Sunday, July 10, 2016

Little Missionary Moments

I have been trying to be a better member missionary, and while I hardly succeed in great and epic ways, the little things I do are triumphs to me.
I used to be so good at it in High School, when I was surrounded and belittled all the time by people who probably didn't mean to offend, but nevertheless did so. At BYU I had a safe haven, and was lured into a false sense of security because I never had to be a missionary. Tulsa was a wake-up call, and while I tried (and failed) there, I have been doing better in DC.

- Telling my boss about temple work and our love for our families extends in both directions. We believe in eternity.
- Bringing up the importance of morality and ethics in LITERALLY EVERY POLICY DEBATE in school, because we must develop righteous principles that lead us to do what is right.
- Defending to my fellow students why 3hr church is actually a blessing, and why I love keeping the Sabbath.
- Giving an old friend a Book of Mormon, and praying that he'll accept it.
- Taking new friends to the temple and feeling the spirit on the grounds.

I believe in sharing this thing that brings me such to joy to others who come into my life. Sometimes I take it for granted. I never ever ever ever want anyone to come up to me and say, 'You had a gift you could have shared that would have been precious to me. Why didn't you?'

Sunday, June 26, 2016

The Great War

If you haven't seen any of the youtube channel The Great War, I think you should give it a whirl. It's a week-by-week analysis of what happened in WWI, and it. is. so. well. done. The research, the narrative, the perspectives, the depth - the creators are doing really great things. It's my new binge-watch thing.

Thursday, June 16, 2016


The title of this post pretty much describes what happened. I had a long break between semesters, so I went galavanting all over the American West.

To kick it off, I went to UTAH and Shana, Calista, and I fulfilled our 8-year dream of going to Goblin Valley TOGETHER (they went without me once, those twerps). It was cloudy so I didn't get any good stargazing in (still bitter), but the rocks and the wind and the sky and sunshine sang at me and I wasn't mad. A piece of my heart will always long for the desert.
These girls are like, the coolest. duh. 

While in Utah, I got to visit a bunch of old college pals and some of my girls. (For the uninformed, I was an RA at BYU and for some reason the girls I watched over for a year are, in my heart, 'My Girls', even though we're obvs friends as well.) I always love catching up with them and seeing how their lives are playing out. They are so funny and adventurous and wise and inspiring. They make me a better person. 

NEXT UP I went to Dallas to see Shannon!! Someday I will tell the story of how her great(x2 or 3) grandfather tried to kill my great (x2 or 3) grandfather. It is actually pretty interesting, considering the fact that in our first encounter Shannon tried to kill me with poison, and a few years later I accidentally tried to kill her too. Keeping the traditions ALIVE!! 
She is so awesome. Like, seriously.
Last stop: TULSA! My heart positively cries for Tulsa, I have missed it so much. I felt like I never left and that my other life in DC was all a bad dream. Being with my friends in the place that I love made my heart so happy. 

This place and it's never-ending skies!! 
It is always great to be with people who know you and love you and understand you and support you and who make you laugh. My friends are definitely some of my greatest blessings.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Notable Quotables Part 2

Now that the semester is over, I present to you other noteworthy and funny comments my teachers have said. Remember, my classes are in intelligence, arms control theory, and international security.

"The appropriate answer is 'Senator, I do not recall'."

"It's not the offense that gets you, it's the cover-up."

Russian Joke about nuclear fallout:
"What do you do if you see a mushroom cloud?"
"Put on a blanket and crawl slowly to the graveyard."
"Why slowly?"
"So you don’t create panic!"

“We want to get in there and mess with people.”

 “We are never deceived. We deceive ourselves.” – Goethe.  

“Never assume conspiracy when simple incompetence will suffice.”  

"Russia always cheats." 

It was such a wonderful, difficult, challenging, mind-numbing, intellect-building semester. As it should be. And now I am looking forward to long break. Utah, here I come!! 

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

I heart visitors!

Kylie and Jess came to visit a couple weeks ago! I was Kylie's RA at BYU, so I know all the dirt and awkwardness. Our mutual love of John Krasinski and all things English really cemented the bond.

Kylie and Jess have been to DC before, so they had some great ideas of places to go that I have never visited. They are also big art nerds, but joke is on them cause I love art! I loved the museums they dragged me to.

This was the Renwick Gallery's 'Wonder' exhibit! It was stunning and I have been thinking about it a lot since we left. I even went back to see it again. Def one of my most fav modern art installations. 
This was at the FDR memorial! We walked all around the monuments at night (honestly the best time to see them!) and I had never been to this one before. There were a bunch of kids taking Prom pictures at the Lincoln Memorial. How adorable is that?! #PromGoals

Surprise surprise, I took visitors to the temple! I can't get enough pictures of this place. 
I love it when friends come to visit! They always show me a new side of DC, be it in actual places we visit or their different perspectives on the city. It's so great to see this place through fresh eyes.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016


In March I made a last second decision to run away from DC for a couple days. So I hopped in my car and drove north to Palmyra, NY. Finally got to see some church history sites!
It was a cold spring day, but walking around the grove was so special and sweet. I felt so happy and peaceful. 
I loved that the stained glass in the temple was all trees! And it was the same design as the OKC Temple, so it made me feel vaguely homesick.
The Smith Cabin!! Where they were living when Moroni came to Joseph. 
The whole weekend was so special. I walked around the farm and the grove and went to the temple and reveled in not being in DC. Spontaneous adventures are the best adventures.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Music ABCs

My sister Kelly is my usual go-to music suggester. But I managed to find these hot babies all on my own! Here's the ABC's of what I've been rockin' out to lately. Youtube playlist here 
I'm always on the hunt for new tunes. Send your recommendations my way! But only if you have good taste.
*Songs I particularly love.

Architects - Open Letter to Myself
Walk the Moon - Work this Body
*Breaking Laces - Astronomy is my Life, But I Love You
DNCE - Cake by the ocean
The Avett Brothers - Ballad of Love and Hate
*Walk Off the Earth - Rule the World (love those trumpets!!)
*Rossini - The Theiving Magpie
*Hamilton (AMAZING)(listen to the playlist!! you will not regret.)
MIA - Bad Girls
JR JR - Gone
The Killers - Shot at The Night
Spada and Ellen - Cool Enough
*Magic Man - Paris
Mika - Ordinary Man
Walk Off the Earth - Hold On
*One Republic - Preacher
Adele - When we Were Young
The Struts - Could have been me
Sidney Bichet - Si Tu Vois me Mere (I want to fall in love to this song.)
Mumford and Sons - Hopeless Wanderer
Chvrches - Mother We Share
*Imagine Dragons - Warriors
Mika - Last Party
Lady Antebellum - Compass
Demi Lovato - Stone Cold
Mumford and Sons - Ditmas

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Sydney and Day Trippin'

Sydney came to visit!! We kicked off her first trip to DC with a day downtown, where I forced her to go look at the beautiful art in the National Gallery, and then to the Air and Space Museum WHERE WE TOUCHED THE MOON. BECAUSE I STILL FREAKIN LOVE THE MOON. Syd is the best for indulging me.
The National Gallery has some really lovely JMW Turners. And since he is my fav, I have to go see his stuff every time.
Next, we went on a couple day trips! We went to Monticello to see the legacy of Thomas Jefferson, and boy, it was worth it. The house, the grounds, the mountain top, even the creepy tunnel, were all wonderful and amazing. I love being in this area with such great history. Montpelier happened to be on the way, so we made a little detour and saw James and Dolly Madison's place as well. (Heart eyes emojii at Dolly M.)
We also traveled up to Antietam National Battlefield, the site of the bloodiest single-day battle in American History. I remember reading a lot about this place in High School, so it was kind of sobering and sad to be there. But it made me grateful for the people who fight for freedom.
Syd and I went into town a few times, but my favorite time is always at night. The monuments at night are glorious, and really beautiful to look at. Just a heads up for all those who come to visit me - we're going to go look around at night.

Thursday, March 3, 2016


Wallis (aka Wathis) came to visit me!! We painted the town red. 3 days and 50,000 steps later (she has a pedometer on her phone, I am not making up that number of steps!) I'm pretty sure we saw about 30% of what DC has to offer. Except for that moment where I couldn't get into the national archives to steal the Declaration of Independence, because my pocket knife was too rad.... too knifey.
Jefferson Memorial at sunset. It was the most gorgeous day!
Guys, the DC Temple is so magnificent. I love it so much. 
Mt. Vernon! We love George Washington. 
This pizza is THE SHIZ. 

She loves Bei-Bei, who we went to see TWICE!
Babe-raham Lincoln Memorial. We love him.  

Sunday, February 21, 2016

The Pursuit of Happiness

Day by day it seemed like nothing was changing, until suddenly I woke up yesterday and realized I had been wonderfully happy for the past two weeks. January was so hard and I swear there was a night I could actually feel the devil laughing at me, but (as I wrote in my journal) I got through it, and I feel so much better. "[Here] but for the grace of God go I."
I loved this talk by Elder Busche. The whole thing is excellent, and this clip is really extraordinary. 
Notable quotes: "Avoid at all costs any negative, pessimistic or criticizing thoughts. If you cannot cut them out, they will do you harm." SO TRUE. "Be grateful for every opportunity to serve. It helps you more than those you serve."

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Notable Quotables

Some worthwhile statements from my grad program this last month. I am taking classes in Arms Control and Intelligence, so I'm sure you can guess which quote goes with which class.

"Never trust the French! Trust the British less."

"We never play by Moscow Rules."

"Cancun is the only place international diplomacy actually moves forward. Everyone wants to drink and go to the beach, so negotiations move along fast."

"Don't get caught!! DON'T. GET. CAUGHT."

"The ends don't justify the means. But sometimes they do."

I am like 70% certain one of my teachers is at least 80% Communist. Debates about U.S. policy are always lively, to say the least.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

National Cathedral

I definitely moved from Hufflepuff to Slytherin.
Today I was a tourist and went to see the National Cathedral. It is a beautiful example of Gothic architecture and the stained glass work was some of the best I have ever seen. I love stained glass! Interestingly, Hellen Keller is interred at this Cathedral, and stumbling upon her plaque was neato bandito.
Ah, the Rose Window. Iconic and stunning
If you don't love stained glass you are wrong. And just look at those arches! Magnificent. 
Memorial for Helen Keller! And it's transcribed in braille. Very fitting. This was in St. Joseph of Arimathea's Chapel, beneath the main kanve. 
If you look reeeeeaaallly close, you can see a Darth Vader gargoyle!! I love it. So American. So cool.
My old stomping grounds
I decided to go back to the place I prefer to forget, just for kicks. I had this wave of nostalgia, missing Lindsay and Jackie and Jimmy. It's weird to have such wildly different emotions about a place - I hated the work but I so loved the people. I got a sandwich at Potbelly's - as per tradition - and sat in Lafayette Square thinking about my time here. My takeaway lesson? That I cannot plan my life at all. It is taking such a wildly different shape from what I imagined 10 years ago, 5 years ago, even 1 year ago. There's a double meaning in that somewhere, but I'm not sure what it is yet.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

It's really quite lovely

Just add 'blizzard' to the list of natural disasters I have lived through.
Snowmageddon 2016 hit with stunning force this weekend. I showed my usual daring-do spirit by walking out in a blizzard for two hours to capture these photos for you, my lovely three readers. And also because, you know, I like low-stakes adventures that include me walking around alone at night.  

Look, I found Narnia! 
Gratuitous snow graffiti 
This was after it had been snowing for only 6 hours. 
This tree is prettier than every other tree on the planet. 
'Footprints'  #soartsyyouguys 
The first night I was able to actually walk around with some ease. The snow was only just past my ankles. Saturday afternoon it was at mid-calf and walking around became supremely difficult. That night I walked around again, though this time it was more like walking burpees, since I kept falling down in the snow and crawling back up. The snow was past my knees. We hit 30 inches in 36 hrs!

OKAY LEMME TELL YOU A THING ABOUT HOW HARD IT IS TO SHOVEL OUT YOUR CAR. IT IS REALLY HARD. This took two hours and I was so sore and cold and I don't even have to drive anywhere for three days!! I am not working out for at least a week. #armday
It was so peaceful and serene
"Did you see her hem?! Six inches deep..." in snow. This was the first night.
It reminded me of the storm my sophomore year of high school. My dearest friends and I roamed from house to house, playing in the snow and drinking hot chocolate. That was when Shannon and I walked around at 3am and decided that the prettiest things were sunsets, sunrises, snow, and stars. I still think that's true. There's something about walking around alone at night when the world is muted and still. It's better than yoga and therapy.
But not better than oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, of which I had four after my workouts today.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Here We Go Again

And now for my next trick, I shall go to grad school!
New adventures, new travels, so let's kick up this place again.
The new place is lovely and cozy (one of those cute terms for 'small'), and I like it. It is still weird to see my stuff in a place that doesn't feel like home, but I assume that will change. Incidentally, it gives me all sorts of feels about 'what is home' and 'do I even know what home is anymore' and other philosophical thoughts a physicist should not be thinking.
This is the only part of my apartment that is currently tidy, so it's the only pic you get.

Notwithstanding the first week of nightmares, things have gone smoothly. Classes are entertaining, and I collect such great quotes from my teachers. Gems like "He was a mushy-headed liberal poo" and "We like to use Whack-A-Mole diplomacy" really make me enjoy this program. It's gonna be so good, you guys, I can just feel it.