Thursday, January 28, 2010


I was at home writing my articles two days ago, but I heard someone crying outside my door. Not that I'm a heartless person, but I was really trying to get my work done and I just ignored it and kept writing. The crying continued and then there were sirens and finally I stepped outside to see what was going on.

Several police officers were running around and a woman was sitting by our neighbor's door. She was crying out loud and seemed quite distraught.

After a few moments, I was able find out that our neighbor Dave was dead. This woman had found his body, and he had probably been dead for a day or two in his apartment. Eventually, I overheard a medical person speculating that the man had died of low blood sugar because of his diabetes.

Dave was a nice neighbor. He let us borrow a hammer twice and let us use his microwave to pop popcorn. On sunny days, he would sit outside his apartment and chat with us as we were coming and going from our house. We had only known him a couple of weeks, but we were starting to become friends with him.

I was disturbed by his death. Not only was it sudden and shocking, but I also couldn't help thinking about his body just a few feet away in the next apartment. What if he hadn't been found until we reported a bad smell to our landlady....!

It's crazy how easily people can die. One day you know them and the next... they're gone.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Perspective of a Year.

After my first full Wednesday (the day that's longer than the rest because it includes my biology lab) I'm feeling tired but pleased. My classes are not too difficult and I should be able to get pretty good grades this semester.

Yesterday I pulled out my journal and started to write for the first time in several months. Because I barely wrote at all last year, I spent quite a while summarizing my entire 2009, and it was an interesting thing to do. Writing about an entire year in one go gives you such a sense of perspective! It's like writing the timeline for a novel-- I know that things are going to get worse before they get better, and I know that things will actually work out when I'm in my darkest moments. When I was writing about my trials, I kept thinking, "It was bad, but then I was blessed. Hang in there!" It was an interesting exercise, and I recommend it for people who are not normally journal-writers.

Journal-writing is valuable on a daily basis because it keeps the record so immediate. But while you're right in the middle of things, sometimes your view is limited too much to recognize your own growth. You can't see clearly what you're actually experiencing.

But after a year when you can stop and look back, life looks different than it did then.

It's kind of cool.

Monday, January 18, 2010

"Because I Have Been Given Much"

As a quick note here: we met some wonderful people at church yesterday who happened to have a lot of extra furniture just sitting in storage, and we were given some today to fill up our previously empty house! We now have a couch, a table with three chairs, and a bed with box springs! Now our house is starting to look like someone actually lives here. I'm actually writing this blog at our table.

I still have to write a bunch of articles tonight and Paul has to write a paper... so I cannot spare more time for this post. It's nice to be here.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

An account of my homeless month.

So I've finally gotten back to the blog!

It's like walking away from a novel and then deciding I just have to get back to my writing again. I mean, sure, I have all sorts of good excuses for not writing for over a month (driving 3000 miles across the country, visiting Paul's family in California and my family in Utah, moving into our new apartment, and dealing with the endless bureaucratic mumbo jumbo of transferring to a new school, etc.) but the fact is that I wanted to have something to say before I started writing, and I just couldn't bring myself to sit down until I could think of something to say.

I'm sure this is one of my chief problems as a writer. It's like I want it to be fantastic whenever I put a pen to paper (metaphorically here). I want the words to be brilliant, to reflect the genius I know is in there somewhere, and really I just want to be impressive.

But let's throw "impressive" out the door right now. Really, it's ridiculous. Writing is quite simply work, especially for me now that I'm trying to establish myself as a free lancer. I'm sure I'll have something to say many times in the future, so now I'll just report about my life in whatever prose come rolling out of me.

It was nice to visit family. Our parents love us so much, and I loved being able to spend time with them. I loved seeing my rapidly-growing nephews and bonding with my sisters (encompassing Sara and all the many sister-in-laws). I've decided that having sisters is one of the best and sweetest things in life. They really are a gift from God!

It was also fun visiting friends. We got to visit our old landlord Lance in Laguna Beach. It was beautiful to stand looking at the sun set over the ocean while we caught up with him about our lives. When we were passing through St. George, my friend Melanie called and said she was in Salt Lake on her way down to Cedar City. We met in the middle in Fillmore at an Arby's and I loved, loved, loved seeing her!

We spent one day in Provo and were able to visit some of our dear friends there, the Camaras and the Heftels. All of their kids have grown impressively since August. It's exciting to see, but I'm ambivalent about the whole thing. Kids grow too fast!

Which reminds me, of course. We also had fun staying with friends on the way from Georgia to California. The Royles took care of us when we were sick and we stopped in Alabama to visit my cousin Charsty. We hadn't seen each other in years, so it was a wonderful time and I was persuaded to stay another day at her house. Paul got along great with her husband and their little girl Akira was one of the most amazing children I have had the pleasure to meet. Charsty was two weeks from having a baby and I've just been looking at pictures of little Aurora on Facebook. I guess that means the birth went well! The Galbraiths were wonderful in Missouri, although we only got to see two of their boys. In Denver we stayed with Lindsay and Nick again, and I was happy to have some time to talk with them. Then we spent one night in Sigurd, Utah with Paul's great Aunt and Uncle on their farm.

This post is long enough already, but I did want to mention a couple of highlights. In California, Paul's brother Jonathon and his wife Candice took us to see Avatar, and it became one of my favorite movies! In Vernal, my parents gave Paul a board game called Ticket to Ride and we played that game quite a bit. Mom loved it especially! We also got to go ice fishing with my mom and dad, which was awesome.

So considering that it was a "homeless" month, it was not bad at all. People are the most important things we have in life and being able to build relationships is really the great task of life, I think. Writing about all these people who I love so much makes me want to be a better friend to them all.

I'm so happy to be here in Kansas, and I feel like this is going to be a good place for us!