Saturday, December 31, 2011

lookin' back: 2011...

Wow. I can't believe the year is over! It went by so incredibly fast, I'm not even sure what happened in 2011 and what didn't! Thankfully I have thousands of pictures in seasonally categorized folders on my computer...if one picture is worth a thousand words, how many words are a thousand pictures worth? Hm...

LDC had Spring Retreat at the beginning of the year. This is my family group, the Dis-Harmonizers! We were the coolest anti-super hero group ever.

Meghan and Amanda performed in their first ever MVHS choir fundraising concert. It was really great to go back to my high school to see all of my still in high school buddies perform, and to see my sisters be spotlighted in each of their numbers.

Institute Date Night! I've made so many good friends through LDC and through Institute. It's been a huge blessing in my life.

Brianna, Shelby, and I got to go to a session of General Conference at the Conference Center. It was a grand adventure, complete with riding the Trax train. "What is that? It's the wrong shape for a bullet hole..." Good times!!

I graduated from UVU! Associate's Degree, baby! It wasn't a super huge deal, but it was a really great accomplishment for me.

LDC performed our spring show, The Family: A Musical Proclamation. This is the show that we were invited to perform in the Conference Center at Temple Square. It was a really amazing experience, to be able to work with professional sound and light crews, a real live stage manager, and to have a fully functioning stage to perform on. I loved every minute of it. Dream come true, to perform on that stage!

Choir tour!

One time Meghan forgot to get a group together for Morp. Adam and I helped her out by going as a second couple, even though we'd graduated a year before.

Jordan and Meghan...Peter Pan and Wendy.

Institute on parade!

Manti Pageant with my sisters and Jenni. It has always been one of my absolute favorite things to do in the summer. I'm so glad we got to go this year! It was the first time in nearly 3 years, and it was a total blast. Thanks to dad for driving us down and hanging out with all of us girls!

New job! Super fun.

Natalie's birthday adventure!

July brought saying good-bye to my best friend Jordan. He is currently serving in the Independence, Missouri mission, Spanish speaking. I honestly don't know where I would be without this kid. I love you, Elder Raddatz!!

The final installment of HARRY freakin' POTTER! Midnight showing, of course.

Summer vacation part one: the ZOO. Where we actually belong.

Summer vacation part two: LAGOON. Where only half of our family belongs...the rest get sick (myself included).

Summer vacation part three: GRANDMA'S HOUSE!! EVERYONE belongs at grandma's house.

A new year of LDC: new friends, new music, new experiences, same Spirit. This is a picture from fall retreat. White Power! I mean...uh...yeah. Try coming up with a cheer when you're the white group! It all comes out sounding racist.

Carrots and Choir Chica Sista, my two best girls. I love them so, so much. From heartbreak to hyperness, they've been there for me every step of the way this semester. BFF's!

LDC presents Mulan! Well...sort of.

On a whim I bought a fish. I named him Leonardo. Leonardo DiFishy.

Insert imaginary photo of new job at PartyLand!


Fall photoshoot courtesy of Michelle. They're kind of super late senior pictures combined with pictures to use for audition packets. Thank you, Michelle!

Another photoshoot courtesy of Michelle. It was so great to be able to take pictures of all three of us together! Usually I'm the one behind the camera when it's me and my sisters, so this was great. Merry Christmas, mom and dad!

We got a dog and named her Molly. She's a gremlin. Seriously.

LDC performed with Michael McLean in The Forgotten Carols. It was an amazing experience.

Christmas-ing with Carrots at Blickenstaff's!

We're elves. You know...Christmas elves. Santa's little helpers.

It was a Charlie Brown Christmas.

LDC performed our Christmas show, A Silent Night. All of that music and the words came to mean a lot to me by the end of the run. It was a great experience, despite being strangely difficult for me personally. I'm really glad I have those memories.

Chillin' with the Eggletts, Brother and Sister Eggett's children. They are so stinkin' adorable! And all of them are so very kind. I love them!

flying time...

Time is a strange thing. One day it's Monday, and suddenly it's Friday and you don't know what happened to the days in between. They just sort of flew by in a rush of responsibilities and errands and all sorts of "Things to be Done". What is time, really? Time well spent. Time wasted. Time to get up. Time to go. Time to start. Time to stop. Time, time, time. We live in it. Ruled by it, in some cases.

The passing of time is such an incredible phenomenon. No matter what bounds we may try to set, it moves forward unchecked. We humans are so ruled by our descriptions and categorizations of time--seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, years--yet we can never hope to be the masters of it. Time is a completely unlimited thing, with no boundaries or controls to be found. It seems to be God's area of expertise. Strangely and funnily enough, there is no time to God. At least, not in a way that is easily comprehensible, for who can fully grasp the concept of eternity?

Perhaps time, as we understand it, is merely an abstract definition given to us mortals until we can gain a full comprehension of true time, or time that isn't calculated by days and minutes. At the very least, I am grateful for it, because it keeps me from going insane trying to unravel another mystery that I cannot solve.

It is said that you can never have too much time. I have too much. Too much time to think! There you have it.

Friday, December 30, 2011

playin' with the Eggletts...

Last night I didn't sleep well. It's been the running trend for the past month or so. It's become rather hard to deal with, and I'm hoping that I'll be able to do alright once school starts. Somewhat worrying, because I won't have time to catch up on lost sleep until Sundays, so I'm just crossing my fingers that it will be okay. Sleep. Something you hardly think about until you can't get enough!

When I finally got out of bed today, I had no energy and no desire to do anything other than get my laundry done and avoid contact with people at all costs. Then I got on Facebook and saw a post from one of the choir members, asking for any girls who were available this afternoon to help out the Eggetts. Sister Eggett had surgery earlier this week, and when mom is sick, nothing fun happens.

Allie and Heather were the ring leaders for the small gang of choir members who went over to the Eggett home. The four youngest children, Brother Eggett, and we "grown-ups" (Heather, Sam, Mike, Brad, and myself) had a lovely time playing Just Dance 3 on the Wii. Rachel, the oldest Eggett girl, dances circles around everyone at that game! And my one claim to fame for the night: I beat Brother Eggett at his best song, "California Girls" by Katy Perry. It's a proud moment in my life.

Later in the afternoon we took the 4 youngest kids to the park and played there.

A short soccer game took place until Joseph, the youngest, got too tired to run. Then freeze tag for awhile until Joe again was too tired to run anymore. So we played an on-the-grass version of Dead Man, Dead Man. Since there was no trampoline available we made a ring out of coats and made it work.

Pretty soon the kids got tired of Dead Man, Dead Man. Once the playground was pointed out, there was no stopping any of us from having a go at the slides, swings, and ramps. A new game began, Lava Monster. If you've never played it, you should! It's a total blast. The wood chips are the lava, and one person starts as "it", or the lava monster. Rules: The lava monster can only touch one color of the playground equipment. In our case, it was white. The monster can only touch the color for five seconds at a time (that rule eventually got overlooked). The people have to stay on the playground equipment. They can only touch the lava for 5 seconds in the case of the kids, 3 in the case of the grown-ups. Once you're tagged, you become a lava monster. The last person still "alive" becomes the lava monster for the next round.

After a good three rounds or so of Lava Monster, everyone was getting cold and hungry. Back to the Eggetts we went to finish up the dinner prep. Sam and I took the two youngest girls, Sarah and Hannah, to Harmon's to get some extra food for the LDC "grown-ups". He bought each of us a bottle of Jones Soda, which I thought was very nice of him. Mine was Green was weird, like a carbonated green apple snow cone. Good, just weird.

Dinner was followed by Wii Resort, emphasizing in the game Swordplay. Wow...that was so intense! We were all screaming and jumping up and down. Brigham, just older than Joe, was jumping in circles he was so into the game. The best part was when Hannah was taking her turn, and her dad started cheering her on. "Be aggressive, Hannah!" he shouted, to which she calmly replied (while swinging her remote at the screen) "I'm not that kind of person." Priceless!

All in all it was a 100% enjoyable, perfect afternoon. I didn't really want to go over at first because I was feeling so tired and just downright sad. I'm so glad I did though. It was just what I needed.

And may I just say that if I could look as beautiful as Sister Eggett did today, I would feel absolutely satisfied with my life. I don't know how she always manages to look so wonderful, two days after surgery and all! She is an amazing lady, not just because she's pretty, but because she is so kind. I hope to be half as gracious and kind as she is.

Here are some of my favorite captured moments from this afternoon. The Egg-letts are the cutest kids ever! Seriously though. BEAUTIFUL children.


Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Carousel Hearts...

“If you stand in the center of the carousel, on the platform that the operator walks on while the ride is moving, you will not move.”

That’s what her mother had told her once, years ago at the carnival. Ever since she was very small she had loved the carousel, with its tinny fairground music, twinkly lights, and magnificent menagerie. Her older sister tried a different mount every ride, shouting and exclaiming at the wild-maned lion, the white-necked swan, the fiery-eyed dragon. But she wanted nothing more than to ride the cream and gold pony with the pretty pink saddle and the bright blue eyes. Sister would tease her for choosing the same animal every time, but she would merely look over her shoulder to where mother waited by the gate. Mother always smiled and nodded, and so the pony it was.

Those years are in the past now. Sister has gone away, still the same—always searching for something new, something exciting, something different. And mother—well. Mother is gone now, too. No more walking hand in hand to the carousel. No more encouragement. No more anything. Gone.

She tries to imagine the way it was, climbing onto the carousel pony, looking out as she spun past the world, mother appearing and disappearing in turn as she spun round and round on the back of the pony. Try as she might, she can’t conjure up the scene. Suddenly feeling trapped inside her small bedroom, she puts on her shoes and walks out the door, down the hallway, and across the kitchen. Out she goes into the starry summer night, locking the door behind her.

Her feet know the way to the fairgrounds. Quickly they move her forward as she loses herself in the memories of sister, mother, and carousel. So lost is she that she hardly notices where she is until she stumbles upon a raised bit of sidewalk.

There it is. The carnival, laid out before her. It is late enough that there is no one around. The lights are dark; the booths and shops are quiet. Swiftly and silently she makes her way through the town of tents until she finds what she is seeking: the carousel.

She has never seen it dark like this before. The music is stopped. The lights no longer blink. The wild-maned lion, the white-necked swan, the fiery-eyed dragon, all as she remembers them to be, sleep under the mirrored roof above them. And there—she squints in the darkness—it isn’t there.

Her breath catches in her chest and she runs forward, tripping on cords in the darkness. She grips the metal fence that surrounds the carousel, craning and straining to see through the shadows. It can’t be gone. It can’t be.

But it is. The pony—the cream and gold pony with the pretty pink saddle and the bright blue eyes—it’s been replaced by something else. She slumps against the fence and listens as her breath comes hard and fast. How can it be gone? How can something else be gone?

She closes her eyes, praying for some sort of memory to fill the awful, empty hole she feels inside. Slowly images come: her sister climbing aboard the wild-maned lion, whooping and waving her arm like a cowboy in the rodeo; her mother handing quarters to the ticket seller; sister scolding her for riding the cream pony for a third time; mother nodding and smiling, giving her the go ahead to ride the pony; mother laughing and waving to her as she spins by; mother taking her hand; the cream and gold pony with the pretty pink saddle and the bright blue eyes; mother; the cream pony; mother…


The word rips from her throat unbidden, crashing into the silent night, thundering in her ears. She shakes her head, trying to rid herself of the sudden, frantic pounding of her heart.

The carousel. She looks up, up at the carousel before her.

“If you stand in the center of the carousel, on the platform that the operator walks on while the ride is moving, you will not move.”

Jumping the fence, she runs up the carousel ramp to the platform where the operator runs the machine. She knows how it works, having seen it hundreds of times. She even asked someone once, when she was not so small, to show her how to run the carousel. She finds the small key, left only where an operator or an operator’s friend would know to look, and places it into the slot. One turn to the left. Press three buttons. Flip one switch.

Lights go on. Music begins to play. And with one more knob, the carousel begins to spin. Round and round they go: the wild-maned lion, the white-necked swan, the fiery-eyed dragon. Round and round they go: sister, mother, pony, sister, mother, pony. But where she is, she does not move. Where she is, the world passes her by, spinning and spinning away by the light of the carousel.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Richard's Trees...

It is his idea to go for an early evening stroll through the neighborhood. I protest at first, laughing at the crazy idea of going out in the below freezing temperatures. Then he opens the door. The outside world is draped in misty wonder, the lights dim and fluttery as their beams try to penetrate the fog. He has caught me, for it looks like a fairyland. He knows I can't resist a fairyland.

He hands me my coat and puts on his own. Opening the door, we step from the place of warm, human familiarity and into a chilly, enchanted land--the realm of the fairies. It is as strange and wondrous as any of the Seven Wonders of the World, but it is upon our doorstep.

At first we talk and even chase one another through the slippery, frosty mist that tingles as it touches our cheeks. He laughs as I exclaim at the beautiful patterns upon the leaves and fences; I laugh as he sings "Frosty the Snowman" at the top of his voice. "There isn't any snow to sing about!" I cry. "Well, you never know," he replies, "Maybe if we sing loud enough, your fairies will make it snow." He winks at me and begins to run again.

Soon we lapse into companionable silence. We walk in step with one another, listening to the crunch of ice and frost under our feet. It is impossible to tell the time--there is only the dull, shimmering glow of the streetlights in the fog.

On and on we walk, commenting on a particularly interesting icicle hanging from a tree branch or the way the blue and green and red of the Christmas lights on a fence bleed together in the misty air to form new colors. But mostly we just walk together, as we always do.

He stops suddenly. I stop a few paces ahead of him, turning to see what the matter is. "What's up?" I ask him. He shrugs and lets loose a breath. It creates a puff of white in front of his face. He does it a second time, then points a little ways ahead of us.

"What do you see?" he asks.

I walk to where he is standing and position myself to follow his line of sight. Ahead of us is the park. There is a smattering of trees before us, each one standing apart from its fellows. They have no line or pattern, but they fit together all the same. I study them for a time, trying to find a satisfying answer to his question.

"Well?" he says. "Well, what?" He laughs and moves to stand at my side, putting a hand on my shoulder and pointing again to the trees with the other, "Tell me what you see." I frown at him, "You'll laugh." He shakes his head, "Won't."

Squinting at the scene before me, I begin.

"I see figures, frozen by the night in their acts of life. See? That one, there. She is waiting, waiting for someone to come home. Over there, he remembers what it was to be young and free. Beyond them both, another pauses on the path of change before taking the step that will alter his life forever. And there, she holds inside tears that cannot yet be allowed to flow.

These figures, they're shrouded. Shrouded in the frost--shrouded in delicate, intricate, fragile life. Each life is so very different, as is the way of things. And yet, if you notice, each one is clothed in the same material. You see them? All clothed in diamond white. But look at them closer and you'll see that none is the same. All of the patterns are different. No ice crystal is the same. Neither is any human experience.

And so they stand there, paused in their time. They stand, waiting in the winter of their lives, praying for the tender touch of spring."

I am so caught up in the scene before me that I’m startled when I hear a soft chuckle. The magic is broken and I turn, a rush of anger rising at his laughter. "You said you wouldn't laugh," I remind him sharply.

He shakes his head as looks at me, an expression of amusement on his face. Again I feel upset, but then I notice the sadness creeping up in the corners of his eyes. The anger fades, and I wait for him to speak. He sighs again and stuffs his hands deep into his pockets. I wait still. Staring straight into my eyes, he speaks.

"You missed your calling in life."

Startled, I reply, "My calling?"

"Yes," he walks toward the trees. Glancing over his shoulder, he smiles at me, "You should have been a poet." I laugh and wave away the praise, "Poets only make an income after they're dead." He laughs too, and then returns his gaze to the trees. He gestures to the trees and speaks again.

"When you look at the world, you see people. A frost-covered tree isn't just a frost-covered tree. It''s more than that. It becomes a person with a story, a symbol of a life lived. Or even one not lived." His voice grows quiet, and he talks to the icy grass below our feet. "I don't know how you do it, Hannah. Or why you do it. You've always been like that."

I feel as though he's complimented me and in the same sentence pointed out some sort of flaw in my personality. Suddenly I feel unsure and almost frightened of what will happen next, so I laugh, "Well, Richard, you know what I see now! But you haven't told me what you see."

He smiles over his shoulder again but doesn't respond. I approach him and put my hand on his shoulder.

"Richard?" I ask softly, "What do you see?"

His gaze lingers upon the trees in front of us. Slowly he raises his arm and gently removes my hand from his shoulder. He holds it for awhile, tracing the design of my glove with his finger. Then, he looks me in the eye.

"I see trees covered in frost, Hannah. That's all I've ever seen."

He drops my hand. I watch him as he slowly walks back the way we came, until I can no longer see him through the mist.