santa's team

as one tends to do in this season, i've been thinking about santa claus. does he exist?

before you come to a conclusion,
i hope you've done your research and have read this.
and even better, in my opinion, is this.

and as a third evidence, i'd like to add a personal witness to this case.


quite possibly one of my favorite Christmas memories happened this year.

my young single adult ward gave Christmas to a little family in our town. i was very much privileged to be in charge of it. i found out the story of the family and plead their case to my ward members, just hoping that someone would participate.

not only did they participate, but they went the extra mile -- no, the extra few miles. people were so generous. so much that i had to double the assignments for gifts because so many were willing to give. and even then, people still donated food, extra items, and money to help the family.

it took some doing to gather and organize all the presents, including components people had volunteered for a good-sized Christmas meal. but by friday night at 9, everyone had come through and my front table was literally overflowing with gifts for this family.

after quadruple-checking my spreadsheet making sure everything was in place and properly labeled, three friends from the ward and i put everything in big plastic garbage bags. then headed out to make the delivery.

our excitement mounted (at least, i know mine did) in the chilly air as we knocked quietly on the door of the small apartment. this would be our first time meeting the mother; i had previously only talked with her on the phone.

she opened the door and we could tell she was excited. she beckoned us in and we crept quietly as to not wake the five sleeping children. we entered into a smallish living room with a sweet little tree decorated with homemade ornaments, whose lights were the only light source in the room.

i loved seeing her face as we brought in the bags for their family -- more and more bags. between the four of us, we were able to manage bringing the gifts in one trip, but there was still quite a bit.

the best part, however, was what the mother presented to us after we put down all the bags. next to the standard milk and cookies, their little family had made a Christmas card out of an entire poster board folded in half. it was heavily and wonderfully decorated. inside was six pockets, one for each child and the parents. the children had taped a picture of themselves on their respective pocket. inside the pockets were personalized letters to santa from each of them, thanking him for their Christmas. the grateful mother also wrote one as well.

on the way home, the boys in the backseat read the letters aloud. i was driving, so i couldn't look at the beautiful card quite yet, but my eyes got a little misty when i heard some of those words and realized the implications. this was more than just toys, clothing and food for them -- this was their reminder that they hadn't been forgotten. and i realized that we didn't really "give Christmas" to them at all -- they helped us find it.


some people ask if there is a santa claus.

so does he exist? absolutely. i felt him this season more than i ever have since i was young. santa exists, and like the writer in that article you were supposed to read up there, we were on his team.

as i come to understand santa's nature, i better understand the letters he writes to me throughout the years (the letters i still find next to the cookie crumbs and partial glass of milk on Christmas morning). he always makes a point to remind me that it is not him i should be celebrating, but Christ, from whom love really stems. 

because if you look in the right places, you can properly find Christmas. and if you properly find Christmas, you find Christ. and honestly, there's really no greater gift than that.


true story

i could do lots of things for a Christmas post.

but i especially liked this.

these kids obviously get it. do we?

hope your Christmas has been very merry!


see the lovely.

as i alluded in my last post, this has uncharacteristically been a really hard year for me to "feel" Christmas.

this morning, i woke up feeling a bit sick and was running extremely late to work. but as i drove, i saw a lady on the side of the road with a sign that said "tamales, $1" on it.

i thought to myself, ah, i wish i could but i'm already running so late... then i realized that i might not see her again, as i'd usually already be at work by that time. and then it struck me what that thought implied: i was in my car. was on my way to work. to sit in a comfy (and might i add, bouncy) chair in a nicely heated room in front of an expensive computer to make a decent chunk of money by designing cool-looking things.

i abruptly turned left onto a side road. i pulled over and checked my wallet. the only cash i had was my $2 bill. i felt like it would be kind of odd, giving her a $2 bill... shoot, i thought, well maybe i can get some cash and come by again when i don't work on friday....

so i pulled out to turn left to continue to work, when it donned on me -- duh, kristin. a $2 bill is still legitimate money. i turned right and pulled into the street next to where she was standing. as i approached her, she saw me and turned, putting her sign down. she was a sweet, tiny lady with a pure face.

as we greeted each other, her face honestly just completely lit up. i couldn't believe how happy she was that i was buying one little tamale. she had a happy, almost singsongy voice, with an innocent little girl quality. she spoke to me in spanish, which i understood, as i pulled out my 3 years of rusty high school spanish from the back of my brain in an attempted response. regardless, it didn't matter what language we spoke -- we didn't need to communicate with words to make each other's day. i bought my tamale, explaining that i needed no change, thanked her, and we parted.


right before i saw her, i had passed a cement barrier on the side of the road, where someone had pinned a series of pieces of paper in a line. on each paper there was a letter. the letters created the simple phrase "see the lovely."

right as i drove away, "where are you Christmas" came on the radio. yeah, it can be pretty overdone, but this time i think i heard it differently. i couldn't believe that i had tears in my eyes, but it was because that song embodied exactly just how i've been feeling this season. and then i paid attention to the last verse. and in the light of the experience i just had……



cartoon heart

this past weekend, my sanity came in the form of three very important and traditional holiday events, plus one other that was just plain fun.

friday was festivus.  saturday was muppets and nog.  sunday was caroling.  monday was tangled.

f e s t i v u s : :
"festivus for the rest of us!" you can read all about what wikipedia has to say about it here. basically, it's a made-up holiday from seinfeld (though i believe it's the only seinfeld episode i've ever seen) including a feast, a festivus pole instead of a Christmas tree, an "airing of grievances", and a "feats of strength" --where anyone can challenge anyone else to any sort of feat of strength. the party doesn't end til the host gets pinned.

a buncha "cool kids" started hosting their own festivus in high school, but i didn't know them well enough to feel like i could go.

since talisa is always one of the hostesses, i started attending festivus along with her her other parties during my college years (because we've been super close friends since we were...6 years old) and have gotten to know my old classmates in a different light, sans-high school clique. and i have come to really love and care about these people, so it makes it awesome. plus, we've gained a lot more friends along the way from all sorts of places.

the festivus bunch, 2011
f e s t i v u s    h i g h l i g h t s:
- grievances (often a highlight) -- i grieved that we didn't do festivus in sweden where talisa is. the grievance i read said "i grieve that some of you didn't dress up -- and in the presence of the festivus pole, no less!"
- everyone always looks so darn swanky.
- the inside jokes that form over the years. this round, i think about 3 people grieved over luke's mustache from last year, and he wasn't even there. so another grieved that he wasn't there this time so that they couldn't even give him grief about it.
- redeeming my dignity by winning a feats of strength of balance (after losing to britta last year...who needs to know how to blow a kazoo anyway?!....)
- so much cute offspring from my classmates! (many of whom ended up marrying each other, which is kinda fantastic)
- ...aaaand the after-party. this was honestly the best. i caught up with some friends with whom i've not really talked to for quite some time. for me, that was the best part of festivus this year. i really walked out on a high. i'm so blessed to have long-time friends!

provo high : class of '06

m u p p e t s  +  n o g .
"there's no such thing as strangers, when a stranger says hello!" when jeff lived in utah, he had a "muppet Christmas carol" and homemade eggnog party every year. since he's moved to texas, he's still been able to pull it off when he visits utah. it's cool, cuz jeff's the only common denominator between all of us. it's amazing what one person can do to glue lots of other people together. forgive me for deferring to his blog for this one, but he really sorta nailed it.

we found mark's face!
adding my two cents: this was a welcome relief to a really long and kind of disheartening day. and it really was one of my favorite muppet parties so far.

 c a r o l i n g ! 
"the best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear!" my family has hosted an annual caroling party for the past...21 years. give or take.

t h i s    y e a r ' s    n o r m a l i t i e s :
- met at 5pm
- everyone introduced themselves, how they knew us and how many years they've come to this tradition
- there were about 70 people this year, which was a good group (we've ranged from 25-90)
- headed out around 5:30 after gaining confidence by singing around the piano
- caroled  for about 45 minutes. and here's the cool thing -- we often carol to those who are sick, in need, or older in our neighborhood. we even have "regulars" to whom we carol :)
- when thoroughly frozen, we came back home to dethaw
- ...and ate and ate and ate. including my mom's famous cider stuff.
- and the after-party. they really are the best.

t h i s    y e a r ' s    a n o m a l i e s : 
- i decorated the tree the HOUR before it began. by myself. and i did most the lights while on the phone. boo-yah.
- it was lots of people's "first time" to caroling. ironically, many of these people i've known for multiple years (and others came who have been coming for literally more than 17 years!)
- jessicabarry (and talisa) and i were inseperable growing up and she finally made it to caroling. it was fun because after we caroled this year, jessica and i were able to talk with the older residents we caroled to and i realized how many wonderful memories i've had with these people.
- papa joe accompanied us on guitar. he and mama haynie are like my second parents. 
- the "married person" room. :D my brother kevin and his wife debbie, logan and tricia, murph and laura....what?! they were all in conversation for quite some time. for some reason, it was a little funny. weird. but cool. but weird. .......but cool.

like jeff is the glue for his party, i was the glue for caroling. i love having all my friends from different aspects of my life meet each other. gosh, it's a wonderful feeling.


i was sad not to get any pictures of the group this time around, however, i guess that's okay because we did catch the sweetest part of the night:

floyd + simon = roommates / buddies / our examples.
floyd and simon continually teach us what Christmas really is all about. as we were watching this sweet correspondence, britta leaned over and whispered, "i'm excited to see what they're like in heaven. best friends and all." and that was a lovely thought.

t a n g l e d ~
"stuck in the same place i've always been, wondering when will my life begin?" until last night, my teacher for this animation class, cynthia hogan, had never seen 'tangled'! so she very kindly invited all her classes over to her house to watch it. pizza and brownies were provided, as well as chocolate milk, so it was all sorts of guilty indulgement.

i really love hanging out with animators. there's such a vitality amidst them. and i super loved watching the movie with them -- i felt like we were all so much more into it than other groups with whom i've seen it.

c o n v e r s a t i o n    b i t :
...*SPOILER* (but honestly, if you haven't seen it by now, ...i doubt you care that this will spoil it?) -- one of my favorite parts was toward the end of the movie, when rapunzel's parents come out and see her for the first time. it was a super tender moment, but this is what made it awesome: scott commented aloud, "is it bad that all i can think of is, 'man, the rigs of those parents must be so much easier than the other characters!....' ?" we all chuckled, then cynthia retorted with, "well i'm sitting over here thinking, 'you can't marry him anyway -- he's not a prince!!" and everyone just busted up laughing. and even more so when scott responded with, "well, is he sultan or is he sultan?!!" -- quoting the end of aladdin where a similar circumstance occurs. which is extra funny, because cynthia actually animated the sultan in aladdin. the whole movie was riddled with exchanges like this between us (which honestly sometimes frustrates me, but not at all with this group -- the comments were too witty to not share).

and, um...as much as i hate to admit this, watching tangled reminds me that the little girl who really wants to be a princess and have a fairy tale story is still somewhere inside of me. i feel like it should be something that i should grow out of, but uh, as of now....nope.


oh, good times. each of these groups of people were different, and all had unique and wonderful dynamics. bottom lines...in order:

bottom line #1 -- there wasn't anything fantastic about festivus -- just an aluminum pole and some awesome people. but it was such a fantastic night. we've grown up, branched out and have experienced life since high school. and the group has gotten so much more diversified because of friends of friends of friends who come (and that whole marriage thing) -- that we're an eclectic bunch. it really is, "for the rest of us"!

bottom line #2 -- it's fascinating what or who can bring people can together, and how often we can find a new friend when we go outside of our comfort zone. it all starts with a mere "hello".

bottom line #3 -- music is (to me) so essential! it can make me feel happy or sad...or terrible, or angsty, or hopeful, or grateful, or just plain peaceful. i feel like it speaks to all emotions that can't be expressed in plain words. (by the way, i'd still love to know what you're listening to!) whether one could sing or not was completely irrelevant at caroling -- everyone sang because it made us happy, and in turn made those to whom we sang happy as well.

bottom line #4 -- life has already begun, and if we wait too long for something to happen, we'll miss it! so stop wondering and make things happen. something so cliché, but i'm still learning how to apply it.


lastly, it's easy to get mixed up in the worries of life at this time of year. even for those of us who really revere Christmas and especially Christ. i hope we take time to really remember the meaning of it all -- and especially what it means to us. i started wondering, what does it mean to me, individually? right now? and is that consistent with what i think it should mean to me? if not, i need to do something to change it. 

let's be like simon and floyd. let's be excellent. :) 


we'll go with that.

i've noticed a few things lately. i would write about them in immense detail, but i think they've been correctly summed up below:

via pinterest.


when you're still waiting for the snow to fall

i'm done with finals! .....kind of. long story; you'll hear about it soon.

for now, though, i wanted to remember that it is december: it is Christmas. and i LOVE Christmas! And the accompanying holiday music......well, when it's good. and since i've have been and continue to be caught up with finals and other such stresses, music is the one thing that reminds me that regardless of stressful things, it's still Christmas time.

mariah reminded me of this song and video, and i remembered how much i like it:

for a lot of reasons. by the way, mariah's been posting lots of Christmas music, so you should check out her picks.
speaking of which, what Christmas music are you rocking out to? i wouldn't complain if you leave a link or two in the comments. :) 


slivers become floods

i've been painting all day.

outside, mostly. because the light is better.

i've come in a few times to dethaw my toes and fingers.

and now i'm just thinking of this.

i hope i get my painting done.


everything's not lost

so....this finals week thing? you know, those two hand-drawn animations i have to complete by tuesday and that big 3.5' x 4' painting i have to finish by monday? you know, the projects that, due to many, many setbacks i kind of just started this week for real? ...i just might be able to pull it off. we'll see.

oh yeah, and the fixing my car and getting the wrong parts ordered 3 times...thing, the singing in two ensembles and performing monday immediately after my final while i'm sick...thing, and the teaching relief society tomorrow thing? i think i can do that, too.

but either way, i haven't been doing it on my own. i'm dead serious.
"God does notice us and he watches over us, but it is usually through another person that he meets our needs."
- spencer w. kimball

thank you, all of you people who have helped me get through this week. i think you know who you are. God's taking care of all of us. He's got it covered. which is, i think, a pretty cool...thing.


time on your side

"when we don't waste time, we always have enough."

someone famous said that and i wrote in my quote journal when i was maybe 15. i've always remembered it, but have never been able to successfully implement the concept.

time management is something that has always been a weakness. while making breakfast, i listened to this talk today. it was good that i woke up at 5:30 and carefully planned my day before listening; i was already pumped up to be productive.
favorite parts (but read the whole thing; i feel like these are spoilers):
As we follow the command to “cease to be idle” (D&C 88:124), we must be sure that being busy also equates to being productive.
[Regarding social media] As good as these things are, we cannot allow them to push to one side those things of greatest importance. How sad it would be if the phone and computer, with all their sophistication, drowned out the simplicity of sincere prayer to a loving Father in Heaven. Let us be as quick to kneel as we are to text.
[Regarding internet distractions] I urge each of us to take those things which rob us of precious time and determine to be their master, rather than allowing them through their addictive nature to be the master of us.
Time marches swiftly forward to the tick of the clock. Today would be a good day, while the clock of mortality ticks, to review what we are doing to prepare to meet God.
next week is finals week, and my finals are on monday and tuesday. i've had a lot of setbacks these last few weeks, but i am hereby dedicating myself to use my time doing things of most importance. it's important to remember that this isn't limited only to school, but that's part of it. i am determined to be the master of my time.

so i just signed out of gmail and changed my facebook password to make it ridiculously long so i'll think twice before logging in. my phone's on silent and i'll check it when my timer goes off. yeeeeeaah. it's go time.

what do you do to manage your distractions?


iridescent light

i've been experiencing a lot of different emotions lately.

they are emotions i've felt before, but funneled through different experiences i've never experienced, it's almost as though they become new emotions.

dealing with them has been...challenging.

for example, today i left class early because my headache was getting worse. mariah picked me up and dropped me off. i'm safe in my home now, but i still feel very...unstable. against better judgment, i would have gone for a run but my headache is almost a migraine. so, next best thing: i put on my dance clothes and danced. i have no idea what it looked like (which is usually an obvious and essential part of dance) but it felt good. i got a little bit of relief there. not as much as i usually do, because of my limited physical condition, and i only danced to one song. and sure enough, when i sat down, my headache was back with a vengeance. so now i'm sitting here, writing this all out with pounding in my head, just so i can record yet another very human moment.

i had known exactly what song i wanted to dance to; it was a song that i heard over a year ago in carnegie hall, composed by eric whitacre. there is one line in the song that explains how i often feel so perfectly, and its melody has kind of haunted me since. after hearing it live once, then replaying it in my head for over a year, i don't know why i didn't look it up until 15 minutes ago.

but that's a different story for a different time. sufficeth to say, treading unfamiliar water is always difficult and you tend to breathe in a lot of chlorine (or salt, or whatever is in the water) but breathing is a sign that at least you're still alive. and living is, well, important.



i just walked barely got home from a family gathering at my sister's. my mom drove on the way home, as i stared out the window. i recorded what i saw of the sunset's remains in four texts to myself in a matter of ten minutes: 

the sky is colorless. beautiful, breathtaking -- but near colorless. a somber sort of beauty. it takes getting used to.

but as i keep looking at it, there are starting to be hints of color that are showing up. now, a few minutes or so later, there are tints of deep pink. it's beautiful.

and now the majority of the underbellies of the clouds are exquisitely pink. the only way i can describe the color is -- violent; it demands to be seen and it is a deep, feisty sort of magenta.

the sun set long ago, but i guess the color was hidden. apparently, only time could tell its true potential.


my dog ate my homework.

i wrote a lovely little blog yesterday morning about thanksgiving.

i would have posted that tonight but i had to do homework.

i would have done homework earlier today but i went to the temple.

i would have gone to the temple later today but my niece was getting baptized later.

the baptism was absolutely delightful.

i would have done homework after the baptism and family gathering, but i was stranded several cities away.

...with my family, at my sister's. so that was okay.

i would have done homework tonight but i ran out of animation paper.

i had to go to school to get it.
i called angela, because she's a good adventure buddy.
we went to school and i punched the animation paper.
 with the animation hole punch.
(not with my fist.)

i would be doing that homework now but i just got home.

i would have gone home earlier but when i went to drop angela off at her home, a few blocks from my house, we realized the hood of my car was smoking and smelled of acidic burning rubber. which was *probably* a bad sign.

it would have been fine because our friend steven, a mechanic, conveniently lives across the street.
but steven was away helping another friend with a crisis. 

we would have gone into angela's house to stay warm but we were locked out.

mariah was quite randomly driving by.
she saw us and stopped.
we got in her car to stay warm.

i would have done my homework while waiting for steven but my sister and brother-in-law accidentally set off the alarm at my house and the 911 dispatcher was drilling them with security questions, so angela, mariah and i piled into mariah's car to go help.

they got it in time
so the police didn't come to my house.
this time.
my brother-in-law and sister said they'd come look at the car.
we waited while they changed.

i would have done some homework in the interim
but my homework was still in my car.
in front of angela's.

i would have gotten home earlier 
so i could do my homework
but we just finished pushing my car home. 

i would have done at least some homework by now...at least a brush stroke or a tween, but i just finished discussing the car with steven, who randomly (out of the goodness of his very kind heart) showed up to look at the car.

and i'm very tired.
i can't even think about animation or painting. 

i would have done my homework earlier this week, every day if possible, but every day of this week has sort of been like this. no....but seriously.

i would have gotten straight A's this semester, but apparently my dog keeps eating my homework (or something like that). 

our backsides: brother-in-law, car, me, angela, mariah, quinten


nothing to wear

sometimes, it's the silly little things that keep me sane. like finding this illustration on my friend karen sorenson's blog. karen is an brilliant artist, and i LOVE her work.

"i have nothing to wear!"
copyright karen sorenson
i commented:

...i feel like this ALL THE TIME.

in fact, i didn't buy a skirt in new york, then regretted it, then spent the next year reminding myself that it wasn't in my closet when i'd [frequently] go look for it there.

ugh. oh, and when i went back in march, i couldn't find it anywhere.

true story. can anyone else out there relate? i'd like to hear your tragic tales.

...black and white striped skirt, where are you in this world? ...


note to self

i'm coming to write here because, well, this is my little corner of the world. one of them. and writing is how i deal with things.

not saying there are a lot of things i'm dealing with right now, but well, ...there are.

sometimes life is just hard. and it's supposed to be that way. it always will be hard. but, men are that they might have joy.

and sometimes, joy is harder to find. but it will come. like faith, like truth, like God -- joy comes to those who seek it.

His kindness will not depart from us. 


in the mood

i've been in an art funk lately. we could say it's been this past week. or maybe this semester. or perhaps this whole year.

it's a long, difficult, tangential story, which i'll not explain now.

but i just wanted to record an experience.
today i was determined to be productive.

from 1-5pm, i locked myself in the lab and animated. i re-drew one of the keys. tweened between frames 11 and 31. shot them. got a character sheet. re-drew the keys. better. re-drew the tweens. shot them. et cetera.

this time, i'm determined.

and it worked. i still haven't gotten a lot done, but i've worked my tail off, and that counts for something. i was super tired around 5, so i went upstairs and took a nap.

after i awoke, i heard noise below. i looked over the 5th floor balcony; it seemed as though the h-fac was bursting with...culture. i just stood there and soaked it all in. there was an art reception going on, so there were lots of people. wonderful people. individuals. // good food. shrimp, fruits, veggies, all sortsa dessert...they did it right. // lots of art. photography. paintings. ripped paper. colored cylinders on the floor. // a slap bassist and percussionist. ambient, somewhat jazzy music creating the mood. aaaaah. // one photography exhibit about new york subway musicians. enter nostalgia.

i realized: this. this is my world. i have missed this sense of culture lately. this sort of ambiance. and i need it.

though my personal skill set for the creation of art is not yet where i want it to be, my whole life is infiltrated with art. not just visual art or even just music (though they take a very prominent place).  though it may be clichéd, this quote the closest thing i've found that describes how i feel this accurately.

i think i'm ready to begin again.



though this may look contrived...it totally isn't. okay, well i had to put all those supplies on the *other* side of the counter to take the picture...but this really is what my table looked like this morning.

it's how you get through sick timessss! you wake up at 1pm, then you stock up on this goodness. luckily, i have some pretty stellar friends who brought me all sortsa goodies to help me get over that whole cough/sore throat/sneezy/runny nose/it's-all-going-to-my-ears-and-i'm-feeling-vengeful bit that's going around. i'm...almost there.

i also added sudafed to the mix later in the evening. oh-- and i totally forgot my magical tissues in the picture.

i think i've used almost three boxes.

btdubs, photoshop just lost the last half hour's worth of work i so carefully painted for a freelance project i'm doing. perhaps it is sick as well.

i think it's bedtime.


one of the order

the name's tonks.

and don't you dare call me nymphadora. i'll blast you so hard with a jelly-legs curse that you won't know what hit you.

'til you fall over.

[editor's note: bask in the glory of this photo, but know that my hair actually was pink. process post here.]

...mischief managed.


fight through

i found this quote a while ago:

{image via pinterest}
and i think i'm in that stage right now, where my work doesn't match my ambitions or my potential. but i think it'll get there. i guess that's how it is in life, too.....

you should most definitely watch the video i posted about it on my art blog so that you can hear ira glass tell it himself. i assume it's him. either way, it's awesome.



a few days ago, i read this post (with possibly the *most* adorable picture ever) and really loved the idea of "happy lists".

recently, my life has had some major -meh- moments, so i just wanted to make a happy list of my own from these last couple of weeks:

1. avoiding game-day traffic altogether by navigating the foothills (and feeling awesome while doing it)
{image via here}
2. that rainbow in the sky for no reason on that perfectly sunny conference saturday.
3. skype
4. those days when you just like hearing yourself sing (which isn't all the time)
5. hearing the perfect song for the moment
6. remembering words like “nifty” and “neat” and using them
7. making nifty things for neat people
8. silly problems and creative solutions
9. excellent boots
10. being inspired
11. that perfect scarf-and-sweater weather, when it’s overcast and cloudy and beautiful
12. music outside
13. the newest google doc i made for myself, entitled: "thoughts // ideas // dreams // plans". (it's like i'm giving myself permission to dream again)
14. wonderfully insightful conversations

what's on your list?


consider the daisies

you might know the saying. as jeff reminded me,

don't worry too much about what's happening under it all.
the roots are growing, even if we can't see them.
and too many good things have been ruined because some people can't resist pulling up the daisies to see how the roots are doing.

but i just can't help but think that sometimes it's hard to tell whether i'm pulling up the daisies or just haphazardly yet faithfully watering them everyday, but without taking thought that water might not be what they need (perhaps they need more sun, or less water, or ...vitamin...water...?)


i'm super stoked for general conference this weekend. i have an impossible schedule -- i don't see how i can get everything done in the physical amount of time that i have.


i know that if i put God first, watch conference (four sessions!) and do my best, things will work out. they always do. and if they don't, they're probably not as important as i think they are.

the cool thing is, no matter who you are, there is bound to be something that will help you. and it's so accessible: you can even view it here. one click away to potentially life-changing info.


i am beyond excited to hear what insights lay in store for us this weekend. i hope it helps my garden situation.



with no disrespect to the &

last* night i attended my fifth tally hall concert.

...can you tell?
*by 'last night', i meant july 27th. as usual, i wrote this post back then and the pictures took a while. 

you now have THREE options (this is kind of like a choose-your-own-adventure post!!)

1. if you already know about tally hall, collect $200 (which you provide yourself) pass go (GO!), and skip to number 4. if not, go to number 2 or 3.

2. check out the first post i wrote about them which discusses our tally hall history in more detail. (2a. read that post, read jeff's post linked from that one, then come back here and skip to number 4.)

3. keep reading if you're too lazy decide not to click that. 

A. on sept 20, 2007, jeff and i went to a guster concert. he wanted to take me to a tmbg one, but i was < 21. so. guster it was, because he won free tickets. cool. i liked guster. however, the second opener was who peaked our interest. five dudes who dressed in slacks, white button-ups and skinny ties. jeff loved them right away. i was intrigued, started diggin their music, and was sold when one of the guys, rob, forgot the words right in the middle of a fast rap part and stopped singing, proclaimed he was kicking himself out of the band, and hopped off stage into the audience, with his head down in a mock-shame. omgoodness. love.

B. we've since been to five shows. after each, we have taken a photo with the band (it first started with me and jeff and alie and stephen, and rob). each time, we've added the people with whom we attended, as well as another band member. we call it, THE PICTURE. (creative, yes? why yes, it is. when you put it in all caps and say it like we do.)

4. let's catch up...
the third and fourth concerts were especially epic. (summed up: they performed at an elementary school in provo, due to cheryl's classroom, jeff's persuasion, and a dang cool principal). that day turned out to be an adventure. and i turned it into a blog saga (blaga?):

5. so, yesterday.
we went to see them again. jeff and i are kind of the self-proclaimed tally hall pioneers of this town. so of course, he flew up from texas to see it with our friends. this is the only tour the band is doing for their new album, good & evil. we couldn't miss it. and it was fantastic. 

concert highlights: 

1. when we were in line and rob and andrew walked by in normal clothes (most don't recognize them out of their typical tally hall uniforms). they totally recognized us and greeted us. i felt pretty good about that. jeff and i chilled and photo'd outside before doors opened. 

2. i decided i really needed a ballpoint mustache for no apparent reason. soon i curated some for all my friends there, too. that's really why i'm an artist. 
we decided to "mustache"(now a verb) one of the opening acts, casey shea. we stood there with mustaches showing, and in the middle of his song, he laughed and said into the mic, "i need a picture of that!" 
so here it is, casey. here it is. 

3. casey shea turned out to be pretty awesome. super friendly with the audience, talented performer and all around nice guy. really genuine. 

4. the other band, speak, was really good. ...though they looked like they were 12 years old. and the bassist: harry potter in college?  

5. bora opened the show! he's pretty fantastic and i really enjoyed talking with him after the show.

6. we kept mustaching. of course.

7. tally hall: oh how i heart them. loved hearing the new songs and still being able to sing along.

8. jeff won a competition and got to go on stage and play a weird instrument thingy! when he was done, rob complimented him on his use of his personality while using the instrument. apparently lots of people don't put a lot of style into playing it. (read jeff's excellent account here!) 

9. loved the finale -- all three bands came and played on stage. the moment captured below was one of my favorites. 

10. oh, and me and casey were kind of twins. with the same hair and outfit (except that i sort of think his pants were more tight than mine).

11. it was fun to chill after the show and also fun to have friends like mal and mariah, who hadn't previously been to a tally hall concert, share in the good times.

and here are the photo evidences to aforementioned points: 

and, of course, THE PICTURE. each concert we add another band member and it was joe's turn...if you look close, you can actually see him here. :) it was a 2-for-1; bora joined as well!

  sing while you hear it; don't deny it.


small successes

editor's note: though we promised the next post would be full of photos, we've been pretty busy around here at warm fuzzies, trying to squeeze the most fun out of the rest of summer possible.  thus, we have yet to post aforementioned tally hall post. this will be coming soon. meanwhile, we succeeded in maximum fun-squeezing. while we finish up the tally hall post, enjoy these little thoughts:

sometimes, i feel like it's easy to get caught up in the 'big' decisions of life and that can be very stressful. to get myself out of that rut, i've been finding it helpful to count the minor victories that can make meh-days into huzzah!-days. here are some from this month that i actually recorded as they occurred. they're chronological except for the first, which happened yesterday:

-- i was trying to justify buying an odwalla drink (after already having purchased, opened, and sipped it). i turned it over to check out the contents. so far, so good: oranges, vitamin c, protein, and...DOUBLE RAINBOWS. (?!) i realized my drink was actually made of WIN.

-- i just stared down the subway cookies (the delicious ones by the register) straight in the face and said..... NO!

 -- i smiled at two people in a row; it was the *perfect* greeting-without-being-awkward amount of smile. i dunno if you've noticed, but there's kind of an art to that. and they both smiled back.

-- my friend jess sent me the following message for no reason at all:
"Let`s settle this the mature adult way." 
"Rock paper scissors?" 
I could see us doing that. haha!
-- five professional artists (two who happen to be some of my favorites) started following me (one on pinterest, four on twitter) without me following them first, and my lovely cousin audra just pinned up one of my paintings on pinterest. ....i sort of feel like a rockstar.

-- i love that my friend mallory thought this fitting to text me:

        "Two very attractive, shirtless boys just ran past me. Just so you know. :)"

-- i've been listening to a lot of ambient/instrumental music lately. i realized that when i listen to it through my earbuds while walking around campus, it greatly affects my mood. for example, i texted my friend ryan this morning, "ps, i'm walking like i'm way more epic than i really am again".

-- at a late-night trip to denny's on the way back home from AZ, my brother took his little 3-yr old son who isn't *quite* potty-trained to the restroom. my nephew ran back first, at full speed, smiling from ear to ear and yelled victoriously across the room to us, "i poooOOOOOooooped!!!!"

...yes. around here, we count the small successes.


i jumped

my pride is screaming at me not to write and publish this one. but my will tells me that it's a good learning experience and should be shared. guess i'll let you decide.

exhibit a: amazing swimming pool in my neighborhood
this past wednesday, we had a ward party at an amazing [and coveted] swimming pool in my neighborhood [exhibit a]. i'd been there once before and was really excited to visit again.

exhibit b: look how freaking rad this place is ...!
it was way fun [exhibit b]. i played volleyball, went down the slide, did the hot tub thing, ate some treats, chatted with friends…life was good. after the sun went down, a few friends were leaving and i ran over to say goodbye to them before they headed out, only to [literally] run into my friend steven, who turned me right around and led me up the stairs to the slide/cliff area. i protested, trying to explain the urgency of where i was going. he wouldn't have it. so i let him push me up the stairs, ready to slide down again. that's when i realized: he wasn't leading me to the slide; he was leading me to the cliff

now, granted, this wasn't by any means a large cliff. it wasn't even a real one. but it was a large piece of rock with a tiny waterfall and lots of water underneath and some air in between. as soon as i realized what his intention was, i panicked and immediately fought against him. after a minute i knew it was fruitless, but i fought anyway. the more i struggled, the more he firmly disallowed me to get out of this situation.

soon, everyone else realized what was going on; steven was trying to get me to jump off the edge and i wasn't going to do it. so, of course, everyone else started encouraging me as well, and soon the people on the cliff, the people in the pool, the people on land and the people in the hot tub were yelling for me to jump and chanting my name. so...like, everyone was watching.

oh, perfect. now my pride was on the line and i felt like i was one year old, learning how to walk with people coaxing me to do it because they'd been walking their whole lives and it was oh-so-easy. i think the majority of them thought i was scared to jump. i wasn't scared to jump at all. heights don't bother me, i love speed and i have known how to jump my whole life. it's just that…

i can't swim.

if you're confused yet, refer to this so very super-helpful diagram.
i never learned as a kid. so i made it to my twenty-somethings and haven't learned how to dog paddle….so sue me. but either way…that was kind of an issue. i've been learning this summer, but i had yet to really test my skill in water where i couldn't actually touch the ground, much less jump off a cliff in front of everyone to test that novel idea. i plead with steven, who still had a firm grasp on me, "no, steve -- you don't get it. like, i really --i really-- can't swim!" he protested right back, "i don't care, just do it! you'll be fine! just walk to the edge with me." "no-- but like, really! steven, i literally don't know what to do when i get in the water!" my words fell on deaf ears and i was kind of useless fighting against him. 

i really didn't have an option. so i let him lead me to the cliff and looked down. 

yup. lots of water.

ironically, i likely would have jumped sooner if everyone wasn't watching me and egging me on because it would have been far less pressure. it was angela who helped me most at that point. oh, bless that girl. amidst everyone yelling, she came to stand next to me and softly told me, "look, you really don't have to do it if you don't want to. you can walk away and that's perfectly fine. but if you do go, i'll jump with you." then she promptly shoved steven off the cliff (of course he was fine) and proceeded to instruct me how to, well, jump off the ledge and what to do in the water. after her instruction, i felt much better. 

so, as i tried to ignore everyone watching, she counted: "1…2…..3…..JUMP!" --- and we leapt into the darkness.

as i plunged into the water, it took a minute to remember what i'd been taught. i broke the surface but couldn't quite, well, swim. as soon as i came up, i felt that someone had a firm grasp on my arm, and heard a gentle voice say, "kristin, i'm here. i've got ya." i've never thought of my tall, crazy party friend patrick's familiar voice as "gentle" before, but it was now, and i felt so much relief when i heard him say this. i was surprised how much better i felt after hearing that. it wasn't mocking or demeaning; it was a genuine assurance. he helped me get my bearings and got me to where i could touch the ground while everyone cheered.

i ended up jumping again, this time with angela's boyfriend ned assisting me after the plunge. i think i was more used to it the second time, but still needed his assistance. 

and the whole experience felt...good. 

as we do around here at warm fuzzies, this idea was sort of accidentally made into something more the morning after the experience when i wasn't really trying to think. but it's actually kind of cool because it's the same concept i've been pondering for a good long while now, and it's an idea that has resurfaced in many conversations i've had, talks i've read, and especially in the combined priesthood/relief society lesson that i taught only a week ago. 

while i based a lot of that lesson off of this article (which i HIGHLY recommend), it was interesting to *experience* the same type of connection with swimming: to first learn intellectually, then experientially. 

here's the connection. if you know me, it may be fairly obvious:

often times in life, we feel we are being pushed to the edge of a cliff. we tell God, "no, really. i legitimately don't know how to swim. like, REALLY. i've practiced a bit in shallow water, but i have no idea what to do when i get down there." and our pleas seem to fall on deaf ears. "um, WHAT am i getting into? i really can't swim!" and sometimes, there's that option not to jump. but sitting there on the ledge won't help the situation any. going back just seems…anticlimactic. and there are some cliffs we just decide we have to jump, regardless of whether it's God, our own choices, natural circumstance, or others pushing us to do so.

and so, on the count of three, we push off the edge and launch into the air -- it's a rush regardless of swimming ability. but for us non-swimmers, i feel it's a tad more…terrifying? because, well, this is new territory. and while we're airborne, there's no turning back and no one is able to help because the commitment has been made. though we have friends who have jumped before, and some who can even jump with us, there is that moment when we're in the air and it's just us.

but the great thing is, there is help at the end. when we get down to the bottom and and try to resurface, as unfamiliar as that may feel, someone pulls us up and says, "it's okay, i've got you." --in the most familiar, non-judgemental and loving way possible.

i don't think i was scared of drowning; i was worried at looking like a fool necessitating someone to rescue me, or of floundering and struggling with everyone watching. steven very well knew that i could jump off the cliff and be fine, and he, along with patrick, ned and everyone else there, could have easily jumped in and saved me. angela knew that i could do it and she was so good to calmly explain how to do it amidst the distracting noise that everyone else was making (with the best of intentions). but i didn't know i could do it. because i hadn't ever done it before. literally, uncharted waters. 

boyd k. packer said, "rules and regulations and commandments are valuable protection. if we need instruction to alter our course, it will be waiting along the way as we arrive at the point of need."

help will be waiting along the way, when we need it, not when we think we need it. 

i didn't need help physically jumping off like i thought i did or even when i was still under the surface of the water -- i needed help after i struggled for a bit on my own and finally emerged. 

help will be waiting along the way …when we need it. not when we think we need it. we have to understand that we might struggle. we may look like a fool. we'll probably flounder. and that's okay. we came to this life to learn, and we most often learn by experience. our pleas are not falling on deaf ears; we are just helped when we truly need it, not when we think we do.

granted, i did my best. and after doing all i could do, i was rescued. (sound familiar?) looking back, there really was help all around me. but my pride, fear, and hesitation to jump kept me from trusting in it. as soon as i learned to trust that, i just had to move my feet....

yeah. you can take that wherever it goes in your head or your life.

*i know that this wonderful article talks almost of an identical experience and concept, but in the end, my experience is mine because it happened to me. therefore, to draw my own connections experientially is really meaningful. 

and i promise that the next post will be super full of pictures, and lots less words. :)


to feel

this is far more transparent than my usual writings because i'm just now coming out of the moment. please know that i'm fine. i will be gloriously happy soon; happiness always comes back to those who seek it, especially when one puts their trust in God. but there are moments of pain in life, and i need to let this brief one out for once. it's by far NOT the hardest moment i've faced in these last months, but there is nothing else i feel like i can do right now. so i have to let it out. 

if i was planning to write about anything tonight, it would have been about the two amazing concerts i attended this week, one of which i experienced less than a mere two hours ago. but upon arriving home, i got hit with a something --a spot of bad news-- that brought down many little somethings very hard in my mind and it just about paralyzed me for a good few minutes. rather, i thought it should paralyze me. 

but to my own astonishment, i pulled out some bread, cut and ate it, and drank some milk. because i didn't know what else to do. then i was almost appalled at myself for not reacting how i thought i should to the news i just heard. a tad panicked, i texted a couple friends -- just trying to reach out to know some physical person was there and to make sure that i could still feel, i guess. one friend called me and put a fascinating perspective on the sudden pain and fear i felt. in talking with her, suddenly my numbness wore off and so many feelings just raced through me; some are still in my body now--
fear. pain. sadness. insecurity. stress. pressure. despair. guilt.
but here are some of her thoughts: 

you're experiencing a very amazing human moment right now. seize it!

watching someone's passion is just as intriguing and compelling as watching someone's pain. 

you can't just be one thing all the time; let yourself ebb and flow. sometimes, it's okay not to feel at all, as long as you don't hold it in.

it's instances like these that allow us a glimpse of a whole world in one moment.

this is an awesome moment. you're human. you're alive. you feel hurt for other people as well as yourself. emotions are so much better than just floating on the surface. this is it...this is life.

there are times when i feel nothing and it's horrible and life seems so pointless. that's the worst. it is a gift: to have these moments feel. to feel alive. 

take some of the weight of the world off your shoulders, for once. you can be the "needy" one sometimes too, to let others help you and help those whom you can't be there for.

with glimpses into the deepest and most powerful emotions, it is obvious that there is nothing more divine than the human.

again, i feel almost foolish for posting this, especially because i've certainly experienced far more pain and suffering in the last few months than i feel tonight, but i suppose that is why i could write about it more bluntly this time.

i KNOW that things will work out. but for a brief moment, i felt (i feel) very, well, human. very vulnerable. and very unsure. i was grateful that this friend reminded that it's both a gift and miracle to feel.


first class

from my travel journal-- tuesday, march 15, 2011. i scribbled this down on the plane around 7:35pm. 
between then and now, parts of my life have changed almost drastically while others have somehow stayed almost annoyingly the same. so, for what it's worth posting now, here you go~ 

on the plane. 
slowly starting down the runway. it just stopped.

first class turns out to be awesome. after the pilot and i exchanged a brian regan quote about first class and the lady took my jacket to hang on the coat rack, i noticed the mini water bottles, blankets and pillows. i thought to myself, yeah. this is gonna be a good flight.

i'm somehow sort of glad no one is sitting next to me so i can be solo one last time before i come back to-- the chaos, mess, business, productivity, stress, and responsibility (all good and bad) that is my life --to gather my thoughts and process them alone.

review, remember. looking over the last week and a half (has it only been that long?) is a blur. seems like it's been a lifetime, and here's why: i have quite unintentionally blended together my new york summer and my new york break 9 months later--and somehow stitched them together with lots of different emotions. 

everything in those 9 months between the two trips, i'm scared, will now be stitched together by the daily life i have to look forward to upon coming home, and new york will thus be sewn completely out of my thoughts.

i hope not.

i'm going to fight to keep them there so i can channel some of the life of that, what, 8 week-- experience? and all the inspiration, realization, actualization, growth, wonder, rush, frusration, feeling small, feeling big, and confusion that is MY new york experience.

plane is finally moving again, faster this time. 

no one else can take my experience there away from me or duplicate it; it is mine and mine alone. i feel i handle things better -- i process all that input better there because it was -- is -- my adventure.

plane paused again. yess! -- 

yes? part of me wants to stay; the rest of me knows i have to go back home.

as if it could hear my thoughts -- the plane's engine started its slow rumble and has resumed creeping down the runway....

ugh, why can't i function at home as well as i do in new york? maybe it's the charm, energy and friction of new york that i need to take home with me. others may think -- 8 weeks. c'mon, it's not that long.

no, i suppose not.

but if one moment can change one's life -- and it can -- then i'm pretty sure my 8 weeks so far there have had lots of little moments that have vastly impacted me.

i can hear the engine really rev up. 

it's like, "um...k, kristin. i've given you time to philosophize; now it's time i take you back. you ready? cuzz......eeeveryone else is waiting on you."

yeah. seems to happen a lot in my life lately. sorry, planebuddy...just trying to figure things out before i left this place again. guess, like always, i'll just have to start flying and figure it out on the way. i'm ready....
plane holga (unintentionally creepy)
the plane seems to tease me. only now that i say i'm ready, its heightened sound isn't matching its actual speed. it just rounded a bend, nonchalantly rolling over more of the rocky runway.

still, same speed. for some reason i'm getting anxious to be in the air - the unknown where you can't even see a solid foundation.

just snapped a picture out the window with miss holga. the plane stopped. and now...it's going.

faster, faster.

holding miss holga tight. bumpy. flashing lights. i barely notice i'm in the air when i see the skyline outside the window tilt. i am pushed into the cushy, wide chair as i watch the perfect rows of lights down below get hazy with the clouds that separate us and the city.

peace out, ny. we'll meet again. 
regardless of my feelings, i'm headed home. 

at least i'm coming home first class.


ps, sometimes purging my thoughts in such a conceptual manner exhausts me, but it's the way that they come out of my head so effortlessly and seep into my pen and onto my paper. and so, it must be done.

pps. i later discovered warm towels, big pockets in the seats in front of me, nicer pull-out trays, and a full 4-course complimentary meal. didn't get the head of a pig, but in the end, i still felt pretty fantastic about being on the other side of that mysterious first-class curtain.