Archive for the Church Category

truth and consequences

Posted in Church, Life, me, teaching, you have to be a chick to understand on December 15, 2007 by drbolte

i failed a student this semester.

and i didn’t wrestle with it much at all.

the student didn’t fulfill the expectations of the semester–2/3 of the work that was to be turned in never was submitted during the semester and in what i can only assume was some kind of hail mary pass to attempt a passing grade, one-third of that missing work was turned in literally as i was finishing grades.

so i didn’t accept it.

i felt a little bit badly about that but it seemed appropriate.  i mean, if you don’t do the work, why should you benefit as i you did? if you make a choice, whether intentional and well-considered or one of a refusal to act and deal, there are consequences for that choice.

we all face them.  in some ways, i think the greatest courage we can have is in the facing of those consequences with honesty. can i escape certain realities? that i prefer ice cream to brussel sprouts and that my bigger-than-i’d-like butt demonstrates this preference? that i am about six months behind where i’d like to be on my dissertation because i like my social life and my laziness more than i have motivation to move forward–or, more truthfully, that i hesitate because with the completion of this dissertation comes the smack in the face called real life and a real job?

we face the positive ones as well.  i certainly don’t mean to downplay those.  my entire life right now is a testimony to the good choices i’ve made–to be obedient, to be kind, to invest in the relationships that keep paying dividends that i don’t even understand yet.  that i have the people in my life that i do, to the degree that i do, means i must be doing something right.

sometimes, though, as i am learning, at times i am a main player in someone else’s drama of consequence.

sometimes, my actions are meant to demonstrate that there are consequences for actions, whether they be stupid, shortsighted, unkind, illogical, hurtful, fantastically kind, generous, or loving in the grandest way possible.

it’s a bit of a strange position to be in, though.  i’ll admit that.  it makes me feel both a bit…unconnected and of great use.

i’m beginning to wonder why me.

more me, part two

Posted in blogging, books are bliss, Church, dissertation, Life, me, someday I'll be a real middle class girl on December 12, 2007 by drbolte

I love…with my whole heart. daisies. the smell of vanilla. bundling up with covers on winter nights. holding hands, especially in public. the gospel of Jesus Christ. feeling of use. reading. the thrill of having a moment of academic brilliance. playing in playgrounds at night. my birthday (probably far more than i should). chocolate (again…probably far more than i should). facebook. the feeling of peace that comes from knowing that what you’ve done is right.  hope.

I ache…after i have been on my feet all day. for all the things i didn’t do. for people who hurt when i can’t help. for my dreams to come true.

I always…wear my seatbelt. cringe when i see grammatical errors in print. believe the worst of myself when given the opportunity.

I usually…see the glass half full. am about five minutes late for everything related to church. bounce back fairly quickly. can find the humor in any situation. will make others happy before myself. can speak intelligently about a general interest topic for at least five minutes.  drive over the speed limit.

I am not…your typical only child. as old at heart as i am in body. amused by people telling me what to do or who i am. as independent as i seem, nor as tough.  the ugly duckling anymore.

I danced…twice at my senior prom.  without abandon at the winter formal, especially when kanye came on.  too close to the fire of heartbreak…and got burned, but was nevertheless surprised.

I never…swear, as i think it’s unimaginative and inappropriate (but i am far too apt to say things that i shouldn’t lately). liked green beans until i started making them myself. thought that i would be friends with who i am friends with now…or have not spoken to who i have not spoken to.  imagined that i would be a PhD and yet i am a breath and 200 pages away. will be an outdoorsy girl who doesn’t want a shower after two days or who likes to pee in anything other than a toilet, but that doesn’t mean i’ll never camp.  want to look back at my life and wish i’d done more.

I rarely…exercise, which is something i’m hoping to change. say no to opportunities for social interaction. am not in the mood for ice cream.  miss the point of a joke.  dislike teaching, except when i’m grading.

I cry…when i read one particular blog, only because she manages to say what i want to say so much better than i can ever imagine doing it myself.  at hallmark commercials. when i am so frustrated i can’t speak. too much lately. at almost everything–any excessive emotion and out comes the waterworks.  not often when other people cry.

I am not always…kind enough. sassy. smart or confident. sure where i’m going or what i’m doing.

I lose…stuff on my desk routinely.  my motivation for working on my dissertation too often. sight of what i’m really here for amid the distractions of everyday life.  clothes in the black hole that is my closet. hope in men when some of them act the way that they do. my cynicism when i play with my cats or my roommate’s dog.  my fear on good days.

I’m confused…by contemporary ideas of celebrity. why i love TV so much. the crack-like nature of Publix donuts. why people like me so much. any math other than algebra. how everything is so expensive all of the time and how i am ever going to pay off my credit cards.

I miss…my best friend more than i can articulate. the carefree feeling of childhood.  christmas mornings with stockings stuffed.  being someone’s girl.

I need…at least seven hours of sleep in order to function.  copious amounts of water a day for the same purpose.  too much reassurance sometimes. to stop acting like i know what’s best for everyone all of the time and learn to be humble. to be a better budgeter.  to learn to love research.  to scourge the lazy out of me. to remember who i am more often. to see beauty when i look in the mirror more often than not.

I should…keep working on my list of things to do before i die. risk. take more bubble baths. never apologize for my wit and spunk. recognize my blessings. blog more and more honestly.  move confidently and assertively into the future.  stop wishing to know where i’m going and enjoy the journey.

because i needed to be reminded…

Posted in Church, Life on November 26, 2007 by drbolte

From Elder Boyd K. Packer:

If you suffer from worry, from grief or shame, from jealousy, disappointment, or envy, I have something to tell you.

Somewhere near your home there is a vacant corner lot. Although adjoining yards may be well tended, a vacant corner lot somehow is always full of weeds.

There is a footpath across it, a bicycle trail, and ordinarily it is a collecting place for junk. First someone threw a few lawn clippings there. They would not hurt anything. Someone added a few sticks and limbs from a nearby yard. Then came a few papers and a plastic bag, and finally some tin cans and old bottles were included.

And there it was—a junkyard.

The neighbors did not intend it to be that. But little contributions from here and there made it so.

This corner lot is like, so very much like, the minds of many of us. We leave our minds vacant and empty and open to trespass by anyone. Whatever is dumped there we keep.

We would not consciously permit anyone to dump junk into our minds, not old cans and bottles. But after lawn clippings and papers, the other things just don’t seem all that much worse.

Our minds can become veritable junk heaps with dirty, cast-off ideas that accumulate there little by little.

Years ago I put up some signs in my mind. They are very clearly printed and simply read: “No trespassing.” “No dumping allowed.” On occasions it has been necessary to show them very plainly to others.

I do not want anything coming into my mind that does not have some useful purpose or some value that makes it worth keeping. I have enough trouble keeping the weeds down that sprout there on their own without permitting someone else to clutter my mind with things that do not edify.

I’ve hauled a few of these away in my lifetime. Occasionally I’ve tossed these thoughts back over the fence where they came from, when it could be done in a friendly manner.

I’ve had to evict some thoughts a hundred times before they would stay out. I have never been successful until I have put something edifying in their place.

I do not want my mind to be a dumping place for shabby ideas or thoughts, for disappointments, bitterness, envy, shame, hatred, worry, grief, or jealousy.

If you are fretting over such things, it’s time to clean the yard. Get rid of all that junk! Get rid of it!

Put up a “no trespassing” sign, a “no dumping” sign, and take control of yourself. Don’t keep anything that will not edify you.

The first thing a doctor does with a wound is to clean it out. He gets rid of all foreign matter and drains off infection—however much it hurts.

Once you do that spiritually, you will have a different perspective. You will have much less to worry about. It is easy to get all mixed up about worry.

The full talk, entitled The Balm of Gilead and which is amazing, can be found here.

playing small

Posted in Church, family, friends, Life, me on October 9, 2007 by drbolte


Our greatest fear is not that we are inadequate, but that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, handsome, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God.

Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We were born to manifest the glory of God within us. It is not just in some; it is in everyone. And, as we let our own light shine, we consciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our fear, our presence automatically liberates others. –Nelson Mandela

I have been thinking a lot about choices lately.

The choice to be happy versus the choice to avoid hurt.

The choice to be vulnerable and growing versus the choice to be tough and impenetrable.

The choice to embrace everything in my life versus the choice to fight what’s clearly meant to be.

The choice to believe that I am everything that I am versus the choice to continue to believe that I am less than I actually am.

The choice to take the giant leap of faith versus the choice to remain behind.

Basically, I’ve been deciding whether or not I want to live small and safe or live big, proud, and magic-filled.

I’m choosing big, proud, and magic-filled. I’m choosing to surrender.

(Even if that means that, at some point, I’m going to have to accept the fact that I have big hips and always will. Find the magic in that, will you please, and let me know?)

Do you know how liberating that is? To decide, really and truly, that no matter what happens–the frustrations, the disappointments, the hurts, the broken hearts, the days without justice–you are going to embrace the perfect brightness of hope?

Surrender is in no way giving up. In some ways, I think the moments that I surrender are the moments when I can truly begin to exercise my agency.  Until then, I’m just fruitlessly banging my head against the wall.

The thought process that has led up to this decision has been an incredible one. And changing my attitude has truly led to a great deal of happiness.

So, here’s the thing I want to say today on the day that I turn 30…I’m amazing.

I say this not to be smug or self-righteous, cocky or arrogant.  I say it not in false bravado or a desire for others to pay attention to me.

I say it because it’s true.

I say it because there’s nobody like me here on this earth.

I say it because it’s the way Heavenly Father feels about me.

I say it because it’s the way my family feels about me.

I say it because it’s the way that countless others, close to my heart, feel about me.

I say it because it’s true.

One of my goals for this birthday was to make a list of 30 reasons why it’s amazing to be 30…and to believe them. The longer I think about this, the more I think that there’s really only one reason why it’s amazing to be 30.

I know who I am…and I dig her.

That’s the biggest gift a girl could ask for.

(But I’ll still take whatever you got…so hand over the loot!)

no combination of words i could say

Posted in Church, Life, me, The Single Life, you have to be a chick to understand on September 25, 2007 by drbolte

So, it feels like a long time since I’ve posted.

I’m sure few of you have noticed. I mean, I am not exactly a high-traffic blog. Instead, I like think of my readers as the noble and stalwart few…those who can navigate the craziness that is my brain with fortitude and a dash of humor.  You few, you mighty few…I commend you.

But I digress.

I have not been around much.

Life has sped up.

A lot.

And gotten pretty interesting.

A lot interesting.

I am not sure what I think about it.  Right now? I’m just taking it moment by moment, trying to keep my wits about me while all the world is losing theirs and trying to be forward thinking.

If I think too much about it, I feel a combination of the kind of giddy excitement that makes you want to dance in the middle of the room at random moments and completely freaked out.

I’m also trying to freaking keep up with my workload. It’s not working very well.  I’m getting there.  I just don’t really know how to manage all of the distractions in my life.

These distractions seem to have seeped into my writing, as well, because I can’t manage to stop digressing.

Really, what I’ve stood in awe of over the past week or so?

How very much my world has expanded.

After I posted all angsty about whether or not a perfect brightness of hope should hurt–I guess that was about two weeks ago, wasn’t it?–I decided that, regardless of whether or not it hurt, I need to have it. I need to not only have it, I need to act with complete faith.  Act as if I already had it, as if my Heavenly Father’s promises were true, as if what I knew about myself–way down deep at my core–was true.

I need to stop questioning and start doing.

So I did.

I mean, it wasn’t a huge change. It probably wouldn’t have even been noticeable if not for the Spirit’s quiet whisperings, which have been with me since that day which featured me not only pouring my heart out to my best friend but also to my Heavenly Friend, and have been pointing these incredible moments out to me.

Like the moments, more often than not, when I believe that I am beautiful and I act as if I am.  I don’t question so much or seep myself in insecurity. I simply believe it.

Or the moments when I realize that I actually do believe that that cute, quality guy would want to date me–and I act as if it’s true.  I don’t live in fear.  I step out of it and move on.

And the moments when I sit, amazed to see that my world has just completely expanded.

Isn’t that an extraordinary thing? When you realize that because you had faith, or because you stepped out of your comfort zone, or because you just decided that what you wanted was worth doing something about, your whole world shifts and changes?

I can’t even articulate it.

But the boundaries and borders that I thought I had in my life are gone.  Not the boundaries and borders that keep me safely on the path that I want to be on, but the boundaries and borders that kept me from being  everything that I am and embracing who I could be.  The fear, the insecurity, the worry…without them being the lens through which I see EVERYTHING, life looks a lot different.

And it’s full of amazing and wonderful and unexpected magic.


Gators, 2-0; Me, 0-4569

Posted in Church, dissertation, friends, gators, sports, teaching on September 9, 2007 by drbolte

If I had done any less or any more this weekend, I would be dead.

Friday: M. Night Shymathon.  10 or 15 people at my house.  Hosting duties.  Fretting about what to do on Saturday that involved productivity.

Saturday: Gator Game–we won, of course–which ended up, somehow, eating up my whole day. Fretting about getting ready to feed the missionaries and the 4 other people I invited (in addition to my two roommates) to dinner.

Sunday: Church.  Cooking. ALL. AFTERNOON. No nap makes Carrie a not happy camper.  Fireside.  Facebooking and letter writing (which still has to be done, by the way).

I’m exhausted, and the sum total of productive things I did to prepare for my meeting with my dissertation advisor?


Yeah, it’s going to be a great day tomorrow.


PS–Why, after the strange men who powerwashed our apartment building ON SUNDAY (don’t get me started, since it was supposed to be on Thursday, which is not Sunday last time I checked), does the place smell like the beach? Does the beach smell like…chlorine? Or am I have a warped sense memory?

the moving diaries, chapter four: day breaks–and hecka early, too

Posted in Church, Life, me on August 6, 2007 by drbolte

I woke up.

It doesn’t seem like an auspicious beginning, but I woke up earlier than I thought so I had time to go run to get a bagel before my awesome friend Beth came to take me to pick up the U-haul. In my mind was a constant list, running and re-running through my head as if repeating it like some strange encantation would somehow ensure that all would be well.

Asiago cheese bagels make everything better.

I picked up the U-haul, and was pleasantly surprised to find that I could drive it with little difficulty. I was petrified, standing in the long line of people waiting to pick up their own trucks from the stuffed parking lot. If I didn’t know better, I would say that it looked like a little boy had lined up all of his toy trucks in descending size order just to prove how many he had. But no…it was moving weekend in Gainesville. Every college town has them–and it wasn’t even the weekend that all the students will descend upon campus. Just the weekend that all of the leases begin and/or end.

We got back and people started showing up to help load–more people than I expected. My friend Brandon came from Jacksonville–seriously an hour and a half away–just to help me move. Then came a few more friends and my home teacher and soon we had like six guys. It was lovely, because all I really had to do was stand there and direct.

Although, I will admit having been through many moves and having inherited my genetic predisposition towards packing things tightly (it’s like playing Tetris), I was being a bit of a backseat packer/mover. I stifled it pretty quickly, but…it happened. I feel a little badly for that.

But we got loaded so quickly. And while it sprinkled a little bit…it didn’t rain. This was indeed an amazing thing, since it had torrentially poured for most of the day before. I kept yelling at the heavens, which looked a little intermittently gray, “NO RAIN!” Futile, perhaps, but it made me feel better.

Planning the unloading really makes me appreciate any kind of large-scale assault or invasion. It’s truly impossible, without some degree of genius or spiritual gift, to coordinate any more than two people at any given time without something screwing up. My roommates and I managed to get to the apartment office on time–they went early and basically had everything done before I got there, but we got our keys and began to unload.

At first, it was only three or four guys who were there, plus my roommates’ families. And when I started hauling things up those stairs, I realized that I was a lot tireder than I thought. And I was hungry–that bagel didn’t last long in the loading, cleaning, driving, stressing mayhem that was my morning. And it was hot.

Did I mention that it was HOT? Heat index of like 105. Super.

I just kept hoping that the missionaries would show up soon. They were coming over but in the half hour between when we got there and when they were supposed to come, everyone had basically unloaded all of one trailer and one (not very full) truck. My truck was next…and I was feeling some pressure to go unload.

And I just wasn’t sure I could do it.

But they showed up, just in the nick of time (i.e. just before I truly lost the will to live), and between all of those guys, they had my truck unloaded in like 20 minutes. It was AMAZING. All I really had to do was direct and/or carry light things. I loved it. It was fabulous.

Best thing? Not 10 minutes after we finished, while we were all waiting for the pizza to get there, the heavens opened and it began to pour. Not while we were unloading, not during any crucial moment. AFTER we were done.

Because Heavenly Father ROCKS and prayers are answered. I am so grateful for the Priesthood and their willingness to help people out. I am so grateful for the cheerfulness with which they help. They didn’t have to come–but they did anyways and for that I am so grateful.

I don’t usually ask for help, but when I do I really need it. I am grateful for a Heavenly Father who recognizes that and always comes through for me in the pinch.

We’re all moved in now. Still unpacking, of course, and deciding what to do with all of our stuff, but we’re there.

It’s good to be home.

service is its own reward

Posted in Church, friends, me on July 31, 2007 by drbolte

Tonight, I had the opportunity to play kitchen duty while my wonderful friend Beth, the Relief Society president, held a Visiting Teaching dinner.  For those of you not down with the Mormon lingo, Relief Society is the organization for women (and, unlike most wards, we have two RSes in our ward, or congregation, so I didn’t need to attend this dinner myself) and Visiting Teaching is the system whereby we friendship and take care of each other.

Since she’s the Orange Relief Society and I’m Blue, I got to be her minion for the night, which basically consisted of cooking or heating up all of the food that she had already prepared or gotten all of the ingredients for and, with the assistance of a very helpful Elders Quorum president (the head of the guys organization), serve it all hot and yummy to the sisters while they chatted and learned about Visiting Teaching.

I’ll admit that, when I went over there, I was a bit like “I’m here because I love Beth but I’m not going to love doing this.”  It wasn’t that I was particularly begrudging the time that I was spending there, because I wasn’t, but I had a headache (freaking sinuses due to freaking thunderstorms) and as you all know ad nauseum, I am stressed about moving.  So, I wasn’t looking for it to be a riproaring good time.

But it was exactly where I needed to be.

Beth, as is natural, was crazed and running around trying to get everything done and it was so very nice to be able to be a steadying voice or a pair of hands when she needed it. See, I’ve been exactly where she was–not long ago, in fact, I was a Relief Society president–and so I remember what it’s like to actually have people around that you can count on. It’s irreplaceable. It was nice to be able to do that for someone else like others always did it for me.

But beyond that, there was something truly cathartic and peaceful about being able to just do these things for other people. I didn’t eat anything really other than dessert because I had eaten before I came, so I spent my time cooking and then cleaning up.

It was so much fun.  And by fun I don’t mean riproaring good time. It was just…nice.

In a week full of chaos and running around and being insane, it was really nice to just be.  To handle something. To be good at it and to be able to see it as a job well done.

When a bunch of the sisters came in to thank me, I was genuinely uncomfortable. The peace of the Spirit that I had felt while doing it was reward enough–I didn’t need thanks.  Plus, they didn’t NEED to thank me.  What had I done that they themselves wouldn’t have done for me?  Nothing much. Nothing extraordinary.

It was just nice.  Really nice.  I’m glad I was there.  I feel energized and ready to go for the rest of this week.  I feel like I can do this thing.

What a blessing!

coming through in a pinch

Posted in blogging, Church, friends, ghetto life, life lesson number 498, me, the joys of living in Florida on July 31, 2007 by drbolte

I shouldn’t be surprised, but I have been anyways.

The people that I didn’t expect to be as awesome as they are being about helping me move have been truly amazing. Not only are they happily willing to help, but they’re recruiting more help for me and my roommates. What an amazing church we have. What amazing friends I have!

And I had a friend offer to come and help me pack or even just keep me company while I packed. That’s generosity right there. She JUST MOVED LAST WEEKEND and she’s willing to help me.

How did I get so lucky and so blessed? I have no idea. But I’m grateful for it.

So, while I’m still control-freaking about Saturday and the number of people that will be there, I’m trying to listen to the quiet voice that keeps whispering peace to my heart, keeps telling me “you’re going to have enough and more than enough for your needs.”

And I need to remind myself that I actually CAN do this. I worry that, if no one comes, I’ll have to do it myself. And I fear that I won’t have the physical strength to do it. But that’s stupid because my mom and I did it all ourselves when I moved here, and I was 90 pounds heavier than I am now with a whole lot less energy and whole lot less comfort with Florida heat. Now I’ve been here for three years and, while I certainly still sweat, I don’t wilt like I used to.

I can do it. I need to just remind myself that I have much more strength than I think I do.

What I don’t like lately, though? I don’t like how people look at me askance when I talk about being stressed about moving. Sure, you might move all of the time, but I don’t. I also have more than one bedroom to move and I haven’t moved since I moved here from North Carolina and I’m moving into an apartment that has already caused me more stress than I can explain. I may nickname it “Pound of Flesh and Firstborn Child” apartments, because that’s basically what they require of us before we move in. So, excuse me if I’m stressed, but I am.

Also, I am OCD about moving–when I ask for help from people for moving, I have it all completely organized. EVERYTHING is packed. EVERYTHING is in easy to handle boxes or bags that, if I have to, I can lift and carry and move myself. EVERYTHING is labeled efficiently and completely, and all of the extraneous stuff has been disposed of. So, does it take me a lot longer than you who isn’t even going to pack until the day before you move? Yes. But my move is probably going to be faster, more organized, and easier to recover from than yours–or at least it will be for me. Does it help for you to judge me and call me weird? Uh…no, not really. It makes me feel stupid…and that doesn’t really help me in encountering this task and mastering it. What would help? If people would either be sympathetic or leave me alone until Sunday, when it will all be over.

Then I’ll probably be in a better mood. But until then, I will be grateful for my blessings and try not to grumble too much at the stupid comments I keep getting.

I’m off to search for the Tylenol.

out of sorts

Posted in Church, etcetera, friends, Life, me, the joys of living in Florida, you have to be a chick to understand on July 29, 2007 by drbolte

I woke up this morning just not really feeling myself. I didn’t feel bad–I had gotten enough sleep last night, woke up in plenty of time to cute myself up for church, and wasn’t late or anything.  But I just, throughout the day, felt progressively less and less good about myself and about things. I mean, I’m sitting here with tears for NO GOOD REASON.

And lest we immediately blame in on PMS, it’s not.  I know it’s not.

I think I’m just sad. I don’t think there’s anything particularly wrong with that.  I’m stressed out, definitely, and I’m worried about moving–let’s be honest, I’m pretty much freaked out about the whole thing. I’m really excited to live with the girls that I’m living with, but I’ve never done the roommate thing before. What if I am terrible at it? What if they end up hating me?

These are all things that I’m thinking.

Through no fault of my own, I ended up sitting by myself in church today.  Is that a huge deal? No.  I don’t go to church to be surrounded by admirers. But it felt lonely…and I felt put on the spot because I was sitting close to the front and I just in general felt uncomfortable.

It’s how I would best describe my feelings right now–uncomfortable and, as the title suggest, out of sorts.

I wonder where that phrase came from, out of sorts.  It, like so many weird phrases in English, has no inherent logic.  But I like it.  It totally explains how I’m feeling.  Strange.

One reason for this might be that I miss my mom.  I never realize how much I miss her until it hits me, all at once, usually shortly before I get to go home. I’m going home for about 10 days right after classes end for Summer B.  I haven’t seen her since the end of May.  It will be really good.  I am excited about that, but I just miss home and comfort and no stress.   I miss the peace that comes with home.

I think I am just sad about a lot of things, and then I got a text message that basically chewed me out–totally unexpectedly–from someone I thought was a friend, and that was sort of the last straw. I was already fighting back tears in church–for what reason, I know not–and then I got called up to play 72 hour kit Price is Right (awesome idea, guys…seriously) and had to fake enthusiasm (and, yes, I cleaned up. I should seriously be on that show).  And then I sit down and WHAMMO.  Somebody digitally yelling at me.  Splendid.  Gee, thanks for that.

So now I’m going to watch a movie (I originally typed move…funny Freudian slip about what I’m REALLY thinking about), maybe eat some barbeque chicken and mashed potatoes, take some Vitamin C, and try to remember why it is that I love Gainesville.

Because I am NOT feeling the love right now.