Monday, July 28, 2008

For Jayni

My 22 year-old sister Jayni is not only my most dedicated reader (she admits she comes straight to this blog automatically when she signs on her computer at work everyday), but probably also my most loyal fan. Having the opportunity to spend extra time with her lately has been fabulous, and I dread going home mostly because I will have to leave her behind.

Jayni and I always have such a blast together--whether we're laughing or just silently doing separate things side by side, we are happy and comfortable and at home there. I don't believe there is a person on this earth who understands who I am and just plain "get's" me, as well as Jayni does. There have been several moments when we have reacted to situations with the exact same facial expression, words, and intonation--and then looked at each other wide-eyed and laughed our heads off. We quote the same movies, sing the same songs, have the same inside jokes, and understand each other's mannerisms and sense of humor better than anyone.

I love her more than I can say. Although she is my little sister, I look up to her more than she could possibly ever know. You would be hard-pressed to find anyone as beautiful, sweet, perservering, courageous, fun, thoughtful and kind as Jayni. I wish I could possess her patience and bravery--but for now, I am satisfied that she is willing to share herself with me.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

The Beehive State

I usually visit a plethora of blogs throughout my week for my own amusement. As I've been busy playing with family in Utah lately, I haven't found time to update my blog--but somehow I have kept up with everyone else's, (as well as all things Twilight). One of my favorite online spots is the domain of The Normal Mormon Husband. If you haven't heard of him, you are missing out on a good chuckle and a knowing nod. A few days ago I read a post of his regarding Utah--why some love it and some hate it. He then asked his readers to respond in kind about their own particular feelings about the Beehive state.

I myself have very strong feelings about Utah--I'm not sure I will be able to adequately express my views in this post, but I'll try my darndest. Having been away from my home state for most of the last year, and then being back in Utah again for the last several weeks, has really got me thinking about Utah's pluses and minuses. So here's my (somewhat) orderly list:

  • The traffic here is terrible. I used to hate it when people talked about "Utah drivers", and just assumed it was a way of being whinny about the local traffic. Now I see that Utah drivers are not fun play pals. They are always jealous of you and will do anything to show you that they are better, faster, braver, and smarter. They want to be first in line, and even though they cut in front of you, they sure won't let you in. Either that or they are just really old people who should probably have their license revoked.
  • Everything--malls, grocery stores, gas stations, movie theaters etc.--is far away. It takes a long time to get anywhere, especially when you would prefer to live in Alpine--all tucked away in a little mountain cove.
  • It is getting more and more expensive to live in Utah. Everybody (at least everybody who's a Mormon), wants to live here. The most beautiful places are getting crowded and filled up with either really big and ugly brown stucco homes, or rows and rows of really ugly brown stucco condos/matchstick box houses. If I do someday move back to my hometown, I'll probably have to shell out about a million bucks just to get a decent house.
  • I'm not really sure if this is a minus, but here goes. There are so many LDS people here that it is almost too easy to blend in and become underused and underappreciated. My recent experience outside of Utah has opened my eyes to the importance of individuals in the church. In Utah I feel easily replaced--there's always somebody else in line to jump in if you falter. Whereas in "the mission field" there really is no one to replace you; if you slack off and don't do your job, everybody else is too busy with their two to three other callings to take care of it for you. So even though it is decidedly more easy to live in Utah, it has been much more rewarding for me personally to live outside of it.


  • It is so beautiful in Utah. There is nowhere like the Rocky Mountains. I have missed the mountains more than I ever dreamed possible. I love being able to wake up in the morning, go out the door, and hike right up a mountain. It feels as though the glories of nature, and even God, are at your fingers tips. The entire state is packed full of national parks, wildlife, and all different kinds of scenery. There are lakes all around for fishing or playing in, mountains powdered with snow for sledding or skiing on, and down south there are gorgeous red rocks and sand dunes.
  • Utah has four seasons. Winter, Spring, Summer, and Autumn are all distinct time periods with different temperatures and pleasures. Each season is beautiful in it's turn, and never too harsh or unbearable. I am the type of person who needs to have a constant, flowing change in the seasons, and it's handed to me on a silver platter in Utah.
  • BYU. What can I say? I'm an alumnus and my husband enjoys the football games.
  • There are probably about eight temples within a half hour drive of where I live. Not only is it nice to have an array of choice, but it's also nice just to be able to go on a regular basis. Yes, in the land of Bismarck there is a temple, but it isn't open everyday at almost all hours; also, most people in the mission field don't have this advantage.
  • Mormons! For some people this is an obvious minus, but I don't see it that way. I have heard complaints that people become complacent when there are too many LDS folk around them, saying that their children don't have to work as hard for their light to shine and stand up for what they believe in. Others are just weirded out by so many Mormons in one place. My take on that is--if we don't want everyone to be a Mormon then what are we doing missionary work for? And what in the world do you think the celestial kingdom is gonna be like? (Please don't take me wrong here. I am SO not saying that the celestial kingdom is going to represent Utah Valley. Or that there aren't good people who aren't LDS. I'm just defending my land and the people in it.) Sure, there are some complacent folks in Utah that live gospel standards, but they also exist elsewhere. In the mission field, usually these people are reffered to as "inactive", because they don't have as many people helping them to get to church. I love the everyday interraction with my LDS neighbors. Yes, I also enjoy my other neighbors, but you have to admit that you do know your neighbors much better when you're all in the same ward.
  • I love fry sauce.
  • I am hestitant to mention this point, but it is a true plus for me. My family is in Utah--granted, not all of them are here, but the bulk of my relations are here. I know I can make friends wherever I go--this has been proven time and again throughout this last year--but obviously nothing can quite take the place of your family.
  • Utah is my home. This point is possibly even more important to me than the last. Even if everyone I knew left, I still know Utah. I grew up here, became the person I am today right here in Utah. Also, I know the area. I feel quite comfortable and at home.

So there are my thoughts about living in Utah. If you didn't notice I am more pro Utah than con. When Charming and I are done in North Dakota, we'll see if the folks here can scooch over a bit and make some room for us. That being said, I am open to any fabulous offers in the surrounding states--Nevada not included.

How do you feel about Utah?

Monday, July 7, 2008

We're not in North Dakota anymore Todo

Sunday morning I was just in the beginning stages of doing my hair, on the ground floor level bathroom at my grandparent's house. The window was open, and I peeked through it to get a glimpse of the beautiful morning. There, not five feet away from my face, lounged a huge buck (male deer for those of you who aren't....well you should know what that is), starring right into my eyes. I don't pay attention to things like how big it's rack was (although Charming said he saw a five-pointer around here lately; that sounds big), but the words huge beast flitted through my mind. I screamed, and we both jumped. Seriously, the deer literally jumped. I'm sure he's not used to being snuck up on like that. Me neither. He immediately pranced away, as I clung to the towel rack trying not to fall over while my heart slowed. This isn't something that would normally happen in North Dakota--at least it hasn't happened to me. Deer don't usually peek into my bathroom window on Sunday mornings there. (Hello, can a girl get any privacy around here?) Welcome to Utah, Megs.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Truthful Words

I love how little children always speak their minds without thought of other people's feelings or consequence. Apparently the elderly are also allowed the same privilege.

Yesterday evening I sat directly across the table from my grandpa while we ate dinner. I noticed him staring at me intently, and I finally met his gaze head on. He smiled at me and then said to my grandma, "Geri, isn't it wonderful to see Megan? All that round chubbiness in her face is now gone!" I laughed and said, "I'm glad too, Grandpa. " One of the most heartfelt compliments I've ever recieved.