Friday, December 12, 2008

My hot water heater has been broken for three days.

The landlord has been informed, and more than once a large van has been parked in front of my house for several hours at a time with the pretense of fixers fixing it, but still to no avail. I am not too thrilled about this.

More than anything, I feel like its just bad timing, because I'm already stressed about school/finals/final projects and presentations that it seems like a bigger thing to me than it probably is, as it has made something easy into something harder, that I have to think about. I now have a new appreciation of the marvel of turning a faucet and getting water that is not freezing, and in the meantime I have taken to boiling water for baths.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Vegan Friendly

Remember two months ago when I went to the grocery store and bought eggs and milk and yogurt, and then read a book that week that made me decide to be vegan, so I didn't use any of it and should have offered it to my roommates before letting it sit in the fridge until I/they decided to throw it out? I do. Why do I remember this now, you may ask? Because yesterday marked the third time I chose to temporarily suspend my veganism. The reason? So I could eat crepes with Lisa at this place:

I'd say it was worth it.

The first two times I suspended my veganism:
1. to eat my roommate's homemade apple pie.
2. pretty much the whole week of Thanksgiving, which was not as worth it. I did still manage to be vegetarian and as vegan as possible in a large, semi-unfamiliar city with people who were happy eating Costco's polish dogs.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

What I live on

herbal tea (peach or raspberry)
vanilla soy milk
orange juice
tofurky sausage
baby carrots
salad (just sometimes)
whole wheat bread
vegan brownie bites
vegan crepes w/ sauted vegetables
ginger tofu w/ noodles
humus and pita bread

Friday, December 5, 2008

Weekend visitor

Miss Kristina of the District is flying to me and my Boston tonight. This makes my heart glad, especially because it used to be her Boston too, so we can show each other things. And while I've been privileged to see lots of friends from my Utah days (Drew, Francesco, Jendar, Rachel and Dave, Courtney and Quin, and of course Max and Betty) Kristina is the first that is staying with me. Yippee!!!! The fun we will have!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Current Musical Obsessions

Ryan Adams' new album Cardinology.

Magnetic Fields' Book of Love.

I can't stop listening. I can't.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

What I want to do in Utah:

read books I actually want to read. i.e., not books about books.
hold Eden. love Eden.
read kid books and poems aloud with Charity.
pizzeria 712.
Jessica 712.
her art show! which I'm glad will be up all month.
Nathan's new restaurant. the pennyroyal cafe.
hot chocolate club, and maybe churros.
drink said hot chocolate in the mug I am purchasing from Greg. that has a bike on it, and a robot. (I am so lucky)
snow shoe.
ice skate.
make snow flakes.
SLC temple. SLC lights.
be the boggle ultimate champion against Lia for the second consecutive year.
fall in love. kind of joking, kind of not.
visit byu. and professors. particularly Paulsen.
visit special collections. and Gary. and John Murphy (who is a Simmons alum).
go to provo's toddler time with Lia and Eden. talk to that librarian.
nostalgic christmas 2? I am crossing my fingers.
d nights. which I miss with all my heart.
Drew's show at Kilby.
January critical mass. assuming my bikes working/isn't missing.
January gallery stroll.
Spencer and Kim's wedding reception.
eat crepes. which is actually what I want to do here too.
be with Meg and Becca. sleep over.
see Becca's movie at sundance.

Home is not far away.

Ten days until Utah!  I am thanking the heavens for this.  Now here is hoping I can make it through school. Ugh.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

A break of thanks

Highlights: The L.A. Zoo (especially the lions roar, the weather, and the green, green trees).  The land of Disney. Riding Space Mountain over and over, thanks to the magic of fast passes. Running into Brei and Daniel. My cute, cute nieces. My sole nephew who is so charming. Meeting Hyrum and Pegah's puppies. Learning their good news. Getting tons of music from Hyrum. Watching Az and Bella play pinball. The delicious Persian feast prepared by Pegah's grandmas. Watching the Laker game with true Laker fans. The Pacific Ocean. Seeing my cousins. Hearing everyone's favorite memories of Grandma Zena. Being shown all Vegas has to offer.

Sweet Azure and the Zoo.


By the end we were all this tired.

Hy's puppies!

Saturday day:
The ocean that I love.
My nieces that I love (minus Eden and Alice) and a blanket of sand.
Saturday eve:
Zena, Warrior Grandma, memory sharing, laughter, tears, etc.

All in all, it was a good week.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Good news. Birth News.

April, sweet, beautiful April, had her baby girl, who is likewise sweet, and likewise beautiful.  How could she not be with April as a mother?  Little Emily is honestly so lucky to be part of that family.  I cannot even explain.  I have so many good thoughts, and feelings, and memories of April.  In fact, most memories I have from growing up are tied to April in some way, including those that are most embarrassing and awkward.  I'm glad she could be there with me to share my obsessions of Canada, Much Music, cheesy poems, toilet papering, swing sets, ice cream, grilled cheese, soccer fields, stars, trampolines, sweater vests,  church dances, water, and passed notes.  

April is one of my oldest friends, and certainly one of my best friends, and through all of these things I have learned how remarkably kind she is, as well as genuine, patient, and fun.  I also admire how easy and natural it is for her to make everyone feel included.  She is also hard working, faithful, nurturing, and a fantastic photographer.  I'm sure Emily's life and childhood will be well documented, that she will always be well dressed, and that she will grow up listening to great music.  If she shares the same love of track and field as her father, she will do so well and be so fast, because she has good genes, so I kind of hope that that happens.  Anyway,  I know that all of April and Aaron's traits will make them excellent parents.  How truly lucky for Emily.  
Pretty April. 

Pretty Emily.

Shipping up to Boston

I'm in the Vegas airport again, about to get on my plane to Boston. I am so tired now and will be so, so tired when I arrive, as I don't sleep very well in places other than beds, but I am happy. And while I had a lovely trip (of which I will write more later), I am actually glad to be going back, and even glad to start doing my homework again. I am taking this as a very, very good sign.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Giving thanks

Things I am grateful for as of late:
Warm things. Pretty things. Outstitute. Utah visitors. Pizza and conversations about pizza. Being in California right now and having it not be a dreadful prospect to go outside. Being with my nieces. Holding my nieces. Trying to be vegan, and eating and feeling better because of it. My newly purple bedroom and trying to make spaces around me more beautiful/places that I want to be. My telephone conversation with Reid. Sam singing my favorite song. Holding hands with Charity at Disney Land, and the phrase, "Holding hands are happy hands." Hyrum's good news. The Little Prince which I am reading again for the umpteenth time.

Things I am always grateful for:
My family. Friends who are real friends. Moderate weather. Genuine people. Sleeping. Books that make me feel.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

To sleep in the house your mother was raised in

There is something amazing to me about this, and I am doing it everyday for a week. As we drive my mom points out the schools she went to and the houses she knew and visited, telling me the things that stayed the same and the things that changed.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


I am sitting in the Vegas airport right now, waiting to continue my trip. I can't help remembering the last time I passed through. It was the day I moved to Boston. Things are so much different now.

Monday, November 24, 2008

California here I come.

I am going to Hyrum's Los Angeles, in just a few hours, where I'll see almost all of my family, and where we'll celebrate Thanksgiving and our grandma's birth. This makes my heart glad. It's been a year and a half since we were all there together.

My bedroom looks like a flower.

A beautiful, bright purple flower.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

My grandma is 90 years old.

This feisty little lady turns 90 today, all 4'11" of her. I think its the water aerobics and the good karma. Anyhow, I hope that I can stay as healthy as her. I love her best for being a convert, and that when my grandpa told her, "If you join the Mormon church, I'm going to join the Catholic church," she joined anyway, because she felt like it was right. And then when he saw that she was determined, he decided to learn more, and was taught by the sisters. That became particularly important to me when I was a missionary.

I also remember her for her lemon trees and avocado trees, trips to Disney Land and the Ocean, and the general good fact that she lives somewhere sunny. I also remember her for her bright red dress at Cumorah's wedding, and saying, "Well somebody's gotta wear red!" Then there is parking. I cannot find a good spot and not think of her. My mom related that whenever our grandma found a close space she'd exclaim, "I must be living right!" and she would say it too. Some of my sisters and I started saying it to tease our mom, but now we really just say it.

Happy birthday, Grandma!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

life goals

Once upon a time I found this piece of paper, in a folder, in a drawer in my bedroom. I am now bemoaning the fact that I didn't write a date, but my best guess tells me that I was between the ages of 16 and 18, a. because I wrote it in marker, and b. because I said I wanted to go to Canada.

And while my modern "life goals" list would be different, I'm glad that I can check off at least some of these things.

3 a.m. is the new midnight.

The last three nights I have gone to sleep 3 a.m. or later. Bless grad school (or something like that).

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Recent Reads

Since Boston, I have read:

Reading now:

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

I am not Kierkegaard.

I want to be, but I am not.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

To read things that are whole, and beautiful, and sometimes heart wrenching.

To read them by myself among strangers—on a bus or on a train, or waiting for a bus, or waiting for a train—alone yet not alone. I do this everyday.

When I first came to Boston I was rereading the History of Love. (I first read it because of Sam Dickens). I needed to read something familiar, to be comforted by words that were not altogether new when everything else around me was. I carried that book with me everywhere, and felt braver somehow, and more like me, even on the days when I was lost. As I reread the words I remembered why they first touched me so deeply. It came down to the humanness of it, the text and its characters which seem so true and rich, because of their beauty but also their pain.

Most recently I finished East of Eden. I bought it one day when I was with Elizabeth and Max. Elizabeth told me how much she loves it, and I was sold. While this book broke my heart, and made me sob uncontrollably at the end, it also left me feeling inspired, in humanity and in general. She told me this would happen, and was right. Completely, completely right. I found the writing to be beautiful and compelling, which was none too surprising. The characters here are also so full and moving in their breadth. I loved Samuel and Lee for how kind they both were, and how compassionate, and how wise, but I loved Cal the most. I loved him for his personal discovery of something that William Jame's also knew and wrote about, that “the freedom of the will is true.”

I love the conversation Cal had with Lee, when this discovery was made, when he realized that he didn't have to be his mother. He didn't have to be mean like her, and even if he was mean, it would be his own mean, of his own choosing and making. Even in that meanness then, there is freedom. Its that principle of agency that allows us to not only be human but to become like God.

I love Abra for her warm personality and because she also struggles but makes choices to love, and care, and be genuine. I love that she and Cal both have a good and an evil, because their dual nature is what makes them normal--like humans and like me. And then there is Kate, who is portrayed as something less than human because she seems without a heart, but even still, Steinbeck is not without some measure of compassion. It was interesting as we learned how hurt Kate really was, as a child and even later, and thus how lonely and how afraid. It doesn't make the things she did better, but helps us understand, if only somewhat. I am immensely grateful that I read this book, and so grateful to Elizabeth for recommending it to me with such passion and ardor.

The next book that I have begun to read, but not yet tackle is No Country For Old Men. A gift given to me by Evan the day I left Provo. I have also read a few pages of another book recommended by Elizabeth called Drown. It's by one of her favorite authors: Junot Diaz. We heard him speak last Thursday at MIT, with her friend Lisa, who is now also my friend.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Boston is Beautiful and Other Observations.

For starters:
-The grass and trees are very green.
-The accent is not a myth.
-Dunkn' Donuts on every corner is also not a myth.
-It is muggy. Not all of the time, but sometimes.
-Everything is very small here and close together, everything meaning the buildings.
-Most of these buildings are fancy, including the 7-11's.
-The close proximity is made possible by Boston's complete lack of belief in parking lots.
-While most cities love their sports teams, Bostonians really, Really love the Red Sox.
-There are a multitude of bicyclists, and every one of them makes me jealous and/or really want to buy a bike here.
-Most of said bikers are wearing helmets, which is probably wise since the streets are narrow and the cars are fast.
-Traveling 3.7 miles is bound to take at least an hour, regardless of the mode of transportation.
-Boston does a marvelous job preserving and living with its history.
-My ward looks more like a BYU ward than my BYU ward.
-People are kind and helpful.

Things I like here:
-Max and Betty
-Veggie Planet
-Harvard Square
-The Brattle Theater
-the North End/bay
-the historical sites
-the delicious lemonade I had at Boston Common
-the museums
-The Boston Public Library (which looks like a museum)

Things I don't like here:
-the humidity
-what the humidity does to my already wildly curly hair
-being able to count the number of friends I have on one hand

Words that are starting to take on meaning:
-The T
-GSLIS (Graduate School of Library and Information Science)
-Reference Interview

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Everything I own is packed.

Yesterday this made me feel sad and empty. Today I feel strangely fine. Tomorrow I fly to Boston to begin a new life.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

New Birth

I have a new niece. Her name is Alice. Alice Aglaya Hunt. I like the name, especially the middle one. Apparently Aglaya was a Greek goddess, but I like it for the character in Dostoevsky's Idiot- the most moving book in all the world.

It is also a miracle this baby was born in a hospital. They were meeting my oldest sister and her family at Lake Tahoe. When they got in the boat Sarah's water broke, spurring a quick evacuation and drive back to Reno. Crazy, and probably stressful, but they made it.

Congrats, Joe. Congrats, Sarah.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

List maker, list maker, make me a list.

things I like:
bicycles. photographs. lip gloss. scarves. t-shirts. brown hair. stars. sundays. crepes. canoes. sleeping. art. film. music (especially the indie or folk variety). spring. kites. parachutes. picnics. swing sets. grilled cheese. hammocks. philosophy. nature. Christian existentialism. sincerity. truth. museums. libraries. eye contact. the ocean.

things I don't like:
waiting. alarm clocks. making telephone calls.

Monday, June 2, 2008

June 1st

Just a few things.
1. For some reason I remember dates and for some reason they're important to me. On this date three years ago I walked into the MTC, one step at a time. I keep thinking about that day, and what it meant to me then, and what it means to me now. I also can't help but remember the days and weeks before that momentous occasion.
2. I bore my testimony today, primarily for myself, to help me remember the things I really do believe--to ingrain them in me more deeply. As I was walking to my seat afterward the boy who spoke next said, "That girl should serve a mission..." Looking at my friends, I said, "That girl served a mission." Later Becca told me that she said the same thing from her seat. Mainly it was just funny to me.
3. I love Meg and Becca with all of my heart. This is nothing new, just two experiences today confirmed/reinforced it.
4. I like midnight bike rides up to campus. This is also nothing new. What is new is laying on the JFSB's courtyard counting the stars. Evan counted 57. I counted 55. Derik counted 44. This was the highlight of my week.
5. Provo's skate park features some impressive 15 year old boys. Seriously.
6. Lia and Eden got back last night. Eden is sick, which is sad, but it is still good to see her/them. Already our house is not as clean or as quiet as it has been the last several, several days, but this too is okay. I would rather them be here.
7. I like my parents living in Provo and I like family dinners.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008


This year today I drove back at a ridiculous hour in the a.m. from my friend's cabin, where I had a delightful time (thank you, Kimball). There it was discovered that Evan can persuade people to do things even when they are in great pain with a combination of chanting and clapping, David has fabulous bone structure that can withstand the most atrocious bicycle accidents, walking with a staff only causes people to look cooler, showers and saunas make a somewhat suitable substitute when hot tubs are under repair, Elaine likes her hair the way it is, Jessica makes delicious cookies (which I already knew), Elder Maxwell likes pigs (which I didn't already know), and the movie Teen Witch is still good, but creepier now that we're older. The drive home served to confirm that a certain lyric from Teitur's "Catherine the Waitress" is as David F. said, "both hilarious and addictive to say."

Upon arriving home I spent most of the day sleeping before going to a Death Cab for Cutie concert at night. It was the 4th time I've seen them. Every time was good, this time not excluded. The show was also made better for running into Sarah and Mark, and the advent that Death Cab played my favorite song very last.

It was this time last year

One year ago today I was in California for this.

It was the prettiest, fanciest wedding I have ever been to, and will probably ever go to. Half of the ceremony was in English, the other half in Farci. The latter portion was accompanied by traditional Persian customs which were extremely beautiful. Pegah looked lovely. Hyrum cried when he said his wedding vows, which in turn made me cry. Other highlights: my mom telling me Hyrum and Pegah would be releasing doves, and then being filled with awe after they let go of the two doves they were holding to see 50 or more fly off into the distance, meeting a little girl whose name is Tiger Lilly, hearing my little brother Sam giving his speech as the best man and being so nervous, but so sweet and so sincere, everyone dancing--and I mean everyone--people I would have suspected like Hyrum's band mates and hipster friends, but also Pegah's little Persian grandmas, my nieces, and everyone in between. I was with my entire family.

It was also this man's birthday. Happy birthday, Dad.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


There is so much I want to write right now but I am tired. I am tired for the very reasons I want to record on this digital paper. I would write all I wanted on dreams and truth and answered prayers, how after some amount of time Professor Paulsen really did get approval for me to work for him, and how it is for 40 hours a week so I don't have to worry about getting a second job. I want to write on here about the things I am reading about in relation to that responsibility that are making me feel both the spirit and sorrow--so much so that yesterday I could not restrain my tears.

The first project is on Latter-day Saint views of the Divine Feminine, or in lay man's language, the Mormon understanding of Heavenly Mother. It is a topic that simultaneously has so much and so little written, resulting in part of my sadness and part of my fatigue. To add to these feelings, so much of what is written is mere speculation or lacking other authority or legitimization. Evan told me that when Ashley worked on this same project she mentioned to him how Sunday School teachers make it seem like an important doctrine, "but try researching it." I have tried, and will continue to, and it's hard. After doing it the first day for 7 hours I felt like I took another final, and felt scared for my summer, wondering if every day would feel like that. It is getting better, though it is still mentally and spiritually exhausting.

The second project will be my respite. It was extended me during my first staff meeting when Paulsen was filling me in on his other projects. At the bottom of his handout I noticed the initials S.K. and J.S. I hoped correctly that they referred to Soren Kierkegaard and Joseph Smith. BYU Studies commissioned him to write an article focusing on the convergence of their beliefs on Christianity. The article is written but he wants to write additional pieces expounding his sub-points. He asked me if I was interested on working on this. I gleefully exclaimed, "Yes! I love Kierkegaard." In his very kind and knowing voice, he responded, "I thought you might." Now part of my work days will be spent reading and writing about my hero. I am the luckiest.

I am still tired, though I wrote a lot after all. Good night.

Of fullmoon bikerides

I like the conversations and I like the air.

Monday, May 5, 2008

A Perfect Day

I love Sundays in general, and this one in particular.

I loved church and being there with Meg, like old times, like times four or five years ago. I loved Becca's lesson. I loved alternatively laying on a blanket on the grass and sitting on the front porch reading Bob Dylan's Tarantula. I love Eden, and we all loved playing with the parachute. I am so happy I have it. When I was little, my family had two. I'm not quite sure why, except that before my dad was a principle he was a teacher. Sometimes teachers have things like that I guess. Last year I was at my parents house in Nevada and I asked my dad if he still had them. He thought he had one. I helped him clean the garage, and sure enough, I found it. I asked if I could have it, or at least bring it to Provo with me. He kindly said yes. I vouch that it is as fun to play with as an adult as it was as a child. The pictures documenting our fun are so good, thanks to Jessica and her camera.

Furthermore, I loved the friend potluck we had, and being so hungry we didn't want to wait anymore (but really I wasn't that hungry because I kept eating Jessica's cookies). I liked sitting on Becca's porch with Jess and taking turns reading Tarantula out loud with her. It was pretty hard to do since it's just Bob Dylan's consciousness streaming, but when we got into the rhythm it was extremely interesting. I loved the bike ride we went on and the weather and the night air that made it the best bike ride of the season/year.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Summer Goals

Reading goals:
Finish Rough Stone Rolling.
Finish Pilgrim at Tinker Creek.

Begin and end:
Atlas Shrugged
Interpreter of Maladies
The Alchemist
Great Expectations
One of the philosophy books Derik wants me to read

Other goals:
Get a job at a library, or at least a job that I don't hate.
Pray that Professor Paulsen got approval for me to research/write for him even though I am no longer a student at BYU.
Hope that that prayer is answered.
Picnic all of the time. Ride bikes all of the time.
Read scriptures better and more. Pray better and more.
Pretty much do/be better and more.

In the last four months...

-I decided to go to graduate school.
-studied for the GRE.
-took the GRE, and thankfully did well enough that I felt satisfied (at least concerning the verbal/writing portions).
-applied to graduate schools.
-began talking to librarians about their job, and their happiness made me feel better about my decision.
-got an internship in Special Collections, archiving the papers and correspondence of one Hugh Winder Nibley.
-began said internship.
-read over 4000 pages (half of them written by Tolstoy).
-wrote more in a single semester than ever before, e.g., 59 pages for finals week alone. These 59 pages do not include my 15 page research paper for "Advanced Philosophical Honors Writing" that had to be turned in a few weeks before, as many times as the teacher deemed necessary before asserting its grammatical and literary perfection.
-didn't die from such academic bulimia (which I genuinely thought I might, or at least felt like I might/was).
-got accepted to a masters program in Boston.
-graduated from college.
-never got sick, or really sick. A few mornings I woke up with a sore throat, but it went away quickly. I see this blessing as nothing short of a miracle. There is no way I could have done all of these things under less-healthy conditions.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

I think I'm going to Boston

I think I'll start a new life.

I really do think I'm going to Boston. I received a letter from a private school I applied to there, for a masters program in Library Science. I was writing my Tolstoy paper on campus when my sister called. It came in the mail. I asked her if the envelope was big. She said it looked like a letter, but thought it had fancy paper inside, and that must mean something. I told her I'd be home soon. I was. While I walked a multitude of thoughts passed through my head. I was so scared/nervous. It was awful. I didn't know what I'd do if I didn't get in.

I open the door to my house. Lia and Eden are at the table eating lunch. Lia hands me the letter. It's just a regular sized envelope like she said. She tells me she thinks the big envelope theory is a myth. I open it. She asks if it does have fancy paper. I see two sheets, not one. One sheet is yellow or some other bright, non white color. I thought that was a good sign. Thankfully it was. They were pleased to report that I was accepted into their program, and I was more than pleased to read it. I couldn't contain my joy. Lia cheered. Eden followed suit. That was the cutest part. Lia gave me a hug and then made congratulatory arm gestures and shouted hooray. Eden made the same arm gestures and also shouted hooray. Then Lia did repeated the motions but shouted congratulations. Eden tried, but doesn't know that word yet. Instead she started clapping and shouting.

There still may be one school I just may, may, want to go to more than Boston, but right now I feel really good about this, and Max and Elizabeth will be there, and maybe I'll live with them, and then Kristina is from there, and Derik goes a lot to visit his sister, so I'll actually see some of my friends. Jendar and Hediyeh will be in New York, which is so close. When I talked to Tom Bell about it tonight, he said that Hediyeh alone was enough reason to want to go there. He is right.

Oh, and about the actual program, I feel good about that too. My supervisor for my internship went there and loved it. My long questioning is over. I no longer have to ask myself: law school or library school. For right now at least I plan to become a hipper brand of shusher.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Miss Missionary.

Yesterday I missed my mission so much I could hardly breathe. I wasn't expecting it. I was merely looking for something in my closet when I noticed my missionary letters. They are organized and sitting neatly on my top shelf. I want to be a librarian/archivist one day, of course they are organized. I brought a chair from the kitchen, so I could reach, and took the binders down. I sat quietly on the floor, and turned the pages. With the passing of each page I would peruse the beginnings and notice by the handwriting who each letter was from. There were birthday wishes and other wishes, wishes made more powerful for they were accompanied by prayer. My little brother called me "his dear sweet sister," and wrote that before he returned to BYU he wanted to remember to send me notes he had taken during a lecture by one of my favorite philosophy professors on my favorite philosopher, Soren Kierkegaard. Faulconer said he misinterpreted the story of Abraham and Isaac, and that had repercussions not only for his philosophy, but for everyone after him. I probably disagreed, but still loved reading the words. My older brother Joe would send me his poetry. Hyrum wrote me only once, despite all of his promises that he would be my best letter writer. He gave me money with a note that said, "promise to spend this irresponsibly, or send it back." The letter began, "here are a few things that may or may not have happened," and had things listed, like, "Pegah's still Pegah," and "Mom got a haircut. It is cute." I turn the pages further. My sister Charity, of sad news and good news. I didn't find this letter in there, but I remember when she wrote me that our dog died. I hated that dog, but for some reason cried and cried when I read her words, I think that it is because I heard it from her, and I know she loved that dog, and she was hurting. There were wedding announcements and letters of crushes from Davis, until he told me of his final crush, who is now his wife. There were letters from Meg and Becca during their own missionary journeys, looking forward to the day that we would be reunited, and still sisters in the gospel, akin to Alma the younger and his friends, who remained strong through fasting and prayer. I turned the pages still further. There were pictures from a five year old girl in one of the wards I served in. Her name is Cora. She is the most beautiful child I have ever seen. I played her little violin once. Twinkle twinkle. That is the only song that I can still play. I remembered the day she handed me the drawings. She was so shy. It was so endearing. Finally, I came across the departing testimony and counsel from my mission president in written form. Already the tears began to stream. Nearby was the letter he sent to my parents and priesthood leaders about my service, and it was all over. The compassionate and merciful praise he bestowed upon me in that letter was enough to burst my heart. I am immensely grateful to know this man, and even more grateful to call him friend. I remember realizing even when still on my mission, that knowing both President and Sister Huff was worth every sacrifice I suffered on my mission. It was worth every hard thing, every awkward conversation, every tired day...Now I am home. I have been for over 15 months. Meg and Becca are home too. I remembered last year, when things were hard, and on the hardest days I always, always received a letter from Meg. The timing was so perfect. It could be nothing short of what Elder Bednar once referred to as "Tender Mercies of the Lord." A few weeks ago I remembered this, and while being glad that they are here, missing that particular form of love, that arrived in my mailbox or in letter form each time I needed it. I wondered how that could happen now. It didn't take me very long to find out. The week after my musings I needed that kind of love. My friend Kristina had just been visiting from Boston, but had gone back home. I missed her already. A few days passed and I was cleaning my room when I found a card she had left me. The day after that I received a box of bottle caps in my mail box from my wonderful neighbor, Sam Dickens. She knew it was my favorite candy, and also that the autistic boy my sister watches had eaten my last box. It was a seemingly small thing, but I really did feel love, and gratitude that those simple little things still happen. Anyway. I served a mission. It was hard, but I am glad I did it. I still love the people there and I still miss it. I hope I will remember the things I learned. I hope I will live them, so my mission president can be pleased with what I've become, and so I can be, and God.