Sierra's View: 2011

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Saturday, December 31, 2011

an explanation of the past few months...

Are you ready for this? It's kind of intense. Hey, I warned you. I would really like your input, advice, and opinion on this one! 

"Expectation is the root of all hatred." (See Expectation post.)
Isn't that the truth, though? When we expect specific actions, attributes, or achievements from another person, we are constantly going to be let down. My expectations, particularly at this point in time, are rather high because I want others to solve the pain and the things I can't quite figure out on my own right now. It's almost as if I want someone else to fix everything. I look for someone else to do everything right, because I can't seem to do it sufficiently. And when others do something wrong or hurtful (as they usually do unknowingly) it's abnormally devastating to me right now. Logically, I am fully aware that this reasoning is completely irrational and ridiculous, but my heart can't seem to cope any other way. When that person (whoever that person is) does not meet those expectations, often it turns into anger. People differ in their expressions of anger. Some yell, some cry, some avoid. But I have found that anger, ultimately, is the aftermath of expectations not being met. And sometimes that is a scary feeling. Although anger is an emotion that we have all felt, it is also the easier route to take. Because anger usually exists when another emotion is present, but that other feeling tends to be hidden even deeper in the internal structures of our body. We either don't have the tools, capability, or courage to go and find out what that other emotion is. When grief hits, when expectations are not met, anger tends to be the first emotion felt. Why? Because it is a lot easier to be angry, than to be fearful or to be hurt or to feel any other deeper, scarier emotion. Anger, like expectations, exists due to a lack of needs not being met. Recently, anger, for me,  has stemmed from those expectations of others not being met, but more importantly, it has arrived due to my imperfections in coping mechanisms. Then again, there is no perfect way to grieve. Everybody does it at their own speeds and in their own ways. But a part of me gets frustrated, angry, or confused with myself because I feel like it is silly to continue to be this sad. How in the world am I supposed to be feeling right now though? What is considered the "appropriate way" to deal? What is considered the right amount of time until all this pain dissipates? When will it be easy to talk about Holland? When will my family be "normal" again?

This Christmas Holiday has been okay. It's difficult to be home because the last time I was here was for her funeral. And so, through this "homeward bound" experience, this is what I have realized: Anger is easier to handle than grief. When I am angry, I can make everything about someone else, something else. I can even make it His fault. I can focus all my energy on punishing, refusing, or ultimately leaving an entire situation (metaphorically or literally). I have found that I am comforted by anger's sharp, precise lines and it's definite road map.
Grief, however, is a more complicated matter. It is something that I cannot direct. At all. It is about MY loss; everything I once cherished and believed in. It has a component of fear and one of regret--of wishing I could turn back the clock, to more vigilantly try to change things. Pay more attention. Love more fully. Be more available. When the grief hits (which it usually does, particularly at times when I am not even examining or recognizing it), I find myself looking inward, blaming myself for somehow feeling this way and allowing my emotions to rule everything; to destroy everything. Grief also has a disorienting effect, offering absolutely no game plan whatsoever, leaving me one option: to suffer there in the moment until it is usurped or taken over by anger or some unsuspecting emotion.

In midst of this roller coaster of anger, I have found that it is much easier to avoid others and cope internally. I am what psychologists  like to call an "avoider". It's not that I'm avoiding my feelings, I'm just avoiding explaining my feelings. Mostly because it's too complicated to attempt to explain in the first place.  I have been extremely cold and distant in the past few months (well, that's all relative. Cold and distant for me is rather different than someone else's cold and distant!) It is easier for me to be alone because in the quiet moments I can somehow feel a semblance of all the different paths my heart tends to be taking. I am trying so hard to figure out "what is going on with me." It's hard to be around others because I cannot fully explain what I am actually feeling in that moment. Emotions are not black and white right now. I'm not feeling "sad" or "lonely", I am feeling every single emotion piled into one. It's too difficult to explain because it's too difficult to pinpoint the particular emotion. The complexity is confusing though. It is not just a shade of one color. It's as if my emotions are an uneven amount of gray that can't decide if it wants to be black or white.

It also gets confusing because sometimes my grieving entails aspects of me; it's not even about Holland or Lexie or Nick anymore. I become sad and find myself in that rut; in that floodgate of multiple emotions, due to a loss of something else in my own life. Grieving is not just the loss of the specific people who have died in my life, but a loss of everything that I feel is missing. So now, I am not only grieving for Holland, or Ryan, or any others who have passed on before me, but I am grieving for the lack of companionship, drive, etc. in my own life. See how it turned around on me. And how is that fair? How selfish is that? It bothers me that grieving is such a selfish process. I don't mean to be emotional or selfish. My head tells me to get through it, to stop those particular actions. But unfortunately, after all the reading and research that I have done, that is not how the process goes. It's "normal" to go through all of this. Survival takes a portion of self absorption and it, in a way, has made me strangers to a lot of people because they could not relate. 

Yet, It's a constant circle of destruction. 
Because all of that emotion, all of that confusion, is then directed to the Lord. Even though I don't necessarily mean for it to. 
And it's not because I am asking "Why is this happening?" Because I realize that all things are for my good. That there is a reason all of this is happening. But I ask, rather, "When will this be over? When will the pain subside?" And you know what? You know what I have learned?
That sometimes it's okay to be angry with the Lord; it's okay to feel the way that I have been feeling. 
I know that makes me sound like I possess a lack of faith, but I think He gets it. Truly. I think He understands when I am a little frustrated. I know this because I have felt Him say that to me. I have felt Him say, 'It's okay, Sierra. You're okay. Just don't go too far. I am here. And I am sorry." He gets it, as long as I don't go too far for too long. He loves me. Individually. My self worth, my confidence, was lacking for a little while. I felt as though I didn't deserve what was best for me. I don't really know how I was feeling (shocking) I just knew that I was doubting myself, my abilities, and my strengths. But through the many many many tears, I know that He loves me and has given me so many wonderful attributes.  I know that. I have re-learned that over the past four months. It's been lonely, as cliche as that sounds. And even though that loneliness and anger is sometimes directed to the Lord, He has also been the only one to get me through this entire situation. With roommates that I feel are abandoning me, with family that is all grieving on their own so they are unavailable, and with Tanner on a mission, the Lord has been the only constant in my life. 

It's amazing how I can feel everything and nothing at the exact same time. My head and heart seem to be in a constant battle. Sometimes I try everything in my power not to cry because if I start, a floodgate of tears then follows. And sometimes I just can't handle that. However, I have also learned that emotion is not a bad thing. I was reading my dear friend, Erin's blog, and she said exactly what I had typed the day before. (Great minds think alike, Erin!) Emotion is not bad. It's just how you deal with it. It's what you do with it. It's okay to be sad. It's okay to be angry. You just cannot allow those emotions to rule your decisions or stay ever present. I'm not saying that I ignore my emotions. I can't do that. But I can take the sadness with me, keep moving, and integrate it into my life. Eventually that burden will get lighter over time. I have learned that I am a person who has learned happiness through those moments of sadness.  

Coming home has been exactly what I needed. I am surrounded by people who love me unconditionally, just because they are blood (and they have to! Ha!) and because it's a safe place. It's hard for me to want to go back to school, actually. The past few weeks as I have watched my family members grieve and deal with everything in their own special way, I consistently remind myself: "This too shall pass." 

I wanted to get this out before New Years because  I am ready for a fresh start. I am ready for a new beginning. A New Year. How awesome is that? We always get second chances in life.
Happy New Year (even though I strongly dislike this holiday) everyone!
Thank you for your love, patience, and kindness through this roller coaster.
Hey, never a boring day in the life of Sierra, huh? :)

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Christmas 2011

It's been a wild one at the Ainge home. That's for sure. 
Holidays since the passing of Holland seem to be...different. There doesn't seem to be another way to put it. It's not that it's bad, it's just not as fun or energetic or joyful as it has been in the past. Particularly since everyone seems to still be grieving in one way or the other. 
The loudness was still apparent, however. No need to wonder about that.
 Maybe some dysfunction, too.  Whose family doesn't have that though, right?

On Christmas Eve "Eve", we had a cousin gathering. We put on a talent show. Which, I might add, was the most lame talent show that I have encountered. I sang while Mckenna played the piano and Brizzy sang. Four songs. Diva. That's it. Dearest family of mine: it's time to produce some more talents. We had a gift card white elephant exchange. It was fun to be reunited and laugh together. No one quite understands (or makes fun of you in my case) like your family. 

Christmas Eve incorporated just my immediate family (which in itself was 10 people haha). We had a beautiful family dinner. It was so weird to have an adult Christmas. Most of our Christmases have involved many children. But this year it was just Dane and Brizzy. (And let's be honest, Dane, who is four months old, doesn't really count. He's still adorable though. We'll keep him). 

Christmas was a long day. We went to church first so we didn't open presents until noon. Then, in the midst of the crinkling of wrapping paper being torn apart, we skyped Bri and her family. We didn't finish opening presents until four pm. Yikes. We took our dandy time, eh? 
Santa gave me a brand new blender, crock pot, and Macbook Pro. Guess I was a good girl this year? :)

I have a lot of things on my mind, but I'm trying to figure out how to put it all into words. So, for now, this is what you get. 
It has been so wonderful to just relax, enjoy time with family and friends, and sleep. My goodness! They don't warn you that you are going to be exhausted from going to school every single day. In college, too! And it only gets worse (or so I hear)!

I've been spending the past 24 hours with this little girl while Lex is at the beach. 
I just love her. 

My nieces and nephews are probably the cutest things ever.  
Hope all y'all had a wonderful Christmas too. 

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Aingels We have Heard on High/Merry Christmas

Catchy title eh? 
Side note: Growing up my family used to go caroling and we'd sing that Christmas song. We thought we were so hilarious. 

Last week, my choir, The Latter Day Celebration Choir (an auditioned group at Orem Institute of Religion) put on our Christmas Nativity Pageant. We, as students, created and built the set, wrote the script, found costumes, and most importantly, sang beautiful music encompassing the true meaning of this Christmas season: the Birth of our Savior. I was given the wonderful opportunity to sing the angel solo in some of the performances. In this particular song, children from the Utah Valley Children's Choir came to sing. They were dressed in all white, acting as the angels who came to wake the shepherds up.

I was extremely humbled and grateful to take part in this show. LDC has a special spirit to them--the people, the music, and the talent involved all creates a wonderful experience. Every day I am grateful to have tried out for this choir. I knew that this was something I was supposed to do. Every single day, I get to sing with these people and be enlightened with the Spirit. How awesome is that? My struggle with LDC has been one with many tears, frustration, and sadness. But, after our last show, I was reminded how truly wonderful this choir is, in spite of the lessons learned.

I am so grateful I was able to take part in this Christmas show because it truly put me in the Christmas spirit in midst of finals, stress, and lack of sleep. Thank you for all those who came out to support!
I won't be posting for the next few days because I'll be soaking up the Christmas laziness and enjoying time with my family ...AKA...eating...a lot...(but, hey, working out too!) but I just wanted to wish you all a very very VERY Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Below is the video of my solo. Enjoy. 
The link below the video is one song from the show that my choir sang. It is called "Father of Light." Listen to the words.  I posted this earlier, but I want to show it again so you can all hear the power. 
Yay for the Christmas season! 

Father of Light


Monday, December 19, 2011

I'm dreaming...

of a green Christmas!
Where: Beautiful Portland, Oregon.
Why/When: Home for the Holidays
What: Workout, eat treats, Christmas festivities, and be with family and friends. 
Three weeks without school. Best Christmas gift ever. 
...I'll keep you posted on life. 

Downtown Portland waterfront

my backyard. 

P.S. And for your entertainment, click HERE .
This is a song (one of my favorites) from the Christmas Nativity Show that my choir put on. It was wonderful. I'm sorry if you missed it!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

What THIS Christmas Means to Me.

{I just had this feeling that I needed to post this. No idea why. Excuse the intensity.}
There is something so raw, so exquisitely painful and real, about letting go; letting go of an intimate relationship, letting go of a loved one,  or even letting go of the past. 
Sometimes when words seem to fail and tears are all that seem to be apparent, we need to turn to someone, something, for support and strength. 
I think I found it this Christmas season.

"And so this Christmas I'll compare the things I felt in prior years

To what this midnight made so clear: that You have come to meet me here.
And the first time that you opened Your eyes did You realize that You would be my Savior?
And the first breath that left Your lips,
Did You know that it would change this world forever?
To look back and think that This baby would one day save me.
That you were born so I might really live.
And I celebrate the day

That You were born to die 
So I could one day pray for You to save my life. "
Relient K - I Celebrate the Day

Friday, December 9, 2011

Growth & Christmas.

I recently (and by recently I mean this entire semester) have been bombarded with trials.
I get trials. I'm a human (big shocker there). But for some strange reason, circumstances keep happening that have been exponentially more difficult than usual.
I finally, after a rough go, feel like I have some semblance of a grasp of my emotions, of these particular trials, that seem to have consistently come my way.
Once I feel like I have that grasp, however, something exasperating happens , and I am once again run over (metaphorically speaking, of course).

This idea of growth has been a constant struggle.
Through deaths and other recent personal battles, I have had to dig inside myself and find what growth truly means. 

First, I have began to notice that everything, in life, happens for a reason. As I am sitting here writing this blog, I am listening to Tanner on a recording. We send a recording device back and forth and it is so wonderful to hear his voice. I feel like he is sitting next to me, holding a conversation. It makes me feel a little less alone. It was, by no coincidence at all, that particular recording showed up on my doorstep (or in my mailbox. Po-tay-toe poh-tah-toe) on a day when I needed it the most. The other night, I had a "mental breakdown." I happened to text my dear friend, Allie, right before about matters that were completely unrelated. She called me and I lost it. It was humiliating, but I did in fact lose it. I don't think it was any coincidence at all that she happened to be driving by my apartment in that moment. I am grateful for her and her comforting words. I am grateful that the Lord placed her in that spot, at that time, and in my life general.
Growth is recognizing that the Lord has a hand in everything.  

Also, I have found my negativity to be wearing on others. And I feel awful for putting that on others around me. Sometimes this battle is a little too intense for me, so the negativity is my outlet. I have been given the opportunity to sing a solo in my choir's most recent Christmas pageant (This Sunday, Dec. 11, at 6 and 8. UVU Institute Building. Be there!) and I feel extremely inadequate to be doing it. I'm not entirely sure why. Probably because I feel inadequate in a lot of aspects of my life right now.
But, as I have been pondering, I had an epiphany. I think that's a part of growth:
Humbling yourself; feeling inadequate so that the Lord can strengthen you. 

I literally live my life one hour at a time. I have always been an organized person, but I live my life in a pretty spontaneous manner. But this, right now, is a time where I can only live my life one hour at a time. Because if I begin to think about everything (as I usually do), I become physically, emotionally, and mentally exhausted.
But, I think that's okay! The Lord knows how much I can take right now. I know how much I can take right now. Sometimes I feel like I should be working harder, smiling more, being kinder, and being more compassionate and giving this Christmas season. But the important part about that is this: the fact that I am trying. He is happy when we all just try to do our best. He loves us. This holiday is to celebrate a perfect being who loves us perfectly. We can grow because of His immaculate, unconditional love. 

This Christmas season is all about celebrating the birth of our Savior.
Birth is a hard concept for me to wrap my head around right now. Whenever I hear someone talk about babies, I instantly think of Holland.
I recently received news from dear friends in Kenya. Joseph and Mwaka are our the main correlation between Kenya and Kenya Keys. They fed us and took care of us while we were in Kenya. They do so much for the organization and are two of the most hardworking people I have ever met. Their example is constant. They had been trying for 11 years to get pregnant. Finally, this miracle happened and Mwaka was pregnant when we were living there this past summer.
Long story made short, Mwaka delivered a stillborn. When I received this news, my heart ached. I know how desperately they had been aching for this child; and then to lose it. My sympathy and empathy towards their loss is unimaginable.
 I see others' lives (my sister and brother in law, Mwaka and Joseph, etc.) around me and I am grateful for the steps, for the trials, they are taking. They are a testament of growth; of allowing the Savior to mend you in a way that He wants. This melding, interestingly enough, will (and should) mold into what you want to become as well. Unfortunately, reality is a little more difficult  than that though. Often times we are unaware of why He does the things He does in order to allow us to grow. I think we all understand that we are given these trials for a purpose. But allowing them and humbly receiving them is a different story. As we celebrate the best birthday ever (yee!) this season, may we each include thanks for His birth, for His life, for His atoning sacrifice, for His death, and for His example.

"He knows all of my feelings; the depths of despair. All the limits my soul can endure. I will trust in His name, I have nothing to fear. For in Him, all my hopes are secure."


Thursday, December 8, 2011


happens. Love and Words help. Here's what I've been learning. 

from me: 
I never want to be angry; I never want to let fear control me. Sadness will come. It will definitely come. It is a part of life, a part of what makes us, well, us. Embrace it, learn from it, and don't look back on those times with negativity. Don't curse all sadness-- that it should have never happened. Take those things near, hold them, but don't let them overpower you in a way that ends up destroying your entire being. 

and the scriptures: 
 "...if thou be cast into the deep; if the billowing surge conspire against thee; if fierce winds become thine enemy; if heavens gather blackness and all the elements combine to hedge up the way; and above all, if the very jaws of hell shall gape open the mouth wide after thee, know though, my son, that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good." (D&C 122:7)

Christlike Christmas Characteristic (3 points for alliteration) that I (we?) are going to work on this week: 


Monday, December 5, 2011

Christmas Songs.

Happy December!
I have decided to make a playlist of some of my favorite Christmas songs so that you can spread and savor Christmas cheer through music!
I have so many thoughts that I want to write currently, but they are so jumbled that this is all my brain (and heart) can handle right now.
So, enjoy! Eat your little heart out, sing a long to these songs, and illegally download away! Let's just all be honest here (Tis the Season), we all do it. 

Oh, and you're welcome.

Celine Dion: O Holy Night
Celine Dion: Feliz Navidad
Celine Dion: Don't Save it All for Christmas Day
Okay, you know what...just ALL of Celine's Christmas CD. Moving on. 
David Archuleta: I'll Be Home For Christmas
David Archuleta: Melodies of Christmas 
David Archuleta: Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas 
Yep, all of David's Christmas album too. 
Chuck Berry: Run, Rudolph, Run
Faith Hill: Where are You Christmas?
Glee: Last Christmas
Justin Bieber: Mistletoe
Josh Groban: Silent Night
Josh Groban and Faith Hill: The First Noel 
(Yep, you guessed it. All of Faith and Josh's album too)
Kelly Clarkson: My Grown Up Christmas List
Mariah Carey: Jesus Born on this day
Mariah Carey: Joy to the World
Mariah Carey: All I want for Christmas is You (big shocker)
(Okay, AND all of Mariah's album)
Michael Buble: Cold December Night
(Yea...and Michael's entire album...)
N'Sync: Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays
N'Sync: Oh, Holy Night
(All of N'sync too...have you noticed the pattern yet?)
Paul Mccartney: Wonderful Christmastime
Sarah Mclachlan and Ingrid Michaelson: Winter Song
Taylor Swift: Christmases When You Were Mine
Martina Mcbride and Martin Dean: Baby, It's Cold Outside
Michael Mclean: The Forgotten Carols (entire album)
Sara Bareilles: Love is Christmas 
Stevie Wonder: What Christmas Means to Me
Brenda Lee: Rockin Around the Christmas Tree
Savior of the World: Look On Me This Day & Come, Lord Jesus Come.

Do you have any other songs you absolutely love and would like to share? These are just some of my absolute favorites. 

Oh, and here is a picture of my choir and I singing with Michael Mclean at the Forgotten Carols.
I love Christmas time.
And Christmas music
And the Savior. 
That's all. For now. 

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Oh, My Heart.

I saw this video a couple of minutes ago.
It's a miracle that I didn't start bawling.
This hits a little too close to home right now.

Two Years from Hailey Haugen on Vimeo.

Monday, November 28, 2011

A Yearly Adventure and a Grateful Heart.

I wanted to write all of Thanksgiving break. I figured I'd have all the time in the world to get everything down.
I just wasn't sure where to begin. 
It was as if I had so much to say, but then nothing at the same time. 
Every time I would think about writing, I'd become exhausted. Just the thought of getting all my millions of emotions written down in some semblance of order made my body completely incapacitated. 
And I hate writing blog posts that are meaningless. Because as much as I truly love others enjoying my perspective, my thoughts, and my writing, this is, after all, my perspective, my thoughts, and my writing. I want to look back at every post and think, "Wow. That's what I was learning from life." 
I am very humbled. And I have a very grateful heart.
I just didn't write a "Thanksgiving post". Why? No idea. 
Probably because I didn't want to be just like everybody else. 

Landon and I drove to San Diego to see Mckenna and Paul for Thanksgiving this year.
I'm not going to lie, it was a difficult trip. My family is still dealing with the loss of Holland. Dealing with that loss allows a lot of other dysfunction to occur. And it's hard to ignore that when we are all placed together. I found myself wanting to be on my own, in my own space; a true solace for this "break."
However, it was still enjoyable to soak up the 80 degree weather.
It's amazing how much I realized that, in spite of the dysfunction, my family are some of the few people that will allow me to act in any manner and still love me the next morning.
 Isn't that what family really is all about? 
Patience in midst of the yelling.  Unconditional love in spite of our individual trials. Learning from each other's faults. 
I am grateful for the Ainge clan for those messy reasons. 

On the drive home, Lanny (he loves that nickname) and I came across some "issues" with our 1998 Volvo Volkwagon, Veronica. Needless to say, we were stopped on the side of the highway in the middle of the Nevada Desert. We still are not entirely sure what is wrong, but we stopped every twenty minutes to let it cool down because it was overheating. But we had to make it to Vegas, so we continued the trek. Once we arrived in Vegas, our family friends, the Royals (you guys are awesome. Thank you!) drove us to get a rental car to continue our adventure along the way. 
Writing this does not seem like it was an ordeal. I assure you, however, that this was the longest road trip of my life. I can't help but think back to last year's Thanksgiving Ordeal. This seems to be a trend for Landon and I. I guess we are not meant to drive over this holiday! As we discussed, we will not be driving anywhere for Thanksgiving Holiday again. Ever. If we are to travel, we are flying. Haha. 
As I was driving at 1 o clock in the morning, a Dr. Pepper at my side, and absolutely nothing to look at due to the blackness of night, I began to ponder. 
We were mocking our parents for going into "parent freak out mode" as they tried to figure out how to help us. But in reality, how lucky are we? That we (I) have a father that will drop anything--time, money, a worried heart, in order for us to get home safe. In order for my brother to get home to get a good grade. Talk about sacrifice. 
I was so grateful to have the opportunity to even be in sunny San Diego. 
And I was lucky enough to have a delicious gourmet turkey to eat earlier that week. 
The list could go on and on and on...and on. But you get my point. 

I chuckle as I think about all of this.
That it's true. Through ADVENTURE (a yearly one, too. There has got to be a scientific name for an annual occurrence such as these!) we learn who and what is important. 
 Through these adventures we learn that the trials and dysfunction are what make us human.
And through these adventures,
we learn how much we truly do have to be grateful this season. 

P.S. I'm just grateful I can listen to Christmas music without people yelling at me now. 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

A Girl Can Dream.

I have this problem. 
Okay, well, let's focus on just one of them. 
I'm a dreamer. 
And no, not the "follow-your-heart-you-can-make-dreams-reality" type of dreamer. 
I mean, for example, today I dreamed about teaching french to a bunch of ten year-old children in Paris. In my head, I miraculously came home from a perfect day at school with little french girls in their dainty dresses, while singing french songs and having a very french-y (?) rendezvous with them. My apartment was filled with colors and happy flowers. It looked something like this: 

Not to mention, I was greeted by a very hot (that's a technical term) french man in the doorway. 

I, then, sat at a cafe that (naturally) was right below my amazingly cheap priced European flat, while correcting papers and eating a croissant. Let's not forget that I was wearing this: 

Because, ya know, I live in Paris, so I have wear the most splendid, fashionable clothes. 
Oh, to be a teacher in Paris. 
Forgive me, let me correct myself.
Oh, to be a teacher in Paris in my mind. 

My point is, that, my dreams are very unrealistic. At least, for the current financial and emotional stage of life that I am currently in. 
There are so many things that I want to do, to experience, and go through
So, I want to fill you in on this list...
1. To prove my point that was stated above and 2. To prove it again.

Teach and/or live in Europe. (shocking)
Teach and/or live in a big city.  (Preferably in Boston in New York or at a poor school where   a blonde, white Mormon, girl (that's me) would be the minority. Think Freedom Writers) 
Go back to Africa every summer and do humanitarian work. (My heart aches thinking of Kenya)
Live in a white house with a porch and a willow tree that has a lake in it's backyard. (This includes a few acres with horses as well. Oh, and a gazebo. Think Forrest Gump) 
Skydive. (Psh, yea.) 
Be on Broadway. (Hey, this could happen while I'm teaching in New York. Should we just move on?)
Learn sign language. Maybe Spanish. Maybe French. 
Move to that Big City (see #2) and become a famous actress or singer. (Ya know, either one)
Be a hippie. Live on an Indian Reservation. (those don't correlate, I know)
Write a novel. 
Run a half marathon.
Visit every state in the United States (this includes every LDS temple).
Learn how to sail. 
Attend at least one major sporting event: NBA championship, the Olympics, etc.
See the North Stars. 
Have a beach house. 
Learn how to draw. Learn how to cook. Learn how to be domestic. (HA)
Go on a hot air balloon. (yes, I have never done this)
Teach someone to read- DID  IT. DONE. Africa. Boom. Check. 
Get married in the Portland LDS temple. (maybe this isn't a realistic one? I am, after all, 21 and not married in Provo)
Relearn how to play the piano.
Get skinny. (meh)

I'm not entirely sure if some of those are just my natural dreaming self or not...
Yikes. I just disproved my point. 
I am not a very good arguer. Well, at least we learned that today.
Okay, so, most of my dreams are just idealistic. Is that a better word?

Today, we had a mountain man who lives in a cabin in Canada and hunts animals come and visit. I wanted TO DO THIS.  Let me repeat that: I wanted to this, people. What is going on? I thought is sounded exhilarating, adventurous, and different. So I guess we can add that to our list?

I think I'm going crazy. I have all of these eccentric things I want to do. I recently have had these random bursts of energy. I will cook, clean, workout, be productive. And then I will crash; literally then have zero energy the next day. I feel like something is wrong... I think it's my coping mechanisms. Quite honestly, one day, it is literally impossible to get out of bed. The next day, my amount of energy is out of control. This up and down cycle is happening because I think I'm just trying to deal with everything. It's been a hard month. A really really hard month. I think the dreaming is occurring because it's a coping mechanism as well. I dream of Holland, Ryan and Meme a lot. I think I am subconsciously feeling the pain for my sister and brother in law. Does that sound too freaky? 

And because I have to bring 72.6% of the things I do back to brain typing:
INFPs tendency to be idealistic and romantically-minded may cause them to fantasize frequently about a "more perfect" situation. They are constantly looking for "something more."
Ere a go, the list above. Yep. See what I mean? I better marry rich. 

P.S. When writing a parentheses with comments after a sentence (the parts of this blog that have the cynical, dry sense of humor) does the period go before or after? Can I just ignore the period? I'm a grammar nerd, but I can never remember this one. Ever. Bri, I'm sure you'll answer this. 

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Alright, So...

I really really REALLY do not want to be one of those girls who is constantly "figuring things out."
Do you know what I mean? 
You know, one of those girls who is pensive every second.every hour.every day. The one who analyzes every person and every situation because "everything happens for a reason." (Because, quite frankly, this life doesn't work like that. Sometimes things just happen.  For example, when someone decides to be mean... it's because they have decided to be mean. That's it.)
But, alas, I have started to be come that girl. Due to certain circumstances and exceptionally uncontrollable emotions, I have become quite fragile and quite...stuck
Let me explain. 
Things have been kind of hard recently. Because of all these deaths, I think it triggered some other aspects of my life. 
When you deal with hardships, especially with death, you not only grieve for the loss of that person, but also for the others around you. You also grieve for the loss of what is missing in your life. And I think I have realized the lack of many aspects in my life. 
I will not go into much detail regarding what I feel is missing, but it's been a process that has enlightened me. There are some things that I definitely need to work on. There are some things that I need to go and do in order to get out of this "rut." 
This entire process seems like a positive one, right? I am finding my "inner self" and now can move forward and work on it.
Well, although the above statement true, it has been quite the battle. 
It is lonely, hard, and tiring. 
I walk into my apartment and my roommates completely disregard me. Is it because I don't make the initial effort? Probably. Because heaven knows, it's not as much fun to be around someone who is figuring out some hardships. Welcome to college. 
I have family members, that amidst this conflict, I won't hear from for weeks, even months if I don't make the effort. 
But I'm not going to go into that right now. Ha.

It's been quite awakening to realize what happens you stop making the effort.
I have been divulging this experiment. I attempt to not say hi first. To not start conversation. Essentially, stop being Sierra. Ha. 
Call me cynical. Call me bitter. Call me angry. 
But that is sort of what I had to do. I have, honestly, stopped making effort to see "who steps up their game."
And, let me tell you, it's been very interesting.
And exponentially lonely. 
Don't worry, I will not do this forever. But it's very eye opening to see who sticks around when things aren't peachy. Unfortunately, sometimes you need to stop worrying about everyone else and focus on yourself. Because if you cannot be happy with yourself, you cannot be happy with others. Simple as that. 

But, enough of this negative stuff. I really did not want this blog to be an emo one. I just thought I'd share with you some of my scattered thoughts. What do you think? Do you think I expect too much from people? Do you think people just don't know how to respond, so instead they don't do anything? Do you think I should stop being so analytical and emotional? I do. Haha. 

In my 4th grade class the other day, I noticed something.
None of the kids have cliques. It's the most amazing thing. 
I realized, that in spite of their differences, I have not heard one kid make an awfully mean comments to one other. I have heard some somewhat rude remarks, but nothing that just kills my insides. It is incredible. It gave me hope.
If 4th graders can do that, can't we? 

Thanksgiving part: On a completely other note, I am so grateful for music. 
I learn so much about myself, about life, and about the Savior through my playlists on my Ipod, LDC, and life story songs.
"Music is the only that makes sense anymore. Play it loud for everyone to hear."
-Across the Universe

When something bad happens, you have three choices. You can either let it define you, let it destroy you, or you can let it strengthen you.
I am trying my hardest to choose the third one. That's the hardest one though, huh?

Thursday, November 10, 2011


There have been many things that have brought me peace this past month.
I thought I'd share with you some music, quotes, thoughts, and videos that have
brought a smile to my face. Things made me think and ponder. Things that have made me cry (in a good way) and things that have made me giggle.

Listen to this song while reading these lyrics. So perfect. 

Hilary Weeks: Beautiful Heartbreak.
I had it all mapped out in front of me, 
Knew just where I wanted to go; 
But life decided to change my plans, 
And I found a mountain in the middle of my road.

I knew there was no way over it, 
So I searched for a way around; 
Brokenhearted I started climbin', 
And at the top I found... 
Every fear, every doubt, 
All the pain I went through; 
Was the price that I paid to see this view; 
And now that I'm here I would never trade... 
The grace that I feel, 
And the faith that I find; 
Through the bitter-sweet tears, 
And the sleepless nights; 

I used to pray he'd take it all away, 
But instead it became a beautiful heartbreak.

I never dreamed my heart would make it, 
I thought about turning around; 

But heaven has shown me miracles, 
I never would have seen from the ground.
Now I take the rain with the sunshine, 
Cause there's one thing that I know; 
He picks up the pieces, 
Along each broken road.

My Niece, Brizzy, singing. 
I have officially named her "scapegoat" because I am just that for her: her scapegoat. 
But you know what? I still love her. (Briz, you're gonna read this in a few years and thank me). 
Note in the very beginning: "No sing to Sisi." Recognize this pattern. 
I do have to say...her pitch is not bad. Don't you agree?

I recently have been watching videos of the show X Factor since people keep telling me that I would love it. I like it. I don't love it. I do have a problem, however, with the audience's CONSTANT cheering. Somebody please shut them up. Anyway, I came across this particular one. I died. Chills. Absolutely chills. I have been so emotional recently that when I watched this video this afternoon, I got teary eyed. Yikes. I cannot believe she is 14. I like Drew. Do you like her? Or is it just me?

"The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen." -Elizabeth Ros

I am grateful for Pinterest. Haha.
Yep, I said it.
Since this is the month of Thanksgiving, I have decided to try to see wonderful aspects that have enriched my life. I have so many things to be grateful for, in midst this exponentially difficult month.
I am grateful for YOU.
Thank you for being such an amazing support to me and my family during this hard time. I have not exactly been the most fun person to be around. Thank you for reaching out even in times when I don't reciprocate it. Thank you for loving me in spite of my emotional roller coaster. Thank you for cheering me up when I am down. Thank you for dealing with me despite my lack of filter. 
Strength is wonderful, huh? Let's thank the Big Guy Upstairs for that one.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

She's Taught Me About Strength.

Reality has been hard.
I think of Holland often; very often.
This grieving process is a long, difficult journey. This has been one of the hardest months of my life (and I am not exaggerating). I was just starting to recover from the death of my dear friend, Ryan, and then the death of Holland happened two weeks later. The mundane aspects of everyday life do not seem as meaningful anymore. I wake up in the morning and take things literally one hour at a time.
I am doing okay, though. I just pray for my parents, my sister, my brother in law, and all the people who will, quite honestly, be struggling for a while.
I find that I HAVE to keep myself busy otherwise I fall into a deeper crevice of sadness. I force myself to be around people.
Despite the difficultness of this entire situation, my perspective has completely changed in the last week and I owe it mostly to LDC, my schooling, and spiritual experiences.  
This is then, ultimately, the Lord.
For awhile, I felt guilty laughing. I felt bad that I was able to feel a semblance of joy, while those around me struggled immensely. But then I realized that this is exactly what those on the other side of the veil would want. They want us to be happy.
The entire purpose of this life is to feel inexplicable peace and joy, in spite of the trials one faces.

Last Friday, my choir, LDC (love you guys so much), sang in devotional. It was a Friday just like any other Friday. I wasn’t feeling like anything special was going to happen. We got up to sing “Come Thou Fount” and I was completely, utterly, blown away. It was marvelous!
Now, I can single handedly count the amount of times LDC has sounded “bad”, but this particular time we sang was significantly magnificent.
And although this is going to sound so cheesy, I KNOW it was because we had angels surrounding us. In the midst of the song, I had to restrain from crying. I could feel the presence of Holland, Ryan, Meme, Kendall, and Grandma Kay with me, guiding my choir along.
This particular devotional from Elder and Sister Kearon was exactly what I needed to hear.

Holland’s death has taught me so much.
I know for a fact that her minimal time on earth was to teach me and my family some lessons that needed to be learned.

First, Holland has taught me that she is, in fact, still with me.
 Just now, she is guiding me in all of my spiritual experiences. Every time I need something, she will be my angel to give me peace when I am distraught. Just like on Friday, when I could feel her, this particular death has taught me that angels do exist.

Holland has taught me to not be with angry with the Lord. Ever.
With my excessive amount of emotional distress (ha), I sometimes, get frustrated with the Lord.
I am going to be honest, I was angry with Him for awhile after this. I felt as though this semester I haven’t been able to catch a break. I didn’t feel like it wasn’t fair for me to go through this trial.
Yes, yes, I know. I shouldn’t say that. “Has has given me this trial because He knows  I am strong enough to go through it…blah blah blah” And even though that is true, it doesn’t feel any easier in the midst of the particular trial.
Yet, I have once again been metaphorically smacked across the face.
I cannot be angry with Him. I can be angry. It is normal to be angry. But He is the ONLY thing that is going to get me through this.
Holland has taught me that anger does not solve any issue—and that includes ones with the Lord.
“Come thou fount” quotes one of my favorite lines: “Bind my wandering heart to thee.”
In the midst of my wanderings, my anger, my sense of confusion, I have been taught to bind my heart to HIM, to bind it, so that I am unable to fall away.
He is my rock. I need to turn towards Him, not away from Him, in order to gain strength.
Our lives are daily battles. And in this daily battle, our goal is to learn more. Dealing with harsh reality is, in fact, just that: harsh. But we need to humble ourselves in order to learn.
Holland has taught me that I choose how to respond to these battles of life. I am not a victim, even though sometimes I want to turn to that. I am an agent to my choices, my life. I choose how to respond.

Holland has taught me about my eternal majesty. She has taught me that my goal in life is just that: majestic. That lucky girl is automatically sitting beside God. I need to live my life in accordance with her perfect pureness so I can sit beside her eventually.
She has taught me that He is looking over us individually. INDIVIDUALLY. He knows of my heart ache. He knows that my struggle with this entire situation is different than my mom’s or Lexie’s. He is giving each of us tools and steps to get through.

Holland has taught me to look forward to the future with HOPE.
Unfortunately, in this life, once we get through one trial—another one happens to come our way.
We have the tools; we have the guidance, to get through those trials.
But, as it is said: “This too shall pass.” Because it will.
She has taught me to remember that He is proud of the choices I have made thus far. My future is strong because of the good choices I have made in my life already, despite my silly mistakes.
She has taught me to continuously look forward with hope, with excitement; to not look back, because I am not going that way. I am only going forward.
Hope anchors the soul. The Lord anchors our souls.

Elder Kearon explained in the devotional on Friday that, “Some of the greatest things in life are flecks; not pure gold nuggets.” Holland has taught me that tender mercies do exist.
I am doing a field experience in a 4th grade class. I was so hesitant to do this. I felt as though it was going to be a burden. But, being in this 4th grade class for the next month has been a HUGE tender mercy. I absolutely love it. The students are so hilarious, real, and enthusiastic. They smile through most things. We can learn so much through the simplicity of children. They are gonna get me through this hard time.

Holland has taught me that I need to look outwards.
I am in the “second phase of selfishness” as Elder Kearon put it. This point in my life is the second most selfish phase. First is the teenage years. Now is the second. Haha.
I need to stop feeling sorry for myself and find someone who needs me.
I need to pull myself out of these hardships and find someone who needs my strength.  

“Life up your hearts and be glad, for I am in your midst, and am your advocate with the Father, and it is his good will to give you the kingdom.” D&C 29:5.
“But behold, verily, verily, I say unto that mine eyes are upon you. I am in your midst and ye cannot see me.” D&C 38:7

LDC sang these songs once. I am listening to them currently while writing this post. How perfect.

Bind me not to the pasture, chain me not to the plow.
Set me free to find my calling and I’ll return to you somehow.
If you find it’s me you’re missing, if you’re hoping I’ll return,
To your thoughts I’ll soon be listening. In the road I’ll stop and turn.
Then the wind will set me racing as my journey nears its end
And the path I’ll be retracing, when I’m homeward bound again.
When the sparrows stop their singing…
I’ll be homeward bound again.

Come Home, the Father calls. Come home, my child to me.
Come home, the Holy Ghost will lead you to eternity.
Lest we forget, our Home’s with God.
Come Home, loved voices call. Come home where you belong.
Come home to live with joy, forever in our family throng.

Holland, thank you for teaching me about strength.
I am still learning. I am still growing. I am still messing up.
But, your life, your death, has taught me so much. Thank you for trusting my sister to let you into this world.
Your death has taught me about life.