WC Party--Provo style

I'd like to plan Writing Center reunion for those of us who live in the Provo area (spouses and children invited, of course).

I think it would be fun to roast hot dogs and marshmallows over a campfire in the canyon.

The date I have in mind is September 12 starting around 4 or 5ish so those with children aren't out too late.

All in favor? Leave a comment or email me (sararachels@gmail.com). 

Note: If I have your email address and you live in/around Provo, you should already have this message.

If you don't live in Provo, take a road trip. We'd love to see you.


Too Alone?

Lately, I enjoy my own company more than I enjoy other peoples’. I like being on my own.

Less than a week ago, I moved into my own apartment. For the first time, I don’t have roommates. And I like that.

I’m pretty self-sufficient. I take care of my car with little help from others (I don’t mind paying someone to change my oil once in a while). I manage my own finances. I pay my own bills. I have my own tools, and I repair my own stuff (like the bookshelf I put together yesterday). I don’t ask for help, and often reject it when it’s offered (I’m not saying that’s a good thing).

I have a secure future. In one more year, I’ll have my MA, and in another five have my Ph.D.

But this is the part that bothers me. President Ezra Taft Benson once cautioned the single sisters of the church to “not to become so independent and self-reliant that you decide marriage isn’t worth it and you can do just as well on your own.”

I haven’t decided that marriage “isn’t worth it,” but in the same address, Pres. Benson says “Place yourselves in a position to meet worthy men.” I used to love singles’ activities, but now even ward prayer seems tedious. And then I start to wonder if I can do just as well on my own. And that’s where I have a problem.

Because I start thinking about what life on my own would be like. And usually, I like the thought. Because of things like toilet seats. Every time I see a toilet seat up and the contents not flushed, I think Man, it would be nice not to have to deal with this. I don’t want to be a naggy, picky female, but I also don’t want the toilet seat left up. I know it’s not a big deal, but it bothers me every time. And if always lived alone, it wouldn't have to bother me anymore.

But I’m torn, because I also believe in the doctrine of family and of motherhood. I want to be a mother, and that’s more important than toilet seats. I often get so caught up in the trivial, that I forget the rest. I think that’s part of why I have trouble with relationships.

Chan said that when you are in a relationship, you don’t leave people alone. You don’t just walk away. But here’s the thing: I do. I walk away every time, especially when it gets hard. Back when Chan wasn’t sure whether or not he was going to work for the English department, he asked my opinion. And ya know what? I avoided the question. Did it matter? Probably not. Chan can make his own decisions, but I think it shows something about me: that I’m scared, that I still don’t trust people, even when I thought I had leaped over that hurdle. But here’s what I’ve learned: there are more hurdles. Some of them are the same, but I have to jump every time they come around, not just the first time.

Sis. Morgan wrote on the blog that she didn’t know anyone who had too many friends. This is true, but sometimes I wonder if unconsciously I think, I have enough, and I stop investing the time it takes to make new ones. I mean real, lasting, honest ones. Not just the friends you talk to in the hallway waiting for Sunday School to start. Because the real ones take work and vulnerability and trust. But it’s easier to dwell on toilet seats and just walk away.


Writing Center Alumni

This is post number 400 of the blog.

I thought I would share that little tidbit with you all.

I've been looking for housing for a while. There are places I liked, places I didn't like, but nothing has really felt right--certainly nothing like the Abode House, Chandler, Dan, Nathan, Eric, Oliver, and Skyler--until today.

I drove to the Rentmaster office late in the afternoon to apply for an apartment. Walking in a large man smiled at me, taking pleasure in noting that he was standing this time instead of sitting like the last time I was in the office. He asked for my name.
"Ivor Lee."
"You work at the Writing Center," a lady said from the back.
"Yeah. I did. How did you know?"
"I used to work there too. I'm friends with Sharon Morgan on Facebook, and I see your crazy pictures all the time."

Small world? I guess so.

The paperwork was supposed to take 24-48 hours to process for credit approval and all that business. Five minutes after I walked out of the office,two minutes after I passed the golf course I got a call from the same lady.

"You've been approved."
"Wow, that was fast."
"Yeah, I know. But since you know Sister Morgan, I figured you were probably a good person. We Writing Center people have to watch out for one another."


Spider Webs and Sticks

I walked along the edge of the hospital. The thickness of the bushes along the side made them impenetrable. The thin threads of the spider wove up and down the “No Parking” signs that press up against the bushes. As I passed them, all I could think was that I wished I had a stick to break them all down. All those good for nothing webs. Beautiful as they may be, I wish I could wrap my stick around each and every thread and break it until it was nothing. And then I would throw the stick into the bushes. I would throw it so far away I would never even have to look at the stick that had the threads on it. I don’t care how long it took the spider to create it. I don’t care if it is their source of food. I wanted nothing more than to destroy each and every one along the walk.

Insects fly unsuspectingly into their incandescent quilting, only to be held fast. Though they may struggle, fight, and tug against that which they initially thought would be so appealing, it is too late. They are trapped.

It’s not fair for those stupid insects. They didn’t know. They thought it would be safe. No one ever told them it would be like this. No one ever said that the spider web, while looking beautiful on the outside, is really a veritable trap for their inevitable doom.

And so I wanted to break them all down. Because I wish someone would do that for me. I wish someone would break it all down and save me from things that no one ever warned me about.


Suggestions needed

It's August again. And you know what that means: school starts in two weeks. I went to my new classroom last week and set everything up. Last year I had the smallest classroom in the school. This year, I have the biggest. I'll be teaching Broadcasting/Journalism and Honors (and Regular) Modern Lit this year, so I get the largest classroom with all the expensive equipment. All I have to do now is learn how to use all the expensive equipment.

I'm hoping to retire after this year, so I want to make this year count. I plan to set up a blog for each of my classes. This is where all of your ideas would be really helpful. If you were using a blog for your classroom, how would you do it? I plan to assign something to the blog every Friday, and then the students have until the following Friday to post and comment on another post. My problem is knowing what to assign. I've though of having a short story for them to read and then respond to or maybe write their own original piece using that same style. Maybe I could leave a thought/quotation that they should respond to. Please help.

Also, what are your favorite short stories/novels for a high school level? Basically, since there are so few English classes offered, my modern lit curriculum doesn't have to be me teaching lit from the modernist period. As long as the students can relate to it, I can teach it. Neat, I know.

Thanks in advance for your help.


Falling in Love Is Like Being Converted

Jana owned three Chihuahuas. She dreamed of breeding dogs and training them to compete. Elder Johns and I would go to her house every other day to sit and teach her from the Book of Mormon. Elder Kent and I continued to visit her frequently to teach her to pray. After three months of invitations we convinced her to come to church with her family.

I was transferred shortly after. More than a year later I was transferred back to Sedro-Woolley.

Elder Leonard and I knocked on her door the day we arrived from the transfer conference. Every day we had an appointment with Jana we’d try to think of ways to convince her to come to church, to feel the Spirit, to read the scriptures. No matter what we did, she never converted.

Only once she confided in us. On an exchange, she told Elder Hatch and me that although she struggled to understand what the words meant or the meaning of what she read, she knew it was true. When she sat down by herself, and read, and prayed, she knew. Nothing we did convinced her it was true, but she knew because she thought about it by herself with no influence from us.

I think it is the same with love.

I cannot convince a girl to love me. I can plan. I can think it out. I can put thoughts into action. I can say the right things at the right time. I can do everything I think is perfect so that there is no way she can ignore how I feel about her. In the end, I cannot convince her to love me.

I learned over the past year the importance of communication in a relationship. It involves talking and (even more than that) listening. I have just recently become aware of the importance of personal reflection.

Do I think of her when I am alone? When I think of her, do I smile? Does she have her quirks? Do those imperfections make her imperfect or perfect? Do I look up to her? Do I want to help her become better? Do I hope she is thinking of me?

Love is hope. Whether intentional or unintentional, love is not manipulation, in any connotation.