Saturday, June 26, 2010

B+S = 2 years


Becca and I have made it a tradition to celebrate the anniversary of our friendship. This year we invited Jake and David to come with us to the Lehi Rodeo, dancing and then to Chili's.

It was perfect, beautiful weather. And so much fun to be with good friends all evening. The dance was... well, it was at a church parking lot with no one that we really knew. We were probably the coolest people there.
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Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Change

Change is against my very nature.

It lacks spontaneity. It requires time and effort. If I could decide to change and then be changed in 5 minutes, I think it would go over a lot better.

If I could decide to change and begin working towards making that change, instead of having to sleep on it, instead of having to continue to live the remaining facets of my life, I could do it.

Unfortunately, change doesn't happen over night. It doesn't happen on the impulse of the decision. And no matter how much you wish it, if you don't make the necessary mini-changes, the BIG change will never happen.

But how do you know which little mini-changes will be just what you need to make the bigger changes? Why can't you set a timeline and know when the actual change will take place for good? Why is it so tempting to look back - and why does looking back have to be a stumbling block every time in which the change needs to then start from the beginning?

This is why I'm not good at making the changes I KNOW I need to make. Because I know that they need to be made - but I don't know how to make them stick.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Book of Mormon Reading: 2 Nephi 26:23-28, 33

In reading this morning, I stumbled upon these verses that reminded me of a conversation I had with a friend a month or two ago. He's currently studying at a seminary and so he is very knowledgeable about the Bible, but has obviously not had the opportunity to study the Book of Mormon. One of his greatest concerns about the Church, is that he believes that we are too exclusive when Christ turned away no one.

The following scriptures come from the Book of Mormon, and therefore is considered doctrine of our Church, and I think shows just how much we invite all men to learn of Christ and accept His atonement for our sins.

23. For behold, my beloved brethren, I say unto you that the Lord God worketh not in darkness.
24. He doeth not anything save it be for the benefit of the world; for he loveth the world, even that he layeth down his own life that he may draw all men unto him. Wherefore, he commandeth none that they shall not partake of his salvation.
25. Behold, doth he cry unto any saying: depart from me? Behold, I say unto you, Nay; but he saith: Come unto me all ye ends of the earth, buy milk and honey, without money and without price.
26. Behold, hath he commanded any that they should depart out of the synagogues, or out of the houses of worship? Behold, I say unto you, Nay.
27. Hath he commanded any that they should not partake of his salvation? Behold I say unot you, Nay; but he hath given it free for all men; and he hath commanded his people tha they should persuade all men to repentance.
28. Behold, hath the Lord commanded any that they should not partake of his goodness? Behold I say unto you, Nay; but all men are privileged the one like unto the other, and none are forbidden.
....
33. For non of these iniquities come of the Lord; for he doeth that which is good among the children of men; and he doeth nothing save it be plain unto the children of men; and he inviteth them all to come unto him and partake of his goodness; and he denieth none that come unto him, black and white, bond and free, male and female; and he remembereth the heathen; and all are alike unto God, both Jew and Gentile.

Father's Day 2010

For three years in a row I had to give talks on Father's Day in church. I wish I had copies of these talks because in every one of them, I recorded how awesome I think my dad is. It would have been fun to go back and read what I had written a few years ago.

But now I am reconciled to just write again, why I love my dad and it comes fairly easy, because I pretty much think the world of him. He's one of the smartest, most talented, most interesting guys I know. He works hard at a job he dislikes, church callings that demand much of his time, on the house that is in constant repair, on cars that are always in need, and on his relationship with his wife. He has a testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ and has shown that in more by action than in words. He has always served in his callings and as a home teacher faithfully. He is a dutiful father. He always calls when I need to hear from him.

The older I get, the more I realize the influence Dad has had on me. I don't leave a room without turning off the lights. I get frustrated when I can't find the lid to the tupperware. I don't like using the dishwasher, when it is easier to just wash the dish and then put it away. I have little patience for people who lack common sense. And I seem to find myself wishing that people would just put their problems into perspective and quit making a bigger deal than what it needs to be. I still take really long showers, though, when I can get away with it. And I still leave my clothes on the floor in the bathroom. Sorry, Dad.

Some of my best memories with my dad from childhood consist of going with him to Troy Lumber or somebody's house to help do little side jobs that he would take on. I remember going and helping him fix a toilet. Or walking home with him from Troy Lumber.

Happy Father's Day. I'm so grateful to have grown up with such a wonderful man for a father, even if you do give strange/lame dating advice. 

Friday, June 18, 2010

I'm in Love with this girl

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New Layout

I am loving Blogger's new Design feature and have spent the last week or so revamping most of my blogs. I left this one for last because I wanted to take more time on it.

I think I like it.

If you're reading from Facebook or Buzz, click on "original post" or go to shellmarie.blogspot to check it out.

The Road

"The Road is the most depressing book you'll ever read."
"There were parts that made me want to gouge my eyes out."
"You'll never get through it."
"Best book I've read in a while, but Shelli, YOU'LL NEVER, get through it/like it/be able to read it."

The great reviews listed above are the reasons I secretly committed to reading The Road by Cormac McCarthy. The cute guy down the street was the reason I actually borrowed it from someone and started to read it. The unadulterated shock that came from some, Joe telling me to, "stop now before you commit a blasphemy against McCarthy" kept me going.

In the end, I just really liked the book.

It doesn't seem like a book that I would like. I guess I can see why people were shocked. The fact that it didn't have chapters and quotation marks really bothered me at first. But when I looked past that, and saw the brilliance in McCarthy's writing, I began to really enjoy the rhythm of the conversations between father and son.

The HEA isn't as obvious to some as it is for an idealist, romantic like me. But it's there. And I think that is the best thing about the way McCarthy wrote the book. Because under all the depressing, post apocalyptic wasteland that really is savage and heartbreaking, there is this hope and push to survival and in the end, a perfect ending.

*spoilers*

"But the dad dies!" Meghan said as she shook her head. She still can't understand how or why I like this book when I can't get through Henry James (I still haven't completely... OK, I've sort of given up on him, but I have a book that maybe when I'm desperate enough....not the point). And yes, the dad dies. But, that's foreshadowed throughout the whole book. I mean, for heaven's sakes! he's coughing up bloody phlegm the whole time - of course he dies! But he doesn't die in a really tragic way. He's shot by an arrow, which no doubt aided to his death, but he was sick anyway and starving and exhausting himself by never really sleeping and then pushing himself too hard and trying to sacrifice everything for his son.

I really loved the son, because even when his dad tried to give him more food, he always insisted that his dad partake too. He wouldn't let his dad kill himself for him.

In the end, it was inevitable. And in the end, he left his son in the perfect position to be discovered by the good guys who happened to have two children around his age. And considering that throughout the whole book, the boy is worried about other children being around, I think it shows that there is promise for a new generation. Not everyone was eating their babies in order to survive. The boy instantly has a new best friend and further down the road, a potential love interest. And, the last paragraph is talking about trout. If that isn't promise for the future, then I don't know what is. Or at least, that's how I interpreted it.

Really, after the "most depressing book you've ever read" it's great to read a paragraph of complete optimism and hope. But I don't think it was the most depressing book I've ever read.

I would and do recommend this to anyone to read. (Maybe not children, it might give them nightmares.)

Monday, June 14, 2010

My Bed

I live in BYU housing, and therefore sleep on a BYU housing bed. I try not to think about it too much, but the truth is, probably tens to hundreds of people have probably slept on this same bed. Here at Single Tree #5, my bed seem particularly old, and worn. Which means, it isn't comfortable.

In order to make it bearable, I have resorted to the following:

9 pillows
3 fitted sheets
2 foam pads
1 flat sheet
1 comforter

and on occasion, one blanket dated some 20+ years.

Even with all of this, I wake up and have to do some pretty interesting cat-like stretches in order to get all the cricks out of my back and the tension out of my shoulders.


And despite how utterly uncomfortable my bed is, I still don't want to climb out of it when any one of my four alarms go off because when I'm as tired as I've been the last few weeks, it sometimes seems like my bed swallows me up and doesn't want to let me go.


Sunday, June 13, 2010

False Hope

I've entitled this post "False Hope" but perhaps a better title would be "Disillusionment". In the end, it's basically the same thing, although, I feel like the latter probably gives a more accurate depiction of my feelings, since it reflects a certain lack of sense.

With that introduction, I know you are intrigued as to what I'm even writing about now. So I will tell you: Just a few examples of a scenario I find myself often.

You know how when you imagine something so many times, you think that it could possibly come true? And then when it doesn't, you are sorely disappointed even though the most rational part of you believes that there is absolutely no justified reason for being disappointed because the scenario was never plausible in the first place?

Like imagining what life would be like without a thorn in your side without actually going through the process of removing said thorn - and then being upset that it's festering.

Or knowing that you are built nothing like a Victoria Secret model, but still trying on a bathing suit and being shocked when it doesn't fit you the way that it does on the commercial.

And maybe most upsetting: fancying yourself in "love" with the perfect guy, knowing that he is way out of your league. Not just in looks (although, those certainly) but in talent, personality and spirituality. And then seeing him out with another girl.

In all those scenarios, you know what the outcome is. You. Know. It. But there is still that little bit of hope (read: disillusionment) that makes you think that somehow it will end up as your fantasies do. But really, that's like putting garlic salt in a cake and expecting it to turn into sugar. Or trying to get 2+2 = 9,648. It ain't ever going to happen. But that won't stop the fantasies. Which means, it won't stop the disappointment.

It's really just too bad, though, because my daydreams are really much more exciting than what real life churns out.

Today's Thoughts

A Fence or an Ambulance
Joseph Malins (1895)
- a poem about prevention -
 
'Twas a dangerous cliff, as they freely confessed,
Though to walk near its crest was so pleasant;
But over its terrible edge there had slipped
A duke and full many a peasant.
 So the people said something would have to be done,
But their projects did not at all tally;
Some said, "Put a fence 'round the edge of the cliff,"
Some, "An ambulance down in the valley."
 
But the cry for the ambulance carried the day,
For it spread through the neighboring city;
A fence may be useful or not, it is true,
But each heart became full of pity
For those who slipped over the dangerous cliff;
And the dwellers in highway and alley
Gave pounds and gave pence, not to put up a fence,
But an ambulance down in the valley.
 
"For the cliff is all right, if your careful," they said,
"And, if folks even slip and are dropping,
It isn't the slipping that hurts them so much
As the shock down below when they're stopping."
So day after day, as these mishaps occurred,
Quick forth would those rescuers sally
To pick up the victims who fell off the cliff,
With their ambulance down in the valley.
 
Then an old sage remarked: "It's a marvel to me
That people give far more attention
To repairing results than to stopping the cause,
When they'd much better aim at prevention.
Let us stop at its source all this mischief," cried he,
"Come, neighbors and friends, let us rally;
If the cliff we will fence, we might almost dispense
With the ambulance down in the valley."
 
"Oh he's a fanatic," the others rejoined,
"Dispense with the ambulance? Never!
He'd dispense with all charities, too, if he could;
No! No! We'll support them forever.
Aren't we picking up folks just as fast as they fall?
And shall this man dictate to us? Shall he?
Why should people of sense stop to put up a fence,
While the ambulance works in the valley?"
 
But the sensible few, who are practical too,
Will not bear with such nonsense much longer;
They believe that prevention is better than cure,
And their party will soon be the stronger.
Encourage them then, with your purse, voice, and pen,
And while other philanthropists dally,
They will scorn all pretense, and put up a stout fence
On the cliff that hangs over the valley.
 
Better guide well the young than reclaim them when old,
For the voice of true wisdom is calling.
"To rescue the fallen is good, but 'tis best
To prevent other people from falling."
Better close up the source of temptation and crime
Than deliver from dungeon or galley;
Better put a strong fence 'round the top of the cliff
Than an ambulance down in the valley.


 



The Bishop shared that poem with us in our third hour, combined class and I thought it especially poignant. He also gave several great quotes from Elder Bednar's, Clean Hands and a Pure Heart. Since the whole talk is absolutely amazing and inspiring, it is hard not to share the whole thing. But I did want to record the portion that Bishop read:


The gospel of Jesus Christ encompasses much more than avoiding, overcoming, and being cleansed from sin and the bad influences in our lives; it also essentially entails doing good, being good, and becoming better. Repenting of our sins and seeking forgiveness are spiritually necessary, and we must always do so. But remission of sin is not the only or even the ultimate purpose of the gospel. To have our hearts changed by the Holy Spirit such that “we have no more disposition to do evil, but to do good continually” (Mosiah 5:2), as did King Benjamin’s people, is the covenant responsibility we have accepted. This mighty change is not simply the result of working harder or developing greater individual discipline. Rather, it is the consequence of a fundamental change in our desires, our motives, and our natures made possible through the Atonement of Christ the Lord. Our spiritual purpose is to overcome both sin and the desire to sin, both the taint and the tyranny of sin.
Prophets throughout the ages have emphasized the dual requirements of (1) avoiding and overcoming bad and (2) doing good and becoming better. Consider the penetrating questions posed by the Psalmist:
“Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord? or who shall stand in his holy place?
“He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully” (Psalm 24:3–4).
Brothers and sisters, it is possible for us to have clean hands but not have a pure heart. Please notice that both clean hands and a pure heart are required to ascend into the hill of the Lord and to stand in His holy place.
Let me suggest that hands are made clean through the process of putting off the natural man and by overcoming sin and the evil influences in our lives through the Savior’s Atonement. Hearts are purified as we receive His strengthening power to do good and become better. All of our worthy desires and good works, as necessary as they are, can never produce clean hands and a pure heart. It is the Atonement of Jesus Christ that provides both a cleansing and redeeming power that helps us to overcome sin and a sanctifying and strengthening power that helps us to become better than we ever could by relying only upon our own strength. The infinite Atonement is for both the sinner and for the saint in each of us.
Finally, the Bishop started talking about dating and told the "men" in our ward that "dating is a verb; it's an action verb. It should be done with similar instructions as found on a shampoo bottle: Date. Repeat."
  

Friday, June 11, 2010

New Glasses

If you see me walking around in a pair of glasses like this, please don't make fun. I went to the optometrist yesterday and my prescription had increased from a -4.0 to a -5.0 in one eye and a -4.25 in the other. This is no beuno. Since I didn't even have enough money to buy contacts, but had to, I did not purchase a new pair of glasses.And boy am I glad that I didn't.

Glasses are expensive.

With frames going anywhere from $80 - $300 and the good lenses costing some $150 - $250, you'd go broke just trying to pair up a quality, stylish pair. So I'll probably end up with the thick pink/purple, plastic frames that they sell at WalMart for $18.

Oh, boy.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Journal Writing

I am an advocate of journal writing, which is one of the reason I have a blog. Blogging is one of the best ways to journal where I can post my thoughts, feelings and happenings of my life and people can read it...or not. Even if no one read my blog, I would still write on it faithfully, the same as I write in my journal. I'm not great at writing in my journal, after all, it's usually about 1 a.m. when I'm climbing into bed and my eyes can't stay open long enough to ensure I'm writing between the lines and I'm so exhausted or laying in a weird position that my handwriting is barely legible. Still, I do it, because I know that there is some importance in keeping a record of my life here on earth.

I write my journal entries as though I know someone will one day find them interesting enough to read. That means, of course, that I don't always confess things straight out, or I have to take extra time explaining something that I would know instantly. Still, I'd be mortified if someone came into my room and just picked up my journal and started reading. Despite what some may think, I do actually censor this blog for who I know is reading. My journal, however, is different.

That of course doesn't stop me from flipping through and reading old journal entries. I wish I would record happier things. I've noticed that this latest journal (one that my old roommate, Maria, made for me for Christmas with a picture of things that we enjoyed when we still enjoyed living together) which spans almost 2 years, has basically the same themes in each entry. Apparently, I am using my journal as a way to scold myself. As if I don't get enough scolding from friends and family who love me dearly. The biggest difference of course, is that I'm mean. I berate and belittle and name-call and write things in my journal that I would never give voice to anyone else but myself. It's disheartening to think that really if someone did read my journal, they would think not so well of me because my journal portrays me as a fat, lazy, unmotivated slob who isn't able to take control of her life or make changes. There are vows and commitments that have been abandoned by the next entry - mostly because I had forgotten that I had even written down that goal by the time I close the book. Occasionally there is mention of a boy that I hate - hate, because I secretly liked him and he never noticed -- or worse, did notice and then ignored me still - and a date sporadically. Other times there are great testimony builders and recorded scriptures that meant something to me. And in the end, I think i am the only person who will treasure my journals.


The whole reason I've even been thinking about my journals at all is because I just finished reading These Is My Words by Nancy E. Turner. It's probably one of the better books I've read recently. And it is written in the format of a journal. The journal of Sarah Agnes Prine who write the tales of her life as a pioneer woman living in the Arizona territory just before the turn of the century. She write about the Indian wars and shooting guns and losing a father, a brother, two husbands, children and all sorts of calamities and mishaps with the land and its people. I read her journal entries (it's fiction, but very well researched from what I can tell) and think that her life is by far more interesting than mine will ever be. Not that I'd want to lose my brother to a rattlesnake bite or discover a man who had been trapped under the rotting carcass of his horse for a few days... But even when she talks about mundane things like doing laundry, or the cistern running low on water or making a trip to town or the passion she had for finding a wagon full of books I was so enthralled with the life that she was living. I can't imagine anyone caring about the TV shows I like to watch or the fact that I've been working on one class for six years of my life or how I desperately need money to accomplish the things that I am quite certain I will never be able to accomplish.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who likes historical fiction. This has everything. Romance, Indians, shootouts, death... etc. I may have even welled up once or twice.


But still, I continue to write. Because one day, maybe our world will become like the Jetson's, and people will wonder what it was like to drive down I-15, yelling and cursing Utah drivers instead of cruising through the atmosphere like it was nothing. Who really knows?

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Weird Dream

I have crazy, vivid dreams sometimes. Usually between the time I've woken up when my alarm goes off and I've then fallen promptly back to sleep (with or without my alarm still blaring...).

This morning's dream was too strange not to document. Think a Tim Burton style film. Sort of weird and twisted with goofy characters that make you raise your eyebrows and say, "Um..." out of a little bit of discomfort.

The first part had me pulling up in a station wagon sitting next to my dad who was telling me,

"Remember, everyone's fate now rests in your hands...or your backpack really."
I nervously gave it a glance.

"Dad, I really don't want..."

"It doesn't matter. It's up to you now. Are you sure you have a safe place to put it?"
"I think it will be safe enough. But what if there is an earthquake? Or someone gets slammed into my locker or..."
"We'll just have to hope that doesn't happen."

He kisses me on the cheek and then hands me the backpack very carefully. I cringe. I don't want to be doing what I now have been told I have to do. I don't want to take my backpack, with the carefully wrapped, highly-sensitive nuclear bomb that I'm carrying into the school and hope that something doesn't knock into my locker hard enough to set the thing off.

Otherwise, we're dead.

I put the straps on over my shoulders and begin praying that no one bumps into me on my way to my locker. It was already a cloudy, miserable looking day, the one word that came to mind was "bleak". Everything, our whole lives, looked rather bleak. The school - the whole town, really - had been prepping for a nuclear attack for months by driving livestock away so they wouldn't be destroyed. (Why didn't they drive away the people, I wonder?)

I walk cautiously down the long corridor, which narrows and widens at will, like walking through a hallway lined with carnival mirrors. People seem to be purposefully crashing into me. "FOOLS!" I think. They have no idea that I'm carrying one of the scariest things of all times.

When I reach my locker, number 55, I kneel down and carefully put my book bag on the ground and pull out a blue, high-quality looking lunch box. It is the one with the bomb. I hate having the thing in my hands. I really don't want the responsibility of this! But it's up to me now, so I carefully set it at the bottom of my locker. And then I pull out a paper sack with my real lunch in it.

Someone notices, "Two lunches today?"

"One's a snack. I have to stay afterwards, late..." They shrug and move off.

I sigh, and then gently close my locker. What if the lunchbox accidentally falls over? Would it detonate? My fears are all-consuming, and I quickly walk down the hallway. One thing is for sure, if the bomb does go off, I'm just as dead as anyone else. They'd never link the fact that I had brought the bomb into the school. Which is another thing that I'm worried about. Kids are carrying guns into the school now. I see my friend Levi, showing off his new handgun and then sticking it in the back of his pants. I thought guns weren't allowed on school property.

I go and sit in my class. Nervous. Sweaty. It's really humid outside because it has been threatening to rain for months. Colin is giving a special presentation and pulls out his fancy technology to show us who would be affected if a nuclear attack started here, or here or here. The lines he draws on the map are confusing and frustrating, because he hasn't pinpointed the school as part of detonation. And so he hasn't told the class that they were likely to be blown up, not just have their skin melt away.

Class is almost over and I see my dad in the hallway. He quirks a smile at me and as soon as the bell ring I go to the room where my Aunt Bonnie has set up for him. It's a special room, though I don't see what is special about it. The walls are dirty, the ceiling rotted away from a leak. The beds (it is a hotel room) are gross looking, but my dad is laying on one with his hands under his head.

He had checked on the bomb, it was still in my locker. And I kept questioning him on how he knew it was my locker. I kept asking if it was from the last time he was here, and he said, "It must have been the last time." But I'm still racking my brain for how he would know where my locker is.

"Is it safe?"

"For now."

"Good, let's go clean up."

Then something happens, and I'm not sure what, but we see a ghost floating down the hallway and my comment is something like, "No wonder there are ghosts."

We go outside and he has a shopping cart that he pushes around, while I'm picking up litter along the side of the road. We're talking as if there isn't a bomb in my locker. And the world isn't going to end. Just talking about how disgusting people are, and how easy it is to put away your own trash. And I kneel down next to a puddle and pile of mud and trash and notice a plastic set of bowling pins and balls.

"I wish they would have donated this to DI," I say forlornly. People are so wasteful.
"Me too," Dad says. "It would make this a whole lot easier."

We look over our shoulder, and there are ghosts messing around in the graveyard.

"Do you think we're going to make it out alive?" I ask.

He looks at me.

"I hate this," I say.

And then I wake up. There was more about the ghosts, but I can't remember what. And I think my Aunt Bonnie had some speaking parts as well.

It was such a weird dream.... very dark and spooky. And about nuclear bombs, which is super weird as I haven't seen anything that I would think would incite such subconscious thoughts.

I know some of you are thinking that I embellished this or something, but really, my dreams play out like stories or movies. There is SO much detail I don't even remember it all. It's kind of incredible. I've had the weird, disjointed dreams that don't often make sense and they transition quickly from one thing to the next. But for the most part, my dreams are a story.

Friday, June 04, 2010

Review: Arranged


I think that the quote at the top of the picture says it all: "A gem of a film."

It arrested my attention by describing that it followed two women, an Orthodox Jew and a Muslim who become friends as they teach at the same school and bond over the fact that they are both expected to wed through an arranged marriage.

I love Nasira's sense of humor and the way they both handle the outside criticism, usually portrayed through the views of the principal. The most inspiring part of the movie was watching the way Rochel, who received more pressure from her mother and aunt about choosing from the prospective men (who were all gross and awkward) went in frustration to see a cousin who gave up the Orthodox lifestyle for a more worldly one. During this scene, Rochel stands up for what she believes in and realizes that she can not turn against her faith.

I was so impressed the way both women accepted the standards their religions taught and lived by them faithfully. Rochel would not shake the man's hand at the party because that is an Orthodox custom. Neither woman seemed upset with their strict dress codes, whether they be high-necked or with a scarf. It made me think how I live my standards. I always seem to be pushing the limits by letting my neckline go down as low as possible or wishing I could wear sleeveless shirts. Or even dreaming about tattoos...

The film was very thought provoking and very well done. I found some scenes very entertaining and even let out a few giggles. I gave it 5 stars and highly recommend it.

Family Wards

I heretofore ban my attendance to family wards. This may seem like a silly thing, but here's the thing:

I go to church to be uplifted and spiritually fed. I go to worship and take the sacrament and learn. I go because I'm supposed to and I go because I want to and because it rejuvenates me. And sometimes I go to get out of the house. (And sometimes I don't go because I don't want to leave the house... but that's a different story.)

I've been attending BYU student wards for almost six years now. Student wards are amazing because you are literally going to church with people who are basically in the same life situation as you are. Usually we are far from home, broke beyond belief and struggling to pass a class or secure a job. Hardly anyone is happy with their dating life. We're all discovering just how strong our individual testimonies are...or are not. There are a lot of serving opportunities and growing opportunities through callings and new friendships. And there are no kids.

The last one may seem irrelevant or off-topic. But really, what is more distracting than children in sacrament meeting? They're there to learn, too. But mostly it's to learn how to sit through a long meeting without grinding Cheerios too much into the carpet. Or that during the sacrament you can't color, but after, it's totally fine. Kids are noisy and distracting. And ridiculously funny. And cute. And I can't sit through a church meeting that is littered with children and pay attention to what is being said at the pulpit. I just can't.

The other thing about family wards is that they have all these newly married couples that lean on each or curl up under an arm. The little wife is wearing her husband's suit coat and he will turn and kiss her cheek or the top of her head. They give each other back rubs and secret smiles. And mostly it makes me sick. It also makes me a little jealous.

And then, of course, there are the young mothers and the expectant mothers that waddle around the church building. They are distracting too, because then I catch myself wondering exactly how I would parent that screaming child (take him out!) or laugh at that child (yes, I'd definitely laugh at him) or how I'd look waddling around a church building. They look so cute in their Sunday dresses with their pregnant bellies. Which typically are not cute at all.

And by the end of the block (why do we call it "the block"?) I'm sick to death of eternal families and children and cute, thoughtful husbands. And I haven't done any of those things that I go to church to do. I'm pretty much green. And I don't like that feeling, because most of the time I am quite content with my singleness and perfectly happy in my BYU ward. I'm usually thinking about all the things that I can be doing because I'm not "tied down" and I only have responsibility for myself. But none of that matters when I go to a family ward and I leave more depressed than rejuvenated. So that's it. I'm going to stick to the Single's Wards from now on...

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