Wednesday, May 28, 2014

The Wedding of the Year

*Disclaimer.  I hate to admit it.  I never thought I would ever possibly get to this point.  But sadly I have!  I am fresh worn out of weddings.  Between mine, Chad's, Craig's, and now Lars.... I'll be okay if I am not involved in another wedding for a very long time. 

But the good news is, there isn't another wedding (like heavy involved wedding) on the horizon for a very long time.  Well except Kelvin and Ernie's in August... which I can't even begin to say how excited I am about that one!

Anyway back to Lars and Caitlin.

So the wedding festivities started Friday.  Jason, Myra, Kenneth, and I flew down to the Mesa airport.  First, let's talk about Alligent.  Where have them been all our lives????  We parked on the street next to Provo airport (free), walked in, handed the airline our boarding pass, walked through security, and seriously walked to the plane... in a matter of 15 minutes?  (Oh and both our round-trip tickets combined with taxes and fees.... $175)  Sure, we could only bring a backpack.... but we were gone less than 72 hours.

So Raine picked us up and we headed to our dream rental party house.  Luckily Kelvin and Ernie took some pictures of the house because it was such a blast! 

That night was the family dinner at a Marriot Hotel near the Gilbert Temple.  In Lindstrom style Raine, Jason, and I showed up with the CafĂ© Rio food, Costco cheesecakes, Mexican sodas, flowers, and table clothes.... 15 minutes before the event was supposed to start.  The poor mother of the bride, who is exactly opposite of Raine (had the whole wedding planned 3 months ago) was sitting there almost panicking wondering where in the world we were.  But of course as always we pulled it off seamlessly (of course with my mom busy at work). But I have to admit for favorite part was when Craig and Marcie walked in.  It was so fun to be with them.  And even better news, they will be spending some time with us in St. George at the Condo this summer!  Anyway sorry... back to the wedding.

The dinner was wonderful.  Food was fantastic.  I loved that the whole evening was themed, "Lars has been lucky in everything but love until now."  Raine gave a wonderful speech with my favorite line, "Here is my advice for you: be as creative and clever as your father, cool as President JP Morgan (Lars' stake president/business partner from LA that came out to perform the ring ceremony), spiritual as Uncle Del, and love like your mother."  It so perfect for Lars.

Of course Nils pulled off another one of his fantastic videos of Caitlin and Lars growing up.  It was wonderful. The night ended with us all back at the rental house having a little party for uncle Nils' 60th birthday.  It was so much fun.

Of course I woke up earlier than everyone else.  OH I forgot to mention.  Jason and I felt like royalty!  Sure the house had 6 bedrooms, and of course was packed to the brim.  But Jason and I were lucky enough to get the best suit in the house!  The master bedroom's walk in closet!  It was HUGE and dark and quiet. It was amazing! Anyway, I woke up early and decided to go for a little run.  I really believe that Arizona is the best in the morning.  I am so surprised how much of the area we were staying at was filled with farm land.  I ran along a canal most of the way.  I listened to a podcast from All Songs Considered about songs that remind us of our family.  I love podcasts like that.

I hurried home because due to the heat the wedding ceremony started at 9:00 am.  By then it was already pretty stinkin' hot... here is a good laugh at trying to take a picture of us outside the temple at probably 8:15.  Yes, Arizona.... May through August are not your strong suit.

The Gilbert Temple was unbelievable!  It probably was the most beautiful temple I have seen since the San Diego.  The paintings inside were unreal, the gold crown molding was amazing, and as your walked in their was a grand staircase that was to die for. 

As soon as Caitlin and Lars walked out we quickly got a couple of pictures in the heat and headed straight back to the rental house to hit the pool!  The rest of the day was spent just laying around, playing in the pool, talking, and sleeping. 
I'm sure Del was telling some fantastic story.
Then we headed to downtown Phoenix to one of the only historic buildings there... The Icehouse.

First it was the ring ceremony.
What you can't see in the picture is the hundreds of Anthropologie rose candles that made the ceremony smell divine!

Then hors d'oeuvres

Then the dinner reception.

Unlimited Dirty Diet Cokes... I was in heaven!

Salads and Sliders...

but the main event?

Evert type of mouth watering pie or donut you could imagine.

One tired little girl.....

And of course..... the Grand Finale.

What. A. Party.

Friday, May 23, 2014

People are not the enemy, people are the prize.

Well despite my best effort to slow it down... another year is over.  Yesterday and today I am giving one last final assignment.  It's the assignment where I am gasping at the air trying to ensure that I have taught them what is important.  The assignment that I keep and read through over and over and over again this summer as I am preparing to do it all over again.....

"How am I a different person than when I walked through these doors 9 months ago."

For some reason this year feels a little bit different.  If you remember back here I decided I was going to try and be the best teacher I have ever been.  And I am humbled to say, I think I succeeded.  So badly I wish it was socially acceptable to have everyone read these responses from my students.  Not to make sure that everyone knows that I am one fantastic teacher, but to see what I was working so hard to create.  You know, it's totally normal for an artist to have an art show or a musician to hold a concert.... but I feel like the only people that fully understand what I work so hard to create in my classroom are the 15 year old.... well and the parents that they talk to.... maybe... if they actually talk to them.  

Maybe I don't deserve a pat on the back, maybe I am not doing something worth a whole audience viewing..... but I guess the reason why so badly I want people to read these assignments is because I feel like my work life has turned into a huge battle.  Once again, because this is a "public" forum I won't go into details, but I feel like my working life, especially when I care the most and am making the biggest difference in kids life, is more and more battles to fight just so I can actually help kids.

But I guess that is why assigning these students this last assignment is so important to me as a teacher that gets no extrinsic reward for going to battle for them.  I have to remember that every single student that I impact, every time a student makes a better decision, every time they change..... that is the prize.  That is what I am fighting for.

So every time a student writes that because of this class he is going to work harder, be kinder, and consciously try and improve society... I remember why it is worth the fight. 

I don't know why God blessed me to have the gifts and talents that He did. I don't know why, despite my best effort not to be, He made me a teacher.  I don't know why He put these 284 teenage kids in my class.  I don't know a lot of things.  But as I read these final assignments the only two words I can use to describe the feelings I feel are absolute humility and hope.  I have so much hope in humanity because of what I see can happen to 284 punk teens every year.  And like I said, I don't know why God gave me this gift.  This gift to witness it first hand.  Sure there are lots of sweat and tears but like Thomas Pain said,

“What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods.”

 So I guess I value these assignments.... these kids' candid words.... because I know how hard it was to teach them, guide them, mold them.... and I am so excited to see that they really got it.  But more important, I am so excited to see what becomes of them because of it. 


Friday, May 16, 2014

Marriage Advice

Lars is getting married.


We've already discussed the roller coaster of emotions about that here.

As the wedding gets closer I've been thinking about what wedding advice I could offer him now that I am an old married woman. ;)  It really is almost comical how quickly we think we have become the expert at things.  

I think of typical wedding advice you hear.  Things like "Sometimes it's okay to let them be right even when they are wrong."  or "Never go to bed angry"  or "Don't expect the other person to change" or heck even sometimes so arbitrary as "Be nice to each other".

I think of these bits of wisdom that surely would help any relationship, marriage or not, and smile.  Of course those are great ideas.  I think we like to say these things in hopes that we'll do them more or better.  But I hardly believe that any newly married person in the midst of a heated debate will suddenly think, "Oh! On our wedding day my cousin said be kind to each other so I am going to stop fighting."

And so I've been racking my brain in search for real advice.  (Of course because of my deep need to be original and authentic due to my personality type.)  And I've come up with two ideas that I want to share with Lars.

1. For me, the hardest thing about being married is the fact that someone else makes decisions everyday that affect me almost as much as my own decisions.  I'm sure being older and independent plays a role in how hard it is to accept and deal with this concept but you've got to find a way to cope with this.

Which leads me to my number 2.  The only way I've found to cope with this concept,  this idea that someone else... someone that I'm sure everyone in the world would say is so completely different from themselves in the first year of marriage, is to have the same goals in the end.  It's only because I know that my partner and I want the same things in the end that I am able to cope with the reality that his decisions drastically affect me and my own future.

I've struggled with this piece of advice because it is so cliche.  But I do believe it's truth more now than ever before.

God and His Gospel are the saving grace.  I truly believe what President Kimball said.  I believe any two people who CHOSE to get married can have a wonderful marriage if God and the Gospel are number 1.  Because that way there is no question, that way you don't have to worry, that way the differences are more trivial, if both you and your partner are doing everything in your power to get to heaven, both of you are making decisions towards that goal.  Even if it is true that you and your partner see the rest of the world completely differently, it's okay because you have that one strong hold that will win out in the end.

So my advice for Lars.

Put the Gospel number 1 and hold on tight because it's one hell of a ride.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Oh Spider-Man....

*I will not spoil the movie but just know walking out of the theater.... I'm trying to describe my emotion.... it was like my bad dog Akela just died.  (Yes, I hated Akela... but she was the kind of dog you loved to hate.  You loved to hate so much and it becomes such a part of you that when she dies you can't talk about her for years without getting teary eyed...)  Jason, being the wonderful caring husband that he is, drove straight to the only place he knew would cheer me up, Panda Express.

I think the only way to put into words what I am feeling right now is to put it into a heart to heart.  And of course as usual, my inspiration coming in at 4:45 am.... the trusty blog gets to hear it.

So without further ado.... the last heart to heart of the year titled:

Who's going to change the world?

I heard a story once about a major university inviting a very successful businessmen to speak in the huge basketball auditorium to the entire student body on "Leadership in the 21st century"  After being flown in, wined and dined, and of course paid thousands of dollars, the businessman got up to give his speech.  He first thanked the board and the president for inviting him to speak then he says, "I have a question for everyone in attendance today.  Who here is going to change the world?"  6-7 people in the audience of thousands raised their hands.  The speaker said, "Will you come down?"  Nervously those 6-7 people came down to the stage where the speaker was kicking off all the dignitaries and making a small semi circle of chairs for those few who had raised their hand. After they all sit down the speaker starts talking to them. The rest of the thousands in attendance sat quietly for a little while clearly confused but as time went on they started to talk getting louder and louder. When it got unbearably loud the speaker went back to the microphone and said, "excuse me, could you please quiet down. I'm trying to teach to the leaders of the 21st century."

Why is it that so few people raised their hands?   Well let's take it to a classroom level.  What would happen today if one of you walked into our classroom and said, "Hey guys, I think I am going to try and change the world."  What would our reaction be?  How would we treat that person?  Why would we laugh at them?  Make fun of them?  Sarcastically wish them good luck? You are right, it's just like our heart to heart on crabs. We love to pull each other down.

I think it's the exact same reason we love super hero movies so much.  Deep down we all know there are some very wrong things in the world today right?  We know there are so many problems in the world.  We know there is a constant fight.  We'll talk more about that battle later.  But we know there is a fight.  But we feel helpless in the battle.   So we love watching Super Heroes take on the battle.  Why?  Because it makes us feel less guilty.  It's fun watching super heroes taking on the fight.  And why does it make us feel less guilty?  Because we think it lets us off the hook.  They have abilities and attributes that we don't have.  We can't fly, spin webs, or see through walls.... so it's okay that if we don't try to engage in the fight. They have been special skills and abilities that make it their responsibility to fight for good... Spider-man makes sure we are all off the hook by saying "With great power comes great responsibility.”  But us, we are just regular people. We can kick back relax and watch them do it....

I have only shown two movies this year.  *Gandhi and the Power of One And you guys know me well enough now.  Did I show those movies because I'm just a lazy teacher that didn't want to teach?  What did both of those movies have in common?   They are both about normal regular people that make huge sacrifices to "change the world".

It is now the end of the year.  I've done everything in my power to try and teach you and mold you into being better people.  Next time we are even going to do a writing excersize on how you are a different person than you were when you walked in through that door 9 months ago.  But today.  I want to leave you with one last bit of advice.  To explain this advice I want to show you two different graduation speeches.

Wear Sunscreen or listen to the song made from the speech here.

Renaissance of Kings  (I edited this speech down to one page, took religion out of it, and changed the title to Renaissance of Heroes for my heart to heart)

What did we like about the Sunscreen Song.

What did we like about the Renaissance of Kings

Now I want to compare these two speeches.  What is the different between the two?

The Sunscreen speech is all good advice.  It's all about how to make your life good.  It's about you.  Focusing on you.  If we had to change the name of this speech what could we change it to?  "How to get from here to death as painlessly as possible."

What about the other speech.  What is it about?   It is about the battle of fighting darkness.  It is about how people are not the enemy, people are the prize.  It's about making personal sacrafices to improve the world.  How we can all play our small but significant part in changing the world.  It's about how we can live a life of purpose and meaning helping bring others to the light.  It's about how to win people.  Sure we aren't made of steal, part spider, or a billionaire with a sidekick named Robin but we were all created to do great and be great.

Guys, I've spent all year trying to show you that people are the prize.  We've spent all year learning about other countries, cultures, other people.  We learned how they live, worship, and think.  But I have taught you nothing if you didn't get that although they might look different, speak different, and act different in the end we are all the same.  All loving caring human beings that just want to be happy.

Now just like Gandhi or PK or heck, even Harry Potter, we all have a choice.  We get to choose what path we live.  Do we want to just try to get from here to death as painlessly as possible or do we want to become great?  It's a conscious choice.  We all get to decide.  In 65 years at your 80th birthday party what do you want people say about you?  Who do you want to become?  What do you want to be?

So the rest of the class period is yours.  On that paper in front of you I want you to explore your dreams of how you were meant to be great.  What you can do to fight against darkness.  And write what you want people to say about you in 65 years at your 80th birthday party.

Then when you are done, come seal it in an envelope and I'll hand it back on yearbook day so you can tape it into your yearbook so in 10, 20, 30 years from now you can read it.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

You Don't Know What You Got Til it's Gone.

Yesterday morning started like every other Saturday when I'm in Orem.  Step at 7:15.  Although some of my favorite people were in class.... most of the hardcore steppers were off competing in one of the many races that were happening.  So the step teacher went with the mood of the class and kept the beat of the routine painfully slow.... I say painfully because step for me is an hour of jumping.... and an hour of jumping at a slow beat is nothing but painful.  Hard, painful impact.  So after the first hour I decided to ditch the rest of step and hit the hills...

Because recently I have discovered  how amazing trail running is.

After the enormous rocky 1 mile straight up at the beginning of this trail....  I had most wonderful time!  It was gloriously sunny, amazing views of Mt. Timp, just a slight breeze.  I felt like I was on top of the world.  (Literally running with all Utah Valley below me)  Hopping over rocks, skipping past butterflies, giggling every step of the way.  Sure it was getting hot and I didn't bring any water.  But man oh man it didn't matter.  Life was good.

I was listening to another podcast that was totally hitting the spot.  I was pondering the world, why things are the way they are, what I wish I could change, you know just the typical running wanderings... I think I even started writing a blogpost in my head.  But then about mile 6 my knee started to bug me.  Mind you, as far as running is concerned, I have never felt any type of pain in my knees.  So I thought it was a bit weird, and figured I should start on my 6 miles back to my car.....

You totally know where this is headed.....

Of course I only had passed 2 people on the whole 6 mile trail with no street access....

It was getting ridiculously hot......

Man I wish I had water....

And by mile 11 my knee felt like knives were stabbing it  from almost every angle.

And of course when did the pain hurt the worst?  Down hill.  Part of me wishes someone could have seen it.  Because at least hopefully someone could have laughed.  I was in so much pain that I didn't want to put any pressure on my knee... so I hopped down the rocky mountain on one foot.  When I got going too fast and thought I was going to crash I would do three hops on my left foot one small limp on my right.... for an entire mile down the mountain.  I really did laugh at how ridiculous I looked.... or at least that's what I am going to say the tears were from...

But it really got me thinking... as my hands were swelling from the heat.... how much I've taken my healthy body for granted.  How much I absolutely love it.  How much happiness it has brought me.  And how quickly that could all disappear.

How whatever I did to my knee in the gym that morning or on that run.... could make me unable to run for who knows how long.

But of course as I was hopping like a bunny rabbit down the mountain I was thinking about how right Cinderella (the 80's glam rock band) was when they wrote, "You don't know what you got til it's gone." I was actually really nostalgic before going on my run.  I was thinking about days before cell phones and a million social networks.    Describing to Jason how crazy my world used to me.  (He's had a cellphone since high school.)  Telling him about our summer (technically only 2 months because it sucked so bad we couldn't take it) in West Yellowstone.  Telling him about the how the guy that I would end up dating all summer had to track me down after seeing me at church by asking around the booming metropolis of West trying to find out where three new girls live.... then he just randomly showed up at our trailer one day to say hi.  I didn't know his name and he didn't know anything about me.  That just wouldn't happen anymore.  I miss that.  Then I watched this youtube video called Mister Rogers Explained to Modern Kids.   

I know my knee will heal. (Fingers crossed of course)  I know that technology is good.  (or here to stay)  But sometimes it's good to be reminded to stop and smell the roses.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Guilty Pleasures....

1. I have a little brother who on more than one occasion drove 50 miles to eat at a fast food establishment.  I didn't understand it then.  I really didn't understand it the day he ate at that same place 3 times just to say that he did.  I probably ate at this establishment a handful to times in the last ten years.... but about 4 months ago I think Jason asked to go there..... my life I hope will return to normal again sometime soon.... but until then.... Honey Walnut Shrimp and mixed veggies with a little bit of chow mien is controlling my life.  Yes, I am addicted to Panda Express.

2.  I've expressed before how I love Lululemon.  Sure I hate it, but I love it.  I love it so much that this morning I took the workout clothes I wore on Monday, that are still wet with sweat :(, threw them in the dryer and am wearing the same outfit to the gym this morning...... Clearly this is wrong.  My solution? I need more Lululemon clothes... so I have become addicted to Ebay.  (Because buying a $65 tanktop is out of the question) Crazy thing????  My favorite tank top from Lululemon..... is often MORE expensive USED on Ebay than purchasing a new one from the store.  Clearly I am not the only one with a Lulu obsession.

3.  I love Mad Men.  It is a terrible terrible show with one main theme throughout all 6 seasons.... adultery.  Terrible.  But the more I watch it the more I love it.  I feel like it is a long drawn out version of Anna Karenina (who would have ever thought Tolstoy would be considered the shortened version :)  but for those that don't want to deal with the filth of Mad Men or read the 982 page book..... the moral of the story is adultery will never ever bring any sort of long term happiness.  In the case of poor Anna, in the end, she'd rather throw herself in front of a train than deal with the misery her decisions caused.  In Mad Men you really do start to lose faith in men, they are seem to be dirt bags, but every single time each dirt bag is miserable because of their decision to cheat.

4. I just got a job teaching online.  I haven't started yet, so who knows, it might be awful.  I might hate it.  But I did the math yesterday.... if I teach the number of students/classes they say I will..... working 10 hours a week. (Whenever I want) I will make more money a year than my full time teaching job......... I'm really crossing my fingers I like this job because double my salary for 10 more hours a week????  Definitely wouldn't complain about that.