In Which my Family Prints Out my Face

Remember that time I told you all about our porch swing and how much we love it and how on major holidays we enjoy taking pictures in front of said swing? Well, this last Mother’s Day, I got on Facebook after my Sunday nap to find this.

Isn’t it just terrible??

This is quite possibly the best family picture that has ever been taken, and guess what??

THEY ARE MISSING THEIR TOTALLY ROCKIN’ OLDEST SISTER.

Words could not express my disappointment at the fact I was left out of the greatest photo of the Carling family in the world. But that didn’t stop me from trying:

Notice my family’s unsuccessful attempts to relieve my suffering.
And so for a month I did nothing but lay in my bed, languishing at the thought that I was unable to be in this perfect family photo. That I had been cast to the side like the crust of a PB&J. And I swore I would take my revenge on the people who called themselves my family.
Or I just went on as usual. Same thing.
I had almost forgotten the event when Haley texted me about a month later and told me look on Facebook. Now, I had remembered it was Father’s Day (having sent my Dad an especially personalized gift, thankyouverymuch) but I was completely surprised to see this on my Facebook wall.

My beautiful family with my beautiful face included!

After laughing for about 5 minutes and showing everybody within 5 miles, I texted Haley back, thanking her for being considerate enough to include me in family pictures this time. And especially for choosing the picture where I have the best hair ever.

I love my family 🙂

Recent Love Bursts

Here are few things that have made me especially happy lately:

  • Filling up my bookshelf. Usually I’m all for sharing space with roommate, but there’s something about having a bookshelf full of your favorite things that just makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside and like maybe even though you live in a ghetto apartment in Provo, maybe it can be home.
  • Hot steering wheels. Yesterday, my car was that perfect blend of hot, black leather and stifling summer heat, but not so hot the seat belt buckle burned my fingers. Summer is upon us.
  • A new bath mat. I had had my old orange one for a while and it was starting to ooze an off-colored goo so I bought a new one. And it is the plushiest, most luxurious experience my feet have ever had. And it’s pink, which feels fun.
  • Dresses with pockets. I splurged this week and bought an adorable dress. And I don’t even feel bad about it, because it has pockets, which means it’s perfect.
  • Working hard. I’m loving my new jobs. I just can’t get over how supremely lucky I am to be in the position I am and working three jobs that I love and not going crazy…yet.
  • Strawberries dipped in sour cream and brown sugar. I bought strawberries when they were on sale last week, and they have just turned into the most deliciously ripe beauties on the planet. Dipping them in sour cream and brown sugar remind me of when my whole family would sit around the table and go at it. I think sharing strawberries may be the only time we’re civil with one another and wait our turns. Well, that and Christmas. And by the way–I know sour cream and brown sugar sounds like a interesting combo (like, interesting in a bad way), but you should try it. It’s magical. And brings families together.
  • Life. How did I get so lucky?

Time Flies

I’m sitting here, 10 minutes to midnight, trying to wrap my head around the fact that tomorrow is Monday and I do, indeed, have class and work and homework to attend to.

Where did my weekend go?

I mean, I know where it went. It went to:

  • My family coming into town on Thursday night. (Yay!)
  • Family fun on Friday. (Yay!)
  • My last Women’s Chorus concert Friday night. (Yay!-slash-Boo!)
  • Watching The Hobbit Friday night (Neutral Face)
  • Not being able to sleep that night because it was like Christmas because the next day was dedicated to:
  • Singing in General Conference! (YAY! YAY! YAY!)
  • More family fun Saturday night, including:
  • Eating pizza benders from Italian Village. (Yum!)
  • A ward party involving brownie waffles
  • An early-morning birthday celebration for my dad (Yay Dad!)
  • Breakfast burritos and conference with my friends
  • Watching conference in the Conference Center with the Blue-Eye Club
  • Seeing Les Mis for the first time on DVD. (Tears. But happy-ish tears.)
See? I know exactly where my weekend went. I’m just wondering if I can request another one so I can actually catch up on life…oh well. Guess that’s what this week is for, eh?

Mahler and Mozart and MoTab, Oh My!

Warning: You are about to experience a whole new side of Rylee. You thought she was a nerd? You haven’t seen anything yet, people.

Warning #2: I’m not sure there is a single coherent thought going into this blog post. I apologize in advance.

For those of you who have missed the past 17 years of my life, I LOVE music. I started playing the violin at age 4, took piano lessons for a while, and am pretty sure I came out of the womb singing. I’ve been involved with choir and orchestra for as long as I can remember, and the one thing on my bucket list is to be a member of Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

Someday, this will be me.

Confession: You know how sometimes when you’re listening to music through headphones and the producers make it so different sounds are emphasized in different ear buds. While in high school, I discovered that when you listen to MoTab, the men’s sound comes out of the right earbud and the women sing in the left, as if you are hearing them while sitting in the Tabernacle. I, being the nerd I am, like to switch the earbuds so that I can pretend I’m actually getting this view instead.
See? I told you I was a nerd.
The other day at work, one of the counselors came in and asked me how my Women’s Chorus concert went the previous night. I told him it went well, and we started talking about Mack Wilberg and MoTab, which launched into a discussion of violin concertos and Mahler symphonies and Beethoven and all that good stuff. He left after we were music nerds for a few minutes, thanking me for the conversation.

I don’t have anyone in my family I can talk with about this stuff. It’s nice to be able to find someone who appreciates music.

My thoughts immediately went to my parents. I thought about my dad who offered to let me borrow his Copland Appalachian Spring Suite CD as I drove across the country. I thought about how he’s the one I called after I saw the Utah Symphony play at BYU and was blown away by the emotions I felt. I thought of the way my mom drove me to countless violin and piano and voice lessons. I thought of how she was at every single concert I’ve ever been in. I thought about how both of them are the number one supports in my life and how grateful I am that they’ve both instilled this love of music and helped me to develop this passion that has become so important to me.

Remember how I told you this post would have no rhyme or reason to it? Well, there’s your proof. But it’s something I’ve been thinking about. So there you go.

Wanderlust

Most days, I love this time of my life. I love my classes, I love my ward, I love my friends, and I love being able to do whatever I want whenever I want. (I know this sounds like I do sketch things, but I only ever want to have clean Mormon fun, so we’re all good there, friends.)
Sometimes, though, I just want to be done.
I want to be done with school. I want to be done with dating. I want to have a job and move somewhere cool where I can make a difference in someone’s life. Even on good days where I’m content with life (which is pretty much every day), I still feel like I want to get out of this awkward in-between stage and start some sort of new life.

For the remainder of this post, I will refer to this I-Want-Out syndrome as Wanderlust.

Because this has been on my mind lately, I’ve talked to my mom about it a few times. One night when I was feeling particularly wanderlustful, she sent me this scripture from Doctrine and Covenants 123:17
Therefore, dearly beloved brethren, let us acheerfully bdo all things that lie in our power; and then may we stand still, with the utmost assurance, to see the csalvation of God, and for his arm to be revealed.
Don’t you just love that?
My dad once had the thought–If you could ask God anything about what was going to happen in the future, what would you ask? My dad’s answer: nothing.
Personally, I can think of several things I’d like to know. But after listening to my dad’s reasoning, I began to understand–I don’t need to know what the future holds for me. It won’t change anything I’m currently doing, because I know that I am living my life in a way that the Lord wants me to live. And I have enough faith to know the Lord will give me what’s best for me. Although sometimes in these Wanderlust states I wish I could  know His plan for me, I know that if I cheerfully do all things that lie in my power, God’s arm will be revealed. No question.

I generally try to avoid posts I deem “cheesy” on this bloggy blog of mine, but this is my declaration of faith and knowledge–the Lord has a plan for each one of us, and if we stand still with the utmost assurance and faith, the salvation of God will become evident in our lives through the power of His Son’s enabling atonement. Although I may go through these periods of Wanderlust, I’m never far from where I need to be if I’m striving to live my life close to the Lord.

Love Her Mother

For this post, I need you to remember back to Valentine’s Day. Remember the giddy excitement you felt about all the delicious chocolate awaiting you throughout the day, or the special plans you made with that special someone. Or remember how pumped you were to forget the good-for-nothing lovey-dovey holiday and celebrate the centennial of the state that completed the continental United States–Arizona.

On this day of Arizona-statehood partying, I received a special package from my family. They had each sent me a valentine with a much-appreciated love note. I always love gifts from home, but these notes were especially significant to me. I even hung them on the wall above my bed so I could remember that, no matter what, someone out there loved me and thought I was something special.

My dad’s valentine was a simple list of things he liked about me. Different talents I had, (including my disturbing habit of quoting Psych non-stop, of course) different things I’ve done, (like that time I actually ran the 5k he had been encouraging me to do for years) and different attributes I’ve developed as I’ve grown up. There was one thing on the list that confused me, though. “Her mother.”

What the?

My mother? Maybe he had meant to put something like “her relationship with her mother” or “how she’s growing to become like her mother” or “the way she knows just the right thing to say that will drive her mother insane.” But, no–that’s what it said.

Her mother.

Anyone can have a mother. In fact, I am willing to say with certainty that everyone who was ever born actually has a mother. (Crazy idea, I know.) Then I remembered a talk Sister Dalton gave a while back. Part of it was included in a clip that I have embedded below for your viewing pleasure.

I remember thinking this talk seemed particularly appropriate for my own dad, who has 3 other daughters he’s responsible for raising. And the most important thing he could do for us is to love our mom? What about teaching me to ride a bike through my 6-year-old tears? Or baptizing me when I was 8 years old? Or introducing me to 80’s music? He’d also taught me how to change a tire, given me monthly Daddy/Daughter interviews, and been sensitive to the Spirit to know when I needed a loving text to get me through a bad day. But even after all that, loving my mother was the best thing he could do for me?

I remember a time when I was younger when I was first introduced to this concept. As a self-proclaimed Daddy’s girl. I had asked him who he would save from a burning building–me or mom. To my surprise and dismay, he chose the woman who carried me for nine months! The little me was astounded at the audacity that MY Daddy had to choose someone other than me. I knew he loved me. I guess he loved that other girl, too, but she was the one who bossed everyone around and always got mad when we would sing “Feelings” to her. (I should probably insert a disclaimer here that my mom is my favorite person in the world. Dramatization of actual events has been used for maximum effectiveness.)

Over the years, though, I have come to see the great relationship my parents have. And even though the mini-Rylee inside of me is still a little disappointed my very own Daddy would choose my crazy mother over me, I’ve come to realize that it truly is the greatest thing he can do for me.  My dad has acted as the patriarch of our home and set an amazing example for my sisters and me. I can only hope someday my own children have the opportunity to be raised by a man as amazing as my father (who will love me more than them–suckers!!)

But in all seriousness–my dad is my role model. He is the one I go to for advice, the one I can share goofy Airplane! quotes with, and the one I know is always there to help me when I fall, whether it’s when I’m first learning to ride that bike or learning to live on my own. His cookies are still the best I’ve had, he still wakes me up at the crack of dawn for family scripture study, and he still loves U2 more than anyone I know. My dad is my absolute favorite person, and I am so grateful for him.

And so I write yet another Love Burst post. How grateful I am that my dad confused me with that line on my valentine, and for his fantastic example in loving my mother.