Thursday, November 24, 2011

Reflections, Gratitude, and Missions

"Even though I had left my mission, my mission didn't leave me. In fact, even after all these years, I still feel that my mission was the best two years for my life"
-Matthew O. Richardson


Seeing that this is my first Thanksgiving since being home from my mission, I wanted to express my gratitude for having the privilege to serve as a full-time missionary by sharing some of my thoughts as to just how influential my mission has been to me.

Since I can remember, I always had a burning desire to serve a full-time mission. I attribute that desire to having been raised in a fabulous family with each family member setting a good example for me to follow. When the time finally came for me to “put in my papers”, it was a no brainer. I had been waiting for this all my life.

I remember it all so well; waiting anxiously for the envelope to arrive, and when it came, opening it surrounded by people that I love – then reading aloud:

“Elder Jacob, you have been called to serve as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. You have been assigned to labor in the England London Mission…”

What I remember most about that moment was feeling that London was exactly where I needed to be. England had never before crossed my mind as I place that I would serve, but it was the perfect mission call for me.

I like to think that I hit the ground running as I entered the MTC and eventually the mission field; however, I had to go through my own growing experiences before I truly began to understand my purpose as a missionary.

It may sound cliché, but it wasn’t until I completely lost myself in the work, that I began to experience a fullness of joy that only comes through sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ.

“He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.”
Matthew 10:39

My mission experience means everything to me because:

  • On my mission, I began to more fully know Christ as my Lord, my Savior, and my friend
  • On my mission, I saw and felt the healing power of the atonement
  • On my mission, I witnessed miracles
  • On my mission, I began to understand how the spirit works
  • On my mission, I began to appreciate the power of prayer and regular scripture study
  • On my mission, my priorities in life began to be aligned with God’s will
  • On my mission, I developed eternal friendships
  • On my mission, I had fun
  • On my mission, I worked hard
  • On my mission, I went through trials
  • On my mission, I learned how to rely on the Lord
  • On my mission, the love that I had for my family was magnified

Ultimately, the reason that I loved my mission was because it helped change me from the person that I was, to the person that I hope to one day become.

It has been six months since I last had the privilege to don the nametag that bears both my name and the name of my Savior. Despite how much I miss my mission, life could not be better now.

“The past is behind, learn from it. The future is ahead,
prepare for it. The present is here, live it.”
Thomas S. Monson


“Missionaries should have the understanding that their mission is not a two-year
mission; it is an eternal mission…”
Janet Brigham

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Fall: When You Eat Apple, Pumpkin, and Humble Pie

Let's see if I can share all these thoughts.

I am an active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. As such, I count myself as a follower of Christ. His invitation, "Come, follow me" (Luke 18:22) has changed the way I live my life. In my efforts to follow Him, I strive to be like Him.

But sometimes I fall short.

I find myself prideful and contentious instead of patient and compassionate. Instead of charity, love, and time, I give excuses. Sometimes, I fall short. Maybe that sometimes is now.

Despite the fact that we all fall short sometimes, I feel horrible. Honestly, I feel legitimately miserable. I feel as if I've been left, abandoned. When I think about what's ahead of me, I realize that I can't do any of it. Not by myself.

This past Sunday, I was reminded of the story of when Christ calmed the storm.

He had beckoned to His disciples, "Come, follow me." And they did, onto the ship and the water.
And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full. (Mark 4:37)
As experienced fishermen, the disciples knew what they were doing. They knew how to handle a boat, and how to weather winds upon the sea. Yet now, despite their experience, their human strength was not an equal match to the winds that tossed the boat.  I can imagine the disciples looking at the sleeping form of their Master, and wondering, "How will we survive this storm? Why has He left us alone?"
And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish? (Mark 4:38)
And sometimes, it may feel to us as if we have been left completely alone. As if the tasks before us are so daunting, so difficult that they are impossible. As if the Savior sleepeth.

Upon awakening, what words did He speak? "Peace, be still." (Mark 4:39)

With His disciples, I ask, "What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?" (Mark 4:41) Why do I so often forget of His power, and limit my understanding and abilities to that which I can do alone?  The Savior did not leave His disciples alone. They just had a limited perspective, they did not know. But He did.

He knew of His power, of his abilities to calm the winds and the waves. He knew He could perform a miracle.
He does not leave me alone.  I simply do not see what He can see; If I trust in Him, I will witness a miracle.

President Thomas S. Monson once said, "Do not pray for tasks equal to your abilities, but pray for abilities equal to your tasks. Then the performance of your tasks will be no miracle, but you will be the miracle."

It's true! Without my Savior's aid, I cannot do what I may need or want to do. It will be hard for me to be compassionate, charitable, giving, patient, diligent, and strong. At times, it will be difficult for me to be optimistic, caring, dependable, forgiving, and firm.

But with Him and through Him, I can.

For, "when you choose to follow Christ, you choose to be changed." (Thomas S. Monson, BYU Devotional 11/1/11)

And I am a follower of Christ.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Guiltiest of the Guilty Pleasures

We’ve all got ‘em. Here’s to wiping away the guilt, not the pleasure.

Exfoliating (purple) gloves

That’s right, I exfoliate, and I like it. This is one of the many blessings I got out of my mission. At first my companions were hesitant, but they eventually came around and joined in on the fun.

Facebook. No explanation needed.

Coco Butter
Who doesn’t love the feel of soft hands?

I’ve been told sarcasm is “the lowest form of wit”

It’s not the lowest form of wit.

Eating raw cookie dough

Skinny ties and fitted suits

Another thing from the mission. England, I’m in debt to you forever.

Hitting snooze about 5 times before I actually get up

I set my alarm clock early, just for the pleasure.

Turning on the A.C./ceiling fan and sleeping under heavy blankets
SO cozy.

Long, hot showers

I can’t help it. Clean AND soothing.

Beating roommates to the shower in the morning

Only way to start a day.

There you have it. Don’t judge me.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

how to: make the man of your DREAMS fall for you

Let's face it, I'm an experienced dater. Throughout my years, I've accumulated certain nuggets of knowledge that have proven to produce results:

Make him do everything first. Don't let him know that you're interested. You don't want to freak him out.

Get his phone number from an obscure friend or off of facebook, and then text him and make him guess who you are. This will make him see that you are mysterious, and fun.

Refer to a mutual memory that he actually may not remember, but that was so significant to you that you wrote about it in your journal. This will bring you both happiness, for he will remember a great event, and also be in complete awe of how great your memory is.

Do his dishes, or help him fold laundry. This will show him both how domestic and how unselfish and giving you are.

Change your profile picture, so that you are both artsy and a gorgeous babe. He will  see your creative talent and beauty, and his feelings for you will change instantly.

Wear lots of make up, so that you look more like a Disney princess than yourself. Men go for big eyes and white smiles.

Bake him goodies. It's pretty probable that he likes food, so he'll probably like you too.

Make sure that your social network profile (you must have one, by the way) is such that it shows how popular and happy you are. When he sees you with all  your friends, he'll realize how much he wants to be one himself.

Ignore him sometimes. Also known as "playing Hard-to-Get," this will make him realize just how MUCH he needs you in his life. This includes:
  • Not responding to texts for at least 30 minutes
  • Sitting by him in class but not talking to him
  • Writing on his friend's walls, but not his
Be sporty/grungy. He will be so impressed by your apparent athleticism, that he'll dream about asking you out and playing basketball for eternity.  Additionally, he'll love that you are comfortable enough with yourself to be unpresentable in public.

Laugh extra loud. Make sure that you're animated. Bite your lip, twirl your hair, use your hands, you know, the normal batting-eyelashes type of stuff. He'll be hooked.

Remember where you run into him. Then go back there on similar days and watch that same area. Maybe you'll see him again. And then he'll be pleasantly surprised at how much you have in common.

If a song is playing that he knows and you don't, listen for a couple choruses, and then mumble-sing the vowels of the words so that he thinks you know the song. Music is huge. If you know songs, instant coolness in his book.

Research his favorite things. Then bring them up in a casual conversation. Once again, he'll be surprised at how much you have in common, and not creeped out at all.

But in all honesty, the best words come from Oscar Wilde:
"Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken."

[Edit: This is sarcasm. Some may work, but the logic behind them is seriously lacking sometimes...]

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Striving and Thriving, Not Just Surviving.

Title adopted and adapted from a phrase by Brenda Burr.

Surviving  (verb): Continue to live or exist, esp. in spite of danger or hardship.
Striving (verb): Make great efforts to achieve or obtain something.
Thriving (verb): (of a child, animal, or plant) Grow or develop well or vigorously: "the new baby thrived".

Yup, this is me.

I am wearing a super cute dress with a ruler and a pencil on it, and yes, my hair is in super tight and fountain-y pigtails (Go, Mom!). No wonder, with the denim jumper, little plaid collar and cuffs, and patent leather shoes, I have chosen to become a teacher.

School has been a part of me since before I can remember (for example, this photo). I absolutely loved learning. As the teacher explained our next task, I would sit with bated breath on the literal edge of my seat, ready to jump up and down in celebration. In retrospect, it's a miracle that I rarely fell out of my seat (or that my male peers never pulled my seat out from under me).

I was seriously hungry for knowledge. When I was three or four, my grandma decided to teach me some math. I soaked it in, my eyes wide open (I must have thought that eye width had a direct correlation with the amount of information I could take in). She taught me simple addition.  "Okay, what's next?" She taught me borrowing. "Okay, what's next?"

Of course, school was a bit harder than learning simple mathematical computations and tricks from my grandma. When I was about nine years old, I learned that there was a thing called "being smart." The idea was completely new to me. My world began to change -- scores mattered. My fellow students were constantly comparing their scores on their spelling tests, math homework, essays, journal writings...

By the time I was in high school, my perspective and attitude had altered so that grades were my priority. Of course, I'd still spout out facts to my friends. But they'd just laugh at me, saying something how "only I would care about/know something so random." This continued on through my first two years of college. When it came to school, grades were the most important, and learning was second.

Scratch that. When it came to life, grades were the most important. I became so caught up in making sure that I was matching others' expectations, that I wasn't even creating my own.

So often, we focus on achieving goals of status rather than goals of progress.
Forget about obtaining wisdom, forget about growth.

My friends, that is so unbelievably wrong.

In the long run it is the growth, knowledge, and wisdom we achieve that enlarges our souls and prepares us for eternity, not the marks on college transcripts. ...
Learning with the Spirit is not confined to classrooms or preparation for school examinations. It applies to everything we do in life and every place we do it—at home, at work, and at church.
An education is not limited to formal study. Lifelong learning can increase our ability to appreciate and relish the workings and beauty of the world around us. - Elder Dallin H. Oaks, "Learning and Latter-Day Saints"

We should be seeking to become better friends, sisters, brothers, daughters, sons, mothers, and fathers. We should be seeking out our talents and then using them. We should be taking in breaths of the crisp fall air, relishing the crunch of leaves, and smiling when we can feel the warmth of the sun. We should be enjoying the journey.

We really should be striving and thriving, not just surviving.

Let us remember not only the importance but the absolute joy of learning, so that we, too, can sit on the edge of our seats, with bated breath and eyes wide open, smiling and saying, "Okay, what's next?"

Saturday, August 27, 2011

I cried at work today.

No biggie.

You might think I'm a loser. But, I would (and likely will) do it again.

A short while ago, I got a job as a teacher at the MTC. So far, it has been unbelievable. Basically, I get to do something that I love and be involved in something I'm passionate about. Brilliant!

This morning, I was crouched down by a couple of missionaries who had just finished a role-play and I was discussing with them how they felt about it. As I asked one Elder how he felt, he looked me in the eye and I could almost see things begin to click in his head. Tears filled his eyes as he spoke, but he managed to keep himself composed as he shared his experience with me. As he went on, I realized that small tears were rolling down my own cheeks.

Initially, I had the urge to quickly hide my tears. I didn't want anyone to see me in my weakness. Then, as flashback after flashback of my own mission sped through my mind, I thought to myself, "Why not show a little emotion?"

So I did.

As I walked to my car after work, I was elated.

Made my day.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Wild Cherry Trees and Yes, More Goldfish

The month after I turned eighteen, I thought my life was going to end.  I was confused about some silly teenage boys, I was stressed about AP and IB tests, and I had my braces tightened.  Because of probably all three, I had not been able to eat for about a weekend.  Which is a severely  l o n g  time.  Anyway, whilst on the fifteen-minute nutrition break my school offered, I remembered I had "fishie-crackers" in my locker.  I grabbed the bag, and directed myself to my English classroom where I promptly sat down.

So there I sat, plopping one goldfish at a time onto my tongue.  I'd wait a little bit, and then, using my tongue, I'd squish the fish until it was swallow-able. It was quite a method.  I sat there, unstable and hungry, for about ten minutes, until a friend came in.  With a "Cebre! I haven't hugged you for a while..." he reached down and bent over to rectify that problem.  But as he did, instead of finding comfort and camaraderie, I found horror.

In slow motion, I saw my fishies, bag and all, falling to the floor.  Of course, the open end of the bag faced the ground, and so the floor was quickly adorned with little orange crackers.  I broke.  All of my usual composure and calmness (...) left. I broke into sobs as the bell rang and my fellow Seniors flooded in.

The funny thing was, although some of the boys in my class were freaked out and offered to ditch class to go buy me more goldfish at the 7-Eleven down the street, the majority of my class looked at me, and then took their seats. Apparently it was not surprising to see me weeping over a pile of crackers.

Growing up, on visits to our home, my grandma would say, "Terra trauma, Cebre melodrama."  She apologized a few years back for labeling us as such, but in all honesty, she was right.  I can't fully speak for Terra anymore, but I'm pretty sure I was and am still melodramatic.

My friend, Chelsea, and I imagined up so many different things when we were younger.  Probably inspired by Britney Spears' "Lucky", we were teen pop stars who, despite our fame, were still unhappy.  We'd swing on the swings in the top level of my garage, and sing songs about the unsatisfying life of grass.  Sitting on a stump in her horse pasture, we were princesses living on some distant island.  On our playground at school we'd run around, tapping and knocking into all sorts of poles.  Of course, there were secret buttons on the playground that would open up a new technological world.  In our minds, the computers could do anything--change our handwriting into type font, call people with video... honestly, Apple and other companies stole our ideas.  We were so innovative, really.  Like how, as mentioned above, in my garage we'd swing on the swings singing about our secret lives as stars.  We were Hannah Montana before she was even an idea.

Perhaps that's why I've always loved Anne of Green Gables, both the books and the movies.  As a dramatic little girl, I could totally relate to her feeling in the "depths of despair." (Secretly, sometimes I still do.) Like Anne, I had a craving for reading and an active imagination.  Days on end I'd rock in our hammock, looking at my shadow-speckled body and then back up into the trees that would cast the shadows, wondering if there were fairies hiding among the fruit-tree leaves.

Or perhaps I just love Gilbert Blythe.  He's so ideal (with the exception of his name). 

Friday, August 19, 2011

Sleeping in garbage bags? A good idea!

My sister recently received a letter from a missionary, Cameron, who happens to be one of my good friends. In his letter, he reminisced about one of our many adventures together - the time we out smarted the rest of our scouting troop by using garbage bags as sleeping bags... Here's the scoop:

My scout master, at the time was an avid hiker and outdoorsman. This, was both a blessing and a curse. Blessing, because he took us to obscure places that I would have never seen otherwise. Curse, because he LOVED hiking - and hiking FAR.

On one particular occasion, we traveled to Havasupai - an Indian reservation in the Grand Canyon. Honest, this has to be one of the most beautiful places on earth.

If you were to hike through Havasupai, you'd see dazzling water cascading over awe-inspiring waterfalls. How's that for imagery? Breathtaking.

But, there's a catch - in order to get a glimpse of this natural wonder, you have to hike (backpack) for AGES through the Grand Canyon. I don't remember the exact distance, (I'm scared to look it up for fear that it actually isn't that far) but, I remember feeling utterly exhausted.

Knowing that it was going to be a difficult hike, and being the logical people that we are, Cameron and I put our heads together to come up with ways to minimize the amount of weight we would have to pack.

Your average hiker might think that a great way to minimize weight would be to scratch the tent and pack a small tarp instead, or to only pack light-weight clothing. Both are good ideas. Yet, Cameron and I, are not your average hiker.

Being not only logical, but also resourceful, we came up with the idea of taping two garbage bags together and sleeping in them. After all, they're water proof, so no tent would be needed. And, we were told that it would be warm, so no need to worry about getting cold. Ingenious!

So, that's what we did.

As we hiked, we watched as few members of our troop struggled, the hike seemed easier to us as we joyfully thought of how clever we were.

From then on, everything went well... Until our first night...

With all the careful planning that Cameron and I did, we somehow overlooked the possibility of a torrential rainstorm happening. Darn.

Garbage bags are waterproof, so at least we had that going for us. But, you can't exactly cover your head with a garbage bag for an extended amount of time. We had to come up with a plan and fast!

Being the logical, resourceful, and clever people that we are, we quickly huddled under someone else's tarp and stayed there for much of the first night. Bless their heart.

We made sure to pack their tarp out of the canyon for them.

The extra weight nearly killed us, but we figured it was the least we could do.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Tribute to Papanwa

As we dive into this entry, I have to cover a few things:

First, if you don't understand the term, Papanwa, that means you haven't watched the movie,"The Testaments" enough. Go check it out.

Second, this post might only be interesting to immediate family. Or, if I'm lucky, to all those who love their fathers. You'll have to decide.

I have a pretty sweet dad, one of the best. And, here's why:

1. My dad is one of the world's best story tellers

As a little boy, I looked forward to hearing a bedtime story every single night from my dad. Some of his more notorious stories are about: His life growing up on a ranch - these usually include him rescuing the family sheep or eluding death by inches or, they're about his times serving as a missionary in Japan - these stories usually include freezing conditions and/or drowning rats in his apartment.

I can't forget to mention how many of his stories begin with, "When I was a little girl..." rather than, "Once upon a time..." A classic in our home.

2. My dad is an avid videographer/photographer

My siblings and I often joke about the fact that we have lived the life of movie stars. I would wager that all totalled, I have more film time than Brad Pitt. If you think I'm joking, I'll show you the hundreds of DVDs my dad has burned, each of which has endless hours of family videos on it. Honest, anytime I want to, I can go look up any event in my life and watch it. And, I do mean ANY event. He has it all, from losing my first tooth, to skits that my siblings and I would put on, to my high school graduation. My life has been well documented.

Believe it or not, there are some set backs to living a life "under the spotlight". Not only do you have to be careful about what you do on film, because, who knows who will eventually see it. But, there are also those times when you just don't want to be filmed. Anytime my siblings or I would protest as my dad pulled out it his faithful camera, the phrase, "This is for posterity" would echo in our ears. This phrase is now one of our families biggest inside jokes.

3. My dad is a pretty good cook

Ever heard of mush? Basically, it's a thick porridge. And, it's what I ate every morning before school. To be honest, I hated it. But, I love the memories.

As my siblings and I would be sitting around the table, none of us finishing our mush, we would receive words of encouragement from our father:

"Come on Hiram, it will make a man out of you
, like it did me"

Or, "Come on Hannah, it will put hair on your chest, like it did me."

Who wouldn't eat their mush after receiving such encouragement?

Recently, it was my Dad's birthday. The big 60. You wouldn't guess his age by looking at him though. He has "young genes". Still, it's pretty crazy.

My Dad doesn't even know I blog, so, without trying to make this blog one of those "public expressions of love". I just wanted to thank my Dad for all the good times.

Thanks for the memories, Dad. I love you!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

So I'm a mouth breather.

I knew I would get sick--it's pretty typical stuff.  I, of course, got sick from driving back from California and probably some ear infection from ocean water... the good news is I'm on the mend!  Even if I still have to breathe through my mouth.

These past couple of days I've been spending the majority of my time with my beautiful and compassionate sister, Terra.  She's been the most available assistant, driving me to work, picking me up from work, packing my jeans into air-compressing bags, and packing my shoes in a bucket.  She's also helped me carry my tons of junk (really, I have tons) from my room, to the car, and then even to Stephanie's living room.  Stephanie's also compassionate, and is letting me store my stuff with her while I'm temporarily homeless.  BYU Contracted Housing should really figure something out with the housing check-out and check-in dates around here.  It's ridiculous.

I experienced Terra's love and sensitivity last night as we finished dropping off the last of my things at Stephanie's new apartment.  I was telling her a story (honestly, I have NO idea what I was talking about) and my car door shut on my left three tall fingers.  While I stared at Terra with shock and pain, she laughed.  I stood there, with my fingers squished, wondering if she was going to open the door for me.  She did move toward me, but it was only to double over in laughter, and slap her hand on the back car door.  So I opened the door with my right hand.

So this afternoon, as we were over in Stephanie's apartment, Terra asked if she could play my guitar.  I said yes, because I was just concentrating on breathing through my nose.  It wasn't quite working, so I moved my face into my arm to hide the fact that I was breathing through my mouth.  Then all of the sudden I heard metal slap wood.  Yeah, my guitar string broke.  Well, we'll get that fixed.

Later, Terra and I went to go take some pictures outside.  After we took one outfit's set, we decided to go back for Terra so she could change.  She opened the door and went in before me, and as I stepped forward I felt the door catch on my middle right toe.  I looked down, as a small pool of blood started to form.  I was wearing some of my favorite sandals, and I didn't want blood on them.  So holding the door open with my elbow, and using my wrist to flip the camera hanging down away from my toes, I attempted to take off my sandal.  I then looked up at Terra, who stood in the doorway, looking.
"Terra, can't you see this?"
"Terra, do you see my toe?"
"Terra, can you hold open the door?"
Well, she did.  And she ran and got me paper towels from the vending machine room so that I could staunch the blood. There was a lot.

Oh, but the day gets better.  After numbing my toe under cold water and laying down on the couch for a bit, we went outside to take pictures of Terra's second outfit.  I was reminded of how I needed to bring my key back to The Colony (my old apartment complex), and so, distracted, I asked Terra if she'd just leave with me.  We drove to the complex, I dropped off my key, and then we went to a Redbox to find our movies.

See, I had a PROMO code for this weekend, for 50% off of redbox videos. Not that $.50 is a super big save.  The code was on an email I had saved on my phone, but... I couldn't find my phone.  I had Terra call it, and it immediately went to voicemail.

 "Terra, I think my phone fell out of the car.  I think someone ran over it."

Well, I was right.  They did.  When we found it, it was under an SUV and there were tire markings across the screen of my iPhone.  I tried to turn it on.  I pushed the top button and the home button, trying to reset the phone, but it wouldn't work.  I looked at Terra, tears welling up, as she told me that everything was going to be okay, that I was lucky the screen wasn't cracked, and that it could probably be turned back on.

We drove to the Mac store, where, yeah, they turned it on after resetting some things.

But man, I was exhausted!  And ultimately, Terra and I buckled down and went to Macey's for ice cream, and to Blockbuster for three movies:
Blockbuster Manager (BM): Do you have an account number or an ID?
Me: Yes. To Terra: I've been here with friends before who have accounts but I've never purchased anything.
BM: What's your first name?
Me: March 29, 1990.
BM: What's your first name?
Me: March 29, 1990. Oh, it's hard to see my information, huh? Took out the card.
BM: What's your first name?
Me: Oh, it's Cebre.  Hard to understand it.
BM: You don't have an account with this ID.
Me: ...
BM: You don't have an account.
Me: Yes, I know that.
BM: Do you want to set up an account?
Me: ...
BM: Do you want to set up an account with this ID?
Me: No.
BM: You can't rent the movies without an account.
Me: Oh, yes.  Sorry, I have bad hearing.
 Oh, but the ice cream was good.
And we saw Jimmer.  I was driving, and Terra and I both screamed as I waved my hands in the air to celebrate.

And that, dear friends, was my Saturday.  For the remainder of the weekend, I'm going to steer clear of doors, and hope that my nasal passages clear up.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

My version of Jiminy Cricket

When I was four years old, my family lived in Westhaven, CA.  It's a small town/area, with beach homes on the hillside.  We were renting a lovely carpeted house (from what I recall of the prior home was a ton of wood), and I remember riding my plastic tricycle in the sunshine on our concrete driveway.  The driveway was huge, according to my memories, and it had grass growing through the cracks.

Even though my tricycle seemed to burn out quite often (not the best traction on plastic wheels), I loved it.  The seat opened up so I could put my goldfish crackers inside, and if I wanted to, I could put my legs over the handlebars and ride that way. While riding it, I made all sorts of discoveries.  I remember parking my trike alongside the house, and realizing how eyes were made.

Oh! The discovery!  All that happened, really, was people took marbles, and put whipped cream around them, and then placed a Saran Wrap-like substance to keep it all together.  I mean, of course.  What else would eyes be made of?

Or how about how to stop pain? "Mommy, I figured it all out. When you fall over," which I did a lot, "all you have to do is this."  I then proceeded to clench my teeth together tightly, touch my tongue to the roof of my mouth, widen my lips to a grimace, and breath in a sharp gulp of air. Try it yourself.  Honestly, I've been trying for the past couple of minutes to find an onomatopoeia to label it, but I can't.  It needs an "h", and maybe an "s," a soft "k" or "q"... and maybe a silent "l"?

Anyway, upon hearing my discoveries, my mom would congratulate me on my wisdom, and ask me how I knew so much.

"Momma, I know it because of the schoolhouse in my heart."

The schoolhouse in my heart taught me many things.  I mean, how else could I have spoken my first poem? (Yes, these blogposts run together.)  I remember knowing the answers to so many of my own questions (What are strawberries made of? What happens when we cry?), but the strongest lesson I learned was about goldfish.

It's bad to eat stale goldfish.  The crackers, not our watery (and fragile) friends.

One of those rare sunny days in Westhaven, I rode my tricycle to the end of my driveway, and opened up the seat.  Inside were my old "fishie crackers".  I put them on the grass-growing concrete, and began to eat them.  They tasted different, and they were kind of squishy.  When I looked down again at the ground, there were ants all over! I looked inside of my tricycle seat, and there were ants there as well.

The audacity of those ants! The schoolhouse in my heart was rallying.  Not only had they decided to reside in my tricycle, but they changed the flavor of my beloved fishie crackers.

It apparently wasn't horribly traumatic, for I simply went inside and asked my mom for different crackers that didn't taste like the ants.  Although sometimes dramatic, I could also be practical.

But still today, when I eat stale crackers, fishie crackers especially, a little something whispers inside of me that they taste like ants.

What RMs don't mention in their homecoming talks

Things they cooked/ate.

The time they smashed their own windshield, by throwing water balloons out of their fifth-story window.

When they found candy in a pile of rubbish...

and ate it.

Don't freak out. It was "Foil Fresh".

And, those times they spent hours on the phone taking the brunt of someone's furry.

Missions really are the best.

Monday, August 8, 2011

The Mailbox

I have lived in the same house my entire life. My house is full of memories, it's a great place to be.

Because I have lived in the same house my whole life, I have also grown up with the same neighbors. This post, is about one of those neighbors. Or, at least, about their mailbox.

Growing up, my house was on a dead end. This was great for many reasons, one of which being that I could play in the street and my parents wouldn't be too concerned. The house two down from mine was the place that all the neighborhood kids would play at. The best feature of this house was the sparkly white rocks all around it's yard. It might not sound like much, but trust me, these were cool rocks - especially for a seven-year old.

One day while playing with my best friend, Tyler, we discovered that these sparkly white rocks were perfect for scratching our name into things. So, that's what we did.

14 years later, and still there. Bless my neighbor's heart.

I really should repaint it.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Become as a Little Child

"And again I say unto you, ye must repent, and become as a little child..."

Lately, I've been attending an institute class taught specifically to those with special needs. This has been one of the highlights of my week, here's why:

Big smiling faces, playdough, sitting by Carl, signing, drawing, matching games, acting, laughing, occasionally dancing, and best of all - learning life lessons from people who truly are as little children.

One of the latest lessons I've learned comes from the example of a couple of wonderful girls named Jessica and Andie. Jessica is shy. Andie is loving. Both are lovely. Recently, as Jessica stood in front of the class, she started to cry as she shared a few thoughts about Christ. She then sat in her seat and proceeded to cry silently. Andie, took note of this, and was (I'm a little ashamed to say) the only one who cared enough to go over and comfort Jessica.

As the two embraced, our attention was drawn to Andie, who proceeded to flip through her scriptures. Once she found the scripture she was searching for, she read aloud;

"And whoso receiveth you, there I will be also, for I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up." - D&C 84:88

Some experiences are impossible to put into words. In this case, all I can tell you is, that at that moment, the class went silent and the Spirit of love was felt by all.

The thing that struck me about this whole experience was the thought of just how much I can learn from everyone, especially those who are "childlike".

"And again I say unto you, ye must repent, and become as a little child..."

Friday, August 5, 2011

Breaking the Ice

Seeing how I am new to this whole blogging thing, I figured it would be good to play a get-to-know-you game.

Two truths and a lie, here we go.

1) I have sung soprano in General Conference

2) I have been interrogated by the police for arson

3) I have been attacked by a trained police dog

Think about it for a minute, the answers/explanations are in the comment section.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011


After years of resisting the itch, I've decided to scratch. I'm starting a blog.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Shirley Temple's got the right attitude.

Oh, mister weatherman
Where's that rain you promised me?
Oh, mister weatherman
I've been waiting patiently

Mister, can you spare a drop?

Here a drop, there a drop
Two drops, four drops
Can't we have more drops?
Now its all around me
Gee, I'm glad you found me

I love to walk in the rain

Look for me when it's stormy
Down some lazy lane and I'll be there

I'd love to walk in the rain

The lightning may be frightening
I love the rain, so I don't care

I feel wonderful

When the sky's above are thunder-ful
I don't complain

I know it's fun in the sun

But take all kinds of weather
When all said and done
I love to walk in the rain

Sunday, Monday

Tuesday, Wednesday
Thursday, Friday
How about a week
With every day a pitter-patter day?
I wouldn't complain!

Lyrics from Shirley Temple's "I Love to Walk in the Rain"

It's true.  I really wouldn't complain.  I've loved Utah's bipolar nature as of late.  My gmail theme is set to change according to the weather, and while most of the time it has a giraffe and some pleasant bus-riders, when it storms, it changes to this:
Over on the farther left, (their right) it has Benjamin Franklin flying a kite.
So cute.

Two nights ago, as I was parallel parking my car in front of my apartment, pulling forward, turning the wheel, reversing, my whole car shuddered with a loud grinding sound.

Shoot.  I've hit the other car.

So I pulled forward just a bit, shut off my car, and got out.  I had at least eight feet between my car and the one parked behind me.  I kind of stood there, dumbly, until my roommate Satie came out, saying, "Did you hear that thunder?"

Oh. That was thunder, not my car.

So, I decided to take on Shirley Temple's attitude, and spend some time outside.  I kicked off my shoes, placed my cellphone on the coffee table, let my hair down, and ran outside.  It soon became a torrential rainstorm.  My roommate, Shaye, and I traveled down the length of our apartment complex, skipping, kicking up water, and wringing out our soaked shirts and hair.  The awnings over our apartment roofs (why is it "hooves" but not "rooves"?) were pouring down curtains of rain, there was hail, and the largest raindrops I've ever experienced. 

I've always loved storms. There's majesty in the wind, thunder, and rain.  I love just standing, breathing, and feeling the storm work over me.
I'm powerless, but for once, I love being so.

Other times, though, I can't understand why change is occurring.  I generally like my life, like my plans, and love the easy, focused, and clear pathway I set ahead of me.  While I may enjoy the afternoon thunderstorm, I definitely don't welcome the emotional storms that roll into my life, or the physical ailments that seem to cloud my perspectives.  Most of all, I struggle seeing spiritually that soon I will be able to stand, grounded, and strong.

Throughout our lives, we must deal with change. Some changes are welcome; some are not. There are changes in our lives which are sudden, such as the unexpected passing of a loved one, an unforeseen illness, the loss of a possession we treasure. But most of the changes take place subtly and slowly. - Thomas S. Monson, "Finding Joy in the Journey"

Perhaps the  main struggle comes from expecting to have the power to control all changes in my personal life.  When the rain won't cease, or the wind shakes trees that have stood for hundreds of years, I have the faith that the storm will end.  I can't stop the rain, I can't hold the trees still, so I find joy in the experience and wait for it to pass.

The truth is, I should have that trust in my personal life.  I will be taken care of.  My Father in Heaven knows me, loves me, and wants me to be happy.  The struggles and experiences give me the opportunity to change, grow, and become someone with an even greater potential for happiness.  The changes I experience transform me into a better being.
Growth and development take time. Learning takes time. When we understand grace, we understand that God is long-suffering, that change is a process, and that repentance is a pattern in our lives. When we understand grace, we understand that the blessings of Christ’s Atonement are continuous and His strength is perfect in our weakness (see 2 Corinthians 12:9). When we understand grace, we can, as it says in the Doctrine and Covenants, “continue in patience until [we] are perfected” (D&C 67:13). - Brad Wilcox, "His Grace is Sufficient"
Trust.  It all comes down to trust.
I need the trust to smile, walk in the rain, and look forward with optimism for the day when change will come again.

Sunday, Monday
Tuesday, Wednesday
Thursday, Friday
How about a week
With every day a pitter-patter day?
I wouldn't complain!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

'Squitoes and Speedos

A week ago or so I went to the Juvenile Detention Center with some friends from my ward for a fireside.  Before we began our program on "Integrity," we had a quick not-so-inspiring discussion.  I began it.

"So, I really don't understand why mosquitoes even exist."
"Me either."
"Wait, I do!" (this wasn't me)
"Oh?" (this was me)
"So that we can take the blood of dinosaurs and clone them."
Oh, yeah... I forgot.

But, it's truly summer here in Provo!  You can't go out at night, unless you want to look like you contracted chicken pox, and the evenings are filled with the moist rumblings of thunder.  It's lovely.

Except the mosquitoes part.

And, luckily, most men aren't walking around in speedos as of late.  This is both a blessing for me and for them.  I don't have to see all that upper-thigh, and their skin is more protected from the vampiric insects that come out at dusk.

Monday, June 6, 2011

The Wise Man Doeth

I grew up dancing in primary, offering to lead the music because of COURSE I knew all the hand signals as well as the words.  With my allergy-affected sinuses, I would sing and sing and sing and then talk as well.  I still remember being confused at why my other classmates didn't answer the questions as often as I did.  Maybe they didn't listen to Scripture Scouts.

One of the songs I grew up singing was "The Wise Man and the Foolish Man."  Oh my stars was it fun to bring the rains down and the floods up.  All the boys would go crazy at the end when the Foolish Man's house washed away.  Sometimes, I'd get hit by their flailing arms.

At the time of this picture, I lived on 777 Murray Road.  The house was small, and not quite perfect.  My parents shared the master bedroom, and across the hall from them lived Drake and Racer.  Terra and I believed in imaginary friends, and drew doors to their worlds on Drake's wall as we stood inside his crib.  

I don't think my mom believed our claim that Drakey did it.

If you were to walk west, you'd pass through our living room, where you could see both our front door and back door.  Walking further would lead you into the kitchen, with its blue pinstripe walls.  Even FURTHER would bring you to mine and Terra's quarters.  We lived in the laundry room.  Part of the floor was linoleum like the kitchen, and a small carpeted section hosted our bunk bed.  There was always sand everywhere.  On the floor, in the light fixtures, in the bathroom sink.  Always sand, everywhere.

We lived less than a five minute walk from the beach.  If I were to exit the door from my bedroom, I could see the ocean.  Most of the time, we'd walk down as a family; the "big ones" would carry a yellow floaty-boat so that we could cross the Mad River to get to the coast.  We'd walk down the hill, with me wondering the whole time why I couldn't sit in the boat like Racer got to, and trying so hard to carry it although my arms weren't quite long enough to wrap around anything.  After crossing the Hammond Trail, we would descend down wooden and sandy steps, and then cross the river.

Most of the time, we could just wade across, completely unaffected.  Then we could go frolick on the empty beach, finding full sand dollars and making mermaids of ourselves.

Once, though, a huge storm came through.  As a result, the river and the ocean somehow met together, completely wiping out the beach.  I remember walking down the Hammond Trail and being entranced by the whirlpools I could see in the Mad River.  Perhaps I had been watching too much of The Rescuers.

That silly Foolish Man.  I'd think.  He just didn't know that a storm would come and wash all the sand away.  How was he supposed to know that the Mad River was going to go crazy?

Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:
And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.
And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand:
And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.  
 (Matthew 7:24-27, King James Version)

 The Foolish Man was not foolish out of ignorance.  He knew.

He just simply didn't do.

Don't we all sometimes find it easier to lounge in our beach house rather than drill away into a rocky foundation?  We know what's right.  But we'll just do it later.
"...somewhere between the hearing, the writing of a reminder on our smartphone, and the actual doing, our 'do it' switch gets rotated to the 'later' position.... let's make sure to set our 'do it' switch always to the 'now' position!" (Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf, "Your Potential, Your Privilege", April 2011 General Conference Priesthood Session)
Exercise, homework, scripture study, dishes, showering, calling up an old friend... later.

The Wise Man Doeth.
View from the Hammond Trail of Mad River and Pacific Ocean, May 2009

Let us be wise men.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

"It's past midnight, Cebre."

I remember sitting up late on the computer, finishing papers, and MSN-IMing or AIMing my friends.  My dad would come downstairs:

"It's past midnight, Cebre."
"Ookay, yeah! I just need to finish this up and my friend REALLY needs me to talk to her right now."

Now? It's a miracle if I make it to bed close to midnight, let alone before it.

But that's besides the point.  I'm here tonight to discuss the wonderful organization of BYU finals:
It's really quite sad.  You stand in line, heart racing, waiting waiting waiting... tell the student your exam, waiting waiting waiting, ... let your ID get swiped, and then you enter through the doors that say, well, "Enter."

So you look into the auditorium, and you see tons of empty seats.  You look some more, and see students sitting on the stage, sitting in the aisles, laying on the floor.  Why, you ask?

Because there is a form of etiquette to how you sit in public places.  

It's simply not socially acceptable to sit next to somebody else. Out of the question.  Even less acceptable is a man sitting next to a man.  That's just abnormally close and infringing on all personal space!  And of course, in the lovely JSB auditorium, each person is so anxious to take their exam that they take the closest seat-- on the outside of the row.  So while there are empty seats, you would have to climb over a myriad of people simply to sit down.  Yet another action that will socially stamp you as annoying, loud, and unnecessary.  

So I decided to climb over people.  

When I finally got to my seat, I sat down, and my bag was uncomfortably over my shoulder. "Sorry," I whispered as my elbow knocked into the boy-on-my-left's pencil.  All the hustle and bustle then caused me to sneeze, knocking my own test onto the floor beneath the boy-on-my-right's seat.  "Thanks."  I then started to take my exam. Being super self-conscious about my perimeter, I attempted to accomplish everything, flipping pages, circling bubbles, and crossing and un-crossing my legs, while staying within the width of my shoulders.  

"Sorry."  My test fell to the same exact spot as before.  "It won't happen again."

Proud to say, it didn't!  But as I finished, I noticed that I was the first person in my row to complete my exam since I had sat down.  So yes, once again I had to have every person squish into the smallest possible shape so that I could squeeze past.  Why are all the seats reclining, anyway?  It makes it so I have to lean into the person I'm trying to step over.

Everybody should change their social seating schema.  I mean, if only for finals week.  
Here's my advice:
  1. If the row is completely empty, go into the middle.
  2. If another person is already sitting down, sit next to them.  It may be awkward for about 15 seconds as you are the only two people in your row, but it will fill up, and quickly.
  3. Don't take up more than your allocated space given in a seat.  That means don't use someone else's rotational desk to hold your TI-84 calculator and a water bottle.
  4. Smile at everyone who makes you move.  They're already embarrassed, don't make them more uncomfortable.
And with that being said... I'm DONE!  Hopefully to never enter such a setting again.

Friday, April 15, 2011

everything will work out.

Just not in the time that you're expecting it.  It will happen, though. 
It always does.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Your Happy Place

Today, while in choir, we did a brief meditation.

"Go to your happy place."

I immediately remembered rocking in a hammock.  The sun was coming through the trees above me, causing the hammock, the ground, my arms, and my book to be freckled with light and shadows.  The sun essentially created warmth, but a cool breeze would brush my hair across my jaw and make me a little chilly, too.

I'd often pull my thick comforter tighter, and adjust the items on my lap.  I'd secure the house phone that I had brought outside in case my best friend called, and I'd make sure that my sunflower seeds were tucked well enough so that they wouldn't spill.

What is it about that Fieldbrook house that gets me?
Drawn on Paint tonight without reference to any picture . Purely from Memory.
The smell of cherry blossoms in the spring?  Being able to make daisy chains for as long as I wanted?  Running up the stairs to the blue room on basically all-fours in order to be fast enough?  Riding bikes up and down the driveway?  Jumping on the trampoline?  Swinging on the swings in the sappy garage second floor? Sprinkler olympics?  Missionary Tag, Commando, Snake-in-the-Grass?  Being able to play the piano as hard as I needed or belt as loud as I wanted?  Smelling sawdust from when Dad worked in the garage? Dancing to Michael Jackson with everyone while Mom worked downstairs? The smell of the wood?  Laying in the sun-spots on the carpet?  Scrubbing milk spots off of the counters?  Laying outside in the thick grass reading a book?

Yeah, I miss it.
My childhood epitomized all Disney movies, story books, and cute happy bright songs.

But more importantly, I'm grateful for that childhood, and that Gingerbread House.
 I enjoy quiet moments of thought and relaxation.  I know that singing can always bring me joy, and that peace can be found in any moment.

I believe in happy endings.

Friday, February 25, 2011

February... Going, going... GONE!

Seriously, though.

Where did it go?  I was just celebrating Groundhog Day.
Or at least Valentine's Day.  Wasn't that yesterday?

No... it's the 25th. And no, I didn't cut my hair all short and cute.  It was just caught on my shoulder.

It's amazing how perspective changes as you grow up:

Four Years Old:
"Mom, can I have some cheese?"
"Yes, Cebre, in a minute."
'Oh my gosh, this minute is soooooooooooooooooo long.'
"Here you go, sweetie!"
"Thanks, Mommy."

Fourteen Years Old:
"Mom, I need abs."
"You can do Pilates with me, Cebre!"
*sees advertisement for Pilates that will take two weeks*
'Two weeks!  There's no way I can do that!  Two weeks is WAY too long of a time to consistently work out.'

Seventeen Years Old:
*anxiously waiting for acceptance letter to BYU*
"Mom... I can't even wait any longer.  How the heck am I supposed to last two whole MONTHS in agony?!  That's FOREVER!"

Twenty Years Old:
"Hey, Momma, I'll send that package tomorrow."
almost two months later
"Sent it!"
'Man, that last semester went by quickly...'

And I can only guess at the future.
'Where did the last 20 years go?'

But in all honesty, I'm glad.  When February ends, it's my birthday month.  And oh yes, I party the whole month long =)

You know what they say: TIME FLIES WHEN YOU'RE HAVING FUN.
I think 'they' (whomever they may be...) got the principle right, but tricked us when we were younger.  Time flies when you fill it, whether it's when fun super awesome lovely activities, or busy busy busy busy homework-y days.  That being said, what's most important is what you're doing with your time.  (Prioritizing... mmmm....)

Monday, January 31, 2011

Hello Jell-O.

Despite the fact that I am completely unable to draw myself, I still must have a sub-/un... conscious (I NEVER KNOW WHICH ONE TO USE!) idea of what I look like.
Why?  Because my jaw is swollen, and I can tell.  Which really, honestly, isn't that bad.

This hardly hurts when compared to ear surgeries.  In fact, I've gone all of today with the LACK of medication, and besides some discomfort, I'm fine.  So, getting your wisdom teeth pulled, even all four, isn't that bad.

Where does the problem lie?


Mark that as Cebre's #2 recognition of "What I Take For Granted" this calendar year.

Today I asked some boys (whom I don't know) if they thought my cheeks looked big.  After first looking at me weird for asking the question in the first place, they then scrutinized my face, and then told me that, "No, you look just fine."

Which was great news until my sister said, "You're not that... oh... ha."
It's just the smile.  I can't smile.  It hurts to smile.
But then again, smiling isn't that big of a deal, right?

Oh dear friends, you're wrong.  Smiling is huge.

You can smile when you're happy, when you're annoyed, when you're surprised, when you're thinking of something funny, when you're listening to a good song, when you finished all of your flashcards for your test, when you are trying to prove to someone that you don't care, when you're waving, when you're trying to make a baby smile, when you're on the phone, when you're telling someone that you're "doing just great," ... or basically you can always smile.

Be grateful for the beautiful smiles that you have!  They make this whole world brighter.

Monday, January 24, 2011

The Center of a Tootsie Pop

I think I counted once, and it was something like 463 licks.  Just licks.  The kind that make your tongue numb, and not the kind where you roll it around for extra flavor.  463.  And no biting.

So, in response to the FAQ- Future Asked Questions...
Are you just bored all the time in college?
No, I am not.  In fact, I am extremely delighted in most everything that comes my way.
Then are you insane?
No.  I'm not that, either.

So today, as I was writing a reflection paper for one of my classes, I realized I had a whole bunch of tabs open on my Mozilla Firefox browser.  And yes, I've used Safari and Google Chrome, but neither made emboldening very easy.  And I like my emphasis.

SO I began to open up a whole bunch of tabs.  I thought maybe the limit was 17.
Sadly, it wasn't.
I had to stop, and finish my reflection paper.

Don't fear!  I don't give up that easily.  I began clicking. + + + + + + + + + ++++++++++ + + + + + +++++....
+++ + + ++ + ++ +
 + + + + + + ++
 + + ++ +++++++ + + + ++ ++

100.  200.  300. 400.
Okay, I thought. This must just be lying.  I couldn't actually have 400 tabs open...
So I started deleting tabs to see if I could also delete 400.  20, 26, click click click click.  And then I got frustrated.  Why would I want to count to 400 again?  I mean, I didn't even want to count all of them the first time!  So I exited out of the browser.

"You are about to close 368 tabs.  Are you sure you want to do continue?"


I am currently posting on my 767th tab.  I ensured that "emboldening" was a real word on my 359th tab.

I like that number, 767.  I like 7's.  And the prime factors of 767 are 13 and 59.

So, as far as my patience would go, there are 767 possible tabs in Mozilla Firefox.  This may be updated in the future.

And, today was a fantastic day.

Update:  Today I went on a clicking spree again, and after being stuck in the 1800's for a while, I stopped, and clicked to close my window:
That's right.  Accidentally happened upon our year.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

"The sky's starting to spit."

Ohhhh Texas.  What a sweet treat.

Random thoughts of the day: Isn't it interesting that we somehow count 0 as plural?  The number 1 is the only number that we count as singular... Let's see if I can say this correctly:
We'll have -1 apples (meaning, we owe someone an apple).
It's possible to own three cars.
I only have one assignment due tomorrow.
I have read zero pages (PAGES!) for my quiz tomorrow.

Also, every time I write out an ordered pair on my math homework, I think I'm drawing owls.
(0,0) and (0,1).  So cute!


Let's be honest.  Weddings are beautiful.  In the past two months, I have been a bridesmaid in two, and absolutely LOVED it!  The first wedding I participated in was Bekah Vanderhorst's.  Bekah and Grant were married in the Denver Colorado Temple exactly two months ago.  It was such a beautiful wedding, and so lovely to see the love in their families as they watched Bekah and Grant start their own.  I got to know Bekah from my major-- we're pretty similar and quickly bonded over our love for life, math, and the gospel.   She's always been an inspiring friend and such a good example!  What a better example to set than a temple marriage?

The second wedding was last Saturday, in sweet ole' Texas.  Haley, one of my roommates from this summer's study abroad, married her London sweetheart Daniel Jankowski.  Likewise, Haley and I have always seemed to have many things in common (we both sing in Women's Chorus still) and I've always been able to be really open with her, as she was with me.  She was there every step of the way as I explored and discovered the wonders that London could hold for me, and together we had a very fantastic experience.  AND THEN I GOT TO SEE HER GET MARRIED!  I'm so grateful that I got to be there for at least one more huge event in her life =).   Let's just say that I've come to love Texas and all the people that I've met there.  It was a blast.

But, let's be even more honest.  Weddings make you think about marriage.

I know, that sounds crazy.  Weddings? Marriage?  NO correlation...

Luckily, I don't have to stress too much, as I'm incredibly and wonderfully single.  HA!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

A little too much alliteration?

Apparently, I love it.  "Twenty and Teething," "Mathematics and Me," "Humility and Hope," "Peter Pan and Debbie Day," "London's like a Lost home :)... literally," and "Summary in a Song..."
do admit, I had a bit of fun with this title, too.  Just a tad.

So, I have decided to add "breathing through my nose" to my "Thankful for" list.  Some things should just not be taken for granted.

When I was younger, my sister and I would write in our journals most Sundays, or around once every couple of months.  It wavered.  And without fail, literally every time, since we had to catch up so much, we would end up listing all the things we were grateful for, and all of our friends.  Actually, on second thought, I can't speak for Terra.  I have some memories of her doing the same... but who knows how valid those are at this point.

My brain synapses work differently than most.  My mom understands, because hers do the same, and some precious friends have been able to interpret my thought process over time.  Usually, it takes little train switches and just turns off everywhere.  Right now?  Oh, the train's not even GOING.  There are hardly any connections.  It's quite funny how when one sees a road sign like this: 
they can expect a slowing or perhaps even stopping of traffic due to, well, everything being congested!  The same thing happens in my head.  Except thoughts should have nothing to do with the clarity of my nasal breathing.  But, they do.  Oh... they do.

And now, inspired by last night's Women's Chorus Retreat... a haiku:
Watch for Congestion
It comes with the cold, cold air
And never quite leaves.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Mathematics and Me

Today, a friend texted me, suggesting that I was in the wrong major. (Update: He suggested it in a joking matter, in case anyone thought otherwise.)

My response?  "No WAY! You know I think my major is perfect."  Which, most days, I do.

And, as a result of this conversation, and a class assignment (for school has started today), I have provided a small history of, yes, mathematics, and me.

My first name, Cebre, is pronounced "SAY-BRUH." 

The story that I know goes as follows (Mom, don't correct me... at least on here. haha!): Somebody had a card, perhaps given because of my birth, which when extended fully would spell out the word "celebrate."  Note that the first letter, and the last letter create the (here) prefix, "ce-."  Looking at that, my father decided he would like to name his child (me) a name with "ce" ("SAY") involved.  My mother remembered once knowing a Sabra in college, who was obnoxious and rude.  My father, an artist, decided that it was more aesthetically pleasing to conclude my name with an "e," protecting me from both immature and inappropriate jokes in middle school.

I was always a curious child.  I spoke my first poem when I was four years old, commenting on the ocean that I could see from my house:
"The waves are blue
The ocean is white
That is not good
What a sight!"
I loved discovering, learning, and yes, teaching.  I would do the first two, and then explain my newfound knowledge to all with open ears, giving the credit to "the schoolhouse in my heart."  I believed in both fairies and unicorns, and would sometimes chatter to the blossoms in the trees (fairyland) or search for small white pebbles in the driveway (unicorn eggs).  I also believed that music was the universal language between all living things, and would sing outside to the trees, birds, and deer.  In my mind, they could completely understand me.

School was a delight.  My earliest memories of learning were from my Grandma Southwick.  I remember her teaching me that the lower-case "e" did not look like a backwards "g," and I remember learning how to borrow when adding.  I loved school.  I loved doing my homework, I loved answering questions, and I loved lovedloved talking with my friends.  I would sit in the front of class, where I would finish my work, and then start chattering once more, either talking for the pure reason of, well, talking, or explaining to my friends how to understand the problem(s) at hand. ...This often got me in trouble.

Teaching was a delight!  I would go to the front of the class every chance I could get, with or without the permission of the teacher.  Like my preschool years, I thought everyone would want to know my ideas and understanding.  As I grew older, I would grade my friends' homework before the teachers would receive it, a sort of peer review. I would help my friends understand where the mistakes were and how to fix them.  I loved being able to discover how a friend thought, and then figuring out the exact or most efficient way to help them understand whatever concept was at hand.

Around this time, I first heard the term "mathematician."

"You'll be a mathematician someday, Cebre," my teachers would tell me.

As I grew more, understood more, and definitely worked more, I began to doubt their prophecy.  I was better at English, Physics, Art, perhaps even P.E.!  Math was a struggle, even if I loved it.  While it came naturally, it didn't come intuitively at all times.  I still taught many friends in class, but there were also many others who knew and understood more than me.

Then I was accepted to BYU.  I decided to take a math class, for I always loved math.  My professors were inspiring and fun.  I loved the students in my class, and I began to deliberate on my major.  At the time, I was on track to graduate in English with Honors, and yet somehow I turned towards mathematics education.  I've never been happier.

I still sit in the front of class, although I don't get in as much trouble for talking anymore.  I soak in the material given, and I will willingly teach my class content to any who will listen.  Some of my friends have made an unofficial pact to NOT ask me about school that day. 

Mathematics is as magical and beautiful to me as those fairies were, and I hope to be able to share that perspective through my teaching someday.

As for now, though, I also hope to remember this perspective as school wears on... and wears me out.