Dec 20, 2006

The Spirit of Christmas

So I decided that this year I was going to do things differently, and try to bring the Spirit of Christmas into my life better. Now don't get me wrong, I love buying the perfect gift for each person on my list, and I take great joy in seeing their eyes light up when they open it.

So, among a few other things, I decided to go stand out in the cold in front of Sam's Club and ring the bell for the Salvation Army. I lucked out and it was a balmy 40 degrees (woo hoo, no need for gloves!) so I knew the time wouldn't be as hard on me. I knew that by ringing that bell I was, in essence, a salesperson, so I made sure to dress up cute and warm and to put a big smile on my face.

I plugged in my iPod and was listening to Josh Groban belt out my favorite Christmas hymn, "O Holy Night".

Within the first five minutes of ringing that bell, a little Mexican girl came up to me. She stuffed a dollar into the basket and flashed me a giant smile. I smiled back and thanked her. As she waved goodbye, she walked into the store behind her parents. I noticed how her clothes were ragged and that the family obviously didn't have much money. This warmed my heart...but when I saw her put her own little change purse away into her pocket, I realized that the dollar hadn't come from her parents, but [i]from her.[/i]

The Spirit was overwhelming. And as always happens when I feel the Spirit, a few tears spilled down my face. Well, I tried to wipe them away, but perhaps they were a good sales tool (even though it was genuine), because another man, who was crippled, came up to me, looked me in the eye, and said, "Thank you for what you are doing here. We need more people like you." And he dropped a 10 dollar bill into the basket. I watched him hobble to his van and then the tears really started flowing.

During my shift, somehow practically every person who walked past me dropped some money into the bin. This surprised me, because when I see those bellringers, I often see people walk by, completely ignoring them. This was what I expected; not warm smiles and generous offerings.

The people of Madison warmed my heart today, and renewed my faith in mankind. I was touched by how the poor, just as much as the wealthy, dropped money into my basket. I loved the look of joy in their eyes as they did so.

This ws an amazing and humbling experience, and it is one I will never forget. It is something I highly suggest anyone who has a few spare hours to take the time to do. You will not be disappointed.

Jun 19, 2006


Well, one of the guys I wrote to actually did reply. He's since asked how I've been doing, which I appreciate immensely. He was away and thus the reason he wasn't able to answer my email immediately.

I know he knows how it feels because he's lost family in the past few years as well. I'm grateful that he's been a good friend, as he's always proven to be in the past. We might argue sometimes, but he always comes through in the end.

That's what friendship is all about.

Jun 13, 2006

The fastest way to get a woman to lose interest is... to ignore her when she's hurting. I don't mean when she's angry; that's another subject entirely, nor do I mean when she's in physical pain -- women can handle physical pain a hell of a lot better than you might think and we don't tend to get teary about it unless it's really intense. What I'm referring to is genuine emotional pain. Somehow, though, you men seem to get it all wrong. You think either 1) we're overexaggerating, 2) we're trying to manipulate you or 3) we're looking for YOU to solve the problem and make it go away. Well, here's some light on the subject...1) We know when we overexaggerate; 2) We're smarter than that; if we want to manipulate you we'd actually use something that WORKS and 3) We know you aren't superman; we don't want you to give us a solution; we simply want you to comfort us and tell us everything is going to be alright, (cause it will resolve itself, whatever it may be -- remind us of this). If we are coming to you for comfort, chances are you weren't the one who initiated the emotional distress, so what do you need to do? Not much. Just be there, damn it, and listen. Offer your ear to her even you know it means listening to her cry for a few hours. Give her a giant bear hug and tell her how much she means to you. Sympathize with her; chances are you may have gone through something similar once; and while you may have not outwardly expressed your emotion(s) in the same way she does, you still felt them. Tell her you understand (but only if you do...if you don't, tell her so and ask her to explain how she feels. Just letting a woman talk is usually one of the greatest things you can do; women think outwardly and when we 'mull things over' we do it while verbalizing). Don't tell her to get over it, don't tell her "well, that's life", don't state the obvious. We're not dummies.

My uncle, who has always been like a father and grandfather to me, passed away this past Thursday. It has been extremely painful and I have been grieving his loss. While I have inner strength and faith that convince me that he is indeed well and in a better place, and while I do recognize grieving as a selfish process (for the most part), I do worry greatly for my aunt who has just lost the love and light of her life...a man who while he didn't understand every aspect of his wife, especially her emotional issues, he, at the very least, tried.

Anyway, as anyone who has lost a parent or grandparent or someone else so very close to them, you know what it's like and the sense of loss and heaviness that you have to endure (and I haven't even been to the funeral yet). I've turned to a few of my male friends; very tentatively I might add, simply because I was actually thinking about THEM and afraid of THEIR reaction to my expression of pain and underlying request for support. But heaven forbid any of these men start to think I'm manipulating them. But I figure, hey, at the very least their heart strings may be tugged...just a little...and they'll offer their condolences and if I'm real lucky, perhaps they'll even offer to be a shoulder to cry on. And that, more than anything, is what I need -- even if it's a virtual shoulder. The best man of my LIFE has just passed away, and I have tons of female support, but no male support. It is male support and compassion that I'm needing; I don't need a babysitter, I don't need a date, I don't need someone to lavish me with praise and gifts; it's not even ABOUT that. It's simply about being human and standing with those who stand in need of comfort; it's being the good Samaritan; it's stopping along the way and helping someone in need; even if it's an emotional need and not a physical one.

But as the story continues, of these few men that I specifically talked to or wrote to, one answered, but very hurriedly and tried to change the subject. The other two, two who are/were supposedly two of my very best male friends, haven't even replied. They know how important Uncle Mike was/is to me. They also know it's been a trying year; I've lost my grandmother among many other things. I've just heard "well that's life'. Other men won't even TOUCH the subject with a 10 foot pole. The simple idea of a woman who is crying (and possibly hyperventaliting) in front of them is too much for them to handle. Are they thinking about her needs? No. They're thinking about how uncomfortable THEY will feel; how much time will be wasted dealing with HER.

Frankly, I'm just sick of it. I see the outpouring of love and pain over the loss of one of the rare, precious few; a truly honorable and righteous man; one who showed compassion to all; one who knew the meaning of life; one who wasn't afraid to extend himself and better himself in search of a holier sphere. Where are all the men who are like this one? I need to find one. I need to find someone who can think beyond himself for one damn minute; and who truly cares about the world around him; not just how much damn money he makes or how good he looks in a suit or how and when he's going to get lucky. I know I sound like I'm stereotyping; and I realize i am; but quite frankly, I have been very disappointed as of late in the quality of men out there; even in my so-called friends who are supposedly there for me.

I guess everything is conditional. As long as I'm cool; I'm fun -- as long as I keep my mouth shut and make sure no tears stream down my face; as long as I continue to better myself and make myself more attractive but allow the men in my life to do whatever the hell they want; as long as I don't encourage them also to seek after a holier sphere and aspire to become better people and reach true manlihood...yeah, as long as I don't act like a human being who cares about others, then perhaps I could talk to these friends or find myself a man.

Too bad, though. I believe in eternal, personal progression, and I believe in unconditional love and friendship. When I say I'm there, I mean it. I can be extremely angry and need space sometimes, but if your mother just died or you were in a car accident, or you just achieved some personal success you've always dreamed of, or had your first child; I'd put aside the pettiness and my own ego and I'd be there.

That's all I want in return. And from now on, from those men who can't/won't offer it -- it's your loss. I'm not going to hang around waiting for you guys to grow up. I deserve better than that.

Oh, but I most give props where props are due. To those of you who have been there for me and/or my family; to those women AND men (yeah, there have been a few of you, even on here, who have reached out), I humbly and gratefully thank you for your thoughts (and prayers, if you are that kind of person:). You have no idea how much it means to me. I know people say that all the time, but the people who have had the greatest effect on my life are those who truly mourn with those who mourn; those friends who love you so damn much they actually are crying right along side you -- even when the pain you feel is yours alone. My uncle was like that. He was always there for whatever you needed. And not just for his family, but for strangers, too. He always put others first, and in doing so, his life was enriched and full of people who now call him a hero. Kindness commands more respect than many of you might think. It's something you might want to try sometime if you haven't.

But thanks again to those of you who do practice such. You inspire me and remind me of all that is good. Thank you.

Jun 9, 2006

We love you and miss you, Unkie M

Here's a song that I've had in my mind ever since last night when my mother called me with the news. This is a progessive download, so wait for the song to load after you press play.

May 30, 2006

The Passion of the Christ, The DaVinci Code, and Mormonism: Thoughts

Note: I found this post on someone's blog and found it to be fascinating. If nothing else, please read that which I have put in bold. I've never been able to explain my conviction of the truth of our divinity and of personal revelation even in the discovery of universal truth. I love what the author says - -- that truth cannot exist outside ourselves -- if it did it would cut us off from Divinity as well as belittle our own divinity. Read on.

In the past year, two major items of popular culture have brought the world of early Christianity to the watercoolers of the nation. We were shocked by both of these works at how wildly successful they were. I speak of Mel Gibson's The Passion of Christ and Dan Brown's The DaVinci Code. No one quite expected that the nation would be fixated on religious figures and theological debates. Both of these works were wildly successful and sparked a fair amount of commentary. Months before anyone had seen the film the Passion, liberal reviewers vilified the movie as anti-Semitic and historically inaccurate. A few years ago, I remember hearing rumors that Gibson was thinking of making this movie, using the "original" languages. About 9 months before its release I read that the actor playing Jesus, Jim Caravezael had been struck by lightning, not once, but twice during the filming. The combination of the liberal reviews and God's disapproval made it difficult for Mel Gibson to find a distributor, a search which ultimately failed. He ended up producing and distributing the movie himself, and many theaters still wouldn't carry the film. Within days after its release, it was clear that the movie had not only broken nearly every financial record, buy that it would continue to do so. Church congregations rented out entire theaters. Adults brought their young children, despite the R rating.

When I attended the movie on opening-weekend with a group of young Bible scholars, the theater was packed. A priest sat next to us who had not been to the cinema in many years. The custom of not watching R rated films in Mormonism is actually quite tame compared to many evangelical homes, who abstain from radio, television and movies all-together. But these people went in droves to see the Passion, feeling like finally Hollywood had responded to their desire for uplifting entertainment. This massive support for the Passion quite frankly took Hollywood and the media by surprise. The attacks grew more vicious, and increasingly ridiculous. The same people who supported the distributors' decision not to carry the film now criticized Gibson for making money on the film!

Dan Brown's The DaVinci Code has received nearly as much attention as any book I can remember. It topped the NYT bestseller list for months. Every airport I've been for months, I have seen numerous people reading the book. The average time to complete the 450 pages for most readers is about 72 hours. My professor, who recently completed a book on the Gospel of Mary Magdelene, has been interviewed by CNN, NYT, Time Magazine, Newsweek, NPR, and countless other news outlets. The book's cliffhanger format and provocative thesis combine to make a truly exciting reading experience. The book reinterprets several familiar symbols, revealing their "true" meaning, unknown to the uninitiated.

Though the book is labeled, "A Novel" on the front cover, it is in the smallest font. Immediately after the title page, the reader encounters a bold statement of "FACT"- including the following: "All descriptions of artwork, architecture, documents, and secret rituals in this novel are accurate." The ultimate secret of the book, that the Holy Grail is actually Mary Magdelene, wife of Jesus and mother to his children, who together stand at the head of a royal bloodline that survives clandestinely, has been quite attractive to readers everywhere. No doubt some of its appeal lies in the shock-value of the secret, but there is also a subtle critique of religion in the book itself, especially in the rather anti-climactic conclusion when we get a glimpse behind the wizard's curtain. Conservative evangelicals and some Catholics have objected strongly to many of the implications of the book, including its depiction of Jesus and the politics of theology and Christology attributed to Constantine, the first Christian Roman emperor.

Both the Passion and the DaVinci code have elicited responses from Mormons as well. A conference was recently held at BYU to discuss the book. Many Mormons have very much liked the central theses of the DaVinci Code, namely that apostate leaders in early Christianity occluded the truth about Jesus. Additionally, the apocryphal Mormon belief that Jesus was married to Mary Magdelene found a voice in Dan Brown's book, and also an explanation for why this truth was suppressed.

Regarding the Passion, Dean of Religion at BYU Robert Millet came out in strong support for the film, encouraging all LDS to see it despite the R rating, calling it a "betrayal of the rating system."

Because I have been studying the NT and early Christianity, I often get asked about these two works by members of the church and by non-members as well. Sometimes they ask for the "Mormon response." I have thought that today, since this is our last week and most people have already left for the summer, to give my response, reserving the right to modify said response upon further reflection.

Of the many things that could be said, I wanted to emphasize two particular critiques of both of these works. The first is their depiction of history and historical reality as based in what they both call "fact", and the second is in their depiction of Jesus and the theological, or more precisely, Christological message in each of them.

Both works advertised themselves as based in "fact." Dan Brown asserts that his interpretation of art, history, and literature are factually correct. The Passion was marketed to conservative Christians by Gibson as "historically accurate" in every respect. The problem with this claim is two-fold. The first is that it is quite easy to demonstrate that many of the historical claims are verifiably false. To pick on the obvious examples, there is no historical evidence to suggest Mary and Jesus were married, or that they had children, there are no gospels in the DSS, nor do they talk about Jesus at all. They were written 150 years before he was born. Contrary to his claims, most of his descriptions of "artwork, architecture, documents, and secret rituals" are inaccurate.

For the Passion, the most notable historical falsehoods include the fact that Roman officials would have spoken Greek, not Latin while in the East. Additionally, many of the traditions depicted in the film were based on apocryphal literature that dates well after any of the events, including the compassion of Pilate's wife, the 12 Stations of the Cross as the plot-line, the names of the two thieves, etc. Let me be clear: I do not have anything against artistic license when it comes to writing novels or movies. In fact, I like it. I think it makes them more interesting. The problem is not that Brown and Gibson take artistic license; it is that they deny that they do so. They depict their work as "historically accurate" and "factual", thus shielding their interpretations from plain view. Every reproduction is always an interpretation- as musicians and actors will attest. Instead, Gibson and Brown portray truth as given, not made. They pretend to be subject to the historical record, rather than the other way around. They create it on every page and in every scene. They are making history, not representing it.

Their positivistic view of history is especially problematic for LDS given our belief in the revealed nature of truth, which we see as always subject to the historical conditions of those who receive the revelations. The LDS view of truth does not slide into complete relativism, but rather is eternally suspended to further "light and knowledge" which could reveal something entirely different from what we currently believe. If we follow Brown and Gibson in the belief that truth is represented outside of ourselves, we cut ourselves off from the divine, who can only reveal to us when we are open and accept our place in cooperative chain of making and revealing knowledge from on high. (emphasis added).

My second concern with these two works is in their depiction of Jesus. In many ways these two works present radically opposed teachings about Jesus, neither of which can be ultimately accepted in LDS theology. They each represent extremes in a debate about the nature of Jesus that has existed since the first decades after his death. In my view, the DaVinci Code's discussion about godhood is utterly confused. It exalts Mary Magdelene to the status of a goddess, which for LDS theology is perfectly acceptable in some sense. However, in doing so, it almost goes unnoticed that Jesus is depicted as undivine, as simply a regular old Yeshua. Part of the secret story of Dan Brown that the ancient Church has suppressed is the teaching that "thousands of pages of unaltered, pre-Constantine documents, written by early followers of Jesus, revere[d] Him as a wholly human teacher and prophet" (page 256). While Mary is a goddess, for no good reason Jesus is considered simply a human. The explanation is that Jesus was voted to be made divine in the Nicene creed, in part to suppress the fact that he had children. How Mary can be considered divine even though she had children is not explained. In any case, while exalting Mary to her status as a goddess, a perfectly acceptable theological move in Mormonism, Brown demotes Jesus.

On the opposite extreme, the Passion depicts Jesus as wholly other and unique. He avoids the heresy of docetism, which denied that Jesus suffered, but in doing so, he depicts Jesus' suffering on the cross and at the hands of the Romans as something entirely special, as if he were the first and last to suffer crucifixion and scourging at the hands of the Romans. The fact is, that Jesus died not in an extraordinary manner, but as a common criminal, in the same way that people all over the Roman empire were being killed. As LDS, we know that Jesus' sufferings were greatest in the Garden as acknowledged by Jesus himself in D&C 19. The sufferings on the cross were his solidarity with our sufferings. He suffered as humans suffer, we are taught by Alma 7, not in a way beyond humans. Gibson's film acts as if this suffering were qualitatively different from the suffering of humans, which obscures the humanity of Jesus. It makes him our god on earth, not our comrade in affliction.

Additionally, the depiction of Jesus in the Passion is only as "sufferer". It practically ignores Jesus as "teacher", or "miracle worker", and most importantly the exalted, resurrected Jesus. The Passion concludes with a 30 second resurrection scene of a militant Jesus, rising to deep drum beats. It is essentially an afterthought. Mormonism, on the other hand, focuses on the resurrected Jesus. The BoM story is about the resurrection, the Jesus who returns, as teacher and miracle worker, not as consummate sufferer. I object to Gibsons theological emphasis on the suffering of Jesus because it distorts the message into a theology of atonement as sadism and guilt, not of hope.

Mormonism instead offers a theology of Jesus that avoids these extremes of Brown and Gibson. Dan Brown makes Jesus simply another human being, and Mel Gibson makes Jesus a characature, a version of a God whose experiences are so different from our own that we cannot relate to him and he cannot relate to us. In the grand council in heaven Jesus took the lead as our brother. He is one of us. This revolutionary teaching of the Gospel of the Restoration puts into focus the true nature of Jesus, and the true nature of our relationship with him. We are like him and he is like us. He is not the metaphysical exception to humanity, but the supreme example of a human being. The ancient witness in 1 John 3:1-2 reports:
"Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: (this was told to us at King Follet's funeral) but we know when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is."


May 3, 2006

What life is and is not about

Life isn't about keeping score. It's not about how many friends you have. Or how accepted you are. Not about if you have plans this weekend or if you're alone.

It isn't about who you're dating, who you used to date, how many people you've dated, or if you haven't been with anyone at all. It isn't about who you have kissed, it's not about sex.

It isn't about who your family is or how much money they have. Or what kind of car you drive. Or where you are sent to school. It's not about how beautiful or ugly you are. Or what clothes you wear, what shoes you have on, Or what kind of music you listen to.

It's not about if your hair is blonde, red, black, or brown. Or if your skin is too light or too dark. Not about what grades you get, how smart you are, how smart everybody else thinks you are, or how smart standardized tests say you are. It's not about what clubs you're in or how good you are at "your" sport. It's not about repres enting your whole being on a piece of paper and seeing who will "accept the written you."


But, life is about whom you love and whom you hurt.

It's about whom you make happy or unhappy purposefully. It's about keeping or betraying trust.

It's about friendship, used as a sanctity or a weapon. It's about what you say and mean, maybe hurtful, maybe heartening. About starting rumors and contributing to petty gossip.

It's about what judgments you pass and why. And who your judgments are spread to. It's about whom you've ignored with full control and intention. It's about jealousy, fear, ignorance, and revenge. It's about carrying inner hate and love, letting it grow, and spreading it.

But most of all, it's about using your life to touch or poison other people's hearts in such a way that could have never occurred alone.

Only you choose the way those hearts are affected, and those choice s are what life's all about.

Apr 19, 2006

I'm going to NYC! attend the mad-hot Mac Live!'s the learning conference for professionals who use Macs :) I've been to one before in Chicago, and it was absolutely awesome rubbing shoulders with the big names of the digital photography, web and graphic industry. The conference tends to focus mostly on Adobe Photoshop (which is a program I absolutely LOVE and could never learn enough about) but it also concentrates on digital photography techniques, web design, Mac tips and tricks, and other fun stuff. There are give-aways, like expensive Apple computers...iPods...etc.

Plus it's in downtown Manhattan, near Times Square, so I'll be put up in some fancy hotel on Times Square. And the greatest thing is that my work pays for the entire $40/day on food, money for tips, the subway, taxis or bus, internet access, etc.

Oh but even better -- Carolyn is coming with me! Woohoo! We're going to tear that town UP! It's going to be, dancing, tourist attractions, the temple....yeah I can't wait :D

Apr 6, 2006

The role Faith plays

I have a friend who is going through a very difficult time right now, being that she just broke up with her boyfriend. Anyone who is reading this knows how painful breakups are. Anyway...over the past day and a half I've been doing what I can to comfort her, advise her, and console her. I truly believe that if she just lets him be for while he'll come back...if she wants him to. However, I'm afraid she might not be able to do this. Why? Her actions today have given me reason to actually believe some of the things her ex has accused her of.

I know she is hurt and angry, but in the midst of me trying to comfort her, she invalidated me, all of my past relationships, and the feelings that go along with those heartbreaks. In my attempt to make her feel better (but not sugar coat anything) I was told that I had no idea how she could feel...because her relationship was "real". In her eyes, my relationships were never valid, and therefore, I guess, she feels the feelings that went along with those relationships were invalid as well. She truly believes that I cannot understand how she feels. And if she continues to believe that...she will be left all alone. I'm the not the first friend whose feelings she has invalidated simply because she did not recognize the relationship as "valid". I hope I'm the last.

Anyway, this is cause for concern, yes...but she had to take it a step further. I pointed out that her invalidating me as a person hurt me, and I reminded her of something she said a few months back. Well, she retorted that she did in fact believe I am crazy; that my RELIGION only makes me unhappy and crazier...and that I see what I want to see and call it revelation.

This is not the first time, nor will it be the last time, I'm accused of such. Anyone who is religious...and especially any other Latter-Day Saints who truly adhere to their religion know what I'm talking about. Our religion is constantly criticized and ridiculed because we DO believe in modern prophets..we DO believe that God speaks to His children today just as He did back in the day...we DO believe that He directs the paths of His children if they are willing to heed to that still small voice and listen to the Spirit. For these and many other reasons, Mormons are ridiculed, and we are often told we aren't Christians.

I deal with this and expect it. Every person on this earth has the moral agency to choose for him or herself what they do with their life and what they believe. Beliefs should never be forced upon someone; and we should never think less of someone just because they don't believe what we do. But this is the age-old problem; the one that has caused the vast majority of wars in the past AND the present..the question of religion...of who is right and who is wrong. And it causes contention between family members and friends as well.

Why? Because no one wants to feel invalidated. And there are some of us who experience such joy and peace from what we believe, we truly want to share it with others. As for me, the knowledge and faith I have is who I am; it makes me and completes me in every way. To me it is me, listening to the Spirit is a sixth sense...and it's one I trust far more than any of my five other senses. While I do not expect everyone to accept this or believe it...I DO expect them to RESPECT it. And to be told that I'm crazy, because I trust that 6th like someone telling you that you are crazy because of something you see, or something you touch, or something you hear.

And to have a best friend tell you this makes your heart plummet. It negates every positive experience and feeling you ever had with that person. Negating a part of someone which is at the core of who they are is esentially telling them they don't measure up as a human being. No wonder it was so easy for her to invalidate my feelings.

I'm sorry, but while I expect such attitude from the outside world; and I face it almost on a day-to-day basis, I simply cannot tolerate such from a supposed best friend. When my ex-fiance said similar words to me, well, at that moment I fell out of love with him. I knew I could never spend eternity with someone who did not feel that what was at the core of my being was valid and real. And the same goes for friendships. I have friends of all different religions, I have friends who are agnostic and Atheist. Sure, I don't agree with some of the stuff they believe...or even most of it when it comes to Atheism, but I never think they are crazy. I never invalidate their humanity and the moral agency they have to choose such.

I have suffered from depression for over 10 years. My "friend" believes that my religion is at the cause of this. It is not. If it wasn't for my religion and my beliefs, I would have killed myself about 11 years ago. I was at that point. But I knew deep down, because of what I believe and what I know to be true, that doing such a thing would be cowardly and would NOT solve my problem...and not to mention it being one of the most selfish things anyone could do. No...I felt utterly alone...a I have many a time since....and the only thing that keeps my head up and keeps me going is my faith in God and my knowledge of His Son's Atonement. When I am at my lowest, that voice inside of me tells me to keep getting up; keep plugging along...because I know that when I feel my best is when I am living righteously, when I'm serving others, and when I'm grateful for everything that God has given me in this life.

Without my faith; without my creed, without my religion, I would be nothing. True religion is NOT a crutch; nor is it a way to make us "see" what we want to see. Who on earth would naturally want to live the life I choose to live?? My "natural" self would deny it. But that's the whole damn point. Do you have any idea what strength of character and perseverence it takes to stand up for one's hold firm and not give in even when one's own body is screaming for release?? But I believe in personal progression. Nothing worth learning and worth mastering was EVER easy...and the same goes for life. I believe we are on this earth to learn, to progress, and to become better people. Giving in to the natural man does NOT equate with progress. What we learn forms the people we become....and from making wrong decisions, yes we learn, but learning to make better and righteous decisions teaches us all the more.

No, living the way I do is NOT the easy way out. It's tough...yet, for some miraculous reason, it is truly what gives me the peace and joy I crave, the balance I need, and the support to help me endure to the end.

Call me what you want. But weak I never have been, and I never will be.

I wish my "friend" well. I do want her to be happy. But I cannot allow such people in my life. I need people who uplift and support me; not bring me down and invalidate me. Because I'm only human, and people DO affect one another.

Charlie's Monument

You know how when you're feeling good, you're feeling really good, and you feel like nothing can top the natural high you have -- and that life can't get any better?

And then there are those times when you're feeling really, really, low....sometimes perhaps to the point of not wanting to go on; your despair and heartache have taken over and you are absolutely certain that no pain in the world could be worse than yours?

Well here's a heads up, folks -- no matter what we each go through during our lives, our highs and our lows are REAL to each of us. We cannot compare ourselves to others. We cannot sit there and say "but why does he/she have that and I don't?" We cannot think that our pain is more severe than someone else's, or our joy more exquisite. For each and every person out there has their own package of experiences. Depending on their own unique strengths and weaknesses, their trials and their triumphs are as real and as devestating/glorious as YOURS are.

That's the great thing about humanity. We cannot compare ourselves because the human spirit is immeasurable. I guess some people may believe this makes each of us islands unto ourselves, but that is not the case. While we may not be able to compare specific experiences in our lives to others, there are always friends and family out there who have gone through the same highs and lows as we have -- and they are there for us and can understand those feelings even if they can't specifically empathize with the situation you may be in.

But that's what we have to try to do -- accept and understand one another and not judge. No one is better than anyone else. And this we know because there is One who suffered greater than us all. There is One who felt every high and low, every bit of joy and every bit of suffering, emotional, physical and spiritual, that every human being who has ever existed and ever will exist has and will experience. And He is the one who has commanded us to love one another. And that means bearing each other's burdens, mourning with those who mourn, and comforting those who stand in need of comfort. There is One who has descended below us all -- and if He can do that, I think we should at least make the effort.

Charlie's Monument

God, before he sent his children into the world, gave each of them a carefully selected package of problems.

"These, He promised smiling, are yours alone.

"Only you have the special talents and abilities that will make these problems your servants, and no one else may have the blessing these problems will bring you.

"So, go down to your birth, and to your forgetting.

"Know that I love you beyond measure.

"The problems I give you are a token of my love.

"The monument you make of your life, with the help of your problems, will be a token of your love for me."

Your Father

Reference: Charlie's Monument - by Blaine M. Yorgason

Mar 31, 2006

What is an Awakening?

A time comes in your life when you finally get it... when in the midst of all your fears and insanity you stop dead in your tracks and somewhere the voice inside your head cries out - ENOUGH!.. Enough fighting and crying or struggling to hold on... And like a child quieting down after a blind tantrum, your sobs begin to subside, you shudder once or twice, you blink back your tears and through a mantle of wet lashes you begin to look at the world through new eyes.

This is your Awakening.

You realize it's time to stop hoping and waiting for something to change or for happiness, safety and security to come galloping over the next horizon. You come to terms with the fact that he or she is not Prince or Princess Charming and you are not Cinderella or Cinderfella, and in the real world there aren't always fairy tale endings (or beginnings for that matter), and that any guarantee of "happily ever after" must begin with you, and in the process, a sense of serenity is born of acceptance.

You awaken to the fact that you are not perfect and not everyone will always love, appreciate or approve of who or what you are... and that's OK. (They are entitled to their own views and opinions.) You learn the importance of loving and championing yourself, and in the process, a sense of new-found confidence is born of self-approval.

You stop criticizing and blaming other people for the things they did to you (or didn't do for you) and you learn that the only thing you can really count on is the unexpected. You learn people don't always say what they mean or mean what they say, and not everyone will always be there for you, and that it's not always about you. So, you learn to stand on your own and to take care of yourself, and in the process, a sense of safety and security is born of self-reliance.

You stop judging and pointing fingers, and you begin to accept people as they are, and to overlook their shortcomings and human frailties, and in the process, a sense of peace and contentment is born of forgiveness.

You realize that much of the way you view yourself and the world around you is as a result of all the messages and opinions that have been ingrained into your psyche. You begin to sift through all the beliefs you've been fed about how you should behave, how you should look, how much you should weigh, what you should wear, where you should shop, what you should drive, how and where you should live, what you should do for a living, who you should sleep with, who you should marry, what you should expect of a marriage, the importance of having and raising children or what you owe your parents.

You learn to open up to new worlds and different points of view. You begin reassessing and redefining who and what you are and what you really stand for. You learn the difference between wanting and needing, and you begin to discard the doctrines and values you've outgrown, or should never have bought into to begin with, and in the process you learn to trust your own knowing.

You learn it is truly in giving that we receive, that there is power and glory in creating and contributing, and you stop maneuvering through life merely as a "consumer" looking for your next fix.

You learn that principles such as honesty and integrity are not the outdated ideals of a by-gone era but the mortar that holds together the foundation upon which you must build a life.

You learn you don't know everything, it's not your job to save the world and you can't teach a pig to sing. You learn to distinguish between guilt and responsibility and the importance of setting boundaries and learning to say NO. You learn the only cross to bear is the one you choose to carry and that martyrs get burned at the stake.

You learn about love, romantic love and familial love. You learn how to love, how much to give in love, when to stop giving and when to walk away. You learn not to project your needs or your feelings onto a relationship. You learn you will not be more beautiful, more intelligent, more lovable or important because of the man or woman on your arm or the child that bears your name.

You learn to look at relationships as they really are, and not as you would have them be. You stop trying to control people, situations and outcomes. You learn just as people grow and change, so it is with love, and you learn you don't have the right to demand love on your terms just to make you happy.

You learn that alone does not mean lonely... and you look in the mirror and come to terms with the fact that you will never be a size 3 or a perfect 10 and you stop trying to compete with the image inside your head and agonizing over how you "stack up."

You also stop working so hard at putting your feelings aside, smoothing things over and ignoring your needs. You learn feelings of entitlement are perfectly OK... and that it is your right to want things and to ask for the things that you want... and that sometimes it is necessary to make demands.

You come to the realization that you deserve to be treated with love, kindness, sensitivity and respect and you won't settle for less. You allow only the hands of a lover who cherishes you to glorify you with his or her touch... and in the process you internalize the meaning of self-respect.

You learn your body really is your temple. You begin to care for it and treat it with respect. You begin eating a balanced diet, drinking more water and taking more time to exercise. You learn fatigue diminishes the spirit and can create doubt and fear so you take more time to rest. And, just as food fuels the body, laughter fuels our soul, so you take more time to laugh and to play.

You learn, that for the most part in life, you get what you believe you deserve... and that much of life truly is a self-fulfilling prophecy.

You learn anything worth achieving is worth working for and wishing for something to happen is different from working toward making it happen. More importantly, you learn in order to achieve success you need direction, discipline and perseverance. You also learn no one can do it all alone and that it's OK to risk asking for help.

You learn the only thing you must truly fear is the great robber baron of all time, FEAR itself. You learn to step right into and through your fears because you know whatever happens you can handle it and to give in to fear is to give away the right to live life on your terms. You learn to fight for your life and not to squander it living under a cloud of impending doom.

You learn life isn't always fair, you don't always get what you think you deserve and sometimes bad things happen to unsuspecting, good people. On these occasions you learn not to personalize things. You learn no one is punishing you or failing to answer your prayers. It is just life happening.

You learn to deal with evil in its most primal state - the ego. You learn negative feelings such as anger, envy and resentment must be understood and redirected or they will suffocate the life out of you and poison the universe that surrounds you. You learn to admit when you are wrong and to build bridges instead of walls.

You learn to be thankful and to take comfort in many of the simple things we take for granted, things that millions of people upon the earth can only dream about: a full refrigerator, clean running water, a soft warm bed, a long hot shower.

Slowly, you begin to take responsibility for yourself, by yourself, and to make yourself a promise to never betray yourself, and to never, ever settle for less than your heart's desire. You hang a wind chime outside your window so you can listen to the wind and you make it a point to keep smiling, to keep trusting, and to stay open to every wonderful possibility. Finally, with courage in your heart and with faith by your side you take a stand, you take a deep breath and you begin to design the life you want to live as best as you can.

~ Author Unknown ~

Mar 22, 2006

Did God create evil?


Did God create everything that exists? Does evil exist? Did God create evil?

A University professor at a well known institution of higher learning challenged his students with this question. "Did God create everything that exists?"

A student bravely replied, "Yes he did!"

"God created everything?" The professor asked.

"Yes sir, he certainly did," the student replied.

The professor answered, "If God created everything; then God created evil. And, since evil exists, and according to the principal that our works define who we are, then we can assume God is evil."

The student became quiet and did not respond to the professor's hypothetical definition. The professor, quite pleased with himself, boasted to the students that he had proven once more that the Christian faith was a myth.

Another student raised his hand and said, "May I ask you a question, professor?"

"Of course", replied the professor.

The student stood up and asked, "Professor, does cold exist?"

"What kind of question is this? Of course it exists. Have you never been cold?"

The other students snickered at the young man's question. The young man replied, "In fact sir, cold does not exist. According to the laws of physics, what we consider cold is in reality the absence of heat.

Everybody or object is susceptible to study when it has or transmits energy, and heat is what makes a body or matter have or transmit energy.

Absolute zero (-460 F) is the total absence of heat; and all matter becomes inert and incapable of reaction at that temperature. Cold does not exist. We have created this word to describe how we feel if we have no heat."

The student continued, "Professor, does darkness exist?"
The professor responded, "Of course it does."

The student replied, "Once again you are wrong sir, darkness does not exist either. Darkness is in reality the absence of light. Light we can study, but not darkness.

In fact, we can use Newton's prism to break white light into many colors and study the various wavelengths of each color. You cannot measure darkness. A simple ray of light can break into a world of darkness and illuminate it.

How can you know how dark a certain space is? You measure the amount of light present. Isn't this correct? Darkness is a term used by man to describe what happens when there is no light present."

Finally the young man asked the professor, "Sir, does evil exist?"

Now uncertain, the professor responded, "Of course, as I have already said. We see it everyday. It is in the daily examples of man's inhumanity to man. It is in the multitude of crime and violence everywhere in the world. These manifestations are nothing else but evil.

To this the student replied, "Evil does not exist, sir, or at least it does not exist unto itself. Evil is simply the absence of God. It is just like darkness and cold, a word that man has created to describe the absence of God.

God did not create evil. Evil is the result of what happens when man does not have God's love present in his heart. It's like the cold that comes when there is no heat, or the darkness that comes when there is no light."

The professor sat down.

The young man's name -- Albert Einstein.

(and..just an FYI...some people have heard that Albert Einstein flunked out of school. This is not the case. He attended the Federal Polytechnic Academy in Zurich, Switzerland. He DID have problems with subjects unrelated to science and math...and he wasn't accepted immediately to the school until he took the entrance exam again (he failed French). But yes, he DID go to school.

Mar 21, 2006

Another death...

This morning as I hurriedly fed the cats and got ready for work, I stopped by Nemo's tank to give him his daily food. I had just gotten him a new tank a few weeks ago because 1 clown fish in a 20 gallon algae-covered tank was inane. So I bought this nice, small tank for him to enjoy.

Nemo was down in the air pump when I looked in there. This didn't alarm me particularily. I bought Nemo 4 years ago when I was trying to cultivate a thriving 10 gallon tank full of various fish. He was very nervous around the others; his whiskers shook and he did what he could to hide. Somehow though the rest of my fish died (as they usually do) yet Nemo remained alive. He started to thrive in his new mansion...and despite being a bottom feeder he enjoyed swimming up and down and all the width of the entire tank. He'd literally lay down to sleep...use a rock as his pillow (NO JOKE) and fall asleep. Nemo also was an amazing magician; he'd disappear for days on end and no one could find him. I'd empty the entire tank and he wouldn't be there...but then he'd re-appear the next day as if nothing had happened!

Often times he'd scared the crap out of me for fear that he was dead. You see, Nemo liked to play dead. He'd float up to the filter or the top of the tank and just lie there, belly up...not moving at all. Then I'd reach in to take him to his new home (down the toilet and OUT), he'd suddenly wake up and run away as if to say "neener neener neener! I fooled ya!". For this very reason I figured he was doing the same thing today.

I started knocking on the tank and calling him to eat (yes, he'd come when I called him). I then saw him floating in the air tube and started to laugh. I then bent down and looked closely and then I saw it -- his eyes glazed over in that frightful stare of the dead. I called out for my roomie to come help me make absolutely SURE he was dead....and she came out of her room laughing and telling me he was just up to his usual tricks.

She bent down to look at him and then said, "well, that right there is DEFINITELY a dead Nemo."

So we said adieu to our dear friend and flushed him down the toilet.

Nemo had personality. I've never had a fish like him. I don't normally miss my pet fish because there is no real attachment there; but with Nemo it was different. He had such character and vitality, and he lived at least 4 years (unheard of for most freshwater fish). He loved his home; he loved playing tricks...and he loved greeting me in the morning.

I will seriously miss him.

Mar 20, 2006

Saddam/Al-Qaida link found in released prewar Iraqi documents

For those of you who want to know...and for those of you who may speak Arabic or know someone who does, ODNI (Office of the Director of National Intelligence) have released the confiscated documents from prewar Iraq. More and more will be posted in the months ahead. Some translations are available.

Here's the story:

US releases confiscated prewar Iraqi document

Here's the link to the Operation Iraqi Freedom Documents:

Operation Iraqi Freedom Documents.

Here's just one letter (written by a member of Saddam's Al Mukabarat, reporting on a pre-9/11 convo between an Iraqi intelligence source and a Taliban Afghani consul).

Here's the translation:

In the Name of God the Merciful
Presidency of the Republic

Intelligence Apparatus

To the respectful Mr. M.A.M

Subject: Information

Our source in Afghanistan No 11002 (for information about him see attachment 1) provided us with information that that Afghani Consul Ahmad Dahestani (for information about him see attachment 2) told him the following:

1. That Osama bin Laden and the Taliban in Afghanistan are in contact with Iraq and it that previously a group from Taliban and Osama Bin Laden group visited Iraq.

2. That America has proof that the government of Iraq and Osama bin Laden group have shown cooperation to hit target within America.

3. That in case it is proven the involvement of Osama bin Laden group and the Taliban in these destructive operations it is possible that American will conduct strikes in Iraq and Afghanistan.

4. That the Afghani Consul heard about the subject of Iraq relation with Osama Bin Laden group during his stay in Iran.

5. In light of this we suggest to write to the Commission of the above information.

Please view Yours With regards

Signature:, Initials : A.M.M, 15/9/2001

Foot note: Immediately send to the Chairman of Commission


I just find this very interesting and thought I'd share it with anyone else who does. Rep. Pete Hoekstra of Michigan lobbied for the data's release and said it was important that the public be able to view it. "We're hoping to unleash the power of the Internet, unleash the power of the blogosphere, to get through these documents and give us a better understanding of what was going on in Iraq before the war," he said.

One thing I love about America -- we have the freedom to be able to view such intelligence documents and "help" out. Sometimes one person CAN make a difference.


Feb 5, 2006

Football and Christ

"In team sports, it doesn't matter which of the players makes the points. When one individual scores, the whole team scores. If the quarterback throws a touchdown ball to the tight end, then it doesn't matter that the guards never touched the ball, or even that the defense was sitting on the bench. It doesn't matter that some on the team may have missed their blocks or run the wrong routes. It doesn't even matter that the second- or third-string hadn't yet been in the game. When one member of the team scores, the whole team scores. In terms of who wins, it doesn't matter whether we are on the offense or the defense, in the backfield or line, or on the first-stirng, second-string, or special teams. The entire team wins, not just the individual who makes the winning score.

"In making the gospel covenant, we become part of a team whose captain and quarterback is Jesus Christ, a cosmic Heisman Trophy winner who throws nothing but touchdowns. If we are on his team, we will go undefeated. Even if I miss my block now and then, even if he asks me just to sit on the bench most of the time, as long as he's the captain, we're going to win. But I've got to be in his team, not my own and not on somebody else's."

Since today is SuperBowl Sunday, and's also a Sunday...I thought I'd share one of my favorite analogies from Dr. Stephen Robinson (he was the father of one of my roommates at BYU and also the author of "Believing Christ"). This is from "Believing Christ", an analogy given to help illustrate that great dilemma, the fact that God cannot look upon sin with the least degree of allowance, yet we are all sinners, we sin every could we possibly hope to inherit the kingdom and return home to Him? By taking the shortcut. By recognizing that we can't do it alone...that we are going to fail....that our spirits and bodies are in constant struggle and will NOT be one until the resurrection...and in recogizing that the only way is the perfect giving everything we have and believing Christ when He said He can save us through His infiinte Atonement. So many of us Christians believe IN Christ; believe IN His identity, but we don't believe Him and what He has promised. But by having faith in His promise and recognizing that yes the gospel can work for each one of us, regardless of background, past choices, talents, or personal strength...we can finally find joy and realize that in that eternal celesital partnership with Him, we CAN become perfect...because He and us are One.

In forming that partnership, through repentance and faith, Christ can literally erase all of our sins and in Him we can be made perfect. This is not individual perfection, but perfection in Christ. And through that partnership, we can borrow His strength where we need it to lead better lives. We can find more desire to live purposefully and less desire to live in a way that can be damaging to us spiritually and physically. Only through Him can we find that strength and overcome. And the most amazing miracle of it all is this; that He has made this partnership available to everyone, and has made it easy to be part of his team...all we have to do is ask. Sure, life isn't easy for anyone...but our burdens CAN be made light when we finally believe Christ.

Feb 4, 2006


No, nothing spectacular has happened; in fact, things have been getting steadily worse in my life, but I am still here to say that life itself is still wonderful :)

While I've missed several days of work due to severe neck and back pain, I am seeing a Physical Therapist who is helping me in ways I've never been helped before.

A new 8-week salsa class starts soon, and since it's focused primarily on salsa and not on all latin dance, I'm looking forward to it. I'm excited about this new hobby of mine and excited to see the progress I have made so far.

I am also seeing a Psychologist to help me learn how to get better control of my emotions, so that I don't have emotional breakdowns or "episodes" as frequently. For those of you who know me, I am very loving, very open, and very tender-hearted. I wear my heart on my sleeve. I don't play "the game" very well, because to me, human relationships are far too precious to be playing games with. However, I also have realized that despite my belief in that fact, I do know that my concern, love, and my outbursts concern people who love me, and can be very burdensome, and sometimes I say things out of pure love or concern that end up only hurting people. While this has gotten less and less frequent over the past 11 years since the problem was first brought to my attention, I still have a ways to go. But I'm slowly but surely learning the proper manner of dealing with such....and I'm grateful for that.

I'm grateful for trials; for heartache, for pain and for strife. It sucks to go through it; and sometimes you get to the point where you don't want to go on anymore. But when I get to that point, I remember to count my blessings, I remember everything I have, the people who love me. It is the adversity in our life that refines us and makes us better people. Without knowing darkness, we would never be able to appreciate light. I've also learned that happiness is a CONSCIOUS DECISION. I'm learning that it's up to ME, not anyone else, to make me happy:)

And so that is my choice. To be grateful, to be humble, and to be happy. And for the most part, it is working:)

Jan 25, 2006

Women are like apples

Women are like apples on trees. The best ones are at the top of the tree. Most men don't want to reach for the good ones because they are afraid of falling and getting hurt. Instead, they sometimes take the apples from the ground that aren't as good, but easy.

The apples at the top think something is wrong with them, when in reality, they're amazing. They just have to wait for the right man to come along, the one who's brave enough to climb all the way to the top of the tree.

Share this with women who are good apples, even those who have already been picked!

Jan 24, 2006

Kid's thoughts on love

Kids Thoughts on Love

Thanks, Animated Vixen for sending this via bulletin. It was beautiful!

A group of professional people posed this question to a group of 4 to 8 year-olds, "What does love mean?"

The answers they got were broader and deeper than anyone could have imagined. See what you think:

"When my grandmother got arthritis, she couldn't bend over and paint her toenails anymore. So my grandfather does it for her all the time, even when his hands got arthritis too. That's love."
Rebecca- age 8

"When someone loves you, the way they say your name is different. You just know that your name is safe in their mouth."
Billy - age 4

"Love is when a girl puts on perfume and a boy puts on shaving cologne and they go out and smell each other."
Karl - age 5

"Love is when you go out to eat and give somebody most of your French fries without making them give you any of theirs."
Chrissy - age 6

"Love is what makes you smile when you're tired."
Terri - age 4

"Love is when my mommy makes coffee for my daddy and she takes a sip before giving it to him, to make sure the taste is OK."
Danny - age 7

"Love is when you kiss all the time. Then when you get tired of kissing, you still want to be together and you talk more. My Mommy and Daddy are like that. They look gross when they kiss"
Emily - age 8

"Love is what's in the room with you at Christmas if you stop opening presents and listen."
Bobby - age 7 (Wow!)

"If you want to learn to love better, you should start with a friend who you hate,"
Nikka - age 6

"Love is when you tell a guy you like his shirt, then he wears it everyday."
Noelle - age 7

"Love is like a little old woman and a little old man who are still friends even after they know each other so well." (awwwww, isn't that the truth!)
Tommy - age 6

"During my piano recital, I was on a stage and I was scared. I looked at all the people watching me and saw my daddy waving and smiling. He was the only one doing that. I wasn't scared anymore."
Cindy - age 8

"My mommy loves me more than anybody. You don't see anyone else kissing me to sleep at night."
Clare - age 6

"Love is when Mommy gives Daddy the best piece of chicken."
Elaine-age 5

"Love is when Mommy sees Daddy smelly and sweaty and still says he is handsomer than Robert Redford."
Chris - age 7

"Love is when your puppy licks your face even after you left him alone all day."
Mary Ann - age 4

"I know my older sister loves me because she gives me all her old clothes and has to go out and buy new ones."
Lauren - age 4

"When you love somebody, your eyelashes go up and down and little stars come out of you." (what an image)
Karen - age 7

"Love is when Mommy sees Daddy on the toilet and she doesn't think it's gross."
Mark - age 6

"You really shouldn't say 'I love you' unless you mean it. But if you mean it, you should say it a lot. People forget."
Jessica - age 8

And the final one -- Author and lecturer Leo Buscaglia once talked about a contest he was asked to judge. The purpose of the contest was to find the most caring child.

The winner was a four year old child whose next door neighbour was an elderly gentleman who had recently lost his wife.

Upon seeing the man cry, the little boy went into the old gentleman's yard, climbed onto his lap, and just sat there.

When his Mother asked what he had said to the neighbour, the little boy said,

"Nothing, I just helped him cry." (This one really made the Spirit stir within me!)

Jan 12, 2006

Some of my Favorite SNL Skits

Brian Fellow's Safari Planet: Talking bird
My favorite episode of Safari Planet :)

Behind the Music: Blue Oyster Cult
Christopher Walken & Will Ferrell are genius...more cowbell, anyone?

For all you alkalarians out there....

Telemundo (w/ Christina Aguilera)
If you have EVER seen a soap opera on Telemundo, you'll laugh your ass off watching this parody!

Brian Fellow's Safari Planet: Evil Goat
Man, I miss Tracey Morgan!

Jan 1, 2006

I have never had so many men vying for my attention...

...since I lived in Spain. My gosh, now I know why I do NOT GO TO CLUBS Well ok, it was wonderfully ego boosting...I mean 20 minutes there, a guy tells the bartender that he wants to buy me a drink. He's real cute (the guy...AND the bartender, lol) and so the bartender asks me, "what you drinking?"

"Shirley Temple" I said seriously. The bartender started laughing. Ok so it IS funny...but hey, that's me :)

So then I keep looking at the guy to thank him but he doesn't look at me. Now for those of you who don't know me, I have ZERO skills in bar/club etiquette. I have no idea how this all works. I don't go to bars/clubs. But suddenly before I know it he's at my side...and I mean LITERALLY at my side. He's pushing into me, chatting it up, blah blah blah. Well he asks me to dance and I go dance a few numbers with know, bumping and grinding kind of thing, which I haven't done in a LONG time. I go back to my post at the bar, get some water, and the midnight countdown is he and his two friends grab me and at midnight he kisses me. Ok so that was weird for me, lol. Well after another dance, the girlfriend of his hot friend comes up to me and tells me, "you know, Eric really is in to you. He's shy, but as soon as he saw you walk in, he knew he wanted to buy you a drink and get to know you. But I know how it is to be hit on by men you're not interested in. So just let me know...I'd rather break his heart than have you do it." She was really cool...I told her, "hey, I'm not looking for anything, as long as he understands that, we're cool."

Later, his friend comes over and informs both of us that we are gorgeous, and gorgeous women like us need to be dancing. Gilly and I just looked at each other and started to laugh...but we promised him we'd be out there if they stopped playing Ricky Martin :)

Anyway, at the countdown Gilly wasn't out on the floor with us (I think she was on the phone) but the funny thing is...she ended up kissing him too! More like making out, LOL. She said to me that she thought he was cute..and since I didn't seem so interested, could she go for the kill? I was like "hey, I don't care!" So they started doing shots together, and then "Yeah" by Usher came on, so this hot guy named Bruce pulled me out on the dance floor...very good dancer I might add...and before you know it, I see Gilly totally GRINDING with Eric :) Man that girl can DANCE! Bruce looked over and said, "man they're going at it!" I just couldn't help but smile. I was glad they were hitting it off.

Well after midnight they started selling roses so some other random guy buys a rose and hands it to me. Bruce is telling me what a damn hot body I have and what a fantastic dancer I the end of the night he gave me a rose, too. I got asked to dance by ANOTHER guy when they started playing the last few songs before bar time... and then at 2am another guy leans over to use Gilly's lighter and informs me how stunning I am. Yeah, go figure.

Ok before anyone thinks I'm tooting my own horn, trust me, people, this is NOT something I'm used to. I always figured I was good-looking, but damn, I am just not used to all that. It was so weird...I mean it felt good to know I looked hot and was desirable in person (not just online lol) but what do you do when one guy is grinding his crotch into your knee, has his arm around you while making out with one of your best friends and some other guy is talking to you and trying to get you to stay for the after party?? Girls, how do you normally deal with this?? And let me remind you, I was dead SOBER.

But anyway, I smell like smoke (yuck) and I'm was fun, they played so much hip/hop and stuff that I am used to listening to. But I don't think I'm going to make clubbing a regular thing, LOL....maybe only those times I'm needing an ego boost:)

Well Happy New Year everybody..I hope 2006 brings you everything you hope for and more!