Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Angels in Snow Boots.

On Monday,
I got off the bus
with a 37-pound suitcase.

I had flown into Utah that morning.

When I left Utah,
things were fine,
but when I came back,
the world was a snowy, slushy mess.

I had four blocks to go
with a 37-pound suitcase,
and even taking little baby steps,
I was sliding and struggling.

A nice couple in snow boots
saw me.
The husband said,
"Can we walk with you
to your house?
I'll carry your suitcase.
I used to be a bellman."

I let them help me.
We chatted.
The wife had been to Delaware
a few times.

Days later,
I keep thinking about it.
I can't stop.

I can't imagine
how long it would have taken me
to walk that four blocks
with that suitcase.

I would have been in tears
by the time I got home.

For some reason,
that little thing
made me feel grateful
in a way I never have before.
Whenever I think about it,
I have to stop,
because I don't know
how to express my gratitude.

I don't know who they are,
but they keep crossing my mind.
I think little prayers for them
whenever they do.
my being a hot mess
has only continued
since Monday.

Yesterday I took 3 wrong turns
in a single drive.

I got locked out of my house
and Brooke let me sleep at her house
and then Paloma came and saved me.

I'm so grateful,
I can't think about it.
I've been thinking about this year a lot.

It was so good.
It was so good
that I don't even remember
the bad parts.

The bad parts
are the good parts.

Last New Year's Eve was funny.
I remember what I wore,
of course,
who I was with,
what we did,
and how I felt about it.

It's harder to remember
who I was.

I hadn't learned
so many of the things
that I now hold dear.

I didn't love
so many of the people
and things
that I love now.

I hadn't seen
so many beautiful places.

There were so many songs
that weren't yet dear to me.

So many sunny mornings
I hadn't yet woken up to.

So many pains
I had never yet felt.

When I think about this year,
I feel grateful
like I did
for those angels in snow boots.

One of 2014's sunny mornings,
long before the world became
a slushy mess.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Top 10 Never-Before-Seen iPhone Photos of 2014.

I thought it would be fun
do so something blogger-y
and count down
the top 10 iPhone pictures
of 2014.

That's right, folks.
These puppies
have never been seen
on Facebook or Instagram.

You're in for a treat.

I couldn't quite narrow it down
to just 10.

First, 16 honorable mentions.

Tan lines are a big deal for me.
Even when it's impossible
to find a good angle
from which to photograph them.

Discoveries close to home.

Reunion-with-Jess selfie.
She started dating her husband
later that very day.


2048 was an important part
of this year.

The day you walk in
to see 15 brand new iPads
is the best day of work.

Oh the things you find
in libraries.

One day I saw them
painting on the lines
to a newly paved parking lot.
I was intrigued.

Alyssa eating candy
under her desk.
Who know why?

Fourth of July selfie.

Doing my first assignment
for my Policy Theory class
at my desk
by this open window
was heaven.
Too bad that desk
soon became
too messy for me to sit at.

Pre-smoothie beauty.
RIP, blender.

My first time in the BYU library
in a year and a half
and look who I found?

American Gothic
out of sidewalk chalk.
Be still my heart.

I dressed up as Alyssa for Halloween.
The best part was
that nobody could tell.

I voted for the first time ever.
Trying to get a good selfie afterward
took longer than voting did.



Pumpkin chocolate chip waffles
for staff appreciation week.
Arguably a better day at work
than the iPad day.


Beautiful raspberries
at a farmers' market
in Los Angeles.


And I'm so glad.


Snaps from Andrew
of him and David
were insta-screen shotted.


Nothing like resting
at a clear beautiful spring
at the top of a meadow.


Fourth of July sky.


The worst picture of me
ever taken.
Post half-marathon,
soaking wet,
in the bathroom,
hating life.


I was with Genevieve and her dad
in his pick-up truck.
Being inside the truck
while this happened
was amazing.


Strawberries and cream.
What Pleasant Grove
and summers
and dreams are made of.


John Musik, Mr. UVSC, 1992-1993.
This picture has brought us
so much joy.

Monday, December 22, 2014

The second happiest day.

If the summer solstice
is the happiest day of the year
because it has the most sun,

then I think
the day after the winter solstice
is the second happiest day of the year,
because it's the first time
in six long months
that a day has more sun
than the day before it did.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Sages, leave your contemplations.

A week ago,
I went to a thing
to hear my friend read
a piece of fiction he'd written.

And then other people
read things they'd written.

There was beautiful and strange
birth imagery,
a piece with too many metaphors,
one that tugged
at my anti-capitalist heartstrings.

I sat there listening,
thinking about
my days as a fiction writer.

When I was younger,
I wrote heinous stories
about thirteen-year-olds
falling in love
after knowing each other
for five minutes.

Then in high school,
I used to write bits of stories
with no plots,
with characters named
Corner and Root.

Like this:
If you really looked at them, clothes had a lot of unhappy wrinkles in them. They weren't just ugly; they were unhappy. That is, if you were the type of person who let himself get upset by wrinkles. Frame was that kind of person. She wished she could devote herself to ironing the world's clothes.

One day I realized
that all my characters were unhappy,
so I switched
to nonfiction.

But these people
in this room,
reading things they wrote,
made me think--
as I always do,
for just a minute--
"Maybe I could do that!"

There is always,
for me at least,
the drive
to be a writer.
Even when
writing feels pretentious
because every line break,
and every tired word
you choose,
and every interesting word
you choose instead,
and every strange name
given to an unhappy character
seems contrived
to some degree.

When I left,
I went to the library,
dropping those thoughts
one by one
on the pavement
as I walked.
I thought,
I do get to write.
I have to write a paper
about the Columbia explosion
for my Public Administration theory class.
That's the kind of writing
I get to do now.
The next day,
I spent hours straight
in the library
working on that paper.

It didn't have that magic sheen
that writing fiction does.
It was business as usual.
There was no need
to give characters strange names,
and it might not have even been worthwhile
to choose interesting words.

I put on Christmas music.
Christmas music
brings that magic sheen, after all.

In the middle of
Angels from the Realms of Glory,
some words caught my attention.

Sages, leave your contemplations,
Brighter visions beam afar;
Seek the great Desire of nations;
Ye have seen His natal star!

I can shed tears at the drop of a hat.
I shed tears then.

I pictured one of these sages,
with a long, brambled beard,
hunched over scrolls
in dim lighting,
puzzling over
the great questions of the ages.

St. Jerome in his Study, Caravaggio

And suddenly!
Something pulls at his heart.
When he looks up,
he remembers
the star he saw,
and it fills his whole body.

He gets up
to pack his bag,
to speak with
the others,
to plan the trip,
to take the coins
that have been
hidden under his mattress
for ages
and go to the sellers
to buy something
for the King--
perhaps a gemstone,
or some fine-twined linen,
or myrrh.

He had been looking
for the King to come.
All that dimly-lit puzzling he did
over those piles of scrolls
was worth it.
When that star rose,
he knew it,
even though it was a new star.
He knew it in his heart.

So there was nothing
more natural
than to call for the others,
to plan the trip,
to buy the myrrh.

What does it merit
to be a sage
if you do not leave your contemplations
when you discover the King of kings?

What does it merit
to be a writer
if you only write about
the administrative errors
that led to the Columbia explosion?

What does it merit
to be a writer
if you only write
little strings of words
about little melancholy characters?

All truth is Truth.
But there is one truth
that stands on the highest stair,
and all other truths bow
to worship it.

It lies at the heart
of all Truth,
and it lies in the hearts
of sages and writers,
willing to leave their contemplations
and to leave their pens.

And to take up their contemplations
and take up their pens
to consider
and write about
the glory
of the King.

The Crowning with Thorns

The Entombment of Christ 

The Incredulity of Thomas

Friday, December 19, 2014

Riding a Bike.

When I'm at my parents' house,
all I want to do is a ride a bike.

I like to ride
on every road
and cul-de-sac
in the neighborhood.

my fingers froze
around the handle bars
until I had nothing
but two Lego hands.

The wind
whipped way down
into my ears
and made them hurt.

I looked at peeling mailboxes,
gnarled trees,
inflatable Christmas figures
lying in nylon heaps
on front lawns,
and houses
where children I used to know
once lived.

Above me was
the faint blue winter sky,
always sunny
on the cold days.

In my legs
was the good kind of burning.
In my heart
was a ghost of childhood,
the aftertaste of summertime,
and a sigh of contentment.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

The People.

Some years are "make new friends" years
and some years are "keep the old" years.

2014 was a "make new friends" year.

On the plane home yesterday,
I couldn't believe
how many people there are
that I love dearly
that I didn't know existed
last Christmas.

So on the plane,
I wrote one sentence
for every person
that I met this year
that I love
in some way.

If you're not sure
whether it's about you,
just assume
that is is.

  • Amy, for being good at talking and listening.
  • Andrea, for liking me immediately.
  • Betsy, for sitting in church next to me when I’m crabby.
  • Brittney, for giving Relief Society lessons that make you want to learn.
  • Brooke, for not talking to anyone with me at church activities.
  • Bryce, for being handsome not just because of his name, but because he gets a kick out of life.
  • Bryce, for knowing I won’t judge him when there’s a naked person on tv.
  • Caleb, for being the only boy who understands how to send out wedding announcements.
  • Camilla, for being more interesting than almost everyone else.
  • Carlo, for doing better than anyone could have asked and still wanting to improve.
  • Chelsea, for looking through eyes of faith.
  • Christopher, for treating me like we were better friends than I thought we were.
  • Claire, for bringing more joy into this world than maybe any other person.
  • Dan, for hating JFK and loving The Crucible.
  • Davi, for always turning up at the right moment.
  • Denver, for volunteering to take the group picture, even though we want him to be in it.
  • Derek, for wearing the greatest sweaters and putting up with me.
  • Elise, for loving bluegrass.
  • Ellie, for forgiving.
  • Emily, for being Juli Baker.
  • Emily, for being more thoughtful than any person should.
  • Emma, for being good to the ones she loves.
  • Geoff, for explaining things with rich depth.
  • Heather, for being the cool aunt.
  • Holly, for making everyone feel like what they said is really worthwhile.
  • Howie, for moving into an apartment because the guys there didn't have a video game console.
  • James, for making you feel worthwhile when he talks to you.
  • Jared, for making me feel like I belonged at his birthday party.
  • Jared, for visibly taking time to be friendly.
  • Joe, for offering to drive and to make tea.
  • Jonathan, for making the greatest scripture jokes.
  • Jonny, for caring about probably everyone.
  • Julio, for calling me “Boys Like Moyes.”
  • Junior, for smiling.
  • Kaitlin, for always remembering the kind thing to do.
  • Katie, for making going home mean something.
  • Kerriann, for being the easiest person in the world to welcome into your heart.
  • Kristen, for being able to love instantly.
  • Kristen, for saying “Rachel Moyes!” like just saying it gives her joy.
  • Kylie, for being the best person to take to a dance party.
  • Kylie, for starting sentences with “You guys!”
  • Lauren, for saying things that make sense.
  • Mariah, for cleaning the house with me at the end of the summer.
  • Marlena, for going to bed early and not apologizing for it.
  • McKenzie, for being vulnerable.
  • Mike, for being my friend, no questions asked.
  • Paloma, for working harder than I ever have at anything.
  • Robin, for saying, “I missed you today,” so I know she means it.
  • Sammi, for volunteering for everything.
  • Sammy, for leaving spaces and interactions more beautiful than she found them.
  • Sarah, for doing good in just a few months’ time.
  • Sarah, for treating every experience like she has something to gain from it.
  • Scott, for thinking all the same things sound fun as I do.
  • Shannon, for making everyone feel like they’re important to her.
  • Taila, for having a lot of love and giving it out.
  • Tatiana, for treating everyone like they’re interesting.
  • Taylor, for always having half a smirk on his face.
  • Tim, for being the pleasantest person in the world to run into unexpectedly.
  • Thad, for working at The Road Home.
  • Wes, for possibly thinking I’m funnier than I do.
  • Will, for not being mad when I ran into his scooter.
  • Zac, for swearing on the top of Mount Timpanogos.

(To be honest, I don't know some of these people.)

(If you didn't see your name on here,
I promise I still have a head full
of sentences about you.)