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August 27, 2017

They That Sow in Tears Shall Reap in Joy

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My father passed away a few days ago.
My dad and I used to drive 20 minutes across town every Saturday without fail to get donuts and kolaches from our favorite donut shop.
He always came home from the grocery store with chocolate. I’m not talking about Hershey’s or Butterfingers -- he brought home Lindt truffles and Ghirardelli.
After church on Sundays, when we were younger, he would take me, David, and Julian to play tennis together at the park by our house.
I would go on walks with him and he would point out different kinds of trees and other plants to me. He was so, so brilliant. He knew about everything.
When I lost my glasses, or my notebook, or my favorite toy, Mom and I would look forever for it. As soon as we called Dad over, he would find it within a minute. He was always good at that.
When he traveled on business when we were young kids, he always sent postcards with planes on them for each of us. We were always so excited to see him when he was back. Those were some of the pure joy moments I will always remember.
He was writing a book. He was always writing. He had poems from long ago and gave me one to use to handletter and sell as a Christmas card.

He knew how to fix everything. I know that everyone says that about their father but he was an engineer and a crafter. He had two masters degrees and loved learning.
When I was 8 or 9, he worked with me to get my ham radio license. I think I had to take the test four times before passing, but he was always kind and patient despite my multiple failures. Once I did pass, we used to get on the radio every Sunday night and talk to other ham radio operators in our stake. It was our special thing. At one of my jobs, I work with a bunch of trades guys and I had told them I had a ham radio license and they were all so surprised. I texted him about it a couple of weeks ago and he told me he was still proud of me for getting that.
He taught me how to drive stick behind the grocery store by our house. He didn't say anything when I stalled over and over again. When I was in high school, I drove his truck that he had bought brand new in 1980 -- it was twice my age. It was falling apart but we both loved it and we were both sad when we had to get rid of it.
He taught us to love to read. Even when we were grown up, we would sometimes have him read books to us before bed. He read Harry Potter with me for the first time. He bought me books and took me to the library and whenever he had free time he had a book in his hand.
He was just so gentle and kind. He was patient with all of us. He always came to me when I was crying and nobody else wanted to deal with me. I knew that he was on my side. He would always do his best to include me.
When I was in eighth grade, I decided to be rebellious and take German instead of Spanish. My dad was against it (he wanted me to take Spanish like David and Julian so that I could communicate with my mom's side of the family) but my mom convinced him to let me. He had served his mission German-speaking in Switzerland and it was nice having something so special in common (although I will say that after 5 years of German classes, I still didn’t understand most of what he said to me when he tried speaking with me in German).
On the 3rd day of eighth grade, I somehow convinced my parents to let me go to a German emo rock concert. My dad volunteered to go with me, and I’m convinced that it was probably the worst three hours of his life, but he didn’t mind because he knew it made me happy (Julian did mind, and never forgot how I got to go to my first concert so much younger than she went to hers -- but he always took her to concerts, too).

A few years ago my Bishop shared a scripture at the pulpit -- Psalms 126:5: "They that sow in tears shall reap in joy." I have not forgotten this scripture since. I don't know why life is so, so hard, or why my family is having to go through this again so close to my sister's death. The only semblance of comfort that I have right now is imagining how excited Julian would’ve been to see him. I can picture the specific outfit she is wearing and her excitedly exclaiming “Dad!” She hated hugging, but I’m sure she would’ve given him the biggest one. I can’t imagine a happier reunion. For now, I will hold on to that picture, and just keep going on the best that I can.

Yours truly,
August 18, 2017

Life Through My Lens

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Always, but especially lately, I've hesitated before posting another picture on Instagram or sharing another post on Facebook.

I know that I share a lot of pictures.

I got my first digital camera when I was in 4th grade, and after that, until phones actually got good cameras, I literally always had a digital camera on me. I have always photographed my life.

The computer that my family had from probably about when I got my camera in 4th grade to about the end of high school died. My dad is very brilliant and is an engineer, so he is good with technology. He can't fix it. I think he's taken it in places as well, and everything on it is gone.

Thousands of pictures taken by 10, 11, 12 year old me are gone. Pictures with my best friend Alex from the years we still lived in the same state. Pictures of and with my sister -- although I'm sure they were few and far between.

I was talking to my boyfriend about this yesterday, and I mentioned that all of my Harry Potter dress-ups are on there. When I literally was Harry for Halloween. When my Mom made a legit, feather-trimmed Rita Skeeter costume that I wore to a midnight book release. All of the midnight movie releases I went to with friends and family are gone. And I started sobbing.

I am that annoyingly sentimental person who keeps tickets to the movies. I have programs from school events and little sticky notes people wrote me. I keep it all. And I will say, I do have a bad long-term memory it seems. I don't know if it is just because I've blocked out bad stuff, but I don't remember as much from my childhood as I'd like. And I wish I had those pictures to help me.

But because of Facebook, I have that random selfie with my sister that we took while waiting in the car while our mom grocery shopped. I have pictures of me and Sloan matching outfits year after year after year. I have pictures of that birthday when like four friends brought me balloons to school. And most importantly, I have those awkward, way-too-photoshopped mirror selfies from the MySpace days. And I don't regret sharing all these back then one bit.

So, I'm sorry if I'm a nuisance on your news feed. I have 30+ hidden Facebook albums from the beginning of 8th grade that I still look through. I'm not friends with a lot of the same people, even from a few years ago, but I like to remember. I know I post a lot, but social media is basically my digital scrapbook now. It's safe and always there for me to look back on. So be patient with me. Or if I'm that annoying (can't blame you), unfollow me. Because this is who I am and this is my life. Thanks for sharing it with me.

Yours truly,
August 14, 2017

My Biggest Flaws

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You know when you're in elementary school and a student in your class called your teacher "Mom"? How embarrassing for them. Yeah, I was that kid. And it was my MALE third grade teacher I called "Mom".

I cannot cook rice. I'm serious. No matter what I do. Can't do it on the stove or it's too crunchy. Can't do it in a rice cooker or I burn it (true story, still don't know how this happened). Now I buy 5-minute rice and it still usually ends up a little soggy and watery. So if you love rice stay far away from me (unless you're good at cooking it, then hi, you're my new best friend, stay close to me always).

No matter how much self control I think I have, I cannot go to Target or Michael's without buying stationary. I have enough cards and envelopes to last me through the apocalypse. I also can't go to the post office without buying cute stamps, so I have those out the wazoo too.

I'm literally always down to watch any of the High School Musical movies. I don't see this as a flaw, but some may...

At any given time there's probably like 6 crumbs stuck in my hair.

I've only ever dated guys with J names??????? (Is something wrong with me?)

I am really bad at coming up with usernames. The only good one I ever had was nymphadoratonks on AIM in middle school. And obviously I didn't even come up with it. Don't even get me started on naming this blog (and the many times I have thought unsuccessfully about renaming it).

I'm really bad at singing but I love to do it. So it's annoying. Although I will say, it makes for fun karaoke parties.

I literally cannot plug something into an outlet unless I can see the outlet — the lights have to be on and it has to be in my line of sight.

Basically, I am very flawed. But good news: I still love myself. And you should love myself too.

Yours truly,

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