(Taken in Prague, Czech Republic in October three years ago...)

It's a most distressing affliction to have a sentimental heart and a skeptical mind.  | Naguib Mahfouz

In the depths of my soul, I longed to be a part of something large and good; something that required all of me; something dangerous and worth dying for. | John & Stasi Eldredge

When you can’t bear something but it goes on anyway, the person who survives isn’t you anymore; you’ve changed and become someone else, a new person, the one who did bear it after all.  | Austin Grossman

I want to get more comfortable being uncomfortable. I want to get more confident being uncertain. I don’t want to shrink back just because something isn’t easy. I want to push back, and make more room in the area between I can’t and I can. | Kristin Armstrong (from Boise!)

I do not understand the mystery of grace–only that it meets us where we are but does not leave us where it found us. | Ann Lamott


What I'm listening to | Lorde

"Explosions on t.v. and all the girls with heads inside a dream..."


Yellowstone - 3 days 2 nights...

Yellowstone National Park was a much needed, well deserved mini-vacation before the beginning of fall semester. The idea started pretty randomly and then actually grew into a solid plan that we slid in right in time. There were wild animals, deep talks, waterfalls, freezing sleeps, beautiful colors, and long drives through the night.

All in all, I had a great time kicking it around Yellowstone with these crazy people.

OUR FREAKING CAMPING SPOT / early morning planning session / grand canyon of yellowstone / mammoth hot springs / a (possibly staged) candid rafting picture / mesa falls / the whole gang in the rain / old faithful / west thumb geyser basin / eating lunch in middle of nowhere bear land / grand prismatic spring


The Plans for After I Graduate...?

My last year of college begins in a few weeks and my mind is going crazy thinking of the many paths I could choose at the end of it; typical of any senior. I wouldn't say I'm the type of person who is a 'planner,' however I do like to have a general idea of where I'm going and what I'm doing. As of now I am considering four very different options. Which is leaving my nerves...the very opposite of settled. I suppose that is the way I like it though. The anticipation is killing me but it's incredibly exciting.

My best answer:


On Artistry...

                                                                                         (Please excuse the bad quality of the picture...)
I am slowly working on becoming a better artist. And I'm really enjoying it because it's more of an outlet than anything else. This quote essentially sums up everything: “To practice any art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow. So do it.”

The picture above shows some of the process I go through while painting. This painting in particular is of Worcester Cathedral, which I painted for my roommate Alex's birthday. A fellow anglophile, she had visited it when she went to England earlier this summer. It's also a testament to our love of Worcestershire sauce (best eaten on a piece of Welsh rarebit ((basically toasted bread with mustard and cheese melted on top))). Its place of origin the same as this cathedral. Not to mention, it was an excuse to paint a typical scene from the most beautiful country in the world.

Painting is just one of the artistic talents I'm striving to develop. The other is temporarily on hold until fall semester. And I'm dying to get back into it! It's a bit embarrassing but 80% of the decision of where to live this last year of college was made by how close I could get to the building with the ceramics studio. And I literally ended up in the closest place to it...right across the street. Thankfully, truly thankfully, I ended up with at least one awesome roommate I know I love (Shelby) and a huge top-loft bedroom...in a very nice complex, which I got a serious discount on. Benefits of working in the BYU off-campus housing office, I think.

I'm so excited to get my hands back into that clay and make things that are me. I'm freakishly attached to that studio. It's the only thing that saved me from going insane last year while taking some of the hardest classes of my major. It's one of those places that always makes me happy when I'm there, no matter my mood beforehand...it easily changes into nothing but a content sense of calm and genuine happiness. This year will be especially interesting because I'll be the only non-Visual Arts Studio major in the class. I was recommended by my previous ceramics professor to take the higher level/majors only class because she saw, quote: "skill and a unique vision" in me. And honestly, when it comes to creating art...I am not going to shy away. I may not be extremely talented but I am determined to create and enjoy it anyways.

My determination to do so only grew when I read THIS fantastic article by Neal A. Maxwell on how we should cultivate our artistic talents. In the article he talks about how we shouldn't compare ourselves to other people. Everyone is on their own timing and it is pointless and wrong to envy and be discouraged by people who we consider to be much better than us or that are farther along than we are. We all start at the beginning at some point. I loved how he explained that each time we create something, we are creating something that has never been before. We are unique and no painting has ever been painted in the exact way that you painted it, no piece of pottery had been thrown and fired the same. When we use the talents that God gave us, we are unique in our expression of it. It is similar to the way that God created US and made each of us unique. We emulate God when we cultivate our talents and we also glorify Him.

Elder Maxwell also promises that: "The greater our sensitivity to the Spirit, the greater our response to beauty, grace, and truth in all their forms as these exist about us. Our righteousness opens us up like a blossoming flower to both detail and immensity. Sin, on the other hand, closes us down. It scalds the taste buds of the soul."

This is so beautiful. I've always thought I had an appreciation for the small, lovely things around me but I never realized that I could heighten my senses and enjoyment even MORE through the Spirit. This is certainly one of the most wonderful promises I have heard pertaining to making our lives more beautiful, happy, and full.

No big deal, just standing in my favorite hallway in the whole world. If you haven't seen it in real life, please tell me you at least recognize it from the Da Vinci Code! Eh hem, my total guilty-pleasure movie. I was quite content there...standing in a gallery filled with masterpieces from the Italian renaissance...quite content.