Thursday, November 25, 2010

Family Matters

I am a member of a dysfunctional family. Now, I say that with all the love and adoration that is generally reserved to describe a sleeping baby or a cute puppy, and I love everyone I’m related to more than anything. But seriously, we’re nuts. However, it is the harebrained environment in which I was raised that helped create the person I am now.

Me and Daddy-O, dancing of course.

My dad is king of the crazies. He seldom sleeps or takes a day off work. He is a huge fan of kicking his leg up to his head when he’s excited about something, or whenever there’s a camera on him. He has a tendency to break into song, usually something by Cher or Madonna. He is smart, loud, sweet, and hyperactive. My dad taught me how to debate, how to see beauty within myself, how to dance like nobody’s watching and sing like nobody can hear (I realize that those are probably song lyrics and make me sound super cliché, but I mean it!), he taught me how to study, how to defend myself, he taught me to have passion, how to be aware of myself, how to be responsible…I could go on and on.

Me and the lady, right after parasailing. She's adventurous, it's true.

My mother is an angel. She puts up with all the insanity our small family provides. She’s the calm one, she’s the rock. She’s stubborn, hardworking, and takes time to enjoy the small things in life. She taught me how to love, even when it’s hard. She taught me how to cook, how to be brave, how to enjoy adventure, how to cherish home, how to depend on family and be dependable to them, she taught me that I don’t have to be the best at everything but I do have to try my best at everything, she taught me to never quit. She has supported me in everything I do in life, and not only tells me that I can do anything, but also truly believes that I can.

All but one of the siblings. This photo started with us standing a normal distance apart, then the photographer asked if we were close, being cousins and all, the hugging was our response.

Then there are my siblings. Biologically I only have two. I claim seven: Annalee and Adam (the actual ones), Lala, Junior, Gigi, Amanda, and Germania. The last five lived with us off and on throughout my growing up. These are the people that I played and fought with. The ones that I wanted to be like when I was older, the ones I still try to emulate now. These are the people who I would build forts with, play cops and robbers with, sneak ice cream from the freezer with. The ones I would pray for by my bed at night. Now that I’m older they’re the ones I go on vacation to visit, the ones I tell stories to my roommates about, the ones who listen to me cry, who listen to and influence my goals, and who make me laugh. I could not ask for better people in my life.

Then there is my extended family. I won’t go into detail. Let’s just say there are lots of stories. I have an uncle who lived in the Amazon, a grandma who faked like her cane was a gun to scar away a robber, an aunt who runs half marathons, another aunt who gives me great books to read and who justifies my quasi-feminist tendencies, another uncle who builds his kids miniature monster trucks, another aunt who takes ridiculous amounts of pictures and is prone to making friends with strangers regardless of the occasional language barrier…

The moral of the story is that I adore my family. I recognize that they are my backbone. Now for the part where this ties in with “the quest.” Mostly I just realized how much I take my family for granted. I love them. My family is an enormous part of who I am. Sometimes I get the "bright" idea to try and detach myself from that fact. However, now more than ever I have realized that is stupid. Why would I ever want to be detached from such wonderful, ambitious, and inspiring people? I wouldn't, I don't. So instead of pointing out their faults and trying desperately to separate myself from them I'm just embracing it. More than that I'm going to take time to appreciate them each. We'll see where this takes me.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Quest

For Self-Actualization

In Abraham Maslow's "Theory of Human Motivation" he describes self-actualization as "the desire for self-fulfillment, namely the tendency for him [the individual] to become actualized in what he is potentially. This tendency might be phrased as the desire to become more and more what one is, to become everything that one is capable of becoming."

So why the quest for self-actualization? It's pretty simple. I want to know myself. I know what I am capable of contributing to the world around me. I want to know what I actually think about life. I want to have goals. I want to have a passion for life; and what better way to do that than to feel myself out and figure out what I really am passionate about? So this is a quest, to learn about myself. Although, I hope to continually be progressing, learning, and in effect I hope that I never fully know myself.

As my facebook status once said: Today I am a young, silly girl who is prone to foolishness. I laugh, cry, and learn my way through life. But one day I'll channel all these ideas and dreams of mine; and you may not be able to see it yet, but one day I'll take this world by storm.

This is part of that whole channeling all my ideas and dreams process.

So, I may not be sounding clear right now, but that's ok. It's more for me to figure out than it is for anyone to understand.I just want to see what I love in life, what I want, what I see, discovering my own potential kind of a deal. I'm just going to try and look at my life with eyes wide open and see what I love about it, what I want to do with it, and the talents I have that can help me along the way.

That being said, I'm off to do some yoga.

Disclaimer: I spend a lot of time writing research papers...sorry if this sounded to much like one

Saturday, October 16, 2010

My Best Friend

This Girl:

is my best friend!

She are and I are 16ish months apart, but really we might as well have been twins. We don't look much alike, and our personalities are definitely different, but she understands me in a way that nobody else on this earth does. She is not afraid to tell me I'm wrong or to hold me to a higher standard, because she always wants what's best for me. She listens to me when I complain about ridiculous things, and sometimes does ridiculous things with me. Together we've gone to Brazil, tackled long road trips, hiked red rock mountains, had Anastasia themed sleepovers, laughed, cried, and grown. I could not ask for a better sister or a better friend. She will always be my role model because she is a woman who courageously stands for what is right, she is smart beyond belief, and she has the biggest heart. Having her in my life has helped me grow into the person I am now, and she has given me vision for the person I hope to shape myself into in the future.

Now she is married to the man of her dreams. She has a new last name, a new place to call home, and a new person that she spends all her time with. However some things never change.

Annalee will always be my little sister, the girl I look up to (literally and figuratively), she will always be my best friend.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Jari's "Affirmation"

So I like lots of people, places, and things. Nouns are just the best! Let's start here:

I like my Timber! I like my Lexie! I like my Ryans! I like my Jordans! I like all my volunteers!

I like my Rexburg! I like Mesa Falls! I like the Sand Dunes! I like BYU-Idaho!

I like the Taco Bus! I like light sabers! I like bon fires! I like my bed! I like my laptop!

I can do ANYTHING good! Yeah, yeah, yeah!

Friday, October 1, 2010

ABBA.Temple to Temple.Service.Birthday.Service.

I am alive. So much is happening so quickly that I barely know what to do with myself. A couple of weeks ago a group called ABBA Mania came to BYU-Idaho. I could stop writing right there and you could probably guess that it was a good time. My two roommates and I went and decided that interpretive dance complemented fake ABBA quite nicely. Not to mention, it is pretty hilarious to watch a predominantly Mormon audience chant/sing/shout along to Voulez Vous and think that the lyrics are completely innocent...yeeeah.

So I stayed up later than I should of, especially considering I had a 36ish mile relay race the next day. My team and I started at the Rexburg Temple and ended at the Idaho Falls Temple. Seriously one of the funnest days of nice life. I was the first leg, which means I got to run downhill from the Rexburg Temple. Thank heavens because goodness knows my body does not do the uphill craziness that everyone else had the joy of. Also, I may or may not have gotten lost in a junk yard for a little while... Anyway, after I passed on the slap bracelet and joined the rest of my team in the truck it was a party for the rest of the way. We would drive a little ways down the road from our runner and then sing and dance in the back of the truck until they showed up; at which point we would cheer and scream like crazy and help them along their run. We went through some of the prettiest places in the area, and ended the day with a little ultimate frisbee at a park near the Idaho Falls Temple. I owe a large thank you to my amazing and hilarious teammates, Mika, and Michael Jackson for making the day that much more enjoyable.

I think that I have mentioned this in the last few posts, but this semester one of the things I'm doing is working as a Director for Service Activities. This means that I'm in charge of 15 students and 10 service programs. It is an absolute blast and I love every second of it. Every semester we host a retreat for all of our volunteers. We go to a cabin near the Tetons and have trainings and play. This semester because I'm directing I was put in charge of planning and hosting the retreat. I was really nervous about it, but it went off really well. It was incredible to see how much my volunteers have learned in just the short time that they have been involved, and all the wonderful ideas that they have to improve their programs and the school. I was also really impressed by how much love they showed to each other and me. It was a much calmer retreat that I have been to in the past, but there were also a lot of opportunities to be taught by the spirit. It was fantastic. I am grateful to Jordyn and Jordan (yes, these are the two people I work with...they have the same name pretty much) for all the help and support they gave and for how much closer we got in just two days.

The morning that we left the retreat was also my 21st birthday. So yes, I am now legal to drink, apply/audition for reality TV shows, and participate in all forms of entertainment offered at The Strip in Las Vegas...oh, and I can apply to serve a mission too if I so choose. Anyway, for my birthday my roommates threw me a tea party. It was the most awesome thing! We had great finger food, spoke in the best British accents we could muster, and had some of the most delicious herbal tea this side of Provo. :) Really though, I had forgotten how much fun imagination games are, good choice in birthday festivities.

I went out for a little bit after the tea party and came home to some "interesting" presents. My roommates found a bunch of rocks and geology books that now belong to me, and this stray cat showed up at our door....apparently he's mine too. He's the sweetest cat in the world (and that's saying something because I'm generally a cat hater). We gave him some milk and enjoyed his company, then sent him on his way. He comes back every once in a while and repeats the experience. We've decided to name him BobJeffKnives, I'm not exactly sure why. It probably has something to do with us being ridiculous college aged girls who were way too tired when all of this was taking place.

I decided that I didn't want to hog all the rock related joy for myself, so we decided to make a delivery to one of our beloved friends, Ryan Bruce. He didn't find it half as cool as we did...his loss.

Remember how I said that I'm director for Service Activities? Well, this week was service week on campus. We encouraged all the students to utilize their activity time in Family Home Evening to do something service oriented. So my "family" and I storm cleaned apartments. We had 3 vacuums, 3 brooms, a couple bottles of all purpose cleaner, and some sponges. We would rush into apartments screaming and yelling (I seem to do a lot of that) and clean and laugh while the people who lived there looked at us wide-eyed. We cleaned 5 apartments (dishes included) as a family, and then met back up at our apartment for treats. But then half the brothers started cleaning our apartment, and the other half went to the other girl's apartment and started cleaning it. Not to be outdone we ran over to their apartment and did the same...and after it was clean we decided to rearrange all their furniture for the heck of it. They didn't find that amusing, but life goes on.

So that's life right now. I spend a lot of time doing homework, or work, or service work, or run errands for different clubs I'm in, and then I come home and party with my roommates all night long. Really, this is the life.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

The Haps

So. I took a road trip from Florida to Idaho with one of my good friends, Brenna Richardson. First stop, Tallahassee...we made it really far. I know. I was able to see one of my most favorite friends, Montana Carroll AND we were able to get a tour of the FSU campus from Brenna's sister. Apparently it's tradition to jump in the fountain, so of course we went for it.

A little ways down the road from FSU we ran into stand still traffic. Completely stand still, all the cars were parked. So we got out of the car, sat on the road and took pictures to pass the time. It was actually a lot of fun, it's amazing how friendly people can be when we're all suck together on the side of the road. People were offering food and making pleasant conversation. It was lovely. Turns out that a car had gotten hit off the road and into a flight had to come save people. Scary.

On the second day of travel we hit traffic AGAIN in Texas. We sat in the car for 3 hours and made it a grand total of 22 miles. I was a little more than aggravated. We ended up not reaching our destination until almost 3 in the morning AND Brenna got a speeding ticket. Texas is now on my bad list.

The third day wasn't that interesting. It was driving. We made it to Arizona, what a relief. We stayed there for a few days with Brenna's grandparents, and on our way out we stopped at the Grand Canyon. Unfortunately we didn't get to do much exploring, but it was beautiful all the same.

On the way from Arizona to Utah we got a flat tire and sat on the side of the road for an hour, at night, waiting for AAA. Seriously, worst road trip luck ever! On the bright side, I have a funny dad who sent me hilarious texts to keep us entertained as we waited. We stayed the night in Utah, then the next day I headed for Idaho. No disasters on the way, thank heavens.

So then I was in Idaho. I was able to spend time with some extended family who were in town for the baby blessing of my cousins new daughter, Paislynn. This baby is gorgeous and so sweet. I was so glad I got to meet her, and spend time with some family. I don't get a lot of that being out at school so it was definitely appreciated.

So...back in Idaho. Kind of strange. I'm graduating at the end of this semester and I feel weird about that. Oh well, life goes on. My roommates are some of the coolest and most inspiring girls ever. We have a lot of fun together. On my first day in the apartment we hosted "Sunday Social" complete with a chalk drawn welcome mat. Later that same night someone randomly left a cantaloupe at our front door. Strange, but that's Rexburg for ya.

School is school. I love all my classes and teachers. They will expect a lot from me. I'll make a decent effort, and then count on my charisma for the rest of the grade. Just kidding...well, maybe. :) This semester I am Service Activities Director, Pi Sigma Alpha (Political Science National Honor Society) President, a Teachers Assistant, and I'm taking 14 credits, and I haven't gotten a calling yet. We'll see where things go on that front.

Yesterday with Service Activities I was able to take a group of students to help build a house for Habitat for Humanity. It was such an amazing experience. I learned that I should not be trusted with a hammer, but that I can measure and cut siding just as good as the next guy. I hurt my thumbs pretty bad, but it was worth it. Seriously one of the best ways to spend my Saturday, it helped get my mind off myself and helped me to be productive.

So there you have it, I'm back in Rexburg. Idaho which is just as cold and dry as ever, but I love it. I have a enough new goals to fill a blog of their own. I'm trying a couple new things, but mostly just reliving a lot of old things for the last time. I'm working hard, and sleeping little. And I'm getting out of the waiting place, slowly but surely.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Waiting Place

Ladies and Gentlemen I'm afraid that I've run at a break-necking pace off to a very useless place. The Waiting Place. What is the Waiting Place? Well I should probably let the Dr. explain himself

(From Dr. Seuss' "Oh the Places You'll Go")

The Waiting place...
...for people just waiting.
Waiting for a train to go
or a bus to come, or a plane to go
or the mail to come, or the rain to go
or the phone to ring, or the snow to snow
or the waiting around for a Yes or No
or waiting for their hair to grow.
Everyone is just waiting.

Waiting for the fish to bite
or waiting for the wind to fly a kite
or waiting around for Friday night
or waiting, perhaps, for their Uncle Jake
or a pot to boil, or a better break
or a string of pearls or a pair of pants
or a wig with curls, or another chance.
Everyone is just waiting.

(As a disclaimer "Oh the Places You'll Go" is a personal favorite, I refer to it often. Do not be shocked if it makes multiple appearances on this blog)

So, I'm in the Waiting Place. What am I waiting for? I'm waiting for school to start, and then for school to end. I'm waiting for life to happen, but not quite.

I'm not making much sense, am I? Maybe that's the point. I'm not really sure what the point is, or what the point is supposed to be even.

All I know is that right now I live at home, and home suddenly doesn't feel so homey. Though that is mostly due to the fact that everyone went back to school and work this week, and I'm still here...sitting. BUT I start heading back for Idaho on Saturday.

So, specifically what am I waiting for? For Fall Semester 2010. I am waiting for something productive to do with my time. I'm waiting for classes, homework, paychecks, a student ward, for an internship offer, and for graduation.

Less specifically, I'm waiting for the rest of my life. I know one phase of my life is quickly coming to an end, and another will soon start. I just don't know what the title of the next chapter is yet. To say I'm terrified is an understatement. Family and close friends have expressed a lot of confidence in me, I sure hope it's not ill-founded.

I guess it's just a waiting game. (Sorry, that was my best attempt at being punny.)

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

It's a Wedding Charlie Brown

Actually, Charlie Brown had nothing to do with this wedding; and considering the way his life generally works out he probably wouldn't have been invited either. But enough about Charlie...

A couple weeks ago my lovely little sister married a silly boy named Blake, who I love dearly. I know by this point you've stopped reading and scrolled down to the pictures. They had a wonderful photographer, Kim, you should look at her site.

Now that the oohing and awing is over I can say that the wedding was a dream. Lots of wonderful food, music, and the most wonderful people to share your time with. I had to give the toast, which was the scariest part for me. Luckily, those are the type of things that people forget about the moment they're over. Phew. I even caught the bouquet, second one this summer actually. Though don't be expecting any announcements from me in the near future...well at least not any that involve matrimony.

Anyway, now the happy couple is wed. Since that time they have spent a week long honeymoon in Mexico, came home and hung out with the families for a week, decided that they are done with BYU-I, and are currently on a road trip to Idaho and back to fetch all their belongings they had left behind. Upon their return they will be taking a semester off to work and save money, then will move to Gainesville, FL to get back into the schooling shindig. Just in case you wanted to know what they are up to.

As for me? Since the wedding ended and I have officially dropped the "maid of honor" title I have done very little. I'm just trying to enjoy my time off before going back to school where I have two jobs, am president of an honor society, and a full time student. One more semester won't kill me, right?

Something that I have done though, is visit the Georgia Aquarium. Basically it's one of the coolest places on earth, and I even got in for a discounted price. THAT my friends is what I call happiness. If you have the time, you should go.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Summer Sunshine

I just realized today that my summer is more than half over, and I've barely documented any of it. So here it is in the brief :

I went to Mexico, Guatemala, and Belize for a Travel Study program. Basically the coolest experience of my life. Some highlights you ask? I hiked a volcano (it erupted two weeks later), snorkeled in a torrential rainstorm, got stopped by some Zappatistas, hand fed a howler monkey, zip lined over one of the seven wonders of the world, saw lots of ruin sites, parasailed with an old man....and a million more things

Then I headed back to Idaho, threw Annalee a couple bridal showers, visited Timber in Oakley Idaho and hiked in City of Rocks, hung out with Bruce, reunited with a few of the 206 girls and ran a million errands. It was lovely.

Then I headed off to Chicago to be with my Disney friends Courtney and Israel who I hadn't seen in a year and a half, plus I'd never been to Chicago.

And now I'm in Florida. It really hasn't been that interesting since my return. I've seen a couple friends here and there, but mostly I've just bummed around the house. I went to Kansas City to see Annalee complete her term as National Post Secondary President of the club SkillsUSA. That was a fun trip, and it was really cool to see all the hard work that she has put into that organization, and how empowering of a group it is for those kids.

The most recent of my adventures has been EFY, a church camp for youth from ages 14-18. They spend a week in the care of young single adult counselors; during the week they attend religious classes, play games, go to dances, and basically just have a rockin week. I was able to be a counselor, I was over a group of 10 girls most of which were 16-17ish. My co-counselor, Matt, was amazing! He was over 10 boys who were the same age as the girls. As a company we played, laughed, learned, and taught together. I was able to share my testimony of the truthfulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ (more information can be found here) and help build the testimonies of these youth. They were amazing, and SO energetic. I loved every minute of my week, and would give ANYTHING to get to do it over again!