Saturday, September 26, 2009


Yesterday Charne (one of my roommates) and I went to the Wilkinson Center and signed up for BYU's Student Service Association! BYU doesn't have a student government like most schools, but BYUSA is a kind of equivalent. As a church-subsidized school, 80% of every student's education is paid by the tithing of church members; we are here, in many cases, because of the widow's mite. BYUSA is one way we give back to our school; it's a volunteer association in charge of many student activities and leadership.
Anyway, Charne and I went on a tour of the office and we talked to a guy who helped us get involved, and now, we are in charge of planning a formal dance in February!!! Thankfully, there are people over us who will help us when we start planning our event. We're super excited!
I have to get to the testing center soon, so I will update more later!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Come, Listen to a Prophet's Voice!

Today, President Thomas S. Monson of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, whom we members regard as a latter-day prophet, came to speak at the BYU Devotional! I was super excited, so I got to the Marriott Center three hours early in order to get a good seat. Even by then, the line was really long, but luckily, my friend Mike was in it and he saved me a spot with that group. When the doors finally opened, we RAN down the stairs to try and get floor seats, and miraculously, Mike and I ended up with some of the best non-reserved seats in the house! In these pictures, I am the girl in blue on the right side, in the fourth row aisle seat. You can also find me standing up as the prophet leaves in the second picture.
Aside from being wonderfully close, I was so glad to be spiritually edified today. When President Monson entered the room, a wave of happiness came over me like nothing I have ever felt before. I knew that he speaks for Jesus Christ. I could see it in his face and I felt it in his presence. I was one of the first to see him, and almost as immediately as I sprung out of my chair to do so, I began to weep. I must have cried for a solid ten minutes or so. The Spirit of truth was so strong and I could really feel the love he and the Lord have for everyone when he spoke his first words to us: "You are quite a sight!" I feel so blessed to be here at Brigham Young University, and every day, I am aware that the experience I am having here is vastly different than one I would have at any other school.
(This is entirely worthy of my next sentence, don't you think?)
This I believe.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

This I Believe

In addition, for the seminar I am taking, I have written my first This I Believe essay, which was really fun. We're going to write several this semester. My professor liked it and so did the other students, and since I'd like to put more effort into my blog posts, here it is:

The Crush I Composed For

I never had a really big crush until the eighth grade, and I was all of thirteen the first time I remember having my thoughts completely overtaken by a face and perfectly imagined persona. He had straight, white teeth and curly blond hair, his smile could flip my stomach in fifteen different ways, and he played the guitar.
Despite all this, what really sets this crush apart is something completely different: he was the first boy for whom I wrote music. I have been composing for five years now, so when I have any strong feeling, a new piece comes running invariably after it. That feeling, however, was the first to draw such a response. I used a fairly standard chord progression, I was later to find out, but I felt like a musical genius when I incorporated my own initials into the notes of the song. I continued to write for this boy throughout the eighth grade. Then, in high school, I continued to compose for various crushes, most of whom didn't know I was doing it. I wrote good music, I think; it was thoughtful, well-worded stuff (when there were words), and the idea of these boys inspired me to do better work.
The boys were not important, in the end. It was the emotion that drove me to music, and the reason that today, I can look through my old notebooks and amateur recordings and have a record of the way I felt from the eighth grade to the present. I know the way I felt and I know when and what made me feel that way- and what I thought of it.
Music changes people; it can affect their emotions and therefore, their actions. But as a musician, composing helps me let my emotions go. Regina Spektor, a popular singer, songwriter, and pianist, sings, "Ideas that have left you never come home." Whereas, for a listener, music may intensify emotion, writing music lets me step away from my emotions and examine my feelings with more distance. I can put everything I feel into words and music and walk away better and happier for it.
So I believe in music, and I believe it's taught me to see my thoughts more clearly- to feel more clearly, in a way. I know that composing music and writing lyrics for songs has helped me to understand myself better. I think it's also helped me not to explode. I understand now that the boy in the eighth grade- or the ninth or the tenth, for that matter- wasn't what made those years so wonderful. It was the personal growth I experienced, which always resulted in my knowledge that I had developed a lot that year, and that the music was there to prove it.
This I believe.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

The Bucket List

This semester, I am taking a freshman seminar titled "This I Believe," (after the wonderful NPR program) about personal narratives and statements of belief. For one of our first assignments, we had to write a list of one hundred things to do before we die. Here is mine (organized by categories my professor suggested):

  1. Write to the President.
  2. Write to my Congressman.
  3. Have an editorial published in the WSJ.
  4. Vote at all major elections.
  5. Serve on some sort of decision-making board.
  1. Publish a novel.
  2. Learn to play the guitar.
  3. Publish an album on iTunes.
  4. Perform a big concert.
  5. Publish poetry in a big magazine.
  6. Conduct an orchestra or choir, performing a piece I composed.
  7. Be in a musical.
  8. Learn to play the cello.
  9. Be in a band.
  10. Get an essay published on This I Believe.
  11. Sing opera in public.
  12. Participate in Story Corps.
  13. Participate in NaBloPoMo without missing a day!
  14. Paint a picture I am proud of.
Friends or Friendships
  1. Don't be afraid of strangers.
  2. Don't withhold compliments.
  3. Smile at random people.
  4. Show genuine interest in people.
  5. Be a better conversationalist.
Spiritual Life (or values)
  1. Have mighty, sincere prayers.
  2. Read the Old Testament.
  3. Have a smile for everyone.
  4. Fulfill my Patriarchal Blessing,
  5. Always be willing to serve in callings.
  6. Go to the temple frequently (once a week, if I am close).
  7. See my whole family in the temple.
  1. Never be overweight.
  2. Always keep the Word of Wisdom.
  3. Exercise daily.
  4. Take vitamins.
  5. Ride my bicycle places, even when it's far.
  6. Be a vegetarian for a week.
Helping, Service, Civic Action
  1. Serve a mission (senior or as a sister missionary).
  2. Work as a poll worker.
  3. Volunteer at various organizations.
  4. Give a bunch of cheeseburgers to hobos, like Chris McCandless in Into the Wild.
  1. Learn to make clothes.
  2. Sew a decent dress.
  3. Learn to make Foccacia and other bread from scratch.
  4. Have a "famous" recipe for something.
  5. Read to kids.
  6. Bear testimony to kids.
  7. Teach kids to be responsible.
  8. Have pictures of Christ all around the house.
  9. Have a musical family.
  10. Read the scriptures every night as a family.
  1. Learn Swedish, French, and German.
  2. Learn to compose music really well.
  3. Be a great, coherent writer.
  4. Be a ham radio operator.
  5. Finish The Brothers Karamazov.
  6. Read Crime and Punishment.
  7. Consistently read different books out of any general type.
Love or Love Relationship
  1. Fast and pray before marriage.
  2. Marry a return missionary.
  3. Marry in the temple for eternity.
  4. Write a song with my future husband.
  5. Do whatever I can to make my spouse happy.
Money or Standard of Living
  1. Be able to stay at home with my children.
  2. Make a living composing or writing.
  3. Live in a house with lots of windows.
  4. Have well-designed furniture.
  1. Paint a mural where I live.
  2. Have a "park day" with other moms and kids in my neighborhood.
Play or Recreation
  1. Get really good at tennis.
  2. Learn to play ultimate frisbee.
  3. Learn to waterski.
  4. Live on Gotland for at least a year.
  5. Drive a fast car, fast, on Gotland Ring.
  6. Visit Charne in South Africa.
  7. Play with lions.
  8. Swim with dolphins.
  9. Go on the big roller coaster at California Adventure, overcoming my fear of roller coasters.
  10. Skip around New York City, especially in public places.
  11. See the Pyramids.
  12. Go to Israel and Jerusalem.
  13. Go to Australia.
  14. Go to Spain and speak Spanish to real Spaniards.
  15. Pull one all-nighter. Then never again.
  16. Hike Timpanogos.
  17. Visit all fifty states.
Relationships with Children
  1. Give birth.
  2. Teach children about the gospel.
  3. Make sure they know I love them.
  4. Have great Family Home Evenings.
Relationships with Relatives
  1. Be patient with uncles and aunts.
  2. Write letters to grandparents.
  3. Be the future host of Cousin's Conference.
  4. See grandchildren often.
  5. See great-grandchildren.
  1. Don't be afraid to take risks.
  2. Smile at everyone.
  3. Overcome phobiae.
Work and Retirement
  1. Work at a radio station.
  2. Be a professional musician.

This is flawed; some of the "Home" stuff belongs in "Relationships with Children," but for me, those will be basically the same thing. Plus, these aren't all exactly concrete. That is, I can't check them off the list in the near future. I guess I've made it more like a list of goals I'd like to accomplish in the long run. Anyway, I'm sure I will edit and add to it in the near future, and I'll keep you updated when I do.
A note to Madelyn: can you configure your blog so that I can leave a comment? As it is, I will just have to say here that I have never seen a Beanie Babie with the seam ripped; now I wonder what's in one. :) Ha ha ha! I miss you a lot, and when I get back, we will have to go on some kind of adventure. I am glad you're having fun in school; re-read what I wrote in your yearbook if you need me to reiterate how wonderful you are!
Another thing: you all need to log on to Skype more or Google Chat or something. And write something new on The Brown Dirt.
I think that's all. :)

Friday, September 11, 2009

Furthermore, A Dissection of Feelings...

I will try not to be quite so cryptic this time. I think I will just make a list of ideas and things I'm thinking about. Lists work well, do they not?

1. I do not have class until two today, which is exactly what I need right now.
2. Sibelius (the program) is my hero.
3. I have written my This I Believe essay and I like it well enough.
4. I want to write another This I Believe essay.
5. I want to make a movie.
6. Last night was really fun. (Ye Olde Party)
7. I want to visit the duck pond and feed the ducks.
8. I need to read for Honors 240.
9. I miss you people!


Sunday, September 6, 2009

Update. Sort of.

I'm not really sure what to write, but since you wanted an update, I will give it you.
We need a vosotros in English, by the way; I meant "you" as a plural.
Today, I got up. Really! I got up, for once this week! I walked over to the church building at Wyview with my roommate, Chelsee. We had interviews this morning. Guess what my calling is?
The best calling ever, of course! Ward Organist!
I'm really tired, so that will have to be all.
Love you, Mom. Dad. CollinMadelynSpencerMelissa.
Various family members. :)

Thursday, September 3, 2009

For a Minute There...

Today and yesterday have been well spent jamming with my friend Mike (whose blog is here) and we are going to try out for Acoustic Explosion together! Mike is an extremely talented guitarist, and I am so happy to be working with him! We will be playing two of my songs (Enemy of Time and Here Have I Loved You, which is premiering) and Radiohead's Karma Police, which I'm harmonizing with Mike on. We're super psyched; hopefully we'll make it!!