Monday, December 30, 2013

Past Year's Resolutions: 2013

What did I accomplish this year?

Every year I ask myself this question and make my retrospective resolutions for the year.  Hindsight is 20/20.  And I think it is much more uplifting to reflect and think, "Wow- I did that!" than to think, "I didn't meet two of my ten goals.  I'm a failure."  Know what I'm saying?  

In no particular order:

  1. Get engaged
  2. Get MARRIED!!!!  And consequently have many, many celebrations of a lifetime and feelings of love, joy, and all things overwhelming that I cannot possibly describe
  3. Visit NYC with the love of my life and his friends (and quite literally rub shoulders with Jake Gyllenhaal at the musical Matilda)
  4. Meet and have a conversation with Steven Spielberg
  5. Be a homeowner (with my *gulp* husband)!
  6. Be on a Broadway Stage (The Foxwoods Theatre to be exact)
  7. Hang out with a Tony Award nominee
  8. Be a choreographer
  9. Be a fairy godmother
  10. Move
  11. Order my first Polish Sausage for my own consumption, of my own free will
  12. Quit my stable, well-benefited job of nearly six years to work with my husband on his business, Life of the Party Entertainment - big, fat, huge, crazy leap of faith! But maybe not that crazy - I made sure to have at least one year's worth of living expenses saved before I took that jump.
  13. Maintain my six-times weekly dates with Gym
  14. Be a nun again 
  15. Attend Sundance Film Festival for the first time - having conversations with the likes of Jim Rash and Jerusha Hess
  16. Help two of my dear, amazing friends on their wedding days
  17. Visit Disneyland, Las Vegas (3 times), Shakespeare Festival, Ohio, Boise, and Arches (my first time)
  18. Bake almost all the desserts for the Off Broadway Theater Fundraiser in Downtown SLC in May
  19. Go skiing for the first and second times
  20. Have my cat shaved into a lion cut - twice.  Trust me, this is noteworthy and hilarious.
Resolutions of Year's Past

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Rent: Utah Repertory Theater Company

Way, way back many centuries (days) ago, I caught Utah Rep's last evening performance of Rent.  They even went out of their way to make sure we had police escorts to leave the building that night.  I kid.  Ends up they faced their own true version of "Rent" because the entity renting them the building didn't get the odd's and end's properly straightened out and they were being "evicted" so-to-speak.  Thankfully, the police let this modern day version of "La Boheme" endure to the end.

First and foremost, I want to start a controversy with two words: Audience Interaction.
Love/hate.  Right?
For me, as an actor or an audience member, this always makes me feel uncomfortable.  I participate as instructed or prompted, either way, I just don't like it.  As an audience member, I go to a show to let the actors take me to another world so I can escape from reality and whatever burdens are weighing on my mind.  The last thing I want to do is interact with a person who isn't even a person I can ever talk with or associate with again - it is a character played by an actor.  I feel dread and panic - not knowing what to say or do...because if this person is acting, shouldn't I too? I shouldn't....yes I should...ugh.   As an actor, I wonder if that audience member feels the same way I do when an actor approaches me in the audience.  That being said, if audience interaction has to happen, this troupe did a fine job of staying in character.

I must have been really into the show (or freezing because the warehouse setting was brrrrrr), because I only made a few notes.
  • Intro too long
  • The entire cast entered on the number "Rent," but why?  The setting is in the apartment of Roger and Mark...are there just vagrants wandering in and out of their place? 
  • The volume on the mics was overpowering and the chorus could not battle that sound.  The soloists were mic'd quite well, but then the chorus number seemed underwhelming because of the sound differential.
  • Angel and Collins were absolutely adorable together!
  • Mark was amazing, his pants were not
  • Mimi's solo number had "single ladies-esque" backup dancers.  This was a cool production element, yet I can't help but remember the vision of this being Mimi's big "coming out" moment where she steals the show and we really learn who she is as a strong individual and the backup dancers distracted from her strength.
  • Mimi's solo impressed me because she was dancing her tail off and wasn't winded in the least - way to go!
  • The entire cast, ensemble included, are amazing soloists - each person continued to blow me away in their own unique style.
  • Alex, Alex, Alex.  His voice could melt butter.  He continues to grow as an actor while his voice is what wins audiences again and again.
  • I loved the ambition of the musical director with the new harmonies in the songs.  Some worked, some didn't.
  • During La Vie Boheme, there was a very clever staging of a "Last Supper" scene - I dug it.
  • The staging of "Without You" was touching and extremely well executed.  The choreography allowed each aids patient to leave the stage one by one throughout the song - leaving Angle in the end.  I loved the symbolism behind this vision.
I'll sum this up with the words of  Director and Choreographer, William Cooper Howell, "We cannot control what passions and feelings we are brought into this world with.  However, we can control what we do with the gifts and feelings we are given.  We have the power within us to change the world around us with our love and our light.  May you leave here tonight infused with the need to express, to communicate, at all times, for any reason.  Change is in your grasp.  No Day But Today."

Roger Davis - Trent English
Mark Cohen - Austin Archer
Tom Collins - Aleksndr Arteaga
Benjamin Coffin III - Sean Carter
Joanne Jefferson - Nneka Barcelona
Angel Schunard - Derek Gregerson
Mimi - Connor Norton
Maureen - Karli Rose Lowry
William Cooper Howell - Choreographer
Rick Rea - Musical Director

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Carousel: Utah Repertory Theater Company

What happens when you write a theater review, then assume you have clicked "save" in your late-night delirium, only to realize "save" is the opposite of what happened?  And you have to get out wedding invitations to 300?  And a dear friend recently passed away?  Folks, it has been quite a whirlwind these past few days. 

I have many thoughts on Utah Repertory Theater Company's production of Carousel, yet am unable to recreate the glamor of my original writing in a quick manner.  Carousel closes this weekend, so I want to get some notes up.  I will edit this post as soon as I can to more accurately reflect my thoughts. 


  • Live Orchestra!
  • Beautiful male silks worker - acrobatics on silks hanging from the ceiling ala Cirque du Soleil
  • The opening scene began with a stark stage, then gradually added in more color and life until all of a sudden you realize you are in the middle of a carnival - absolutely magnificent staging and pacing - this climaxes when the actors finally begin to speak, and then the crowd slowly dissipates until the scene is focused once again on the main characters
  • Speaking of staging - the "Human carousel" makes several appearances and I love the idea
  • Amber Lee Roberts as Julie Jordan is quite striking in both sweetness, stage presence, and cheek bones.
  • When Mimi West as Carrie Pipperidge sang "Mr. Snow" I felt as if I were being drawn into a story two old girlfriends were sharing with each other instead of just watching an artist sing a song.  Mimi also has an incredible trained singing voice.  
  • When Roberts and Samuel Ross West as Billy Bigelow share their first kiss?  Yowzas - now that's a kiss!
  •  June IS bustin' out all over - what a large cast!  They produced a perfect group sound that truly made me feel the excitement of a community preparing for their favorite event of the year.
  • Scott Cluff as Mr. Snow has a beautiful singing voice and is definitely one the women will realize why Ms. Pipperidge is swooning over.  He has an adorable chemistry with Mimi.
  • I'm not stranger to community theater and I have one big question - where did they get all of these amazingly talented men?!  They all sing AND dance with much more adequacy than I expected!  Great job, men!
  • Eve Speer as Mrs. Mullin has some amazing costumes! Especially the red and black number as her second costume - very striking - great work there!  Also, Speer had stage presence you can't ignore if you try.  When she's on stage, all eyes are on her.
  • Elsa Hodder as Louise - h.o.l.y. c.o.w.  What a dancer!  She actually looks like the child of Julie and Billy, dances and acts like a seasoned pro, and all at the age of 14.  Holy smokes I only wish I'd been half as talented as her at 14.  She performs a beautiful dance at the beginning of act two and her partner, whose name escapes me, is tremendous as well - beautiful lifts, jumps, balance, coordination...she's going places!
  • Roberts, as Julie Jordan, shed actual tears at the end of the show.  I could see the light glistening from them.  I appreciate an actress who is able to so fully immerse herself in her work that she emotes as her character.  Well done.
  • Kyle Allen, as villain Jigger Craigin was not wearing a microphone and sounded great - his evilness and sound did not need a mic to project to the audience members.
  • All-in-all this is a beautiful production!  The sparse feel of the Murray Theater lends itself to the atmosphere of the show. The ending of the show is somber, the message of the show can be seen many different ways, most of which is not "I hit you because I love you."  The point, to me, is that we can be forgiven for our mistakes and life can still produce beauty.  Don't let the dark nature of the storyline distort your appreciation of the beautiful performances. I was previously told this is the best show Utah Rep has performed to date and I whole-heartedly agree with that statement.  
  • If you are an appreciator of the classic's of Rodgers and Hammerstein, you will love this production, hands-down. 
  • At the very beginning of the show, many of the faces are lost in the shadows, although I later realized this may have been intentional to show the starkness of the facility where the girls work.
  • Due to the venue, there is an echo in a lot of the sound from those wearing mic's.
  • The mics caused some of the voices to be muffled.  Unfortunately the beautiful voice of Samuel Ross West, as Billy, was the main voice on which we lost quality.  This is a such a terrible shame because West has a tremendous voice of which you want to hear every nuance. I've seen him perform previously and knew what I was missing.  The venue is difficult to work with mics in and I was assured the performance I attended was the first time his mic malfunctioned.
  • When Mr. Snow and Ms. Pipperidge argue, his reaction is so melodramatic, I thought I was missing a joke somewhere and it seemed rather out of place.  You do immediately know they'll end up together because he doesn't seem genuinely upset, I, and my company, found this a rather odd character choice, although charmingly funny.
  • My partner in crime for the evening suggested the program listing the bios should be arranged in order of leading characters, not in alphabetical order of actor's names.  He found it confusing to have to look up the actor's name in the front of the program, then flip to the bio section to find their bio alphabetically.  We know the character name, not the actor's name.  This did not bother me so much - I think it's a matter of personal preference.  
My sincerest apologies to the cast and pro team, mostly Johnny Hebda, for the delayed nature of this post.  Life, as displayed in Carousel, throws many unexpected turns.  

Catch the show!  Purchase tickets here or at the door. 
Friday August 23rd at 7:30 pm
Saturday August 24th at 2:00pm
Saturday August 25th at 7:30pm

Friday, August 16, 2013

Engagements: Three Decades

Rob and I had our engagement photos created this past week.  I have to tell you, Rob has dreamed of having his wedding photos featured on a wedding blog or in a wedding magazine for years.  No pressure on me, right? 

I spent weeks agonizing about what on earth we could do to create a theme to this wedding.  I've always been the type of girl who dreamed of one thing on my wedding day:  Looking into the eyes of the man I love.  Did I dream of color or flowers or gown or bridesmaids or or or?  Nope.  Nadda.  Upon learning my fella had a dream, I yearned with all of my heart to help him fill this dream, yet had no idea how to go about creating magic enough to be published. 

I tried to think of something that was uniquely "us."  He has attributes that are definitely him, being a DJ and all, and I have attributes that are definitely me, but what is "us?" 

Then it hit me.  "We" have unity in our love for performing, music, and classy dressing.  I love the era of the 1940s - 1960s.  He loves dancing.  I love dancing with him.  He loves bow ties and suits.  I love cute dresses. 

Why not have three settings - the decades of the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s? 

What's your favorite era?

Photos taken by Jacque Lynn Photography at The Grand Hall

Photos taken by Jacque Lynn Photography at Dolcetti Gelato

Photos taken by Jacque Lynn Photography at Salt Lake City Marriott

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Irrational Fears

  1. Having a straw in my mouth while driving, then getting into an accident and the straw going through the roof of my mouth.
  2. Gremlins hiding between stair steps waiting to grab my ankles with their boney claws.
  3. Chicken on the bone or biting into a fatty/veinous piece of meat.
  4. Monsters being in the toilet when I sit down, enough said.
  5. Monsters grabbing my ankles from under the bed as I get into bed 
  6. Opening a plastic container with a foil topper - those things spit at you!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Learning to be a Girl

Raise your hand if you are a man and you made it past the title of this post!

As a wee girl of 17, I made the trek from Ohio to Utah - defying the tears of the most loving mother for which a girl could ask.  And thus began my journey of being alone.

Alone is a relative term, as I was never truly exactly that amongst my incredible family of friends and adult mentors who would adopt me as their own.  I did, however, in the wake of knowing my nearest family member was 2,000 miles away, develop this uncanny, independent ability to be both my mother and father - diagnosing car difficulties, putting together furniture, making important financial decisions, playing softball and ultimate frisbee when not lifting weights at the gym, all the while maintaining the order of my very own home and baking at least five dozen cookies a week in my vintage-style dresses and cardigans.  You get the picture.

Unfortunately, I also developed an astonishing ability to not ask for help.  I have become so used to everyone being involved in their own busy lives that asking for help has become more of a burden on me than on those I'm asking.  Everyone around me has become so used to me taking care of myself, that they don't even worry I may be struggling.  Which is a good and bad thing. 

The point is, independence is good.  When independence becomes bad is when you can't let go of it.  Society often views too much independence as selfishness, but I don't see that - I see it as survival of the fittest.  We have learned to adapt to our surroundings and do what we can to survive. 

Hence, I've been both the man and lady of the house.  But where does that leave me in two months when I actually have a man of the house?  I've been having all sorts of break-downs discerning where I need to step up and where I need to let go.  For the record, I hate struggle letting go of control of a life only I have been in charge of for the past 16 years.

I also struggle with the definition of feminist in a worldly sense.  If you take it to mean that you believe a woman can do every bit as much as a man, although she has traits uniquely suited to a woman and she can embrace those as well, then, yes, I am a feminist.  Unfortunately, a lot of folks see "feminist" to be gung-ho girl power and down-with-men all in pursuit of "equality."

Through my feminist or not-feminist beliefs that a lady can do anything male or female, I am learning to be a girl.  I am learning the roles that perhaps my man of the house will be better and those at which I will be better, regardless of if those are stereotypical male or female tasks.  My fella actually cooks the most delectable popcorn around.      

Two days ago, I received a phone call from Rob, "You got a pink package in the mail."
Me, "A pink package!  Eeee!  I know what that is!  It's girl stuff!"
Rob, "Girl stuff?"
Me, "Makeup samples and nail polish and the like."

This continued and Rob laughed as he opened the package and my excitement escalated with each item he opened.  When we hung up the phone, I happened to be standing in front of the mirror, and I looked at the reflection in front of me.  I looked at the beaming delicate, feminine face.  I have masked my excitement for being a girl for too long, perhaps afraid that if I let her out too often, I'd lose my ability to also be rationale, level-headed, and genderless. 

The thought hit me, "I'm allowed to be a girl now!  I can embrace girl stuff!"

Sixteen years of conditioning can't just be washed away in a matter of a month or a year or even two...and most of it shouldn't be, but I am learning that it is okay to embrace being a girl.

One pink package at a time.

Monday, July 1, 2013

The Proposal

Who wants to watch a video of Rob's proposal to me?!

No one has been waiting for the details, have they?

This video has some edits to go through yet, so keep holding your breath!  To give you a little relief until then, fast forward to the 7:30 mark and be sure to watch until the end:-)

Top Seven Things to Never Say to a Bride

1. You are stressing me out
You think you are stressed?  The bride is not only stressed about what you are stressed about, but every other element of the wedding.  She's trying to please you and every other person in her life.  Please take a moment to breathe and bite your tongue until after the wedding.  Then, you can both have a good laugh at what stress cases you were.  Yes, some brides need knocked upside the head as a reality check, but few and far between are the individuals who are close enough to have earned "knocking upside head" privileges. 

2. You are not letting me be a part of your life
Sometimes, a bride wants to get her wits about her and have a complete picture before she shares information with the masses.   Handing you one puzzle piece of the puzzle is simply confusing.  If you know, love, and trust her, if she tells you, "I will tell you as soon as I've got it figured out," then believe her.  Her intentions are not to cut you out in any way, her intentions are simply to save everyone some time and confusion.

3. You are not letting me help you
Everyone the bride knows wants to help her and be a part of the most important day of her life.  Everyone.  There are certain tasks that are easily divided up - bridal shower, bachelorette party, helping collect addresses, etc.  There are other tasks, however, that the bride may find it easiest to complete herself.  I'm not an advocate of, "If you want something done right, do it yourself," but there is truth there.  Do keep asking the bride if there is anything you can do so that she knows you are available and willing, but don't make her feel guilty if she says, "All you need to do is show up and dance the night away." 

4. You are doing it wrong
There are many wedding traditions, but just as often those get thrown out the window.  For my own wedding, I am not having a bridal party.  I have too many people I love too intensely to narrow the party down to a logical/realistic number.  I've opted to have every female who is involved in the wedding wear a special necklace I have purchased for them and my groom will be purchasing matching ties for all of the men involved.  Is this "wrong?"  Technically, yes, but I would have had to summon all my might to not smack someone if they came up to me and said, "You are doing it wrong."  I think the most long-lasting of wedding traditions, the only one that matters, is to have the best day of your life - however you most see fit.

5. You can't
Oh no you didn't.  There is always a way for reasonable desires.  Don't tell a bride she can't afford that fancy Vera Wang dress.  Instead, look up recreations, work with a seamstress to recreate something similar at half the cost, help her find deals online - the options are endless.  (did you know David's Bridal, of all places, launched a line with Vera Wang?)  Each individual has a different wish and a different way of that wish being granted.  She can't afford the ring of her dreams?  How about working with a custom jeweler to create the band and accents, but placing a cubic zirconia instead of a diamond until a first anniversary?   Sure, a trained eye may eventually notice, but no one would argue with her reasoning.  Before you open your mouth to tell a bride she can't, think about all of the different options - I promise you there are many...unless she wants a grande entrance on an elephant...that one could take some work.

6. Let me give you some sex advice
No.  Just...NO.   Again, few and far between are the people who have earned privileges to this conversation. 

7. When are you going to have babies?
I realize people ask awkward questions when they don't know what else to say, but goodness gracious, first give the happy couple ample time to adjust to a completely new life together. 

Friday, June 28, 2013


I wonder this sometimes, "What kind of person has nothing better to do than to insult random people on the internet?" 

If you watch a live theater performance, do you think that what you see on the stage from an actor is his or her real life personality?  I should hope not.  Why, then, would someone assume a small representation of my writing represents my entire personality and life?  Without ever having met me and spent quality time with me, I say you are far removed from the truth.

I write in this format to share thoughts and goings-on with my friends, family, other loved ones, or anyone who comes across the information and feels it resonating with them. 

More recently, I've only been writing about theater, as I can do that with an element of displacement.  Why?  There are some nasty strangers out there.   Strangers who want to destroy my self-worth and personal life.  I've thought over and again, "It's not worth a personal attack."  I fiercely love my people and that kind of love also brings about a fierce sensitivity. 

I've decided that I'd rather write than cower.  The thoughts I receive from love far outnumber those from hate.  Hopefully I'll have more stories for you engagement?! 

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Doo Wop Wed Widing Hood: Murray Arts in the Park

Finally!  A show for the kids. 

Did you know Red Riding Hood has 2 sisters?  Parents who are addicted to television?  A Fairy Godmother who sings the blues and twirls baton (oh, that's me!)?  Come check it out and meet all the fairy tale characters your children love!  Stick around to see what kind of work I produced in my first go-around as choreographer in the 50s musical olio.

Doo Wop Wed Widing Hood & 50s musical olio
Murray Amphitheater - 520 E. Vine Street   Murray, UT
June  21, 22, 24 @ 8pm

Monday, June 10, 2013

What The Bellhop Saw: Utah Repertory Theater Company

Walking into the Murray Theater last weekend, I couldn't help but let the edges of my mouth curl into a grin.  One thing I have got to give Johnny Hebda's Utah Repertory Theater Company is that they always do their darndest to create atmosphere for their patrons.  In What the Bellhop Saw, you will find your tickets at a hotel check-in desk in the hands of the hotel staff, after which the bellhops usher you to your seats.   Who doesn't love feeling a part of the show and removed from the real world before the show even begins?

My impressions were further reinforced as I gazed up on the stage in wonderment at the set.  I've been to the Murray theater many times and never expected to see a 1940's art deco hotel room constructed on the stage. 

What the Bellhop Saw, is a farcical comedy set in a New York City hotel.  The actual era of the show was a little lost on me as I know it was written in 1989, however music from the 1940s through today played throughout the show and the characters dressed in 1940s-style clothing.  As far as the storyline, you've got a man trying to seduce is secretary, a scheming brother, a terrorist, a manly jealous wife, and a sleep-your-way-to-the-top maid.  That's really all you need to know.  

I don't want to get too into the plot, as that's not what creates the fun about this show.  You've got cheesy, "Naked Gun"-esque lines, like a pantsless man stating, "You scared the pants off me," visual farce such *spoiler alert* a man dressed as a woman, and staging that constantly has your eyes darting from one side of the stage to the other as the actors run in and out of the room in dizzying array.  Kudos to director Chasey Ramsey!

Arlene, the jealous wife played by Jake Suazo, is physically hilarious and daunting, yet he often seemed on the verge of a smile.  When you see the show you can tell why he'd want to bust up laughing at any moment, alas the cruelty of the character isn't as sharp as it could be if you think the character may chuckle.  Thank heavens the only things truly busting up were the buttons off the bosom area of his dress.  Wardrobe malfunction or intentional, I covered my mouth to keep myself from giggling too loud every time I noticed.   

The only tidbits that rubbed me the wrong way were a few lines I like to call "throw away lines."  These are strange transitional lines that seem to make no sense in the course of the show, yet the writers throw them in anyway.  I thought most of these were cleverly hidden, but a couple fell flat and stalled the pace of the show.

Expect lots of yelling (hallelujah the actors are not miked so the yelling is awesome instead of shrilly busting out eardrums), lots of running, slamming doors, and fast-paced action.  I cannot tell you how impressed I was with this troupe rarely missing a beat of the frantic comedy pacing.  The first half of the show is about 45 minutes, while the second half less than thirty.  This is refreshing after too many a 2.5 hour show. 

I appreciate a group wanting to do a show simply because it is's refreshing.  I don't think enough people celebrate zaniness for the sake of zaniness.  Sometimes we need a show that reminds us that acting is fun and life is silly, pure and simple.  Not enough theaters in Utah attempt to embrace the fluff of comedies of the physical, mad-cap comedies of old.  One of the actors in the talk back session after the show stated, "This show is nonsense and it celebrates that."

Director Ramsey stated my summary of the show best in his production notes, "...It will not change your life, and it won't even make you think.  We do this to allow you to escape, laugh, and simply find freedom from stresses and blemishes in your lives."

You will enjoy each cast member in this strong ensemble: Jack Kyle Oram as Wally, James McKinney as Georgie, Daniel Whiting as Mr. Bickhardt, Benjamin James Henderson as Stan, Jason Sullivan as Roger, Bethany R. Woodruff as Missy, Maddy Belle Forsyth as Heather, M. Chase Grant as Guest, Jake Ben Suazo as Arlene, Robbie X Peirce as Babu, and Aubrey Bench as Little Heidi.  The pro-team is: Brian Grob the Assistant Director, Emily Griffith the Stage Manager, Kevin Dudley the Set Designer, Allen Stout the Costume Designer, Caitlin Mattie Webb the Makeup Designer, and Ariel Mitchell the Dramaturg.  

If you'd like to check into the What the Bellhop Saw hotel at the Murray Theater on 4691 State Street for an evening away from the world, you've got three chances left - Friday June 14th at 7:30pm, Saturday June 15th at 2pm, and Saturday June 15th at 7:30pm.  Get tickets here.

Photo courtesy of

Friday, May 17, 2013

I've Been Lying

Remember when I was told I'd really let myself go at the gym?  Remember all the lessons I learned?

I did learn those lessons. I did feel them.

But I'd be lying if I said that man's words don't still haunt me every time I step into the gym.  I've lied many times when someone asks me if it bothers me when I see him and I respond that it doesn't.  I've lied to that man when I avoid his gaze instead of talking with him.  I should explain to him that I'm not avoiding him to treat him with cruelty, but I'm avoiding him because I am afraid of what he will say.  I'd be lying if I said I have never looked in the mirror and thought, "Man, I can't go to the gym when so-and-so will be there because he'll see how much I've let myself go."

Truth is, I have gained a little bit of weight (not a lot, but enough to make me uncomfortable) trying to figure out my new eating regime with the medication I'm on to try and heal my Laryngopharyngeal Reflux.  The medication makes my belly ache a lot, and I haven't learned to distinguish between hunger and ache if that make sense.  I haven't "let myself go," but I have had to learn to let go of myself.  I've had to let go of my pride so I can get my health in order outside of physical fitness.

I don't like the way I feel right now.  I am determined to change it.  I am grateful that after only two months I am able to gather the energy it will take to be my best self even if it is more of a challenge while my reflux damage is healing (side effects make my joints and muscles rather achy rather quickly, my head achy, and I'm exhausted all.the.time).

While I am figuring my new routine out, the last thing I should be doing is worrying about what other people are thinking of my current state of fitness.  I want to shout to the world about why I am currently a little off, which I guess I'm doing by blogging about it.  But I can't literally shout it to everyone.  And I'm embarrassed.  I know I shouldn't be, but that doesn't stop the way I feel.  No one can see what I'm going through inside mentally and physically, yet everyone can see my muffin top doth overfloweth.   

This experience is giving me a little perspective I've never had before.  I don't have any words of wisdom or cutesy things to say about what we/I should learn from this.  Maybe I will eventually, but right now all I've got to say is, "I'm trying," and, "I will be myself and to you."  I let this thing control me for a little while.  No more.  I'm taking the reigns. 

Friday, May 10, 2013

Wooden Walls

In Utah (or is this everywhere?), there is an over-abundance of basements with wood-like paneling from floor to ceiling in the basements.  What is this about?!  I find it totally disturbing.  And tacky.  I don't get it.

Kinda like this, only cheaper looking and darker wood

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Working Out Spirituality

Sitting alone in church on Sunday, I found myself actually pondering matters of spirituality instead of being distracted with my company.  Sometimes I love distractions a little too much.

I always squirm at the phrase, "All or nothing," when it comes to spirituality, no matter the religion.  Every week I hear from a speaker or someone commenting in class something like, "I know it is hard to read your scriptures every day, but we've got to.  If we don't, we can't be close to Heavenly Father."

I cannot speak for everyone, but the God I believe in loves all of us.  The God I believe in is my father and my creator.  The God I believe in is like my own earthly father in that He will welcome me into His arms whenever I run to Him, even if I've been gone awhile.

I sat there, listening, trying to make sense of it all.  Trying to find a way to talk with people when they come to me with heartbreaking questions like, "If I can't be all in, then I guess I have to be all out?  I want this, but I just can't do it all."

We are human.  We are prone to err.  Isn't it ironic that we find ourselves constantly striving for perfection while realizing that "perfect" is a goal we will never reach?

Thinking of the perfect spirit lead my thoughts to the perfect body to house that spirit.  Honestly, I've been struggling with my dear Gym lately.  Oh, I still make it 4-6 times per week, but due to the medication from my recent diagnosis (which is totally minor, I'll admit, but a doozie of a blow on the body of someone who has N-E-V-E-R taken medicine), hunger is my constant companion no matter what I do/don't eat, my digestive system is a hater, and exhaustion plagues at least half of my day every day.  What do all those things lead to?  Disappointment and lack of motivation. The crazy thing about disappointment is that it leads to more disappointment.  You've got to just pull your head up and keep fighting and plugging along or you'll succumb to a world of downers.  Doggoneit, I'm tired.  I wonder if all these doctor's appointments and medicines are worth it.  I never felt any pain except a sore throat after singing too long before the medicine and now I feel crummy most of the time on this medication.  At my last exam the doc hadn't noticed any improvement in the state of the acid damage around my vocal chords.  Um?  Don't worry, I have my first vocal therapy session on Thursday and I will sure as heck be talking about it.  In the mean time, I've been pretty down on myself and struggling more than I care to admit...which is still quite minor when I compare myself to most of the world's population.  The hope is that the medicine will heal the damage and the therapy will help my vocal chords and then I can learn to adapt my life to the world of laryngopharyngeal reflux without medication.  Fingers crossed.

Back to the point.

How do we achieve the perfect body?  Eating right and working out.

How do we achieve the perfect spirit?  Partaking of the spirit of Christ and seeking additional opportunities to use that spirit to lift the world around us.

Kind of the same.

Just as you don't immediately die if you don't eat right or work out all the time, your spirit doesn't immediately die if you aren't constantly reading scriptures and praying.

Will you feel more physically healthy if you eat right and work out one day per week versus zero days?  Absolutely.

Will you feel more spiritually healthy if you read your scriptures and pray one day per week versus zero?  Absolutely.

Do those benefits increase with each additional day of trying to increase your physical or spiritual health?  Absolutely!

Do what you can.  If all you've got, if all you can possibly muster, is three days per week, then, by golly, you are doing three days per week!  God's love for us is not, and has never been, "all or nothing."

Obviously the way to be closest to your Father in Heaven is to be working your hardest daily.  We must recognize we are not all on the same level.  Would you ask a 50-year old overweight man to do the same routine as an Olympic gymnast?  No.

Do your best.  Only you and your Father in Heaven know what that is.

Live long and prosper.


Wednesday, April 17, 2013

When do you Reveal the Deal-Breakers?

I've talked about deal-breakers before.

You can talk about what your deal-breakers are amongst your girlfriends, from your run-of-the-mill, "No finger nail biters," to your, "I couldn't handle if a man/woman had been bankrupt," to your "I couldn't handle it if a man/woman had been arrested several times."

The big question is this: Do you save the deal-breakers for love, or do you reveal them up front?

I've always been of the opinion that, in my relationships, I want to know up front.  I understand there is a time and a place and a relationship of trust one must establish, but I want pretty straight-forward pretty darned quickly.  If you've got a past or a struggle you are working on, I want to know.  That way, I can work with you instead of feeling as if you have been keeping secrets from me or waiting to bombard me.  Perhaps you can factor in a few past experiences that violated my trust in a big way (don't worry, my current beau is completely worthy of all of the trust he has earned, and, yes, he had to work hard to earn it) if you want to know the basis of my opinion.  I want to see all the cards on the table to fully evaluate the situation.  There may not be a lot of logic in relationships, but I sure like to pretend there is.

I have friends, however, that want to be in love before they reveal the deal-breakers. They want to know a person sees who they are through those flaws.

What do you think?

Thursday, March 28, 2013

To See the Face of God

I know that there is a higher power that loves and watches over me.

To most Americans, God is our higher power.  For others, that power is Krishna, Buddha, Zeus, the list goes on.  Reading this knowing that God is my higher power, imagine whatever is your higher power.

Because of the great example of unconditional love that my earthly father sets for me, I am certain that my Heavenly Father is guiding my paths and protecting me daily.  My center, my constant, is knowing there is a higher power in the universe.  Several personal events have occurred in my life that leave me with no question as to the existence of higher power – the impossible has been made possible, the warmth of comfort has spread over me like a blanket in times of cold despair. 

Gymnastics changed my life.  More importantly, my gymnastics coach, Pastor Brian Anderson, changed my life.   I sometimes feel I use the analogy of the gymnastics coach too often, but I can’t stop seeing everything crystal clearly in these terms.  Imagine God as your gymnastics coach.  He teaches you strength-building conditioning, flexibility exercises, drills for form and stamina all before teaching you actual gymnastics skills because you need a foundation to build upon.  Once he teaches you a skill, he will stand there, spotting you with all the strength he has to help you successfully complete the task at hand without falling.  Once he knows in his gut you can do it on your own, he steps away.  What happens then?  Well, most often what happens at least once is that our faces, hineys, or bellies end up on the floor in a heap.  For our own betterment, the coach watches us fall.  He is there to scoop us up in his arms in times of true, desperate injury, however most often we are merely bumped or bruised.  In my own experiences as a coach, this was the most difficult thing for me, yet I knew if I didn’t step back and let the gymnasts try the skills on their own, they would never learn to succeed.  What I wanted more than anything was to step in and protect them!  But what brought me joy unlike any other was watching those moments the gymnasts succeeded!  The look on someone’s face as they complete their first handspring vault and you both run towards each other squealing and jumping up and down is pure bliss.      

I imagine my father in heaven much the same way – teaching us the foundation principles, giving us guidance and help, yet stepping back so we can truly learn what this life is all about.  Will we fall?  Absolutely.  The key is to get back up and keep trying instead of laying there in that miserable lump cursing the coach who let us fall.   Much like the coach who watches us stand on the end of the balance beam, hesitant to try a back-tuck dismount for the first time, God is empathetic and understanding of each decision we make and why…he knows our hesitancies, our discomforts, our strengths. 

Some of you out there wonder how God could let children be harmed, how He could let loving parents die in car accidents, how He could let pure evil like Hitler reign.  I do not have answers for that.  I wish I did.     

What I can say is that I have a divinity inside of me.  Many times I have been pulled aside and hugged in a tearful embrace as someone shares with me how grateful they are for the influence of the goodness and light that radiate from me.  When I was 17, a man who appeared to be ancient to me placed his arms upon my shoulders, piercingly looked into my eyes and said, “The eyes are the gateway to the soul.  You have beautiful eyes.  You have a beautiful soul.”  This light is a gift, a blessing.  Again, I cannot answer as to why my life has been gifted this and not gifted to an afflicted child in a third-world country.  The answer is beyond my comprehension. 

I share this with you because the events of the world have left me torn and confused for many years.  There are ideas and principles in the LDS church that I don’t understand or agree with.  I have a desire of knowledge, although I am far from a knowledge in most things.  But above all else, I firmly know my Heavenly Father loves me.  I know he loves every single one of us in a way that is absolutely incomprehensible to us.  I know my life is wonderfully blessed because of the principles and guidelines I have followed as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  There is a place for everyone in the Church if they want it.  Whether in 100% agreement or not, I know this is where I need to be.  I know that we fumble around on this earth and as long as we are trying to, wanting to be good people, the Lord will understand.  To love another person is truly to see the face of God.  To love another person is the divine higher power in each of us.