Saturday, February 6, 2016

I Am Nessie

            Humans think they’re so clever.
            It’s amusing how such a young species can think that they’re the only intelligent beings in their world; that there are no other creatures or beings that can outsmart them with their technology, their “highly-developed brains”, and their opposable thumbs. The fault in that line of thinking is that they’re wrong. There are greater and more intelligent creatures out there. I should know. I’m one of them.
            The humans have many names for my family and I. Water Horses, the monsters, plesiosaurs, Loch Ness Beast, etc. “Nessie” is the particular nickname I like to go by. Over the past few centuries, those humans who have been observant enough to catch glimpses of us have surrounded our very existence with a shroud of mystery. For such a dense race, these humans do love their mysteries. I must admit to being a little flattered by such attention. It’s not every day that one becomes a legend, even if it is to a mere subspecies.
            I remember one occasion, a little over 1,200 years ago, when one little man actually tried to put a spell on me. From what my friends told me later, this particular human called himself “Saint Columba,” and he had come to “save the souls of the people of Scotland.” I was still a young pup, venturing out further than I had ever gone in the daytime. These tiny, insignificant creatures were fascinating to me. Conveniently, there was a human swimming not too far from my cave, so I had decided to get a closer look so I could observe the mannerisms of this unusual creature. Just as I was close enough to really see anything, there was suddenly this small man with a shiny head, brandishing his hand at me and yelling something that I couldn’t yet understand. So I swam off. (Lyons.)
            You know, it can get rather boring and monotonous at the bottom of this lake. After this incident with the saint, my family and I devised a form of entertainment involving the humans. What fun it would be, we said, to see what they would do if we were to ever make our presence known. It became a game: who could cause the most dramatic of reactions? For years, we had to wait for people to come to the lake. But then, the humans built a hardened portal for their transportation right next to our shore. Soon, it was easy to frighten a herd of human beings without much movement on our part. (Staff, 2009)
            Of course, we can’t be seen too often. If we made ourselves commonly known, where would the fun be? No; at my suggestion, my pod and I have made it a point to only make an appearance only every so often. As for me, I prefer to target the more reputable audience. How fun it is to appear to those humans who think of themselves as more intelligent than the rest of their species, and to have them question their own intelligence! (Lyons) I must confess to finding a great deal of secret pleasure in that.
            Although we always seem to have the upper hand, these creatures have been quite innovative in their desires to prove our existence. They seem to have even come up with a way to use bursts of sound to find objects underwater. That is certainly creative. I must say, the sound waves have been less than amusing for my family, as it tends to scare our food away, one must admit that these humans are determined. (Woollaston, 2014.) I do have to wonder, though, why they don’t trust their fancy contraptions. If these machines work, and tell then that we’re down here, then why are there so many who still question that fact?
            My favorite, though, has been watching many different men try to find (or create) their own proof of our existence. The most creative and yet amusing tactic I’ve seen yet has been the men who attached wood to a strange floating machine, and then drove it around in the moonlight. (Martin & Boyd) Strange behavior for any species… It seemed rather pointless. However, only a short time after they had done that, the peaceful shores of our lake were overrun with all types of people, our water was suddenly crowded with a great deal more sailing boats, and an amazing amount of new netting was dragged over the bottom of the lake. Inconvenient, to be sure, but they still have yet to find us for sure.
            Over thousands of years, my noble family has survived and thrived undetected under the waves of this sturdy little neck of waterway. Truly, these humans must realize that we have all been around the block a time or two, surviving and hiding to survive the most fearsome of predators and other threats. Although their efforts are admirable, they have no idea what they’re up against.
            Humans think they’re so clever. We shall see. This young species can’t even locate a pod of creatures like us on the bottom of such a small lake… and they believe themselves to be the ones with the hyper-developed intelligence complexes? Ha.

Works Cited:

Lyons, Stephen. “The Legend of Loch Ness.” NOVA. WGBH Educational Foundation.
22 January, 1999. Web. 24 January, 2016.

Staff, “Today in History: Loch Ness Monster Sighted: May 02, 1933.”
History Channel. 2009. Web. 25 January, 2016.

Martin, D. & Boyd, A. (1999). Nessie: The Surgeon's Photograph Exposed. Thorne

Woollaston, Victoria. “Has sonar finally found the Loch Ness Monster?” Daily Mail,

UK. 1 May, 2014. Web. 25 January, 2016.

(Created as an assignment for English 2010 at USU.)

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

At the Starting Line....

Once upon a time, when I was cool and ran Cross-Country, the only part that I truly dreaded about the race was the long, terrifying minutes that you spend before the race even started. You stand there on that white spray-painted line, watching everyone warm up and stretch, and your stomach is squirming like none other, and your heart rate is peaking so high that you might as well be running already!

Right now, I feel like I'm standing on that starting line, waiting for the actual race to start. I'm not saying that the race is easy at all. But the anticipation is the worst part. :) I'm just sitting here, trying to be as ready as I possibly can, doing warm ups and studying, stretching and praying, and trying more than anything to calm my freakin heart down! I don't want it to explode while I'm standing at the beginning...

ONE WEEK from today, I get to enter the MTC, and I am SOOOO excited! And terrified... and....yeah that's pretty much it. But I have had the greatest time in preparing for this point... I've been able to attend the temple at least once a week, with my parents, friends, future companions... I've had the opportunity to study in a way that's made me take a step back, and rediscover my own testimony of the simplest parts of the gospel. I've grown to love and appreciate the Preach My Gospel, even though it's really difficult for me.

I've researched my mission, talked to anyone who's lived or been there within my home ward. I found out a few really cool things about the area of my mission; basically, my mission covers enough area that I could serve one of three types of missions:

1) I could end up teaching in an area that covers Native American Reservations! That would be so awesome!
2) A lot of the mission is within college towns. So I could be teaching my own age group! That's both good and bad for me... Bad because I've always struggled the most speaking and connecting with people my own age, which is weird... BUT thankfully, I'm going to be talking about my very favorite subject, so I guess I'll be okay. Plus, hopefully I won't really be the one teaching. I love the testimony that I have that as long as I am prepared and do my very best, the words I say won't be what make the difference. It will be the Spirit that will be there. And I am so grateful for that!
3) The Washington Spokane mission also covers a lot of wide open country, some of the most beautiful areas of the country. It includes Coeur d'Alene Idaho, where my sisters in-laws live. That would be pretty cool.

So I could be teaching in wide country areas, city towns, Indian Reservations, or college towns! Diverse!!:)

At this point, I'm basically just grateful that I can say, without a doubt, that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is the only true and complete church on this earth. It has brought me so much joy, and I can't wait to go into the world to give other people the chance to feel of that joy and peace that I have experienced my whole life, as I have gained a testimony of it for myself.

I am so excited!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Ready, Get Set....CALLED!!

Well, where to begin... Life's been moving at a million miles-per-hour for the past few months! But, it's been fun. :)

Since last time, I swam my last meet for BYU, enjoyed Christmas and family, moved home, started running again, mastered the art of reading my sister's mind, lost some of me (hehe), and..... ummmm....

I guess most importantly, I'VE BEEN CALLED ON A MISSION!!! :) I turned in my papers in as soon as Christmas break was over, and I got my call a week later. Washington Spokane Mission! I report to the MTC on March 13, which is really quick. I know several people who received their calls in November or something and aren't leaving until April... It always depends on the mission where you're called, but I'm feeling really grateful that I get to go quicker. I'm really REALLY excited! I've been trying to prepare like crazy, but I'm realizing more and more the truth of Einstein's statement, "As the circle of light increases, so does the circumference of darkness around it." That meaning that the more I study and the more I learn, the more it seems that there is to learn! In all honesty, I don't think I'll ever be completely prepared for this. I mean, there's no way to prepare for everything. And time is passing by so quickly!

My biggest struggle is speaking. For those who know me, I don't have a problem with's just the whole being actually coherent thing that I struggle with. :) When I get nervous, I tend to ramble, stutter, and wave my hands because my brain and my mouth just won't connect. It's quite the sight...not uncommon if you've ever spent longer than ten minutes in my rather enjoyable presence. But, I'm just grateful that I know that if I give it my best effort, and continue to practice and work on my struggles, I've got the greatest support system on my side.

Something pretty awesome is that my next-door-neighbor actually served in my mission! The Spanish speaking one, but still! That's pretty crazy cool! Even though I don't think we've ever actually spoken, because he kind of scared me when I was little (not because of anything he did or anything, but because when we moved here I was 6 years old and he was a teenager, so naturally I was a little nervous...) but I think it would be cool to talk to someone who served exactly where I will be for 18 months!

Basically, I'm just so excited to serve a mission. I know that it will be the hardest thing I've ever done in my life. But I know it's exactly what I'm supposed to do. As terrified as I am because it's everything that I'm NOT good at (i.e. interacting with strangers, teaching, talking, etc.), I'm excited to learn how to teach, to gain a greater testimony of the atonement as I witness it in those I get to teach, and I'm excited to feel that Spirit so strongly. I can't wait to be able to give myself entirely to the Lord for 18 months. I just want to be able to give the wonderful people of Washington (and Idaho, and Montana, and Canada) a chance to have the truth that I have been blessed with.

I may only be nineteen years old, I am not an eloquent speaker, I might not have the greatest social skills, and I might be scared. But I'm willing. And I'm ready to do what I have been called to do! :)

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Motivational Poem

I just love this poem. It has very powerful applications. :)

The Race
- Dr. D.H. "Dee" Groberg

Whenever I start to hang my head in front of failure’s face, 
    my downward fall is broken by the memory of a race. 
A children’s race, young boys, young men; how I remember well, 
    excitement sure, but also fear, it wasn’t hard to tell. 
They all lined up so full of hope, each thought to win that race 
    or tie for first, or if not that, at least take second place. 
Their parents watched from off the side, each cheering for their son, 
    and each boy hoped to show his folks that he would be the one.

The whistle blew and off they flew, like chariots of fire, 
    to win, to be the hero there, was each young boy’s desire. 
One boy in particular, whose dad was in the crowd, 
    was running in the lead and thought “My dad will be so proud.” 
But as he speeded down the field and crossed a shallow dip, 
    the little boy who thought he’d win, lost his step and slipped. 
Trying hard to catch himself, his arms flew everyplace, 
    and midst the laughter of the crowd he fell flat on his face. 
As he fell, his hope fell too; he couldn’t win it now. 
    Humiliated, he just wished to disappear somehow.

But as he fell his dad stood up and showed his anxious face, 
    which to the boy so clearly said, “Get up and win that race!” 
He quickly rose, no damage done, behind a bit that’s all, 
    and ran with all his mind and might to make up for his fall. 
So anxious to restore himself, to catch up and to win, 
    his mind went faster than his legs. He slipped and fell again. 
He wished that he had quit before with only one disgrace. 
    “I’m hopeless as a runner now, I shouldn’t try to race.”

But through the laughing crowd he searched and found his father’s face 
    with a steady look that said again, “Get up and win that race!” 
So he jumped up to try again, ten yards behind the last. 
    “If I’m to gain those yards,” he thought, “I’ve got to run real fast!” 
Exceeding everything he had, he regained eight, then ten... 
    but trying hard to catch the lead, he slipped and fell again. 
Defeat! He lay there silently. A tear dropped from his eye. 
    “There’s no sense running anymore! Three strikes I’m out! Why try? 
I’ve lost, so what’s the use?” he thought. “I’ll live with my disgrace.” 
    But then he thought about his dad, who soon he’d have to face.

“Get up,” an echo sounded low, “you haven’t lost at all, 
    for all you have to do to win is rise each time you fall. 
Get up!” the echo urged him on, “Get up and take your place! 
    You were not meant for failure here! Get up and win that race!” 
So, up he rose to run once more, refusing to forfeit, 
    and he resolved that win or lose, at least he wouldn’t quit. 
So far behind the others now, the most he’d ever been, 
    still he gave it all he had and ran like he could win. 
Three times he’d fallen stumbling, three times he rose again. 
    Too far behind to hope to win, he still ran to the end.

They cheered another boy who crossed the line and won first place, 
    head high and proud and happy -- no falling, no disgrace. 
But, when the fallen youngster crossed the line, in last place, 
    the crowd gave him a greater cheer for finishing the race. 
And even though he came in last with head bowed low, unproud, 
    you would have thought he’d won the race, to listen to the crowd. 
And to his dad he sadly said, “I didn’t do so well.” 
    “To me, you won,” his father said. “You rose each time you fell.”

And now when things seem dark and bleak and difficult to face, 
    the memory of that little boy helps me in my own race. 
For all of life is like that race, with ups and downs and all. 
    And all you have to do to win is rise each time you fall. 
And when depression and despair shout loudly in my face, 
    another voice within me says, “Get up and win that race!”

Sunday, October 7, 2012

One Sentance: A Changed Life

Yesterday morning, I was driving home from Provo. I was running late, so I had to listen to conference on the radio rather than in the comfort of home.

I have been praying for a really long time for answers. Why isn't swimming working out for me? Why am I struggling so much in school? I feel like I'm working so hard, and I'm giving it everything I've got! Why can't I just do well at something? I'm not an ugly girl.... why can't I ever get asked on a date? Why don't guys like me? Why couldn't I just have gone to Hawaii? I understand that everyone has to struggle. Everyone has to go through a rough patch. But why is mine lasting so long?! What am I supposed to do?! The only good thing going right for me where I am right now is the people around me, my friends, teammates, roommates, etc.

So, in the first minute and a half of conference, this announcement was made by President Monson: the minimum age to serve a mission has been lowered to 18 for all worthy males, and to 19 for females.

WHAT?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?! AAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHH!!!!:):)

I've wanted to go on a mission since I was twelve years old. But I'm only nineteen.... no offense to those 21-year-olds, but that seems really old from where I stand!:) Or at least too far away... I've just always watched how the men in my life are changed by their missions. They usually come back with a greater sense of clarity about life, a greater understanding of what's important. And it's not just that; I've always loved to teach. I love commenting during Sunday School class, seminary, etc. In fact, in 9th grade, my teacher pulled me aside and told me that I needed to stop commenting so much because nobody else in the class would comment if I would comment on everything. (First of all, what a buzz kill! I didn't comment for the rest of the year, and the class was totally silent, and I felt stupid and embarrassed... I know it's important for everyone to participate, but don't criticize the one person who does and risk destroying the class for them... just saying...)

Long story short, when that announcement was made, my heart and stomach dropped and it seemed like the whole world just stopped around me. (Which was a little dangerous considering I was on the freeway, but that's not the point.)
It was just a little too perfect. Could it really be that my prayers for months have been answered in the first ninety seconds of General Conference? It just felt so right, and throughout the rest of my drive, it was all I could think about. 

Whenever I've considered my many options, there have always been reservations. For example, when I think about my issues while swimming, I've thought about leaving BYU, and moving back home to the environment where I know I would train the way I know will help me improve; I'd eat right; I'd be in a very familiar and safe environment, and I'd be two miles from school and near everything I already know. But as much sense as that made with my schooling and my swimming training, I just couldn't feel comfortable with the idea. There were nonstop reservations, mostly involving the fact that I finally had a team; friends who I can train with and interact with, and who I love so much. I don't think I could go back to the whole train-by-myself thing, no matter how much I know it will help me. I just couldn't make that decision.

But when I thought of going on a mission, not to run away from anything but to serve the Lord with 100% of myself, there was not a single reservation. NOT ONE. And that is VERY rare for me. I'm sure doubt will come, but all I have to do is remember what I felt like the moment the announcement was first made.

My mom actually called me after it was made. She was crying, because she knows all the struggles I've been having, and how much I've always wanted to serve a mission. It also affects my little brother!!! He turns 18 in November, and if we both turn in our papers in February, we can both be in the MTC at the same time, probably June or July. 

One last thing. My team is in Hawaii this weekend for a meet, and I was pretty much devastated that I couldn't go. At the time, it was one of the final blows to my already unstable mental condition with swimming. But looking back, if I had been in Hawaii, I would have heard ABOUT this announcment, but I wouldn't have heard it. When I first heard it, the Spirit was soooo strong that it was literally tangible. I was warm, I was happy, I was at peace. I haven't been able to stop smiling since, and that hasn't happened for a while. There is a much greater Spirit in hearing something like that when it happens rather than being told about it later. For the first time, I'm GLAD I'm not in Hawaii. :)

Right now, there's an overload of people on Facebook and every other social media of girls who are all like, "Oh my gosh, I'm turning in my papers tomorrow!!" That's not a bad thing, but I know there's skepticism about whether people are just excited, or really meaning this. 

I am not just excited. I am not just idly saying that I'll serve a mission in the heat of the moment. This is real. This is an answer to prayer. I am meant to serve the Lord in this way; I have never been more sure of anything in my life.

I know there will be struggles and doubts as it comes closer. If I do this, I will likely never swim competitively again. I will not be able to have the experiences as far as dating that I've only dreamed of to this point for 2 years. Some of my friends that I know and love now will move on, and I'll never see them again. The world will change. I will change.

All I know is that I know this is true. This is what I'm meant to do. I cannot deny it.

I will never forget what I felt on that busy freeway in Salt Lake City. One sentence has changed my life, and I will strive to make myself someone that the Lord can use in the mission field.
I'm going on a mission.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

The Daisy

So, I wrote this poem for my creative writing class. It's not the greatest poem in the world, but I was pretty proud of it. :)

The Daisy

A rose attracts the eyes of all,
Its beauty well defined.
And a flower that defines beauty
Seems like it’s the only kind.

But what about that lonely bud
That’s hiding over there?
Much simpler and less profound
And no one seems to care.

The daisy is not “beauty”
It doesn’t have any of those
Gentle, soft petals and swirls
That are what defines the rose.

I look into the mirror
At times unhappy with what I see.
I am no rose, no delicate bloom
And I never will be.

How the world tries to tell me
The rose is really what I should be
If I ever want to be a beauty,
I cannot be “just a daisy”.

But who defines that beauty?
And whose opinion really counts?
I may not be a rose,
But don’t count this daisy out!

My petals are white as snow
I can grow against all odds.
And that flower that grows in adversity
Is beautiful to God.

The world’s eyes do not matter
But the ones that really do
Are always full, no matter what,
Of love for me and you.

I feel loved and beautiful
Whenever I try to see
Myself the way God sees me:
The girl I’m meant to be.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Why I'm Glad I'm Crazy

I am crazy. I've accepted that about myself. Honestly, there are a lot of advantages to being crazy. I think that there's a lot in life that I would have missed out on if I weren't insane.

For example, let's take early morning things. 4:30 is a lost time of morning that most normal people don't know exists. (Actually, outside of Utah, it's not very uncommon for swimmers to wake up that early for morning practice. But in Cache Valley, if you're up that early, you're either a dairy farmer or insane!) But for me, it's a time I've become very well acquainted with since 4th grade. My family has used early morning workouts as a way to spend time together and improve ourselves together. To be 100% honest, there have been times where I've wanted to take my watch and chuck it across the room when the alarm goes off in the morning. I've even developed the habit of setting my watch 10 minutes fast, so psychologically I'm not waking up so early. It kinda really stinks...

BUT, when I think about how much I've gained, where others have missed out, it makes it all worth it. 
How many people know what it's like to see the sunrise every morning? Especially in the summer?
How many people understand how it feels to know that you've given 150% of everything you've got?
How many people know what it's like to run while heavy snowflakes are falling, the thick silence nearly tangible before any other footprints or tire tracks have tainted the perfection of the blanket of snow?:)

I am really so blessed. Because of my early mornings, I have gotten as far as I have in swimming. There's no way I would be swimming for my incredible team if I hadn't, and I can't even begin to record all the blessings that have come from it.

All I'm saying is that, even though I love my sleep, I wouldn't trade my early mornings for anything. I'm so grateful for what I've learned and gained from the way I've been raised. The Cache Valley sunrises are truly incredible! And to think that most people sleep right through them... :)

Yay for 4:30!!