She Believed She Could, So She Did

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So I graduated college. My first instinct is to figure out the next adventure, but instead I’ve let myself be bored and think about my life.

I’m proud of myself. At fourteen, my biggest goal was to find a solution to my bloody noses and beat Paper Mario. Who knew a year later I would submit an $8000 scholarship application to be a foreign exchange student in Europe? At sixteen, I left my family and lived in Germany for a year studying at a German gymnasium and living with a host family. At seventeen, I was the editor-in-chief of my high school newspaper. When I was nineteen years old, I married a fabulous, loving man. At twenty, I spent a semester interning at the Schleswig-Holstein Governor’s Office of Coordination and Planning where I met a handful of terrific people. I became an expert in the strengths and weaknesses of minority policies in Germany and America.

I took on challenging jobs like campus news writer, instructional designer, managing editor of the College of Science magazine, and German speaker for the church’s Europe team. I read and wrote essays about Kafka, Hesse, Thomas Mann, Goethe, and Nietzsche–all of it in German. I presented my research on the Nazis and the “Degenerate Art Exhibition.” I won the German Department’s $800 scholarship as well as the one-year tuition scholarship from the Department of Languages and Literature. I worked with kind and brilliant professors who encouraged me to move forward with German and were more than willing to meet me when I struggled with assignments.

Yes, I also threw up at Zupas once. I kicked a dude out of my group project. I stormed out of the house when marriage as a 19-year-old was pissing me off. I sat on the shower floor and bawled a few times. I laughed when my co-worker in Germany told me his friend died because I didn’t understand. I said coño instead of cono in Mexico. I asked two women of the same age if one of them was the other’s daughter. I sold shoes and hated my life. I went to group therapy for anxiety on campus. My grandparents caught me making out with Spencer when we were dating. I embarrassed myself constantly.

I’m proud of all of the things I have accomplished and I’m proud I did them while struggling with anxiety and depression. I’m proud of my unique college experience and that I used all of my resources to make it fantastic. I’m proud of the family Spencer and I have become. And I know that all of these opportunities were made real because of my loving God.

So no, I’m not going to worry right now about the next thing. I’m going to watch Fringe and eat Reese’s peanut butter malts, and drive to national parks with Spencer, and shop online, and watercolor, and write in my journal, and sleep until noon.

Marriage and family

Happy July!

I felt I needed to give a little update, or rant, for you. Whichever one comes first, I guess.

There’s only one downfall to my whole summer, so I’ll start with that. Insomnia! I haven’t gotten a full nights sleep for the past three weeks. I slept for two hours last night. That’s better than the night before. I’m exhausted, but I just can’t fall asleep. So instead of hopping in bed, I sit on the couch and watch shows or read the news or write letters to friends or pray or read my patriarchal blessing or whatever. Then I’ll go in bed at 2am and lie there for an hour and half. I might fall asleep. I like it when I do.

Other than that, this has been an amazing summer for us. Spencer loves his internship. We run into his co-workers at Wal-Mart and Home Depot and they all joke with him as if they’ve known each other for a while. He comes home with funny stories. He is learning so much. Spencer constantly impresses me. Also, he’s hot.

On the weekends we drive to Fish Lake and walk through yellow meadows.

We check out Capitol Reef and hike upstream to waterfalls. We drive past petroglyphs and hike to arches.

We wake up early for the hot air balloon festival.

We go for banana shakes at the local ice cream shop.

We check out the nearby towns to find my ancestor’s graves and my great grandmother’s house. We take early morning drives to see the sunrise and eat Pon Pon Chicken at the Chinese restaurant.

We count how many elk heads are hung on the cinderblock in Walmart and count how many people are in the “Camouflage” isle.

We joke with the waiters at Main Street Grille.

We play Nintendo 64. I scream at the TV when master hand punches me in Super Smash Bros.

We have sleepovers in the front room with all of our pillows and blankets. We make crepes on Sunday mornings and I make Marlies’ syrup on the stove.

We eat a lot of Mac & Cheese.

We listen to The Promise by When in Rome over and over just to sing the chorus.

We drive past the movie theater to see which two shows are playing.

This is the first time in our marriage that we haven’t been ridiculously busy. We come home and that’s it. Nothing to worry about in the evenings. Nothing to worry about on the weekends. No second job. No 20-page paper to write. You guys. We needed this summer.

It’ll get crazy again in the fall. Actually, thinking about it makes me want to throw up, so I’m not going there right now. For now I’m grateful for this time we have to just be together. To be us, and learn what that means when we’re not going constantly.


I’m sorry, but I’m just thinking of the right words to say

I know they don’t sound the way I planned them to be
But if you wait around a while, I’ll make you fall for me
I promise, I promise you I will

Need to tell yuhhh! Gotta tell yuhhh!

*dances in kitchen*

I had the privilege to spend two weeks in Oahu, Hawaii with my family in May. It was the perfect vacation after graduating. Salt water heals the soul! My favorite parts were watching my baby cousins sink their chubby toes in the sand, slobbering over banana macadamia nut pancakes with coconut syrup, and waking up to the salty breeze brush over my face. When it’s time to leave, we all sit at the airport asking ourselves why we don’t live here.

It’s been a month since I got back and I’m in denial. I’d like to keep goo goo gawing at my pictures forever. So hey! Here’s all of my favorite things to do in Oahu.

Things to do in Oahu at annelouiseblog.com

 

Continue reading Things to do in Oahu

God is working

My 2015 new years resolution is about faith. I didn’t have a specific goal in mind when I started thinking about resolutions. I just wanted to understand what it means to have faith and make it tangible for me, whatever that meant.

Near the end of 2014, my mom told me how she has started to pray. Instead of saying, “Please help me, God, please help me,” she said things like, “I know You are aware of this problem. I know You care. I know You love me. I know You are helping me.”

She implemented faith straight into her sentences. I started to pray like this.

I thought of Grandma and Grandpa Plummer’s testimony of the scripture Mark 11:22-24. Jesus says, “What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.” They were blown away by the present tense of the verb “receive.” Believe that you are receiving the things you desire right now. And you shall have them. They would tape their dreams to their mirrors and write them in present tense, believing they receive them now.

Last December, I wrote one of Spencer and my dreams and pasted it on our refrigerator:

Faith

I thought of Grandma and Grandpa Lindsay and Great Grandma Allen. I thought of how often I have heard them testify of Jesus Christ. I’ve always known how much they love the gospel and their knowledge of God’s love for them. They show their faith by testifying to their children and grandchildren.

Starting at the beginning of this year, I started to verbalize my love for Heavenly Father more. This has been most difficult for me. My testimony is strong, but simple, and I feel uncomfortable sharing my personal testimony.

When Spencer worried about whether or not he would receive an internship before graduating, I stuttered through my words as I tried verbalizing faith, even though I wasn’t sure myself. “I know… I know God loves you, Spence… and I know He’s aware of your desires. I know He’s working on this.”

Every time we had leftover money in our bank account at the end of the month, I’d force out a, “We were so blessed this month. Look at how much fun we had together, and we still got through school and paid off all of our bills. We have been so blessed.”

Every morning from January until May, I got in my car and prayed out loud. I am most anxious when I wake up and before I go to sleep. I felt if I prayed out loud all the way to work, I wouldn’t worry about the German leaders I had to call with bad news, or worry if I would get an angry phone call.

I thought Spencer would receive an internship in March, when his classmates got theirs and when companies were hiring. He didn’t get an internship in March. I kept struggling in April and in May to say out loud, “Heavenly Father knows what we want and He knows what we need. This is going to happen.” My prayers turned less into “I know…” and more into “I need more faith, God. Please help me have faith.”

Two months later, the chair of the mining department walked up to Spencer and asked if he was looking for an internship. The chair told a mining company that Spencer was a great student and a hard worker. A week later, Spencer had an internship. He didn’t apply. It was handed to him.

I’m learning to have more faith. I’m learning that faith brings joy and not fear of the world. I’m learning over and over that God wants me to expect miracles.

1. I watched Amelie for the first time ever. I cried during the last scene with Amelie and Nino on the motor bike driving through Paris streets. Not just because it was perfect, but because the movie was over. I watched it the next day with Spencer, who also thought it was wonderful. I like watching a movie first and then watching it with Spencer. I like to look at him during the funny parts to see his reaction.

2. I’m looking at GoPros and 50mm/1.8 lenses. I want both and I want them now. Really I want a F1.4 but ain’t nobody got money for that.

3. I came home from work and made myself a cup of hot chocolate. 1 teaspoon of cocoa, 4 teaspoons of sugar, one mug of milk.

4. I read the two sentences my brother wrote home to us. He’s on a mission in Uruguay. There’s an Elder Rust who has red hair. That’s pretty much all I know.

5. Our tax returns are coming and we’re feeling rich. Rich, like, “Oh you made how much? Oh okay, here’s every cent you paid in taxes last year so you don’t die” rich. Cool with me, yo.

6. I’m thinking about being with Megan in Europe. Train rides, plane rides, bike rides, gondola rides, rowboat rides. Pizza in Italy. Gelato in Italy. Crepes in France.

7. I’m thinking about squeezing my cousins’ cheeks in Hawaii. Snorkeling with Mom. Taking pictures with Dad. Eating pancakes with coconut syrup. Cracking my sunglasses.

8. I’m thinking about the things I’m good at–speaking in front of a large group of people, writing papers, analyzing shit, remembering symbols and metaphors and stories, smiling, listening, saying thank you, acting like a big dork, laughing at inappropriate things, budgeting, being a leader, being powerful, being empathetic, doing an A+ job at work and school, knowing when someone is being manipulative.

9. I’m thinking about that one time when Spencer said, “When you lose it, you’re so articulate.” Hahahaha.

10. I’m remembering Spencer’s and my emergency Sunday grocery run yesterday to grab tampons and icy hot. The combination just cracks me up.

11. I’m thinking about one day in middle school this boy humiliated me on the bus ride home in front of all my friends and how, four years later, I made out with the same guy on a bench. The hell, Anne? What were you thinking?

12. I’m thinking about being 16 and sitting on the garden roof with Ethan and Ky a few days before flying to Germany and wearing blue jean sandals I bought from D.I.

13. I’m thinking about my first Sunday back from Germany, walking into church and seeing Megan and Tasia on the bench. And how we kept leaning over to grin at each other during Sacrament Meeting.

14. I’m thinking about this woman. She barely knew me. Three months after coming home from Germany, she said to me in front of my best friend, “You’re kind of strange since you got back from Germany. You used to be so bubbly and fun.” Lady, it’s called reverse culture shock and I hate you.

15. I’m happy today.

(as of April 12, 2015)

1. Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania

2. Alaska

3. VW Bus road trip down the United States west coast, from Seattle to San Diego

4. Macchu Picchu, Peru

5. Japan

What’s your top five as of RIGHT NOW?

Adventure is Out There

 

Image via CreativeMarket.com

I was exhausted during my Morning shift this morning (4am-10am). On my 8am “lunch” break I lay in my car and slept for the whole 30 minutes. It was slow during work, so I put my headphones in one ear and listened to the general conference talks I missed over the weekend. I listened to Elder Uchtdorf’s from the priesthood meeting because I heard how wonderful it was (and it really was), and to the Sunday morning session talks, which were also beautiful.

When I got home a little after 10 I watched two episodes of Hart of Dixie and scoffed at everyone’s enhanced spray tans this season and checked out the before and after pictures (clothed) of Rachel Bilson’s new nose and boob job. I know it’s a stupid show, but it’s the last season and I have to watch it.

I then fell asleep for two hours having missed my Zumba class. I got to my nutrition class, luckily, and got the participation points for the day which I desperately needed. No matter how much I study, I end up with a 74 out of 100 on the test. Have I told you how much I hate multiple choice tests? Give me a pencil and a blank paper and I’ll blow your mind. But with a multiple choice test, I always get C’s. If I show up though, I can get a B.

Speaking of tests, I have my first test from History this Thursday. He has given us all of the questions, but I am very nervous. I’m in a daze today and can’t seem to focus on any school work. I just want to go back to bed. I wish someone could sit with me for eight hours and help me focus. I need a robot.

Yongzhen and I are reading Harry Potter together. He now comes over three times a week for English class. On Easter evening Yongzhen rang our doorbell, holding a bag of warm dumplings for us. I love his mother Xiaoyan, who has become my dear friend. She wrote me an email last week saying she knows God introduced us together. How often do you get an email like that? Really. People can be so nice and thoughtful.

I bought a new bikini for my summer trips. I feel so cute and comfortable in it. I drove all over the valley to get the right sizes because they were out of stock online and in the stores nearby. Totally worth it. It’s this one from Target.

What else? There’s always more, but I’ll leave it here. Bye, friends.

I didn’t really enjoy women’s conference. I enjoyed being with my family and spending time with sister part. But other than that I didn’t have all that great of a time. On the car ride home I tried to untangle the knots in my brain that come about when my life stops making sense and I have to sort things out again. I spoke out loud to Spencer. If I don’t jive with stuff that is said at the conference pulpit, then what can I depend on? Oh yeah, Jesus and God. Well, okay, if I can depend on Jesus and God, then why do I need religion and church and everything? Can’t I just live my life praying and doing good deeds and trying to be a better person? Why do I feel like I have to jive with the stuff I don’t really wanna jive with? No one can mess with my relationship with God, so why don’t I just work on that and do something else for three hours tomorrow?

I haven’t wanted to go to church for a while now. I don’t know what it is. I go in and out of phases. It just feels hard to get there and I feel like I have to like meditate before I get there. Also it’s like I don’t feel like I have friends at church and I want to have friends, but then I just want to sit in the back and not talk to anyone. I love a lot of the women in my ward, though. And I’m busy and everything, but I want to bond with people and maybe I don’t know how to. Like my home is always a wreck. So having someone over for just an hour is like a three hour process cause I have to clean the house. I don’t have three hours. Cooking for someone? OMG no. Taking someone out? Well, sometimes I have money for that, but not always. If I go over to someone’s house I worry I’m taking up their time. I mean really the most ideal hang out is wearing pajamas and having them get in bed with me and watch a movie. So then maybe I should just only hang out with Spencer. Damn, back to square one. WAIT, but that’s all I did before I got married! Hung out on a friend’s bed and watched movies with a bag of kit kats! Why can’t I do it now? Is it the sex thing? No one wants to sit on a sex bed? Do I need to get my own “bed to sit on for watching movies with my friends” bed? Is that creepy? Yes? Okay I’ll stop.

People, just tell me the rules of being a married woman so I won’t ask these questions anymore.

Is it just the age/my current life situation that I feel completely not social? What about the church thing? Why is it that sometimes I’m all up for going to church but lately it’s exhausting? Maybe it’ll get better with time, but that doesn’t change the fact that Jessica isn’t even in our ward anymore and my heart hurts so much that I didn’t try harder to be her friend before she left. I adored her! And Amber moved today!

I’m fine with being alone. And then I get lonely. And then I want to be alone. And then I get lonely.

Heyyy.
What are you thinking about tonight? Are you up?

I’m thinking about alcohol and how I’ve never had it. I’m twenty two and have never even had a sip. Isn’t that funny? I’m thinking about how proud I am of that. I don’t know why, really. I guess we all have these moral commandments for ourselves, whether they’re religious or not, and we all tend to break them because we’re humans and everything. I just like that I’ve kept that one at least this far. I guess it just bothers me, the whole alcohol thing. People love talking about it. For, like, ever. It’s boring as hell.

But I talk about TV shows all of the time. Like I can’t stop. And I’m comparing that to the way people talk about their oh so unique but so totally not unique cup of coffee or their glass of wine. What is it about it? I don’t know, I’m too tired to come up with something.

For me I feel I’ve been numbing myself with TV and I’m not telling you this because I think I need to change or I think it’s bad, it’s just how it is. I don’t want to work on anything after school and work. I just want to be sucked into a virtual life so I can get through this.

It’s time to sleep and I don’t want to, because when I go to sleep it means when I wake up it will be Thursday and I will go to work and then run around finishing everything I need to before class at 6.

While I’m with Megan in Europe, I get to see Loira in England and Marina in France. I can’t wait. It makes me so happy, this trip.

I don’t know if I want to go to grad school. Part of it completely freaks me out and I keep thinking I won’t be good enough. I don’t remember thinking that way at the beginning of my undergrad. Did I? Was I nervous? I can’t remember. I just remember packing up my clothes, hugging my mom goodbye and driving to Jeff and Stacey’s.

I never went back to my parents after that. I had no idea I would never live there again. I moved everything out, my room was taken and everything, and I was gone. Isn’t that weird? I don’t remember visiting often either. I didn’t go back on the weekends. I went with my cousin Bryant to church or skipped church and studied. I guess I was busy. Oh yeah, I was working at Zupas on the weekends too. I was probably exhausted on Sundays and I was worried about gas money and stuff. And I loved hanging out with my cousins.

Anyway, about grad school. I don’t know. I don’t know what I want to do. It sounds long and hard and terrifying. I don’t feel like writing essays anymore. But I know I will want one. I know I want one now, I just don’t want to do it. And part of me just wants to be at home. With a baby, yeah, sometime, but also like I just want to be at home in a bed and never leave and wear sweatpants all day and eat Ben and Jerry’s. I think a lot of it is fear and I’m sick of working hard. I just don’t want to work hard at anything for a while.

Frames

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New art on the wall! This is what I wanted to show you the other day. It thrills me to have something above the bed. Don’t stare at them too long if you’re OCD. I have to go back and straighten them out. You know when you’re so excited about art and you hurry and hammer it in? I need to get out of that habit before I move to an actual house, or whatever.

Which one’s your favorite? Mine is the Iceland one.

Mom gave me these for my birthday. I think she knows I go a little cray cray when my space isn’t pretty.

We’ve lived in this space for two and a half years. Can you believe it?