Monday, September 21, 2015

Dream Diary: Part 8

Voldemort has a son?
I'm at my high school doing typical dream stuff—trying to remember my locker combination and the location of all of my classes—when I receive a note from the front office. It's sort of in code, but the gist of it is that I need to contact Mr. Barnes (my jr. high band director) because there's new information about my dad from the 1970s that has something to do with a flute. My high school friend, Danielle, and I try to track Mr. Barnes down, with little luck, since he doesn't teach at the high school. So we decided to break into his apartment, where we interrupted Voldemort's son in his plans to raise an evil army of flutists. Before I had time to ponder on practicality of this plan, Voldemort's son started trying to bite our necks, and I woke up thoroughly creeped out.

A Friends and Boy Meets World Mashup
The main cast in Friends decides to pretend to act like someone else in the main cast to throw paparazzi off their trail. (For example, Monica did a killer impression of Ross). Who do they call to sort out the mystery? None other than Eric Matthews. He bungled the whole thing, of course.

BYU's new assistant football coach: me
My contribution to the team was to make them run around the church a lot and eat Chinese food after practice. Unsurprisingly, fans were not happy, so they sent the cops out to get me. I spent a lot of time running in this dream.

A series of elevator dreams
Dream elevators are bad news. For example, I once dreamed that the elevator I was in broke free from the building and floated aimlessly around San Francisco for hours. Another time I stood in line for an elevator at BYU for a long time, and when it was finally my turn, the elevator was just too tired to carry another load. My elevator mates and I plummeted to the basement, which was approximately 15 miles beneath us. I would not wish it upon anyone to have their life flash before their eyes in this manner. In my latest elevator dream, Kimberly was the culprit. We were headed to the basement of the Payson Temple for a family reunion, and the corner she was standing in disappeared and she fell several stories to what should have been her doom, but luckily a pile of Barbies and pillows cushioned her fall. My dream-elevator victims are not always so lucky.

Moral of the story: always take the stairs.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Enchanted pages

I started reading this book last night that I think I'm going to love. This passage at the beginning really struck a chord with me:
Once, in my father's bookshop, I heard a regular customer say that few things leave a deeper mark on a reader than the first book that finds its way into his heart. Those first images, the echo of words we think we have left behind, accompany us throughout our lives and sculpt a place in our memory to which, sooner or later—no matter how many books we read, how many worlds we discover, or how much we learn or forget—we will return. (The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon, pg. 8)
The first book that popped to my mind when I read this was, of course, Harry Potter. I was 12 when I read Sorcerer's Stone for the first time, relatively young in my reading life. Would I love the books as much as I do if I hadn't been a part of the lucky Harry Potter generation? Probably not.

But there are other books that I read early in life that have stayed close to my heart. (If you've seen my Favorites shelf on Goodreads, you probably noticed that a lot of them are young adult/middle grade.)

I have my 5th grade teacher, Mr. Applegate, to thank for introducing me to some of my favorite books. There's Ella Enchanted, still the best fairy-tale retelling I have ever read (and I've read a lot). There's The Giver, one of the first books that portrayed the world I lived in in grays, rather than black and white. And there's also A Return to Christmas, a cheesy, predictable Christmas story that always makes the Christmas season feel more complete.

I've read all of these books more than once, and they all still evoke that magical, childlike wonder. I add a few books to my Favorites shelf every year, but the ones I fell in love with in elementary school/middle school get a special spot on that shelf. They're the ones I go back to the most.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

On journaling

I recently made a goal to write in my journal every day. This isn't the first time I've made this goal; in my younger years, it seems like I was constantly resolving to write every day "because Gordon B. Hinckley says it's important." Which meant that in elementary school, I had far too many "I hate [insert sibling here]" entries (alongside many "I hate [insert Chicago Bulls player]" entries). In junior high the hate turned to love, with an entire year's worth of "I love [insert boy]" entries.

My heart was in the right place, but the result was a lot of thoughts I'm not exactly proud I preserved for future generations (except for, perhaps, the Chicago Bulls ones. Some of those were very colorful, like Dennis Rodman's hair).

Since I don't need to motivate myself to write in my journal, I haven't made any journal-related goals since 2002. I eased into writing about once a week, and that's been good enough for me for 13 years.

18 journals, and counting.

But you miss out on some of the biggest benefits of journaling if you wait until something noteworthy has happened to pull out that pen and paper. You forget about the hilarious tidbits that make up everyday life. You don't take the time to think of something you're grateful for on a really crappy day.

The benefits of journaling extend past immediate payoffs, though. I've found that it's a powerful personal revelation tool, as well. It's a bit freaky how often I've found answers to my current struggles by diving into my past experiences. And it's not just about my ever-evolving learning cycle; it's like when you read a scripture at exactly the moment you need it and you feel as if it was written just for you. Only the words are your words, and you already have an emotional connection to them.

Journaling is about more than just documenting your life (which is important, no matter how mundane you think your life is). Your journal can also give so much right back to you if you're willing to put in the effort.

Seriously, if you're not a regular journal keeper, give it another try.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Glad for an unexpected reason

The signs are all there: the kids stopped coming to the park where I like to take my lunch breaks; the sports section of every newspaper talks about nothing but football; pictures of freshly groomed kids keep appearing on my Facebook feed.

Proof that Tiffany was in fact taller than me at one point. (Preschool)

School has begun.

Two things: those are skorts, not a skirt (wouldn't want to abolish the tomboy reputation I've established), and Tyrel was the cutest little boy ever. (5th grade)

Except, one thing that usually accompanies this time of year hasn't appeared yet: the tug at my heart and slight feeling of envy. For the first time in many years, I'm actually glad that I'm not one of the many starting school. I'm glad I don't have to figure out how I'm going to cram classes, work, church, and sleep into a too-small space of time. I'm glad I don't have to adjust to a new sleep routine.

We must have felt pretty safe at our high school if we could show up on the first day with Care Bears and duckies on our shirts and not worry about getting beat up. (Senior year of high school)

Sure, there are things I will always miss about being a student, but for once I'm glad I just get to sit back, enjoy the changing leaves, and watch some football.

Technically not a first-day-of-school picture, but it was the first week, I think. (Sophomore year of college)

Good luck to those who aren't so lucky.

Oh, and words can't express how much I love J.K. Rowling: