dressed up like hipsters to celebrate Lucy's last night being 22.

We also made fun of our exes, ate breakfast at midnight, and made Lucy fall in love with a stranger...sort of.

The end.

Once upon a time, we thought watching the 4th of July fireworks from the pool was a good idea.
It wasn't as great of an idea as I thought it would be. A) it was cold B) not a great view. We ended up watching the fireworks from a hill. It was the perfect place. We could see the stadium's jumbo-tron and we were close enough to hear, so we basically attended the Journey concert for free. The fireworks were magical. Just thinking about them makes me soooo happy. Especially the super glittery gold ones. My heart. Oh man, I just love those things.

The end.

Once upon a time, I got a free slurpee on 7/11. FINALLY I live in a place with 7/11's. Life is good.
Bonus points if you noticed Elizabeth still has the wrapper on her straw. Lucy insisted we take the picture pre-slurpee.

The end.

Once upon a time, we decorated our apartment like a 3rd grader would. Construction paper and homemade art. It's the bestest way to decorate. Also, we have the bestest friends, because they'll come over at 11pm to paint pictures for us to hang on the walls. 

I don't want it to end.

Friday, June 26, 2015

To My Future Children

Dear Future Children,

Today the Supreme Court decided that same-sex marriages are now legal in the United States. It made me really sad, because God already defined marriage as a union between a man and a woman. No court can change that. Then I realized that you will never know a world where marriage was only between a man and a woman....and that broke my heart.

The world has already changed so much during my lifetime, and I'm only 22 years old. In 1995, when I was just a tot, President Gordon B. Hinckley read "The Family: A Proclamation to the World" at a General Relief Society Meeting. I was talking to a lady at work today and she told me she remembers listening to him read this for the very first time. She thought, "duh" about the whole thing. And then President Hinckley got to the paragraph that starts with "WE WARN." Her ears perked up and she began to listen intently as, for the first time, she realized the truths presented in this heaven-inspired proclamation might not always be such a duh. Over the course of my life, I have cleaved to the truths found in The Family Proclamation. And they haven't always been a duh in the world I've grown up in.

Your life is going to be different than mine (for so many reasons). Today it occurred to me that I won't be able to raise you like my parents raised me, because the world will not be the same. Not only has the very definition of marriage and family been worldly-redefined (remember, it was not redefined according to God. And He's the boss.) but the world is also much more violent and dishonest. Are you going to be able to ride your bike around the block by yourself all day long on summer days? Will you and your BFF be allowed to skip  to the park down the street without supervision? Whose house are you going to be allowed to play at? Are sleepovers even an option? Your daddy and I have a LOT to discuss (...I mean, after I meet him. I guess meeting him is the necessary 1st step in your earthly existence.)

But don't you worry, little babies, even though the world I grew up in and the world you will one day grow up in took another step apart today, I promise to teach you about who you really are and whose you really are. This world is getting darker, but you will be a light. Always choose the choice that will add light to your life. The world will be a better place because of you.


"Why not watch R rated movies? Because it is a world I choose not to live in. Sure, you can find bad language, etc., in the everyday world, but when you have a choice about which/what world to live in--which world you create--do you reproduce the worst of the world around you or the best of the world around you?"
-Unknown, found in a note at work

P.S., Here is a great article about living in this crazy world: Loving Others and Living with Differences 

P.P.S. Love everyone. Be you.

Monday, May 25, 2015

I like weekends.

Last weekend was perfectly planned. So many activities, scheduled into their tiny boxes. And it was a good weekend. A very good weekend. As I walked home from work on Friday, I had no clue what this weekend would hold. It was perfectly un-planned, and I thought just maybe I might get bored with a 3-day-no-plan weekend. False. Provo never fails me.

Friday was full of skating adventures and ice cream with some wardies.
Fun facts:

  1. We tried to get some professional skaters (...really. They had sponsors and everything.) to teach us some tricks. I'm not very tricky, but I did master a spinning circle.
  2. Skating backwards is a spectacular thigh work out. I was wonderfully sore the next day.
  3. One time I busted my tailbone at this skating rink. That did not happen this time. Success!
Saturday, I went on a spontaneous, free, VIP rafting trip down the Provo river. It was pretty legit. And by legit I mean the biggest rapids where about the intensity of pool jets and I didn't even have to paddle. It was pretty great. 

Sundays are always blissfully busy. Church, nap (score!), Sunday dinner with the roommates' backup husband, ward prayer, broken stool, and brownies straight from the pan with the roommates and the Josh's. 

And the fun kept rolling today with a bomb.com trip to the zoo and hilarious FHE skits. 

This was the weekend of the T-Swift concert that once stood between me and coming to Provo. Although Livia is still raving about what an amazing concert Taylor put on, I can't help but think another perfect weekend was further confirmation that this was the right choice.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Life is Good

Last night (let's be real it was 1 a.m,) This morning, I laid in bed and wrote the perfect blog post expressing all my thoughts and feelings perfectly. Unfortunately, I only wrote it in my head. I considered getting out of bed and actually writing it down. It's not like I was sleeping (I was on a life-is-too-good-to-sleep high) so I gave it true consideration. But then the so-called "logical" part of me decided it was ridiculous to blog at 1 a.m. on a Thursday. No body should be awake at 1 a.m. on a Thursday. I decided I would just commit the whole post to memory. I'm sure you can guess just how well that worked now that it is 7:30 p.m. Thursday.

So instead of the eloquently drafted 1 a.m. version, you get this.
I love my life and here are a few reasons why:

  1. Lauren is going on a mission. HOW THE HECK DO I EXPRESS MY FEELINGS ON THIS? It just makes me want to explode with happiness because I can tell that she is about to explode with happiness. Lauren has made a big impact on my life. A big impact on my testimony. She's on my list of heroes. Do you think if I beg her enough she'll do a guest post on my blog? *fingers crossed*
  2. Heavenly Father reminded me how small and simple things can bring about great things. A friend from Eugene reached out and wants to get involved with the ward there. It's the best feeling. I love nothing more than when He let's me catch a glimpse of His love for someone.
  3. My roommates are the greatest.
  4. I accidentally got assigned two sets of home teachers. I'm pretty sure it's karma for being a brat about home teaching pre-mish.  (...it's a long story).
  5. FaceTime with the nephews is quite possibly my favorite thing. They even let me play hide 'n seek with them. Technology. Love it.
  6. My ward. I like them. Sometimes they like to play the "Will-Lisa-fit-in-this?" game. I'm good at fitting in smallish suitcases, in case you wondered. 
  7. I eat chocolate chip pancakes at least once a day. How can you not love your life when you eat chocolate chip pancakes daily? Just don't tell my boss. She's trying to turn me vegan.
  8. TedTalks. I'm obsessed. 
  9. The BYU Library...I love that place. I have to pass it twice a day, and I stop in often. There are SO MANY books to read.
  10. Sweatpants. Because every good life needs a little comfy.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Update: The Plate Guy

Remember The Plate Guy from Institute? I think we could safely re-name him The Stalker.

Lucy, Elizabeth and I slipped into church just before the meeting started. Only seconds later, The Plate Guy/Stalker appeared (note: he is not in my ward). "Hi Lisa! It's me; the guy with the plate from institute. I just had to run some errands this morning, like making the programs for my ward and stuff so I was here early and thought I'd come say hi! It was so great meeting you the other night!" Luckily, the meeting started so he slipped out of the room leaving me to think:
  1. No one shows up to church THREE HOURS early to print programs.
  2. It was kind of creepy that he hunted me down at church.
Oh but wait, it gets better. After church Lucy, Elizabeth and I sat outside the bishop's office waiting to get set-apart for our new callings, and guess who showed up? The Stalker. I tried desperately to keep my current conversation going when I caught a glimpse of him approaching out of the corner of my eye. But eventually, he weaseled his way into the conversation. Despite the fact that he showed up to church 3 hours early, he was late to sacrament meeting. I know because he was out in the hall trying to make conversation until halfway through the meeting. "See ya at institute?" Maybe. I just might explore the zillions of other institute classes in Provo.

It's flattering, right? I mean...I'm really glad he thinks I'm worth tracking down. But his methods are a little creepy.

In the off chance that you, Plate/Stalker Guy, are reading this, please know I think you are probably a very nice person. However, due to your extreme stalking skills, I am thoroughly creeped out. Perhaps in the future try something more subtle? Like waiting until the next institute class to say hi. Just an idea. Best of luck in your future endeavors finding the woman of your dreams. She's not me.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Reunion: They Were All in PANTS.

I walked into the gym, not sure what to expect. It had rained all day (fitting for the day of an Oregon mission reunion, don't you think?) so they moved the reunion inside. I was happy about that, because the outside plan was sports. Now all I'd have to do is stand around and make conversation and eat snacks. I could do that. Still, when we pulled into the parking lot I said a little prayer that I could be brave. Sometimes I turn shy, but that's not how I had been on the mission and it's not how I wanted to be now, here with all my favorite returned missionaries. As I entered the room, I heard someone running full force...at me. Sister Adair pulled back last minute (deciding tackling me to the ground may be a bit extreme) and wrapped me in a hug. And there it was: the answer to my prayer. I could be brave now. When you feel loved and safe, you can do anything.

I love these people. Even when they wear pants, although I do miss the skirts and tags.

Thank you for the memories. Thank you for the pick-me-up-and-spin-me-around hugs. Thank you for the love. Thank you for the high compliment, P Young. Thank you.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Fine China

I was called to repentance during institute tonight. It was all about using social media for good and letting your light shine. And I've been neglecting my little bloggy-poo. Apologies. I'll do better.

I think the #1 thing that stops me from blogging about the random happenings in my life is the fear that someone might read it. Which is silly, because that's sort of the point. I was reminded again of my favorite TedTalk: The Power of Vulnerability. That speech always gives me the courage to be courageous. I watch it when I need a dose of bravery - which is often.

Moving back to Provo has been the best thing for me, but it was also a little *cough*lot*cough* terrifying. I'm living on a different side of campus than I'm used to. I'm living with absolute strangers (don't worry, they are very nice strangers). I'm doing a job that I, quite frankly, do not have the technical skills for (but I like it!). And suddenly boys expect me to know how to interact with them again in a not-missionary way. I am SO not adjusting well in that department. I came home from a date, journaled about it....and then accidentally signed it "Sister Hamilton" *face palm*.  I am definitely a work in progress. And that's what this blog is for. It's all about BEcoming. So, obviously, I should probably blog about the process. Duh.

The first time I decided to wear pants in public post-mission, I needed moral support and encouragement. I changed from pants to a skirt and back to pants for a solid 30 minutes before a friend said, "You just have to do it and it will stop being weird!" She was right. I like pants now.

I can now sleep past 6:30am. Still not sure if I should be proud of that one or not.

Listening to my favorite jams was a pretty easy transition. Probs because I've always liked my little happy tunes.

Oh, back to the awkwardness of my interactions with men. I'm hoping it's kind of like the pants thing. You throw yourself in and then it eventually gets normal. Living in Provo is definitely throwing yourself in. In to the deep end. Or, maybe more like the ocean. Tonight, a boy wrote my number on a paper plate at the institute dinner and then refused to throw it away, carrying it around like a piece of fine china. By blogging about this, I'm probably going to have to refuse his Facebook friend request. Oh well. Anyway, as I was floundering in this conversation I kept hoping Lucy (one of the very nice, stranger roommates) would turn around and save me from my awkward self. She didn't. Which is probably good, because then I didn't have floaties and I was forced to swim or drown.

Life is an adventure. I should probably re-name this blog "BEcoming not-awkward Lisa" :)

Also, you should probably go here and watch this great video of an address by Elder Ballard at this year's BYU Women's Conference. Skip ahead about 19 minutes into the video where he starts to speak. It's worth it. And then we should talk about it, because it's one of my latest obsessions.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Hello Utah.

I forgot how much I love this place. Despite the constant need to apply lotion and chapstick (it's so dry!), Utah has captured my heart. Probably because it's the place where I first really found me. It's a good place. Totally worth the craziness it took to get here. Long story short, I missed my 6am flight and couldn't get on another one until 5:30pm, and then they closed the airport, but then they reopened it and let us fly, and eventually we rolled into SLC around midnight. I was tired. So tired, in fact, that I accidentally fell asleep on the shoulder of the kind man sitting next to me on the plane. Awkward. He was asleep when I woke up, so I decided to pretend it didn't happen. I really think they should put more space between those seats to avoid that embarrassing situation! Thankfully, my pal Kate (a rockstar missionary from the OEM) let me crash with her in Salt Lake so I wouldn't have to travel to Provo so late.

I finally made it to Provo Sunday night and had a sleepover with Megan and Katie. So many laughs. It was a joyous reunion and we almost had Megan convinced to stay an extra day, but unfortunately we had to say our goodbyes just as quickly as we had said our hellos. I'm excited for her though. Big California adventures await :)

Greta and I spent all day catching up, running errands, moving me into my apartment and (the highlight of the day) going to the Payson temple open house. Hmm...I keep trying to think of an adequate adjective to describe the temple. No words seem good enough. Language can be so restricting. 

Also, look who I found whilst unpacking... ;)
Willy James and Alfonso! pahahaha, my friends are funny.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream

Once upon a mission, I was addicted to ice cream. It's all I ate for at least a week straight. Breakfast. Lunch. Dinner. Instead of trying to help me break my addiction, everyone just fed it. Not that I'm compaining. I didn't mind being taken out for ice cream almost daily. And I didn't mind when we were smuggled a pint or two during the week. Eventually I broke that addiction and moved on to a brief tofu addiction (Eugene...it gets to you). But sometimes, that craving comes back.

Today is one such day. All day long, I longed for ice cream. When I could stand it no longer, I made a quick run to the store. This is what I found. 
In case you can't tell, those are EMPTY  ice cream shelves. 
All of the quality ice cream RECALLED. I settled for a tub of subpar ice cream.  Now I just have to decide: am I more upset that I couldn't get the ice cream I truly wanted OR am I upset because I ate a ton of Blue Bell ice cream last week that may or may not have been contaminated by listeria?

...I miss Oregon's scrumptious and uncontaminated Umpqua ice cream.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Change of Plans

18 months of no blogging resulted in 6 journals. A girl's gotta write, right? These lil babies are the bees knees. Treasure chests full of memories. Sometimes the stories on their pages make me laugh; sometimes they make me cry. I love them.

On Day 1 post-mission, I was fine. Day 2? Okay. But by Day 6, I was dying on the inside. I was fighting back tears all day and I just felt, well, dammed. No progression. Oh, what an awful terrible feeling! I was reminded of a time I felt like that on the mission. So I flipped open Journal #5 and found this little gem:

When you're feeling dammed you have a couple of options. Swim around your little pool or break down the dam. I've found breaking down the dam usually leads to more happiness. Happiness and progression--the two are inseparably connected. So I broke the dam. I came up with a game plan. Apartments. Jobs. Plane tickets. And then I prayed. After receiving the heavenly stamp of approval, it was final: I'm moving back to Utah next month. 

...and the dam broke, and she swam happily ever after.

PS, Sorry T*Swift. I couldn't let you rule the timetable of my life. The pool was way to shallow to keep swimming here. I'm sure Mom will enjoy your concert for me.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

The Hardest Thing I've Ever Loved to Do

How exactly are you supposed to start your first blog post after the best 18 months? I've been excited for and dreading this post all week. It's overwhelming. There is so much I want to share with all of you. I want to tell you every detail of every story. I want you to fall in love with everyone I've fallen in love with in Oregon. But I have an inkling deep within my heart that that just might not be entirely possible. At least not in one post.

Oregon. That place is full of holy ground. Ordinary, everyday places became sacred, holy places as God touched my heart and changed me. It was in Oregon where I really learned to love.

 I learned to love God. I learned to love His children. I learned to love the scriptures. I learned to love His work. I learned to love the sacrament. I learned to love Sunday. I learned to love the temple. I learned to love obedience. I learned to love prayer. I learned to love covenant making. I learned to love covenant keeping. I learned to love the hymns. I learned to love leading music. I learned to love studying. I learned to love mornings. I learned to love vegetables. I learned to love (or at least not dread) exercise. I learned to love reading texts out loud (I seriously miss that one. I very strongly -considered screen-shotting and emailing all my texts from this week to Sister West, but then I figured she probably would just be mad that I took up all of her email time with a zillions "You're home! What now?" texts). I learned to LOVE being called "Sister" (Want to be my best friend? Just call me Sister. Seriously. I will love you forever.). I learned to love old people, young people, smelly people, scary people, nice people, stranger people, hippy people, sad people, happy people, rich people, poor people, clean people, dirty people, tall people, short people, fat people, skinny people...you get the picture. 


...And then they made me come home. It is way more okay than I thought it would be. I still get intensely sad sometimes. Usually it's when I lay in bed at night and realize I don't get to be a full-time, name-badge wearing missionary the next day. Or when I'm getting dressed. Oh, getting dressed is the worst. If I'm going to wear pants that day (which is necessary when you go to a 2 and 4 year-old's birthday party at a bounce house place) it takes me a good 30 minutes just to convince myself wearing pants in public is okay. Plus nothing, nothing looks good when you're missing your very best accessory: the badge. But the sadness is okay. Nephi said "it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things." And the sadness is worth every ounce of happiness.

It was the best 18 months of my life. But this is going to be the best 18 months of my life, too. I figure as long as you are exactly where the Lord wants you to be, every 18 months can be the best. So here's to the next 18 months and whatever they might bring.