Injury, Episode 1.

2017 marks 20 years since my mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Every Monday, I’ll be posting tales from that time.

Today, a story with no real lesson. Just an old-fashioned missionary story.

While in the MTC, we were allotted time every week to run, walk, or play sports. With three weeks remaining before I would leave for Montreal, I was playing basketball with some other missionaries, when someone launched a half-court shot that fell way short and nailed me in the side of my head and knocked me down.

I stood up, dizzy and nauseous and seeing spots, so the on-site trainer ordered me to the local hospital to make sure I wasn’t seriously concussed. 10 minutes earlier, another missionary I knew had been hit in the head with a volleyball, and as we waited for a van to take us to the hospital, another missionary suffered an unfortunate rebounding incident and ended up with a split eyelid.

So we all spent several hours in the ER, and by the time we had each been seen, we realized the cafeteria would be closed and dinner would not be in our futures.

But our driver–who just so happened to be a friend of my BYU roommates–took pity on us and took us to McDonalds.

None of us had eaten food from the outside world in weeks, so the chicken sandwich and fries more than made up for the mild concussion.


Merry Christmas, or Clean Eating.

Since yesterday’s post was a bit of a downer, I thought I’d share my foray into the trend of “clean eating,” as it has provided me some decent humor this week.

For reasons I won’t go into here, I decided I’d spend my two weeks off of school experimenting with this “clean eating” business. In all of my googling efforts, the best option, believe it or not, came from this Buzzfeed post.
Yes, I am taking nutritional advice from Buzzfeed. Please, judge away. Also of note, when I mentioned to my trainer that I was trying “clean eating,” he cocked his head to one side and said, “Uhhh, no.” I had to quickly explain that I wasn’t being fanatical about it and that I’d already had to supplement one meal with cottage cheese and a clementine. He rolled his eyes and said, “Just don’t be stupid with it.”
Anyway. I looked through the recipes and they all seemed easy enough, so I printed off the grocery list for Week 1 and on Saturday, I set out for my local grocery store. I realized early into my trip that substitutions would be necessary. For one, I have some dietary restrictions that made some of the recipes a little scary. For another, I didn’t think spending $200 on one week of groceries was in my best interest.
So when the grocery list calls for a pound of arugula and the grocery store only sells it in 2 oz. boxes at $2.19 a box, the only logical choice is is to substitute a bag or two of spring mix salad. (And really, a pound of arugula? A POUND?) Also, chia seeds would be a staple in at least three recipes. My grocery store sells them in an 8 oz box that is $8.99. I’m assuming these seeds have multiple powers, including giving me the ability to teleport and see the future.
Another modification: kale. the grocery list called for 3 bunches. In the summer, when kale is $.79 a bunch, sure. But at this time of year, it was $1.99 a bunch. One would have to do. Plus, have you tasted kale? They should give it away and thank their lucky stars people want to take it off their hands. 
I picked up most everything on the list and rolled up to the checkout line. 
“$150. Don’t be shocked if it’s $150,” I told myself. 
This is a game I play when I buy groceries–I try to brace myself for the worst possible outcome. I tend to overestimate my costs by a healthy margin–one time I thought for sure I’d spent $100, when I’d really only spent $45–so I don’t faint from sticker shock. So even though I was mentally prepared for $150, a small part of my brain thought I’d probably come in around $90.
“Your total is $123.77,” the checker said.
My knees buckled and I faked a smile as I swiped my debit card. My mind raced.
Oh my gosh what did I just do I am crazy how does anyone eat like this on a regular basis and I have a $9 box of chia seeds for why? 

Tune in tomorrow to discover why I have a $9 box of chia seeds.

Joy in the Frickin’ Journey

I teach the adult Sunday School class, and in yesterday’s lesson, I asked the million dollar question:

What is our purpose in life?

The answer?

To have joy.

We talked about how we often conflate joy and happiness and pleasure, and that while those words at some times might mean the same things, often they don’t. And one wise woman noted that it is up to us to see the joy every day–it’s there if we just look.

How does this tie in to my February goal of laughing? Here’s what I realized today: I laugh every day. In casual conversations with friends and students, very rarely do I not laugh. It’s ridiculous for me to try and set a goal to laugh, because I’m already there. Laughing is just part of my life.

And I’m glad it is, because I can’t imagine how much more difficult my life would be if I couldn’t laugh every day. My dad often reminds us that destinations aren’t always that important, that our journeys provide more learning and experience than arriving somewhere. This line of thought drives me crazy most of the time, but he has a point. But it is up to us to find the joy, or happiness, or pleasure in life. It makes the trip of life a lot more tolerable.

So if you haven’t found joy today, look around. For me, right now at this moment, it’s laying on the couch, catching up on Twitter. I have Internet, I have a computer, I have a warm blanket on my feet, and I was home before 5 PM. It’s a good day.

A Thursday

I’m home for a few minutes before going out on a school night.

I don’t usually like to do this, but when a kid who loves Arrested Development and shares your opinion of The Big Lebowski invites you to his band’s show at a decent venue, you throw caution to the wind and you go.

If I wasn’t going to his show, I’d be watching Groundhog Day for today’s laugh. Instead, today’s laugh was just little things, like when my AP kids told me there’s actually a Twilight Jacob doll that has chiseled abs. SERIOUSLY? Yes, seriously.

But before I head out for my night on the town, if today happens to be your birthday, Happy Birthday. I really hope it was a good one.