Saturday, September 17, 2016

MPA in Moab.

There's a tinge of sadness looming in my heart over this year because my cohort is graduating without me! I'm learning to value every drop of time I can get with them.

This is one of those "my-grad-program-is-cooler-than-yours-posts." I'm sorry, but it's probably true. Last year, we had a program retreat at Sundance. This school year, we went to Moab! The last time I set foot in Moab was the weekend I got my mission call—another lifetime, basically.

Moab is a magical place where life on Mars almost becomes true. I love the adobe colored landscape, the awe-inspiring arch formations, and the adventure-is-out-there feel of the place.
^^Llama 1. Somehow our group was spoiled with the best activity schedule: hiking in the morning, rafting during in the hottest hours of the day, not having to clean up camp, and getting an extra Kip-exclusive hike in.
^^ Laughing at Travis' paparazzi attempts. 
^^when camping gives you corn on the cob, use whatever resources you have and make elotes!
&& all the rest of the photos in this post, brought to you by Professor Christensen, who has a much cooler camera. 

Friday, September 2, 2016

the last of summer.

photos that didn't quite make sense to have their own post, 
but are still important.
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Monday, August 22, 2016

on coming back (the post where I explain my return to facebook).

Two years ago, I indefinitely deactivated my Facebook account. The why behind that decision: read here. In reality, it's sort of been almost four years since I've been on. I left on my mission in 2012, came home in 2014 (no fb during that time) added mission friends and people of texas/louisiana and then got back off.

So, hello 2016.

I knew I would come back to the social network, because of necessity, but also knew it had to be at a time when I felt ready.

For two years I had a "fake facebook" account. An account I actually shared with a friend that had my name attributed to it, her name as the password. It was used solely for being a part of groups: law school, MPA, ward, yadda yadda. I had zero friends on the account. Anytime I got friend requests on the account I'd hit "reject" and be flooded with guilt. I'd tell myself, "It's a rejection of social media, not of that person!" & I'd feel like I had to explain the whole mess in person. "It's not you, it's me!"

So fast forward to now.

During the summer, I started having dreams of people in the peripheries of my life—people I hadn't thought of in years. Where were they? What were they doing? Were they okay? I'd brush off the dreams, but I just kept having these nagging feelings that I needed to contact some of these people. But how????

I didn't want to accept the easiest answer: Facebook.
....

It almost didn't happen.
I almost didn't get back on.

Right before I did, I searched 'social media' on lds.org and explored this page, but like how do you even share goodness? Maybe this whole debacle of mine seems silly to you, but it was a very real dilemma in my mind. I sat on my bed the Sunday before my birthday and tried to figure out if getting back on social media was something I should actually do...  It was then that a Pinterest quote (of all things) came into my thoughts and saved the day, "think of what could go right!"

& with that thought, I instantlyquickly before I could change my mind, jumped out of bed and grabbed my fifth grade panorama, my middle school and high school yearbooks, splayed them out on my bed and attempted to log on. I italicize because I had completely forgotten my password. I had to make a new one which was perfect because I chose something that would serve as a reminder behind my purpose in coming back.

I spent HOURS sending friend requests and forming groups for my 5th, 8th, and 12th grade classes. I was sort of late to church because of it. #sharegoodness? I went on an invite to group craze, so much so that FB put a freeze on my account. I had to write an "I'm not a robot, just a girl on a yearbook frenzy" message and go through a series of "pick the picture that has a dolphin in it" -esque tests. You know the ones! Or do you?

Groups are a given for BYU wards, and so I thought nothing of my group forming escapade. I was genuinely surprised no one had made them before. & felt really grateful that I acted on the impression after I got lots of messages/comments/etc from classmates thanking me for putting the groups together.

I'm not going to lie, I got a bit emotional as I saw the great humans my former classmates had become!!!! It was an incredible lesson in humility and a testament to Heavenly Father's hand in everyone's life. I felt a little bit smaller because of it, but in a wondrous way...like a brightly beaming star that is part of an immensely glorious galaxy.

I don't think there's any other way to describe the gut feeling nudge to return to Facebook except for describing it as what I believe it to have been: a prompting.

I'm not fully fb-functional I've given myself parameters. Like, starting this week only going on fb on Sundays with a caveat that if there's some sort of crazy-connection or too good to not share miracle, then I'll log on. I may be back on facebook, but I'm still equipped with my weaknesses. It's a lifelong process & I'm still figuring out how to exactly, "share goodness." Re-entering the lives of peripheral classmates just seemed like the right start to get me there.


Wednesday, August 3, 2016

texas//louisiana.

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maybe it has something to do with the fact that our skin is darker, but I can't help but notice that all our vacation photos are popping with colors. you know how some people's instagram's feeds are only muted|natural tones all the time? how? Do people plan for that to happen?

anyways,
the mission trip. & in my case T.H.E. Mission trip (Texas, Houston, East—it's clever, right?) Almost every mormon family has to take the obligatory let's-visit-your-mission trip. I had my fair shares of, your typical, 'this is where I attended church', 'these are some of the people I loved', but also some quirkies: 'this is the restaurant the Zone Leaders didn't let me eat at for my birthday' (not.bitter), 'this is where I fell off my bike and the whole mission found out.'

Our trip took us from New Orleans-->Lake Charles-->Houston-->Dallas. The humidity was SO real (hence that slick wet look to all of our faces in the pictures, yum). I still hate Texas (the place), but love Texas (the people), and my life will forever be connected to that little patch of sacred ground.

here's just a rundown of the trip, for posterity & you.

+ all you can eat shrimp! Pay definitely broke the record at the restaurant for the most shrimp consumed. give that man a medal!
+ bluebell! I don't care if you had listeria in your pints or if i'm lactose intolerant. you were heavenly. I couldn't visit the south without purchasing you.
+ southern rainstorms! you haven't lived till you've experienced one of these. one minute beautiful sunshine, the next torrential downpour like it's the end of the world.
+ beignets, beignets, beignets from Cafe du Monde making all of my princess & the frog dreams come true.
+ getting treated to dinner by the Ortiz in Lake Charles. they are the real MVPs, attending church in a language they don't understand for years:::hero status.
+ bayous. took a walk through the swampland and came out 75% dehydrated and forever changed. I know I'm crazy for saying this, but I loved it! the need to move to the south is a very real thing.
+ baseball game(s). because what's a flores family vacay without a visit to the ballpark. no such thing! Minute maid park you get the gold stars with your airconditioned♥ ballpark and your seventh inning stretch rendition of 'deep in the heart of texas.' globe life, maybe it's because the rangers lost, maybe it's because the heat was unbearable, but you were kind of the pits.
Dallas and l.i.t.t.e.r.a.l.l.y. being in the same spot where the officers were to be gunned down later in that day, scary out of body experience. i kept asking myself, 'are we really in dallas right now? is this really happening HERE?' yeah. that happened.
+ visiting the broadway third ward=two thumbs up, visiting the Texas branch in Baytown=amazing, but I somehow look different because how about that part where the members recognized my Mom more than they did me. Not like I lived there for 4 1/2 months or anything. Apparently I look like the sister I never knew I had? it's fine. we're fine.
.....