Monday, April 29, 2013

The day a maiden marries.

As an old friend of the family,
I had to ask as soon as I got back:
Who cried the most at the wedding?

Today was Ashley's wedding.

And I definitely cried most.

We've been through it all together.
This was the biggest day yet.

Oh no!
You are dear Miss Hollingshaus no more.
You are dear Mrs. Merrill now!
And how happy this must make you.
Such happiness this brings to all of us.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Meeting people is easy.

Meeting people is stupid and hard.

First, you have to start.
And that's a battle on its own.
Should I go up to someone?
Should I not?

Then, you have to find something to talk about.
You have nowhere to start,
so you just end up reciting your resume.
This is where I'm from.
This is what I'm studying.
This is what I like to do.

What's the point in talking about that?
Sure, what I like to do describes me,
but it's not me.

People are more than the sum of their opinions
about bowling and Chinese food.

Maybe I could try being transparent:
(That usually works well for me.)

I just thought maybe
I'd come up and meet you
so that we could be friends.

Now that you've moved in,
you live near me.
So I'd like for you to be in my life, maybe,
and I will appreciate
all the things about you
worth appreciating.

Is that okay?

Silly me.
Wanting to make friends
without paying the price.


I've been thinking recently
about how amazing dairy is.

You just start with milk,
and you get

cream cheese
ice cream
frozen yogurt
dulce de leche


Monday, April 22, 2013

Brother Reid.

This is Reid.

He calls me "Sister Rachel."
You can call him The Blade.

He's probably this blog's biggest fan.

His favorite book is Preach My Gospel.
Hands down.

And he loves a woman.

The thing about him is that
he only has good things to say about people.

Just meet 'im.
He'll learn your name.
And then he'll let everyone know
that he thinks you're pretty great.

Sunday, April 21, 2013


This week, I walked through the place 
where I lived as a freshman.

Me in my freshman apartment.

I felt a bit nostalgic.

But I said to myself,
"I wouldn't trade who I am now
to go back to this,
good as it was."

Then I was talking to Genevieve about
Anne Shirley's age-old question:

"Which would you rather be?
Divinely beautiful,
or dazzlingly clever,
or angelically good?"

I realized that my answer was
None of the above.
 I'd rather stay the way I am.

Then today was kind of a hard day for some of us.
There were several group hugs in my apartment.

And somehow I said to myself,
"I'm glad life is hard.
It's better this way."
It's nice sometimes
to realize that you're satisfied.

Friday, April 19, 2013


I've never seen Tangled, guys.

At first, I just never got around to it.
I wanted to see it.

But the longer I've waited,
the bigger deal it's become.

Sometimes I use that as my interesting fact
when I have to introduce myself.

Now it's become an exercise of will.
I can't see it now,
now that I've made such a big deal 
about not seeing it.

But maybe one day I'll see the light.

Thursday, April 18, 2013


Truth be told,
I love to cry.

There's something special about it,
something that makes us more human.

I'm crying because I'm sad,
and then suddenly,
I feel so happy.

And I cry harder.

And then I'm just crying,
and I can't tell whether I'm happy or sad.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013


Today in my religion class,
my professor asked us to complete this sentence:

Grace is like ___________.

When it was time to share,
my hand shot up.

Grace is like the PF Flyers
that Benny the Jet wears in The Sandlot.

Guaranteed to make you run faster and jump higher.

"It is... through the grace of the Lord
that individuals,
through faith on the Atonement of Jesus Christ
and repentance of their sins,
receive strength and assistance to do good works
that they otherwise would not be able to maintain
if left to their own means."

In the past month,
I've run faster and jumped higher
than I ever could on my own.

It's my PF Flyers.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

High school.

Guys, I went back to high school this semester!
To do a seminary teaching practicum at Provo High.

The first day I walked in there,
I felt like I was in high school--

insecure and out of place.

Who would I talk to?
Where should I sit?

But it got better.
I love those little kiddos now.

And then I was looking at my pictures from high school.

I started out awkward too.

Me as a freshman.

And high school was long and hard.

But I just had this revelation:

Being a teenager was kind of fun.
Kind of.

I had great friends.

And we went to an awesome high school.
We wore uniforms.

I popped my collar.

We went on minivan adventures after school.

I wasn't cool.
I didn't go to school dances.
But once,
I did this instead:

I took AP US history.
Only 4 girls in the class.

The boys high fived too much,
and it was crazy
and wonderful.

I studied French for four years.

I went to the zoo for my 17th birthday.
Good choice.

I made us have a 200th birthday party
for his excellency, Abraham Lincoln.

I had that kind of sway with the history teachers.

But most of high school felt like this:

I went to Girls' Camp,

Youth Conference,

and Trek!

beach adventures.

And then I graduated.

It sounds kind of picturesque,
the way I described it.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Mary Magdalene.

There was a woman weeping,
who came to be with Him
as early as she could.
Before the day began.

But He wasn't there.

Where, then?

Then she saw a man standing.
And kindly He asked her
why she was crying
and whom she was looking for.

She answered,
and then He said,

It was Him!

Miracle of all miracles.
Could it be?

Before He went home
to "my Father,
and your Father;
and to my God,
and your God,"
He stopped to talk with her--
a woman crying.

I have thought of this story again and again.
And my heart has inclined toward it.

Mary, so earnest.
Christ, so kind and so real.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Little Guy.

So you say to yourself,
"I'm just a little guy.
I can't do much of anything special.
It'll be best for everyone
if I just hide back here.
I'm happy."

But then some annoying person comes along
and asks you to be great.

"Forget it!"
you insist.
"You've got the wrong guy."

But you think and think
until you go half mad.

And then some person says something like,

"Courage is not the absence of fear,
but rather the judgment
that something else
is more important than fear."

And then you think maybe
the whole point of life is to do hard things.

Yeah maybe it's human to be afraid,
but it's probably also human to be brave.

In the stories that really matter,
you remember,
the little guy becomes the hero
by doing the harder thing.

Muttering under your breath,
cursing that person
who asked you to live up to your potential,

you do it.

And you're grateful.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

We love you more than ice cream cakes.

Sometimes at night
when I want my roommate Genevieve
 to come home from the library,
I listen to this.

And last night,
right after I played it,
she walked in.