Saturday, June 30, 2012

The A Standard

You know, growing up, Track and Field used to be among my favorites to watch. This year I am struggling and I think part of it has to do with all the dopping scandles from  the past, but I am really trying to love it again. These people are in fact doing amazing things, and I think the majority of them are probably doing it honestly. Its sad that a few bad apples make the rest less appetizing.

That said, tonight's trials were pretty fun to watch. Because we got some Field events. I got to watch me some Tripple Jump action. How the heck to they hop around like that, loosing all their speed, and then jump any distance at all? That is amazing.  Then the Heptathlon, the  women's version of the decathlon. The really cool thing is how all around these women are, they can run, the can jump, they can throw. My kind of athlete- do it all. They still haven't broken or announced how they will break the dead heat from earlier. 

The A Standard, Is an International standard an athlete must meet in order to qualify for the Olympic games no matter how they qualify in the trials. Earlier in the track trials I saw someone place 4 or 5th and qualify for the Olympics when the 2, 3, etc did not, because they had previously obtained the A standard this year at an international/national competition, and her competitors had not.  That was a very crucial thing for at least a handful of the women in the hep, and luckily they did it.  That would really suck to get first or second, and not qualify because you didn't meet that A standard. 

I love watching the hurdles, which they had tonight. You always see some hurdles go down. Does it hurt to hit a hurdle? I would like to know. I know it slows you down. Its pretty amazing to watch those guys run so fast and jump pretty simultaneously.  Also one of the guys dove across the finish line and slid  on his stomach intentionally. Would not that hurt a lot? he seemed fine, but that ain't Ice.

There is a runner named Carmalita Jeter. Jeter is an appropriate name for a runner I think. Good job parents, on having an appropriate last name for you daughters sport. Just sayin. Oh and Alison Felix is amazing, because she just left the field in the dust. 

Today's Swimming Trials

  I'll be honest with you all, I'm 30 and last night I was up until 4 AM this morning. I was just playing risk with some friends, but this morning I woke up and I felt horrible, and I looked in the mirror and I looked horrible, and I said to myself, Girl, you are 30. Too old, you have to stop doing this.   If I have these moments where I feel like I am incredibly too old for the amount of fun I have, and too tired for things, I can not even imagine how Dara Torres at 45 feels the day after a national or international heat. That said, She is my HERO for even trying. Tomorrow she will try and I hope she succeeds. They Just showed Lochte, after three days of intense swimming struggling to get out of the pool. I can only imagine how tired they are. It really is incredible how many events him and Phelps swim in.  
  Already in swimming tonight we saw some awesome action as Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte went head to head again, in a final. This one finally lived up to the hype. They swam all out, and were side by side the entire time. Then Natalie Coughlin barely qualified for the Olympics via the Relay team by getting 6th in the 100m relay. I am so glad she did, because she has been working so hard all trials and just having it elude her,  and it will be her 3rd Olympics.
  You know as inspiring as it is that the new people make it, there is really something to be said for the old guard that still make it. I completely missed Amanda Beard at the trials, because she didn't make it out of her qualifying heat. I had so looked for ward to watching the girl with the Teddy bear become woman/mom who had been through heck and back, swim. But that's part of the games, sometimes the ones you love just don't make it. I am glad she tried though, wish NBC would have showed at least a high light of such a great so I could have seen it, on the regular channel. 
 The commentating for swimming is so refreshing after watching the almost silent gymnastics earlier.  Either they have gotten better throughout the week, or the gymnastics commentating was just that bad.  OH, PS Happy Birthday Michael Phelps!!! 

A Few Good Men

 So, I think out of all the trials, the event that I am the most determined not to miss is the Men's gymnastics. First of all, I think they are the best  looking men in the world. My personal opinion. But more importantly they have strength and a sense of perseverance that I have rarely seen in any discipline.

 This year, I only saw one returning Olympian to the trials, everyone else was completely new to me. Jonathan Horton. He did well, right up until his last exercise- the floor. It was devastating to watch in a mater of a second as his hopes went from fairly solid to wide open. I nearly cried. He under rotated and landed off balance and fell out of bounds on something he has never missed before. He got back up and finished, but you could tell it really hurt his hopes. Just goes to show, anyone can have a bad moment. He still has a chance, but we wont find out till tomorrow when the team is selected.

They did something I don't recall from Olympics past selecting this team. Its not completely points based. They are taking the top to finishers at the trials, and then everyone else is ranked and reviewed and the judges  will pick the remaining three for the team tomorrow.  It was weird to follow the selection process and seemed so subjective. I see the benefit to getting the best team possible through this process, so I like the Idea, but I know how political judged sports are already ,so I am kind of sad to see this process  in that it will definitely kill the dark horse sneak in by a miracle approach that is so wonderful for the Olympic human interest stories. They found one to replace it though, talking about the two young men that did qualify today, and how their success is helping to help out their families.

We had the first gymnast to qualify for the Olympics from the Bronx today. I think that is pretty awesome. John Orozco was amazing in most of his events, and then all the sudden in the parallel bars things started to go awry. When he finished we found out something was wrong with his hand, and he wasn't getting it to release the bar. It was amazing to me that he was able to do as well as he did, and kind of scary, something could have gone really badly wrong, but he toughed his way through it and it was inspiring. You could see he was in a lot of pain when he finished.

I would like to end by saying, my favorite event is the rings. Amazing strength, flexibility and control are necessary for the rings. But I once again have to say NBC's commentating has gone down hill. They used to tell us what the moves were the athletes are doing, to educate the audience. The commentary has been sparse throughout the trials, practically like watching a live feed. I had to take over commentary for my friends today. I have watched enough Gymnastics, I think I did a decent job, but I miss the old commentary. NBC, please work on bringing back old standards of commentary, and showing us the points and scores. We were in the dark as to rankings and scores for most of the men's competition, and it just is harder to follow when that happens. Hope they straighten it out before the Games. Well, tonight there will be swimming and track. Please watch and support our American team, or if you are from another country, Please watch and support your athletes. They invest a lifetime, and lots of their own money in this, for most of them there is no big pay off. But you can watch them and appreciate their effort, and honestly as an athlete sometimes that is a pay off enough. 

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Sun Tans, Butterflies, and Moms

It was an explosive start to swimming trials tonight, with a new american record, and more than a body length win on the competition by Alison Schmitt tonight. It was exciting!!! except,  I don't know, this year it seems to me like the winners and everyone else are just no where near each other,  and it mildly concerns me about who will come up in the future, the second place should at least be closer than a body length way, you'd hope- because they are going to the Olympics too.   

And then the men. mmm love watching the men.  Swimmers are amazing. Just sayin.  these guys are all indoor swimmers, and some of them are from places like Michigan.  Do they all go tanning? because they are all really tan, and I think at least some of them should be pasty white unless they fake bake. I'm not complaining, I am just curious about that. I mean, we aren't that far into summer, and if you're not from California or Florida you should probably still be a little white, right? 

Oh and Phelps got the "FASTEST TIME IN THE WORLD THIS YEAR"  they are still loving that phrase. It still just makes me think, man this is a slow and crappy year. Its like, if they can't get a new record to scream about they need something that sounds exciting, but think about that, you are just saying this year is less awesome than other years.  I suppose it could be because they banned the supper fast swimsuits of the last Olympics, still, I think they can find something ELSE to say instead of the same phrase they have now said four nights in a row in three out of four heats.   

OOO  its  the Proctor and Gamble commercial about moms. I love that commercial, because moms of athletes are awesome. I know this, because as an athlete, my mom had to drive me to a skating rink at 3:30 in the morning so I could be there at five, and drive me to the rink a half hour away after school, until I turned 16 and could drive myself. Even then she still had to  do all sorts of stuff to help me get costumes together and stuff. (Figure skating for those wondering my sport). So I love that commercial, the moms deserve one.  if you haven't seen it, check it out

Women's 200 m Fly,  its so interesting to watch the fly, its so graceful and they look like they are going way slower than they are. When I do the butterfly, sometimes I mess it up really bad and get out of rhythm, and it just becomes like slamming my face into the water because my timing is off.  That didn't use to happen, but now I am really horrible at the fly. One of these women breaths to the side, I don't know how you would do that on the fly, maybe if I did I would do better. Adams won the semi final #1, and I think she had a decent lead, even though it was a bit more relaxed pace than a final. 

  The second  semi  has a 14 year old, she gets a personal best every race. I like hearing that better than "Fastest time of the year" that's pretty amazing she's trying for the Olympics at 14, at fourteen I was worried about my friends throwing animal parts at each other after dissection in science class, not trying to get to the Olympics. Actually that's not completely true, at 14 I was very worried about how I would get to the Olympics, but that was mainly because the chance of me making it wasn't at all probable.

You wanna know how you can go to the Olympics? Move to a city that gets the games, and become a volunteer. That's how I made it. Or you could move to an apartment complex called "Olympic Village, or live  on the Olympic Peninsula or visit the Olympic Mountains. So yes, I went to the Olympics,  and I stayed in  the Olympic Village, but not in the way I wanted .

I would just like to end this blog tonight by saying Ryan Lochte is the most adorable yet hottest swimmer of all time. 

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Being honest with yourself

So, I have to be honest with you all, tonight I missed the Olympic trials. So I can't really blog about them tonight, but I had the trials interupted because I was talking with a friend. The conclusion we both came to by the end of our conversation was that before you can really think clearly or decide anything in life, and make a good judgement,  You have to be totally and completely honest with yourself about the situation. Other wise, your decision is based on a lie, and will most likely not work out well for you. 

Now, In relation to the Olympics, There is a growing list of athletes that have lost their medals or been disqualified for doping. I think that that could have been avoided for many of them if they had been honest with themselves, and maybe took a moment to think, Is this worth all the potential side effects- potential long term damage to your body, potentialy having your medal stripped, but even more than that,  they could have asked themselves,   Is winning this competition really going to be all that great for me when I know I didn't actually win it honestly?  I think that would actually be the worst part. But we humans are pretty good at lying to ourselves, and it can get us in a lot of trouble. To the many athletes that never dope and never cheat- thank you, thank you for being inspiring.  You know one of my favorite movies is Cool Runnings, and in it John candy said a line to one of the bobsleders about cheating that says it all- A gold medal is a wonderful thing, but if you aren't enough without it, you will never be enough with it. 

Well said. I agree. Let us all be honest with each other and ourselves, because  as the Olympic creed says: 

 ""The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not to win but to take part, just as the most important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle. The essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well."     

  Let us all fight well, and take part honestly in the games of life.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Some Great Swimming, Boring Swimming, and a rant about the commentating

  It was another night of swimming at the trials.  I really love that I have been hearing so many old veterans are trying to make a comeback here and qualify for the London games. Amanda Beard, Dara Torres, and my oldest personal favorite, I've heard Janet Evans is going to try to make a come back.  All those names have happy memories from my youth and child hood associated with them, but sometimes its fun to learn new names, and see the future of awesomeness in swimming.  
 Tonight started with the Women's 50 m Butterfly.  Vollmer  was kicking trash again tonight.,Natalie Coughlin the veteran Olympian didn't qualify after the commentators spent so much time building up my hope for her. I kinda hate when they do that and then the athlete doesn't qualify. It makes me feel a little sad. Just a little, because Vollmer was incredible and totally owned it again.  She nearly had an american record, and a world record, she was just off it. Coughlin wasn't even near the front of the field after the commentators talked  her up big time.  I have never heard of Vollmer till yesterday, but she won tonight by what looked like a half a body length on her next closest competitor, and almost a full on everyone else.  This Woman is going to rock London for sure, she is shutting down all her competition.   

Its early qualifying rounds still for the 200 fly for the men.  But Lochte beat Phelps again, just barley, it was a qualifier after all. its kind of fun, everyone was hitting turns at the same time in the second heat, it was playful almost.  sad though, Vanderkaay didn't qualify. For some reason though, other than those moments, and probably because it was just a qualifier, the men's 200 didn't really capture my attention, and I got bored and  started writing this blog. Its ok, I don't have to be constantly entertained.  

 I dont like the way NBC is doing the trials and commentating as much this year, I feel kind of like I am mainly just watching  the generic feed and occasionally hearing something interesting. I think there personal interest stories are trying and failing, because they are short and shallow, I don't feel like I have learned anything worth learning about the athletes they are spotlighting, yet there are some that have been really worth spotlighting if you listen carefully to the commentating,  Like the diver that won the men's  3 m- he has 60% hearing loss. Usually they would do some big trump up on how he overcame odds to be great.  Turns out in diving, it may be an advantage sometimes to not hear distractions. Oh well! do I care? I want to hear more about this cool guy and what makes him tick. I want to hear about more than just "hey Lochte and Phelps go head to head again, who will win this time? oh its Lochte again, but its early rounds,  so it doesn't mean any thing ." Which is what they seem to keep saying every time.   
And they keep saying "fastest time in the world this year" for every heat. It just makes me think, man this must be a really slow year, because they keep saying that.   I am so glad though, that they finally have worked in an Olympic flash back in these trials.  It makes it more exciting.   Since it was about Breden Hansen , its a good thing he qualified. Otherwise that would have been a big backfire. 

 Just like in the 2008 track trials,  they did the big spot on Delilah, the women's decathlete who they speculated was the inspiration for the song "Hey Delilah" then she failed to qualify and I was sad, but at least she got to go to some music award show thing with the lead singer of the Plain White T's, not quite the Olympics, but its a nice consolation prize. and now to interrupt my distraction.....

Woman's 400 M WOW!!! exciting. Alison Schmit!!!  Way under world record pace and over a body length ahead  most the way through. Even though she didn't get the world or american record, she beat everyone by a body length and that was so sweet, because she had it, and held it the whole way!!! That was the most exciting moment of the night if I am honest. It was worth watching the boring parts!!! 

Monday, June 25, 2012

U.S. Olympic trials- an appetizer for the Games

Ok, Maybe I am weird... wait hold on, let me rephrase that,  I know I am a bit weird, but I love watching the U.S. Olympic trials- at least for the big four (Diving, Swimming, Track and Field, and Gymnastics) almost as much as I love watching the Olympic Games.  Every two years I put my life on hold for 17 days of me balling my eyes out over a sporting competition. But, every four years,  right before the summer games, I do the same thing in chunks as I watch the Olympic Trials in four sports and just fall to pieces. 

 Usually during this time, I watch, and then I go out side and run, bike, or other wise train myself to be mentally and physically in the games. This year, I am benched with a foot injury =( so I will have to not do that, so instead, I am going to blog my way through the trials, the build up to the games, and then the games itself. I don't expect you to become as weird and passionate about the Olympics as I am, after all  I make this my life every two years- for the majority of sports. I Sang the national anthem with  the athletes every time an american won since at least when I turned two and my grand ma gave me my favorite towel with the Olympic rings and that cute bald eagle mascot from the 1984 Los Angeles games. I used that towel  very carefully and protectively, then hung it like a flag when it started to get thread bear. I am pretty sure i still have it somewhere, in a box.  My mom instilled in me a love and passion for the Olympics, my grandma helped that along, and being a volunteer with the 2002 games in Salt Lake brought it all home.  

I have pleanty of blogs ahead to go on about the history, but to give you a taste, my top ten Trial moments so far- just to wet your appetite for the coming Games. 
  10. Chris Colwill  out dives Troy Dumais and Kristian Ipsen to qualify in the #1 spot for the mens 3 m individual springboard.  This was awesome to me, because I watched half the diving rounds in the final (3 of 6) and I had to go to church. Kristian Ipsen seemed pretty solidly in the lead when I left, and Dumais and Colwill were battleing for second. When I got home, and found out Colwill had risen to first and Ipsen fell to third out of qualifying range, i was kind of shocked. Then I watched  the rounds I missed, and his dives were a beautiful thing.

9. I saw someone in mens platform (sorry, dont know who) do a forward 4 1/2 summersault dive. It was one of the most incredible things I have ever seen in my life, and  I have  know Idea how that is possible, but it is a thing  of beauty , and you should definately watch for it in London. 

8. Troy Dumais qualified for his fourth  Olympics in 2 events- individual 3 m mens, and also in the syncro,  at age 32. I am 30, Thank you to all you athletes that keep going and inspiring me (more of those to come in this weeks swimming trials)

7.  Ashton Eaton breaks a world record for track (in decathalon) the first one for the US since 1996, and breaks a 20 year old American record in decathalon. And watching him do it, was something supper special. 

6. The most absolute dead heat closest race I have ever seen in my life!!!!   the 3rd place spot for the 200 m Allyson Felix and Jeneba Tarmoh at 11.068, and they will probably have to do a run off, because its based on whos torso crosses first, and look at them- no difference.  Crazy!!!!  and the games haven't even begun.

5. Sad moment-  Bryan Clay hit a hurdle  with his hand in the decathalon and was disqualified.  he pettitioned and was re qulalifed, and then botched the discus. Every trials has its sad moment where someone who you really expected to make it and go through just gets lost, and i think that was it so far.

4. Ryan Lochte hottie swimmer supreem beat THE MAN Michael Phelps in the 400 MI.  Lochte is the man now. Just sayin.

3 Connor Dwyer comes from a little back, and then blows most the field out on the last 50 of  the  400 IM, except Vanderkaay, who really kicks it in and wins it.  It was exciting watching those two. 

2. Beisel in the womens 400m  IM.   Can I just say that watching this was a very very exciting moment.  Any time I see someone up on the field by a body length I just think its really really amazing,  and it was.

1. Dana Vollmer in the 100 m Butterfly- again Sizable lead on the rest of the field, and  she broke the american record.  lots of records are falling in these trials,  runners and swimmers are beating the field by sizable margins- body lengths in swimming, ridiculousness in track .its exciting. Get the feaver, Start watching. More swimming, more track, and soon Gymnastics to come!!! 

Sunday, June 24, 2012

I love to see the temple

I will never forget my primary days, In the merry miss class (10-12 yr old girls Sunday school class). My mom was our teacher, and she taught us how to sign (ASL) one verse of the song "I love to See the Temple".  To this day I still remember most of it, but it really helped me develop a deep love for that song, which also helped me really want to go to the temple someday. I also remember my mom hung pictures of our favorite temples on our bedroom walls growing up. I remember I got to choose mine, and I picked Mesa, AZ because it was different, it looked cool to me and it had palm trees.  As I have grown older, and had opportunities to visit the temple, my love for it has only deeppend.    Temples for members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day saints are not just a place where we go to worship God, we have meeting house where we meet regularly to do that. Temples, for us are extra special, extra holy. It is our Heavenly Fathers house on earth, a place where we come closer to God and get a way from the world, that is why there are requirements one must meet to go in there, because its so special, and so sacred. 
    To me, going to the temple just makes me feel like I am home, Like I am close to God, and I can think in there and not worry about anything happening outside, unless its something i need to think and solve and want to worry about at the moment.  At any rate, the temple has been a place that is an integral part of many times in my life. Its where I got closer to my roommates, Where I started to figure out who I am and what I want in life. 
  About a year and a half a go, I started the journey of an important friendship by going with two friends to the temple. We started the three of us- me and one other woman and one other man from my singles ward.  We all became very good friends, we added people to our group of who went to the temple with us, and the man and the woman started dating each other - after like 8 months. It became a habit and a part of my life to go frequently to the temple because of these friends, and I learned things from them, and it was awesome. Tonight  seven  of us went, me, the guy and the girl, and a handful of others. They are engaged now, and will be married very soon. The dynamics of all of our lives have changed extraordinarily over the past year and a half. we have changed, we have grown, and things will continue to change and that is good.  

But for me, one thing has never changed- the meaning of that song  "I love to see the temple, I'm going there someday (hopefully a lot of someday), to feel the holy spirit, to listen and to pray. The temple is For the temple is a house of God,A place of love and beauty.I'll prepare myself while I am young, this is my sacred duty.  I love to see the temple. I’ll go inside someday ( like today =).)I’ll covenant with my Father; I’ll promise to obey. For the temple is a holy place Where we are sealed together ( marriage in the temple that binds families for eternity, not just till death do us part) .As a child of God, I’ve learned this truth: A family is forever." - Janice Kapp Perry

 I love these words because its how I feel. and today, was another mile stone in my temple visits, and even though my life is changing a great deal right now I still LOVE TO SEE THE Temple. LOVE IT!!!  Because as beautiful as the temples are on the outside, Nothing compares to the beauty and peace within them.   Just had to share that with you.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Stupid dumb pig puck!!! he

Right now I am sitting in my bed at a new range of emotional schme schmee schmee. With a bag of Ice on my foot, tears on the verge of rolling down my face (as they have been for weeks now) and a fist just waiting for the opportunity to punch something that wont hurt or be hurt.  A pillow? yeah, I will probably punch a pillow. Man, how I wish I still had my brothers punching bag and boxing gloves available to me. 
  I feel like I have been reduced to a giant block of whimpiness, and everything that I love doing has been ripped far away from me.  What the hackey sacks has reduced me to such a sniveling whiney little wimp?  a stupid little nerve between my big toe and the toe next to it. 
  I have always prided myself on my ability to carry on, skate through the pain,  or play better and harder when I am sick, tired, or injured. I have to admit this one has made me sick tired and injured and I honestly feel like its going to break me. After a month and a half of that feeling like you get at the end of physical therapy when they do the thing with the electric stuff and the ice,  I just cant handle it any more. I  Just don't know why on earth there is any point to anything. I know there is a point, and I know one day this will stop hurting, so I am keeping my self destructive behavior to just yelling at my tried and true friends, crying to my roommate, and consuming burritos and large amounts of chocolate  in short amounts of time.  All I freaking want to do is go outside with my dog and go for a run around the block. But I can't, and  that just makes my heart ache. especially since no one else will take him and the poor boy just wants to go outside and run.  Not to mention the fact that my weeds are growing again and I can't go whack them. my car needs a wash, but I can't do it. I feel like everything I love to do I can't do any more and I don't even have some great reason or story of why, Nothing inspiring, or to pity, just a stupid nerve in my foot has too much pressure on it so its reacting, and its reduced me to useless and I hate it, and I just want to cry and then hit something and then cry some more.  You, over there, my friend, with a far worse problem. Yeah, i wanna care and show sympathy for your plight, but I can't freaking concentrate on anything you are saying because my foot feels like its on fire every time i take the ice off. Sorry, this is just a big whiney blog. but I needed to get this out. I just need to write, and cry.  and just so every one knows, you really can't help me or do anything about it, and constant advice on how to make my foot better is getting irritating. I saw a specialist, i am doing all i freaking can. i just have to be patient now. If you would like to come take my dog for a run, or whack my weeds, or help me make french bread that i really wish i could bake right now, that would be great, but other wise i am really ornery and I would just like your future forgiveness for the insensitive and angry tone i am going to have in my voice till this pain leaves me alone and lets me get some solid sleep for once.  That is all. forgive me, and let me rage a little.  i am done ranting now. thanks

Friday, June 15, 2012

Finally, something to inspire

I have listened to the news a lot this week, and honestly, most of what I heard made me absolutely disgusted with people in general.  From politics, to football coaches, to doping allegations, to violent out of control football/soccer fans.
  But tonight, I saw something amazing, Inspiring, and awesome. I saw a man, that loved his family, and loved God do something that seemed impossible. After a family huddle for prayer, Nik Wallenda walked from the US to Canada on a tight rope, across the Niagara falls. If you didn't get to watch this, you should go find it on YouTube or something.  It was the most tense twenty minutes of my life. And as he walk Nik prayed, a lot.  When finally he reached the other side, visibly exhausted, he and his family were tearful, and the boarder guards were there, and a bit cheesy when they asked for his passport and asked him what the purpose of his visit was - yeah i laughed there. But his answer, his answer described what actually had just happened to me - "to inspire people around the world" Well Nik, mission accomplished. I was inspired, and relieved to see something good in the world. Something inspiring, not disappointing. Thank you for your courage, for the risk, and for daring to dream. That was truly amazing.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The Great Single Transition

 You know, I don't know why I feel like I need to blog after every time I go to the family ward. I have gone to family wards before, and its not a foreign  planet or anything,  but I guess, its just better than whinging on about my injured foot,  and because of said foot, not much else is going on in my life. Plus, sometimes in the singles ward we feel like we get treated as second rate citizens, like the family wards don't respect us. Wow! sometimes we start to sound like the Rodney Dangerfield of the stake.  And, you know, sometimes that was true.  Singles wards are very unique and weird places at times. But good, I think. good learning, growing,  bonding places. 
  So I guess I keep writing about this because I am genuinely surprised at how quickly I as a Single Adult am adapting and loving going to the family ward activities and church. I thought it was going to be way more horrible than it is, and that I was going to feel all weird and isolated, and unimportant, and stuff  because I don't have a husband or kids. 
Yes, I did attend a Relief society activity in the family ward tonight, and yes, the sisters in my age range mainly talked about their kids and husbands, BUT ... I was still included, I was accepted as a valid part of the sisterhood,  as an adult, and as just part of the group. I made a lot of new friends today AGAIN, and it surprised me. You know, I was always included and part of the family ward I grew up in in Utah, But those people knew me since I was little, the know my parents, they had a vested interest in my  life over the span of decades. But here I am  hundreds of miles from home, I'm not related to anyone here, no one knows my family or watched me grow up and become an adult, They just instantly love me and accept me for who I am, and you know what else,  we talked about our different trials, me and my new friends. They about their kids, and lack of sleep, and peanut allergies, and school lunches, and learning to use a weed whacker, and I talked about my dog, and trying to find good men to date, and work, and learning to use a weed whacker, and we all talked about our love of crapes. 

So I guess the point of all this is, If any of you singles out there, for whatever reason, are getting ready to transition to a family ward, after years of singles ward,  and you are scared because its going to be different than what you know, and you don't know anyone, etc,etc. Weather you are going in single, or newly married or however, don't worry about it.   Just be a friend ,and you will have friends, and sisters, etc. Be a part of the ward, go to things, contribute, say stuff. You will be able to relate to these strangers, and you will soon find that they are also your family and friends, Just like you had in your home family ward (you know your parents home ward that you grew up in) or in the singles ward. But you have to make an effort, and you can't be too afraid. Just have faith, and have fun.  The same applies if you are moving to a new ward, or a new country, or any of that. Just sayin. 

Sunday, June 10, 2012

another blog on single life and marriage

You all seem to like it best when I stick to the topic of single life, dating and marriage. I haven't written one of those since things went wrong with Chris, not really, except to wine about how much I missed Chris. Any way, its been many months now and I feel it is time for another one of those blogs. 

  I once had a roommate who compared us to chess pieces  on a game board called life, and that when we are winning the game, we let God, the chess master decided when and were to move us.  This is true in my life, when I have made such moves I am always far more happy, and safe than when I ignored promptings of the holy spirit and moved some other direction, or not at all. 

 In resent weeks I have begun a transition, from my Young Single Adult ward, to a family ward. Why would I do this? I am very happy in the singles ward, I was productive and had things to do, I had friends, I had a place. Honestly its one of those happy spots I could have stayed in unchanged forever and been perfectly happy. Except life doesn't work that way. Those moments are rewards, and then soon its time to move on, or you quit growing, and to be honest growing is what actually makes me happy. I love my friends, and I miss seeing them every day, but I will still see them.  Here is the thing though, I started feeling back in January that I needed to prepare for a change. In February I felt I should start to easy into the family ward, you know get to know people and such.  

I talked to my bishop at some point and mentally started preparing for the transition. Finally a few weeks ago, I felt I couldn't delay any longer, I needed to start going to the other ward every other week, I felt.  As I decided to do so, I knew it was the right choice. I had a hard time my first Sunday there, probably because I was still in the RS presidency of the YSA and felt I was shirking some of my duties.  Everyone was friendly and I knew I should continue with my plan though.   

This week came and it was time to go again. I've been thinking, because I keep telling my dad a lot of the guys in our generation are a bit peter pan- they don't want to grow up. I realized, part of my desire to hang around the singles ward forever was that I was also being a bit peter pan. I want to grow up, but not really.  I want a family, but not if it means sacrificing too much. This  has always been a bit of an issue with me. So I felt part of the reason I should start going to the family ward is to become more family minded and oriented. 

So today I went, and It was wonderful. After having been released from my YSA calling, I felt completely its where I should be and what I should be doing. I even made two new friends, that are married ,and have kids, and don't live far away in Utah or Lithuania, or Latvia like all my other married with kids friends. i have married friends here, and I have friends with kids here, but the combination of the two  for here in Washington is new to me. 

  That was cool. then we had a lesson about humility- being teachable, Move able, pliable really, in Gods hands so he can mold us into greatness. And then I thought about a story one of my best friends told last night about her boyfriend's brother, and how just about a year ago, he met his wife, in the salt lake temple. He lived in Idaho, she lived in Ogden and they both felt at the same time to go to the temple. More such moments happened and soon small acts of faith and being move able brought them together, answered prayers as they were both seeking a spouse, and now they are married.  

This story combined with today's lessons on humility, was just the recharge to my faith I needed in the marriage direction. I totally feel that God can direct me in a path that can lead to eternal marriage, and soon, but only if I want to, and only if I am willing to be moved in the direction it takes. My faith in following the promptings of the spirit and going to the family ward was step one.  but I realized today, If I am going to get any where with this, I have to be a bit more flexible, Teachable, Humble and movable. because I am not the chess player, I don't see the whole board, and I don't know where I need to be moved or when. But if I trust God, and move when I should, where I should I know it will all work out. 

Nephi, did not just go build a boat right when he knew he had to build a boat. First he prayed and asked where to find materials to make tools, and asked how to make the tools, then he asked for instructions on how to build the boat. Then he built the boat, despite his stupid brothers being all up in his face about it, and then he got everyone on the boat, then he got tied up on the boat, used his faith to get untied, and ultimately made it to the promised land. That is an involved process. So is this. 

I know eternal families are important. I know I want one, and I know I should be working towards having one.  I have followed the directions to the place I was told to move to make the tools, to become family minded. Now it is time to act in faith, Let go of my fear, and watch as the lord works a miracle in my life. I know he will, and he will pace that miracle according to my faith, and personal readiness.  I am excited for the journey ahead, I know it will not always be easy, But I know eventually, I will get to the promised land. 

Monday, June 4, 2012

Called and Released

You know, It was just over a year ago that I was called to be  a councilor in the Relief Society presidency of my YSA ward. I have served under two presidents, and I have learned so much.  Yesterday I was released, and its made me think about a few things. You know, a year ago I was so overwhelmed by the call I started hyperventilating, I didn't know how I was going to do it, it just seemed like such a large responsibility. And it was, but I was able to do it, and I was blessed more than I can ever say for all my time and energy spent. The lord took care of me, so I could take care of his daughters.  
  As I went through out  that calling, It reminded me in many respects of my mission. I was sort of "on call" and worried about it and helping the girls 24-7, just like as a missionary I was concerned about the investigators, less active members, and the general state of the church in the Baltic countries. Half way through this calling I had a change of presidents- just like in my mission, and I felt as emotionally exhausted at half way through this calling, and at the end of it as I did on my mission.  One major difference though, I still had to worry about my job, my skating, and everything else on top of it. As a missionary, I got to just focus on one thing. 

 But, I am grateful for that difference because I learned how to balance things, prioritize, and I learned what my human limits are, and I learned that I think I needed to give myself more credit as a missionary. Another great thing about this calling was I learned how people, friendships, organizations (particularly the church) work, how to schedule buildings, plan activities, get people to come to activities, delegate, teach, and how to conduct meetings. I gained confidence, and I learned to love people and forgive them their short comings.

 I also learned that I cannot fix everyone else's problems, friendships and relationships, but that I am the type of person that will usually try to, at least to some degree.  I learned there is a time to say something, and a time to shut up, a time to help, and a time to teach others to help themselves, a time to correct people, and a time to let them figure it out for themselves.

My mission was a great foundation for building all these things. I started learning them probably in young women's, when I was in all those class presidencies, I learned them more on my mission and then I built on that. Amazing how God teaches us that way- line upon line.  I do remember though, when I came home from my mission I had a feeling that nothing else would ever be as important, that I was some how less great because I was no longer wearing the name tag. I got lost, and I didn't know what to do with my life. Mainly, I didn't know that God could operate as strongly and clearly with me every day as he did on my mission, when I was no longer a missionary.  I didn't know it was possible to have the same level, or even greater level of faith and miracles in my life. 

 But, luckily, before this next great calling and mission to the RS presidency, the Lord taught me something, by showing me how to be just as influential, faith filled and awesome with no calling at all. It was only the six months prior to the presidency calling that I learned this, but now that I am released it is a great comfort to know that calling or no calling, or nursery calling, or cub scout calling or door greater calling, or stake RS calling or what ever, how ever big or small, whatever comes my way in the future, I don't have to miss a step of being a faithful and awesome tool in the hand of God to work miracles. I can help people at any time, any place where I am needed and directed.   That is a great comfort to me, and a big help in transitioning out of a big calling to, for at least a little while- no calling.  
  Its funny, because sometimes we become our titles when we have these big callings.  Sister Marquardt- missionary for the church of Jesus Christ of latter day saints, Sister Marquardt- councilor in the YSA RS.  well today I am sister Mandi Jean Marquardt, Daughter of God, your friend and that is all I need to be. 

Yesterday, I taught the RS presidency lesson, it was nice to do that for my sort of fare well to that chapter of my life. My lesson was on the tender mercies of the lord, which I planned over a month ago. only a half hour before church yesterday did I know I was being released, so that lesson was in fact one of those tender mercies. Elder Bednar talked in that talk about how the timing of the lords tender mercies help us to recognize and appreciate them.  That was true yesterday. Last week was so stressful to me, for no reason. I just hit a level of emotional burn out that I just had to be done. Yet for myself, I would probably never have chosen to be done. In fact when the bishop told me they were releasing me, he asked if I considered that a blessing. I knew the time was right, but in the moment, i didn't, because I was scared a bit of the change. But as soon as it happened, I recognized it for what it was- a tender mercy of the lord, he delivered me right when I needed it. '
This week, my stress is gone. I don't have to be as conflicted or emotionally burdened as I have been. I still plan to attend everything, and help out when needed, but today I feel very free from a very heavy responsibility, and I know that the timing of this is just when I needed it. I know I gave my all and I will be blessed for that, and I know that I will continue to give my all to whatever the lord asks me to do. But right now I just get to focus on being Mandi Marquardt, Friend, Sister, visiting teacher,  and on finding an eternal companion so I can build up my own family, and that is all I want to do right now.  I am grateful for the opportunity I had to learn, love and serve, I am grateful for the sisters I have come to know and love, I am grateful I was called, and I am grateful to be released.  I hope that is how I feel at the end of my life too, May it be still a far journey, because its really the same thing- I was called to this earth, to be me here, and one day I will be released, to be me elsewhere. what matters is not where we are called, or what we are called to do, its that we do it, we love it, we grow, and when we are done growing  there, we move on and continue to grow and become.  I love you Girls, and I love you my fellow presidency members, I have loved working with you so much, and I will miss it, a bit.