Friday, October 31, 2014
Movie Review: The Way Way Back
I like movies about love, especially non-romantic love. About a Boy, for instance, is a great movie about the love between friends. Dan in Real Life portrays perfectly the love between a father and his daughters. In Her Shoes captures the highs and lows of sisterly love.*
The Way Way Back feels like those movies. It tells the story of the love between friends and between a mother and son. I really like that. I like, too, that the closure we get at the end is the sense that everything's gonna be alright. Not perfect, but alright.
If you're like me and didn't see this movie a year ago when it was released, then watch it now. (You can check it out for free on Amazon right now.)
*I think it's important to point out that three out of the four movies I listed include Toni Collette in the cast. She really is a wonderful actress.
Thing I'm thankful for: birthday flowers
Thursday, October 30, 2014
This Video Brings Me Joy, Pt. 4
Every once in a while in life, you stumble upon things that make you laugh and laugh hard. This is one of those things.
(Check out other videos that bring me joy: This Video Brings Me Joy, Pt. 2 and This Video Brings Me Joy, Pt. 3.)
Thing I'm thankful for: automatic soap dispensers and water faucets
Tuesday, October 28, 2014
Couples that Should've Been, but Weren't
I was just discussing movie couples with my good friend Gretchen, and we decided that Dr. Ellie Sattler really should've ended up with Dr. Ian Malcolm. I mean, c'mon! Dr. Ian Malcolm! Jeff Goldblum! Lookit:
And then I started thinking. Who else would've made a great onscreen couple? Who else did I wish would end up together, in my heart of hearts?
Andie and Duckie
Harry and Hermione
Julianne and Michael
William Thacker and the character who is known as "Perfect Girl"
And of course, the couple to top all couples . . . The one I recognized even as a child . . .
Sarah and the Goblin King
Who am I missing, guys and gals?
Thing I'm thankful for: calls and texts and messages and prayers
Sunday, October 26, 2014
Happy Birthday to Me!
In case you didn't know, it's my birthday. I'm 33.
When I started this blog, I was 23. Looking back at some of the early posts is fascinating. I think I was lighthearted, funnier, and definitely more succinct then. I posted a lot more pictures, and I was specific in my "Thing I'm thankful for" segment.
Oh, how time has changed me. I think what everyone thinks when they reflect on the past: I never imagined I'd be where I am or who I am. I never imagined I'd be living in California and working in Silicon Valley. People think that's neat, and I guess it is, but it's . . . different. What did I expect? I certainly expected to be married at this point, and I certainly expected to have a few children. I expected to be a full-time mom and a part-time editor, working at night after the kids had gone to bed. Beyond that, I had no expectations.
This year has been really hard for me. I've written a thesis, moved four times, been rejected from a number of companies, experienced two failed dating relationships, gotten in loads of arguments with my parents, and went further into debt. (Thank you, new car!) It's arguably been the worst year of my life.
And yet. My faith in God is at an all-time high. My understanding of the gospel of Jesus Christ has been strengthened, and I am capable of more love and more forgiveness and more empathy than I ever thought possible. When I think about the black-and-white approach to life I had as a kid, I have to chuckle to myself -- that girl really needed to go! Now, there is a softness to my thoughts and a complexity of feeling that hasn't just come with time, but with the experience of hard things, and I expect that to be more true in another ten years.
I don't think I'm a better person now than I would have been if my expectations had been met, and in writing all of this, I'm not pretending that my life was always meant to turn out this way or that everything happens for the best. I do think, though, that I'm a much more interesting person now than I would have been, and I'd bet a million bucks that I have a much better perspective on agency and atonement than I would have had. Is that worth it? Are those things worth the unmet expectations? I don't know. But I hope so.
Here's something else: My expectations have changed. Rather, my dreams have changed. Sure, I want to be married, and I want to have a bunch of kids running around making noise and fighting with each other and coloring on walls and making messes in the kitchen. But I also want to open a bakery. And I want to write a book. And I want to have a podcast in which I interview people with ordinary lives. I want to continue blogging for another ten years, I want to learn German, and I want to taste Swiss chocolate in Switzerland.
If, at 43, I've blogged about those things, I'll be happy. If not, I'm sure I'll at least be more interesting.
Thing I'm thankful for: Marcia and Brook
Monday, October 20, 2014
That Light May Shine Upon Them
As you should all know by now, I'm a Mormon, and as a Mormon, I have been taught to do family history research.* For an embarrassingly long time, I didn't understand the point of such research, but now I do, and I want to share it with you.
Family history research leads us to know more about our ancestors, obviously, but also, it allows us to perform religious ordinances for them. If you're not a Mormon, this part of family history doesn't matter to you, but here's why it matters to me:
- It gives everyone the chance to accept or reject the gospel of Jesus Christ, even after they have died. As someone who believes in the truthfulness of the gospel from a Latter-day Saint perspective, this is extremely important to me.
- If this way is true -- if people do have to be baptized in order to be exalted -- then I want to be a part of that. Speaking of family history, Joseph F. Smith said this:
"Through our efforts in [our ancestors'] behalf their chains of bondage will fall from them, and the darkness surrounding them will clear away, that light may shine upon them and they shall hear in the spirit world of the work that has been done for them by their [people] here, and will rejoice with you in your performance of these duties." (Welcome to Conference, 2009)
Family history research is a new thing for me. I'm just now getting into it, but already I feel its pull and impact in my life. I didn't understand it before, but I'm learning to understand it now. It's given me an entirely new understanding of what it means to be a temple-going people. That is, Mormons are a temple-going people, and the reason has more to do with our ancestors than it does with us. Yes, we can feel peace in the temple, but more importantly, our ancestors can feel peace because of the ordinances we perform in the temple. Our ancestors will break free from darkness and the chains of darkness, when we attend the temple and do the work which God requires of us.
I have a testimony of temples and the ordinances that are performed in them. I love to visit temples I haven't been to before -- to walk around the grounds, to touch the walls, to go inside. I feel the influence of the Holy Spirit when I'm there, and I feel an increased love for all people -- those who are living and those who have passed away. I feel enriched and enlivened and blessed.
*If you aren't a Mormon, take a look at some of these resources. They will give you a better idea of what Mormons believe about family history and temples.
Thing I am thankful for: Sunday afternoon naps
Saturday, October 18, 2014
Take an Interest in People
If I thought the rule of love was that opposites attract, then I would use my parents as the example marriage. They are so, so different in all kinds of ways. Physically, they are opposites -- my mom has dark hair and skin that tans easily; my dad is blonde and burns in the sun. My mom loves art and children and feelings; my dad loves statistics and grownups and rational thought. My mom is messy and loud; my dad is tidy and quiet. Playful and stern; night owl and early bird.
There is one quality, however, they absolutely have in common: the ability to talk to people. Both of my parents can strike up a conversation with anyone. True, they may have different motivations -- my dad, I think, talks to others about themselves to avoid talking about himself (private man that he is), and my mom talks to others because she's curious. One thing is for certain: they approach people with deference. Everyone they meet is someone interesting, someone they can learn from, or someone who has something important to say.
Consequently, my siblings and I picked up the ability to talk to people. Every single one of us can walk up to a person -- any person -- and learn about their life story in probably as little as 20 minutes. We talk of their passions and pursuits. Their highs and lows. Their interests and hobbies. Their family and life goals. I think I can speak for all of us when I say that we find people fascinating. We go into conversations expecting the best of people.
I'm not confident in a lot of areas of my life, but this area -- my ability to get to know people -- is an area where I am 100% confident. I am a model conversationalist. And it enriches my life. Learning about people is my absolute favorite thing in the world to do. If my job was to travel the world and interview people, I would consider myself the luckiest girl.
But. I am amazed at how rare the ability to make good conversation is, and as someone who recently moved to a new place, I am especially aware of its rareness. To be perfectly honest, I am dumbfounded at people's lack of interest in others. It's extremely trendy these days (in my generation, at least) to travel the world -- to complete internships in Europe and explore the jungles and beaches of South America. People are so eager to post pictures on Facebook of their trips to Scandinavia and cruises to the Pacific, but they are not as eager to meet a neighbor, a waitress, or the person they pass in the hall every day at work. It is not trendy to explore the lives of the people all around us.
Why? I've given it a lot of thought, and I've come up with a few reasons, but maybe listing those reasons here isn't as meaningful as saying that when it does happen -- when someone does express interest in someone else -- life is better. I can probably list a hundred times here in California when I felt lonely and unwelcome, but I can also list the dozen times when someone did ask me about myself and made me feel noticed, interesting, and significant.
Let's have more of those times, okay?
Thing I'm thankful for: Ariel
Friday, October 17, 2014
A Good Love Song
You gotta listen to it with the volume turned way up.
Thing I'm thankful for: the guys who sit across from me at work.