Thursday, October 13, 2011

A clown, a creep, a fool, a friend, and a pain-in-the-rear...

This sounds like the beginning of a really lame (potentially awesome) joke, but, honestly, it's more a description of the circus that is the parade of people who waltz in and out of your life.

And, as random as it can sometimes seem, it is anything but.

The Lord knows exactly who we need in our lives; whether it's our turn for a trial or a blessed tender mercy, whether it's a fool or a friend.

The thing is, even though He knows why we need who we need when we need them, it isn't always easy for us to see the whole score.

It isn't even always easy to recognize how these people marched into your life.

Because sometimes they don't march.

Sometimes they glide in during a time when the only logical choice is to make them a part of your life.

Sometimes they seem to melt out of obscurity as you randomly--happily--find yourself constantly in their company.

And sometimes, they finally slip easily into the piece of your life they've been meant to occupy the whole time.

However they arrive--whether by march, glide, melt, or slip--you're never really quite the same after they have. They each leave their mark on you; good, bad, joyful, painful....

It's hard to be grateful for the painful experiences; the clowns, fools, and pains-in-the-rear.
It's much easier to be grateful for the diamonds you've found amidst the coal.

They teach you.
They love you.
They support you.
They entertain you.
They'd take a bullet for you.

You trust them with your life.
And, what's more than that, you trust them with your secrets.

You trust them to teach you--no matter how stubborn you are.
You trust them to love you--no matter how much they know about you.
You trust them to catch you every single time you're pushed or tempted to jump.
You trust them to leave you in constant stomachaches and tears of laughter.
You trust them to deflect not only bullets, but bombs, lasers, missiles, pebbles, arrows, and rotten vegetables.

I've never really been sure what the exact definiton of a best friend is...

...but I'm fairly certain the job description includes

Inside-joke creating.

And is usually accompanied by little things like

Lending cars.
Sharing pickles.
Waking after 4 hours of sleep to give rides to class.
Speaking without having to say one word.
Offering momentary refuges in the form of couches.
Speaking in unison.
Situation-applicable hand signs.
Text support 24/7.
Video chats.
Acknowledgment of the unfortunately necessary idiots.
Knowing when to listen and when to rant with.
Picture messages.
Speaking in well-understood code.
Standing behind, beside, or in front during battles.
Talking for hours.
Loss of free time due to just enjoying being together.
Sacrifices of time, money, energy, and sleep.
Comfortable silences.
Gut-busting laugh fests
Constant--though varied--affirmations of love, care, and support.

It's a tough job. And you'll find there aren't many that are up to taking it on.
But those that are,
have been given for a reason.

And that's no joke.

((W.O.W. I love you guys.))


Friday, October 7, 2011

I Want Adventure in the Great, Wide Somewhere...

What do you do after a rough week, on a Friday night when your roommates are gone and you've definitely caught a cold?

This is the best movie of all time.

I know I've blogged about this before, but this movie is just too amazing to be a one-time-post thing.

I was only 6 months old when this movie hit theaters; nevertheless, it has been my absolute favorite movie since the first time I saw it.

It was--and still sometimes is--the only movie I wanted to watch when I was sick.
Or tired.
Or happy.
Or upset.
Or bored.
Or in a movie-watching mood.

You get the point.

How can you not love this movie?
Belle is the only brown-hair, brown-eyed princess.
She loves books and reading.
She rides horses.
She's tough and smart.
She isn't just like everybody else in her small "hometown."

She is the princess I want to grow up to be :)

And think about this:
Snow White? Met her Prince after he woke her up with a kiss.
Cinderella? Had one night with her prince before deciding she was absolutely in love.
Sleeping Beauty? Danced with a stranger in the woods once, fell in love.
Ariel? She creeped on her prince for a while before he fell in love with her.
Jasmine? Totally fell in love with Aladdin while he was pretending to be a prince.

Belle is the only princess who took the time to get to know her Prince, as he really was, without being persuaded by a pretty-boy face or a royal title. She really fell in love with her Prince, for his personality. Plus, even though she had the "most eligible bachelor" in the town after her, she held her ground and waited for something that was more than superficial.

{A dissertation on Belle :) }

The music is amazing. The storyline is beautiful. The humor is witty and cute. Plus there's talking normally-inanimate objects in it!!
It is the best movie in the world.

So what do you do on a quiet, exhausted, sick Friday night?
Watch Beauty and the Beast.
Just like you do any and every other day of the year :)

To Help & To Hurt

So there's this new thing
Called "Pinterest"
And I absolutely love it.
It's like a ginormous "bookmarking" webpage.
You find so many awesome things there:

"God doesn't give you the people you want; He gives you the people you need. To help you, to hurt you, to leave you, to love you, and to make you the person you were meant to be."

I'm really good at loving people.
That sounds funny. Let me clarify:
Loving and caring about people comes pretty easily to me. I like it. I'm good at it.
And most of the time, it makes for a pretty happy life.

I am really not good at forgiving people.
There's not really a whole lot to clarify there.
It's not easy. I don't like it. I'm not good at it.
And most of the time, it makes for a pretty unhappy life.

I have had a number of experiences that have left me slightly...cynical.
They've taught me how to pretend.
They've shown me that I should trust very few people.  

Sometimes I fall too easily in line with Jane Austen's words, as related by every girl's literary romantic hero
{if any of you even think the word "vampire" I might throw up. literally.}
Mr. Darcy:
"...My good opinion once lost, is lost forever.”

I'm not necessarily proud of any of this.
I am finally learning more about a huge flaw in my personality.
Let's put it this way:
Forgiveness? Not my strength.

There is a significant amount of truth in that quote I posted at the beginning. Some people are sent into our lives as blessings, to be angels, comforters, and foundations; others are sent to be our lessons.

I have an easy time identifying the blessings.
I am so grateful for the ones who are here to help me and to love me.

The only problem is, I divide the categories slightly differently.
There are those who are here to help and love....

....and then there are those who are here to be found out for their hurtful ways and are then to be avoided and mildly despised.

I told you forgiveness is no strength of mine.

Holding grudges, however, apparently is.
As a very good friend reminded me recently, holding a grudge is "like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die."

And it's true.
These last few days have been hard.
You know the feeling you get when someone yanks a rug out from under you?

...Acutally...that's never...really...happened to me. Or anyone I know. Or to anyone who isn't a fictional, comedy television character.

Oh. Here's a better analogy:
You know when you have those dreams, right when you're almost deeply asleep, where you're going up some stairs, and somehow the next step completely evaporates, and your foot slams down hard, and you get that sinking feeling in your stomach?

That's kind of what it feels like when someone you trust and care about accuses you of something that had nothing to do with you and informs you that you are the expendable one in their life. 
It throws you for a loop. It hurts. It makes you angry.
If you allow it to, it destroys your faith and trust in people.
Like "drinking poison and waiting..."

I've learned a lot these past few days.
As unfortunately painful as they've been, they've also been incredibly enlightening.

I am so blessed. 
I have so many helpers in my life.
The friend who invited me to stay the night on her couch, when dealing with things by myself was just not appealing. 
The friend who gave up his plans for the night to go with me to the store, to listen and advise and comfort, when he could have easily said no.
The friend who left a sweet note of encouragement in my locker.
The friend who greeted me one morning with a smile, a hug, and a question of concern.
The friend who did his best to make me laugh when I was on the edge of tears.

As for the hurter..
Well, if nothing else, I know that I have survived this before, and I will again.

The only difference is that I'm going to try to learn my lesson better this time. I'm going to work harder until it's an essential part of my life.
I intend to become an expert at forgiveness.

It is so hard. I don't want to think about what this person might be going through. I don't want to care about them still. I don't want to see their good qualities. I don't want them to feel like they're "off the hook" for the things they've done and said.

All thanks to the helper who reminded me about this amazing example of forgiveness, and who invited me to read it again as I work through my inability to forgive.

I am nowhere near Amish status, neither in the severity of my pain, nor the extent of my forgiveness.
If all those mentioned in that talk can forgive someone of such a heinous thing as murder, and forgive them so quickly and completely, then I should be absolutely embarrassed if I couldn't do the same over something of much smaller consequence.

It isn't going to be easy. It isn't really supposed to be easy.
But it is necessary.

...I'll let ya know how it goes.
For now, however, I'm going to focus on being grateful for the people in my life;
both the helpers.. and the hurters.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Hate Smurf

I went home this weekend.

There were actually a couple of good reasons to go.

1: I could see my family. (Always a win. Duh.)
2: I could see my little brother--okay, younger brother; everyone is constantly reminding me that he is a head & 1/2 taller than me--play in his high school homecoming football game.
3: It was General Conference weekend.

All good things, right?
That's how I felt; until I remembered, halfway through my first 20 minutes in Burley around Burley-ites, that I was in
 Burley, Idaho.

Sometimes I really hate that place.
(insert the obligatory gasps, shrieks, exclamations of amazement, furrowed brows, confused "Why??" here)

Maybe it's more fair to say I have an extreme love-hate relationship with that place.
It's not really a healthy relationship.

To be perfectly fair, I guess I should describe a few of the things that I don't hate--and sometimes even love--about that little town.

1. My three youngest siblings haven't--really--lived anywhere else. To them--and my next in line bro, who has lived in rural southeast Idaho since he was 4--it is home. They will most likely spend their whole lives, through high school, there.

2. My dad found a really good job, doing something he loves, and we, as a family, have definitely reaped the benefits of it.

3. Sometimes, it's nice to know pretty much everyone in town. Sometimes it's nice to be a tight-knit little community; like during my high school career when the boys' basketball team won state twice in a row, and pretty much the entire city of Burley turned up for the Championship game.

4. I'll give you this much; Southeastern Idaho has some pretty amazing sunsets

5. I love having the river so close. My family's been boating since I was about eleven and it's a special family summer tradition.

...That's all I can think of right now. If I think of more, I'll let you know.

Now for the juicier part of this post: the hatin'.

This weekend--acutally, really just everything that happened on Friday--is a pretty good example.
Burley High homecoming week.
Back in my day, the week's activities were typical and expected; dress up specials every day, a drive-in movie projected on the side of the high school wall, school Olympics where the seniors dominated every event, a faculty vs students volleyball game, homecoming queen parades and assemblies, powderpuff football games, a big bonfire after the powderpuff game, and finally, the game and dance themselves.

Oh yeah--but there were no pep rallies. No come-together community events.
There was never a guarantee that we would win our homecoming game.
There was even less of a guarantee that the home crowd--those wonderful dressed-in-green Burley-ites--would even attempt to support their football team through the duration of the game.
The band was there to promote itself; not to support the football players.
Every member of the student body was there to promote it--oops, excuse me, themselves--; not to support the football players.

Let's see how things have changed:

Dress up days, Olympics, volleyball game, homecoming queen, powderpuff football, football game, and dance?
Check check checkity check check check.

Apparently this year the school administrators decided they were not going to have a bonfire or a drive-in  movie. I don't remember what their excuses were, but what it boils down to is that the teachers didn't care enough to want to chaperone either event.

Pep rallies?

Come-together community events?
There actually was one, thanks to the local good-for-nothing Booster Club being disbanded and a group of passionate parents stepping up to organize team dinners and pre-game tailgating.

The ever out of tune, yet ever prideful school band promoting themselves?

Dear Band Members: when performing at a special event like a homecoming football game, please do not have the arrogance to assume that it is okay for you to "warm-up" for five minutes before being "ready" to present your performance.
It's even less okay for you all to disband (heh heh, punny) during the middle of the third quarter.

The student section more interested in flirting with their equally high-school neighbor than in supporting their team?

It just ain't Burley if the small group of parents aren't louder than a supposedly "school-spirited" section of Burley High students.

And how about that good ol' Burley crowd. Were they vocal and supportive and brimming with all the good sportsmanship, class, and loyalty that is expected of a decent human being?
Don't make me laugh.

Favorite thing for Burley spectators to yell?
"Come on, you (insert appropriate mild-to-extreme cuss word here) coach!! Why aren't you doing (insert apparently genius tactical play here)??!"
It was actually quite fascinating. For a town who just this year had to shut down their chapter of Jr League Football due to lack of coaches, we certainly seem to have quite a large number of people that are apparently experts in the art of futbol americano.

Favorite thing for Burley spectators to mumble not-so-successfully to themselves?
"Well, we all knew it was gonna end like this. Another loss."
Favorite time for these oh-so-supportive spectators to make said comment?
Near the middle of the first quarter.

Favorite thing for Burley spectators to do near the end of the football game?
Get up and leave when there is anywhere between 8 and 3 minutes remaining in the game.

Favorite topics for Burley spectators to discuss during a high school football game?
The weather. Their personal lives. The BYU-USU score. The color of so-and-so's hair. The lack of color on so-and-so's hair.

What, talk about football? At a football game? Never!

Oh wait, there were several mentions made of the game. Mostly in relation to how pathetic they viewed the coach, the plays, even the players themselves.

Allow me to set aside the sarcasm for a moment. Chances are 50% of the people it was directed at missed it anyway. So let me clarify.

Dear Pathetic & Apathetic "Patrons" and "Supporters" of Burley High:
Yes. I know. It's been a while since Burley has had a winning football season. As a BHS grad and daughter of a former BHS football coach, I get it more than most.
But guess what?
You sitting on your lazy rears and spewing pessimistic filth from your all-too energetic mouths throughout a game doesn't change that. Not only does it not affect any change, it actually does more harm than good.

Try using that big mouth for good: CHEER for your team. SUPPORT the kids of your community. BE LOYAL to the man/men who have volunteered to do what none of you have dared; coach these great, hard-working kids. TRY to show a LITTLE CLASS during the game; how do we expect our team to have any level of grace or class if our own supporters-- many of whom are adults-- have very little of it themselves?

To the students of BHS who show up to every game to let themselves be seen in the student section:
Yes, you look very nice. That bump in your hair is astronomical. Literally.
That green tutu and those incredibly short shorts certainly display your personality without you even having to open your mouth.
And your costume make-up is very--oh. That's what you wear every day?
My bad.
Anyway, on to my point: Do you know what the student section is typically used for? Nooo, it isn't a place to gather and discuss the latest gossip. It isn't even a place for you to spend all your effort flirting with that one guy/girl whom you are desperately in love with.
The student section at any athletic event is usually used as a place where the team's peers can show their support for their classmates.
Ground-breaking, I know.

Words cannot even describe how absolutely appalled I was Friday night. I'm sure my face was literally a rather good strawberry color as I listened to all the many despicable comments around me.
To the particularly vile sir who was sitting a few seats behind me and to my left: you are rather fortunate it isn't socially acceptable to roundhouse kick someone in the face at a community event.

I really shouldn't be surprised.
In a town where who you are related to counts more than what sort of person you are...
Where volleyball coaches keep only 7 players on their team to feed their own ego...
Where football coaches/PE teachers/student mentors decide to skip town because they didn't feel they were getting the proper amount of deity-equivalent respect for their minimal effort...
Where city council meetings are more often mud-slinging affairs pitting old rivals against each other in never-ending, ancient grudges...
Where failing teachers/coaches/Athletic Directors are fired, then rehired for who knows what reason...
Where band performance majors are hired to teach an already struggling string program...
Where superintendents have very little interest in doing what's best for the students under their care...
Where racism isn't only tolerated, but bred into many of the members of the community...

Where my hard-working, honest, good parents have had thousands of dollars stolen by a former Sherriff's Deputy/lowlife who had the nerve to attempt to counter-sue and then declare "bankruptcy"...
Where my father's working partners have shown themselves to be greedy little horrors who would just as soon screw him over for a payoff for themselves as write their own generous paycheck...
Where my siblings-and I-are constantly used to raise failing ESL tests merely because, with our last name, the school can get away with padding the scores...
Where people my mother had considered friends allow my siblings to wander off under their care, or pretend to be best buds whilst simultaneously plotting to throw her under the bus...
Where loyalty is as foreign a concept as driving on the other side of the road...

...I really shouldn't be surprised at such a little thing like lack of class, loyalty, or support at a high school homecoming football game.

Yeah, yeah: as my mother would say, I'm totally "hate-smurfing" right now.
But, let's be honest, I warned you in the title. You knew what you were walking into.

Now for a little fairness.
I know not all members of the Burley community are as depicted in this post. I am also aware that there are many good things about that small Southeastern Idaho town.
Sometimes it's just hard to see through all the negative.

A thousand million units of credit and support to my parents, who are making the best of things and trying to do what they can to change the stubborn, archaic, irritating habits of that town.

I don't know how much you can do, but I know something will be all the better for your attempt.

As for me, I'll be working on a better attitude...

...and looking into the cost of living somewhere outside of Idaho.


I'm pretty sure I can count on one hand the number of times I've been to Idaho's capital. Counting occasions and not separate...