Sneak Peek Into My Irrational Female Brain

I’ve been thinking about relationships. Not just romantic relationships, relationships in general. I have been thinking about the relationships I have with my family, with friends, with people I teach with or for, with the students I teach, and people I don’t yet know. I became a teacher because I want to help people. I care about people. I want them to have opportunities to live better lives and I think that I can do that as a teacher. This mentality, of trying to bolster people up, bleeds into other aspects of my life, though sometimes I have a difficult time really accomplishing what I set out to do because of fear or hurt feelings.

Truthfully, I will probably be writing around the idea of romantic relationships here in this post, but I think it’s natural to want any of the relationships with the people in our lives to be meaningful, uplifting, equal, and easy. I’ve seen quotes like these lately…

because obviously we still love each other

i believe no matter how bad the fight, as long as our feet find each other underneath the sheets, everything will be alright – the story of us

because it takes two

if the feelings are mutual the effort with be equal

because it is hard to give up on something that made us so happy

she’s standing on a line between giving up and seeing how much more she can take

just a fact - at least for me

i fall too fast, crash too hard, forgive too easily, and care too much

you have to work through the problems together

you can’t just give up on someone because the situation’s not ideal. great relationships aren’t great because they have no problems. They’re great because both people care enough about the other person to find a way to make it work.

just because you're hurting doesn't mean our responsibilities go away

sometimes all you can do is smile. move on with your day, hold back the tears and pretend you’re okay.

Pretty wide ranges of emotions, probably the stages of grief or something if you really look at them. And of course, there are others. Ones that remind us that the one who walked away will be sorry, but they aren’t always sorry are they? Sometimes they walk away and find something that truly makes them happier. There are ones that remind us that we will fall in love again some day. Yeah, that’s true…but unless you have learned something, made a change, you may be doomed to repeat your mistakes.

I’m female. I know, you’re shocked, right? 

At times, I annoy myself. I get frustrated with the way my brain and my heart think and how my imagination goes wild and tears me down. I am my own worst enemy. A lot of times, I’m completely aware that whatever I’m worrying about is out of my control and that what I’m imagining or feeling is not reflective of reality; it doesn’t change the fact that I am worrying. Haha, I’d be the first one to admit that I overreact and over think situations…from time to time.

ridiculous

But when I care about someone? When I have decided that I want that person to be happy, that I want to be part of their life and them part of mine? I can’t help myself. I can’t seem to keep myself from thinking that I will screw something up. That when they are having a rough time I need to be there for them, to help them emotionally if nothing else. I want them to share their misery with me. I don’t care if it has nothing to do with me or if I can’t actually do anything to change the situation. I want to be “burdened” with the frustration and the sadness. Why? Who knows… Maybe I feel like it means they trust me and they care about me the way I care about them. That they want me to be part of their life even when things aren’t going smoothly.

women tend to prefer solving problems through emotions while men through actions.

women tend to prefer solving problems through emotions while men through actions.

Reflecting on this, I realize that – at least for this femme – when I really like a guy, I want to be there for him. I realize I just said something along those lines, bear with me. I don’t want to wonder if he’s “okay” or why he’s not okay. I don’t understand someone wanting “space.” Why? Because even if I don’t want to talk about what is bothering me, even if it can’t be fixed, I want someone, the guy I’m choosing to spend my time with, to take my mind off the problem. So when I am pushed away, so to speak, because the guy is “dealing with it” on his own, it doesn’t make sense to me. It’s hurtful. It’s torture. And no matter how many times I remind myself that I have done nothing wrong, that whatever is causing the distance and silence can’t have had anything to do with me, there will always be a part of me that will wonder, “What more could I have done?” So, when it’s someone else struggling, I will keep poking that bubble…trying to establish that connection and offer my help…

doanything

i swear, i will do anything to keep you happy. i’ll take care of you when you’re sick. i’ll cuddle you when you’re cold. i’ll tell you funny stories when you’re sad. if you need to b!@#, i’ll listen and b!@# with you. i’ll cook for and with you. i’ll sing to you when we’re on long drives. if you want to go traveling, you know i’ll be right by your side. we can do absolutely crazy and adventurous things together.

But…

feelstupid  forgethowtofeel

likecrazy

 

And media tells us…

notworthit

 

So eventually…

heavy

nottoworry

Let’s be patient with one another. But moreover, let’s communicate. Don’t let your bad day keep you from expressing appreciation, concern, or love for someone else.

 

A Work in Progress

Before anyone gets upset with me for not posting more about my trip to Israel, let me say that I apologize and I will add pictures and more information when I feel like it. Haha…that wasn’t very warm and fuzzy, was it? Oh well…  But tonight I have something on my mind that I haven’t been able to stop thinking about and I think I need to write it down and share it if I hope to fall asleep tonight.

There has been a lot of interesting disconcerting media coverage on various things that have happened to some select members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who are unhappy with the way different issues are handled within the organization; namely, these issues are women holding the priesthood and the level of I’ll use the word acceptance of people who have same gender attraction. I’m not going to argue one side over the other though I do know where my heart lies on the issues. I will, however, share something that came to my mind at Institute (a type of Bible study group/class) tonight.

The question was asked, “Can we deepen our souls?” and was followed by, “If so, how can we deepen our souls?” People talk about the word of God sinking deep into their soul, so I would guess that means our souls can have “depth.” I’m not sure how to explain that measurement, perhaps it’s better to describe it as your faith in something or your testimony of something. Given the scriptures we were reading I decided that it was possible and that it would require a strong desire and action on the part of the person striving to “deepen” their soul.

So here’s what came to me…

I think it has been said that God is the potter and will shape us as clay, fire us, and so forth in order to guide us into the person we could be, but I think this analogy can and should be used in another way.

When a potter first sits down to the wheel they will usually have a fairly round lump of clay that has already been prepared, kneaded, to rid it of air or impurities.

Just a lump of clay…

 

Next the potter starts the wheel and shapes the lump into something more manageable and hopefully more symmetrical.

The color wouldn’t change this drastically…jus sayin’

Once the circumference for the base is established, which would largely depend on the desired shape of the piece, the potter starts to apply pressure. First with one thumb most likely.

Applying pressure…

Eventually, the potter will use more pressure and more of the hands to shape the piece. Fingers will pull the walls apart, guide them up, and even draw the top to a close.

The desired shape will dictate how the hand is used.

After some time, the piece will have new shape an will, hopefully, reflect the potters design. It will be a product of their time, their skill, and their actions.

Beautiful shape…

But what happens if the lump is not in the center of the wheel? What if the potter didn’t prepare the clay before placing it on the wheel? What if the potter tries to go too fast or is not methodical about the movement of their hand? Well, then you run into problems. The walls might become weak or thin and collapse. The shape might become uneven.

Your piece might, unintentionally, look a little off.

When the potter is ready to remove the piece, they use wire to cut the clay from the wheel. But they have to be careful not to cut too high and make sure they left enough clay on the bottom so there isn’t a hole in the bottom when it’s removed from the wheel.

CAREFULLY removing the piece!

Each piece can look very different.

Different shapes, sizes, and detailing….

The potter might decide to add more height by adding coils to the rim or maybe even to to the base of the piece.

Coils to add…

Maybe the potter adds designs…they could carve into, add on more clay or other ornamentation, cut pieces out entirely, and add color to the piece.

Ornamentation after the piece has been taken off the wheel.

We are like the potter. We can choose to apply pressure and create something wonderful. As we build our faith, our testimonies, our relationship with God and those around us, we are striving to reach a certain goal. We have an outcome in mind and we have all the materials that we need to get there. At times we will need to move slowly, plan, and adjust so that we can come closer to our final product successfully. We must make sure that we build and develop on a foundation that will not break or be easily destroyed if and when we are ready to progress and add the finishing touches. We must have focused patience and steady hands with the end result constantly in mind so that we can continue to create, add on and embellish, strengthen, and create a lasting product: an unshakable faith; a testimony of truth, of an unchanging, yet loving God who forgives sin freely while never condoning or excusing it.

That is part of my testimony. That my Father in Heaven has given me the material and the instructions on how I should create my masterpiece, but it is up to me to prepare those materials, follow those instructions, strive to be patient and diligent, strengthen and build onto those materials with a result in mind. It is okay if my work looks different from those around me, but I need to put effort into it. And lastly, I need to share my work with others, put it on display so that those around me can see and feel how much work I put into it and how much it means to me.

 

 

I Need Them Forever and a Day Interrupted

Technology is a blessing and a plague. I know traditionally we say curse, but I’m going to say plague. Plagues are no respecter of persons, they spread quickly and into everything. Technology has replaced traditional forms of communication, courtship, travel, medicine, and so forth. Some times these advancements or changes are exceedingly beneficial. Instead of walking on foot we now use airplanes to travel great distances. This, I think, is a benefit of technology. But in other areas like interpersonal relationships or intimacy, technology has created some hidden dangers.

I don’t really want to focus on technology, but today I am grateful for technology because of a really awesome experience I had.

Saturday, the Sabbath, we went to the Sea of Galilee. This is where Peter, James, and John were found fishing on two separate occasions, Christ calmed the waters during a voyage, and Christ walked on this water and Peter was saved from drowning here. In October 2012 General Conference, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland gave a talk in which he took some creative license in interpreting the story in John 21. We had the opportunity to listen to this talk again as we sat near the shore of the Sea of Galilee. As we sat, I felt the Spirit so strongly, just as I had the first time I heard the talk in 2012. There is a gentle power in the words that Elder Holland delivered that just trigger something inside of me.

“Then Peter, why are you here? Why are we back on this same shore, by these same nets, having this same conversation? Wasn’t it obvious then and isn’t it obvious now that if I want fish, I can get fish? What I need, Peter, are disciples—and I need them forever. I need someone to feed my sheep and save my lambs. I need someone to preach my gospel and defend my faith. I need someone who loves me, truly, truly loves me, and loves what our Father in Heaven has commissioned me to do. Ours is not a feeble message. It is not a fleeting task. It is not hapless; it is not hopeless; it is not to be consigned to the ash heap of history. It is the work of Almighty God, and it is to change the world. So, Peter, for the second and presumably the last time, I am asking you to leave all this and to go teach and testify, labor and serve loyally until the day in which they will do to you exactly what they did to me.”

How amazing it was, to sit near where these men sat with the Savior and think about this story. The Savior wants us to be his sheep, but also his disciples forever.

Today, was also another amazing day! While we have been here in Israel we have had the same, wonderful, bus driver. His name is Ata. He’s quite amazing and maneuvers the bus expertly. Earlier in the day, the air conditioning on our bus started cutting in and out. No one really noticed it when we first got on the bus because we weren’t on the bus for very long before we took a boat ride on the Sea of Galilee… Yeah, I “sailed” the Sea of Galilee, but more about that later. Once we got back on the bus it started to be a little more noticeable. It got a little warmer and continued to come on and cut out pretty regularly and the air was no longer cool. Well, we made it through about half of our day. We had been to Capernaum where they believe Peter’s mother-in-law lived, we saw Syria, marked by the Syrian flag, then we stopped to have lunch in a Druze village and had Druze pita with olive oil and olives {It was pretty good, though I’m not sure I would get it again…}, after lunch we drove to Banias (Ban-yas) or Caesarea Phillipi where they have ruins from a pagan temple to Pan {It used be called Panias, but Arabic doesn’t have a “p” sound so it became Banias} and explored. We walked around, had a nice time looking at the sites there and then we all congregated near the parking lot and decided we should go because we were going to go to Dan next.

Well, our fearless leader Stewart went to talk to Atta and Joseph { our guide} and came back looking a little sheepish. He told us that our bus wouldn’t start, but there was another bus, with just the right amount of seats on it for our group, and they were heading back to Tiberias right then. If we didn’t go with them and we waited for another bus to come, we wouldn’t get back til dark; we could’ve waited there for another mechanic, but we really wouldn’t get back til dark. Either way, we weren’t going to Dan anymore. How blessed we were to be in a place where Heavenly Father could bless us with people to help us.

Jordan River, Elisha Spring, Gideon’s Spring, Bet She’an and Nazareth

Today we started our adventuring kind of early. A 6:30am wake up call, 7am bags out and headed down to breakfast. We loaded the bus and were out of the hotel gates by 8am. We headed first to the River Jordan. I have realized that I don’t know a whole lot about the bible stories that happen in the Old Testament. I mean, there are several stories about the River Jordan that I didn’t know. Anyway, as we were walking to the river, we had to pass some fields where old churches have been built to mark a “holy” place or places. These fields and their ruins if you’ll allow me to use that term a bit loosely, are gated in with barbed wire on the fences and little signs.

20140516-214209.jpg

Danger. Mines. We thought about how strange it is to us that there would be mines in a location like this.

While we were at the Jordan River, we had a quick scripture discussion. It was interesting to see soldiers sitting nearby, to have mass going on behind us, and to have another Christian group down by the river singing all at once. It was very easy to feel the Spirit there with us. I even put my feet in the water before we left.

After the river, we went over to Elisha’s spring then to Bet She’an. Bet She’an is an interesting site. It has a lot of Roman ruins (columns, bath house, theater, ancient commode…) and some Byzantine traces as well.

Following our time in Bet She’an, we went over to the spring and stream where Gideon may have led his troops before their battle. As the story goes, Gideon brought his men before The Lord before he went to battle against the Midianites. God said that there were too many, so Gideon said whomever was afraid to fight or who wanted to go home should go and 22,000 of the 32,000 left. But there were still too many men. So God told Gideon to take his men to drink water from a spring; those who lapped the water like a dog (with their face to the water) should be sent away and only those who scooped water to their faces should stay and so the story goes there were only 300 men who stayed to fight the Midianites who were like locusts in the valley.

We also had the opportunity to go to this neat mini-Nazareth replica village today. It is in Nazareth and they claim to be built where a farm had been standing during the time of Christ. It was neat to see the olive press and the what the wine press would look like at that time. We also received little oil lamps as part of our ticket. It will be a cool little reminder of the trip!

I was debating whether or not to write some of the thoughts and feelings I had today, but I think I will share two things…it might end up being a bit more than that…but my intentions are good.

1. Going back to yesterday, which now I can’t remember if I wrote very much about, when we visited Masada. Joseph (our Palestinian Catholic guide) said that the people who died at Masada, the ones who killed their families and then themselves, were making a statement. They were trying to convey that they did not die from natural causes, from starvation, or from dehydration; these people chose to die, to take their own lives, in order to send a message that they took their lives and they would rather take the punishment of God for what they did than allow themselves and their children to be enslaved or their women abused. They had such strong convictions to their faith, that they would not surrender to the will of the Romans.

2. At the morning devotional, we talked about “receiving” things. We talked about how it takes faith and action on our part for a gift to be truly received. We compared this to how the Holy Ghost, the gospel, and Christ must also be things we have faith in and take action in behalf of.

3. Lastly, thinking about Gideon and his men, there was a point made that the 300 chosen to stay would have to have a lot of faith. But it doesn’t say that the other 9,700 men were bad men or that they were chastised and sent home. These other men just didn’t go into the initial battle. Additionally, the men who were not among the 300 and other things to do. It doesn’t matter when you are called or what you are called to do, as long as you take courage and drink deep. You will find a task that has been set aside specifically for you and your experiences will have prepared you for it.

Trying to Get Up to Date and Failing!

I forgot to mention something about our city tour and going to the Citadel. While we were at the Citadel, which is quite a high point in the city, though not the highest. We were standing there looking out over part of the city, with the Temple of Hercules behind us, when the call to prayer came on over a very loud speaker. I don’t know if it was from just one place or many, but it was a very interesting sound to hear. It sounds kind of sad and reverent and it continues for several minutes. I didn’t know that the call was “broadcast” over the entire city. It’s interesting that this is how serious the prayer time is taken. Mohammad said that not all of the prayers have to be said when the prayer call is made.

Something else I forgot is that each group is assigned a member of the tourism police. What this means is that there is a policeman who deals accompanies the group during their travels. I’m not sure what they would do exactly, perhaps just be a second pair of eyes. Keep belongings safe when they’re on the bus?

Tuesday May 13
After spending some time in Jerash yesterday and seeing some of thee sights in Amman, we headed to Mount Nebo where we believe that Moses gave his last address before he was buried. From this point, he was shown the promised land of Canaan. It was interesting to see everything laid out and we could see part of the Dead Sea and Jericho.

Our next stop was a mosaic school where one of the people who have been making mosaics showed told us that he has dear friends from Utah who are Mormon. Apparently, the people who make these mosaics train for about 6 months or so before they are really ready to create mosaics that are ready to be sold. And some of their projects can take several days.

We stopped in Madaba, which is the city of churches, to see St. George church. It was built over an old Byzantine church and there is a mosaic map that is the most accurate of the time. We had lunch there and then we continued on to Petra, Jordan. We stayed in Wadi Mussa, Valley of Moses, in a really cool hotel that was once a small village if I remember correctly.

Wednesday May 14
This morning we got an early start on breakfast and were out of the hotel, Beit Zaman, by 8:30am. We drove over to the “park” in Petra where we started a hike into an old city and trading post. I remember learning about the Treasury when I took an Art History class, but I couldn’t remember much about it besides that it was a trading post. I don’t think they talked about it being a place where an entire civilization lived. Nabateans lived there and essentially built this place, carving into the rock to create art and dwellings. After many years another group called the Bdools (Dools) came in, I believe they were what they call badoins or nomads, and lived there. It wasn’t until about 1985 that they were moved out of these cave dwellings and given homes to live in nearby.

Our walk was very pleasant on the way in. It wasn’t very hot and there was quite a bit of shade because the rocks come up so high on either side that the sun doesn’t get down to the floor of the sheek. When you walk up to the treasury it appears through the cracks of the walls and then you’re standing there looking up at it. It’s amazing! There are lots of different influences and cultures incorporated to pay respect to the cultures that would come to trade there.

There were camels there so of course I had to ride one. So for $5 I got to ride a camel around in a circle. Apparently, camels are Mohammad’s very animal. He says they are very emotional, smart, and very well suited for the desert. They don’t have to eat every day because they can store food in their humps and they don’t consume water all the time and store it various places. The have 3 stomachs and they also store water on the bottoms of their feet. They have long eye lashes and can close their noses so that sand won’t get in during sand storms. He said they are very shy, but also that they remember things. If their owner is not kind to them they will seek revenge.

We continued walking into the site and saw a theater and then my mom and I hiked up some stairs to a place called the Urn Tomb. It was really cool. I took a couple of really cool pictures up there too. It was interesting to see all the different colors of rock in the ceilings and the walls.

So, more about badoins. These people live in tents, usually black goat hair, and move around all over the desert. The name comes from where they lived, an area called badea which means highlands. There tents are usually really long and they pitch them so that the wind will move through the tent. In the rain, goat hair expands and becomes almost water proof.

It’s amazing to me how much Jordan looks like Utah. The difference sometimes is really just the colors of the rocks in Utah are much more red and here in Jordan they’re kind of a yellowish brown.

The end of our time in Jordan was marred by saying goodbye to Mohammad. He was a nice guy. And as he would say at the end of most visits… We enjoyed him and he enjoyed us, I can feel it. Haha

Interestingly enough, the process for getting into Israel was pretty intense. Two people looked at my passport on the Jordanian side and at least two people looked at it on the Israeli side. The guy who looked at my passport first on the Israeli asked if I was with a group and then hesitated as he asked if I was traveling with my family.

After getting somewhat settled into the room, we went down stairs and had some dinner. There was lots of really good food and not just traditional stuff. It was nice to have a little bit of what you might call “American” food. When we were finished we changed into swimming suits and took dip in the Red Sea. Yeah, no big deal right? I mean, as I write this portion, I am looking out onto the Red Sea from the balcony of my room. It’s ridiculous…

20140516-074428.jpg

Greetings from Amman

20140512-070638.jpg

So, after about a 17 hours of flying time (about 9 to Paris, France and another 8 to Amman, Jordan) we were welcomed by his majesty Abdullah II ibn al-Hussein (Arabic: عبد الله الثاني بن الحسين‎, ʿAbdullāh aṯ-ṯānī ibn al-Ḥusayn). Okay, so he didn’t great us personally, but there was a big sign in the baggage claim area.

It’s hard to describe exactly what Amman looks like on first sight because it was about 8pm and I was pretty tired. But I was, stupidly so, kind of surprised by how many lights there were.

People don’t really give you any cushion when you’re stopped at stop lights. We’re in a big bus, but I looked over at one point and the truck next to me was probably less than an arms length away from the car in front of it. They have a lot of the same cars we have here; I guess I anticipated it being a little more like Italy or France where they have smaller cars.

Our hotel is very nice; there was even dinner waiting for us when we got in last night. So far the food has been very good. There seems to be a mix of Mediterranean and American food, but I haven’t asked if what they serve in the dining room is “traditional” or not.

We did learn some phrases while we were on the bus and a lot of cool information actually. First the word for thank you is “shukran” pronounced shock-run. If you want to tell someone let’s go you say, “yassa havibi.” That’s probably not how you spell it, but it’s the way I hear it.

Haha, anyway…it’s about time to go down to breakfast and get packed up for the day. We are going to a place called Jerrash (I’ll spell it right later). And we’re going to drive through the mountains Gillead (like the song Balm in Gillead).

Ma’a salama مع السلامة

Competition!

So, last time I confided that I was getting ready for my first competition and the results are in! Well, they’ve been in since, essentially, the end of the day of the competition… Anyway!

 

CrossFit Fontana's Logo

CrossFit Fontana’s Logo

My team {Sal, Siera, Fernando, and I} met up at Sal’s house around 7:30am and headed down to CrossFit Fontana. We “bonded” with some ghetto rap music and talked a little strategy. I realized that I was nervous; I was excited. I knew that we had a pretty good chance of doing well because we had done really well during our practices and that was when we were tired from other workout and the day’s demands and of course we didn’t have competition adrenaline racing through our veins.

Deadlift Junkies

Deadlift Junkies

We did really well during all of the work outs and held a consistent 4th place through all 7 heats at the modified/scaled level of the competition. Out of 20 teams, we ended in 4th. We were all proud of our performance given that none of us had competed like this before. Here are some pictures of me from the last work out.

 

20140503_144854

Sumo Dead Lift High Pull with a kettle bell

Now, I’m looking at this picture thinking that I should be keeping that kettle bell closer to my body…. Haha…

Sumo Dead Lift High Pull with a kettle bell

Sumo Dead Lift High Pull with a kettle bell

 

And now, my next adventure looms!

I love this!

 

I finally get to travel again. I leave the U.S. on Saturday!

20140508_000127

Hurrah for Israel!