Friday, July 18, 2014

Correlating Happiness

                It was recently brought to my attention that my mood depends on the amount of canines I have been in contact with recently. I have realized that this is completely true! I was raised with dogs near me every single day, as I was raised in a sled dog racing household. There were never less than 5 dogs around me at a given time in my life.

 When I was younger, and my family would visit our other dog racing friends, my mother would said she thought I had a sixth sense with the dogs. I knew which dogs to stay away from and which dogs were okay to approach, despite them running around like crazy on their chains and jumping two feet over my head (as I was like three feet tall at the time). As soon as I approached this crazy dog, they would simmer to my level and let me pet and love them. I also had an instance when I crawled into our puppy-birthing dog house while our mama dog was nursing, and I snuggled with her, which dogs are normally very protective when around their puppies.

 Once I moved away from home, I had about the roughest year of my life. I know that your first year away from home and family is statistically a rough time, but I could be convinced that it could be partially linked to not having any dogs in my life. Once I moved into a house the next year, I couldn’t be happier that my roommate has a dog. I mean she is small enough to be a cat, but she still has her dog qualities. Having this little nugget to snuggle with me sped up my breakup process at that time.

  A while ago, I had a stint of not being around any dogs, and I became very cranky. This is when the yolk was broken over my head that my mood depends on the canine love I receive. The next day, I was in a park and I started to feel my spirits lifting as I spotted dog after dog.

   I think I could also guess that the amount of dog there is correlates to my happiness. Meaning, the bigger the dog, the happier the Rita. E.g. I have the greatest time with my friend’s Australian shepherd, or my buddy, I call my brother, Frost. The little toy dogs can put a grin on my face, but nothing compared to a loping, slobbering lab or (I am biased) GWP. 
 After this, I think it is obvious I love the dogs in my life, as I love taking pictures with them (or of them)! I'm not sure if I have a life lesson linked to this blog post, or if I am just missing all of the dogs in my life. I have not seen my buddy, Frost, since Christmas, and the Aussie of my life moved to Florida a couple weeks ago. But good news! Quinn and I have been snuggling it up like crazy, every night!
Perhaps the life lesson to this is if you see I am down, or maybe another dog lover in your life; give them a dog! Just kidding, that's a large responsibility present, stick with chocolate.


Here's to the dogs that keep us happy.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

"What It Be Like?!"

A few weeks ago, the world lost someone very special. He was known by many, I knew him as a friend, a peer, and sometimes, my wake-up call, at Westminster. It is not always easy to deal with the loss of a loved one. Sometimes it is easier to grieve with others who feel the same, other times it is easier to grieve independently, or maybe a combination of the both. We all remembered Sam in our own ways, but came together to celebrate his life.

A couple days after his passing, a large group of Sam’s friends, coworkers and peers gathered in our campus commons to celebrate his life with a candlelight vigil. I have never been so touched and heartbroken in my life.

 For those of you who are not aware of who Sam was, he had a gift. He was everyone’s friend, and your day was instantly a good day once you had a conversation with him. And when I say everyone, I mean everyone. If he met you once, you became his friend, and he would remember your name. No matter what was happening in his life, everything in your life was much more important to him, and he wanted to hear about everything. He made people feel special and loved.

Throughout the candlelight vigil and the service in his hometown, many people were telling stories of how they met him, even if it was just once.  They would mention how it was so awesome that he  would acknowledge them across campus, or how they felt so special talking to him, or how their problems didn’t seem much like problems after telling Sam about them. He had what I would call a gift, and what I later found out was perhaps a goal in his life.

I wondered how Sam would react if he were standing in that crowd with us. I know for a fact he would have been walking around hugging and giving out fist bumps to absolutely everyone, but how could of our words affected him? He knew that he was surrounded by people who loved him, and was told this often by his close friends and family.

What struck me so hard during the vigil was the fact that we had to celebrate how amazing this person was after he died. Why can’t we gather and point out how special a person is before they pass? How many people’s lives could we change if we complimented them, if they became aware of their potential?

I also wonder how much the world could change if we all carried a bit of Sam’s personality with us. If we saw the good in everyone, and loved them for whom they are. I am challenging myself, and I challenge you to do the same, to carry a bit of Sam with me. I want to “spread the love.” Be approachable and also approach others with a friendly face. I want everyone that I know to know that they are loved every day of their life.

Here’s the putting other’s first.

Here’s to Sam. 

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Wishing you were here, or I was there, or just somewhere.

Warning: This is another sappy blog.

Some of my hard core fans may know the fact that my birthday was a couple days ago. I turned the ripe age of 20. Yay! But I have to say, despite that it was a fun day, it was my worst birthday yet. I’ll explain.

I didn't get a chance to mention this last time, but I am currently spending 10 weeks out of my summer in Oklahoma.  I’m doing research at the University of Oklahoma. It’s sort of a long story/another blog to get into what I am researching, so I’ll cover that later. But my birthday was the three week mark of being in Oklahoma. Being in Oklahoma, I mean away from my best friends that I share my life with, my roommates, and my family. It also means I was three weeks into living with complete strangers. I celebrated my big day with these strangers. Don’t get me wrong, we made it fun, and I was grateful that I had someone to celebrate with, but there was a hole in my heart.

I often stress that I don’t want much for my birthday. All I want is to spend time with friends and family. Being “alone” on my birthday allowed me to realize how much I really do love my friends and family, and also that I may take them for granted. I think someone once said something about you don’t realize what you have until it is gone.

I don’t mean to complain about having this great experience in Oklahoma. Yet on that day, I wished so many times that I was back in Utah or at least one of my best friends would make the trip out here. Unfortunately, none of those wishes came true, but oh well, it was asking for a lot. So now, I am sucking it up;  “patiently”  counting down the days until I see my family and  friends. Along the way, I’m just being thankful f that I have such people in my life. I love you guys, and I mean that!

The lesson I hope you learn from my experience is that I hope you take advantage of the time you have with your loved ones! Maybe you get called to another state on some-what  short notice, or someone passes. You will regret not doing the things you've always wanted to do together.

Here's to fun times with good friends and loving families.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Get Outside!

I realize it has been a long while since I have written a blog, I apologize. School and work take a lot out of a person. It’s crazy how I have been go-go-go, nonstop for the past 9 months or so, and here I am sitting on a couch, bored as ever. To catch ya’ll up… 

I successfully survived this past semester of school, not so much flying colors, but I’m alive. May term was a blast! I took a class called Outdoor Leadership, so essentially, we learned about how to be a leader, but in the outdoor setting. To exercise our outdoor leadership, we, a class of 10 and two leaders, went on a backpacking trip in Southern Utah, more specifically in the San Rafael Swell. It was a life changing experience.

There is something about falling asleep under the stars, no city lights, no cars in the distance, then waking up with the sun, to see a canyon and the desert surrounding you. I believe that there may be a bit of bragging rights to being able to walk 14 miles in three days with 60 pounds on your back. As you can see by these pictures, it was hard to keep my eyes on the ground in front of me. If you know me, you know that not being able to look at the uneven ground in front of me meant I stumbled quite a bit…

The lesson I have to teach today is that you must try backpacking once in your life. The sooner, the better, because you will want to go again. People may complain about some aspects of living outdoors, such as “relieving” yourself outside, but to be honest it is exhilarating! If you don’t go backpacking, I even more recommend digging a hole in a place with a great view (obviously away from other people), and enjoy it. :) Although, I did not enjoy the treating of our river water, but by the end of the three days, it began to taste like normal water.

It's all about having fun with friends. >fun at camp with Rodrigo
Our cloudy river water, after treatment, but made a great lantern.

Here's to the outdoors, let's keep them classy.

Monday, February 11, 2013

A Day of Love, Flowers, Chocolate, and Murder

As I'm sure you all have noticed, there is a popular day of celebration nearing. Valentine's Day. This Thursday, couples and lovers will exchange flowers and chocolate as a sign of love. My least favorite holiday of all. I know, I know, I'm a horrible person for hating on romance, but that's not exactly what I am hating.

I think I'll start off summing up the story of St. Valentine. Did you know that on February 14th, we are celebrating the murder of a Saint? On February 14th, St. Valentine was beaten with stones and clubs, then beheaded. Such hate was committed against him because he was defying the Roman church. The Roman priests were not happy with the fact that he was practicing Christianity. He was known for marrying Christian couples. As it says in my source (listed below) Saints are meant to remain active after their death, which reports say he did. I believe this is where the depiction of cupid comes from.

I give all respect to St. Valentine for going with his beliefs by assisting Christians in marrying and saving them from prosecution. I will definitely support the celebration of his life, he did great things. He is the patroned Saint of affianced couples, bee keepers, engaged couples, epilepsy, fainting, greetings, happy \marriages, love, lovers, plague, travelers, and young people. I'm not quite sure where the bee keepers, epilepsy and plague come into all this, but most of Valentine's day is about all that he is "affiliated to." After doing a bit of my research, I am a bit more supportive of Valentine's day. I used to think that Valentine's day should only be celebrated by married couples due to his work, but after finding out what he is the saint of, this romantic day makes a bit more sense.

But I still will not be celebrating Valentine's Day this year. I am disappointed with the fact that a holiday celebrating a saint's life has been so commercialized. It happens with every holiday. Hallmark seems to be behind most of it too. Such as Mother's day, a holiday created by Hallmark, so they could make more money in the month of May. It's a selfish world I tell you. If we celebrate the life of one Saint, why not all other Saints who did great things like Valentine? Hallmark could make more commercialized holidays!

So this Thursday, you will not see me buying a box of chocolates for my nonexistent significant other or going out to a nice dinner. And it's not just because I will be working on that night, which I am. I will be protesting commercialism. Yes, I realize, I, as one person, will not do much effect protesting, but in my heart I will feel a bit better knowing that I did not contribute to the million of chocolates or little teddy bears sold.

If I were to celebrate St. Valentine's day, I would watch a movie with my special person or do some of our favorite things. And I would celebrate St. Valentine's life everyday. Romance doesn't need to be emphasized one day of the year, (or two if you count celebrating anniversaries) it should be celebrated everyday. Please remember to show your loved ones you love them today, Thursday, and everyday after that. The bouquet of flowers doesn't need to come home just on February 14th, but any random day. Your love will shine much brighter if you show it spontaneously, instead of a day that you have to be reminded to do it.

Here's to the celebration of Love everyday of our lives.

^I recommend reading a bit more, or even just Google/Wiki St.Valentine's life.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Forgive or Forget

Tonight, the phrase "Forgive and Forget" has looped through my mind. What does it really mean? Is it possible to literally forgive and forget? Many people forgive another for their transgressions, but they don't forget. One keeps that wrong in the back of their mind, only to bring it up when they most need to "get back" at the other party. So if we don't forget? Why not "Forgive and move on." "Forgive and stab-you-in-the-back-later." "Forgive and hold a secret grudge."

I can't help but wonder what Jesus would do, I don't mean to get all churchy, but I feel Jesus is pretty experienced  in the forgiveness category. He died, only so every single one of us could be forgiven.

In the Lord's Prayer, we say, "Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us." This says nothing about forgetting, yet God forgives us of our trespasses and forgets about them when we enter the gates of heaven. So I guess my question is answered pretty quickly today. We forgive and forget because we do as our Father does. He forgives and forgets our sins.

But now I move onto another topic of forgiveness. Do we forgive those who "trespassed" against us without them asking for forgiveness? If they don't ask for forgiveness, they obviously aren't sorry. I suppose forgiving them without them asking to do so is sort of out of the goodness of your heart, but I feel that may end in a bad story. Since it is assuming they are sorry, and "assuming makes an ass out of you and me." If they aren't really sorry, well friend, I think you need a new friend (and here I am assuming this person who you are forgiving is a friend).

So my lesson learned tonight: When someone asks for forgiveness, I shall forgive and forget! I really need to work on the forget part of this, but I believe it is a process. As you move on, and grow your relationship with said person, you begin to forget this transgression and fill this memory with happy moments with them. (If things are otherwise, I can only hope you find a new friend)

Here's to dementia! (er.. forgiving and forgetting)

Saturday, December 22, 2012


Last Friday, I flew in Minneapolis, MN, my home state. I do have to say, the never-ending flatness brought a smile to my lips. After living in Salt Lake City, surrounded by mountains, being home felt right, not to mention hearing just about everyone on my flight mention their "begs" or "beggage." But I most of all, I am so happy to be surrounded by friends and family.

Every college student has a goal for their couple weeks off school; get together with as many high school friends as they can, oh, and maybe work for a bit too. I am guilty of both. While working an insanely packed work schedule, I have been trying to coordinate dinners and get-together's with my closest friends. I do have to say, the longer we are in school, the harder it is to get together. We begin to favor our friendships with our college friends, we decide to stay at our place in the city, instead of coming home, and we realize our loans are becoming exponentially larger and need more jobs to pay them off.

I have begin to wonder, are we meant to keep our high school friendships? You always hear when heading off to college, that we are "making relationships that will affect the rest of our lives." They don't say the same for high school though.
Looking at some college graduates I know, they seem to only keep those few special relationships. I seem to be already there. When I am home for these short amounts of time, I make sure to get together with my two best friends a couple times, and maybe "the crew" once or twice. Honestly, these are the people I love the most. I have known them the longest, and we all have fun times together. It's painful to imagine my future, and see myself struggling to keep these friendships. Distance can do a lot of damage on relationships, as I have experienced a lot. We will all try to maintain our friendships, until we get married and have kids, I guess at this point, it becomes too much work. We drift apart, until a class reunion and we realize what a great friendship we had back then. But this is just the rise and fall of relationships.

And you know? I am okay with this. Maybe we let go of our high school relationships because it reminds us of our immaturity. College is the biggest time of maturity in our lives, and letting go of those who make us immature is part of that process. And treasuring those close relationships increases our maturity.

Here's to Friendship