Sierra's View: November 2011

BlogHer Header

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.