Monday, November 21, 2011

Some thoughts on the Occupy protests

I'm empathetic toward the cause of the Occupy protesters and those who support them. I really am. To say that there isn't greed and corruption in large corporations and that these corporations don't have rich lobbyists paying off Congresspersons is a blatant falsehood. I get it. I really do.

But setting up camp isn't going to help anything.

Protests are used for awareness. That is their purpose. To let the public know, "Hey, this is going on, we don't think it's cool, and you shouldn't either." I think the Occupy protesters have done a pretty good job achieving this goal. I would venture to guess that everyone, even those apathetic to current events, know that there are people camping out in various parts of the country to protest something having to do with wealth disparity. So why are they still there? It bothers me when I see facebook friends complaining about how the police and city officials are making protesters leave, saying that their First Amendment rights are being violated, when some research into why they are actually being forced to leave yields actual violations of the law: usually illicit drug use, public intoxication, and sexual assault (there was one group I read about which asked persons who had been sexually assaulted to not report it to the police, which made me sick). Now, are the police crossing the line by using unnecessary force to remove protesters in some cities? Probably. I won't deny that.

I think the biggest question those who support the Occupy cause should ask themselves is what to do next. I propose a few things: there are enough supporters that if everyone chipped in money, they could buy a fair amount of stock in a company which would give them a fair vote in who is on the board of directors for that company. Or they could hire lobbyists to petition Congress in their favor. That is how you change a corporation. Protesting, at this point, does nothing.

With all that being said, I'd like to add here that I am a capitalist. I think the best economic system is one that rewards hard work, efficiency, personal responsibility, and ingenuity. My generation has a huge problem with entitlement. We are the generation of participation ribbons and "everyone is a winner." We like to believe that we are entitled to high-paying, low-labor jobs. I see this entitlement in both sides: in the Occupy supporters and in those who do have opportunity handed to them without work. I think the real change that needs to happen is a shift from entitlement to responsibility in the collective of selves of this country.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

How to Not Feel Terrible

So this morning at 6:30, I drove to Nathan's. We had plans to hike up to the hot springs (a 6 mile hike roundtrip) to enjoy the hot water and each other's company. By the time we parked the car at the trailhead, I wasn't feeling well at all. I had to stop and take a break a few times during the hike up, which I've never had to do before, just to catch my breath. I was freezing and generally felt terrible. When we got up to the springs, we couldn't find a pool that was a good balance between not warm at all and molten lava hot, so we ended up soaking for like half an hour. As I stood up to leave, I immediately felt like I needed to throw up. Nathan gave me a blessing, and we walked back to the car with me stopping along the way.

Afterwards, I fell asleep on Nathan's couch for 5 hours.

Rather than actually being sick, I think my irregular sleeping patterns, lack of sleep in general, horrible eating habits, and overall stress levels have caught up with me. So today was kind of a wake up call that I need to start taking better care of myself in order to feel better, so I present:

Shelley's 7 steps to not feel terrible (and actually pretty good)
-Go to bed and wake up at the same time every week day. In bed at 11 and up at 7, which makes for 8 hours.
-Eat breakfast everyday. A granola bar on the walk to campus does not count. Waking up at 7 (my first class is at 9) should allow plenty of time to eat breakfast.
-A veggie and a protein with every meal, and making sure this happens in variety.
-Instead of focusing on not eating junk, focus on eating healthy snacks.
-Read the Scriptures and pray every day.
-Yoga every day.
-Prioritize what needs to be done every day and stick to those priorities to keep from feeling overwhelmed.

Monday, October 24, 2011


So, many numerous updates since the last post.

I am no longer double majoring in Philosophy and Journalism. I decided the Communications department was more trouble working with than it is worth, so I dropped that major, officially declared my Logic minor, and I'm working on my application to graduate in April with a Philosophy degree. This semester I'm only taking three classes: Statistics, Accounting, and Thai. The first two are for preparation for a possible business school future, and the third is mostly for fun.

Also, this probably isn't news to anyone who probably reads this, but I've been engaged for about three weeks. Here's the whole story:

Nathan and I had been in each other's peripheral vision since April of this year. A mutual friend of ours was live-blogging General Conference via Facebook statuses, and we both joined in. I sent him a friend request, he added me, and we occasionally chatted/commented on each other's posts for a number of months. I told Nathan about a week before coming to Provo that I wanted to hang out. We went and got lunch my first Saturday back in Provo, were both thoroughly awkward, but continued to talk/see each other. It wasn't long after that we both realized that we really, really liked each other. We were both very attracted to each other's intellectual pursuit, bibliophilia, and nerdy humor, among many other things. And then we realized that this is what happens when you find the person you're supposed to marry. So on a Tuesday morning, sitting in my car outside of the Provo Temple after we spent time inside, he asked me to marry him. And I said yes. And then we sat there, enjoying the surrealness of it all, asking each other, "so, did that really just happen?"

We are getting married on December 28th in the Dallas, Texas Temple.

I think the biggest thing I've learned this year isn't the best door approach when tracting, or how to calm down an angry patient on the phone, or how to calculate z-scores in statistics. The biggest thing I've learned this year is that Heavenly Father allows us to experience really difficult things, including huge changes of seemingly faultless plans, so we know how to appreciate the things He gives us instead. And He always manages to pull through with things we didn't know would be better.

Most of all, I'm so glad to have learned through experience that God plans things according to a wider paradigm than my own.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Ah, Provo

So I've been in Provo for officially more than a week. There was a lot of hassle/anxiety last week with trying to find somewhere to live and being homeless over the weekend, but looking back I can see at least 2 good things that came out of that homelessness. One of these days I'll be able to consistently keep the perspective that future retrospection always yields recognition of blessings and mercy during difficult times. I'm living in an apartment 2 blocks from campus (yes!) for a little more than I wanted to pay, but it's newly renovated, so I won't complain too much. Apparently the management is awful, which I've already sort of experienced, but I'll make a conscious effort to stay out of their way and need as little as possible from them.

I am so ready to start classes/work on Monday. I might be an editor for Aporia, BYU's student philosophy journal, this semester. So I'll be doing that for 5 hours and TAing logic for 15 hours a week. And 3 classes. This semester is pretty much going to be awesome.

My plans this week pretty much include some odds and ends getting ready for school, sitting by the pool reading, going to the Temple, and hanging out with a new friend.

Thank you, Provo, for your existence, your fabulous school, and the wonderful people inside of you.

Also, 22nd birthday in 13 days. Woo!

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Counting Down

I spend way too much of my time counting down.

Counting down until school starts. Counting down until my last day of school. Counting down until I leave for Washington. Counting down until I get on a plane back home. Counting down until he gets home. Counting down until...okay you get it.

I think this is because I'm never satisfied with the present. I've acknowledged this and am trying to get better at it. At any given point in time, we only have one present. It is logically impossible to make the present move any faster, so why can't I appreciate it more?

Tonight I was trying to appreciate the present. It was a nice Sunday night, I was hanging out in my pajamas doing productive things like laundry and cleaning my bathroom. For a while I was enjoying myself, but then I lost focus and found myself dwelling on, "Only 5 more days of work and I'm done. Tomorrow is my last Monday. Just one more Monday to get through."

Counting down seems to be my default with my present-enjoying being a conscious decision. I really am trying to figure out how to switch the two. I've been good lately with spending my evenings after work doing things I enjoy rather than dreading another day of work coming up. I know that my current phase of counting down until Utah will only ultimately yield in more counting down until something else after I get there. Or maybe I can make my pre-fall semester countdown my last.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

30 Days in Pictures: Day Twenty

Day Twenty – A picture of somewhere you’d love to travel

This is Powell's Books in Portland, Oregon. It takes up an entire city block. This would entertain me more than any beach or foreign country.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

The girl who read about the boy who lived

So I'm finally joining the human race.

I'm reading Harry Potter.

I got the first two books super cheap from a while back. I wanted to wait until I finished The Hunger Games to start them. I just finished the first book, and I wish I would have done this sooner. I remember the first book coming out when I was in 5th grade, getting on the waiting list at the library, but being super ADD and not being able to get past the first 10 pages. I feel kind of let down since I already know some of the big plot twists, but I'm excited to read them nonetheless. I've already ordered books 3 and 4 from, and I'm starting on book 2 tonight.

"The trouble is, humans do have a knack of choosing precisely those things that are worst for them." Oh Dumbledore, you could narrate my year.

30 Days in Pictures: Day Nineteen

Day Nineteen – A picture and a letter

Or how about a picture of 74 letters...

Every letter Brad wrote me on his mission.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

30 Days in Pictures: Day Eighteen

Day Eighteen – A picture of your biggest insecurity

My number one task at work is to answer the phone. Let me tell you about how much I hate answering the phone at work. Somewhere there is this rule that allows people to be rude to strangers over the phone, and somewhere, maybe in the same rule book, there is a rule that allows people to treat medical receptionists like crap. Combine those rules and you get the worst anxiety you've ever felt upon hearing a phone ring.

Monday, June 27, 2011

30 Days in Pictures: Day Seventeen

Day Seventeen – A picture of something that has made a huge impact on your life recently

This is the view of Snoqualmie Valley in Duvall, Washington. I spent 3 months here. Most of my mission. I'm still trying to process exactly how my mission affected me and what I want to take from the whole experience. Some days I wake up and think, "I should still be in Washington wearing a black name tag and knocking on doors." I still can't shake the ever-present sense of failure that came complimentary with my plane ticket home. But that's not how I want to see my mission. I want to remember the good memories and the people I helped and the things I learned. I'm hoping that eventually I will get to a place where I can do that. I hope my 4 months in Washington will follow me gently through the rest of my life as a learning experience instead of a giant what-if and should-have.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

30 Days in Pictures: Day Sixteen

Day Sixteen – A picture of someone who inspires you

Emmeline Blanche Woodward Harris Whitney Wells. Mormon. Suffragist. Sister wife. Feminist. Editor of the Women's Exponent. Relief Society President from 1910 to 1921. I plan on naming my first born daughter after her.

Things have been super crazy recently. I keep waiting for this year to produce less awfulness but the total aggregate suck only seems to be increasing. I have 6 more weeks of a job that slowly eats at my soul, I'm kicking myself for not pursuing EFY counselor contracts, and I'm in the middle of a bunch of baby mama drama with BYU admissions and trying to get the communications department to let me take a class I need and et cetera. HOWEVER each day is one day closer to when I will be in Provo doing things I enjoy, like TAing logic and being a student and not getting yelled at for needing to reschedule patient's appointments to September. Which, beeteedubs, is probably somewhere in between watching kittens drown and having lit bamboo shoots shoved under your toenails on the fun scale. So, yeah, 6 weeks. You can do anything for 6 weeks, right? Right?... At least I love the people I work with.

I've been consciously trying to do things recently that I enjoy and destress me. I've really gotten into taking baths this summer, which is weird because I've never enjoyed taking baths since I was like 9. But I got a ton of stuff from Lush a while back and some bath stuff from Bath and Body. I am now a serious bath advocate.

Reading. I bought a Kindle this summer because my love for fiction has started taking over my life and I really don't need any more books to figure out how to move around. Right now I'm working on the Hunger Games series (in the 3rd book, but taking my time because I've heard it isn't as good at the first 2), and I decided to join the human race and read Harry Potter.

I also discovered that I. love. pedicures. I had my first ever pedicure on my mission of all places and have since become addicted. Spa/mall pedicures are crazy expensive, but yesterday I decided to try out a local beauty school and it was wonderful. She spent an entire hour and it only cost me $13 plus tip.

I've been trying out natural methods to manage my anxiety and overall suckiness, including St. John's Wort, Kava, and private yoga lessons. I notice the Kava making more of a difference than the SJW, and yoga is pretty awesome.

I have a Jeffrey R. Holland quotation written on a piece of paper taped on my desk:

"If we constantly focus only on the stones in our mortal path, we will almost surely miss the beautiful flower or cool stream provided by the loving Father who outlined our journey. Each day can bring more joy than sorrow when our mortal and spiritual eyes are open to God's goodness. Joy in the gospel is not something that begins only in the next life. It is our privilege now."

This whole entire year has been pretty much nothing short of awful, but what helps is knowing that skies can't always be gray and so many things are only on their way to getting better.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

30 Days in Pictures: Day Fifteen

Day Fifteen – A picture of something you want to do before you die

Run a marathon.

This year is proving to be one of the most complicated yet. Coming home from a mission and having my BYU application appeal denied and having to fill out a million petitions for evening classes and the communications department and everyone else my age graduating and running away from plans I thought were faultless.


Thursday, April 21, 2011

30 Days in Pictures: Day Fourteen

Day Fourteen – A picture of someone you could never imagine your life without

Brad got home from his mission yesterday. I got to talk to him on the phone last night for 45 minutes. It was pretty much the best 45 minutes of my life in, oh, I don't know, about 2 years.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

30 Days in Pictures: Day Thirteen

Day Thirteen – A picture of your favorite band or artist

I first saw The Bouncing Souls live when I was 14. The summer after my freshman year of high school, I traveled back to where I used to live in Georgia to go to Warped Tour with my friends. I originally got to the stage to see Anti-Flag and ended up seeing The Bouncing Souls before them. I fell in love. They've been my favorite band for almost 7 years. And in case you're wondering, my favorite song is Night On Earth.

Passed some time walking around
looking for something to be
when I stopped to look around
all the music was different to me
All these places we used to go
when I loved you I didn't see
I'll miss you but now I'll know
better next time because I found me

Monday, April 4, 2011

30 Days in Pictures: Day Twelve

Day Twelve – A picture of something you love

True fact: doing a Google image search for chocolate cheesecake will trigger cravings like nobody's business. Lucky for me, I will be going to Cheesecake Factory this Saturday to celebrate my sister in law's birthday.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

30 Days in Pictures: Day Eleven

Day Eleven - A picture of something you hate

I did a google image search for "passive aggressive" and this came up. Passive aggression is my absolute least favorite rhetorical tool. It adds nothing to an argument other than hostility and condescension. Working as a medical receptionist, I get a lot of people who call and say things like, "well I guess I'm a patient of Dr. So-and-So, but he hasn't called me back so I must not be too important" or "well it just seems like he doesn't want me as his patient anymore." When people say things like that I want to reach through the phone and poke them in the eyes.

(You might have noticed that I skipped day 10. I did that in purpose. The day 10 prompt was stupid and I do what I want.)

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

30 Days in Pictures: Day Nine

Day Nine – A picture of the person who has gotten you through the most

I'm bad at updating. See day two.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

30 Days in Pictures: Day Eight

Day Eight – A picture that makes you laugh


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

30 Days in Pictures: Day Seven

Day Seven – A picture of your most treasured item

Maybe this is really cliche. This was a difficult one, and I had to think really hard about it. I thought of taking a picture of my bookshelf because of how much I love books, but realized that books don't count as one item. So I tried to think of the book that I've read the most and means the most to me. I came up with my Scriptures. I've had this set since my 16th birthday. The binding is falling apart, a lot of pages are bent, and some pages are still stuck together from the time I accidentally spilled milk on them one day in seminary. But even with all the wear and tear, I refuse to get a new set because of all of the notes and highlighted passages and love I've put into these.

Monday, March 14, 2011

30 Days in Pictures: Day Six

Day Six – A picture of a person you’d love to trade places with for a day

This is Sarah. She does really cool things, other than just winning poker games. She tends to be a magnet for fascinating people (why do you think she's friends with me) and does things like spend 5 years in religious cultures radically different than her own and supports her siblings in Miss California pageants.

Friday, March 11, 2011

30 Days in Pictures: Day Five

Day Five - A picture of your favorite memory

Presented: a bunch of Mormons and a bunch of Evangelicals eating dinner at Chili's in/near La Mirada, California. In November of 2009, my friends and I took a trip to BIOLA University for the National Mormon/Evangelical Student Dialogue Conference. This was the first thing that came to mind when I thought of my favorite memory; the whole thing: the drive there, the people I was with, the conference, the people I met, the food I ate, and even the ridiculous wait at Chili's for a ticket split about 20 ways.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

30 Days in Pictures: Day Four

Day Four – A picture of your night

I think whoever wrote this 30 day thing expected people to answer this one with pictures of late-night escapades with friends, but I am a boring person who does boring things at night like sleep.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

30 Days in Pictures: Day Three

Day Three – A picture of the cast from your favorite show

Since "show" isn't specified, I decided to interpret it fairly loosely. This is Ira Glass. He hosts the weekly NPR radio show, This American Life. I first fell in love with TAL 2 Novembers ago when some friends and I were travelling via minivan to southern California, and one member of our group had some episodes on her ipod. The show tells the not-so-regular stories of regular people. Sometimes they're funny, sometimes they're heartbreaking, sometimes they're moving. You can subscribe to This American Life podcasts for free on itunes. You won't regret it.

Monday, March 7, 2011

30 Days in Pictures: Day Two

Day Two – A picture of you and the person you have been closest with the longest

Brad and I, circa April 2009. This picture was taken a few days before he left on his mission. We've been best friends for over 4 years, and, sometimes when I really think about it, it's crazy that two people so similar happened to exist in the same place and time.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

30 Days in Pictures: Day One

So I have a lot of facebook friends doing this, and I remember this being popular on blogs a while ago, so I'm jumping on the bandwagon late and doing it, too.

Day One – A picture of yourself with ten facts

1. I've been a vegetarian for 7 years.
2. I have an unusually large space between my big toes and my 2nd toes.
3. I could live in flip-flops year-round.
4. I love scarves.
5. Chocolate chip cookies are my biggest weakness.
6. For some reason, I've felt this overwhelming urge the last few days to clean out all of my stuff.
7. I am a former EFY counselor, and I would love more than anything to do EFY again this summer.
8. If I could change one thing about my college career, I wish I would have settled on one major and taken fewer classes a semester, as well as taken more classes on subjects that just interested me.
9. The only pet my family has ever had was a parakeet.
10. I broke my collar bone in 7th grade by riding my bike into a parked car.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

True Fact

I've been in love with poetry slams since I was 17, but I've never had the guts to participate in one.

I found this wonderful gem tonight.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Aquinas Revistited

So I'm not one to be a fan of logical arguments for the existence of God. I think I stand with Kierkegaard in thinking that God's God-ness is an objective truth which we access subjectively. However, I was thinking about this last night when I was trying to fall asleep. I don't see this argument as so much a "therefore, God exists, QED" as much as a "therefore, it's reasonable to entertain the possibility."

So it seems like the argument against God's existence tends to include one general premise: we have no evidence for the existence of God, and (if we take "God" as the God written about in the Bible) we in fact have empirical evidence against His existence. There seems to be an implied premise which goes along with this. Things as they really are must correspond with the way we experience our, perhaps relative, reality. This premise, I think, is something to dispute.

Here's my argument: If God (in the way God is characterized in the Bible) exists, then we must come to know God through faith. Faith, by definition, requires one to believe something which does not correspond with that person's relative reality. Would it not make sense, then, if one must come to know God through faith, that He would create us to experience reality differently than He does? If this is the case, then the argument that God can't exist because His existence is inconsistent with the way we experience reality doesn't stand.

This argument can't be a formal argument because it leads to the fallacy of affirming the consequent, which is why it shouldn't be taken as a "therefore, God exists" kind of ontological argument. However, it seems to be shifting the burden of proof from the side of the believers to the side of nonbelievers.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Oh hai

So I'm not entirely sure if anyone reads this much anymore (due to my lack of updating and lack of substantial posts), but what the heck. I like writing for writing's sake, even if it goes unread.

So I've been home from my mission for about a month. Long, complicated story short, I was sent home on a medical release due to unforeseen issues with anxiety. I met with a counselor from LDS Family Services while I was on my mission, but the advice given to me by him (and a plethora of others) didn't seem to cure my problems. The physical effects of the anxiety (nausea, headaches, body aches, trouble sleeping) made it difficult to be an effective missionary. Honestly, the decision to come home was a hard, yet necessary, decision to make. I'm still trying to process exactly how my mission affected me. On one hand, I learned a lot about my weaknesses. On the other, this whole situation has left me with two prominent emotions: guilt and failure. I guess the good (and bad) of it is that it can only get better from here.

One of the biggest things to have to deal with is the extreme change of plans. I'm home. This is the first time of my life (since I was 4, at least), that it has been a school year and I haven't been in school. I find myself feeling awkward and out of place on weekday mid-mornings, thinking I need to be in a class or in the library.

I've spent the last 2 weeks trying to find a job, and was offered a job with a doctor for whom I used to work. He's moving to a larger building and they need more office staff. A woman in my ward babysits his kids and told him I needed a job, and he had his office manager hire me. So I'll be doing front desk work there. Huge, huge, huge blessing.

I also am determined to finally get my driver's license (or driver license, as they are known in Texas) within the next few months. I don't know how I didn't connect the dots earlier, but driving brings me a great deal of anxiety; I'm positive that I'm going to kill myself or my passengers or another driver or blow up the world or something whenever I drive. I previously attributed that to inexperience, but it seems to be caused by something more complex. But that's something to get over.

I'll be returning to BYU this fall. I'm really looking forward to that. I'm thirsting for my student routine. For classes and campus food and TAing logic.

And then there's Brad. He gets home (home for him is Colorado) on April 20th. I don't know if he'll be flying to Texas or if I'll be flying to Colorado, or how long he'll/I'll stay, or what we'll be doing. But if there's one thing that my mission has taught me, it's that even the best-made and well-intentioned plans have a way of sometimes going horribly, heart-breakingly wrong.

Today in Sunday School we were talking about the miracles Christ performed. One of my favorite miracles is Jesus walking on water. I think that fact that He walked on water isn't as much of a miracle as was the fact that He saved Peter despite his lack of faith. On my mission, I read about 75% of Jesus the Christ. This paragraph in which Talmage explains the situation stuck out to me:

Into every adult human life come experiences like unto the battling of the storm-tossed voyagers with contrary winds and threatening seas; ofttimes the night of struggle and danger is far advanced before succor appears; and then, too frequently the saving aid is mistaken for a greater terror. As came unto Peter and his terrified companions in the midst of turbulent waters, so comes to all who toil in faith, the voice of the Deliverer--"It is I; be not afraid."

So that's my life right now. I'm going into my new job tomorrow to see the new building and to be psuedo-trained. I'm ready to kiss this month-long streak of unproductivity a great big adiĆ³s.