Thursday, November 29, 2007


In case you haven't noticed, I have a new layout! Isn't the header pretty?? All credit goes to the coolest person I know, because she's, you know, super cool.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Alone With My Thoughts

"In solitude the mind gains strength and learns to lean upon itself." Laurence Sterne

I love being alone. I sit here, heartily enjoying the first real meal I've had all day (granola bars and Gushers in the car really don't count). The window is open, the lights are on, and I'm listening to what may end up being my new favorite song -- and it doesn't even matter how loud it is.

When I'm alone, I think much more clearly. I'm never struggling to find words or prove I'm interesting. It's just me and the inside of my head.

And lately, the inside of my head has actually been a wonderfully pleasant place to be. That is what happens, I think, when you make a conscious effort to put the Lord first and ask God to help you in your efforts.

There are very few people with whom I am as at ease as I am when I am alone. (Did that sentence actually make sense?) One of those people is Cindy. My goal is that, one day, I will find some spiritual, God-fearing man, and be just as at ease with him, too.

In the meantime, I'm noticing the distinction between being an introvert and loving to be on the inside of my head. The latter makes the former much less of a burden. Don't you love when things work out like that?

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

And, because I am a good little sister...


Dancer, Part Two

"Are you good in school?"

"Um, yeah, pretty good."

"Is the something you aren't good at?"

"Let's see...I'm not a very good dancer."

"Cindy Lynn is a good dancer."

"Yeah, I know."

In my last post, I mentioned that this conversation got my brain going in two directions, and went on to highlight the fact that my best friend is stupendous.

The other direction is kind of hinted at in the first paragraph of my last: that dancing is
not important enough for me to suffer through the grueling process of being bad at it, and being bad at it, and being bad and then a little better, but mostly bad for a long time until all of the awfulness spills over into something worthwhile.

Well, I'm learning what is worthwhile. As some of you may have noticed, I've created a writing blog, where I'm trying to post a full 12-point, single-spaced page everyday. The thing about it is that ALL OF IT IS TERRIBLE WRITING. But I want, so badly, to do this well. It's a form of art that feels right to me, in a way I can't describe. It's something that is a part of me, although I've spent a lot of energy over the last several years trying to think otherwise. Someday I'll spout off something, some scene in my head, and instead of just my head it'll be a bit of my soul too.

Not that everything I'm writing now doesn't have a little bit of my heart-of-hearts in's just that mostly it's parts of me that I'm not yet familiar with, or I don't know what to do with it. But I'll learn, and that's so good to know.

The neat thing is that I know as I learn to do this more, other aspects of my life will be affected for the better too. Someday, my words and I will dance too.

Dancer, Part One

"Are you good in school?"

"Um, yeah, pretty good."

"Is the something you aren't good at?"

"Let's see...I'm not a very good dancer."

"Cindy Lynn is a good dancer."

"Yeah, I know."

I really am not a very good dancer. I'm sure that if I put a whole lot of work into it, I could be good -- but it's not important enough for me to suffer through the grueling process of being bad at it, and being bad at it, and being bad and then a little better, but mostly bad for a long time until all of the awfulness spills over into something worthwhile. I try to feel I have God-given beauty in other ways.

Cindy on the other hand is marvelous. I've seen her get swept up in it, seen her move in ways I probably never could, limbs going almost of their own accord, but in a spontaneous, smooth accomplishment that to me, is one of the many ways that my best friend is beautiful.

In thinking about the conversation that I began this post with, my brain went in two directions -- proof that it may still function after I'm done with this research paper, or it'll split in half! The first is one that I come to, oh, probably every day: that Cindy amazes me, with her strength, whether it's strength of character, or will; with her beauty...the kind that draws you in because yes, she's pretty, but that she also has a wonderful capacity to share it, often without even trying. There's a magic to a person like that. And then there's her creativity and humor -- I've seen both get her eyes to sparkle, and my favorite part is when I can put it there. Yes, she is in fact a dancer, but in her, I see it almost as a personality trait worth emulating, rather than simply a talent and a passion.

Sometimes I wish that she could see all of this in herself, even when life gets heavy on her shoulders (sometimes literally: you should feel the knots!). However, I trust her to take care of herself, and I'm grateful for the fact that she knows who she can count on.

I'm grateful that I know who I can count on, too, and I love, so much, that God knows all of us so perfectly, that He can take care of English papers and sore muscles (or sore muscles caused by English papers...) and everything in between.

Our God is an awesome God.

And, of course, Cindy is an awesome dancer.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Service Vs. Neediness

Let it be hereby known that I am entirely too tired to write...but I'm doing it anyway.

Isn't it interesting how emotionally vulnerable you are when you need to go to bed? It's easy to be happy about things you'd be too smart to waste your time on by daylight.

I really, really love to make other people happy. If there's something I can do, whether it's rubbing sore shoulders, making a meal, or sitting and listening, I am happy to do it. (Often I'm not as inclined to give them something purely for the sake of their smile, or just tell them know how special they are, but I try to do that sometimes too, especially if I know it's exactly what they need.) It's wonderful to know that I can make a difference in how someone sees life on a particular day.

On the downside, I'm sometimes inclined to "serve" where I have no business too. It's not really service if it harms me, or if it's something that is just going to make things worse even if my intentions are good.

And it's certainly not service if it's just plain curiosity. "What would happen if I did this nice thing? How would you feel? What would you think?" That's called pushing buttons, friends, and something that I am sometimes far too inclined to do, especially (well, specifically) with guys. I like to be needed, to feel helpful, but targeting people's weaknesses in order to feel loved is not the way to go.

It's not something I specifically set out to do; I just don't think of it like that. The thought process is much more along the lines of "oh, I bet that would make you really happy right now," and then it gets tangled because at that point, it may not be a sincere thing on my part...I may just be doing it for the reaction.

There's really a fine line between serving because you know you have the power make someone happy, and serving to act on the Lord's behalf. I think it's a pride thing..."I am capable of doing this. I am capable of making you feel like I am wonderful. I am capable of making you feel like I am exactly what you need."

I do not want to play into someone else's neediness. I can either "add" to someone, because I cater to their neediness, and he to mine, or we together can "multiply" because we are already complete by ourselves, with the Lord, and we bring that completeness to each other, making much more than just the sum of two parts.

If that is something I still need to learn, then I am glad that I have had some difficult experiences, so that I could be taught this. I'm glad that the Lord has not blessed me with the kind of guy I want to date and marry someday. He knows that I'm really not ready for that yet, and loves me perfectly anyway. I'm trying to do that too.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

It's Beginning to Feel A Lot Like Christmas

Growing up, Christmas began the day after Thanksgiving, when we would drive into a certain part of Santee and search the local Christmas tree farm for a Tree. Big and thick, it had to carry itself a certain way in order for us to consider taking it home. As soon as I learned my numbers, Daddy taught me the price range to look for, but I don’t think I ever failed to convince him to spend a little bit more.

That tradition faded with time as we kids grew older and we moved across country, but this year, I’m renewing the early beginning to Christmas. It’s my second winter here at school (across the country once again) and Christmas started even before Thanksgiving. The middle of October brought the first snow to Rexburg, and ever since then, I’ve brightened my corner of the apartment with the sounds of Christmas music. It makes me think a lot about home since so much of it is country – greats like Garth Brooks, Trisha Yearwood, and Travis Tritt. The atmosphere this music provided always went along with the Christmas tree, and the month of December, that fits so clearly into my early childhood.

It makes me think about the kinds of traditions I’ll have with my own family someday. The Christmas tree will come sooner rather than later, certainly; music will be in my house year-round, but particularly after Thanksgiving; while I don’t plan on doing a whole ton of baking, gingerbread houses are delightful, and I’ll make things often enough that my children will love the smell of cinnamon. Probably baking apples, too.

However, there is one tradition I’ve started this year that will be more difficult to create. In my quest this year to be closer to my Savior, I have found that as the Christmas season gets underway, my testimony for Him grows. This year, I hope Christmas is about Jesus Christ, that I can grow more in awe of all that His birth – and death – implies. I like that Thanksgiving starts the “holiday season,” because what more do we have to be grateful for than the Messiah, the Redeemer of the world and our individual souls?

In choir, we are singing a song called “Alleluia, Amen.” The entire text of the song consists of these two words (and mind you, “amen” is only sung once, almost at the very end.) I don’t mind though; we talked in class about the literal meaning of alleluia, and the implications of praise are truly what my soul cries out. I hope that I can praise my Lord and Redeemer as sincerely all year round. I hope that this season, and the seasons to come, I can more fully love Jesus Christ, and understand ever more how dearly, how wisely, how perfectly He loves me.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Meep-meep! ZOOOOOM...

Homework is killing me, like Chinese water torture meets a Coyote and Roadrunner cartoon. Which I guess equates with anvils being dropped on my head over and over -- that sounds about right.

It's so interesting though -- school really feels like a secondary consideration in my life right now. I am learning so much about myself and about God that I just can't find it in me to care quite so much about my grades.

Life is beautiful, even if Cs are not.

...And on an interesting sidenote, I have a date. I was at Mahon's apartment with Cindy and this guy came in to talk to Mahon for a second, something about who was living where next semester and if they wanted to room with him. He stayed to chat for a minute, Mahon brought up the fact that he and Cindy and I and a bunch of other people want to go to HogiYogi and watch a movie, since they've just set up their already-amazing upstairs (you should see the murals) to be a movie-theater. And then Mahon goes "oh, hey, this is Cindy and this is her roommate Sara. Sara needs a date for that, you should ask her." And poor Spencer was like "uhhhh...." but apparently he wasn't too opposed to it since we exchanged numbers. I only found out LATER that Mahon doesn't even really KNOW him! There were definitely better ways of doing this. But hey, Spencer seemed cute, and no creepy vibes. So we'll just have to see!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Booty-call? Yikes.

Sometimes, I just don't understand why certain people are in my life. Quite a contrast from my last post about being grateful for the people around me, I know, but mostly it's just one specific person.

This person and I had become very close, very quickly, and when it blew up in my face I dealt with it for only as long as I had to before I dropped the relationship completely. Interestingly, this bothered this person, so I reconsidered and decided to continue the relationship (with minimal emotional involvement on my part). And then this person just sort of disappeared from my life -- no e-mail, no calls, no texts, not even a "hello" sent down the grapevine from our mutual friend.

I was confused by this, but since I was going to cut off contact with this person myself, I let the situation drop out of my life.

And then, out of nowhere, I got a text message, along the lines of "hi, I hope this isn't a bad time, just wanted to see how you were doing." My reply: "I'm fine." This person then texted me again asking if I was mad at him, and I said no, just confused because this person had wanted to be my friend and then dropped out of my life again. This person then said that they had thought I hated them, to which I replied that I didn't bother wasting the time and energy -- that no, it really didn't matter.

Shortly there after, this person called me and we talked for a while -- mostly about this person's rather exciting job. It was good to hear from this person, since they are fun to talk to, and it's been fun to communicate with this person on facebook. However, well, remember how the short-and-intense relationship blew up in my face? Well, the reason for that ended up blowing up in this person's face. And now this person wants me to come see them and has, according to my roommates, "booty-called". What on earth??

My thought is that this person is very immature, for basically a lot of reasons, and needs to stop looking for a significant other and start looking for ---self. That is something I am working on so intensely lately...I want to be able to define my worth outside of a relationship so completely that when I finally am in a relationship, it will be because it is what God wants for me and because I know the person I am involved with is a truly wonderful person, instead of someone who just makes me feel good.

If I had known that before now, I may never have gotten involved with "this person" to begin with. Rereading the "I'm-not-going-to-talk-to-you-ever-again" e-mail conversation, I really don't understand why this person thought I was still mad...not when I said "I was probably hypocritical," etc., and later, "Did you get my last e-mail?" I would love to ask this person about this, but I already know I wouldn't really get a straight answer. Mostly I'm just grateful not to be this person . . . not to be dating this person . . .

And to be me, not dating anyone. God has a plan for me; I know it. Therefore, when I am ready for the quality of relationship I want in my life, He will provide. That's all there is to it. In the meantime, I am, in a sense, falling in love with myself. By that I mean learning to love myself deeply, including weaknesses and strengths and all the funny quirks that fall somewhere in between. This is what God wants for me right now, and I am grateful for that.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

This seems to be a time for me to be surrounded by people who are having a hard time. I never thought I would be the one that people come to when they need someone to talk to -- that whole shoulder to cry on thing -- but it seems to be the case lately, at least for a few select people.

It's sobering, really, and it's teaching me some things. For one, it can always be worse. My family could be more dysfunctional. I could get less sleep. I could worry more about money. I could be much less healthy. The list goes on and on, and I see more and more that I am amazingly blessed, with my temple-sealed family, hectic-but-doable schedule, adequate bank account, and wonderfully healthy body. I'm a very mellow person, so it's sometimes a challenge for me to smile and say "yes, life is going fantastically!" but the more I think about it, the more I realize that it truly is. I am so very blessed.

The other part of it is that I have a capacity to help others in my own way, that the "mellowness" is part of what draws more intense people in, the kind of people who live fully and deeply and who I enjoy being around. I'm learning lately to "fill the measure of my creation" (D&C 88:19) and maybe part of that is using the quirks of my personality to reach out to others. I've been praying lately that God will use me to build His kingdom, and show me how He does that, and I am so deeply amazed that God answers those prayers. In His excellent goodness and wisdom, He reminds me that He does hear me, does know me. I hope that in this experience I can learn to trust Him even when His influence is not so obvious.

It makes me want to write poetry.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Temporary Redhead, Permanent Daughter of God

Cindy, after noticing my bright red hair all over again, asked me, "So are you going to keep it that way?"

My answer kind of surprised me.

"No; no way. I figure God gave me brown hair, so why should I feel like that isn't good enough? This is temporary -- just for fun."

It wasn't so much the answer itself that surprised me as how emphatic I was about came out of my mouth and I thought, Wow, I really believe that.

Who am I to question how God created me?

Friday, November 9, 2007

Happy on His Terms

The past two days have been an exercise in learning to love me for me, in spite of being single, shy, silly, etc.

Yesterday, my best friend on the whole planet (we honestly read each other's minds; it's like those dumb twin movies) went with her boyfriend to a bonfire. I was invited, but by the end of the day I just get so worn out by people that I knew I'd be miserable by the end of it. So, although I knew it would be extremely fun, I stayed home and dyed my hair instead! It was extremely fun and now I have amazing, fiery-red hair. It'll fade in two-ish weeks, but I'm delighted that I did it just because I could. It brings out my green eyes wonderfully...the funny thing is that now my head clashes with a lot of my shirts! That and I no longer have any concept of my hair color, before or after.

Today, I went to a concert. By myself. And I had a blast! The concert was Peter Breinholt, who is just so much fun! At one point during the concert, he basically invited people to dance while he played. A handful of girls stood up and started jammin', and then a few scattered other people, and then this guy (who will forever be my hero) ran to the front by the stage. Lots of people, including yours truly, followed suit, and it was insanely fun. I kind of like my lack of inhibition, even if it sometimes makes me feel a little cRaZy.

Another big thing about the concert was how I accidentally sat by this girl in my Spanish class and her two friends. Being a BYU-I coed, I naturally would have loved to sit by some cute boy, but I decided from the moment I saw the-Spanish-class-girl-whose-name-I-do-not-remember that it honestly did not matter because I was going to be friendly to whoever. So I chatted with Tara for a few minutes before the concert and it was great fun. I'm learning not to mind this whole being-single thing -- people are people, right?

Before that, in Old Testament, I very nearly cried. In a good way, of course...we were talking about Moses, specifically the burning bush experience, and at one point Moses says, "O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither heretofore, nor since thou hast spoken unto thy servant: but I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue." The Lord's reply intrigues me..."Who hath made man’s mouth? or who maketh the dumb, or deaf, or the seeing, or the blind? have not I the LORD?" I had always kind of assumed this was the Lord saying "Well you're just unfaithful...get more faith and then you won't have to worry about it, duh."

But what if the Lord actually meant "Moses, I know. I made you that way on purpose." It reminded me that this whole introverted thing is not a fluke, is not a mistake. It's a challenge, but one that will bless me and one that somehow, the Lord will use to build His kingdom. Mary, one of my roommates from last fall, called me today and when I told her about this experience, I added "I have no idea HOW the Lord will use it for His work, but I guess I just have to trust Him." Her reply: "Well I know how!" She went on to explain that she really loved living with me because I had a way of nonjudgmentally listening to the whole story, and then without being insulting explained what might be the other side of the picture. I don't say this to toot my own horn or anything, just to use it as a demonstration of God's love and how He works through people, like Mary telling me how great she thinks I am on a day I particularly need to hear it.

I'm fairly convinced that this is just what happens when you ask the Lord to help you know what to pray for...and then pray for it...and then trust Him to provide in his own way and time.
I've been experimenting on the word and am happy to say that the Lord does provide -- you just have to be willing to take things on His terms. Since He's so much smarter (and nicer) than I am, I'm okay with that. I'm learning not to formulate my own ideas for things too quickly, because I know that God wants what is best for me and so I should want what He wants instead of making up my own ideas of "happy" and then being disappointed when they don't work out.

All in all, as I learn to love myself, I find myself loving God more and being more available to Him day to day. I'm so grateful for that.