Archive for the Church Category

i don’t know what to say, really.

Posted in Church, faith is action, me, politics on November 4, 2008 by drbolte

in case you had totally missed it, i am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

that’s important for what i’m about to blog.

please watch this, which will be running in select markets in california, including airings on MSNBC and CNN:

this is not the first time, nor will it be the last time, that the church is skewered or used as a joke, a hiss, a byword.  if you don’t know this, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints DOES NOT TELL ITS MEMBERS HOW TO VOTE.  the Church does not use membership lists to campaign for Church-chosen candidates. it does not endorse candidates, even the high profile Mormon ones.  members serve faithfully in both parties, embracing a wide spectrum of political philosophies. the extent, in my long years of membership, of political discussion by Church leaders is a plea for members to prayerfully consider their civic responsibility and to vote in line with their conscience.

what members choose to support, monetarily or with their time, is entirely up to them. i think that, if you really ask yourself whether or not this has been true in your experience–that the Mormons that you know are bigoted, unkind, manipulative ogres who are ready to invade your home so that they can advance their own agenda–you would see that it simply isn’t true.

i could tell you how i felt when i saw this, how my immediate thought was that i worry for the missionaries in california who are contacting today, how i got angry.  i could talk about how during most of the last half of my three mile walk this morning, after voting, i thought about blogging this and what i would say.  i could go on and on about how if this was any other religious group a whole host of groups dedicated to protecting civil rights would be up in arms, railing about the unfairness and discrimination inherent in such a move.  bless them, the catholic conference has done just that.

where is everyone else?  when will we all have the courage to stand up for the other people, those that don’t necessarily share our views but who are being unfairly victimized?  have we not learned our lesson, that when we don’t stand up bad things happen?

i can’t wait for tomorrow, but i fear the fallout of such a divisive, vicious campaign.

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accountability check.

Posted in Church, dissertation, domestic goddess, gators, ghetto life, i am not a gym rat, Life, shopping, sigh, sports, teaching, the internets, the joys of living in Florida on August 4, 2008 by drbolte

well, hi there.

how in the sweet heck are you?  no, really.  how ARE you?  whatcha been doin’ with yourself?  a little bit of reading, like me? maybe some outdoor fun?  some travel, some moving, some contemplating the mysteries of the universe?

yeah, me too.

exhausting isn’t it?

well, it’s the beginning of the longest week of my life.  i have two exams to write, 30+ six to seven page papers to grade, and 10+ two page papers to grade all by thursday.  then i have 30+ exams to grade, and 30+ grades to calculate by monday.

and i don’t do work on sunday.

and i have plans on friday night.

and i have other things to do besides just that, like you know still exist on the planet and feed my face and work out and stuff and who has time for all of this?

my planner tells me that right now i should be doing something other than blogging, but i sort of want to say mean things to my planner (inanimate taskmaster that it is, even in its bright blue hibiscus printed glory) so i’m here.

because you know what tomorrow is?

ninety days. ninety days into my 30 in 180 challenge.

HALFWAY.

we are 90 days away from november 4th, which is apparently when my finish date is.

UGGGH.

so, following in the lovely and fabulous footsteps of one of my favorite bloggy gals, brookem, i am being accountable and updating you, my devoted and eager fans, on my progress.  i’ll try to keep it brief.

(the idea of that even made ME laugh.)

here we go:

1. finish a 5K in october for breast cancer in under 45 minutes, whether that means walking or running or a mixture.

october 4th. gainesville.  if you want to join me, let me know.  i’m going to be raising money too, so i’ll keep you updated. i’ve been working to try to get myself to a 15 minute pace walking. i think i’m at about 16-17 now.  we’ll see how it all goes.

2. finish five chapters of the dissertation.

i have two completely finished drafts, one half finished draft, one draft with the research done on half, and that’s it.  i am BEHIND.  teaching kicked my trash and the dissertation had to be shifted to the back burner.  starting monday?  FRONTBURNER STATUS.

3. lose 25 pounds. or two dress sizes.

i am halfway. i have lost about 12 pounds, am now comfortably wearing the shorts i bought a size too small ages ago that i thought i’d take back but never did, and have lost about nine inches.

4. resist the impulse to dye my hair again. it needs a break–or it really will break. also, figure out if this natural curl thing is something i can actually work to my benefit.

success.  i have no desire to dye it at all now.

5. exercise at least four times a week. no matter what.

you all perhaps unfortunately know that i do this because i talk about it ad nauseum. i think the only time i haven’t met this goal was when i had a fever.

6. go to the beach four times. don’t get burned.

i’ve gone twice. i don’t know if i’ll go again. i have no real desire anymore.  and i’m too busy. and gas is EXPENSIVE. so i might get a big fat fail on this one.

7. try every luna bar i can, including the luna sunrise ones, even if i have to order them online.

sigh.  i’m getting there.  i’ve tried nine of fifteen, and i probably won’t try two of them.

8. finish my hecka big crossstitch project.

haven’t worked on it at all.  i might switch this to making a baby quilt for a friend who’s having a baby. the principle’s the same, but the task would be different. i don’t know.

9. don’t give up. but keep to the schedule. (and this doesn’t make any sense to you for a reason. sorry.)

haven’t given up.  when circumstances didn’t conspire against me, i’ve stuck to the schedule.  so basically…yes.  i’ve done this and will continue to do it.

10. present a paper at a conference.

second to last weekend in october in detroit. i gotta make those reservations…

11. submit at least two things for publication that are related to my field.

done one. totally and harshly rejected.  oh well.

12. get my eyes checked. buy new glasses that are supersassy, young but professional, and actually wear them.

not yet.

13. look for a great interview suit. don’t buy one until it makes me feel amazing and beautiful and like i can take over the world when i’m in it.

not yet. probably not until late october or early november.

14. go to the doctor. it’s been too long.

totally avoiding it. i hate doctors.

15. be vigilant about visiting teaching. pray to have the fire to do it.

meh. i’ve tried more.  but i still need to be better.

16. feed the missionaries once a month–even if it is inconvenient and even if they are a little bit lame.

i was awesomely and totally doing this, and then they changed their rules and they can’t anymore. i may still make them food every month. i haven’t decided.

17. eat vegetables or fruit at least twice a day. in general, make them much more a part of my diet.

yup.

18. write in my journal once a month. the blog’s not the same thing.

i missed june, but wrote twice in july.  i win.

19. flirt. shamelessly. at every opportunity.

yeah, i’m doing this. especially lately. i don’t know what’s wrong with me.

20. read anna karenina. finally. this time for real.

haven’t even started.  sigh.

21. experiment with a recipe to make it healthier–maybe the muffin recipe. try a new recipe out of my cookbook.

made pot roast out of my cookbook.  experiment with recipes all the time.  it’s what i do now.

22. apply for jobs. a lot of jobs. be organized about it. be on top of it. and be FEARLESS.

not time yet. i’m trying to amp myself up to be fearless, though, instead of constantly wanting to vomit at the prospect of the job search. remember when i was all zen about it?

23. be a better friend. just in general. to most of my friends.

i’m trying.

24. keep paying off the credit card at the end of every month. PAY DOWN THE DEBT.

well, considering i didn’t have an income for the first half of the summer, i think i’m doing pretty well.  i could do better.

25. reread the book of mormon. three pages a day will get it done. keep a study journal. be serious about study, not just reading.

i haven’t done the study journal thing, but i have been trying to keep up with the book of mormon reading.  i am behind, though. there are 530 pages and i am on 248.  ack.

26. be an amazing gator football fan. watch as many games as i can. go to as many as i can.

i have season tickets. i am in charge of my church group’s football block. i’m a little bit in love with tim tebow and percy harvin. i’m not really sure what else i can do.

27. have an awesome and outrageous halloween costume. it’s my last one here. make it count.

i have an idea. it’s the execution that could be problematic.

28. buy and wear cute shoes that don’t kill my feet.

yup.

29. invest in cute jewelry. and quality makeup. and yummy lipgloss. and more music (or find more people willing to make me mixes…).

done makeup, lipgloss, and music.  need jewelry, actually pretty desperately.

30. keep learning to live within my means. there’s a way to do it all. and if there’s not…choose wisely.

i am trying.

ninety more days, y’all.  crazytown.  i’ll keep working on it.  what are your goals for the next ninety days?

now only lasts for one second.

Posted in Church, etcetera, faith is action, friends, life lesson number 498, me, perfect brightness of hope on July 27, 2008 by drbolte

before i begin, i feel like i need to say something about the last post. i realize that it may have seemed like i actually saw this kid doing something disgusting. i really didn’t. i just saw him peering out of the door.  should i have realized what was going on? probably. but you have to understand that when i am working out, i am thinking about maybe five things, all somehow related to keeping my feet moving and my ipod on.  i don’t contemplate the cosmos or really even think about life. i get into a mindless zone, and it’s lovely.  so…should i have immediately figured out what was going on? probably.  but i didn’t.  and, to be fair, maybe that kid thought i did see. and if he did…then i can sort of understand his surprise.  because wouldn’t you be surprised if somebody was okay with that?  

yeah me too.

now…on to other things.

time.

it’s moving faster lately. 

i don’t know if you’ve noticed.  sometimes i have moments when i stop and wonder:  what have i done with the last million minutes of my life? it seems so grand, that number, doesn’t it?  but it’s not. it’s just about two years.  so where were you ’round about this time two years ago?  who were you?  what were your goals?

did you let life happen to you or did you do something about it?

i feel like today’s lesson, in more ways that one, was about making things happen, not waiting for them to happen.  today in church we talked about such things–about the fact that you don’t change because an event happens.  nobody walks out of their wedding, for example, a completely different person.  do you adapt to circumstances? sure.  but if you want to be a different kind of person, nothing’s going to do that for you except effort on your part.

no quick fixes here in the real world.  sort of sucks, doesn’t it?

but then again it doesn’t, because when you do take your life in your hands and make something out of it, when you have those moments when you realize that SWEET MOSES WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO THE SUMMER AND WHAT DO I HAVE TO SHOW FOR IT?, you can look around and count.

oh.  i did that.

oh. i became that.

oh. i finished that.

oh.  i conquered that.

oh. that weakness is now a strength.

or you can have tiny moments when you realize that, despite what you thought you’d do or what you most certainly would have done before, you’re making decisions that reflect how different you really are. 

those are cool.

i’ve sort of had encounters with people who aren’t doing this over the past week or so–people who react rather than act.  i worry about them. life is hard.  life is long–too long to worry about the stuff that doesn’t matter–and short–too short to wait around for it to come to you and deliver, in a wrapped package, all of the things that you want to do and be.  those are both true, though they may seem contradictory.  and i worry about people who seem to be waiting around for their life to take flight.

i have learned a few things in my years of hard knocks.  life has been good and kind to me, for sure, but it has polished and refined me something fierce.  what are you waiting for?, i want to ask to those people.

to be brave? you can only gain courage by taking scary steps.

to be strong? you can only be strong by admitting you’re weak or frightened and still stepping further than you think you can.

to endure? you can only endure by moving forward. endurance is not a standing still sport.

to be happy?  happiness is never going to just find you and hang out perpetually. happiness is a condition created by everyday action. 

for people to respect you?  stand up for yourself with respect for them.  say what you mean.  move forward with confidence.  

i wish, so much, that people could just learn from what i’ve been through.  i had a conversation tonight about this with someone who reminds me very much of myself a few years ago.  and i just so desperately, desperately, desperately want to save her from the hard stuff. i want her to stand up for herself, to make choices with confidence, to stop waiting.  it doesn’t work that way, i know.  i think i must now feel a wee bit of what my mom felt when she would plead with me to learn from her mistakes and make my own instead of just repeating hers again and again.  

so what have i learned from all of this? action is my apparently default problem-solving mechanism and my battle plan for life.

when something tough is presented to me, i do something. it may have nothing whatsoever to do with that problem right there in front of me, but it’s got something to do with something, and i’m moving. i can’t stand still. and eventually, to allude to a really cool quote that’s truer than i think people realize, i live my way into the answers to all of my questions.  

eventually.

but i’ll be living and moving and trying and failing and growing and changing in the meantime.  

and in the last million minutes, i like where that road has taken me.

30 in 180.

Posted in blogging, books are bliss, Church, dissertation, domestic goddess, faith is action, friends, gators, ghetto life, i hate vegetables, Life, me, mirror mirror on the wall, School, someday I'll be a real middle class girl, sports, the internets, the joys of living in Florida, The Single Life, wish i may wish i might, you want me to walk HOW far? with tags on May 20, 2008 by drbolte

if you frequent copper boom, you know of the 101 in 1001.

(…and not to seem like a broken record, but you should be. right now. because girlfriend needs some costume help and i am of the atrocious when it comes to this area, so go help her out. seriously. i’m not important. click on it. then come back. not going anywhere.)

if you’ve been around here for very long, you know that i have a life list. it’s at 27. i haven’t looked it in a while. it’s sort of sad. well, i’ve been thinking lately (and after just reading lindzML’s list again, which is just about the perfect combination of daunting and fun) that i need to really set some goals for myself. i do better when i have a list of things that i want to check off.

so, since i don’t have 1001 days left here, nor can i even conceive of much beyond about october or early november because SO.MUCH.WILL.BE.HAPPENING!, i shortened my list and made a 30 in 180.

and since i’m all about the accountability, here we go. i’ll probably put it off to the side, too, because i really am going all single white female on lindz, apparently, but more because it will be like HEY! GET OFF YOUR BUTT AND GO RUNNING! or HEY! GO SMASH SOME STUFF AND MAKE A MOSAIC! DO IT!

you know. motivation.

so…the 30 things i’d like to accomplish in the next 180 days:

1. run for three miles straight. without dying and/or stopping.

2. finish five chapters of the dissertation.

3. lose 25 pounds. or two dress sizes. (and before you yell…trust me, i do have this much to lose. it’s a pound a week. and i can do it. i just have to really do it.)

4. resist the impulse to dye my hair again. it needs a break–or it really will break. also, figure out if this natural curl thing is something i can actually work to my benefit.

5. exercise at least four times a week. no matter what.

6. go to the beach four times. don’t get burned.

7. make a mosaic table for the my living room.

8. finish my hecka big crossstitch project.

9. don’t give up. but keep to the schedule. (and this doesn’t make any sense to you for a reason. sorry.)

10. present a paper at a conference.

11. submit at least two things for publication that are related to my field.

12. get my eyes checked. buy new glasses that are supersassy, young but professional, and actually wear them.

13. look for a great interview suit. don’t buy one until it makes me feel amazing and beautiful and like i can take over the world when i’m in it.

14. go to the doctor. it’s been too long.

15. be vigilant about visiting teaching. pray to have the fire to do it.

16. feed the missionaries once a month–even if it is inconvenient and even if they are a little bit lame.

17. eat vegetables or fruit at least twice a day. in general, make them much more a part of my diet.

18. write in my journal once a month. the blog’s not the same thing.

19. flirt. shamelessly. at every opportunity.

20. read anna karenina. finally. this time for real.

21. experiment with a recipe to make it healthier–maybe the muffin recipe. try a new recipe out of my cookbook.

22. apply for jobs. a lot of jobs. be organized about it. be on top of it. and be FEARLESS.

23. be a better friend. just in general. to most of my friends.

24. keep paying off the credit card at the end of every month. PAY DOWN THE DEBT.

25. reread the book of mormon. three pages a day will get it done. keep a study journal. be serious about study, not just reading.

26. be an amazing gator football fan. watch as many games as i can. go to as many as i can.

27. have an awesome and outrageous halloween costume. it’s my last one here. make it count.

28. buy and wear cute shoes that don’t kill my feet.

29. invest in cute jewelry. and quality makeup. and yummy lipgloss. and more music (or find more people willing to make me mixes…).

30. keep learning to live within my means. there’s a way to do it all. and if there’s not…choose wisely.

so that’s that. comment if you wish, especially if you have ideas for how to accomplish any of these. but if you want to yell at me because you think i’m crazy, could you…not?

kthanksbye.

still and small is hard to hear.

Posted in Church, etcetera, faith is action, going quietly mad, i love youtube--so sue me, Life, perfect brightness of hope, Uncategorized on May 11, 2008 by drbolte

i realized towards the end of last week that i’m having what amounts to an internal tug of war between my head and my gut, my logic versus my instinct.

now some of you who read me often (hey! thanks! i redheart you!) might think “waaaaiiiit a minute. didn’t you just write about the importance of NOT following your instincts?” let me clarify for you. when i speak of gut/instinct in this context, i’m talking about that little voice, the one that defies logic.

regardless of your spiritual affiliation, i think this is a pretty standard concept–that we all have that gut instinct, whether you call it women’s intuition or fate or whatever, that guides us to do good things. sometimes those are scary things, things that seem impossible to achieve, but they are always things that encourage us to grow and to progress, to become the thing that we are destined to become, to be bigger and better and grader than we can imagine, in our fininite minds, we can be. it’s the Spirit. it’s there, everpresent when i’m doing what i’m supposed to be doing, and it leads me when i let it.

but here’s the thing.

it’s awfully quiet.

i came upon this scripture randomly today during church when i’d already been thinking about this topic for a little while. i think it very clearly explains how the Spirit works. it’s in 1 Kings 19:11-13

11 And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the Lord. And, behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the Lord was not in the earthquake:

12 And after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.

13 And it was so, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out, and stood in the entering in of the cave. And, behold, there came a voice unto him, and said, What doest thou here, Elijah?

it was only Elijah’s knowledge about the nature of the Spirit, about the nature of God’s approach, that allowed him to ignore the booming around him and tune into the quietness of the Spirit. i think this is a really important idea. the Spirit is not in the loud logic of our lives–it’s the small voice that guides us, the gentle whisper of an idea that passes by, and then passes by again, until we listen to it, the urge to call a friend out of the blue, the instinct to be kind rather than catty. for me, sometimes these whispers come in illogical answers to what makes sense on paper.

without getting into too much detail, i have a situation right now in my life that seems to make sense on paper in every way. the numbers add up, if you will, even though it’s not a numbers game. at the beginning, i felt good about it. i had no reason really not to, but beyond that, i felt pretty peaceful about it. now, even though i am being encouraged by other people (including my mom!) to give it a shot, and i want to keep an open mind, i can’t deny how much of that quiet voice is warning against it. even as i write and think about it now, i feel it so clearly. but warning’s not the right word. it’s just very clear: this won’t work. pit of my stomach surety. in this case, to call it my gut instinct would be a topographical as well as a metaphorical description.

but it should work. the logical part of me is battling with that feeling, saying: hey. what’s the harm? go for it. to contrast this logic, the most distinct impression comes: wait. just wait.

waiting doesn’t make any logical sense, though. it really doesn’t. and this isn’t the kind of waiting that is accompanied by indecision or fear. in fact, the waiting is scarier than the moving forward. i’ve never really been a standaround kind of girl.

so you see my dilemma. my logical side, the side that looks at the pro/con list and weighs and measures things, is saying to do one thing. my instinct, what i can only assume is the Spirit since it has never wavered, only gotten stronger after prayer, is saying something entirely different. something that doesn’t make any sense of all.

and i just don’t get it. not that i necessarily need to get it–so much of life is about taking one step into the darkness in faith and moving forward with that faith even when you don’t see the grand expanse ahead of you–but how do you explain to other people who don’t understand?

so i stand inbetween, waiting for a sign about which one is right. that in and of itself frustrates me, because i don’t like hanging out in indecision city. or maybe what i should say is that i don’t like doubting my instincts…and i don’t like it. i think some of it will resolve itself soon, but i don’t like it. i wish i could know for sure. but knowledge isn’t faith, right?

so i’ll be over here having faith, and trying to trust that voice in my heart. and telling my head to stifle it.

and in case none of this made any sense whatsoever to you, i’ll bribe you with this, which i have for some reason not been able to get enough of today. i even made part of it my facebook status–and that’s when you know a song really strikes you. it really has nothing whatsoever to do with anything, lest you begin to read my life in the plotline of rent (good heavens, no drama here), but it’s awesome and it’s youtube and i don’t think you need any more than that.

happy sunday, all.

if i had a title, it wouldn’t all seem a muddled mess.

Posted in Church, etcetera, faith is action, life lesson number 498, wish i may wish i might on April 20, 2008 by drbolte

i understand in my head that sometimes doing what’s right is not always doing what you want to do.

it’s the foundational principle that i live my life on. it’s the crux of my testimony, of my faith–the wise exercising of my agency. i try very hard to do this well, to make the choices that will get me closer to becoming the person that i want to be–i’m trying to live so that the self-centered natural part of me submits to the nobler spiritual part of me, to my Father’s will.

i believe that it would be impossible for me to understand life if all it involved was following one instinctive urge after another, doing whatever i wanted because i wanted it. imagine that for a moment. there would be no order, only chaos. no kindness, only hedonism. no love, only lust or at best a self-interested investment in someone else. there would be no times when you have to lay what you want on the altar of what is best in order to do what you know is right.

i am not always good at this. sometimes i eat cookies for dinner and say things that i shouldn’t say. sometimes i’m too selfish to see that i am being unkind because i’m more interested in making someone feel bad than i am in being the bigger person. sometimes i choose to fritter away my time rather than do something meaningful with it. sometimes i don’t open my eyes to the very real opportunities i have to be generous and open-hearted to people who probably need it far more than i know.

some decisions just aren’t that difficult for me anymore. i made them a long time ago, and every time i choose again to not do it–or to do something good–the results, how i feel, and everything about how it shapes my life confirms that those decisions are right.

sometimes, though, the decision is between something really great and something truly wonderful. when the truly wonderful trumps the really great, but your heart wants the really great nonetheless, that’s when things get a bit more difficult. i know what needs to be done. i’ll do the thing that results in the truly wonderful, and i’ll try to do it with joy. sacrifice is important. i get it.

but sometimes sacrifice sucks.

and that’s how i’m feeling right now.

lifting weight.

Posted in Church, disney princesses got nothin' on me, faith is action, roommates on March 6, 2008 by drbolte

i began to write this post explaining what we did tonight, my roommates and i, and how much it meant to me.

i realized, in the process, that the reason i wanted to write about it wasn’t because of what we did–and when i tried to explain it, it seemed to call attention to the act and not the effect, which was not at all my intent–but how it affected me.

let me just say that i just spent one of the most fun nights of recent memory with my roommates in a Publix, doing some things for some people who really deserve it.  these are people who spend all day every day serving other people–and tonight, it felt like we got to answer a prayer.  i don’t know whose prayer it was, but it was definitely someone’s fervent prayer.

i think it might have been mine.

you see, when i was running down the aisle of publix trying to get to the checkstand more quickly and laughing with my roommates about what kind of syrup to buy, all of the weight and stress and emptiness that i’ve been feeling for the past week or two lifted off of me.

laughter. fun. silliness.  forgetting myself in doing something for someone else.

i came home feeling lighter and better and brighter.

that’s pretty much the best blessing i could ask for.

i am grateful for it.