stable themed birthday parties

this is when i was cute and everything made sense
The older i become the more jumbled things seem to get. I think that is safe to say that most people go through this; i see my friends change how they eat, what they believe in, what they are passionate about, how far to one extreme with politics they can get (and preach about on facebook--you know who you are and you are lucky we are still friends) and the list goes on and on. I really should have gone into psychology because i am fascinated by people and what they do and what they claim is the reason.

i wore pants and a dress to church.
it looked better in real life, taking self portraits is hard work
that is why i am not a fashion blogger
(and for so many other reasons too of course...)
The last year or so has been super intense with regards to church. If you know me slightly and have read at least one post you are bound to realize that i am Mormon. A few months ago i wrote a post about the controversy of women wearing pants to church for one Sunday and i think that i was greatly misunderstood by many, especially my more conservative Mormon counterparts. What i meant to say in that post is that all of us have parts of religion that don't make sense to us and the fact that we worship together is what makes church more inviting and Christlike. I was trying to point out some issues that can be seen in multiple lights and push the issue that a lot of things (especially cultural things) don't matter and have nothing to do with the gospel of Jesus Christ and that we need to let people ask questions because it is only if you ask why that you can receive an answer.

In case you are like me, here is what i have learned over the past year.

this is me being okay with being a business
woman and not mom right now. i rock that fancy
pants blazer when i need to.
The LDS (Mormon) church has a double edge sword--we are taught by our peers. This can be the most fantastic thing and can help turn drab sunday school lessons into something inspirational when a person shares something that they understand that you had not thought about. On the flip side this can lead to people teaching things that aren't quite kosher and frankly weird. I have had to realize that even if someone says something in a church setting that is not what i believe or against my political/personal/what have you part of my life--it is merely their interpretation of something and neither of us is necessarily wrong. This helps me realize that some of the crazy conservative things that i was taught as a teenager about sexuality and being a women does not have to define who i am. Though my instructors might have pushed certain issues like not working as an adult in order to rear children i know that was important in their life but it doesn't mean that i have to only be searching for a husband right now. And lets be honest, none of them wanted me to fail at dating so obviously i took some of their counsel the wrong way and need to learn some new strategies...

Contrary to some popular belief the LDS church does and can change. I hate when i am talking to people about an issue that i don't quite understand and they try to tell me that i need to drop it because the church would never embrase something mainstream like (insert our topic here). The truth is that we not only change but at one point we were hip! If you think about, all the hymns (which i love and wouldn't really want to give a facelift to) that we sing were popular when the church was established. Members sang (at the time) hip songs and did things that were culturally acceptable anywhere in the US (except polygamy of course but lets disregard that...). We pushed the boundaries and wanted others to change too (now insert polygamy and the fight to let Mormons marry who and how they wanted)! We even had a prophet that ran for president. But look at us now, for some reason is has become a bad thing to stay with the times in the weirdest regards. When the church finally allowed blacks to have the priesthood it was a big deal, it was a big deal because we were WAY behind on the times AND because the prophet had wanted it to change for years but he kept getting the answer that the church was not ready. We have been told time and time again that change occurs when the members are ready, meaning change can and will occur and it is not bad to talk about things because how is anyone supposed to show they are ready if they are quiet and no one knows? People constantly talked about the priesthood and the need for blacks to have it, talking lead to awareness, awareness lead readiness and  readiness lead to revelation.

To be honest, especially with that issue (and some other issues) i feel that the church's growth is stunted by conservative American members. Hot button issues occur in the church frequently when they are an issue in the US. This is unfortunate that others around the world have to wait for so many people here to be ready for change. I am pretty sure the members in Africa wanted the priesthood...

I also like to think that some things that need changing can change because it wasn't really supposed to be a policy, it just got overlooked and became the norm--like how a woman has never given a prayer in General Conference. Surely with the awareness of this recently this will change since previous prophets have said that women should pray in church meetings.

remember that not only are vistors welcome, but ALL
members are welcome too
I have also learned that i think there is a lot of confusion about some church policy. I have been one of the people that has dwelled on the gay issue and wants an answer as to what gay members are supposed to do in the church. I don't personally know any member that is openly gay because they always leave the church. But i also know these individuals that believe deeply in God. I have always wanted an answer as to what their place is, but the real thing is that EVERYONE is welcome at a church for worship. People need to shop worrying about where people fit into the mold encourage everyone to be a part in the way they feel fit (though obviously i want an answer about this issue, i'm saying i need to patient to receive it). Obviously some things in the church are very sacred and you have to have a certain worthiness to take part, but everyone can be a part in some way, everyone can have a 'job.' Once i thought about this i realized that not much else matters. Everyone believes in different aspects of every religion--that is why LDS have testimony meetings once a month were people get to speak in front of each other say what they believe--we share our beliefs so others that don't have such a strong conviction in the areas we do can be exposed and maybe start to understand.

there are far more images than i expected when you google
Happy Birthday Jesus, apparently i am behind on the times.
I also realized that i need to change. I need to figure out what parts of Mormonism are important to me and dive into those. I need to dwell on things that matter instead of the things and culture that don't matter. Because of this i have decided to start a new tradition...

I have always thought that it was a bit strange that we believe that Christ was born on April 6th but we do not celebrate that, we seem to celebrate the birth of our religion more. Since i think this is something that is important i decided that i will start celebrating 'the real christmas' this year. Think about it, if we celebrate Christ's birthday there is no way that it can be confused with the material aspects of normal christmas, stores don't have any of their christmas merchandise out yet, there isn't even a holiday reeses for this (though i would not put it below them to create a Jesus shape...)! I haven't come up with a name for it because 'Happy Birthday Jesus' sounds a little sacra-religious... so i welcome all suggestions.
this is the cake i will be making,
pecan cake with brown-butter pears

So come to my house on April 6th for a birthday cake, perhaps some christmas carols (the more traditional ones about Christ and not about Santa), and spending time with friends showing them how much you love them because Jesus wants us to love everyone.

And since i am turning a new leaf and dwelling more on the important things like Jesus, if i start to talk to you about weird cultural things going down in Utah just tell me to shut up. We all know we got some strange traditions going down, no reason to beat the dead horse--and it just gets me agitated.  I think we can all be glad when i stop talking about dating, how much it sucks and how backwards it is in this culture.

this single lady

You'd think that dating someone for four months would make it hard to get back into the swing of single life. Turns out i am almost as good at adjusting to single-dom as i am to jet lag (i am a rockstar at combatting jet lag by the way).

this is the face of a recently dumped girl.
or a girl that just cut onions.
okay fine, this photo is from when i cut onions.
i wish you could see the tears dripping off my chin soaking my shirt.
ironically, my boyfriend always cut onions for me,
i guess it is tear stained shirts again for me now.
sucky suck, i eat a lot of onions.
So what is it like to be single and live alone? Oh, it is a party i'll tell you what. It only took one day to adjust back to my normal--perfect-- sleep schedule, in bed around ten and up at seven. Being dumped ironically also pushes me to exercise and eat less sweets (except for last night when i 'accidentally' ate half a (small) pan of reese's bars...) so i have been working out like none other (should i be worried that i am an aggressive person if instead of crying i want to lift weights and run until my legs throb?). I was at my heaviest ever last week but now i am on the road to skinny jean recovery. My apartment is also very clean. I think i replaced my boyfriend with another man, my new dyson. I vacuum all the time. Seriously, all the time.

Being single lets you do anything you fancy. Lately, the things that i have been fancying involve Christmas. So now, without anyone judging (not that my boyfriend ever judged how i decorated my apartment, but whatever) my plan of attack for things, i have fully 'thrown' up Christmas all over my house.

Today i pulled out my iron for the first time. I didn't use it for clothes--i try not to buy things that need such a device--i used it to flatten snowflakes of course. I also got creative with my Christmas tree. I couldn't find paper clips to hang my small silver ornaments so naturally i choose the smallest clothes pins i have.  I then decorated with my trusty--twelve odd years old--popcorn and cranberry chain. She is a real beauty and makes my tipsy tree perfect. Speaking of being single, you know you are single when your Christmas decorations take up less than a square foot of closet space. All of my ornaments fit in a small tin can, pretty classy indeed.

When you are single you also get to do classy things like lounge around in your sock monkey slippers with your huge plush robe while you pick apart a chicken carcass on your leather ottoman. Next i will probably paint my nails skanky barbie pink, you know, to shake things up a bit. 

Don't get me wrong, i don't seek to be single even though i am so damn good at it, it is just something that unfortunately happens. Do i wish that my boyfriend would realize that i am a catch (come on, i even postpone painting my nails so i can pick a chicken clean, that is a damn good woman)? Yes. Do i wish that he hadn't had me pick him up from the airport and use my time and gas only for him to dump me when we got to provo? Yes. Do i wish i hadn't accidentally started crying in front of my class when a friend asked about him the day after he dumped me? Surprisingly, no. It was rather entertaining with this poor boy was trying to console me while i was laugh/crying. He was patting my knee from a distance trying to make things better saying, "um i usually don't make people cry...". Lucky chap, he's been married so long he forgot how to console girls with broken hearts. 

oh and my exboyfriend admitted while we dated that he never read my blog. one of my friends said that should have been a sign...

i here by declare today, a reese's holiday

 I love reese's.

I love normal reese's cups
 but more than that, 
i love the seasonal reese's tree/heart/egg/pumpkin.

I don't just love reese's, i might have a slight addiction. 
(you can probably tell this by how many images are in this post, it rivals the amounts in post about my lovable family)

Easter for me means lots of reese's, don't get me wrong, i celebrate for all the right reasons too and understand Passover, Good Friday and Easter Sunday, but for the commercial aspects of Easter it is all about reese's, none of that crappy chocolate coated in an 'egg' like shell. gross. 

Last year, bless her soul, this was my Easter basket from Mother Dearest. It might not have been large, but she knew that the only thing i really wanted was one of those eggs so it was perfect. perfect in all of its tiny glory.

My love of the holiday reese's has been around probably since i discovered their goodness. They have the perfect chocolate to peanut butter ratio, which by the way is WAY more peanut butter than chocolate. They are easier to crumble on top of ice cream. The chocolate layer is easier to peel off so you can enjoy just the peanut butter. They are perfect in every way.

Last year i had a disappointing experience involving reese's. The following email was sent to my siblings after i purchased our Mom's Christmas present. I told them how much each of them owed me and included methods of payment. More disappointing to me than not receiving even one payment in back tickles was the fact that no one paid me in reese's Christmas trees. Two of my sisters said that they were afraid i was going to eat my self into an oblivion. Stupid sisters that look out for you girlish figure...

This year i decided i would take my reese's fate into my own hands.

Meet my best/worst decision: the 6 oz egg. 

I somehow convinced a boy that we should go on an adventure to find/eat these. Of course being a boy, he decided that we should each get one. WHAT THE?! I could have told you that 6 oz is enough for a small army but he must have been a reese's novice. Needless to say we both only ate about a quarter and then admitted defeat. The said boy just laid on my family room floor the rest of the night. I think i killed him. Okay he isn't dead but he told me last week that he hasn't been able to look at a reese's since.

This sucker is not for the faint of heart. It even took me two weeks to want to each a normal size egg again.

Then it was the monday after Easter which equals National Half Price Reese's Egg Day! Even if the large egg almost caused cardiac arrest, i couldn't pass up the chance to stock up on the delectable treats. You see, the next holiday that has a specially shaped reese's is halloween, you can't have a 6 month drought, my body won't allow it.

Don't worry, i didn't buy any of the large eggs, the chocolate is just too thick and the egg too hugantic. But i did buy a year supply of normal eggs, 36 to be exact.

Now when you come to my lovely apartment you are greeted with a large supply of eggs, exactly how every apartment should be.

and on a completely unrelated note, i split my pants again today (the other side split two weeks ago). I swear this was a work related box lifting injury and not the fact that i just bought 6480 calories worth of reese's...

letters, love, and high school romance

I get a little frustrated when people attack Valentine's Day. So what you aren't dating anyone, what percentage of mankind is on this one certain day anyway? Just because you aren't raptured by another doesn't mean that you can't have a stellar day. I LOVE Valentine's Day, basically i love any day that involves sending letters/cards/love notes/and has a specially shaped Reese's.
letters from all my 'missionaries'

Basically since forever, i have been saving every letter or note that i received. I am getting quite the collection (this also means that i attend way too many weddings/bridal showers/baby showers and therefore get copious amounts of thank you cards... which by the way, means i had better get a heck of a lot of people at all of those events for me.) Yesterday i went through the basket of letters and read a few, finding among some generic greetings, a few dazzling treasures.
letters from just one certain missionary
I have always had a love for letters. When my siblings were in college i would write them fairly often, and no, my spelling hasn't really improved since then. Even as s child i knew that letters have an aesthetic presence that can't be beat, i love a simple envelope sealed with wax. This is probably why i was so good at writing missionaries, i loved the visual final of the letters. One time i was writing around twenty different boys that were on missions. I didn't write them all a ton, some only got a few letters over the years but the lucky few got more than a handful. Because of this i was also graced with a number of letters.  It was hilarious going back through them, especially the Valentine's Day cards pretending to be in love with me (i think they just wanted more letters...) -side note, i went to one mission reunion with a friend and someone referenced me as the girl with the cool envelopes and wax seals, i guess my letters made it around the office...

Then there were the letters from my family. Sarah gets the award for the most creative addressing ever. Too bad i can't seem to find her Valentines, those were works of art. Any letter that is addressed to Aunt Barfy/Bethany also holds a special place in my heart, espcially when the envelopes only contain crayon drawings of ducks that look like the Pigeon books. 

There are also love notes from church. In the last couple of wards i have been in people can write notes to each other and have them delivered after church. My most favorite would be the three poems that i received from three different boys about my yellow high heels (i don't blame them, they are the most amazing shoes-quite possibly ever).

But still my most prized letter that i have is one written on Valentine's Day in 2005. In january of that year i broke up with my high school boyfriend. A few weeks later he slipped this into my hand.  We hadn't really talked since the break up, go figure, but we had been friends since elementary school. I won't bore you with the whole letter but the end was amazing. 
My favorite quote: 

"Seeing as how it is Valentine's Day i just want to say a few things. To me you are still the prettiest girl that i know...I never told you this but out of all the girls that i've kissed you were by far the best kisser. Your kiss could make an old man jump up and dance like he was young again."      

oh the wisdom of seventeen year old boys.  

Everyone needs to know that someone thinks they are pretty and amazing enough to give even old men new life. Though lets hope that i never actually find out about the old man part, unless of course i am an old bitty that is married to that old man.

Moral of the story: save all your notes so on Valentine's Day you can stop pretending that no one loves you. Have a little review of the letters and eat a heart shaped Reese's, this can cure all that ails you on such a day.

a tim tam thanksgiving

I have fallen in love with many a thing while i have been in New Zealand, so much so, i may never come back to the states. 

one of these newly found wonders is:


Tim Tam cookies

It is actually a Australian creation but i discovered it in New Zealand so i will leave it with that. It is pretty amazing and you can do what they like to call 'the tim tam slam' where you bite the ends off of the cookie and sip hot chocolate through it, then you slam the cookie in your mouth before it melts/disolves. This sounds like a winner of an activity. If i like you enough, you may be one of the few that is invited over for a tim tam slam night (since i will of course be bringing some back since i have ample room in my baggage as my last post indicated.)

In honor of Thanksgiving, i decided to be glutenous with Tim Tams instead of the usual pie (BUT i still need a pie fix, i am thinking i can only safely make it two weeks without the pie i was due today). We also had a turkey dinner, i think by accident, but however it came about, i appreciated it.

And in the true Thanksgiving spirit, here are the things i am currently grateful for (just some, not all of course):

-my hilarious family that is always a fountain of good stories
-a good job that lets me take paid vacations, a good brother named levi would go along with those too
-milo, especially when he wears a sweater and falls asleep on me at work
-tim tams and pie
-education and the fact that i enjoy learning/reading/school
-friends, the good kind that stick around forever
-boys, even if they don't like you back, having crushes is at least entertaining/fun/funny
-home furnishings, the more i apartment shop the more i appreciate good furniture/bedding/linen
-food, all of it (except mushrooms and olives, they are always a bad decision)
-and last but not least, i am thankful that i am happy.

In other news from my trip: i of course had a tiny mishap involving water, long jumping, mud, and my iPhone.

you can probably figure out what happened, but when i get a better internet connection i will add a photo...