Wednesday, March 18, 2015

COME SEE "FREETOWN"



Get your tickets to "Freetown" today!

Exclusive Washington, DC premiere with the director, Garrett Batty, at AMC Hoffman Alexandria, Monday, March 30, 7:30 pm. 





Caught in the middle of a brutal civil war, six Liberian Mormon missionaries in Monrovia flee the widespread violence of their native country. Their destination: Freetown, Sierra Leone. With the help of local church leader Phillip Abubakar, the missionaries make the difficult journey, only to have their troubles compounded by a rebel fighter bent on killing one of their own. Based on true events, FREETOWN is a thrilling and inspiring story of hope and survival.


Due to the "on demand" nature of this special, one-time only showing, we must sell a certain threshold of tickets in advance for this viewing to happen. Tickets will NOT be available at the door or on Fandango. They are only available through Tugg.com. So buy today! Don't miss your chance to see this incredible new film.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Slovenly Productivity

For the past 2 months my bedroom has been a disastrous mess. I mean over the top messy. And I hate it. I don't like it when it's like this.
It started when a roommate moved out, and I switched bedrooms. Shortly thereafter, before I had the chance to get organized in the new room, I went on the big cruise with my family. And then I came back, my laundry exploded, and minutes later I came down with that little nasty kidney stone attack and spent 3 weeks in bed.
I followed those 3 weeks in bed with 3 weeks of working 50+ hours each week at the spa. And then I threw a huge party, and then helped with another huge party. And party planning tends to explode all over my house (and car).
And in short, for someone with only a part-time job, I've been so overwhelmingly busy for the last 2.5 months that something as simple as unloading a laundry basket has been very low on my list of priorities.
Tonight I was certain I was going to sequester myself away in my room, put on a movie on Netflix, and fold some clothes and get organized. It didn't happen. Not even close. But I did get a bunch of bills paid. And bills are always more important than laundry.
I'm moving in about 6 weeks. (Where? That remains a mystery, even to me.) And knowing that, it's becoming even more difficult to motivate myself to organize my room. I'm more likely to just start packing and preparing for the move.
I'm impressed with my tolerance for slovenly living, even if I do hate the mess. I had no idea I could put up with such a disaster for so long. But then again, maybe I shouldn't be so impressed with my own exhaustion and laziness.
That all being said, I think I should hire someone to come over and organize and run my life for a day for me. Is there a service that organizes and pays your bills, plans meals, buys the groceries, does the laundry, and vacuums floors? (And isn't called a wife?)

Sunday, March 15, 2015

The Next Big Adventure


Some pretty building and flowers in Belgrade, Serbia. Summer 2014 

In the past week I've made the unexpected decision to join Clog America on their summer tour this year. I hadn't expected to have the funds, time, or resources to make the trip this year. But with everything else in my life falling apart recently, suddenly the 2015 summer tour came together for me.
I've had to explain to a few friends how it is I became associated with a group of cloggers from Utah, and why I get to travel around Europe (again) with them. Every time I explain it, I laugh even harder. But basically the short version goes like this.
I accepted an invitation from a strange man on the internet to go to Serbia.
Seriously. That's basically what happened.
The longer version is this- a man who had read my columns for several years sent me a very nice email and explained his relationship with Clog America. And told me how they would like to invite me along on their tour as their social media person. So I said yes.
It honestly didn't hit me until I was in the Belgrade airport looking for a total stranger just what a crazy situation I had gotten myself into. I had taken a few precautions (for instance, my plane ticket was flexible. I could have left at any time.), but I really was just along for the ride.
And what a crazy ride it was. I won't say that it was fun and easy every step of the way. Joining up with 40 complete strangers, having no control or influence on what could happen next, and not really even fully understanding the situation, was really hard on me. It was definitely a learning experience in "letting go." I like to be the boss, and I like to be influential. And I really like to make my own choices. So to be at the mercy of so many unknown people for so long was really hard.
But granted, it was a hard thing to deal with in the middle of an awesome situation. 3 weeks in Romania and Serbia? Not exactly a hardship, you know?
I didn't love every minute of the trip. But I did love more hours than I didn't.
Which is why I more than willingly volunteered to join up with them again this summer as we tour Switzerland and Germany. 20 more days of folk music and dance festivals in the heart of Europe. It's going to be great!
And if you thought I posted a lot of pictures of food in Serbia and Romania, just wait till you see what happens when I'm in the land of chocolate and cheese! I can't wait! (Did I mention we are going right through the town of Gruyere? Oh yes, there will be cheese. Lots and lots of cheese. AND CHOCOLATE!!) (I have a lot of weight to lose before I go to Europe and happily gain it all back.)
(So much chocolate!)
This year I will have more responsibilities than just social media for the group. And I'm excited about the changes. I'd much rather be able to contribute more and be busy, than just be along for the ride. Patiently waiting for things to happen is just not my style! I'd rather make things happen! (And oh, will I be making things happen this year!)
Watch out, Europe, I'm coming back for more [chocolate and cheese]!


Sunday, March 08, 2015

Men Are That They Might Have Joy?


It's time to pull out the same picture I use over and over again when my heart is in emotional turmoil. 

My stormy seas picture gets used every time I'm faced with complications, confusion, and heartbreak. 
The picture of the skydiver - 
- is what I use when I've made a decision, and I'm jumping into the unknown. 
But the stormy seas picture is for when I don't know what to do, or when I'm not ready to accept my options. And today it's all about the stormy seas. 

This scripture has been on my mind a lot lately. 
Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy.
Wherefore, men are free according to the flesh; and all things are given them which are expedient unto man. And they are free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil; for he seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself.

"Men are that they might have joy." 
I struggle with this. I wish that I didn't. I hate that I struggle with it. I envy people who believe that everything around them is always good. I get annoyed by people who use this scripture to justify narcissistic or selfish behavior and choices. 

Over the past several years, particularly through my long stints and trials of unemployment, it has been very hard to believe that I am that I "might have joy." It all too often feels like my entire life is designed to be a punishment or to really define where my breaking point is. 

Today was another roller coaster of emotions for me. Things I firmly believed and accepted to be true, and that I am supposed to have joy, were nearly impossible to accept at the end of the day. In one moment I could believe that answers to prayers were found, and I was about to say goodbye to some of my biggest struggles. And then in the next moment, in just the course of a simple conversation with a friend, I learned nearly be accident, that I was completely wrong about my answers. 

In a few more weeks I will have to accept that someone else's selfish actions will profoundly change my life. (To be more honest, I've already accepted that those actions will have a negative impact on me. But in a few weeks, I will have to make the necessary changes to my life as a result of those actions.) Accepting that I have to take an option that I don't want, I don't like, and will make me profoundly unhappy, is what makes it so hard to accept "men are that they might have joy."

I know we each struggle with our own issues of faith. But this one is mine. I struggle to believe and accept that we are supposed to have joy, when my life has turned out so very far off from what I wanted. I have found joy in the life that I have. But I have had more "trials" than happiness in the last 7 years. Where is the joy? Where is the end of the struggles? Where is the path that leads to my joy? 

I have no answers. I have no neat and tidy way to wrap this up. All I can say is that I guess my hope is tied up in believing that this scripture is true. That men are that they might have joy. I do believe it. And as such, I will continue to have the faith that my situation will improve. Things will change and get better. I will find joy. Somewhere, somehow. 


Saturday, March 07, 2015

The Toys 'R' Us of My Childhood is Gone

Tonight I had the chance to drive down the roads of my childhood. Really, I miscalculated the timing and route to dinner, and forgot about HOV restrictions, and had to go the long way around. And that meant driving surface streets through town, right passed the neighborhood I grew up in.
Being a DC native means accepting that nothing stays the same. Sure every town around the world changes with time. But growing up in DC it's a little more extreme. There are very few "natives" in DC. And when you tell someone you are a native, they tell you how they've never met a real local before. 
That's me. Local girl. Still living in her hometown. 
Long-term unemployment has a way with messing with your head, making you wonder if you are good enough, smart enough, anything enough. And then you drive down the street, and see how the world is moving on without you, everything is changing, everything but you. 
But there are some things you are never prepared to see change. 
The Toys 'R' Us of my childhood, my harbinger of happiness and dreams, is gone.
And a Walmart has been built in its place.
This breaks my heart. I'm being forced to acknowledge that the simpler, easier times of the past are gone. I'll never get to wander its giant, fun, overwhelming, noisy, and colorful aisles again.
I have to be a grown-up. And accept that all of my problems cannot be solved with a new toy.
I don't like this. I don't like this at all!

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