Thursday, November 29, 2012

hiccups and dart guns. what more do you need?

hiccup. it's my new name, train your dragon style.

a mouse like, sneeze like, bird like, high pitched hiccup has plagued my life for the last year. it likes to come out at the most inconvenient times- such as, in meetings, class, or at the library when it is as quiet as can be. I am blessed in the sense that it is a "cute" noise but it doesn't make the constant hiccuping any easier or less distracting (and slightly embarrassing at times). I have had lots of different reactions to my hiccuping- smiles, laughs, "bless you"s, comments, you name it. Luckily, no one has told me of the hatred for them yet, and it all tends to be positive.

this is a lot of background to tell the "best reaction" story of ALL time. So here it is. it's Thursday night. I have my devilishly long class from 6-8:30, which my diaphragm decided would be a great time for yet another fit of the hiccups, not surprising. (they are chronic, every day, multiple times a day, for the last year- i have a doctor's appointment when I go home for Christmas) I was sitting towards the back, our teacher made a comment about them (they are disruptive) and then class continued on as I tried to hold in my hiccups. class ended and Sadie, Lisa, and I continued talking as we walked outside- we braved the cold as Sadie continued telling us about deciding to marry Spencer, when another boy in our class walked out. He knew Sadie so he stopped to talk. Per usual a few moments later I hiccuped. He freaked- in the happiest way. He got so excited, and ran to me and shook my hand and said he was so glad to meet me. He was in the front and didn't know who had the high pitched hiccups and he thought they were great. I had no idea how to respond- i just laughed and said, "thank you." I had instant celebrity status; it was great. He ended the night by telling me it was so nice to meet me and that he would remember me when I became famous- who knew hiccups could be such a good thing?

I came home- retold the story to anyone who would listen, but somehow I couldn't, and still can't, fully explain how hysterical this moment was. The rest of the night might have topped the charts for "good nights" as we avoided homework with not one, but TWO, dart gun fights. Betrayal happened left and right as coalitions were built and quickly dismantled.

My skills were honed in preparation for Christmas Dart Gun Fight 2012. best. tradition. ever.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


This post comes from an answer to an essay question.... It seemed perfect for the thanksgiving- enjoy the holidays, and be grateful...

...also it was timed- so it was written in an hour- meaning I apologize for any mistakes or incoherent thoughts...


Fall is in the air. The weather is becoming cool and crisp, and the sound of crunching leaves can be heard underfoot. It is the time to break out warm jackets and scarves and eat everything with the word pumpkin in it. Thanksgiving is right around the corner. Lists of what people are grateful for will plague refrigerators right along side hand print turkeys. Is gratitude something that should be thought of just around the time we consume exuberant amounts of turkey? The answer is no. Researchers have found that being grateful has an effect on relationships and, as one researcher put it, is vital to the maintaining of relationships.

What is gratitude? It is simply saying thank you when someone holds the door open for you, or gets you what you want for Christmas? It is so much more than the words “Thank You.” Gratitude is something that is felt when someone experiences something that makes his or her life better. It can be seen as self-serving in the sense that as you express gratitude or take on a grateful perspective your life will become more positive and have more meaning, but it is generative. As you express gratitude it will grow. We can see this by looking at the four ways one can measure gratitude.

There are four aspects that go into gratitude; intensity, frequency, span, and density. Intensity refers to the amount of gratitude you feel about a certain thing. Frequency is how often you feel grateful. Span is the time period you might feel grateful about (your whole life, the last five years, etc), and density looks at how you are able to see the mass amounts of effort that had to go into one event (i.e. Graduating from High School. Are you grateful for just your teachers or for the lunch ladies, the bus driver, your fellow students, etc?) By looking at these four measures one can better understand how grateful a person is, and as they increase in any of the four areas they can see greater affects.

Gratitude is essential to relationships because it allows your partner to feel appreciated and safe. The articles discussed how the is risk that comes with any relationship, the risk that you will get hurt as you become more vulnerable. However, by showing gratitude one is able to feel more secure in a relationship. We can gain better insight into the idea of gratitude by looking at a model developed for sacrifice seen below.

*i dont know how to draw the model in blogger- im not that advanced... so imagine the below characteristics all inter-related with positive correlations*

Amount of sacrifice 
Perception of other’s pro-relational behaviors

This model is to look at the amount of sacrifice in a given relationship and how it affects other aspects of the relationship. However, by affecting the perception of one’s view of their partner we can see the same ripples throughout the relationship. By feeling more grateful for what someone has done for you, you will have a higher level of commitment. This is because you are aware of their pro-relational behaviors, and can feel more secure in the relationship. The risk goes down, and you appreciate and feel appreciated by your partner. Also as you are grateful for those things your partner has done for you, you will be more likely to want to sacrifice for them, because it is not a one-way street. These effects can be seen in trust in the relationship as well as dependence.

For a long time gratitude was viewed as a weakness. As you said, “thank you,” you were admitting that you needed their help that you were dependent on them and this made you weak. However, we can see through studies that interdependence facilitates strong relationships. Rather than having parallel marriages, living independent lives side by side, you interact, and rely on each other. Which in turn creates higher levels of trust and commitment within the relationship.

Being grateful can also help one to become more optimistic and positive about life. As you look for the good in life, you will find it. The same goes for the bad. As we have discussed in class the bad is stronger than the good. This is because of a myriad of issues. One might say for survival, or because we fixate and think about the bad more than the good, it has lasting repercussions; the list could go on and on. Whatever the explanation, we can see that the bad effects people more than the good. However what if by taking a grateful view of the bad we were able to change those bad experiences to good. Would it make the event even stronger? I would theorize that it would.

Gratitude is something that has seeped into my life. A gratitude journal has helped me to see my Heavenly Father’s hand constantly in my life, and has given me a more optimistic outlook on life. My life is good. However, that is not to say the bad has not come. One of these “bad” times came as a relationship ended. Thought of getting married and starting a future, were replaced with heartbreak and uncertainty. I went from being “happy Ellie” to simply being a shell of a person. Life seemed miserable. Over the next few months, and even years I have seen the amazing blessing that have come from that “bad” experience. What was the hardest time in my life, is now viewed as one of the greatest blessing in my life. I am grateful for it because of the lesson I have learned, and experiences I have had because of it. I am no longer that “shell” but rather have a fuller, more enriched life. When bad things do happen, I can look back and see how it all works out in the end. By looking for the silver lining in the bad, by taking a grateful perspective, one can change the bad into good, which will in essence change their life. But how can you be grateful for death or a flat tire? Is there anything that is too bad, that by being grateful you can’t turn it into a good? By focusing rather on the blessing that come from the bad, even if that is just to give you a more grateful attitude for the good that does come in your life you can have a more optimistic and positive life, which will positively affect those around you and your family life.

We can see from the research and the discussion about how important gratitude is, so why is the whole world not walking around counting their blessings and constantly saying thank you? Is this something that is a core personality trait, or rather something that can be learned? While gratitude might come easier to certain individuals as part of their personality, it is a skill that can be learned. As one focuses on trying to increase the frequency, intensity, span, or density of their gratitude they will see that gratitude will become more natural. They will find they have more things to be grateful for, and they can change their perception.

Gratitude is not something that should fill our minds in the month of November, but should be constantly part of our life. By looking for the good, and appreciating others, we will see increase in our relationship satisfaction, as well in our personal optimism and well-being. 

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

a choice.


it's amazing. and i love it so much.

we get to choose. we get to choose what we want our life to be like. we get to choose our attitude. we get to choose to not be offended. and we get to choose who we love. we even get to choose who to vote for.

however, other people have agency too- which isn't always the happiest. they don't always choose the way YOU think they should, but if they chose how you would, wouldn't that be taking away their agency?

i think my favorite part is to remember that I have control over my emotion (minus the fact that I cry all the time). That I am an agentive being. Life can stink at times. If you looked at my day yesterday it would probably top the charts for bad days- however, it didn't seem so bad. It was only when I was recounting the events to friends that I realized how it good look like an awful day. But what does being sad, or upset about the day do? NOTHING. not a single thing. Instead you just wallow in self pity which is the lamest.

I am so blessed. I have an amazing family and friends who show me more love than I probably deserve.  I have a home, and food on the table. On Saturday we served dinner to the homeless. It was so humbling to see them, and how grateful they were. My life is so easy- yes, I have unfortunate things happen (like my professor telling us our major is useless- happy graduation in April with a useless major and having to change when I go to the temple). Unfortunate, but not awful. I think as you take a grateful attitude (happy november- and thanksgiving) that you realize it is a waste of time to focus on the negative.

but the thing to remember is we have agency. we get the choice. we are in control. act, don't be acted upon. don't let life just happen to you. don't be a victim...

thats all. musings over.

Saturday, November 3, 2012


run a marathon
officially crossed off the bucket list.

I dont know how to start this post. do i tell about the day in narrative form? do I give all the background leading up to the actual race? do I tell about my emotions? my fears? lessons learned? I have no clue. so meet me word vomiting onto blank page staring back at me...

the week leading up.

monday and tuesday were great days as far as the marathon was concerned. I went to a friends house for dinner and her roommate had just run a marathon. She told me everything, and got me as excited as could be for the race. She told me things she had done which made the race more meaningful, such as dedicating each mile to a different person and then thinking about that person for that mile and why they are important to you. I was excited and feeling good.

The list.
Whole Race: Heavenly Father
1. Mary
2. Cathy (Mom)
3.  Bill (Dad)
4. Matt
5. Keri
6. Michael and Rachel
7. Jonathan and Chelsea
8. Becca and Jeff
9. Matt and Keri's Kids
10. Michael and Rachel's Kids
11. Jonathan and Chelsea's Kids
12. Kayla
13. Jenna
14. Cali
15. Diana
16. Grandparents
17. Extended Family
18. Student Services
19. EFY Youth
20. EFY 2011 Team
21. EFY 2012 Team
22. Past Roommates
23. Past Relationships
24. Future Kids
25. Future Husband
26. Me
* I could write a novel about why each of these people are so important to me but that would take this post from the size of China to the size of Russia
Then Wednesday came, I looked up information about packet pick-up, and other details of the actual race and suddenly was filled with the feeling of "oh crud, what did I sign up for!" I was scared. terrified. nervous. And what accompanies those emotions- nausea. So I felt sick to my stomach, and had no appetite which then made me more emotional inside and more nervous because if I didn't eat I would die on Saturday. (talk about a bad cycle to be in). I went to institute. turned down ice cream. (shocking I know). and then went to support our kickball team. skinny jeans and a cardigan- i had no thoughts of playing based on the track record for injuries on our team- who knew you could pull a muscle in kickball. So I went to cheer and build team morale. They won the first game in the tournament. the next game? right after. they only had 7 players and somehow convinced me to play. I felt emotionally unstable, and my normal excited self was replaced with oscar the grouch. I played- after borrowing a random girls shoes. The extent of me playing was kicking the ball (and not running to first) and standing at home plate, and pretending to play catcher. I went home, called my home teachers, and got a blessing that I would stop freaking out and be able to eat.

the shoes Josh found for me. shiny. and 2 sizes too big.

the next day was better. I was able to eat, but still was apprehensive about the upcoming race. I scrambled that night to get everything set. I ran to runner's corner and stocked up on gu for the race, and got some last minute tips from the worker man. I washed all my clothes, packed, and loaded my phone with music. What I thought would take 15 minutes took 2 hours because of "updates" so rather than getting to bed at 10, it was after midnight.

I have the bestest hometeachers- who know the way to my heart. They stopped by on thursday with a "naked" protein drink for "pre-marathon" and double stuff oreos for "post-marathon"

friday morning was full of excitement. my parents were on the plane, everyone at work was wishing me luck. Jessica (the sweetest girl in the whole wide world) had gotten me some marathon necessities including icy hot. and it felt real. 5 hours of work and one class later, I was home packing the car and doing some last minute cleaning. And then we were off. We swung by Matt and Keri's to pick up the rents, gave some hugs, jumped in the back and started the 4 hour drive down to St. George.

St George. the day before.

The drive was good. Mary and I slept, and talked. Bill told his injury stories, which always bring entertainment. Mary and I discussed how the race was going to work. She had kidney stones and wasnt sure if she would do it, but made me promise if she did I would be honest and leave her if she was holding me back. I told her that she wasn't allowed to say "you can leave me" until she absolutely meant it. honesty. the best policy.

we got to st george and made our way to the Dixie Convention Center to pick up our packets. bib number 8087.

 the expo was huge, and I could have wandered around all the different booths all night. We stopped by the cliff bar stand for Bill, and I grabbed a pacing wristband. coolest thing ever. I loved it. and then we were off to carbo-load at the pasta factory with the hostetters.

The wait was long, and the longer I stood there the more nervous I felt for the next day, and the more I just wanted to be in bed. Luck had it that a family they called was no longer there, so we got to go earlier than expected. We pushed the tables together and all gathered around ready for some delicious food. Mary and I sat there in shock as the others talked about there excitement and hopeful times. I just wanted to finish. False, I just wanted to go back to May and not sign up. What had I done? Mary and I split the pesto pasta (My boss' advice was to not eat more than you usually do so you dont feel sick, and considering we didn't have much of an appetite it was perfect). We ate quickly, made the "we need to go" face to the parental units and headed towards home. We made a pit stop at the finish line before making it to the Ryther's. We parked, got out, walked the last .1 miles of the race, visualized finishing, wanted to die, and then got back in the car. We made it to the Ryther's, had blessings (I needed all the help I could get), and then curled up in bed to give my body the last bit of rest it could get before the next morning.

race day.

the alarm went off early. I woke up excited. excited to put on my running gear. excited to get on the buses. and excited for the race. it was so different from the feelings of the day before.

writing out the "dedication list" before leaving for the race
about to load the buses. still scared as could be.
we made our way to the bus pick-up along with hundreds of other runners. we waited. loaded. and made the 26.2 mile journey to the starting line. I slept. that was the advice I had gotten from people. sleep on the bus, that way you don't mentally psych yourself out. That was always my least favorite part of our Saturday early morning runs. Making the drive and thinking of how I was going to run, it seemed to take forever, and my heart would sink. Sleeping was the best thing. Before I knew it we were at the start and I had no idea how long it had taken.

I LOVE start lines. there is such an energy. an excitement. The St. George Marathon has been voted one of the most organized races and you could tell. It was an amazing starting line complete with music, first aid, bon fires, and porta potties. I still love the line waiting for the bathroom before a race- weird, i know. but it was great. we waited among the crowds- went to the bathroom- and then it was time to start.
my favorite part is waiting in line for the porta pottys. weird? i know.
getting more excited
It was just another training run. that's what we kept telling ourselves. just take it easy. don't get too excited, don't pass people. just run. the first seven miles seemed to fly by as we talked about the people we had dedicated each mile to (an idea from Amanda Garlock's roommate). We told stories, and why we loved them. We talked about our own lives, and laughed at the signs along the road.

Mile 7 is when the hill started. it seemed to go on forever. 4 miles of uphill. it wasn't awful. we stayed on track to finish in under 5, even though we took a few walking breaks. Mary was an absolute trooper with her Kidney stones... i have no idea how she did it.

We stuck with what we had done training. "gu"s every 45 minutes. taking it easy. and just having fun. we made it to the half way point and Mary wasn't feeling so great. She had heard the idea of run five and walk one, and decided she wanted to try it. We had prepared for this. The moment where we would split. I knew I would go crazy walking- I was feeling great, but could I mentally do it alone? We talked about it for a little bit, and decided the time had come. She started walking and I kept pace. Immediately it was a battle of the mind. I felt overwhelmed thinking of the next hours by myself. I needed Mary- she distracted me... "no, I can do this. you've run a half alone, you can do this" it was a battle. I said a prayer that I would be able to have the strength and will power to finish without Mary. Suddenly she was next to me. Literally. She had the same thoughts, and decided she wasn't ready to break. The next few moments were filled with very cheesy sentences coming out of my mouth like "I missed you" "I couldn't do it without you" etc... we ran the next mile together, and then it was time. We hugged, and separated.

I was okay on my own. I people watched, and thought about life, and what I was accomplishing. I was lost in my thoughts when I heard someone say, "you were an efy counselor." I turned and a girl was talking to me. She had been in Ohio for the last few years and had recognized me. We talked for a bit, updating each other on our lives, and getting to know each other better, and then she stopped to walk. She was a tender mercy, and made that mile seem to fly by.

Mile 16. I got to see my parents. I had called my mom a mile before letting her know I was almost there and to make sure I was on the correct side of the road. She told me where they were, and I tried to talk to her while extremely winded. I was running down a hill, seeing the crowds of families below when I saw a man holding a sign, "may the course be with you" with a picture of yoda. It made me chuckle and I was going to tell him I liked his sign when I realized the man holding the sign was my dad. I have never been so happy to see him. I ran up and gave him a huge hug, before continuing to my mom waiting below. A family friend came and met me, and ran with me the rest of the way. All I wanted was a hug from my mom. She gave words of encouragement and I continued to run. 10 more miles to go. I was feeling good.
the hill before getting to where the parentals were
running in for the hug- gross and sweaty
Mile 17. not feeling so great anymore. my right quad was starting to bother me, it had never done this before and was the weirdest. the mental tricks started. trying to distract myself wasn't working. i could only focus on the weird pain in my leg. thinking about the person mile seventeen was dedicated worked for a few seconds. its funny how telling mary about them, and telling her stories seemed to take up the whole mile but I could recount all of my memories and emotions tied with that person to myself in a matter of seconds. I came up to the next aid station and they had biofreeze at the first aid station. I decided it was worth it to stop, and jogged over to them, lifted my running capris and had them apply it to my knees. The biofreeze seemed to seep up into my quads and it was absolute heaven.

Mile 19. Someone at the aid station was broadcasting conference. It was like an added boost of energy and the spirit and exactly what I needed. I felt rejuvenated, even if I only was able to hear 15 seconds of it broadcasted, it was a reminder that I wasn't running this race alone. We had never been alone, we had had the help of our Heavenly Father in training, and he was there with us on this race. I also renewed my love of orange slices. For some reason they taste heavenly during races and I can't get enough of them.

Mile 22. the biofreeze had rubbed off and the pain was back. this aid station had bengay rubs. I ran over, decided it was worth it and hiked my pants as high as I could so they could get to my quads. My black running capris now had some nice white smears, but it was well worth it. My legs felt great, and odd. Where the biofreeze had just numbed, I could feel this go from icy to hot. My legs just felt so warm, but it was good enough (it helped win the mental battle). I finally decided to break out my music. I had my playlist of songs with the word "run" in the title and it was amazing the energy it gave me. "Run Run Run" by Natasha Bedingfield... love. love. love.

Mile 24. They were handing out bags of ice. I grabbed one just to hold. The St. George heat was starting to kick in and i just wanted to be done with the race and in an ice bath. I held the ice in my hands and it did nothing but make my hands cold... it was worth a try

Mile 25. They handed out cold wash clothes. HEAVEN! they felt so wonderful. Also I got to see my parents again. I might have gotten a little teary eyed as I saw my mom. I was so close and I loved her so much.

Mile 26. .2 miles to go. I could see the finish line. the thought that crossed my mind "I could just stop right now. That is a valid option. I don't have to finish. I am done, I don't want to keep going." I kept going. but seriously... who thinks that when they see the finish line. dumb dumb dumb.

Mile 26.2. I finished. wanted to throw up when they gave me a popsicle and just wanted to lay down and pass out.

the finisher medals were the coolest

after the race.

cathy is the best and came and talked to me over the fence for what seemed like forever. she told me she was proud of me (probably the best words a daughter can hear). i told her i wanted to pass out. she told me I wasn't allowed to, but that I could lay down. I did. It made life ten times better. I ate food. great harvest bread equals perfection. the "runner's zone" was amazing with the most post raceness that I had ever seen. after waiting a while we decided to try to find mary. we walked back, saw Bill, kept walking and eventually found Mary and Cami Jo walking in. Mary was amazing. She had finished even though she felt awful. She had wanted to quit, but didn't know how to get the shuttles or "wagons of shame" to stop and pick her up so she just kept going. We walked the last 1.5 miles with her, and ran in with her.

mary still going strong.
she looked beautiful! but for real!

how we really feel after running. our half is on the left, and our full on the right.

The rest of the trip included an ice bath and an uncomfortable ride back to provo. My legs HATED me for making them sit in a car for four hours. That night we celebrated with Bangkok Grill take-out and seeing family.

all in all, it was a great experience. and it's true what they say- you catch a bug. I am ready to run another one. I thought there would be an amazing sense of accomplishment that came when I crossed the finish line. An instantaneous change in how I felt, and who I was. Its the same feeling that I thought would come when I turned 16, or when I stepped off the plane in Europe. It never comes. It is gradual. The change didn't come when I crossed the finish line, but when I woke up at 5 every saturday to train, when we signed up, when it seemed impossible after EFY, when we would go to bed early on friday nights after spending the evening driving the canyon to make sure it would be okay to run. It came slowly over time. It reminds me of the talk my dad gave at Arielle's baptism. He talked about how she probably wouldn't feel different after she got baptized because the change came as she learned to love the gospel. I still don't feel much different than before- it didn't feel like that great of an accomplishment (my mom said not to say that because it negates others who have run marathons... don't get me wrong it is hard and an amazing thing, but when I crossed the finish line it didn't seem like it was that hard... the reason? i trained, with Heavenly Father's help.)

I was sore that night, and the next day, but by Monday I felt back to normal. I could walk up and down stairs with minimal pain, and the only residual pain were my feet which took a beating. Luckily for me I have a doctor cousin, scotty, who performed surgery on my toe (aka drained a blister).

I feel this sense of needing a "lessons learned" section. but this blog post is already the size of china. so in short. all things are possible with the Lord, and you can do hard things if you put your mind to it. and I have the most amazing parents in the world. and friends and running buddies are essential.