don't look back

i just got off the phone after a really good conversation with a friend of mine. we talked about change, growth, work, faith and repentance. pretty much the full spectrum.

after our conversation, i went to check something on the internet. nothing would work, however, and it was a bit frustrating. miraculously, one of the church websites worked. the first thing i saw on the page was the following video:

that, coupled with the conversation, gave me a completely renewed sense of hope, comfort, love, peace and excitement for the future!

i think many of us [*slow hand raise*] are afraid of change. we like getting into our comfort zones; we like being where we are at. because even if where we're at isn't the best place, we are comfortable with it. however, like one of the guys in that video said, sometimes "[we] didn't even give it any consideration that the future could be better than the past."


His birthday celebration

this year, i especially loved Christmas. i still am.

guitar jams, stories by candlelight, talking, indoor snowball fights (just one), laughing, bonding, pencil fights, little kids, homemade gifts, gifts of time, reminiscing, sharing, lots of food...good. so good.

i'm really trying to focus on enjoying my family, and it works! sometimes i realize even when i'm with people, i'm not really with them. i'm with them + my phone, them + my computer, or them + my wandering mind. this year, i pushed myself away from that and it's been wonderful.

in our family, Christmas is full of traditions. while that's another post of another day, it's one of my favorite things about the holiday. most of our traditions focus on the real reason why we celebrate.

preliminary sketch i did for a competition i ended up not entering...

let us all remember at every point of the year! merry CHRIST-mas!


advent conspiracy II

so. remember this?

you should watch it if you haven't yet.

and then?

you should watch this. but really. watch the first one first or this one won't make sense.

change is awesome.

merry Christmasweek!


don't know what you've got til it's gone

[i wrote this yesterday : saturday december 18]

i am a sentimental person and i can easily attach myself to things and people. i know this.

but i had no idea how much i loved the provo tabernacle until this morning when i saw how much of it isn't there anymore; my heart just broke a little. 

my mom called me, completely choked up, at 6:30am to let me know that it had caught fire and was rapidly burning down. i was shocked and didn't really know how to feel. i got online and saw the news stories, such as this one. while i watched the videos, my eyes flooded with unexpected tears. 

i had work at 8 am, but as i was driving to work i felt myself impulsively veer the car to turn south instead of heading straight to campus. i didn't stop myself; i had a sneaking suspicion i'd do that when when i'd seen the videos.
i pulled in to a parking slot on center street in time to see the smoke still billowing steadily from the building. i sat there in my car, while fresh tears ran down my face. vaguely aware and slightly peeved that i didn't have my camera, i grabbed my sketchbook and a couple of pens and headed out into the cold.
i know to some, to many-- it was just a building. i know. to others, it was a church-owned building, a historic wonder of utah, a part of our heritage. it was this, indeed...but to me, it was also a place of security, and a place full of memories. i don't remember the last time i felt this way about a "thing" being destroyed since we lost our tree last year. i realize it's because it's not just a "thing"...it's the home of a billion memoirs.

as i watched the firemen work to put out the fire (apparently there are still flames in the back of the building), a lot of things went through my head.
i remembered all those times growing up when we'd go to stake conference there. to me, it was a privilege to sojourn once a year to that building for church. i remembered, during those times, feeling privileged to sit in the balcony, and at some times trying to see that cute boy that i liked or wave to some of my girl friends. i remembered looking around, seeing so many familiar faces and feeling happiness, unity and peace. i remembered standing and singing hymns and feeling the spirit as i sat, listening to the speakers. i remembered drawing the architecture on the program while listening to a choir (i wonder if i still have that...). i remembered the time that i was asked by elder moon, of the quorum of the 70, to recite with another girl, 'the living Christ' to my entire stake from memory. i remembered the hesitant feelings i had that day, and the many small miracles that accompanied to bring me peace and success. that's in fact, one of the first things i think about when i think of the tabernacle.

i also remembered my high school choir performances there, and that beautiful organ. lots of rehearsals. i remembered different feelings -- of excitement, of anticipation and of wonder i felt at the onset of singing  -- solely because of the humble grandeur of the place. i remember last year i sang in a byu choir (the first time i'd choir-ed in college) and the sense of familiarity and welcome i felt as i walked in to that rehearsal and following performance. it had just felt...right. 

i stood there this morning, in the cold, drawing the building amidst the firefighters and spectators. i met a random byu student around my age and talking with her about it, then an older gentleman who was a photographer who'd shot many an event in the building. 

turned out that drawing the place was cathartic for me. it was, in a way, my way of paying tribute to the old friend. as i drew, i said goodbye. my emotions, the hurried pace and honestly the freezing cold made it hard for my hands to not shake so it wasn't a really great drawing, but i didn't really care: what i cared about was that i documented that experience, not so much the actual look, in my own way. and for that i was grateful. 

after the girl and man left, i saw two good friends* taking photos. we reminisced for a bit, and it was nice to see familiar faces. after about 45 total minutes of freezing, i left for work. 

i know i'm not alone in feeling this way, which is comforting. i like sharing feelings with each other. not just sharing = me telling, but sharing = us feeling mutually. i texted some friends and family about it this morning, and posted a link to the article on facebook. i saw that many other friends had posted similar feelings. it was cool how each expressed the same thing, but in their own way.

"Mourning the loss of the heart of downtown Provo today." -dalene

"I can't believe that we are losing the Provo Tabernacle." -kate

"A little piece of my heart broke when I heard about the Provo Tabernacle fire. :( Praying they can salvage the shell so they can rebuild." -karen

"I'm gonna cry. So many memories in that tabernacle. The best of provo's historic buildings. Ugh....this really sucks!" -sara

"So sad by the loss of the Provo Tabernacle this morning. So many memories I treasure there....choir concerts, stake conference and Christmas festivities. Over 100 years of history lost in a matter of hours." -stephanie
"One of the most historical buildings from my hometown went up in flames this morning." - joe
"Devastated over the loss of the Provo Tabernacle. We used to walk by it daily, and now it's in ruins." -anthony
and, simply,

"Tabernacle. :(" -hannah
my brother kevin just texted me that he and his wife were going to the performance that was scheduled tonight. the original artwork and production set for the performance has all been destroyed, and many of the instruments. later, he simply texted me, "I had my seminary graduation there." again: so simple, yet so special. [sidenote: check this out. what an awesome testimony. also, this is a beautiful tribute]

trange how much one little building can be based around so many powerful memories and affect so many lives.

it will be forever remembered in the hearts of those who have grown up here and those who have since connected with it. if you have any affiliation or memory of the tabernacle you'd like to share, i would love to read it in the comments. and if not, i hope that maybe through my memories and the others' sentiments above, you can at least vicariously get to know the old building a little bit.  it is worth getting to know. 

*kody threlfall was one of those friends, who took the beautiful photographs that accompany this post. 


view from the back yard

this morning, my friend texted me to check out the sunrise.

so. glad. i did. it looked something like this:

i was using another friend's camera, so i wasn't quite used to it but didn't want to miss the sunrise to mess with the settings* (silly nikons!). i was so grateful she had lent it to me last night for a project, so i could at least capture something of this wonder.

yeah. the sky was completely on fire.  i couldn't believe how breathtaking it was.

it was a nice reminder that every day is new. and because literally ten minutes later the sky was completely bland and gray with no trace of what i'd witnessed, it was also a reminder to savor the beautiful moments in life. sometimes, they're what keep us going.

in other news, i'm in the middle of finals week. pretty sure my friend hannah captured my feelings perfectly.

*the iso was something like 1600 and i couldn't find out where to change it fast enough. and the color balance is off, but i have no time to mess with it now....finalssssweeeeeeekk.......


december 1: snow!

it was beautiful today! we weren't able to paint for our 8am plien air painting class, but we did walk around campus and dave instructed and directed us on how to paint snow, as well as pointed out some way cool observations about snow and atmosphere. this is the stuff i love learning, because it incorporates the use of the left side of my brain (which i dearly miss at times!).

it was too--meh--to paint well today, but excellent for photography. i brought my camera to take reference photos, but ended up taking pictures of my classmates as well because the lighting was so pretty! so...enjoy these chilly morning pictures (unedited - no time!) while i finish my gratitude list and try not to fret about my overload of final projects. :)

it's fun to take pictures of pretty classmates/friends. :) my classmates and professors have been one of my favorite things about this year. i'll sure be sad to see some of them leave.

i may or may not post surprisingly soon.