Thursday, June 30, 2011

inspiration, creative food, and seeing Gods hand in your daily life

So my time being sick has given me alot of time to reflect and realize all that I am grateful for, it has also allowed me to see the hand of God in my life, and to see how the lord takes care of people who put faith in him. Sunday I was not feeling great still. I made it thru three hours of church, and a little more. I came home and colapsed on my bed. starving, but with no strength to cook, all I wanted was some soup. I felt I should ask for a blessing, and while I was at it, I did something I usually don't do, and let someone know I needed help and some one to help with dinner. Two Melchezedick priesthood holders arrived and gave me a blessing, which was very personal and helpful and unique. and my roommate showed up with her fiancee who was one of the two blessing givers and made me soup. throughout this week I have had meals magically appear for me at work from various sources and I have been well taken care of. I am almost better now. but Still struggling finacially a bit. Sunday In an act of faith I paid my tything,and it was hard to do, but I knew if i did I would be taken care of. and for that I atribute to all these blessings.I've also had numerous voluntiers to let nick and I stay at their place in august while I work out my housing/ roommate issues. I will have multiple couches to sleep on, and possibly a bed, I feel well cared for and that all happend in the past week. the lord wasn't lying when he said in malachi 3 "" 10 Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.
11 And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the Lord of hosts." True that folks. what it means to me right now is have faith, keep the commandments, trust God, pay an honnest tythe and "prove me here with" if the lord will not open the windows of heaven and send people to take care of you, and bring you food and help you find places to stay, and make sure you dont die from your illness. thats what i know to be true.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Why people are amazing, awesome, and far better than they are given credit for

So, Since like wednesday afternoonish, I have been massively ill with the flu. Though no one enjoys being sick, and I have done my fair share of whining, I think God allowed me this opportunity, so that I could see how many truly wonderful friends I have surrounding me, ready in an instant to drop everything and walk my dog, or make me soup, or bring me movies, or just check in to see what more they could do to help me.
I live about one thousand miles away from my family. My closest relative lives about an hour and a half, probably two hours away. So When I need help, there is not much my family can do for me. Its just me and my dog for the most part. But, I have been blessed to be surrounded by some of the most wonderful friends anyone could have on the planet, and until this week I dont think I realized how many people cared about me and were willing to help me, if I just ask for the help.
I am a bit of a stubborn and fiercly independant sort of person. I have always prided myself on being able to take care of myself and provided for myself. In the past weeks I have had more unexpected fees, emergencies, and vet bills than anyone could ever imagine or plan and prepare for on my income, and then on top of it to get sick and not really be able to take care of myself and my needs, it has been so humbling, but it has taught me that people are good for the most part, and friends do have your back when you need them. Most of all it has taught me that God does here and answer our prayers, but usually it is through the acts of kindness of others. He does this so that everyone can be blessed, those giving service and those reciving it. And, so that if our hearts are open, he can teach us something new, and show his love for us. He truly is our Heavenly Father, and just like any father, he wants to bless us in ways that will allow us to grow, because in growing we find true joy. Its been a difficult week, and a dificult month, but like paul I "glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us". Rom. 5: 3-5. May God be with you each, and may warm hearts of friends and family always be near you. Love, Mandi

Friday, June 24, 2011

The Flu Marches On

Day 2 of being home, Day 3 of being sick. I am stuck in a parallel deminsion. There is no sign of the Doctor. The only inhabitants are a small white and brown creature that somewhat resembles a dog. He spends most of his time sleeping, because I will not go play with him, because, well, I cant. In this waste land there are piles of herbal tea bags, cups of gingerale and other beverages, crackers, blankets and movies, as well as the occasional roll of toilet paper. I ache everywhere, and my throat feels like I swallowed a bowling ball (ok i am borrowing that from Brielle, but its true). The sun is shinning and it is a beautiful day, I wish for nothing more than to be able to go out side and play in it, but I feel too weak to even attempt, So i will continue to lay here, drinking my warm beverages that are soothing on my throat, and watching really old movies on netflix no one has ever heard of. I had planned to go to work this morining, I really wanted to, so i could save my leave for something fun like sky diving or hiking, but I couldn't budge this morning, so here i am, watching a 1970's supper cheese sports movie called coach, and looking longingly at the sun out my window. there is a really fun ward activity tonight, that I desperately want to go to, but even if i do, i wont be doing anything fun, and I will just be endangering others. Not that it matters at this point, alot of my friends are already starting similar symptoms- he he funny thing about the flu- its always "going viral" well as long as I feel ok tomorrow so I can go to the temple and sci fi museum, and hopefully the production my friend is in - Savior of the world. I am pretty sure skating is off the table, which is a shame, because the rink will be closed for two weeks. well, enough whining, time to go explore this planet a bit more. If you see a blue phone box, look for The Doctor, and send him my way. I am sure he could fix this, or at least make it more interesting. ha ha. peace out y'all

Thursday, June 23, 2011

ARGH!!! I hate being sick!!!

So, my original plans for today were to go to work, leave a few hours early, and go on a hike with one of my favorite people in the world. Well, she had a dentist appointment and didn't think it would be ok to drive and hike after getting Nitrous Oxide. phss, what a wimp!!! ha ha, no actually I agreed with her, so I asked another good friend and avid hiker if he wanted to go, and he was on board. Then yesterday I woke up with a sore throat that steadily go worse and added a fever and body aches. I thought I'd just go home and sleep it off, so I skipped activity night last night (like I could have played soccer in that state any way!! but you know i would have tried.) and woke up this morning feeling even WORSE!!! yuck!!! so I called in this morning, and have been trying to sleep it off in hopes i could still pull off the hike, but I can tell you right now, That is not going to happen. so next week, I will try to go with my friend who had to go to the dentist. maybe it will all work out for the best in the end. I also did something kinda crazy for me yesterday, and I wrote a message to a guy I liked and told him how I really feel. well that's scary and not something I usually do, but He wrote back, and just wants to be friends. I feel really sick, so that sounds fine to me. So I guess sometimes being sick can be a blessing, its raining outside anyway, so maybe next week i will get a hike in the sun.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Why I love awkward YSA dances...

So last night I went to a regional church Young Single Adult dance. It took place in an airport hanger, which, i have to admit is supper cool!! but as I walked about looking at my friends and strangers from all over western Washington, there were a few things that made me chuckle and flinch at the same time. The first thing, that i think is supper awkward is the circle. For some reason, everyone likes to form little circles to dance in all over the floor. this does not make meeting new people very easy, and it makes dancing super awkward because everyone is watching everyone else in the group. The biggest thing i notice though, was the amount of just flat out wacky dancing that goes on. in order to get attention and to have fun. well, it was sweaty and smelly with all those people in circles, and the circles kept bumping into each other, and brave or stupid people would go to the center to dance in them, and not usually dance well. i felt slightly awkward about it. then someone told me i was a great dancer, and i just had to think, do they mean I actually am, or do they mean what i sometimes mean when i say that to people at dances like this- you are really super brave to come out in public and dance like that. ha ha! there were a lot of awkward conversations with strangers for my friends that got super too personal as well. I love these dances, because they provide so much entertainment and things to think about, but I hate dancing at them, because the music isn't usually concussive to good dancing, except line dances. gotta love those. =) can't wait for the next one. well, maybe I can. ALSO- there was a man there that could be a double for Edward Cullen, except he wasn't sparkly

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Pain, The Great Instructor

Saturday morning, that means get up early and get your butt on the ice!! well, for me any way. So dispite the fact that i fell asleep sometime between twelve thirty and two- i have no idea when i actually fell asleep- I got up this morning at six thirty and dragged my self to the rink again. I did it for the love of Axels, but I didn't get to do an Axel today, but I had fun any way.
I did all sorts of warm up moves for the Axel. Outi added a new one. she has been having me do a two footed sort of a 180 hop on a circle, I guess today I was jumping high enough she let me do was fun, like my roller blading days again. Apparently though she normally wouldn't let me do that on the ice unless she had seen me do it off ice, but I had built enough confidence in her in my abilities to safely perform this task that she let me. she even said i could do it next week when she is not there as long as i warm it up off ice first. normally that is a no. However, and this is the first time in my life I have reached a level to be told this, I am not to even attempt the Axel if she is not there. Well, obviously, I haven't done the Axel off harness yet, so there is no way I would have even considered doing that!!! but someday I will be there. So any way, we did that, and some back spins and then we were possibly going to do the Axel.
Now, here comes into play the title, Pain, The Great Instructor. My arms were being crazy and above my head as usual today, so Outi decided to strap on me what are called "Champion Cords" they are basically thin bungie cords with a carabener attached at the bottom and a loop to put around your hands. you carabener the cord which is wraped around your skate (through the between boot and blade part) and then you strap the loop on your hands. what this does, is forces you to know where your arms are because it creates tension. i had to skate laps like this, and it wasn't a big deal at first, but then my shoulders started to burn. We took them off, and voila!! my arms were less stupid, and more in position. can't accomplish that without a little pain. later on, pain instructed me again. we never got to the axel, because I tried to Hockey stop without turning side ways. This is called falling on your butt, Hard. but the worst part, I didn't tuck my arms, so i landed on my hand funny and luckily just bruised it. I got to spend the rest of the session doing sit spins because of that. so Pain taught me today- put your arms in the correct place or you are getting the cord young lady!! as well as, turn your skate blades side ways when you are trying to stop, and tuck your arms when you fall moron!! Yay for learning!! I love skating. Rock on!!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

a poem, kind of. sometimes

sometimes Im so awesome
my own power stuns me
some times I feel so backwards
and socially uneasy
Sometimes i feel courage
and sometimes fear

sometimes i miss you
and wish you were near
sometimes i long for someone
i've never met
I hope I meet you,
with no regrets

Sometimes i dont know
what to do with my life
to pay the bills
to become someones wife
to be a mother
or to be something tight
like a secret agent
a translator
or someone who flys.

sometimes i dont know
how to talk to people,
how to help, how to reach them
or show them i care.
to teach them i love them
and teach them to dare.

sometimes i care so much
i have to leave,
like when you had a bad day,
I drew on my sleave
a super hero drawing, gave you a hug
and ran away,
as quick as a bug

sometime i'll learn to be the best me
for now i must struggle between my extreems
glad people love me for just who i am
they help me to grow, but they understand
and because of that,
Sometimes I am so awesome.

the last five seconds of 'charlie the unicorn' ruined me for the day!

so, you wouldn't think a stupid little funny cartoon about a unicorn could have any sort of lasting impact on a persons mood for the day, but it did mine! So, if you haven't seen charlie the unicorn, well go to youtube and watch it to form your own opinion, but most people either think its hilarious, or too weird. Well, i think its hilarious, until the last five seconds or so when charlie goes into the cave, and then i get sad, and then i get really mad and wish those cartoon unicorns were real so i could beat them up. I think its the injustice of it all that makes me angry. You take an innocent sleeping unicorn, pester him awake. Take him on an adventure he doesn't want to go on, mock his lack of belief in a candy mountain- to this point it is funny, because i always believe the annoying ones will get what is coming to then. But no, its just poor charlie. What did he ever do to them to deserve being tricked into a cave, beat up and his kidney stolen! How is that possibly funny. Beat up the two annoying ones, that would be hilarious. Just sayin'. stupid unicorns. Other than that, it is really funny though.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

starving in seattle

so, this one is going to be something quite personal, that I probably normally would not share on a blog, but I feel I should.
So earlier this week I decided I needed to do a special fast, and that I ought to actually do a full twenty four hour fast. I'll be honest, i don't think I have actually made it a full twenty four hours of fasting since my mission- over five years ago, but i wanted to show God that the issue at hand was indeed important to me, and also that I would put my faith and trust in him do the matter. I'll be honest, at times I barely made it through not caving in. I had FHE treats, i had grocery shopping to do, i had to pre-cook dessert for my date, and lunch for work when i would end my fast the next afternoon at one, and all sorts of temptations.
I listened to elder oaks talk on desire, from this last general conference. That gave me some strength and answers. the next day continuing was much easier in the morning. I was so happy i was going to do it. I had will power enough to sacrifice for something i really wanted. I lost that for a few years, it felt good to have that back. With one hour to go I headed out to use most of my lunch break for shopping for some new work clothes.
That is when God taught me a very important lesson on compassion. You see working in down town Seattle, everyday on my way too and from work, on my lunch break, I pass about fifty homeless, jobless beggars every day. I see a lot of them over and over again. And yesterday I learned Seattle is the last place I would want to be if I were hungry- even if its intentionally. As soon as i set out on my walk I was overwhelmed with the most amazingly wonderful food smells everywhere. You can ask my old mission companions, but when I am hungry I get mean. At one point I almost lost focus and was going to deck someone and steal their sandwich and run for it. But thankfully I did not. I made it the twenty four hours, then ate my lunch, and a bit more.
I loved the experience. I learned s much from it. In the doctrine and covenants it says 'verily,verily, I say unto you this is fasting and prayer, or rejoicing and prayer'. For me that fast truly became a day of rejoicing, for my original purpose as well as my gratitude for the food I have to eat daily.

Monday, June 13, 2011

A letter from France, means its a good day =)

Chers Amis
In the day of Facebook, E-mail, mobile phones and blogs, occasionally its nice to get a hand writen, or even a typed letter, especially if it comes from an old friend in France, and her cute boyfriend with very broken English.
About 4 months ago one of my good friends reminded me of how wonderful it is to receive a hand written letter by posting her sentiments on Facebook, and offering to hand write each of us a letter if we gave her our address. I love getting non-bills in the mail, so I not only gave her my address, I walked right up to her the next day and gave her a self-addressed stamped envelop. ( Yes, I wanted a letter that bad!) Well, months went by, and I never got my letter from her. We didn't talk for a few months and I was certain she had forgot the whole thing. Then we went on a road trip together, and one of the first things she did was come up to me and let me know she had indeed written me a letter, and even had at one point had it ready for sending, then it got water spilled on it, and that was the end of the letter. Sad day, but I was greatful to her that she remembered and took the time to tell me, and that she took the time to write, even if I never actually got it.
At the same time that I had given her an envelope, I thought of a lot of my dearest friends, and I determined I would write them letters as well. I got about three of ten of those letters actually sent out (sorry everyone else- i spilled water on them. (true story, i still have the envelopes and stuff, but its smudgy and i haven't made a start again. But of the two or three that went out I have now heard back from two. The first one, a mission companion in new mexico, sent me a package back with Eastern European candy that came perfectly timed to cheer me up on a bad day =) (thanks katy!!! you rock!!). The second came today, from France, From Laetita my old friend and foreign exchange student. she has e-mail that she uses rarely, and no facebook, so it was truly a treat. And, she made her boyfriend write me too!! I am so happy to hear from them, and to see Laetita's writing, and Cedrics typed and fun to read English. It makes my heart rejoice. So I will attempt again at the rest of those letters, and I encourage you all to do the same. Pick one friend, hand write them a letter, and try not to spill water on it!!!
Gross Bisou,
X0X0 Mandi =)

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Why I don't like baths!! ew!!

So, I have found on occasion that I am talking to a stressed out friend and they can think of nothing better in the world to help them relax than going home and taking a nice warm bath. I have never understood this. I am an avid shower er. I hate baths. maybe its the germaphobe inside of me, i don't know, but i don't see how sitting in a pool of water with the very dirt that would come off your body could be in any way relaxing and not just disgusting. I feel the same way about hand washing dishes. I want to conserve water where possible, but these are two areas where my disgust at germs and dirt overcomes the rational and conservationist portion of my brain. Maybe I could enjoy a bath sometime, but first i would have to take a show to make sure i didn't get any extra dirt in the bath water, and I would have to probably scrub down the tub fist to make sure it was supper clean. I am the kind of person that wears shower shoes in my own shower- that I do clean frequently- because I don't want to touch the tub. If i wash dishes by hand, then i like to turn on a little water and shower them in reality, as opposed to bathing my dishes in their own filth. i know the soap and warm water will still get them clean, but I don't know it just doesn't gel with me to set dirty dishes in water and then proceed to try to clean them using that water. Maybe I am being a bit weird on this, but well, you've all at least learned something new about me. just don't ever expect me to join you in your love of baths. SHOWERS FOREVER YO!!!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Axels, Awesomeness, and Falling On My Ice

So every Saturday, I wake up at 6:30 am (well, I'll be honest, when I am finished with the snooze its seven) and drag my tired bottom to the ice skating rink ten minutes away. I start out every single time wondering why I am even awake, and why i even want to do this. I pull out my skates and remove the soakers (they are the cute soft fuzzy things skaters put on their skates so that the moisture on the blade gets soaked up and doesn't cause a rust/mold problem for the blade/boot. Mine have butterflies on them). Then i take my cold feet and try to shove them into a foot molded tight cold skating boot. it never feels pleasant, because you should really warm up the skate a bit first before you put your foot in. then i start lacing up my skates. it usually takes me a bit to get the tongue in the right place, and my foot in the perfect spot it has to be in- because the skate was molded to my foot. then trying to get the laces tight enough, well it never happens on the first go, because when the boot does get warmed up by my feet, then i have to retie them tighter any way. So now I have managed to get my skates laced up, I grab a head band, my skating jacket, gloves- one grey, one pink, so I can tell right from left, and my water bottle and then i head out to the ice- usually about 5 minutes late (sorry Outi!!).
Outi is my coach. She is supper awesome and from Finland. Sometimes she coaches me partly in Finnish. Today I learned the word for pink, and then I forgot it, so i can't tell you, sorry. I get out on the ice ( I love the smell of the ice, cold and crisp and refreshing- starts to wake me up) and do a quick warm up, edges, edge pulls, cross overs, cross strokes (pretty boring and i am a bit grumbley to this point), and then I start my favorite- jump ladders =). I love Jumping it is the best thing in the world. Jump ladders are basically starting out with the easiest jump you know (a waltz jump for me) and then working your way up to the hardest (so far a Lutz). Outi is trying to teach me an Axel (a 540 taken off and landed on one foot for those who don't know what that is), so when I finish my single jumps I start doing a jump combo ladder. Basically that means i do all the jumps again, but as soon as i land each of them i instantly spring back up like a bouncy ball and add on another jump, in this instance the loop (a loop is a jump where you take off from back wards on one foot and just sort of hop into the air and turn, difficult but loads of fun). When I finish that, i start working on a back spin and some other foot work things to help me with my Axel.
My goal in skating for the past 18 years has been to learn and get the Axel jump. 18 years!!! holy cow!! I have a lot of determination to eventually finish goals when I make them, but sometimes it takes a ridiculous amount of time. any way, so today Outi had me do a Flip-Loop (jump combination, too difficult to explain. maybe i will add some video) and i was going pretty big, but i kept getting too far back on my landing for the Flip. I fell hard on my butt, i fell correctly, but it hurts to sit now. I did eventually get the Flip-Loop, then I did a Lutz-Loop almost perfect on the second go, so we moved over to the harness to begin our Axel work. A harness is basically a pulley system so my coach can set me down when I do my Axel wrong and I don't have to hurt myself falling. its like training wheels for figure skaters learning jumps. Doesn't really work for spins, which is a shame because i am a bad spinner.
Any way, I started working on my Axel, and it was AWESOMENESS to the max!!! I was jumping so high, and it felt more like flying than any other jump I have ever learned. (that is why i love to jump, its like flying!!!) I still need the harness one more week before i loose the training wheels, but i am quite certain this will be my favorite jump when I get it!! my arms are still being funny, and sometimes my foot, but Outi is so good to force me to get the technique right that its going to be amazing. When I finally get it, and get off the harness, I hope all my friends will join me at the rink some morning to watch me do an Axel- the coolest single jump in figure skating, and a result of 18 years of hard work and early mornings for me.
watch this video on basic figure skating jumps, it will make more sense.
Flip jump:
Flip/Loop combination:

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Change, Fear, Faith, and Greatness

So, I haven't written for such a very very long time that I have changed almost completely. I mean, not in the basics of my personality etc, but some how i have become more and better. I am working on my Axel in skating, much advanced from about 9 months ago. I am now in the Relief Society Presidency in my ward, and I have gained some new very dear friends in that time. Its because of these changes and so many more that I had to have a thinking moment this morning. In the past two months I have grown so much spiritually and God has kept raising the bar on me. A lot of these changes came about because of good friends. and in the past few weeks a lot of changes have also happened with those friends, a test really that showed the friendship was a true friendship, and stronger than ever, because now i see less of that friend, but yet I think we are closer. also there was a man i met a few weeks back, who changed my view on things again. he made me think today too!! he is also amazing, but also very far away right now. two wonderful weeks, then he was back home to New York. I miss his awesomeness very much. I don't know what will happen in the future, but I would bet we will be good friends from here on out. some people are like that, you can come to know and trust them very quickly, most are not. so that leads me to today's thought, the most important part of this. i will write it exactly as I did this morning: We are more afraid of how great we can be than that we are nothing; more afraid to be truly loved, than rejected; More afraid of true friends, than of fake ones; More afraid of what we can do and handle, than what we can't. We don't want to see what we can do and be, have and love because it comes at a higher greater cost. True friends, true love, true greatness comes as a great and wonderful gift, but at the cost of greater responsibility, sacrifice, faith, trust, and duty. To love someone enough to be willing to die for them, is also to love them enough to be willing to live for them, which may actually be more difficult. To truly care means to know you will feel and share as much pain as you do joy that isn't your own or about you. To know you are great and capable is to know you have no excuse for not doing all you can and should, and to be left with out an excuse is scary. To know you are great and loved, and to love, is to know that you MUST give your ALL, no matter the cost, or stand as if naked before God and face the consequence of not doing what you could, when He gave you everything you needed to accomplish all he asked of you.