Sunday, July 8, 2012

On Adversity

I've been thinking a lot about life, love, trust, and a bunch of other 'big' topics lately. Life is just crap sometimes, you know? But it's also really wonderful a lot of the time--and sometimes it's both simultaneously. I'm not really sure how that happens, but it does.

A friend of mine lent me a copy of a book his friend wrote. It's called The Only Road North, and it's about the author (Erik), his brother, and two of his friends that travel from South Africa to Egypt on dirt bikes. Erik talks about the adventures they have, but he also talks a lot about what is essentially a spiritual awakening he has and his efforts to respond to God's mission or expectations for him.

I'm not doing the concept of the book justice, and I haven't even finished it yet, but there is a passage I read last night that I can't stop thinking about.

"At times like this in life I usually found myself asking why. Why do people do this? Why do we invite trials, frustrations, and discomfort? Why do we intentionally put ourselves in situations that we know will push us beyond where we like to be pushed, to places we know will be tough?

Maybe, I finally resolved, there isn't one simple answer, just a longing to be tested and proven. A desire to know that we can overcome whatever obstacle we may be forced to face. It is only when we are pushed past our self-perceived limits that we are able to see our truest nature, discover our deepest selves; only then can we hope to improve upon what we find. To do so is neither safe nor comfortable, it is both dangerous and scary. But we warriors at heart we meant to live dangerously.

That day I saw it in myself firsthand. Adversity tempers us."

This passage moves me in a way I can't describe. Life isn't easy for anyone. And let's be honest... if it is easy, then they're not living it right. Life is meant to be messy, up-and-down, difficult, and exhausting. But it is also meant to be exhilerating, adventurous, full of love, hopeful, and breathtaking.

It never used to bother me when people at church would say they were grateful for their trials. But after a friend pointed that out to me, it has started to grate on my nerves. I guess you can't really hold their semantics against them, because I think it's all said with a good intention. But WHO in reality is grateful for their trials? Nobody! Hell. I'm not grateful for any of the bad, stupid things I've brought on myself, or any of the difficulties my family has gone through. What I am grateful for is the strength and resilience I have seen in myself and others, the compassion I have gained, the patience I have developed (though... I'm not gonna lie--still quite a ways to go on that one), and the ability to enjoy the good moments of life.

Going through difficult things makes us so much more grateful for the things that go well, the fun adventures we have, the purity of love we can share, the times when we feel like we're accomplishing our life's mission, and yes... the strength, knowledge, etc. that comes from adversity--whether we brought it upon ourselves, it was brought upon us by someone else, or it was just simply LIFE happening.

So, okay. Maybe it makes me and my friends jerks that we roll our eyes when someone says "I'm grateful for my trials," because when it comes down to it, I think we all really mean to convey the same thing. Life's lessons are astoundingly universal, but everyone expresses their takeaway in different terms. Should I mock someone because they're using a cliche term to express something more deep? No. I just wish they would use more authentic words.

All of this being said, I think life is going to be a bit of a challenge for the next little while. So, here's to living through adversity while simultaneously being able to appreciate all that life has to offer; to seeing the lessons in the things we experience; to accepting and appreciating the knowledge, strength, compassion, joy, love, and hope that life offers us all.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Painting is my one true love. Let's talk Landscapes.

Okay, friends. I know it's been a while, but I have a really good excuse--all my free time now goes to working on paintings for my two classes. I'm taking oil painting and watercolor. I like them both, but I prefer acrylic over either one.

My last couple of projects in my oil painting class are a landscape and a painting of my choice. For now I've decided to do an abstract landscape for the painting of my choice. I think I'll paint the top picture shown below for the traditional landscape painting, and I'm still trying to decide which landscape to abstract.

Any opinions? Are there any of these that you would or definitely wouldn't ever put on your walls? Since my taste in art is less representational I thought I could take the most traditional landscape (one of the two bottom photos) and abstract it--sort of paying homage to the tradition, but messing with it a little.

And I also applied for an internship in the Education department at the Springville Museum of Art. I'll let you know how it all turns out.

Arches, 2008

Arches, 2008

Sachsische Schweiz National Park, Germany, 2009
Sachsische Schweiz National Park, Germany, 2009

Alaska, 2008
Alaksa, 2008

Saturday, October 29, 2011

On Running

I started running last weekend. I read an article somewhere about starting off so small that it's almost laughable, and not pushing yourself too far in the beginning. So that's what I'm doing.

I decided to start by running only 10 minutes each day. I don't run fast, I (clearly) don't run far. I run at a pace that's comfortable for 10 minutes, and then I stop. And for now, that's enough. I want to learn to LOVE running, and the less I HATE running to begin with, the better chance I think I'll have in the long run.

By this time next year I would like to do a Triathlon by myself. Not a crazy full-length one, but maybe an Olympic length. By the end of April next year I would like to be able to run a 10K without a second thought.

Oh, and remember that goal I had of being in the best shape of my life for my 30th gift to myself? Yeah... that's not going well. But loving running is going to get me on my way.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

School update

In case any of you were wondering, I still love school. (What I am currently NOT loving is working until 10 every night, but that is going to change next semester).

I love certain aspects of each of my classes, but I feel like I've learned the most so far in my photography class. Not that I'm an expert, by any means. But I feel like I've learned a few things that have really helped me improve.

Here are some of the photos I've taken up to this point:

Until next time...


Sunday, August 28, 2011

Churchy stuff

I just got called to be a Sunday School teacher at church. I'm maaaaaybe a little intimidated, but I think it will be really good for me.

And I just got called tonight to speak in church on September 18th. I'll be speaking for 10 minutes about Matthew 7:21-19.

 21 ¶Not every one that asaith unto me, bLord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that cdoeth the dwill of my Father which is in heaven.e
 22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not aprophesied in thy name? and in thy bname have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
 23 And then will I profess unto them, I never aknew you: bdepart from me, ye that work ciniquity.
 24 ¶Therefore whosoever aheareth these sayings of mine, and bdoeth them, cI will liken him unto a dwise man, which ebuilt his house upon fa rock:
 25 And the arain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and bbeat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a crock.
 26 And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a afoolish man, which built his house upon the sand:
 27 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that ahouse; and it bfell: and great was the fall of it.
 28 And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended athese sayings, the people were bastonished at his cdoctrine:
 29 For he taught them as one having aauthority, and not as bthe scribes.

One scripture that I know I'll be sharing is from the Doctrine and Covenants 88:34:
34 And again, verily I say unto you, that which is agoverned by law is also preserved by law and perfected and bsanctified by the same.

I love the promise of that scripture--the obedience we offer is rewarded not only with blessings from God because of our obedience, but we are also sanctified simultaneously. 

So,  it will be an interesting few weeks as I prepare for my talk while starting school and working. I would love to hear your thoughts on these scriptures, if you feel like sharing... 

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

So, I moved. (And other non-essential updates.)

In no particular order:
  • I moved in with a couple of friends. One of the friends bought the house. (It's brand new and beautiful. Don't worry that there was a grease fire in the kitchen less than 10 days after she closed. It's fine.*)
  • I got a job! I'm working on campus in the testing center. I started in July, and it's a great job--the people are awesome, it keeps me busy, and I get to interact with people ALL day. Awesome. (It pays just under 50% what I was making before, but beggars can't be choosers.)
  • I went to a Real game. It was really fun, and I want to go again, but maybe next time not melt in the sunshine the whole time.
  • I may have two or more crushes happening simultaneously.
  • I am terrified that I have a job and am taking 12 hours of art classes this fall (art classes= heavily project based. Remember the project I did for my 2-D class? Easily 25 hours put into that one...)
  • I am happier than I have been in YEARS.
  • I'm way behind on my goal to be in the best shape of my life during the year of my 30th birthday. Getting on that. Maybe I'll post weekly updates. Ha. Probably not.
  • I sold a bunch of clothes I never wear to Plato's closet the other day so I would have enough money to buy groceries, fill my car with gas, and get my prescriptions filled. Paying almost $400 a month for insurance is going to be painful.
  • I spent an awesome weekend at the lake house with the Knight family. Best weekend of the year. Every year.
  • Also spent a few hours with the Roberts clan chatting, swimming, and munching. I love my families.
  • I came to terms with the fact that I look TERRIBLE in orange.
  • I learned that I look really awesome in coral. Never knew!
  • I went to Whole Foods for the first time ever. I would move just to live in a city with a Whole Foods.
  • I took a sushi-making class that I bought in February. Too much fun. Going to have a sushi party one of these days.
  • I took a much-needed drive up the canyon to cool off and enjoy nature for a bit.
  • I toyed with the idea of moving to Texas. Only briefly.

*Always buy homeowner's insurance.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Win a Trip to Paris from Oh Happy Day!

One of the blogs I read and find particularly inspiring is Oh Happy Day, written by Jordan Ferney. Jordan is a party planner and creative mastermind married to Paul, a talented painter. They run a letterpress studio together in San Francisco. They moved to Paris this year, and right now Jordan is giving away a trip for two to Paris!

Go to her blog for details on how to get the most entries into the contest--but for simply commenting on her post you get entered once--not too bad a return on your time investment if you win!

I would say good luck, but I'd be lying if I said I wanted you to win. Unless of course you take me with you.