Saturday, November 17, 2007

Gay Marriage Debates

I will attempt a real post, but it will probably be short. Drex is much more eloquent and has much more valid things to say. However…I do have some interesting things to share.

I teach government at a Jordan District High School and in an effort to try and “spice up” my class (because according to a certain student I get a D- in my efforts to do so) I decided to present the topic of political parties through the medium of political debates. I got the presidential platforms from the 2004 elections from a colleague and prepared my lesson. What, you might ask, does this have to do the mohosphere? Well, one of the platforms is Gay Marriage. I honestly thought the debate on Friday was going to come to blows. I had the students take a political spectrum test to put them in polarized (Democrat and Republican) political parties. Many of them ended up being “moderate” so I let them choose which side to be on. With this debate, it was interesting to see how many of the students were actually for Gay Marriage. One of the girls who was presenting brought up the studies that are being done regarding the idea that homosexuality is genetic and that brought many of the “republicans” to their feet. Another of the students said, “gay people can’t get married. They just can’t reproduce.” It was all I could do to sit there and not list off all the MOMs I know off the top of my head and the Will and Grace episode where Will and Grace are trying to decide whether or not to have a baby together, and they’re probably too young to know that Ross’s first wife on Friends was a lesbian and gave birth. As it was I brought up, “Well, there is the possibility of sperm donation for gay men and in-vitro fertilization or surrogate pregnancy for lesbian women.” At that point, one of my students piped up with, “Yeah! There’s a sperm bank by the library!” Awkward moment. The students were amazingly fired up and the last idea debated was: would it be better for children to be adopted by a gay partnership and raised that way, or for children to be born to a “straight” couple and later find out that one of their parents is gay? Knowing what I know about some of the people in the mohosphere it was incredibly hard not to get really involved in this topic. I tried to gently get them thinking, but I doubt I had much impact. Keep in mind, I have 4 of these classes, and only 1 so far has debated the issue.

Another story also comes from school (as I spend more time there than I do at home with Drex, unfortunately). During lunch one day after Dumbledore came out of the closet, some of the teachers were discussing the student reactions and I went into “observe mode” as I usually do when the homosexuality topic comes up in public settings outside the mohosphere. And then another (male) teacher walked in wearing an extremely well put together outfit—almost too well put together. My mentor (a self-proclaimed atheist and all around pretty great guy) turned to me with a raised eye brow and I just shook my head. And then he whispered, “So, uh…do you think he wife dressed him?” And I answered, “I’m not going to tell you what I thought [which was “PEGGED!”] because you’re not going to think I’m very nice.” He pressed harder because he’s not one to give up and I relented with, “It wouldn’t surprise me if he and Dumbledore had something in common, if you catch my drift.” He nodded his agreement and then said something to the effect of, “You always get really quite when ‘gay’ stuff is brought up.” At that point the bell rang and I told him I had a secret to tell him later. He hounded me after school, popping his head in my room while I had students taking tests saying, “I want to know your secret!” It was pretty entertaining. When my students left I went into his room and spilled my guts. The first thing he asked was, “How personal can I get with my questions?!” (He’s the psychology/philosophy teacher). I laughed and told him he could ask what he wanted and I would reserve the right not to answer. He hasn’t asked much lately because he’s been too busy hounding one of the other teachers about her dipping habit, but I’m sure it will come up soon.

Drex says I should save my other stories for later. I will however, try to remember to update on how the rest of the Gay Marriage debates go.


Friday, November 16, 2007

weighing in

Sorry I've been so silent for so long. I actually feel pretty guilty about it. Things have been busy, and sometimes hectic in recent weeks. For the most part things have been good, though. School has been tolerable, and the highlight of my academic day is choir. We had a wonderful series of concerts last weekend, and we're performing in the Tabernacle in Salt Lake on Saturday, which should be really fun. I've sung in the Conference Center, but I've never had opportunity to perform in the Tabernacle. I'm really looking forward to it.

Salad and I are still doing great together, although for some reason more and more people are trying to pressure us into having kids. :P I'm of the opinion that not many people should have kids right after being married - not because it's wrong, or because they should be older, or because they should have more money, or anything like that. Rather, I believe that a couple should continue to build the foundation of their relationship before moving into the building up of the family. Especially in the case of many BYU marriages, where the couple doesn't know each other for horribly long, the months following marriage are imperative to build a strong marital relationship that can stand the tests and trials that life sends - like kids. Plus there's the fact that we really don't want to have to raise kids in Utah, but that's a whole 'nother (I swear that should be a word) issue.

With regards to the whole 'war' raging through the Mohosphere right now, I thought I'd weigh in as well. There's been back-and-forth about open-mindedness and cyber-christian zeal, the bigotry of the 'faithful' and the whoreishness of the 'weak' and everything in between. I can only speak for myself on this.

I believe in the gospel of Jesus Christ. Sometimes aspects of the Church bug me, but the gospel remains clear to me. Sometimes local leaders, instructors, home teachers and the like grate on me, but the gospel is still true. Sometimes I don't want to go to church at all, but the gospel remains a steady rock and a firm foundation. Part of the gospel, as I understand it, is that marriage between a man and a woman is sacred and ordained of God. Marriage between two men or two women, as I understand it, does not have place in the eternal plan of happiness. There is nothing saying that no happiness lies in pursuing such relationships - in fact, there's nothing saying that you'll be happier in life marrying the opposite sex than the same. But I believe the promise is there, whether outrightly outlined or not, that the eternal happiness connected to a heterosexual marriage and relationship infinitely outweigh the eternal happiness of a same-sex union. I don't entirely understand why that is, but I still feel like it's true.

Another thing is that when people that I care about make choices that I believe will ultimately end in unhappiness or hurt, it worries me. Sometimes it even hurts. Sometimes friends will make what I consider to be stupid choices. Sometimes when that happens I don't still my tongue, and I end up telling them that I think they're making stupid choices. That's a stupid choice on my part, most of the time. Does that mean that I think my friends are stupid? Of course not. Sometimes I disapprove of the things my friends do. I still care about them, and they're entitled to their choices, and I typically won't hold their choices against them, but sometimes I want to make my opinion known, in the hopes that I can save them from some unhappiness or pain.

And sometimes the difference of opinion is simply due to a difference in perspective, and neither of us will ever see things from the other's point of view, and it's best to agree to disagree. I'm okay with that, as long as my opinions are respected. I try to respect the opinions of others depending on their life perspectives, and there are few things more hurtful to me than when someone I respect refuses to respect me back. This hasn't happened to me in a while because I've relegated my opinions to comments in others' blogs, but I see it happening to those I love, and it hurts.

There might end up being some striation in the Mohosphere. It might come down to a complete split and a separation of communities, but I hope it doesn't. I just hope that my friends will remain my friends, and that we can still maintain some level of mutual respect, because some of the people here are just too good to let go of, even if their choices don't line up in my personal outlook on life. I don't like giving up my friends.

To all the MoHoHos out there - grow up! And I don't mean that in a mean or bad way, I mean that you have to pull out of your closet-delayed gay adolescence. Not so you can make choices that line up with what I believe, but so that you can make choices that aren't clouded by newness, infatuation, crushes, or the like. Your choices are yours to make, but it's hard to make them when focus is lost by the phase that you're going through.

I had a MoHoHo phase of my own, but it was neither very long or very hard to deal with, likely due to my early acceptance of myself and the company I kept. Especially since I had Salad by my side throughout, helping to keep my focus on other things. It's hard to pull out of it, and sometimes you don't want to because the novelty is so fun. Post-MoHoHo is just as fun, though, without as strong a temptation. It's worth coming out of.

Anyway, I've been all over the place. I guess that's what happens when I disappear for so long. Good talking again. :P


Saturday, October 20, 2007

dumbledore is gay

That is all.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Avoiding Lesson Planning

Most of you have probably stopped checking our blog at this point, which is totally understandable, but I promise we’re not dead.

I’m swamped at school—between the kids who lack motivation and any life-skills and parents who only excel at enabling their children and making my life a living hell (October has not been my month and it’s not even half over), not to mention the lesson planning, grading, parent-teacher conferences, meetings, seminars etc, etc it’s good enough that I’m still breathing. Most of my nights after school are spent lesson planning or trying to emotionally recover from whatever happened at school, and the weekends are spent grading what I didn’t get to during the week. They tell me that it gets better after the first year, but at this point I’m disinclined to believe them.

Drex is staying busy with school and trying to keep me focused on the good parts of life—like him, the mohos and other such things.

We enjoyed seeing many of you over Conference weekend and at the Matis’ this month, and we hope to see more of you, if only things will calm down.

I know Drex has some more substantial posts on the backburner, he just needs to find some time to get to them. In the mean time, I’m going to steal Gimple’s idea and make a list of things I love because a: it will be therapeutic for me and b: it’s getting me out of lesson planning :D

  1. Drex (I know, gag all you want)
  2. The mohos
  3. Sleeping with the window open when it’s cold outside
  4. Listening to the rain
  5. Reading a good book
  6. The smell of new clothes (but not the shopping for new clothes—that part is icky)
  7. Good food
  8. Massages
  9. A good hug
  10. Homemade caramels
  11. Moms
  12. Turning my alarm off on Friday night
  13. Going to dinner with friends
  14. Laughing so hard it hurts
  15. Pay day
  16. Yellow roses with pink tips
  17. Playing softball in the rain
  18. Helping people
  19. Learning
  20. A clean kitchen

Friday, September 7, 2007

Brief update

Really, I should be grading papers, as that’s what a prep period is for, but it’s Friday, and I’m seriously distracted…and my red pen died and I don’t feel like walking to the office to get another one.

We haven’t posted in forever, but I promise we have really good reasons! Remember how I posted about getting a teaching job? Well, it started the Monday after we got married and I’ve been wicked busy every since. All I do is lesson plan and grade papers and I go to bed at 9 every night. I lead a boring, but busy, life. My students are giving me a run for my money, but aren’t as terrifying as I thought they would be. I have this one really cute junior who is a moho in the making. I seriously want to ask him if he has a blog just so I can read it, but I’m pretty sure that would be crossing some professional boundary. My juniors are adorable and my seniors are adorably puntable (ie. I want to punt them out the window because they won’t stop whining about the fact that they have to grow up and take notes and actually be accountable for life). I was walking through the hall the other day and one of the students said, “milk is my favorite drink…after beer!” I had to run into another teacher’s classroom to keep from busting out laughing in the hallway. Oh the rising generation—kinda scary if you ask me. I’ve confiscated 15 cell phones (4 in one period just today) and 8 ipods and we’re only 2 weeks in to school. Hopefully after January (when the semester ends and I’ll only be planning for one class instead of 2) I’ll be able to have fun again…

Married life is treating us pretty well. I like the fact that we don’t have to abide by the *cough* wretched *cough* I mean “divinely inspired” BYU honor code anymore and no one has to go home at midnight. We’re still lacking a few furnishings in our apartment, but hopefully those will be coming within the month barring any unforeseen expenses. Once we get some couches we hope to have some more gatherings at our house.

Well, I know it’s lame, but that’s about all I have for an update at the moment. At least it’s something right?


Thursday, August 9, 2007

Mr. and Mrs. Drex

We're married! More to come when life slows if that will ever happen ;)


Sunday, August 5, 2007

Clash of the Titans...but not really

Time for a mini-update just so you know that we’re still alive and haven’t been buried under a barrage of wedding plans…although, it’s come close ;)

We flew out to DC on Thursday and have gone nonstop since. We’ve been helping Drex’s parents get the house ready for the wedding along with eating tons of great food. The combination of heat and humidity is killer, but I’m so glad to be out of Utah and I’m relishing the diversity of the East. I’d almost forgotten that my hair curls in the humidity and it’s been uber fun trying to hid all the baby curls that keep popping out around my ears and at the back of my neck—too bad all of my hair isn’t curly :P

Best thing ever (aside from the whole getting married thing) happened on Friday though. I was offered a full-time teaching position up in Jordan School District. I’ll be teaching government classes and one section of US history, which is a major blessing. I was starting to despair that I wouldn’t be teaching this year and I’m a chronic worrier so I was starting to worry about how we were going to make ends meet and everything, and God saw fit to answer my pleas and the prayers of others (thanks!!) and soften the hearts of the administrators in my favor. When I listened to the voicemail offering me the job I was shaking so badly I could barely hold the phone. Drex’s mom wanted me to call them right back but I could hardly speak. Poor Drex had no idea what was going on when I walked in the room because all I could do was show him my shaking hands…it took me a second to be able to find my voice to tell him that I had been offered a teaching position. I’m very excited.

My family flew into town this weekend and they met Drex’s family. It’s been an interesting experience, but I think it’s been positive overall. I think my family is still a little agog over how upfront and straightforward Drex’s mom is, but I think they’ll get used to it over time. My mom and my sister about died when we went shopping with Drex and his mom and she made some absolutely shameless comment to the store clerk. It was totally awesome.

I’m sure we’ll have more updates for you after the wedding, or Drex might even have something to say before then. We can’t wait to see many of you at the reception!

Oh, and just so that Samantha doesn’t feel like she’s the only irreverent one in church…today in Relief Society we were talking about how the Brother of Jared was prepared spiritually to see God and the faith that that took etc. My sister, who is 19 and was recently released as the RS President in her Single’s Ward, turned to me and said, “How do you prepare for God to give you the finger?” I about died. It’s a good thing RS was last or I’m pretty sure I would have gotten absolutely nothing out of the rest of church.


Saturday, July 28, 2007

feeling a bit broken, bruised in places and hoping to be able to heal and keep moving forward as planned...that is all


Friday, July 27, 2007

spirit or irrational obsession?

I had two bad days in a row, which doesn't often happen to me. They had me melancholy, retracted, confused, and frustrated enough that I have spent some small amount of time trying to figure out the root cause rather than just waiting for the feeling of gloom to pass. Typically my psychological makeup is such that things just roll off my back and I can move on with life, but when things stick I know there's something up. There's also the fact that a stupor of thought typically leaves me with similar feelings of confusion and frustration, so there's the possibility that there's something the Spirit wants me to do differently.

Salad has talked to me before about the bone-deep desire she has to teach, and how frustrating it is that she can't find a teaching job. Some measure of that desire blindsided me on Wednesday, except that my passion and my desire lie in singing. I have been taking voice lessons for quite a while, I've been in choirs since high school, and it's typically been enough for me. All of a sudden I have this ache to do something with my singing, though. I don't know that being in choir will be enough to fill it. It's like...I want to be in a musical, or working on writing music specific to me, that I could sing and that would be mine.

Part of my frustration is that I buried my dreams of musical grandeur a while back. Music is not a logical career path, so I convinced myself that I wasn't going to pursue it as anything more than a side hobby. Part of that was reasoning that choir was okay, because it was a joint commitment between all the members of the choir, but that any solo pursuits were essentially pointless. Two days of frustration have thrown all of that out of whack in my mind. Why not do more with what I have? Would it have to be to the exclusion of more logical pursuits, or could they be done at the same time? Would it be wrong or selfish of me to want to pursue music with a bit more gusto? And if I did decide to do more with music right now, how would I go about it? I don't know the first thing about the things that would probably satiate this feeling.

And then I have to wonder if this is really Spirit spurring me on, like it mostly feels like, or if it's my own obsessive nature shining through randomly. And is there a whole lot more to my melancholy and overall feeling of BLAH, or is this the root of the problem? Am I spinning my wheels even thinking about it?


In other news, Hairspray was fantastic, fabulous, and amazing.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

I'm not dead yet!

So, I’ve found that I really don’t like sitting still and doing nothing. I’m not so much a fan of my job and I know there are things that I’d rather be doing, but sitting at home with nothing to do is not one of them. Having pneumonia and bronchitis has left me with little energy and not so much lung capacity so I’ve spent the last few days on my couch doing nothing and it’s driving me insane! I’m still really bitter that my boss was irresponsible enough to come in to work when he won’t even let us stay in the office if we have the slightest sniffle. I get random spurts of energy but they fade quickly and I usually end up in a heap on my floor trying not to pass out—not so much a fun game.

As I’m sitting on my couch watching LAME tv (because my cable is broken) I’m trying to decide whether or not it’s worth it to try and go move some more stuff over to our new apartment. I’m really excited about it and I can’t wait to get settled. It’s so empty and not us and I want to get all of our stuff in there and make it ours. Unfortunately we need a truck to get some of that done so we need to wait. We moved all of my books over there last night and I insisted on vacuuming all the carpets before we put anything on them—that was one of my random spurts of energy. I kind of want to move clothes over and clean the bathrooms but I don’t know how long my energy will last. Mostly I just want to get the heck out of my house.

Wedding plans are going well. I finally succeeded in getting Drex’s mom to get her pink shirt which she wasn’t so much a fan of getting initially. We’re working on the flowers for DC and I have to get the flowers taken care of for here but other than that, we’re pretty much on top of everything. We’re looking forward to seeing many of you at our reception.

Ok, I’m going to go back to weighing the pros and cons of moving stuff on my own, but I thought I’d let you all know that I’m still sort of alive.


Tuesday, July 17, 2007

life update

It occurs to me that we haven't really blogged about how things are going in general. Salad's sick, as mentioned before - our boss will send us home with so much as a headache, sniffle, or cough - and yet he came in for three straight days with bronchitis and pneumonia. Despite Salad confronting him on it, and despite the fact that our coworker has a newborn at home. In fact, the boss sat at that coworkers desk and used his phone while he was sick. At any rate, Salad went to the doctor and found out she has bronchitis and pneumonia. Sound familiar? When I confronted our boss about it, he said "That's too bad. Tell her sorry. I won't be here!" (he's going on vacation) Jerk.

Wedding preparations are still under way. Salad's had her showers with her family and her female friends - all that's left is the one with my family (silly aunts) and the moho shower. Gifts have begun trickling in, and one gift was a big surprise - a Wii with an extra remote. We've been enjoying the fun that's associated with having a Wii in the home, and some of our friends have been partakers as well. Once we're moved in and everything, we'll have to pick up 2 more controllers and have parties at our new place.

New place! We finalized everything and got the keys for our new apartment yesterday. We'll start
moving random things over there probably today, but we have to wait on the big furniture-y stuff until we have access to a truck. We hope to be all moved in before we head out to DC for the wedding.

And lastly, Kengo's suggestions for Salad's icon/avatar/whatever were pretty good! I don't know what Salad thinks, but I've attached my top 12 choices (in no particular order, numbered for easy reference). Any opinions?


Sunday, July 15, 2007

movies that make me cry

I really love it when a movie can make me cry. There's something terribly cathartic about induced tears, and where I often feel devoid of emotion, it's a welcome reminder that I have heartstrings after all.

Yesterday we watched Bridge to Terabithia, and I was definitely moved. It was much more than I was counting on, a lot of it really resonated with me, and though I was expecting a large part of the ending (thanks to some rants about the literary counterpart), I was caught of guard by just how poignant and earth-moving it would be. I was quite pleased with it, and now I'll have to go out and invest in a copy of the movie myself. Once I have the funds. :P

Other movies that often bring me to tears are Pay It Forward (I always think I'm doing so well until it gets to the song) and Testaments and Joseph Smith the Prophet of the Restoration (I can't make it through Jesus saying Helam's name, nor can I make it much more than 7 minutes into Joseph Smith). I'm sure there are more, but I can't think of them off the top of my head.

In other news, I've redone the layout for the blog, mostly from scratch. If there's anything horribly ugly, don't tell me unless you think it's a coding mistake that I can fix. ;) Salad wanted me to make the point that while she adores pink, she had nothing to do with the color scheme. She's also trying to figure out a better icon/avatar/whatever than a picture of a salad, but she's too sick to think of anything appropriately representative, so we're open to ideas.


Monday, July 9, 2007

eight random gay mormon facts about me

Eight random gay Mormon facts about me! As per Abelard tagging me. Scroll down to see Salad's responses.


1. All right, here are the rules.
2. We have to post these rules before we give you the facts.
3. Players start with eight random facts/habits about themselves.
4. People who are tagged write their own blog about their eight things and post these rules.
5. At the end of your blog, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names. Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged, and to read your blog.

  1. One of the gay stereotypes I don't fit is that I like watching sports. Especially NCAA football, basketball (NCAA only during March Madness and the tournament), and tennis.
  2. I ran cross country in middle and high school, but I stopped before my senior year because I injured myself on a 50-mile hike in the Adirondacks.
  3. I've always loved singing, but because all the deadbeat popular people wear in choir, I never did choir until the elite auditioned choir was an option my sophomore year of high school. I got in right away and have done choir ever since. Singing is one of my passions.
  4. I play the cello, and have since 4th grade. Everyone else wanted to play cello, too, but I got it because my mom is loud, Chinese, and overbearing, and told the orchestra teacher that she didn't want to deal with the squeaking of an aspiring violinist.
  5. I'm a chronic reader. If I get into a book, very few things will stop me from finishing it as fast as possible. Recent conquests have been the Artemis Fowl series, the His Dark Materials (The Golden Compass) series, Peter and the Starcatchers, Twilight and New Moon, and Eragon and Eldest, among others. Obviously fantasy piques my interest, but sci fi, adventure, mystery, and basically anything good appeal as well.
  6. My grandfather was one of the first converts to the church in Hong Kong. President Hinckley gave him the Melchizedek priesthood, actually. My mom was born in Hong Kong, so you could say I'm 1st generation American on my mom's side. I'm 6th generation American (and Mormon) on my dad's side.
  7. The first person I ever went to a dance with (age 13) ended up being a lesbian by our junior year. The first person I ever came out to (I was 16) ended up bisexual. I'm waiting for the bolt of lightning from Salad. ;)
  8. I collect and obsessively categorize and store music. I have 55,668 MP3s archived on CDs and DVDs, and at least another 20,000 sitting on my computer waiting to be categorized. Most of the music comes from soundtracks from movies or video games, but I have an eclectic mix of everything.
That's it. TAG: Samantha, Calvin, Stephen, Stephalumpagus, Kengo Biddles, Mulan, playasinmar, AttemptingThePath.

Random Salad Facts

  1. I’m one of the most accident-prone people you’ll ever meet in your life. I’ve injured most parts of my body in pretty random ways.
  2. I am a die hard OSU fan even though both of their major sports teams failed me this year. Don’t mention Michigan in my presence if you want to continue living. Oh, and if you support the Yankees, we can’t be friends (the Yankees are the only time I’m allowed to swear and not have it count toward the swear jar). I LOVE baseball and my favorite team is the Cleveland Indians.
  3. I love playing video games but I suck at the racing kind. I’m not sure why, but I have a hard time making it out of the start position and when I do make it out, I don’t usually make it out of the first lap before everyone else finishes. I really like first-person shooters, but only when the “cousin-stupid isn’t allowed to kill Salad” rule is in effect otherwise it’s no fun. We just got a Wii and the bowling for bunnies game is way fun too.
  4. I’m 6th generation LDS on both sides…I know, pretty boring. I have pioneer claims to fame, but I won’t bore you all with them because I’m kind of sick of telling the stories.
  5. I’m not the super scary LDS scrapbooking Utah Mormon type but I do quite enjoy bookbinding. It’s really therapeutic and quite satisfying. The only sad part is I’m a terrible journal-keeper so I don’t keep the books I make. Although, I did make a book for Drex of all the letters that we wrote back and forth while he was on his mission. I was really proud of that book.
  6. I LOVE learning. If I could get paid to be a student, I’d totally do it. I majored in history (obviously with no intention of having a lucrative career) and minored in English (again, no intention of being lucrative). Too bad we all have to grow up at some point and actually do something with ourselves. Both of my concentrations were complemented by education endorsements so I can at least do something with them…
  7. I’m a total nerd
  8. I love reading good books over and over and over again. Especially in the winter, curled up in a blanket with a mug of hot chocolate.

Monday, June 25, 2007

the doctrine of letting go

This is the slightly altered text of a talk I gave in church on Sunday. It's watered down from my original train of thought, as the original thrust of it would have been given from a predominantly moho perspective. What I said was intended to be a bit more general. As such, it's also what I consider an unfinished work - I intend to continue studying the subject until I have a firmer grasp on what I'm looking at. Also please keep in mind that I am neither scriptorian nor public speaker, and I much of what I say is based on opinions, though my opinions represent strong personal convictions. Also, sorry it's so long. If you are an impatient person, please ignore this post. (:

Something that I’ve been pondering a lot recently is what I refer to as the “doctrine of letting go.” It’s a subject inspired by an especially powerful fireside speaker a few months ago, and it’s been percolating in my mind since then. It’s a multi-faceted aspect of the gospel, covering many areas of belief and devotion.

The topic has been approached from many angles, with some widely covering it while others focus on individual aspects. It has been referenced as surrendering, submitting, or consecrating, in part. The idea is that there are things that we ought to be giving up into the care of the Lord that we instead hold on and cling to – and that according to the precepts of the gospel, we should be developing ways to let go of those things. Of course there are many things that we ought to surrender to the Lord. The aspects of the doctrine of letting go that I have been examining are in reference to sins, will, and trials.

Letting go of sin is probably the most widely approached aspect of this doctrine. It is arguably the most visible component of the atonement of Christ (second only, perhaps, to the victory over the grave). The well-known verse in Doctrine and Covenants 19:16 states that “I, God, have suffered these things for all, that they might not suffer if they would repent.” One of the direct benefits of letting go of one’s sins is the evasion of the suffering for them. It is generally considered that sin is one of the main topics of the similarly famous verse in Mosiah 3, “For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticing of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patent, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father” (Mosiah 3:19). The relinquishing of sin and surrendering of will effects a “mighty change” in a person, producing a saint who exhibits Christlike attributes like love, patience, humility, and meekness. Neal A. Maxwell warns,

'Mighty' changing, however, is mighty hard work, a labor made more difficult by heeding the unflattering urges of the natural man. Too often our possibilities have been muted by the mundane....Of course we cannot fully comprehend all this right now! Of course we cannot know the meaning of all things right now. But we can know, right now, that God knows us and loves us individually!
But, brothers and sisters, what keeps us from knowing and loving Him more? Our reluctance to give away all our sins—thinking, instead, a down payment will do. Likewise, our reluctance to let our wills be swallowed up in His will—thinking, instead, that merely acknowledging His will is sufficient! (see Mosiah 15:7). (Neal A. Maxwell, “Encircled in the Arms of His Love,” Liahona, Nov 2002, 16–18.)
Thus we come upon some of the obstacles to letting go of our sins and our wills. One of the first is the natural inclination to withhold a part of one’s inner self. We make excuses, claiming that such things are what make us unique, or distinct. And yet our individuality actually remains intact as we become more like Jesus. Another stumbling block to letting go is an unwillingness to confront what we lack – an inability to admit fault. This barrier to letting go is founded in pride, and tangent to it is the tendency to deflect the importance of something in order to pass it off for work at a later time. Sometimes we are plagued by selfishness, a lack of proper perspective, or even a lack of faith which keeps us from letting go. It is difficult to let go of something when perspective does not grant that that thing is wrong. Likewise, there is no point in surrendering something to someone who is not powerful enough to help. Perspective and faith are vital to letting go.

Elder Maxwell states again:
In pondering and pursuing consecration [or, letting go], understandably we tremble inwardly at what may be required. Yet the Lord has said consolingly, ‘My grace is sufficient for you” (D&C 17:8). Do we really believe Him? He has also promised to make weak things strong (see Ether 12:27). Are we really willing to submit to that process? Yet if we desire fulness, we cannot hold back part!
“Having our wills increasingly swallowed up by the will of the Father actually means an enhanced individuality, stretched and more capable of receiving ‘all that [God] hath’ (D&C 84:38). Besides, how could we be entrusted with His ‘all’ until our wills are much more like His? Nor could His ‘all’ be fully appreciated by the partially committed. (Neal A. Maxwell, “Consecrate Thy Performance,” Liahona, Jul 2002, 39-42.)
The most overlooked aspect of the doctrine of letting go, in my opinion, is that of letting go of trials. Perhaps this is a more difficult aspect of doctrine to understand, or perhaps it is our independent natures that keep us from wanting to entrust our trials to something else. Often I think it is a warped understanding of the aim of the test of life. While we have been sent here to be tested, Heavenly Father by no means wants us to go through our tests alone. Even if all others seemingly abandon us, the Lord is always there to lean upon and to look towards. The trials that face us, while individually tailored, are not necessarily meant to be tackled alone. Did not the Lord say “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matt 11:28-30)? Alma said that he “…desire[d] that ye shall plant this word in your hearts, and as it beginneth to swell even so nourish it by your faith….And then may God grant unto you that your burdens may be light, through the joy of his Son. And even all this can ye do if ye will” (Alma 33:23).

More from Elder Maxwell:
We tend to think of consecration [or letting go] only as yielding up, when divinely directed, our material possessions. But ultimate consecration is the yielding up of oneself to God. Heart, soul, and mind were the encompassing words of Christ in describing the first commandment, which is constantly, not periodically, operative (see Matt. 22:37). If kept, then our performances will, in turn, be fully consecrated for the lasting welfare of our souls (see 2 Ne. 32:9).
Such totality involves the submissive converging of feelings, thoughts, words, and deeds, the very opposite of estrangement. ("Consecrate Thy Performance")
Regarding trials, including of our faith and patience, there are no exemptions—only variations (see Mosiah 23:21). These calisthenics are designed to increase our capacity for happiness and service. Yet the faithful will not be totally immune from the events on this planet.
Therefore, we can be troubled on every side, but nothing can really separate us from the love of Christ (see 2 Cor. 4:8; Rom. 8:35–39); ... Even so, as Peter urged, we can and should cast our cares upon the Lord, because He surely cares for us! (see 1 Pet. 5:7). Oh, brothers and sisters, the awaiting emancipation of such trusting surrender! ("Encircled in the Arms of His Love")

The scripture that Elder Maxwell referenced was 1 Peter 5:6-7, which reads, “Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.” Many interpret this verse as meaning that Christ cares about us and takes care of us. However, from the context and with a tip from the original Greek, the meaning is more along the lines of Christ already doing the caring for us. We can surrender our concerns to the Lord, because he does all of our concerning! Obviously this doesn’t meant that we don’t do anything about the trials that face us, but rather it means that if we are doing that which is in our power, and if we are keeping ourselves as aligned with the will of God as we can, that we needn’t worry ourselves over the trials we face, because God will take care of us.

I have many personal experiences with letting go of my trials, and I'd like to share one of them. Leading up to my mission, my entire life I'd been the shining example of gospel living. I was a 'spiritual giant,' well-versed in scripture and doctrine. I had a strong testimony of what I felt to be true. That testimony was earned, and I was forced to stand up for myself due to the area in which I lived and the circumstances in which I found myself. Knowing the gospel has never been a question for me. Other things have - the semester before my mission, I felt prompted to take Mandarin 101 at BYU. I thought, hey, this can't be so bad. My cousin learned Chinese, and I'm half Chinese, and even if my family doesn't speak the same dialect, it's sure to help, right?

I got a D that semester.

And so when the call invariably came to preach the gospel in Mandarin Chinese, I knew it wouldn't be me doing the learning in the MTC. Alone, I was powerless. With the Lord's help, I would be capable of great things. And so when I got to the MTC, it was a great surprise, a stunning miracle, and an obvious blessing that the language came easily to me. In fact, I picked it up faster than anyone else in my district. It was almost natural. My entrusting my trial to the Lord paid off.

That wasn't the extent of it, though, because I hadn't fully learned my lesson. One of the first teaching opportunities I had was teaching my afternoon teacher a discussion with my MTC companion. It was even in English. We prepared, and we tried to teach, but it was a fantastically horrible experience. The Spirit wasn't there, we couldn't figure out what to say, and my teacher was dozing off while we were teaching. It was horrendous, and we all knew it didn't go well. That night as I knelt to pray, I pleaded to know what went wrong, and what I should have done differently.

Now, when I learn scriptures, I remember them by their position on the page and by the markings I put on them. I have a hard time remembering references. And so when a scripture reference popped into my head, I knew it wasn't just my own recollecting. I felt urged to look up Proverbs 3:5-6, which reads, "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” My confidence in my own knowledge of the gospel and what I figured was inherent ability to teach it was my downfall that day. I strived to change my ways, and while I will never claim that I was the most masterful missionary or teacher, I was successful, and I had the Spirit with me. Letting go of my trials and trusting the Lord with control made the difference for me.

As we face trials that are specifically tailored to our individual life experiences, we sometimes feel to play the martyr. We feel that the trials given to us are too hard to bear, an unfair lot, or somehow more than we deserve. As a loving Father in Heaven, we know that God will not tempt us above that we are able – this extends to trials, as well. We will not be tried beyond what we are capable of handling. Our trials are also there to help mold us into the children of God that we ought to be. Letting go of trials not only means trusting the Lord to help us through, but trusting that He knows best what we need, that He knows us better even than we know ourselves, and “that all these things shall give [us] experience, and shall be for [our] good” (D&C 122:7). Our experiences shape who we are, and by letting go of our sins, our wills, and our trials, we allow ourselves to be shaped like the Savior. As we overcome the stumbling blocks and obstacles that stand in our way, and as we earnestly strive to consecrate ourselves to the Lord, “we shall see him as he is” and “we shall be like him” (1 John 3:2).

It is my testimony that “letting go” is of great importance to us in our endeavors to be like Christ and to progress in this life.


Tuesday, June 19, 2007

The Castle Says Hello!

So I guess we’ve both kind of fallen off the face of the planet as far as blogging goes. It’s weird because there’s time to do it, but neither of us can seem to find the motivation to actually sit down and write something out. The biggest reason I’m doing it now is that I’m trying to look like I’m being busy at work. I’m far too efficient for my own good :P

Things in the world of Salad and Drex have been a bit crazy. With wedding plans in full swing, I’m trying my best to keep on top of everything and make sure that things are getting done. I have my dress, shoes, and slip (and even experienced a skanky moment when I bought a bra at Victoria’s Secret—I’d never done that before). We got my Temple clothes this weekend and my Temple dress is really pretty. We got all of our invitations addressed and mailed and now we just have to work on the e-invites in an effort to keep postage costs down. I’ve had one bridal shower (I love the awkwardness of combining my mom’s family with my dad’s family…good times had all around) and I have 2 more to go, one of which is the Moho shower which I’m uber excited for. We pretty much have everything under control, but I’m still kind of in panic mode. I feel like there’s something I’m forgetting to do and I’m going to be in big trouble if I don’t remember what it is. I think that’s just my OCD coming through because we really are on top of the game.

Drex has been out of town for 6 days. It’s been interesting without him here. I miss him like crazy and I can’t wait for him to come back (4 more days to go) but it’s not as bad as I was expecting it to be. We’ve been rather inseparable since we started dating and I was expecting to go through a bit more withdrawal. I am an independent person by nature: I like to do things for myself on my time frame and I hate having my plans messed up by other people. When I was single, I had no problem being alone and filling my time and getting things done. I’m still able to get everything done with Drex around and it’s really nice to have him there and to know that if I hit a rut or just need to be loved, I don’t have to go far. Since he’s been gone I’ve filled my time with other people and I’ve loved getting to spend that time with them. Gimple and I have hung out a lot, Hidden came over, Mulan and I spent some quality time together, and my family was in town all weekend so my sister and I had a 3 day sleepover at my grandma’s. I’m not ok being “alone” anymore. I crave the company of someone else and feel overcome with loneliness and feelings of inadequacy if I’m left to my own devices for too long. It’s interesting how relationships change the way we view the world around us. I have a final to work on today and tomorrow, but while I need to be “alone” to work on that, I’m sitting here trying to figure out how I can work on that and still manage to spend time with someone else so I’m not alone.

In an effort to milk even more of your sympathy ;) Drex and Bob have been texting me pictures of their vacation pretty regularly. They texted me a picture of the food from one of my favorite eateries that hasn’t made it to Utah; I was awakened yesterday with a picture of the Cinderella castle in the Magic Kingdom; Bob kept telling me how they saw Sleeping Beauty and Maleficent (from my favorite movie of all time) walking around the park etc etc. I lead a rough life, I know….

In our musings last night, Mulan and I were discussing the different positions of the Mohos when it comes to Mixed-Orientation relationships. She was asking me how everyone views the idea and I figure it depends on where everyone is, individually, in their struggle with SSA. Please correct me if I’m wrong. There are some people who are very supportive of the idea and others who don’t think the person struggling with SSA is being true to themselves. We would like to know how you really feel about it, so feel free to comment (I’ll try not to take anything personally ;) ).


Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Here's mine:

my daemon...


i'm not dead

I have about a dozen things I've been wanting to blog on, but I've been so thrashed with work and writing out announcements and watching Alias and stuff that I haven't actually done any of it. Seriously, staring at my computer for 8 hours straight isn't too conducive to blogging when I get home. I've never had such a non-desire to go on my computer.

Pending blog posts include my take on mixed-orientation dating, the doctrine of letting go (which I convinced my bishopric should be the topic of my talk in a week and a half), my comments on pop rocks, and how great the Matis' are.

Also, has a cool thing figuring out your daemon. Here's mine, and your input will help it be shaped to my actual personality. An interesting concept.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

By a show of hands...

Ok, in an effort to keep everything about our engagement unconventional, it has been decided that I be given a MoHo bridal shower. Gimple is spearheading the effort and we'd like to know how many of you are interested in attending so that we can get a guest count. We know that many of you are out of the area for the summer, or just plain old don't live here (lucky!), but we figured this was the quickest way to assemble the guest list. If you're interested in attending, just leave a comment here and we'll put you on the list. The party is tentatively scheduled for July 21 in good old P-town, but the date can be flexible.


Wednesday, May 30, 2007


We haven’t posted for a while and it’s not like we’ve been overly busy, more overly lazy…

Wedding plans have been eating my face. I keep trying to convince Drex that we should just elope and get rid of the mess that wedding planning causes but he’s not such a fan of that idea. We got my dress though and I’m excited about that…and I bought my shoes today and convinced my mom that stockings in August on the East Coast are not a good plan (points for me!). Other than that, I guess things are moving along fairly swiftly in that department…just over 2 months to go which is super crazy.

I’ve been looking for a teaching job for next year. I’m sick of office work and though my friends were good enough to hook me up with the job I currently have, it’s definitely not what I want to be doing for the rest of my life (I would have to claw my eyes out if it were). I had 4 interviews and hadn’t heard anything back after a couple of weeks, so I checked my professional email on Monday and found that 3 of the 4 schools had decided to hire someone else. One of those schools was the school where I did my internship. I figured that job would be an easy one to get because I know the students, I know the faculty, I have what it takes to be successful at that school and it would take far less time to train me than it would to train a completely new teacher. I felt like the interview had gone fairly well, so I was really surprised to get that email. I called one of my friends (who happened to be one of the people who interviewed me) and asked her what I could do better in future interviews so that I can actually get a job. She said, “Oh, your interview was fine. You did really well…Sarah just doesn’t like you.” Um, can we say extremely unprofessional (Sarah is the principal at the school)? Her personal feelings should not dictate whether or not they hire me if I’m qualified for the job and based on what my friend said, I was more than qualified for the job. Then I realized that this woman who doesn’t like me is at the top of my reference list on my resume. Then things started clicking in to place: am I not getting jobs because people are calling her and she’s telling them that I’m a bad teacher???? If that’s the case, then I’m uber pissed because I didn’t get a job last year and I don’t know if I’m going to get one for this next year. I decided to take her off my reference list and we’ll see what happens with the interview I had yesterday. Side note: while I was talking to this friend, she mentioned that she and another teacher ran into one of my former students while they were at lunch the other day and they mentioned that I was engaged and his reaction was, “really?? We always thought she was gay.” I thought that was pretty great, or at least it lifted my mood from uber pissed to only slightly pissed.

Lately I’ve felt like we’ve missed out on a lot of things in the mohosphere. I don’t think it’s true because we religiously read the blogs and we hang out with people, I guess it’s just because it’s summer and so many people have left. I hung out with Gimple last night and we went to dinner at Leatherbys. We go there entirely too often, but it’s so good (get the cheesy fries, they’re amazing). Then we went and hung out with Hidden for a bit—well, actually, we watched him play Settlers of Cataan with some other friends. I miss the moho parties we threw…maybe I’ll have to plan another one soon so that we can have fun together again.

If any of you haves ins in any secondary schools in Utah Valley or the south end of the Salt Lake valley, please please please let me know because I desperately need a job.


Thursday, May 17, 2007

rant: judgmental mohos - the flipside

I always feel like I have to preface my ranting with some disclaimers. My rants are my opinions. They aren't infalliable, nor do I consider them so, even for myself. My opinions are subject to change, mood, and season, among other things. I also realize that I sometimes (read: often) come across to some people as aloof, elitist, or even self-righteous. Let me state that that is never my intent - I share how I feel about things, and I hope that people will take it or leave it as they see fit.

However, that brings me to my rant. Some people, in leaving it, decide that because they disagree on something that I am wrong and should somehow be brought down for what I say/believe. Most of my life I've had to guard or protect my opinions. Growing up in a predominantly non-LDS community does that. I came under fire for what I believed in at least on a weekly basis. Honestly, that was part of the draw of BYU - a chance to study away from the judgments of those who disagree. Of course, BYU isn't all I thought it would be, and the judging continues in completely different (and sometimes strikingly similar) ways.

The last time I ranted, I pointed out that I have largely been hugely impressed by the moho community's open-mindedness and acceptance of things outside of normal experience. That still holds true. There is, however, a fairly strong group that for some reason feels that anyone who doesn't see the 'struggle' or whatever in the same way is not only wrong, but should be called out for their wrongness. I've felt attacked (different from being attacked, perhaps, but it was how I felt) by individuals who disagree with what I believe, and try to give me hell for it. And there's a difference between debating a point and giving me hell. I can tell the difference there. I've come under attack for pursuing a relationship with Salad simply because she's a girl. Oh yes, that's different than all those 'bigots' out there who would judge you for pursuing a relationship with a guy.

Someone said I'm probably not gay, because I haven't ever had sex with a guy. This from someone who proclaims that we are not sex acts.

Someone said I'm not being true to myself.

Someone said I'm self-righteous and that I belittle people by sharing my experiences, because I obviously think I'm better than they are.

Is there any place for me to go to be free from the incessant judging? I feel like I'm in a forever abusive relationship sometimes, being ripped this way and that, emotionally manipulated and thrown through hell, all because I have an opinion and decide to keep a blog. And sometimes I don't want to be the enabler. I try my utmost to accept people as they are, and for the most part I think I do an okay job, but apparently it doesn't always come out that way. And apparently people aren't content to accept me as I am.

So to those of you whom I may have offended in the past, I'm sorry, To those of you who think that I feel some sense of superiority over you, I'm sorry. That's never my intent, and for the most part I don't feel better than anyone else. I have just as many weaknesses and make just as many mistakes as the next guy. If you think I don't, you're deifying me, and that's not good. I'm just a man, and I'd like it if people could accept that occasionally men make mistakes or have bad days or just plain mess things up.

I can't decide if getting this out is going to make me scale back my opinions on things, become more acerbic in my online talk, or just end up with me being the same old me. I'm honestly a bit scared at how it will turn out, because I don't like shutting up much, nor do I like being mean. I suppose I should try for being me then, but what if me isn't good enough for everyone out there? I don't know if I want to deal with the emotional battering.



Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Coming out part 2: Salad's parents

Ok, let’s get the vacation posts done with so we can move on to bigger and better things.

Montana (May 4-6)

We spent two days in Provo after getting back from California before we headed of to the amazing emptiness of Montana. I had to start classes and both Drex and I had to log some hours at work.

Slight aside: my professor is a hag. She is absolutely ancient and has no idea what is going on in current school settings. She’s been teaching at BYU since 1963 and hasn’t been in a secondary classroom since about then. It’s ridiculous. I told her, after the first class, that I was going out of town on Friday and that I would have to leave class early. She said, “Do what you have to do” and gave me kind of a nasty look; I wanted to punch her in the face.

Now, you might be asking, “why did Drex and Salad decide to go to Montana of all places???” Well, the sole reason for the trip was to visit my parents who, much to my bitter disappointment, moved there about 2 years ago. At least it made what I’m about to tell you easier to accomplish.

So, many of you know that we’ve been dating very seriously and talking about getting married. Before we started seriously entertaining the idea of marriage (or at least before Drex started seriously entertaining the idea) I told Drex that he would have to ask my dad for permission to marry me—I’m kinda traditional that way. We had also decided that this would be a good time to tell my parents about Drex’s SSA.

(Aside about getting my ring: so about 2 weeks before this we had purchased my engagement ring from Sierra West and I love it. I was really excited to wear it, so Drex let me wear it while we were in California. We decided that I wouldn’t wear it in Montana until we had talked to my parents, which made me exceedingly sad, because I had grown quite attached to my ring.)

We got to Montana around 5:30 and we had dinner reservations for 6:30 at some amazingly good restaurant. We had wanted to talk to my parents before going to dinner, but because of timing and being flustered, it didn’t work out that way. Dinner was great, but a little intense because my parents didn’t know whether it was ok to talk about wedding stuff or not. At one point, while Drex wasn’t at the table, my dad leaned over and asked, “is it ok to talk about the wedding??” I said it was, but nothing really came up, which I thought was weird. After dinner, we headed back to my parents’ house and changed clothes and putzed around for a few minutes. The kids were home from their dinner activity, which kind of put a damper on telling my parents because we don’t really think it’s necessary for my siblings to know and there’s really no place to talk in my parents’ house where you can’t hear what’s going on (wow that was a big run-on sentence…oh well *shrug*). My mom cornered me and asked if we still wanted to talk, and I said we did, but obviously not with the kids around. She banished my sister to her room with strict instructions not to come out and my brother was banished to the basement to become so enthralled with computer games that he wouldn’t pay attention if the house crumbled around him. After that was completed, we assembled in the living room to talk. Drex wasn’t even shaking and didn’t appear nervous at all, which I was quite impressed with. I know it can’t have been easy for him to talk to candidly with my parents given the fact that he barely knew them, but I knew he would say what they needed to hear. He started out with, “We intend to be married and we’d like to do it with your blessing, but I think you should know what Salad is getting into.” The conversation went on from there. My parents didn’t say a whole lot that night. My dad did most of the talking and just expressed concern, mostly for me and my emotional well-being more than anything else. I had a really hard time reading my dad during the conversation. I had no idea what he was thinking. After Drex had gone through things from his point of view, I reiterated to my parents how much I love Drex and the fact that I’ve spent countless hours praying, researching, seeking counsel and talking to Drex about everything. The conversation ended and we went on with the rest of the evening.

Saturday was fun…:P Ok, well it was mostly. Drex and I got up and watched Duck Tales with my brothers—yay for Saturday morning cartoons and pajamas! Then my sister came down and told us that if we wanted her to take our engagement pictures, we’d have to get ready and go fairly quickly because her work schedule changed. Sadly, we had to tear ourselves away from Duck Tales and get ready. After getting ready, Drex and I sat down to figure out timing with the Temple and everything and found that the Temple is going to be closed on the day we wanted to get married, so we had to pick a different date. A debate with the parents ensued, and while I know they meant well, I still felt kind of attacked and inadequate and like it didn’t matter what I did, someone was going to be upset with me. I *hate* that feeling. It was all I could do to not burst into tears and got running to my bedroom. Luckily Drex was there to calm me a bit and we chose a date and called the Temple. Then we went driving around up Lolo Canyon to try and find somewhere to take pictures. My sister was kind of irked because my parents decided that they were going to come along and she didn’t want my dad taking over the photo shoot—which he tried to do. After taking pictures up the canyon, we went down to the UofM campus and took some pictures there. A few of them turned out well, but I think we’re going to try and take some more pictures in a couple of weeks as well. After we got back we ate dinner, Drex took a nap, and then we watched Eragon—good movie, but if you’ve read the book, it leaves a bit to be desired.

Sunday was your typical Sunday. In Relief Society the biddies were complaining about how they can’t control their daughters and what they wear. One of the women had the audacity to say that the girls don’t know what they’re doing when they dress like skanks. Then another woman decided that two-piece bathing suits were specifically banned in the “For the Strength of Youth” pamphlet (which is a crock! I own a two-piece bathing suit that is much more modest than 90% of the one piece bathing suits I’ve seen lately). The one good part about RS was that my mom’s cell phone went off in the middle, playing the James Bond theme (it was my dad). I was appalled by the attitudes of the women toward controlling how their daughters appear. They pretty much said that they couldn’t do anything and they’d just have to wait for them to grow out of the stage. My dad always taught us the importance of wearing modest clothing and my mother stood right beside him on the issue. I’m grateful that my parents clamped down and taught me and made an effort to make sure that I followed the standards set forth by the church. The Sunday School teacher wasn’t as familiar with the gospel as she should have been and got caught up in finding relevant quotes so she kind of missed the boat on the deeper meaning. Sacrament Meeting was testimonies and Drex and I got a wee bit irreverent and counted up how many times certain phrases were said—good times. After Church my parents wanted to talk to us a bit. My dad had processed a bit more and had read the interview done by Elder Oaks and Elder Wickman. He asked some pretty pointed questions; nothing super personal, but pointed nonetheless. I think that conversation helped him to feel a bit better about the situation. Both of my parents stressed that they had no problem with the marriage and that we have their support 100%, they’re more concerned for my emotional well-being than anything else. During the discussion I had the feeling that I should ask my dad for a blessing, but was waiting for the right moment. After the discussion ended, Drex turned and whispered to me that I should ask for a blessing. I knew I needed it and I knew it would be amazing, so I asked. My dad was more than willing and invited Drex to join him. As they laid their hands on my head, I was overcome by the feelings of love and gratitude I have for the two most important men in my life. I was given some pretty neat promises and left with a feeling of peace and comfort. I couldn’t have asked for anything better.

We ended up staying and eating lunch with the fam and then we headed back home to good old P-town. On the way, we stopped at Drex’s Grandma’s house to tell her that we’re engaged and to visit for a bit. After the visit we bee-lined it for home and, after saying good night, collapsed into our respective beds and slept.

To sum everything up: both of our parents are now aware of the challenges we face, Drex and I are engaged, the wedding date is August 8th in Washington DC, we’re having a reception in Alpine on the 10th of August for those of you interested in attending.

Ok, now we’re caught up on vacation. I’m sure Drex will have a meta-post with his take on the events described above. Now Drex can post on something cool and spiritual and I’ll find some more pictures of chapstick :P


Thursday, May 10, 2007

vacation: days 3-5 - san fran & fremont

day 3 - san fran (saturday april 28 2007)

Saturday morning began bright and early - we headed up from San Jose to Fremont to catch the BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) from Fremont at 8:30ish. We grabbed some bagels along the way, clambered on the train, and headed into the city. We decided to hit up the shops in Chinatown first. We were scheduled to meet with some of my online friends from a forum at 11:00, so we meandered around for the time leading up to it. My friends were a bit late (about an hour because of construction and traffic issues), but showed up and we went to dim sum at a Chinese place with them. I think Salad will have to meta-post on this in the comments for a more in-depth or American look at Chinatown, because I grew up visiting my mom's family in the Chinatown in Brooklyn (I'm half Chinese). It was fun and reminiscent of other times, but mostly unremarkable to me. A bit touristy (read: very touristy). After dim sum we went intoa few more shops, then ran off to catch a bus. In the ensuing hulabaloo, my online friends got ditched, leaving me in a bit of a sour mood, and we headed off to Ghirardelli Square. We got the free chocolate, then walked down to Fisherman's Wharf, walked along the water area to Pier 39 where we saw a dock full of sea lions (which I brilliantly called mountain lions while bragging to Bob about being in the middle of San Fran), and took a rail thing over to Union Square. We hit up another Rasputin (Hidden was bent on getting that last DVD of an anime he liked), then caught the BART back to Fremont and the car. Dinner was Panera (mmm Panera), we went shoe shopping for Vanessa, and headed down to the third (and final) Rasputin (where Hidden still failed to find the last DVD). Then off to bed again.

day 4 - fremont (sunday april 29 2007)

Sunday was amazing for me. Probably a little bit less so for Salad, but it might have been my favorite day of the vacation. Salad and I left early to get to church in Fremont. We made it in record time (I didn't know how much Sunday morning traffic to account for) and ended up at the chapel about 50 minutes early for the 9:00 sacrament meeting. We roamed the halls and I showed the wonders of huge California chapels to Salad (2 chapels, 1.5 gyms, 2 kitchens, 2 relief society rooms, an elevator to the 2nd floor with about 40 classrooms, 2 libraries, etc.). People started showing up, and I got some really classic double-takes. Now, I spent 15 months total in this ward. I was part of the ward. I loved the people there, and had gotten to know many of them on a fairly personal level. That said, I didn't expect too many people to remember me very vividly. It had been over a year, after all. Much to my surprise, pretty much everyone remembered me, and the outpouring of love was huge. I don't want to come across as prideful or conceited, but I was a dang good missionary in that ward, and the members knew it. Anyway, everyone would ask Salad if she sang before they'd ask anything else. I sang in Sacrament meeting in that ward probably no less than 13 times. The bishop even asked if I would be singing anything in the meetings, but we hadn't planned ahead for it, so I said no. As luck would have it (of course), the girl who was supposed to do the musical number ran in semi-frantic, saying that she couldn't play the song because she hadn't finished learning it. The first counselor turned to me (5 minutes before the start of church, mind you) and asked if I would be willing to sing. Who am I to turn down a coincidence in church? So I sang "I Need Thee Every Hour" almost straight from the hymnbook, and it was awesome.

The best part of sacrament meeting, though, was the involvement of some key individuals. One of my converts, who I baptized when he was 11, was preparing the sacrament. Another of my converts was passing the sacrament. One of the kids that I did new member discussions for and kept active was passing the sacament as well. And another kid that I did new member discussions for and that we kept very involved got his mission call that week. A bunch of my converts were there and strong, and most of my favorite members were there as well. One of my favorite converts made the trip up to Fremont specifically to see me, despite having moved to another area. It was amazing, the Spirit was so strong, and I was nearly moved to tears many times.

The rest of the meetings were fairly nondescript. We went to the Chinese Sunday school and I translated everything for Salad. Priesthood was surprisingly good (I forgot what good Priesthood meetings were like), even if I had to conduct the music for opening exercises (they have a sense of humor in Fremont). After church, the Chinese group put together a potluck dinner at one of the member's houses, so we headed over there and got to eat a sampling of much of the best Chinese food you can get. I got to sit down and talk to a lot of the people I missed so much, and even got to horse around with all the little kids that were off limits as a missionary.

After the potluck we hung out with some of the people and eventually took a nap on the couch. When dinnertime rolled around we went down to Cupertino, the other area I served in, to eat with the former branch mission leader. Apparently the little branch in which I started my mission, which had averaged about 30-35 members at sacrament meeting when I got there and had 45-50 when I left was averaging over 70 people a week, and they were considering moving it to another building and breaking its dependence on the English ward. Going back to my old stomping grounds was a huge booster for me - to see that the work had continued forward and that the people that I had worked so hard with were still strong was amazing to me.

day 5 - fremont revisited (monday april 30 2007)

Monday was probably really boring for Salad. For the late morning/early afternoon, we perused Asian stores, bought and ate Chinese pastries and a boba drink, had In-N-Out again, and kept ourselves busy. Around 2:00 we headed off to my favorite member's house for the rest of the day. I had done a lot of music with her and had baptized her three kids. We did a bunch of music (she played, I sang), I showed her a bunch of the recordings I'd done over the past 2 years, and she made my absolute favorite dinner, chinese beef noodles. It was just as good as I remembered. She also had some authentic Taiwanese pastries (brought from Taiwan that weekend by her husband) and some other Asian desserts and such. When we left that night, she sent us off with a box full of treats. From there we headed into San Jose to pick Hidden up from dinner, and we drove back to Utah. It was a very long drive back, but we got back in one piece and without incident.

It was a tiring trip, but so good for me. I loved it, and had a great time, and hope to be able to do something like it again next year. That's about it.


Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Brought to Tears

So I'm supposed to be editing/writing a paper, but this is more important. Don't look at the time stamp Drex!

Drex and I were doing our scripture study tonight which, because of vacations and the fact that we no longer live in the same complex, hasn't been as regular as we would like it to be. We're kind of behind, but this is one time when I find myself extremely grateful for the fact that we haven't been as diligent as we should be. We were reading in Jacob 6 and I found myself overcome by emotion, to the point where I couldn't speak, as we read part of the chapter. Now, you must understand that I have only been brought to tears one other time while reading the scriptures and that was right after Drex and I started dating. The verses we read are as follows

4 And how merciful is our God unto us, for he remembereth the house of Israel, both roots and branches; and he stretches forth his hands unto them all the day long; and they are a stiffnecked and a gainsaying people; but as many as will not harden their hearts shall be saved in the kingdom of God.
5 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, I beseech of you in words of soberness that ye would repent, and cleave unto God as he cleaveth unto you. And while his arm of mercy is extended towards you in the light of the day, harden not your hearts.
6 Yea, today, if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts; for why will ye die?

I was touched so deeply by the part that says, "he stretches forth his hand unto them all the day long." Sometimes we are so blinded by the troubles we face that we fail to recognize the fact that we don't have to do everything alone. Someone else is there to take our burden and make the way easier for us.

We went to the Matis FHE last night and Brother Millet talked about the fact that the Lord cares for us enough to take on our burden, all we have to do is let go and let Him take over. Much easier said than done, I know. I've struggled lately with the idea that I don't have to take everything on myself; I can let others help me and I
have to let others help me if I'm going to get anywhere--not just in the long run, but in the short run as well. God truly has, and does, stretch His hands out to every one of us...we just have to be willing to look up long enough to realize it.

Ok, I don't think there's much else I can say right now that will even remotely make sense, so off to paper land with me...

Monday, May 7, 2007

vacation: days 1&2 - driving & monterey

day 1 - driving (thursday 26 april 2007)

We started out as soon as Hidden was done with his last final. We left Provo at around 8:00PM (causing me to miss all of the 2-hour special of American Idol, grr). The drive was fairly uneventful. We cycled through drivers throughout the night/morning. I drove until we crossed the Nevada line, then passed out because I'm extremely adept at sleeping in moving vehicles. We made it through much of Nevada to Reno before I took my turn again, and I drove almost all the way through California before Hidden took over for the last 20 minutes or so (which I also slept through :P). After arriving in San Jose at Hidden's uncle's place (at around 7:00, if I remember correctly), we crashed on their air mattresses and floor and took naps for the rest of the morning. Although before we actually fell asleep, Salad had planted herself downstairs and was reading when Hidden and I heard raucous laughter coming from her direction. Salad, in her lack of sleep, had completely misread a word in her book: underfed. If you read "under-fed," give yourself a gold star. What she read was the past tense of "underf," meaning (now), to misread or mishear something. We were up again at around 12:30. One item of note at this time is that after awakening, Hidden and I were talking in the living room when a bird flew into the living room window. Bonk and a flurry of feathers later, we look out the window and don't see the bird until another bird flies in and starts feverishly pecking at it - it was stuck in the crosshatches of a chair on the porch. So here I am thinking that I'm seeing bird cannibalism before my very eyes, when the trapped bird gets free and I realize that was the point the entire time. Smart birds.

After that we went to In-N-Out for lunch (mmm...), went to Rasputin (a fantastic used CD etc store) and picked up some music and the first season of Duck Tales (woo woo!) on DVD (woohoo!), then headed to the Great Mall to try to find orange sunglasses and orange Converse hi-tops for Hidden (they had neither). We headed into downtown San Jose to pick up Salad's friend Vanessa and went out to Thai food for dinner (amazing). Then we rushed back to Hidden's cousins' high school to see their production of The Wiz. It wasn't bad, but didn't match up to Utah high school standards (I saw Orem High's production of Les Mis a few years back, and it was amazing). We did have a fun time trying to figure out if Hidden's cousin is straight (we don't think so) and making fun of some of the acting, though. After the play, we dropped Salad and Vanessa off (I think Salad was walking dead at that point) and Hidden and I visited one of his old friends from the mission. Hidden procured a car for Sunday and Monday so we could split up, and we went back to his uncle's house to sleep.

day 2 - monterey (friday 27 april 2007)

While we had originally planned to leave at around 6:30 to pick Salad up and head down to Monterey, Hidden's uncle talked us out of it, and we headed off at around 9:00 instead. We had a fairly uneventful trip down to Monterey, driving through some of Hidden's old stomping grounds and seeing all manner of fields of garlic, artichokes, and strawberries. Once in Monterey proper, we parked down aways from the Monterey Bay Aquarium and Cannery Row, then took a walk along the sidewalk for a while. Because Hidden and I had previously been to the Aquarium and hadn't been horribly impressed (either by the things to see or by the exhorbitant price), we skipped out on that. We ended up taking a few minutes at the small beach there, wetting our feet in the extremely cold Pacific and taking a bunch of pictures. Hidden almost had his flip-flops stolen by the ocean, Salad got freezing cold saltwater on freshly shaven legs, and I was mostly boring. At one point Hidden was writing Salad loves Drex in the sand, but the water came and washed it away. Glaring, Hidden spouted off "Boo, you whore!" at the ocean. We laughed. A lot.

We finished up there, picked up some sunscreen so Salad wouldn't burn too bad (haha yeah right) and headed off to 17-mile drive. The drive itself is beautiful enough, but we were also able to see some of the notable things along the way. We went through most of the stuff there, then spit ourselves out at Carmel. In Carmel we grabbed some food to go from a diner, then planted ourselves down along the beach. Two plus hours later we headed back to the car and up to visit one of Hidden's convert families for an authentic Mexican dinner. We also slowly began to realize the power of the California sun, as Hidden got some sweet tan lines, Salad burned all over (we told the family that she was radioactive), and I got the worst sunburn I've ever had on my legs (I don't burn often or easily, but I guess my legs got the brunt of it this time - by now they're finally fading into a tan). Dinner was fantastic (tacos like what), and we headed back to San Jose for boba drinks (smoothies with giant tapioca pearls - they're an Asian thing that's been big in Cali and elsewhere with Asian populations but that are picking up other places, too) with Vanessa. Then we headed off to sleep and prep for the next day: San Fran.

EDIT: Flickr Pictures! (I think that's how it works)