Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Chastity, God's Love, My Life: A Testimony of Truth

I have a friend who wants to date Mormons. We laughed about this at first – she’s a Catholic living in Utah – but then she finally explained. She is absolutely in love with the idea of waiting to have sex until marriage. She’s sick of being propositioned on the second date, so with Mormon boys it’s so nice not to have to worry about that. My friend complained that she just doesn’t understand why other boys can’t respect that, or wrap their brains around that concept.

“Well gosh,” I told her, “it’s not at all a part of modern culture.”

Which is a shame. I genuinely believe that any time anyone has premarital sex, they are “playing marriage”. That ends up making a mockery of the most sacred and special and life-changing relationship you will ever ever have, EVER. I KNOW that's not right. And I respect both my God and my future husband too much to put myself in situations where my conviction of the sacredness of sex and marriage will be questioned.

And here's the really cool thing about most Mormons. Sure, we're raised to believe this stuff, but in this crazy world we're in, you just can't live your life coasting on what other people tell you. So people who act like they're not down with the premarital sex thing usually really believe it's wrong! It's a conviction, not a culture. For the most part.  Our doctors are amazed when we inform them that we are not sexually active, but really, it’s just a part of who we are. There’s extra light in our eyes.

I mean, I know that there are things in my life that I struggle with, just like everyone else. I have my ups and downs…but I want you to envision a graph. My line, even with all the ups and downs, is always at the top half of the graph, because God is in my life in frankly unimaginable ways. Other people have ups and downs too, but I worry sometimes that they are just living on a lower plane, when their lives could be AWESOME. I'm not saying that my life is perfect because you add God to the mix and BLAM, everything is fixed. Just that living spiritually is a generally happier way to be.

Spirituality is a necessary component that gets you out of bed in the morning and gives you a reason for living. Yet, there are a ton of things in life that dull that sensitivity to spiritual things, and pull your line downward on the graph, so to speak. That’s why I don't swear, or drink, or wear skimpy clothes. It takes something awesome -- like the power of words, or my body's inherent value -- and cheapens it, whether it's by focusing on the negative or distracting me from the positive. Or both. And that makes it a lot harder for me to use these amazing resources that God has given me in order to make my life, and the lives of other people, as wonderful as they should be. I went through a time when I had a really self-destructive mindset, and it was so amazing how God pulled me out of it in order to change my life, and enable me to change the lives of others.

Let me just say right off that I love my father. Even though I’m nearly 23, he’s still “Daddy” to me. When I call him just to say hello – which is often – we usually talk for at least an hour. He’s generous and intelligent and enthusiastic, a combination which often results in him explaining really interesting things to me. My dad loves to give me advice and is an amazing listener, and he always seems to know exactly what to say in order to make me feel less crazy. I love that I get to be one of his best friends.

However, my father grew up in a physically and emotionally abusive home, and it carried into how he raised me. Not going to mince words here – he has been emotionally abusive. Our relationship (and his parenting) has MINDBLOWINGLY improved since I was a kid. But I am still in the process of healing from, well, from my upbringing.

The worst part of it was the November after I turned 15. For the first time, I was the oldest kid at home and I was just so sick of bearing my father's disproportionate reactions. So I wrote him a note and told him that I couldn't take it anymore, and if he didn't knock it off, I was going to take every pain pill in the house. (We had a lot; my parents have had multiple joint surgeries.) I put the note on his pillow, and then went into my room to sob for a while.

Eventually the incoherent sobs formed into a desperate prayer. "Heavenly Father, I can't handle this, I can't do this, I can't take this for another 3 years before I can move out, if there is any way to get me out of here please do it, things are never going to change and I just don't have the strength to do this anymore, are you there? can you help me? are you there?"

It was about then when the thought shoved itself into my head -- divine intervention at its most personal -- that if there was any time to read the scriptures for comfort, this was it. So, desperately throwing my eyes around the room, I found my scriptures: Old Testament, New Testament, The Book of Mormon (which has the same light and truth that the Bible does, but talks about the people in the ancient Americas instead of the people of ancient Jerusalem), and Doctrine and Covenants (which is a collection of revelations -- you know, like God talking to His children -- written down. Most of them are God talking to Joseph Smith about what Christ's church was like when Christ was on the earth, and how to make the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints that way again. Pretty amazing if you ask me.)

I blindly opened the book and flipped around until it felt right, and started reading. I found a chapter in Doctrine and Covenants, which comes from a time when the early Mormons were being persecuted and really didn't have a safe place to call home. If possible, I cried even harder when I found the verses. Remember that I was suicidal at this point, even though I was working so hard to be a good person despite being in a pretty hopeless situation, and you'll understand the weight of these words:

"For verily I say unto you, blessed is he that keepeth my commandments, whether in life or in death; and he that is faithful in tribulation, the reward of the same is greater in the kingdom of heaven. Ye cannot behold with your natural eyes, for the present time, the design of your God concerning those things which shall come hereafter, and the glory which shall follow after much tribulation. For after much tribulation come the blessings. Wherefore the day cometh that ye shall be crowned with much glory; the hour is not yet, but is nigh at hand."

It was a message from God, directly to me. “Sara, I know you don’t want to live anymore. But I am going to make up for every hard thing that you are going through. You can’t even begin to understand how awesome things are going to be – not yet, but soon.” 

Wow. Those verses wrapped me up in this overwhelming and protective sense of God's love. I found the following verse in the Book of Mormon a few days later, and cried again, knowing how apt a description it was:

"But behold, the Lord hath redeemed my soul from hell; I have beheld his glory, and I am encircled about eternally in the arms of his love."

Having finally combated the more concrete part of the problem -- that my wonderful daddy can be a real jerk sometimes -- my angst was redirected to the more abstract side. How my dad treated me had affected how I thought of myself. After some counseling, and no longer being on survival mode, I could finally see: Wow, I think I’m pretty worthless. But I was still functioning, mostly because I knew God obviously didn't think I was worthless, and I tried to be a good person for Him, if nothing else.

I lived with this mindset -- I think I'm awful, everyone else thinks I'm awful, but God disagrees -- for the next two and a half years. By that time, the stunning truth of God's love had been somewhat overpowered by the crippling idea that His love was the only kind I would ever deserve. That's when, in a general psychology class that I didn't actually have to take, I was given the assignment to smile at everyone I had eye contact with. For a week.

WHAT?? my brain screamed. No one wants me to smile at them! They'll think I'm so weird! They'll be mean about it! Who DOES that? What kind of crazy idea...? AAHHHHHHH!!!

But, even as a senior in high school, I had a sense of adventure that to this day pushes me to do things that are just a little outside of the norm. So I tried it. And, hesitantly, tentatively...I liked it.

A few days later, I went to seminary. Seminary is a unique program of the Church where high school students get together during the school year -- often at very early hours! -- to read the scriptures and talk about the lessons in them. My house was too far away from the gathering point for me to meet every morning, but a nice woman in the ward agreed to meet with me and my siblings once a week so that we could participate in seminary too. That week, we were studying the New Testament, and since the school year had just started, we were on Matthew 5.

I don't know how I held it together long enough to get out of there, but somehow I did. And then I bawled. Again. (My early life involved a lot of crying, can you tell?) Here’s why:

"Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven."

God loved me, yes, but other people did too. Not only that, but it was my responsibility to share God's love with them. I had light, and there was no hiding it. So that year, I smiled at everyone. Joked with them. Made friends. There were certainly days when I was still afraid, and God had to offer me some more reassurance. But was incredible.

These experiences were the start of a brand new life for me. It wasn't perfect, and since then I have definitely had my share of dark, lonely, and painful hours. But I know I've had worse, and survived. I can survive anything, because God is tutoring me -- me, personally -- to be the best Sara I can possibly be. And He's never going to give up.

Because of these experiences, I know that God exists. I know that the Holy Spirit acts as a messenger and a comforter and a guide, and I can live my life to always have His presence. I know that Jesus Christ suffered, to an impossible degree, so that I can become a new person every day, even when I sin and making stupid and hurtful and lazy mistakes that pull me away from becoming the person God wants me to be. Jesus Christ, God's Only Begotten Son, also takes my paltry, weak efforts to be good, and expands them -- magnifies them -- so that with Him, I accomplish more and receive more blessings than I could ever deserve. I rely on Him to bring me back to our Father -- Christ's Father and my Father, and yours. Christ's eternal sacrifice makes me clean, even clean enough to be in the presence of the perfect and holy and eternal Creator of the universe, who fathered my spirit and wants nothing but the very, extremely, most perfect best for me. Heavenly Father wants me -- us -- to be what He is, with our own infinite children and planets and knowledge to direct them all accordingly. To love them all perfectly, like He does.


To bring it back to our original point, I think that's why it's so important to be chaste before marriage. When we have children on this earth, we're practicing for when we're like God. Why would you ever fool around with that? That's why Mormons are so strict on dating and marriage and such, you know. The temple is the only place sacred enough for a man and a woman make that promise to God and to each other: that they will do everything they can to become, together, how God the Father is. It's the most sacred and special responsibility any person can ever have, and premarital sex takes all that light and truth and holy, sacred potential...and flings it out the window. It makes me want to cry just thinking about it.

So yes, I agree with my friend: people become so jaded about sex that they forget what it's for in the first place. But I seriously doubt that people even really understood "what it's for in the first place" to begin with. People can't forget things they never knew. I'm just grateful I do know it...and grateful that some wonderful guy who knows it too will take me to the temple someday, and we can get started on our eternal work, together.

It does make life frustrating sometimes though. I live with the knowledge that I am meant to be like God perpetually on my mind. Sometimes it’s pushed to the back, and that's why I need Christ; He brings it closer to the front. But it’s always there. This brings my life to such a higher plane, and I love it that way. But what I find so hard to understand is why so many people live beneath their privileges. I know, from experience, what it’s like to live “lower on the graph”, to use my analogy from earlier. Why would anyone ever do that by choice?? Again, it’s taking something amazing – like WHO YOU ARE INHERANTLY MEANT TO BE – and cheapening it by focusing on the negative and distracting from the positive. I am far from perfect in this regard, but I struggle on a daily basis to change my life so that it perfectly fits with Heavenly Father’s idea of How To Become Like God 101. And it kills me to have to wonder if other people are trying to do that, too, whether it’s my family or my friends or that guy I might like to date if he would just shape up, fer cryin’ out loud.

Really, it just shows how important it is for me to be a good person. If I’m doing good things, I have the Holy Spirit in my life. Since these people are in my life too, they’re bound to rub elbows with the Holy Spirit a bit. Also, by living close to God, I have a better perspective. My favorite thing about this summer is how much I have learned about seeing people as God sees them. He knows their endless potential, and if I try really hard, and squint a little, I can see it too. The moment I realize how superb they truly are, there’s this rush of love that pours out from my heart, toward them. No, I don’t understand their exact purpose in life, or know their life story. That’s God’s job. I’m just grateful to catch a tiny glimpse of how that crazy messed-up mortal, who bears the seed of divinity, will bloom into someone like Heavenly Father someday.

And, every now and then, I catch that same glimpse of myself. Those moments make everything, ever, worthwhile. They are when I can finally give everything I have and am and do to God. It’s like if your dad asks you for some nails and a board. You were going to make a birdhouse with them, since but he’s got the know-how and supplies to build a mansion out of it, you hand them over. And that mansion, because you added those nails and that board, is especially for you.

That, all that, is what I know to be true. I say it in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

lessons in dating

I better understand why guys reject me when I grow some backbone and reject them.

And, you know how people say you marry who you date? Well, you date who you befriend. Or, at least, the kind of guy you befriend. Hmm.

Saturday, July 31, 2010


And Sara? Escapism is a perfectly acceptable solution in small portions. Just think how refreshing it was to watch Lara Croft, so that you didn't have to think so much. And you felt so much better afterwards!

Note to self:

Being extremely preoccupied with something I can't control is not an excuse to pout.

It's a reason to get crackin' on something I CAN control.

Friday, July 30, 2010

It makes me happy when I...

...make "real food."
...spend time outside.
...give really good advice. responsible about paying my bills.
...listen to uplifting music. the scriptures.
...clean my kitchen.
...think realistically - but positively - about situations in my life. my dad.
...write clever and pithy things.

Bitter and Elitist...

Being a recent transplant, I’m always looking for ways to make my new life in the Salty City feel a little more like home. That’s why when a friend invited me to go swing dancing, I didn’t ask when or where - I just said yes.

Turns out, U of U’s swing club hosts a free dance every Thursday starting at 9. The free lesson starts at 8, if you've never done it before, or if you’re like me and forget everything when faced with a new (and/or attractive) partner. Yes, two years of swing dancing and I still worry I’ll embarrass myself.

I shouldn’t have worried so much. 

Described as a whole, I’d term the event as “socially-awkward”. Don’t get me wrong! Some of the people were nice, some of them were cute, some of them were even employed(!).  But there’s a certain charisma you need on the dance floor in order to not come off as a skeeze, guy or girl. And nobody had it.

Dancing is the human body made into art, and put into motion, you know? This was more like taking the David and rolling it downhill. Body? Check. Art? Check. Motion? Check. BUT WHY THE HECK ARE YOU DOING THAT TO A MICHELANGELO????

You’re probably thinking, “Oh come on, Sara! You can’t compare a free university event to a classic sculpture.” And you know what? You’re right. I guess I got what I paid for. But I just couldn’t get over how uncomfortable the whole thing was. 

Bless your collective heart, U of U. Let's stick to football in the future.

What do you think, SLC? How do you keep dancing classy? Where do you go to get your groove on? Must "free" always mean "lame"?

Monday, July 26, 2010

Sara Lord always gets over it, and finds hope in that today.

Jan. 31:
Sara Lord  hears a call to arms.

Feb. 2
Sara Lord  thinks -- hopes -- she'll look back on this and say, "Hey...that was actually really cool."

Sara Lord  ‎: hmm. Well, okay then.

Sara Lord  ‎'s cell phone is much quieter now.

Feb. 3
Sara Lord  ‎: After 2 months of this mess, I think it's officially in the running for "Most Epic Miscommunication Ever." Ouch.

Sara Lord  couldn't tell that she was secretly p&%$#-off until she realized how loud her headphones were.

Feb. 4
Sara Lord  has many tears left to shed...but she is simultaneously too exhaused to cry and too exhausted to make herself be numb.

Feb. 6
Sara Lord  figured out the problem: she's a grown woman who believes in fairy tales.

Feb. 9
Sara Lord  won't know for sure how she's doing for probably another month. Ask her then.

Feb. 10
Sara Lord  has lost too many good things because she needed them to be better.

Feb. 13
Sara Lord  just keeps pushing forward, 'cause she doesn't know what else to do.

Feb. 23
Sara Lord  begins to see that no matter how hard it was making those mistakes, it was essential. Past mistakes prevent her from making even BIGGER mistakes in the future.

Mar. 11
Sara Lord  has the blues tonight. You'd think she'd be over it by now, as it's over a month later. C'est la vie... :-P

Sara Lord  ‎: when you see my face / hopes it gives you...

Mar. 16
Sara Lord  ‎: smiling-and-sweet meets chip-on-her-shoulder. It's a good day today.

Sara Lord  is a future mother in Zion. Boneheads need not apply.

Mar. 29
Sara Lord  is still figuring things out.

Apr. 8
Sara Lord  jaded [jey-did], adjective. 1. Worn out, wearied, exhausted or lacking enthusiasm, due to age or experience. 2. Made callous, cynically insensitive, or even conceited, by experience or age.

Apr. 13
Sara Lord  ‎: "Give me patience to wait until I can understand it for myself."

June 2
Sara Lord  ‎: I don't know, but I believe in yesterday and what it means to bleed and know that you're OK.

I'm so grateful that I'm over him. You know, I'm not even really mad about it anymore, which is kind of a big deal, 'cause I was soooo angry at the time. Another 6 months and it will be just another funny, oh-Sara-you-should-have-known-better story. Rock on.

Monday, July 19, 2010


Giving God your life doesn't mean that you don't want anything that He didn't prescribe.

It means that you accept the pain that will INEVITABLY come, without questioning His love for you when it does.

I'm in pain right now, a dull haunting lonely ache that says I am a long way from home. However, just knowing that I have a home is a beautiful thing.

There will always be dangers to loving people...but that's not going to stop me. Not anymore.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

I'll tell you what I want, what I really, really want

Telling people what I think they want to hear makes me crazy.

Sharing my feelings honestly yet sensitively makes me happy.

"Oh friend, I don't want to criticize you! I just worry that..."

"I'm sad that _____. But I love you and will be interested in and supportive of what you love."

This is so much better than trying to agree with people and make them happy when really, I don't agree with them at all!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

If you can't beat 'em, join 'em

Attempting to control all of my circumstances makes me crazy.

Choosing who I am going to be makes me happy.

Swearing I will never make brownies ever, ever again? Crazy. Saying to myself, "I don't want to be that person," and having a salad? Happy.

Scratching friends off the list because they stress me out sometimes? Crazy. Deciding that Heavenly Father kinda designed me to be "the mom" right now? Happy.

Throwing my computer at the wall in disgust and never looking at facebook again? Crazy. Exercising because I'm tired of sitting in the same place? Happy.

Who I am right now does not have to be who I am in the long run. Some things will progress toward the better. Some things will change, not because they were bad, but rather because something else was needed, and I could offer it. 

I graduate in five and a half months. (oh boy, that makes me feel faint.) That creates a lot of Big Decisions, which will determine the circumstances I am in. But I don't think who the Lord wants me to become will change very much based on where I work or live. He will shape me as He always has, and I will do my best to let Him. 

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Dependence: When other people do things for you, based on your self-depreciation. Your connection to other people prevents you from doing things you can do yourself. Your actions and opportunities are determined by others, to your detriment. 

I know people who are dependent. This is for a lot of reasons, ranging from emotional abuse to addiction to mental illness. I flat refuse to be one of these people, so being independent comes fairly naturally.

Independence: When other people could do things for you, but your pride or distrust prevents you from allowing them to do so. Your relationships are limited as you disconnect from others.

My father insists this is a good thing, because it means that I don't need anyone. I guess this is true, since it means I get to pick and choose who I have in my life. They're there because I want them, not because I am dependent on them. 

But today, I learned the hard way what interdependence is.

Interdependence: When you could do things yourself, but you allow others to do them, recognizing the efficiency thereof. You are free expend your energy on your own particular kind of excellence, rather than only your (independent) survival.


My glasses are broken. The earpiece is loose to the point of falling off at the hinge (no, it's not the screw; it's not that simple.) My glasses sit crooked on my face, and their weight is mostly on my nose instead of my ears. It's terribly uncomfortable. So, I looked up directions the closest Lenscrafters, copied down the insurance information my parents recited over the phone, and drove to Murray.

Anyone that knows me knows that I don't do well with finding new places. Lenscrafters was no exception. Oh, I got to the street fine, but made an assumption that lead me not to the mall, but to the similarly named strip mall just before it. The strip mall, by the way, had several optometrists, none of which were Lenscrafters, or for that matter open. So I maintain that between the name and the plethora of almost-but-not-quite places, my confusion was justified.

I parked in the strip mall to get my bearings, next to one of those little decorative parking lot islands. You know the kind -- they slap a tree and a couple of rocks in the middle of a parking lot, with a little curb around it. Well, I misjudged how far I needed to pull forward before I turned out of the space. My car rolled onto the curb. No big deal ordinarily, but then my car jostled and made the most horrifying crunchy, scraping noise you can think of.

"Oh geez."

Instantly, I stopped the car and put it in reverse. Touch the accelerator - repeat awful scrapey noise. But I was off the curb at least. My caution was extreme as I pulled forward some more. That's surprising considering my blood pressure in that moment.  Did I have a flat? (Done that before.) Did I bend the rim? (Done that before, too.)

The car didn't seem to be handling poorly, so I didn't think so.  That's when I noticed the great big ROCK placed in just the right place to produce that gut-wrenching sound. As I drove, there was a new noise.

Great, I thought. I broke something essential on the underside of my car. I pulled into the mall just across the way -- ironically, in that moment I realized it was where I should have been to begin with.

Parking once more, I decided I'd just have to get out and look at it. I shut off the car. Now I'm going to be stuck in Murray, and have to call someone to pick me up. 

I got out, and closed the door behind me. Dad is going to be so sad. He just gave this car to me, and it was in such good shape. His other kids break cars. Dah, I hate that apparently I'm no different. I'll have to get into my savings to pay for the tow truck, and fix my car, and WHY THE HECK DO I EVER LEAVE THE HOUSE? I rounded the front of my car, and looked down.


It wasn't as bad as I expected, but it was certainly more obvious. A strip of red, somewhat mangled plastic that used to border the passenger side hung down to the ground. I dropped my purse and sat on the asphalt to take a closer look. My glasses fell apart again as I leaned over, so I snatched them away from my face and folded them into my purse. The question at hand -- literally at hand, as I shifted the abused plastic a bit -- was whether or not I could fix my car. The glasses would just have to wait.

Laying down on the ground, I tucked the purse beneath my head and examined the underside of my car more closely. There was a plastic bolt that would have held the piece up, but the piece had cracked at the hole, allowing the bolt to slip out. Could I slip it back in?

The answer was no, I found after I dirtied my hands and made the cracked hole into a broken curve. However, that curve fit excellently around the bolt. The misfit fix held up to my tests (banging on the already battered piece of plastic, grabbing it and shaking, etc.) Therefore, I came to the only conclusion I could, given my broken car and my broken glasses: I need to keep duct tape in my car.

A gas station seemed as likely a place as any to find the tape, so I pulled into one nearby. No such luck though, just Scotch tape. I bought it anyway, plus $20 in gas, and returned to my car. The glasses are now a barely-tolerable fix with the tape. The car went from barely-tolerable to silly-looking,-but-may-hold-together-a-little-better. Until, that is, I get up the nerve to tell Dad and ask what I ought to do.

I keep hand sanitizer and tissues in my car, so I cleaned up my hands the best I could before I left. As I drove away, I realized I really wanted to cry.

Hold it together, I told myself. It's fine. Crying about it won't help anything.

In an effort to "hold it together," I analyzed why exactly I wanted to cry. I didn't just want to cry, I decided. I wanted to hide my face in some good man's neck, and feel his arm around my shoulders, and inwardly lament of how infernally stupid the whole stinking mess was, dang it.

I can't do that, I reasoned. I have better things to do, like get myself home in one piece. There's no guy here anyway, Sara. So suck it up!

But I wondered what the situation would have been if there was a guy around. That's when it call came flooding to me. If there was someone there to have my back, I wouldn't have to drive home if I didn't want to. Or get out and get on the ground and look at my poor car. Or try to navigate a new town all by myself. Or drive myself to get my glasses fixed as they break off my face every few minutes. In short, every disaster of the evening could have been prevented if someone else were around who was willing to look after me a bit.

I'm not saying that I can't manage by myself. Obviously I did just fine given the circumstances. I'm usually really proud of myself for handling situations appropriately. Not this time. I was mournful that I had to handle it at all. I may be an independent woman, but I am also a traditionalist. I love when men take charge, when they make sure I know I'm allowed to be fragile.

I felt fragile today, and I didn't like it. And for the first time in my adult life, "kicking trash" and fixing my fragility myself wasn't the solution I craved. The idea disturbs me because I don't have a lot of options for not taking care of myself. But I think it's a good thing that I'm no longer out to prove that I can take care of myself. I already know I can. I just don't want it to be an unremitting requirement of my life anymore.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010


That, readers, is a tomato.

One afternoon not so long ago, Laurie was bored, and a little sad. We rejected the idea of increased caloric intake and batted around a few alternatives. Then gardening came up. Suddenly, we found ourselves perusing the garden center for pea plants. And bell pepper. And basil. And zucchini. And yellow squash. And thyme. And two kinds of tomatoes (little ones for salad, big ones for sandwiches!)

We returned home, my lap and Laurie's back seat smelling of dirt and green. That was only the beginning. Laurie and I transplanted the little plants into our new, long pots (amid gunshot-like shrieks and "LAURIE! You CAN'T freak out like that when there's a spider!"). I loved getting dirt on my hands and researching how to take care of the little guys. I felt like I'd adopted a baby.

Laurie remembers to water them, thank goodness. I spent about an hour today staking the pea plants (they don't look very healthy with so many dried out leaves, but the little searching tendrils and tiny buds totally attest to their growth). I've also grown tomatoes before -- thank you, Dad -- so I knew that the little flower that was there when we bought the plant meant we'd have a tomato soon. It's the one pictured above.

I was skeptical when Laurie and I bought these plants. If it wasn't for Cindy, who is marvelous at plants, I would have killed many a houseplant. I just don't remember to water the darn things. I thought I was born for cacti, but not so. The wonderful thing about a real garden is once you get the darn thing started, you get attached. "Is that tomato ripe yet?" "I thought I saw a bud on that pepper plant..." "The basil plant is just PRETTY." You remember it more.

I know the whole my-life-as-a-garden thing has been done about a million times. But I really hope that in watching this garden grow with very little help from me, I can learn to step back and let good things happen, rather than assuming they won't happen unless I force them.

I kinda want to name my plants. Too bad I have two tomato plants. They can't both be Bob.

Friday, June 11, 2010


I love knowing that if I ever felt like trying to be a good person, or life in general, was too much work, an entire mob of people would appear to offer their love.

Friendship gives me hope.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Things I'm Grateful for Today:

Callie. She came over at about 6 and we had dinner and dessert and just talked and talked and talked until almost 10. After a week without a single familiar face, she saved my life today. It was sooo good to see her, and fun to talk about my trip to Europe and her trip to Canada. And about Doctor Who. And Rexburg. And life. Just what I needed.

My new residence. It's a cute house all by itself, blue with a little yard. But it's also got a nice back yard, and a firepit, and a swing, and a grill. Let's not forget that it's in a cute quiet neighborhood with a little park. Or that Winco, Cafe Rio, and Kohls are practically in walking distance. And downtown Salt Lake is only 20 minutes away. I can't believe I get all this for only $350 a month. Blessings, what??

Facebook. I know, I know. But for the time being, facebook is my primary method of contact with the people I love most. It's nice to have that connection, as tenuous as it is.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Day One

My strongest instinct right now is to run. Just run, straight back to Rexburg.

It's the same feeling I had the first day of my Euro-trip. Our tour directors sent us out to explore Galway. I linked on to a group of about ten people (far too large for travel, by the way) and we wandered the streets of a touristy little Irish city. At first, my bravado propelled me into a flippant leadership role: "I don't know if this is the right way, but what have we got to lose? Let's try it!" The other ten girls complied easily enough. However, as the shops thinned out, so did my bravado. We turned around.

I spent the remainder of the trip as a ready and willing follower, and the remainder of the day as an anxious small-town American.While Galway isn't huge, it was still formidable to my Oxford, North Carolina and Rexburg, Idaho sensibilities. The rub of people and streets in big cities blisters those sensibilities very quickly.

So, Salt Lake is reminding me of that right now. I miss familiar faces. I have said goodbye far too many times in the last week: the 40 other pilgrims, my parents, my sister and her family, Tim, Natalie, Chelsea, and finally my little brother this morning. Joe has been the PERFECT roadtrip companion, so parting ways at the airport almost provoked tears. It didn't help any that he took the GPS with him. I hate finding my way around. I don't know where the nearest gas station is, where to look for apartments, OR how to navigate all the blasted construction. The only thing I know is that the little town that holds my best friends is straight north on I-15.

However, that is not the path I intend to take.

Like the clothing and toiletries and electronics waiting on my bed, I carefully lay out all of the reasons I'm not on my way to Idaho right now. Inconvenience is a big one, seeing as it's a 3 or 4 hour drive. My dignity is another. I know they wouldn't mind, but as hard as today is, I would be humiliated to suddenly hurl myself back into Tim, Natalie, and Chelsea's arms.

These factors helped me to stay in Europe, too. You can imagine how inconvenient it would have been to turn around and fly home again. And how ridiculous I would have looked to unexpectedly arrive at the door of Kensington 205, while the pilgrimage went on without me. And yet, I think the real motivation for staying in Europe is the same one that will keep me here in Utah. Now that I've worked through a few panicked compulsions, I remember that I do, in fact, have a sense of adventure.

This brassy streak, like a thread of gold through cooler-hued stone, is a valuable and sometimes subtle aspect of my personality. It's the fight response beneath the flight. It inspires me to be excited about my 3pm appointment to inspect an apartment. It reminds me that I looked forward to this internship as a prospect of impressing professionals in my chosen field. It's the same thread of "shining dawn", to translate the Latin, that made the hole-in-the-wall hostel in Galway endearing. There, I made an amusing video of the labyrinthine path up to my room. Here, I write an exploratory blog post. And in both places, I try to hear Tim's voice in my head, telling me that I'm brave. It's a good thing I can hear it in my head, or I might run away to Rexburg to hear it in person.

But no. I sit here quietly and try to feel him patting me on the back, and to you, readers, I echo his words:

It's okay, Sara. You're going to do just fine.

Thanks, Tim...maybe you're right.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Things That Made Me Happy Today

1. Learning about a hierarchy of literary value, ranging from the Truth to the Lie, with several degrees in between. Moral/ethical criticism is essential to consider, and by each person individually. (I, for instance, was very disturbed by The Picture of Dorian Gray and horrified by The Color Purple, yet found Heart of Darkness and Things Fall Apart very moving.)

2. A sweet thank-you note from my former supervisor, in response to the nice note I left for her on my last day of work. I'll really miss working for her; she's great.

3. Finding out that I know a lot more names of people who are going on the Brit Lit tour than I thought I did. Woot!

4. My outfit -- sooo classy. Trouser-cut jeans, kitten heels, t-shirt, blazer, necklace...mmm. Magnifique! Tres chic.

5. Calisthenics. Turns out, our morning exercises for class actually include exercises. I have no idea why I don't play sports...working out is so much fun!

6. Submitting the following t-shirt designs:

The last one is my execution of someone else's idea. It's also possibly my favorite, partially because it best adheres to the requirements given.

7. Making a plan before I got too overwhelmed by everything I need to do.

8. Re-realizing that Tuesday means Sam and Friday means Natalie and Chelsea and Kevin!

9. Quoting The Lion King in my facebook status. I'm an equal-opportunity profundity-seeker.

10. Going to bed BEFORE I'm too exhausted to think. Buenos noches!

Friday, January 1, 2010


Happy New Year, world!

This isn't going to be a very long post, and while I'd like to add more to it, we all know how often I actually write on my blog, heh.


In September, I bought a small white board, intending to put it on my refrigerator. When they said "magnetized", however, they didn't mean the board would stick to the fridge -- they meant magnets would stick to the board. So I stuck it on my wall in my room, and on a whim, wrote down my goals for the semester.

About 2/3 of the way though, these goals received an update and a reality check, and I'm okay with that. Especially because I am happy to report that I achieved ALL of them! Yes, all of them! I didn't even realize it until this morning when I was reassembling my room after white glove.