Life Lately

I know I made a brief list for my last post, but there are so many things on my mind that I couldn’t possibly write about each one without boring you out of your mind. So here’s the Reader’s Digest version:

  • Did you ever read the jokes in the back of Reader’s Digest? I did. To this day I consider those cheesy jokes the source of my sparkling wit. Those and my dad’s lame ones, of course.
  • Pändo is basically my favorite band, and I got to sing with them. Twice. Booyah.
  • I find great fulfillment in what I consider to be intellectual conversations. I’m sure most of the things I say make me seem dumber than a fence post, but talking out my thoughts and ideas with someone who is willing to talk with me is a great feeling. Also, what is the IQ of a fence post?
  • Life is short.
  • Sometimes your best friends get married. But even if and when they do, you’ll still be best friends and take ridiculous pictures by the duck pond to relive the good ole days.
  • You may not be taking classes, but life is still busy. So busy the only time you have to write a blog post about our thoughts is 1:20 in the morning.
  • Great hair days.
  • John Williams is the man. I had a dream the other night that I was being chased by a dinosaur in Jurassic Park, but John Williams’ music started playing and the dinosaur was so mesmerized by the beautiful music, I was able to domesticate him and ride him around without him eating me.
  •  Music, huh? And literature. And history. And art. And just…life. Excuse me for love bursting all over the place here.
  • Heritage. From both your ancestors and even the people who have had a big influence on your life. I am surrounded by so many wonderful people. Love burst again.
  • Sometimes you take really good pictures with your really good friends. But then you make it your profile picture on Facebook and all of a sudden everyone thinks you’re dating. Oops. But just to demonstrate:
Like I was just supposed to NOT make this my profile picture??
  • Being a responsible adult is hard work. But if you go to Wendy’s late at night to get dinner in the form of your favorite fries because you forgot to eat, it can be fun, too.
  • Commuting to work.
  • Reading the General Conference issue of the Ensign is amazing. This is my most recent favorite, and even though it’s to the priesthood holders, I think we can learn a lot from our roles in our Father’s kingdom.
  • Why do the British spell it favourite? Or colour? Don’t their spellings make them seem even more pretentious?
  • America!
  • Parallel structure and this post’s complete lack of anything resembling it.
  • We never had a season they like to call Spring in Arizona, and I have just been loving the beautiful weather and green mountains. Mmm.
  • Gilbert Blythe and the rule that bosom friends can hold hands whether their husbands are out of town or not.
I’ll take one to go, please.

I already have a bosom friend, though, but thanks for asking.

  • Piles of laundry
  • How much I love education. I recently sat through a teacher training for a private school. Like, on my own. And, like, I kind of wanted to be there. Voluntarily. And I thought it was really interesting. I think I must be in the right major–yay!
  • This post was supposed to be short.
  • Sometimes life doesn’t go as planned. But sometimes that’s ok, and life is even better than you could have imagined it. Thanks Heaven for that. And I do.
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Flirting with General Authorities

Disclaimer: I respect all persons who hold leadership positions in the church. The following is simply an account of one of the most embarrassing moments of my life.

Today at church, we had a lovely surprise in the form of Elder Lund sitting on the stand when we walked into sacrament meeting. Elder Lund is a member of the 70 and was visiting different wards in the stake to inspect the troops or whatever it is these general authorities do on their visits. He gave a wonderful talk for the last several minutes, and I really felt the Spirit as he testified to us.

After the closing song (in which a certain new ward organist [me] rocked the final verse), I went up to shake his hand and thank him for his talk.

Here is a transcript of what followed:

Rylee: Thank you so much for your talk. It really struck a chord with me.

Elder Lund: Well, thank you.

Rylee: And I just wanted to say that your book of recognizing and receiving revelation was amazing and really changed me.

Elder Lund: Well, you know, it turns out that the author of that book is a different Elder Lund. I wish I was as cool as him.

Rylee: Oh, there’s more than one of you?

At this point, my hand had somehow made its way to his elbow. Now, I am a chronic elbow-toucher when trying to connect with people…particularly members of the opposite gender. So as my hand is sitting there on his arm, I’m thinking–

Oh my gosh! Stop it! You take your hands off him right now! He is a general authority for heaven’s sake!

I honestly don’t really remember what happened after that because I was too busy running off the stand in complete humiliation. Not only did I just mistake this poor man for someone else who is one of the most well-known writers in all of Mormondom, I accidentally flirted with him.

My mom thinks this means that I’m going to marry a general authority’s son. Which doesn’t make any sense, because apparently I will be too busy flirting with their fathers.

Oi vey.

Thirsty Thursday

Sometimes I’m bad at blogging.

And other times I feel so guilty about it, I write about something lame so I don’t feel bad that my last post is 3 weeks old.

This is not one of those times.

Because this topic is not lame.

What I have to write about today is something that has becoming increasingly important to me as the semester has continued. It’s a Provo YSA 9th ward tradition that has been passed down through the Belmont generations and landed squarely in my lap. It’s a celebration of life and happiness, and a responsibility I feel firmly on my shoulders.

It’s Thirsty Thursday.

My lovely neighbor Olivia started this tradition last year. She would announce it at ward prayer every week, using the same old spiel:

Hey, guys. So Thirsty Thursday this week at my apartment. I’ll have cups and sharpies, so you can write down all your sorrows on your cup and then drink them away. I know, it sounds weird, but it’ll be fun! Bring a drink to share.

I have to admit that last year I was a total Lame-o and did not really socialize that much with people in my ward. Which is lame and I regret deeply. But I started going over the summer and thought–wow! This is fun! Olivia is one of the coolest people I know! I wish I could be like her!

Little did I know, I would have the opportunity to be like Olivia would be coming very soon.

Disclaimer: I am in no way implying I am as cool as Olivia. It would take me years to reach that status of awesomeness.

A week or two before school started, many of my summer friends left the ward, including Olivia. On our last Thirsty Thursday, we bemoaned the fact we would no longer be able to gather once a week and share our sorrows with our friends. We hoped that we would all be able to get together still, but let’s be honest–it’s hard to be friends unless you have some sort of consistent activity to invite those you love to partake in the simple pleasures of life with you.

Foreshadowing

When I was talking with my new roommate Desiree about Olivia’s unreachable level of coolness and how we wish we could be like her, Desiree had the thought: Hey! Why don’t we take over Thirsty Thursday?

Psh–why hadn’t we thought of this before!

The first Thirsty Thursday was nerve-wracking. 10 minutes to the appointed time, I broke out in a cold sweat. What if no one came? What if there weren’t enough drinks? What if everyone thinks that I’m an impostor and not nearly cool enough to do Thirsty Thursday? When people started showing up, I acted like I hadn’t just had a mini panic attack and started playing hostess.

As so often happens to me, it turns out my episode was completely unwarranted. People came, there were enough drinks for everyone, and all the chatting among friends meant that I didn’t have to do any awkward-silence entertaining.

Thirsty Thursday was a hit.

And so, every Thursday at 9 o’clock, you can find our apartment filled with friends, sharing sorrows and drinking away their woes. I understand that at most college campuses, Thirsty Thursday has a very different connotation than our little ward tradition does. But in the 9th ward, we get together not to drink away our sorrows, but to celebrate the blessing we have in the great friends around us.

So if you’re ever free on a Thursday night, drop by Belmont 16. You’ll be glad you did.

Teaching: No Greater Call

I was pretty pumped for the new ward last semester. I had really enjoyed being the ward choir accompanist in my last ward, but I was ready to try something new. I will admit I was a tad disappointed when the ward organists were called (Dang you, Jason Afton Crofts!) but then I was called to teach Relief Society. I had only had a few experiences teaching Relief Society before (one of which was the Law of Chastity lesson–joy of joys), so I accepted with nervous excitement.

Over the next few months, I learned how important comments were and how asking inspired questions was vital to good lessons. More than anything, I learned that I can only provide an environment for discussion–the Spirit is the one that is going to do the teaching. I learned a little bit more each time each time I taught, and gradually became fairly comfortable with the whole process. It was today, though, as I introduced the new George Albert Smith manual, that I really felt like I got it. I felt the Spirit bear witness to me that what I was teaching was true and that I had done it right. I felt like I had finally gotten the hang of teaching and was so grateful I got to teach for the rest of the year.
But, as we all know, the Lord works in mysterious ways.
In the next hour, I was called out of Sunday School to speak with the new second counselor and receive a new calling. While I still am excited to work on the activities committee, I was quite disappointed when I found out I would be released as a teacher. Just when it had finally clicked for me, the Lord pulled me out of there and put me where I was needed somewhere else. However sad I may be, though, I am so grateful for the opportunity I had to teach Relief Society, even if it was just for a short time. I know that the Lord puts us where we can grow, and I’m so happy I was able to grow as a teacher and realize its importance.

Day 24-Favorite Scripture

Moroni 7:48

Wherefore, my beloved brethren, pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love {Charity}, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ; that ye may become the sons {and daughters} of God; that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is; that we may have this hope that we may be purified even as he is pure.

I feel like this scripture embodies everything I want to be. I want to be charitable. I want to be like Christ. I want to be hopeful that one day I can be perfect. I think I sometimes we forget the potential we have for good and that we really can help others. That we can become more Christlike. That our Heavenly Father wants good things for us, and praying to Him for those things really does bring results.

General Conference

I love, Love, LOVE General Conference!

I’ve always loved the opportunity to take the whole weekend off to hear the words of the prophets and apostles. And this weekend was no exception–I finished all of my homework early so I could bask in the message that the Lord had for me. I’ve made the habit to write questions I have beforehand for maximum spiritual retention (taking a bucket rather than thimble and all that, you know) and I always have every questions answered. Isn’t it wonderful the way the gospel works?
I also had the special opportunity to go to the Sunday afternoon session of conference. So…maybe it’s not that special to everyone living in the Utah Valley, but I had never been before, so it was special for me. The Asian provided pictures galore, as usual, so a few of my favorites are included for your viewing pleasure 🙂