Aurora, CO

As the news of the Colorado shooting broke, I was standing in a long line, in the middle of NYC, awaiting a film I had previously gotten tickets for months in advance. 

I couldn't wrap my head around what we were hearing, and as I waited for the movie to start I began reading the articles online. 12 dead. 58 injured. I had a sick feeling in my stomach that couldn't be shaken, even by the lights going down and the 'Christopher Nolan signature music' beginning to play.

It wasn't long before we were 20 minutes into the movie and I just kept thinking to myself: this is what was playing on the screen while people were dying. This was the background to terror.

Events like this always shake me to my core, however this one rattled my bones. I have been trying to examine why I was so effected by this awful awful massacre, after all I wasn't involved in it in any way. I would like to share some of my thoughts on the massacre in general. 

1. As an aspiring Actress, the movies are a big part of my life. On average I see at least 1 movie a week... that's a lot of movies people! There is no feeling I love more than a dark movie theatre, and have come to love it even more by myself. It's a way for me to escape the world and focus on something else for a while. That's why Christopher Nolan's statement perfectly summarized this set of feelings for me : "I would not presume to know anything about the victims of the shooting but that they were there last night to watch a movie. I believe movies are one of the great American art forms and the shared experience of watching a story unfold on screen is an important and joyful pastime. The movie theater is my home, and the idea that someone would violate that innocent and hopeful place in such an unbearably savage way is devastating to me. "

2. My sister recently went to the Genocide memorial in Rwanda. She sent us a very touching email about her experiences touring such a sacred place. There was one paragraph that struck me: "So they have this room where people donated pictures of all the victims killed in the Genocide.  I sat down looking at these walls when I spotted a note.  It was written by a girl named Hellen to her Uncle and his family who were killed.  It started off with her saying how much she missed them and then she wrote: 

'But today, I work really hard so that I can accomplish very many things.  I did not know your dreams and passion but in those very many things I do am sure there is one that was your dream.' "

I guess this is what I am having such a hard time with. This idea that the way we honor the dead, is by living even more.It almost feels like an odd trick doesn't it? Of course there is a time to mourn, but then we must live again. We must go through life with a new fervour and appreciation for the opportunity we have to simply live

I walked home in the rain the other night, and as each raindrop hit my face I thought I am so lucky that I still get to feel this.

3. My sister found this article written about the shooting and it's beautiful. It summarizes everything we should be focusing on, feeling, and understanding about what happened. 

How do we fight back? We don't. We love back.


You Never Know...

Tonight's shift started out like any other Monday evening shift would: slow.  We were warned ahead of time that it might not be the most profitable night, so the three other servers and I settled in for a steady night of demanding Upper East Siders.

To say that my first table was rude is an understatement. These ladies pretty much assumed that they could sit wherever they want, demand free food, and treat me as if I was an enslaved servant.  And there was one lady who was the worst of all. She kept telling me I didn't know what I was talking about, that I obviously hadn't worked in this restaurant long, and that I was bothering her and she wanted to talk with my manager. It wasn't very long before my blood began to boil....

Who do these people think they are?

How dare they talk to me like this!

Maybe I should....

Thankfully my ill intented musings were interrupted by my next table of the evening, and boy what an odd pair they made.  It was a table of two gentlemen, the first, a tall African America man in his late 30's, and the other, an 85 year old Caucasian man. They were extremely nice, but kept to themselves most of the evening; so it was to my surprise while dropping off the check, that the younger gentleman stopped me with a question:

"Wanna hear a story?"

"Sure!" I replied (secretly hoping it would give me a reason not talk to the table of ladies.)

"It's a good story," the younger gentleman said with a smile creeping up on his face.

"I love good stories," I said, smiling back.

"So about 15 years ago, in 1997, I installed a unit in THIS guys house."(pointing to his dinner partner)

"What kind of unit?" I asked.

"Just an electrical one. Well, they were so pleased with me and my work, that they asked me to lunch. And do you know I've been to lunch with them every year since then."

"Well that's awful nice!" I replied, assuming that the story had ended.

"Oh that's not the half of it!" He quickly returned. 

"You see, a few years back, after his wife died, we started having dinner once a year, just me and him (pointing to the older gentleman). We were talking one evening, and he asked me where I was from. I told him, and he asked me if that's where I was born. I said yes, and then he asked me what hospital I was born at! When I told him, he said 'well I was a delivery Doctor at that hospital around the time you were born. You should go check your birth records to see if it was me.' And do you know, it was him! This Doctor here not only became my friend, but was the man that delivered me some 40 years ago!"

I had chills running up and down my spine as I looked in the direction of the Doctor. He just simply smiled and said:

"You never know."

Not 15 minutes later, one of the ladies from the rude table pulled me aside. She explained to me that the lady who had been the rudest, had a husband who had had his birthday party here 3 years ago. She went on to say that he had passed away last year, and they were here to celebrate his birthday, which would have been today.

 I was floored. Tears started brimming in my eyes and all I could think in that moment were the Doctor's words ringing in my ear.... you never know.

You never know what kind of storm God is asking someone to go through. Its our job to keep that Christ like attitude despite others that use us. After all, didn't he say to turn the other cheek? You just never know who someone might turn out to be, or what it turns out they are going.



Sometimes, the smallest phrases speak the loudest volumes....

I needed this reminder. 

"Hating someone (or holding onto grudges) is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die."

It's all pointless. Anger, malice, being offended, hurt or bitterness....

If you have enough Humility in your heart to be touched by these simple truths, like I have (as of last night) been... no matter how hard the situation may be, just let it go. Forgive and be forgiven

"Not only our eternal salvation depends upon our willingness and capacity to forgive wrongs committed against us. Our joy and satisfaction in this life, and our true freedom, depend upon our doing so. When Christ bade us turn the other cheek, walk the second mile, give our cloak to him who takes our coat, was it to be chiefly out of consideration for the bully, the brute, the thief? Or was it to relieve the one aggrieved of the destructive burden that resentment and anger lay upon us?" 
--Marion D. Hanks, "Forgiveness: The Ultimate Form of Love"


Spiritually Minded Sunday Duex

Sunday was quite a rough day, I had a hard time feeling the spirit and was distracted over all, during all the meetings. However, that didn't mean I left void of any inspiration!

I loved these 3 small thoughts that I recovered from an extremely beautiful talk given in Sacrament Meeting:

1. Do we vilify ourselves for our imperfections? If so, we shouldn't.

2. Positive, realistic views of our shortcomings help us grow more than disappointment, guilt and anger could ever.

3. Stepping stones are meant to be taken one at a time... not a huge leap from beginning to end. Don't be upset that you're taking your steps one at a time.

Hope everyone had a great weekend :)


Let's talk about Zombies...

Everyone knows about my irrational fear of vampires, but it's becoming increasingly aware to me that I've developed a healthy new fear of zombies.

"How can a fear of zombies be healthy?" you may ask yourself. Now before you jump to such judgemental feelings, let me first defend myself.

I knew there was a zombie craze happening, due to the show The Walking Dead (and other appropriately named zombie movies). I didn't avoid the 'undead' entertainment, I just never found myself drawn to them. Friends would rant and rave about the series, but I always declined to get involved.

You see, when it comes to Vampires, I can't even see a picture of one without feeling uneasy. My mind literally believes (against all logic) that there are vampires hiding in every dark crevice between the bathroom and my room. It's just built into my brain to think so. However, I don't sleep with garlic hanging above my bed, or a crucifix wrapped around my neck; because realistically I know there are no such things as vampires.

Imagine my shock when a few weeks ago, the report of a zombie-like man came flooding into the newsrooms. Rudy Eugene ate the face and ears and eyes off of a homeless man and was shot several times before eventually being killed. Suddenly people's imaginations went crazy. He's a zombie! They cried. The Zombie Apocalypse is coming! Other's shouted.

Although the whole thing made me terribly uneasy, and a little queasy, I tried not to think much of it.

Then came the New Jersey man who stabbed himself several times, and then began throwing his intestines at police men, or the cannibalistic Canadian man, Luka Rocco Magnotta, who killed and ate parts of his lover. After that was Alexander Kinyua who admitted to killing his roommate and eating parts of his brain and heart....

All these incidents were enough for the Center for Disease Control to issue this statement to the Huffington Post: "CDC does not know of a virus or condition that would reanimate the dead (or one that would present zombie-like symptoms)".


Suddenly my mind began to reel. Being a Mormon, we are constantly reminded to be prepared. We are encouraged to keep a 72 hour kit full of food and clothing and matches etc, in case of an emergency. We're also told to have a year supply of food readily available in case of natural disasters. All this is fine and dandy, but what about my zombie preparedness?

My mind began to spin out of control....

What would happen if a zombie-like person tried to attack me? I certainly couldn't out run them, I'm too over weight and out of shape. 

What if I was given a gun to protect myself? I wouldn't know how to use that thing? I've only shot a gun once in my life, and by the time I figured it out, I'd be half eaten!

What if I was forced out of my home and made to survive in the wilderness like Katniss Everdeen? I'd DIE! I would be the girl to eat the poisonous berries, oh my gosh. I'm doomed. I might as well give up now! I'LL NEVER SURVIVE THIS ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE!!!!!

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to my brain. 

Of course I calmed myself down and reminded myself that I am an extremely religious person, and I do not believe the end of the world will come by way of Zombie Apocalypse. However, that still didn't put my mind enough at ease. 

Listen, I don't freak out in the dark and think that there is a zombie on my heels (like I do with Vampires) but I am growing more and more uneasy at how unprepared I am in every aspect of my life. I've got to get in shape, I've got to learn how to defend myself, and I most certainly need to know which berries are poisonous and which are not.

You're probably thinking to yourself "this girl has cracked up. She's lost her mind. She's one straw away from building a nuclear bomb shelter in her back yard, and living in seclusion down there for the next 50 years of her life".  

And to those of you who have thought this, I would like you to know that I live in NYC and don't have a backyard..... 

In all seriousness, I don't intend to go down without a fight. Whether that be a zombie apocalypse, a mugging on the streets of New York, or a Black Friday sale at Macy's.


Spiritually Minded Sundays

It seems that it is impossible for me to go to church each week, and not leave with something that has deeply touched me. Whether it's an answer to a question I've been pondering, or a reminder of a principle I've been slacking on, or even just an inspirational idea that I yearn to implement into my daily life; I always leave with something rattling around in my mind.

Each Sunday I would love the opportunity to start sharing one of these quick thoughts with you. It's a perfect way for me to solidify what I've learned :)

Today in Sunday school we were talking about having God's "image in our countenance". Or in other words, how we are able to have God etched into the very fibers of our soul.

Aubrey Potter made the most amazing comment that really stuck with me. She said "my roommates and I were discussing earlier in the weekend about how, due to the amount of time we spend together, we've begun to subconsciously pick up some of each other's mannerisms." (I can totally attest to this concept because I feel as though I do the same thing with my friends!) She went on to say that she began to think about how our relationship with God is like that of any of our friends, and the more we build our relationship with our Father in Heaven, the more we will subconsciously pick up His mannerisms as well.

It could be Charity towards our fellow men, or peace during a time of trials, or the blessing of having more patience... the list of positive attributes we can gain from our Savior is a mile long. And just think: we need only cultivate our growing relationship with Him to have some of these traits rub off on us! Super Cool huh?


The Human Body...

You know what I think is absolutely ridiculous?

Every single person on this planet has a body... and only one body. No one is clever enough to exchange it, not even the richest person alive can buy a new one. We are all stuck with the body we came into the world with, and it's a part of us until we die. Of course we can alter it in many ways, receive new parts, and we can stretch ourselves to our limits both negatively and positively; however, we're always going to be stuck with the original.

And yet.... the majority of us really know nothing about this sack of bones, muscles and tissues that are with us. I remember a few of the basics from biology and health class, but not enough to really do anything with it. I mean, think about it: We pay other people to tell us what's wrong with our own body. Does anyone else not find that strange?

The more I think about how little I know about myself, the more it bothers me.

You see, i've been sick
now for a month and a half. I'll start to get better and then i'll relapse. I get frustrated because I don't want to be sick, and then i'll throw a pity party because I am; but I never change what I know deep down in my gut is the problem. A Doctor will give me an anti biotic for my cold, or a therapist will recommend anti-depressants for my over lying depression. What's really sad though, is the professionals are providing band aids for what the real underlying problem is (a problem I have yet to take full responsibility for until now) I treat my body like crap.

As I have continued upon a lot of reflection over the past year, i've realized that I want, more than anything, to be someone who is completely in touch with her body. There are a lot of myths out their that need to be proved, a ton of important facts that we as humans need to know about our biggest asset (our body), and even more fantastic fun ways to explore better health: and I intend to find them!

"Our health is our greatest wealth" (as Hill Harper so enthusiastically put it) and I intend to become one of the wealthiest women alive!


Nothing Can Be Done Except Little by Little...

I wore red lipstick yesterday.

When I say red, I mean full blown-Natalie Wood- 1950's red.

It all started when I was putting on my make up yesterday afternoon. Tucked away in the corner of my make up bag was a tube of red lipstick. I smiled a little as I recalled it's entrance into my life. I had purchased it my senior year of college for a Musical I was doing called 'Flora The Red Menace,' and ended up using it for every show after that. I glanced in the mirror and found a split second of courage, that allowed me enough time to apply the vivacious color. As I unpuckered my lips, a new woman began to emerge; a woman I hadn't seen in 3 1/2 years.

To say I had more confidence, got better tips, and had more people look in my direction would seem cliche~ but it's the honest truth. Red lipstick day, was the best day of my week...heck, the best day of my month so far!

Fast forward 24 hours. I woke up on the wrong side of the bed this morning, with my depression clouding all that came my way. I didn't shower, I didn't put any make up on, and I wore my glasses instead of my contacts. I was in a bad mood all day, I didn't get great tips and I ate like crap because I felt like crap.

This miniature unplanned experiment got me thinking on the subway ride home from work; and in turn that thinking morphed into a theory.

For the past 7 years that I've dealt with depression, I've found the little tasks harder to complete than any of their larger components. Write a 4 page essay every night for 2 months for your directing class? Sure! Get up every day and shower? Eh... maybe not.

For as long as I can remember, I've allowed my goals to be larger than life. After all, aren't we taught to dream big? And while there's nothing wrong with planning to succeed in the larger things in life, perhaps it's less about the big goals, and more about the tiny steps to achieve them.

Bruce Barton was on to something when he said "Sometimes when I consider what tremendous consequences come from little things, I am tempted to think there are no little things."

How could simply applying a fun lipstick color have changed my entire day? It was such a small split second decision, but perhaps that's it. There is no such thing as a 'little thing.'

I recall a discussion I was having with one of my best friend's, Aaron Pratt, a couple of years ago. He had some simple yet seemingly profound advice for me. He told me to make it a goal every morning, to take a shower, get dressed and do my hair and makeup. No matter what I had planned, no matter where I was going, I would wake up and be ready for success.

If I cannot simply take care of myself, and my belongings, how do I expect to achieve all I dream? Lawrence D. Bell's quote is terrifyingly true. "Show me a man who cannot bother to do little things, and I'll show you a man who cannot be trusted to do big things."

I am going to shift my focus immensely over the next few weeks, and begin focusing on the small things. I am going to strive to follow Aaron's advice in every area of my life. Instead of living "outside the box" I am going to try and live exactly as I should. Drink 8 glasses of water, brush my teeth and floss every day, go to bed early and wake up early, pray, shower, and dress to impress daily.

I want to be a woman who can be trusted with the big dreams in life, therefore, I am going to conquer the little ones first.


An Ode to My New Sweetheart....

New York City...
"You have bewitched me body and soul"

Upon returning to the city, I found that my love for it
has grown immensely (apparently some of my neighbors feel the same).

In my case, absence DID make the heart
grow fonder :)

I have decided that this 'go round' of living in NYC, I am making the city my lover. NYC has my undivided devotion, and I am going to do nothing but appreciate the lovely things about him...I mean, think about it!

He makes me happy and surprises me with some of my favorite things... like SNOW!

He has a fantastic sense of humor! (Literally a poster on the subway)

He's beautiful...

He's extremely talented...

And he's religious...

Who could ask for anything more? :)

I'll leave you with the wise words of Daddy Warbucks, Annie and Grace from the Musical 'Annie'... they totally get it ;)

"NYC, What is it about you
You're big, You're loud,You're tough.
NYC, I go years without you
Then I Can't get Enough.
Enough of the cab drivers answering back
In the language far from pure.
Enough of frankfurters answering back
Brother, you know you're in NYC
Too busy, Too crazy, Too hot
Too cold, Too late I'm sold
Again On NYC.

What other town has the Empire State
No other town in The whole forty eight
Can half compare To you

You make 'em all postcards
You crowd You cramp
You're still The champ
Amen For NYC
The shimmer of Times Square
The pulse The beat
The drive!Oh, NYC
The whole world keeps coming
By bus By train
You can't Explain
Their yearn
Just got here this morning
Three bucks Two bags
One me
I give you fair warning
Up there In lights I'll be
Go ask the Gershwins or Kaufman and Hart
The place they love the best
Though California pays big for their art
Their fan mail comes addressed to NYC
Tomorrow a penthouse
That's way up high
Tonight The "Y"
Why not It's NYC "