Sunday, April 19, 2009

One year older and wiser (?), too...

How do birthdays start rolling around so quickly? Didn't I just have one a few months ago? I know I sound like someone who's starting to get old and doesn't like it, but I actually find it kind of fun to celebrate another year of living.

I am officially 26 years old. It's kind of funny, because life isn't at all like I would have expected at this point. It's better! I don't know what I expected out of my mid-twenties, but I'm enjoying myself quite nicely.

Things I've learned (or re-learned) in the past year of living:
- Patience is a virtue I'll never have enough of.
- It doesn't help things to worry about them incessantly.
- Finally being able to rent a car (at age 25) isn't all it's cracked up to be.
- Letting people walk all over you is no way to get things accomplished.
- Sometimes the hardest thing and the right thing are the same (I stole that one from a song...but a good lesson, nonetheless!)

To celebrate my birthday, all of my friends were fabulous. I probably had five birthday dinners, a few parties, everyone made me treats (even people who barely know me at my new job!) and wrote on my Facebook wall. It was so great to feel loved by everyone, just because it was April 8. On my actual birthday, we went to The Melting Pot. That was a fun experience, especially since I'd never been before. SO much food!

One of the things that's interesting about my birthday is that it's the same day as my mom's. She always said I was her favorite birthday present (except for a few years while I was a teenager...ha!). I used to hate that I had to share my special day, but now it's kind of cool for everyone to remember that it's my birthday, too (because who forgets their own mother's birthday?).

This year came with a big surprise: a new GPS from my family! I was feeling so lost (literally!) without it, but now I have that little contraption back, it makes me happy. :) My dad was so hilarious about it. He kept taunting me that my gift was coming in the mail, and then when I finally opened it, I was ecstatic! Back when my Christmas GPS was stolen, I was so upset that I'd lost my gift, and I think my dad understood that. Now I'm especially careful about keeping my car locked so history doesn't repeat itself.

I had some of my friends come over last Friday for a birthday party. It was going to be up the canyon, complete with campfire and dutch oven cobbler, but Mother Nature didn't think that was a good idea. A whole bunch of snow fell, so we had to relocate. But we still had a lot of fun playing Rock Band and watching random YouTube videos, not to mention singing Under the Sea, blues-style (thanks, James). Rachel even made a cake...see it for yourself!

All in all, a great birthday. Thanks to everyone who made it so fantastic! Here's to making 26 a fun year.

It's hard for me to say I'm...thankful.

**WARNING: This post is going to be a bit philosophical, just a peek into some of my random musings as of late...**

Lately I've had a lot of reasons to be grateful. I have been blessed in so many ways, some of which I really don't understand. I think it's human nature, though, to feel undeserving of good friends, family, and everything else that abounds. What have I done to warrant all that I've received? The problem is that I am horrible at saying a good ol' humble thank you. I feel as though I have to reciprocate equally or better for my appreciativeness to be felt. And there's the rub.

Have you ever gotten a compliment, just to say, "Oh no, I'm not that great. I'm just li'l ol' me!" "I'm not that pretty..." "I don't have that much talent." These phrases are common occurrences in my repertoire of responses. I don't know why I feel like I have to downplay a talent or ambition of mine so I can *seem* humble. Why shouldn't I thank the person who has so graciously bestowed praise?

I guess part of my problem is that I feel like I have to return the favor anytime I have received something; it's as if I'm indebted to the person until I have found a way to let them know I appreciate them. From what I've heard, there are a lot of girls who feel a need to act the same way. It's like I feel I'm not good enough to warrant gifts or praise. For some reason, that cultivates a need in me to make up for a "good deed" deficit. So does this mean we're in a never-ending run-around of compliments and favors out of feelings of duty? I would think we're not doing anyone any favors if we only do it to rid ourselves of moral obligation. Wouldn't you say that a true gift is given straight from the heart (as cliche and cheesy as that may seem...)?

And so my resolve: accept gifts and compliments with a sincere 'thank you.' I am going to try to look for ways to more genuinely reach out and show my appreciation instead of feeling sucked into a vortex of just making sure the ball isn't in my court, gift-wise. I know that's the way I would want other people to receive my offerings of compliments or gifts. I guess gratitude doesn't need to be a huge showy display of affirmation or a contest to one-up each other as far as appreciation goes.

Alright...I'll hop down from this soap box for now and return you to your regularly scheduled programming of silly things I see and experience. :)

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Three chords and the truth

I have callouses. Only on my left hand, though. I guess that's what happens when you're a guitar player....or if you're like me, if you pretend to be a guitar player. I just got done with a guitar class I took through the continuing education department at UVU. It was eight weeks of me trying to squeeze in a few minutes of practice each day (and usually failing by sheer laziness or forgetfulness...) so I could learn to pick out a few scales and tunes.

On the last day of class, the teacher asked us to come perform in front of everyone else, something that we were very comfortable playing. All of the other students picked their way through folk songs...I rocked it with the G scale. Wow...I'm awesome. Hopefully I can be a little more self-starting and figure some more things out on my own.

I did learn a few cool things I probably wouldn't have been able to do myself. Tablature? It didn't make a lick of sense to me...but now, I can fiddle my way around the frets and get something that sounds vaguely like music to come out. I mean, it's no Jimi Hendrix or Eric Clapton...but I've got a good base I can work with. Just don't ask anyone who's had to sit through my meanderings...

Bob Dylan said, "All you need are three chords and the truth." I've got the three chords. Now if I could wrangle up some truth...


I've been remiss in posting pictures of the wedding cake Rachel and I made. So I give to you--after five days, eleven batches of cake (nine of them being made from scratch), two huge bowls of frosting, and six balls of fondant--the wedding cake.