Monday, March 30, 2009

Confession #2

Which would you choose?

I so enjoyed the relief that I felt after last week's confession about my stuffed animals :), that I decided to continue the trend. Here it goes...

If someone were to give me the choice between chocolate cake and a bowl of fresh fruit, I'd pick the fruit.

I know, some people might say that my preference is an insult to womanhood, America, humanity, or all three, but the truth is simple: I just LOVE fruit.

Maybe it's because I grew up in the central valley of California, which arguably has some of the best fruit on the planet. Maybe it's because my Mom cut back significantly on my sugar intake after I got 15 cavities in one trip to the dentist (sorry, Mom). But maybe it's just because fruit is SOOOOO good. I mean, how can you go wrong with fruit? It's sweet, juicy, and it doesn't make you sick afterward. It's natural goodness!

I will say, however, that not all fruit is created equal. I'm partial to strawberries, pineapple, and nectarines (white ones, especially). Though, when it comes down to it, as long as it's ripe and fresh, I'm a happy camper. I still miss being home for all the farmer's markets in the summertime. One time, I even smuggled a half flat of strawberries back on the plane in my carry on luggage.

So, fruit, thank you for bringing so much joy to my life for the last 24 years. I look forward to many more days of enjoying your presence in my life! :)

P.S. - Mom, I'm sorry about that day that you bought strawberries from the roadside stand and I screamed until you gave me one to eat in my car seat. I just really like them, and they're so good when they're still warm from the sun.

Thursday, March 26, 2009


When I was little I had an addiction to stuffed animals. I had 30-40 (maybe more) that I kept in the corner of my room, arranged carefully. Then, there were the "special" ones that actually sat on my bed--about 15 that I lined up from tallest to smallest. Yes, I was a somewhat overly organized child. I even had a birthday party one year where my best friend and I brought out all of our teddy bears (which was quite a passel) and pretended like they were guests, too.

Although I have outgrown most of my stuffed animals, I still keep two that I've had since before I can remember. My siblings and friends tease me about my bear and rabbit (yes, the brown one is a bear, not a mole): Snuffy and Matilda.

I know they are old, worn, dirty, and altogether not terribly nice looking. Still, they retain a place of prominence on my bed and I sleep with them every night. Call it habit; call it a security blanket of sorts; I just really like them. They're cute, snuggly, and comfortable. I have held them many times to cry, have thrown them at siblings who were being annoying, and have been comforted after a nightmare by their presence. I know they are simple and childish, and I'm okay with that.

I'm sure the day will come that I do not snuggle with them every night. But, I hope that someday I'll be able to hand Snuffy to my son who just had a nightmare, or I'll make Matilda's ears wiggle for my daughter like my brother always did for me when I was sad.

It's amazing how the simple things in life bring us joy.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

A tribute...

As one of my favorite songs from the musical Wicked says,

"I've heard it said that people come into our lives for a reason, bringing something we must learn, and we are led to those who help us most to grow if we let them, and we help them in return..."
This post is dedicated to one of those people in my life:

This weekend, I had the opportunity to go to California to see my roommate, Katie, marry the man of her dreams. Roommate...that word doesn't even begin to describe what Katie means to me.

Katie and I grew up in the same home town, but we managed to avoid becoming friends with each other until we moved to BYU for college and ended up on the same floor of the dorms. Since then, we have often we have often joked that it took moving a thousand miles for us to become best friends.

I spent the majority of my college years goofing around with Katie, her twin (Kristy), and our other best friend/roommate (Holly). These girls are responsible for so much of the person that I am today. They helped me get out of my comfort zone, talked me through the hard times, celebrated the good times, made blanket forts and bread with me, and engaged in a host of other random activities. They were constant examples to me of the kind of person I wanted to be, and we encouraged each other to improve ourselves.

After Holly and Kristy got married in 2007, Katie and I developed a deeper bond as friends. For the last year and a half, I have shared my room and my life with this girl. I have learned from her and simply enjoyed having adventures with her. Katie is dedicated to her work, the gospel of Jesus Christ, and her family. She is level headed and logical. She doesn't worry about things that don't matter. She does what needs to be done and takes a matter-of-fact approach to life. She is passionate about making people feel loved and has no desire to build herself up in front of other people. She is happy to serve quietly in the background. For all of these things, and many more, I admire her.

Now, as she embarks on this new adventure of marriage, I have every confidence that she will employ these same characteristics to have a happy home for many years to come. I am grateful that she has found a man to complement her in every way. They are not perfect, but they are perfect for each other.

May every happiness be yours, Katie. I think you're off to a good start...

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The Life Preserver Analogy...

This is a little piece I wrote a couple years ago on a Sunday afternoon when I was feeling rather pensive. I came upon it again as I was looking through some old files on my computer.


Life is like the ocean; I have heard this so many times. Each person floats in the sea, trying to stay above water, but sometimes the waves become too much and they start to drag me down. I know that it is good to be in the water, that I am gaining experience, but sometimes I don’t want it to be so hard.

It seems that as soon as I get comfortable with the whole concept of swimming, the wind kicks up and the water gets really choppy. I begin to struggle against the waves and, after a few minutes, I realize how tired I am getting. As my leg muscles begin to burn and I have swallowed enough sea water that I feel like I could sink any second, I finally yell out to the ship for help. I begin to look at the waves, watching them get larger and larger, sweeping over me faster and faster, and I wonder if anyone on the ship is even listening to my cry for help.

All of the sudden—WHAM! I am blind-sided by some hard object that hits me in the side of the head. As I turn to look in the direction from which the assault came, I see a man standing on the deck of the ship holding the end of a rope, to which is attached the source of the lump on my head—a life preserver.

“What are you doing?!” I yell in anger, looking down at the now harmless floating circle. “Are you trying to kill me?” During these frustrating times I sometimes don’t recognize that what I see as another obstacle is actually a tool.

But the man on the ship, ever patient, explains, “My intention was to help you. If you had been looking this way, you would have seen the life preserver and could have grabbed onto it. Instead, your eyes were fixed on the waves right in front of you, so it hit you.”

“Why didn’t you warn me?” I retort. I refuse to believe that the bruise from the life preserver is my own fault.

“I did call to you,” he responds calmly. “But you were too busy screaming to listen. Look around you. Even now, the life preserver is floating away from you because you’re screaming at me instead of grabbing on. Stop trying to come up with your own solution to the problem. The answer is sitting right in front of you. Accept the help that is offered. Grab the life preserver and let me pull you to the boat instead of focusing on trying to overpower the waves by yourself.”

Finally, it all makes sense. I realize that the fault is mine. Sometimes this process takes longer than other times. Sometimes the Lord has to throw another life preserver, sometimes he waits patiently for longer than he should have to, but sometimes I get it right and grab onto the life preserver on its way down into the water. When I catch a glimpse of the world from the Lord’s perspective I can see how my trials are actually tools to help me develop qualities that will enable me to get back to my Heavenly Father.

If we keep our gaze focused on the Lord, we will recognize a life preserver when it is thrown to us, rather than focusing on our trials and failing to see help when it is offered. Then, as the Israelites of old, we may truly “look and live.”

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Gotta Dance!

I love to dance. It's been in my blood since I was a little girl pretending to be a ballerina. I don't get to dance a lot these days, but I still LOVE watching people who are really good.

Last night I went down to BYU for the National DanceSport Championships. One word: AMAZING. So amazing, in fact, that I actually got choked up as I watched the first few numbers perform (I know I'm a nerd). It was so fun to be back there and sense the excitement and adrenaline of performing that fills the Marriott Center.

In the spirit of appreciating great dancing, I am posting a link to the most creative and impressive cabaret routine I have ever seen. It was at BYU two years ago, and the couple won the competition after receiving a standing ovation. If you don't know what cabaret is, it's the equivalent of ice skating without the skates, complete with crazy lifts and spins. (P.S.--If you do go to watch the video, there is a "part two" that has the ending. It's cut off in the first one, but you have to watch it because he does the COOLEST lift where he catches her in a chair!) ENJOY!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Reasons why the English language is so hard to learn:

I spend many hours each day trying to convince teenagers that it is important that they understand how to use language effectively. One of their most common arguments is..."But, Miss Wright, English doesn't even make SENSE!" I try to explain to them the origins of words in Greek and Latin roots as well as the influence of various other languages on our everyday speech, but many still maintain that it's all just a sick joke aimed at making people miserable as they try to figure out the exceptions to the "i before e" rule.

And, you know what, they have a point. Don't tell them that I admitted it, but English is a weird language sometimes. Still, it is wonderful how many different experiences and feelings can be expressed by the smörgåsbord of words we have at our disposal each day!

A friend emailed the following to me today, and I got a kick out of the contradiction that is the English language and the creativity that ensues because of it. Enjoy!

1) The bandage was wound around the wound.

2) The farm was used to produce produce.

3) The dump was so full that it had to refuse more refuse.

4) We must polish the Polish furniture.

5) He could lead if he would get the lead out.

6) The soldier decided to desert his dessert in the desert.

7) Since there is no time like the present, he thought it was time to present the present.

8) A bass was painted on the head of the bass drum.

9) When shot at, the dove dove into the bushes.

10) I did not object to the object.

11) The insurance was invalid for the invalid.

12) There was a row among the oarsmen about how to row.

13)They were too close to the door to close it.

14) The buck does funny things when the does are present.

15) A seamstress and a sewer fell down into a sewer line.

16) To help with planting, the farmer taught his sow to sow.

17) The wind was too strong to wind the sail.

18) After a number of injections, my jaw got number.

19) Upon seeing the tear in the painting, I shed a tear.

20) I had to subject the subject to a series of tests.

There is no egg in eggplant nor ham in hamburger: neither an apple nor pine in pineapple. English muffins weren't invented in England or French fries in France. Sweetmeats are candies while sweetbreads, which aren't sweet, are meat.

Quicksand works slowly, boxing rings are square and a guinea pig is neither from guine nor is it a pig. And why is it that writers write but fingers don't fing, grocers don't groce and hammers don't ham? If the plural of tooth is teeth, why isn't the plural of booth beeth?

One goose, 2 geese. So one moose, 2 meese? Doesn't is seem crazy that you can make amends but not one amend. If you have a bunch of odds and ends and you get rid of all but one of them, what do you call it? Is it an odd or an end? If teachers taught, why didn't preachers praught? If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat? In what language do people recite at a play and play at a recital? Ship by truck and send cargo by ship? Have noses that run and feet that smell? How can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same, while a wise man and a wise guy are opposites?

You have to marvel at the unique lunacy of a language in which your house can burn up as it burns down, in which you fill in a form by filling it out and in which, an alarm goes off by going on. English was invented by people, not computers, and it reflects the creativity of the human race, which, of course, is not a race at all. That is why, when the stars are out, they are visible, but when the lights are out, they are invisible.

DIDDO, I say!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

I Love to See the Temple

Last weekend, I had the opportunity to attend the open house for the Draper, Utah temple. In my faith, temples are an essential part of God's plan for his children. In these sacred buildings, members are taught about God's plan and are able to make covenants that enable us to return to our father in Heaven after this life. It is where families are sealed as eternal units that can be together forever, literally.

Getting to walk through a brand new temple was a beautiful experience, not only because of the gorgeous architecture and craftsmanship, but also because of the peace that settled upon the place. I am so grateful for a haven from the craziness of the world. It invigorates me and excites me for the possibilities of the eternities. If you ever have the chance to visit a temple prior to its dedication and walk through all the rooms, I highly suggest that you take advantage of the opportunity. It is a powerful place with a powerful message.

FYI - If you don't live in Utah and can't get to the open house, KSL published some great pictures of both the interior and exterior of the temple (all with the authorization of the church). You can see them HERE.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Seventh Grade Humor

As an English teacher, I think I see more of my students' personalities than a lot of their other teachers see because so much of their personalities come out in their writing. Sometimes, they bring me to tears with the tough things they've dealt with in their lives; sometimes they make me awestruck with their profound thoughts; sometimes they just make me laugh hysterically at their RANDOM humor.

For example, when we talk about tone/voice in writing, I often use a journal prompt where I give them a basic dialogue in a scene and I ask them to choose HOW the characters are interacting with each other, to fill in the gaps and really paint an image in the reader's mind. One day, under this premise, I asked my students to imagine that Liz and Jake were talking in the library. Here is what one student came up with:

Liz was reading in the library when she saw Jake walking toward her. She tried not to make eye contact, but she couldn’t resist looking at him. Jake sat down and said, “Hey, Liz, will you—“
Liz interrupted. “Yes, I will go out with you. Thanks.”
Jake said, “I was just going to ask where the fiction section is, but sure I’ll go out with you.”
Liz was so happy, she threw up all over Jake. Jake said, “You’re cute, but you’re too disgusting for me. Our date is off.”
Liz threw up again.

I had to do a serious double take after I read that one! Really? Who thinks of things like that? Seventh grade boys, that's who. This is my life, and I love it. It may be disgusting at times, but at least I go home laughing. :)

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

What is Success?

To laugh often and much;
To win the respect of intelligent people
And the affection of children;
To earn the appreciation of honest critics
To appreciate beauty;
And endure the betrayal of false friends;
To find the best in others;
To leave the world a bit better, whether by
A healthy child, a garden patch
Or a redeemed social condition;
To know even one life has breathed
Easier because you have lived;
This is to have succeeded.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Sunday, March 1, 2009


I had an interesting experience today: I was rebuked by myself. Let me explain. I was looking over some old journal entries from 2006 and was amazed as I read them by the purpose that I saw in each situation. 2006 was a difficult year because I had to make a lot of decisions about my life and career. Decisions and I are like oil and water in a lot of ways--we don't go together very well. I worry and worry that I might make the wrong decision and disappoint someone. At that time, my life was not turning out as I had expected, and I didn't want to have to make decisions that redefined my goals and dreams. But, I did. I couldn't escape reality, couldn't change the situation, so I made decisions and I survived the ordeal. I would even say now that I thrived because of what it taught me.

As I looked back at those entries, today, I saw evidence time and again that there is purpose in everything that we do in life. There is a plan, and as I keep living to the best of my ability, the plan will make sense in due time, piece by piece. I think it's easy to forget the grand scheme of things and to get bogged down by our immediate difficulties. We forget what a wonder gift life is and how glorious it is to be able to have such a unique experience here.

As I was reminded of these wonderful truths today, I felt rebuked for being frustrated lately with my own lack of understanding. I am happy to report, however, that I now know there is a light at the end of the tunnel, and when the Lord closes a door, he DOES open a window. I still don't have answers, but I know they will come to light in due time.

How grateful I am for his plan. And I can't wait to understand the details of it someday. :)