Friday, November 27, 2009

Splendors of Fall

I am sitting in my California living room looking outside the window. The grass is wet and vivid green, the skies filled with whispy grey clouds, interspaced by round pearly ones, and the world serene and beautiful in its absence of the golden hue it takes when in the sun. I love Northern California. And I love it most when it's fall and when it's overcast. I guess good ol' NorCal loves me too because it gave me a present this morning--a rainy autumn day.

In light of the beauty, I am going to write a piece all about the lovely fall. But it is specific to the Granite Bay/Roseville/Loomis/Rocklin area, so parts of it may not make sense. (Burn days :) and Apple Hill)

In Autumn, every person seems to be more cheerful, to have more energy; each is full of some excited anticipation. The earth seems to take a deep breath. It relaxes, as do its inhabitants, as it recovers from the steamy busyness of summer and prepares for the hustle and bustle of the cold, frantic winter. Although it is a lull, a time of reflection and refreshment, there is a certain eagerness and excitement to be found on the faces of passersby. When I walk from my house into a clear, dewy autumn morning, I feel as if I have also taken a deep breath, only straight into my soul where my insides are elated and ready to burst with utter contentment. And then I take that breath. As I breathe out a cloud of mist, a smile creeps onto my face and into my eyes. And I can’t get rid of it. That same feeling returns when I smell the dusty, light smoke of burning leaves in the country or see rosy noses and cheeks and bright eyes.

Trees lining the streets turn smokey red, dusty orange, crunchy brown, creamy yellow. The Wind scuttles the leaves across the streets.

I love driving with my windows rolled down; I can feel the cool air caressing my face. On autumn days, I go to get the mail, just so I can go outside for a walk. I love to feel the comfortable warmth of the sun on my cheeks. And the wind—whether it’s gentle or blustery.

The climate change brings about feelings of independence and contentment, and the events and activities that occur during autumn evoke feelings of love and happiness. There are so many activities to be done in the fall. Children visit pumpkin patches and carnivals. There they get their eager little faces painted or pick out plump orange pumpkins; they wave at scarecrows or ride on bumpy hay rides. Football season starts. Fans fill the stadium with rosy noses, scalding, steamy hot chocolate, beanies, warm blankets, noisy cowbells, and loud enthusiasm. Families visit Apple Hill. Children lie next to fireplaces and look through countless toy ads as they plan out their Christmas lists. Starbucks brings out its red holiday cups. Disneyland opens its spectacular fireworks and busy parade. And Mothers decorate their home with bright leaves, brown turkeys, cheery pilgrims, and spooky ghosts.

Halloween is a holiday that can be looked forward to for months. Sweet little children plan for months what they are going to be. I love handing out candy to all the Buzz Lightyears, “Sleeping Booty”s, ninjas, ghosts, witches, and Batmen. Halloween catches the essence of youth. The children can be whomever they want to be, and I love to see it and encourage them.

Every Thanksgiving, we spend the week with all six of my dad’s sisters and their families. We are spread all over California and Oregon and often times, Thanksgiving is the only time we see each other, aside from weddings. It is a time for people to relax without engagements or commitments. During this week, we stay up late just talking with one another, asking life’s puzzling questions and talking about whatever we want.

Fall is everything wonderful—Gentle wind and rain; cozy sweaters and warm scarves; the vivid fullness of life and family.

Happy Autumn!

Sunday, November 22, 2009


I meant to publish this forever ago. It was written in to the Daily Universe:

Letter: American gridiron tackle football Wed 10/21/2009- 20:43

American gridiron tackle football is under attack, and I won’t stand for it. Tuesday’s “Prodigal sport” claimed the BYU rugby club team deserves as much attention and funding as the BYU football team. They cited the 2009 national championship team as proof that they deserve a place at the table next to Bronco and company. This is more than just a slap in the face to the BYU football team; it is a roundhouse kick to the American people, a wedgie to the Declaration of Independence, and a purple nurple to the Constitution!

Men fought and died to keep us out of the British empire, and the popularity of rugby in this country is disrespectful to those men. International rugby powerhouses include Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Wales and even England. What do those countries have in common? They are all part of the commonwealth. Why isn’t rugby popular in America? Why doesn’t the BYU athletic department add rugby to our line of already successful sports? There is neither interest nor money in rugby in America because we won that war.

American football may have roots in rugby, but with the invention of the forward pass, American football set itself apart as the greatest sport in the history of mankind. Putting rugby and American football on the same level is wrong and dishonors the 223 years of independence this great country has enjoyed. So enjoy rugby as a novelty, but do not mess with American gridiron tackle football.



Sunday, November 15, 2009

Great Short Film

Watch this! It won an award at the Cannes Lion Film Festival. I LOVE it! Thanks, Caye, for showing it to me!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Forever and For Always

My friend Melissa’s mom sings “Forever and For Always” by Shania Twain to her husband and daughters on a daily basis. Go listen to it. I think it is absolutely adorable. Like those precious elderly couples you see shuffling along, holding hands in the park. Aren't you excited for that victorious day you realize you've found someone you want to spent "forever and for always" with?

Here's a link to the song: Forever and For Always

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Life is Beautiful and Led by Divine Hands and Heart

Wow. Life is beautiful. And I have so much to be grateful for.

This semester has been very difficult for me. I'm taking physics, which is very hard to comprehend and advanced french grammar, also difficult to understand. I'm working 15 hours at my regular job, and then 8 hours in the anatomy lab. I knew when I signed up that I was fully capable of doing it, but that I would need to stay on top of things (very un-Morgan, as those of you who know me are aware..) and would need a lot of help from Heavenly Father. Well, I fell behind and then struggled, unsuccessfully, to get back on top. I wasn't sleeping or exercising, wasn't taking time out for socializing or for increasing my spirituality. I kept falling asleep while doing my homework, so would wake up the next morning feeling terrible not only because I had failed to finish homework yet again, but because I hadn't washed my face, showered, read my scriptures, or said my prayers. Icky, icky times.
[I don't mean for this to be a pity Morgan. I'm pointing out the error in my perception. And I realize you all, as well as others, are going through much harder times than I was]

I still knew that life was a wonderful thing, but didn't love it quite as much as I had my whole life. Throughout high school, people told me I was the happiest person they knew. I didn't believe there was any such thing as a bad day. But this semester, that changed a little. People would ask how I was, how life was, and my answer was always "good" and it was always a lie; life was consumed solely by school and school was practically unbearable. I wasn't looking for the good things I had in my life or the good traits I was blessed with. Rather, I was focusing on that which I didn't have and that which I wasn't.

About a week ago, I decided I was going to do well on my upcoming physics exam, no matter what it took. I knew I could get a B on it if I tried. If you had asked me the first week of class how I would score on the exams, I would have laughed and said there was no way I could ever comprehend physics and would therefore fail every exam. Well, after a week of returning home at 10:30 pm, a week of practically nothing else, a week of next to zero social activity, after a good handful of skipped classes (bad!) and a Halloween evening spent in the physics lab, I took my physics exam and got an 88%! Not super impressive to most of you, but to me, it means the whole world. I never thought it was possible. But it was. And had I studied a bit more, I know I could have gotten an A. An A! In physics! Now to most of you I'm sure that wouldn't be difficult, but it was difficult for me and I am so grateful for the help I had and cannot deny the divine hand that supplied it.

I returned home last night a new person. On the walk home, I realized life will always be beautiful when there is love, the gospel, knowledge of a Heavenly Father that loves, helps, and blesses you, and music. I know there are many others and that music is kind of superficial compared to the others listed, but these were the ones I was thinking of at the time. I came home and began and submitted a project that was due at midnight. I got up and washed my face. I said my prayers. I read my scriptures. And then I got into bed. And I opened the window. And I laid my head on my pillow. And I closed my eyes. And...... I couldn't fall asleep. So I sat and thought about HOW grateful I was. For everything. It was an incredible experience. The soft, cool wind caressed my skin and carried in the scent of a still night. I opened the window further and stared out the window. I looked down at the beautiful, quiet street. I don't know why, but it was SO BEAUTIFUL to me. I saw a few windows with lights on and prayed that they weren't stressed with late assignments, but rather having fun doing something they loved. I smelled the cool crisp Autumn air I love so much. I looked up at the beautiful sky, still light despite the late hour. And I just sat there, looking out the window, looking at the street, at the houses, at the mountains and the sky. I can't even tell you what thoughts I had over the long period. I was mainly just reveling in contentment, soaking it up with deep, calm breaths, a huge smile, and satisfied sighs.
I pondered the gospel a bit. Thought about Joseph Smith and Moroni and Mormon, mostly.
And then I thought about those things I was most grateful for at that moment, and other collected moments throughout that day:

--That Heavenly Father had woken me up that morning at THE EXACT moment I needed to wake up (and has done so more than ten times in this semester alone). The number of times proves that this is no coincidence. It is SUCH a miracle. No human body would naturally wake up so early when it is so deprived of sleep.
--The beautiful weather we've been having.
--The physics TAs who explain torque and centrifigal forces and Newton's second law in a way that makes sense to me. Some are so brilliant I just don't understand anything they're saying; we don't think on the same level. But Mary, Rich, Alex, Jeffrey, and Michael all explain it in a way I understand without making me feel dumb for calling them over multiple times for one problem.
--That the physics test was postponed. It was scheduled for Monday, but Prof. Magleby postponed it till Wednesday. I'm sure that was an answer to about 30 prayers :)
--That my vocal teacher didn't chastise me for forgetting my music. And that through him, my voice has improved so I am proud of it. No, I won't sing for you, but I enjoy singing to myself. Not because it sounds particularly beautiful, but because it's not bad and it's mine.
--That I can TA for anatomy, a subject which I love with all my heart and strengthens my faith.
--That a friend gave me a lot of Conference talks that I have been able to listen to on my iPod throughout the days of the past week.
--That I have fantastic co-workers that strive to make me feel included. Even during Star Wars and zombie discussions.
--That my current and past roommates think I'm funny and not weird! Well, maybe a little weird, but not outlandishly :)
--That I have a mind and a body that work.
--That I am a woman.
--That my mother loves me and supports me and sees strengths I can't.
--That my dad, for reasons I will never see, thinks higher about me than anyone else does and has more belief in me than I ever would.
--That something I have been praying for for years is beginning to happen. This is the greatest miracle.
--That Joseph Smith prayed in the grove and brought the gospel to Earth. That I know of its truth.
--That I can pray with questions and uncertainties. And that I know my creator is listening and responding with comfort, aide, blessings, and revelation.
-- That nothing tragic has happened in my life.
--That I know people who love me and that I know my Heavenly Father and Savior love me.

There are many other things I am grateful for, but these were the ones I pondered. I lay in bed and my heart rate quickened. I was excited for today. I couldn't wait to start a new day and do it the right way. I couldn't wait to get on top of everything and do what I need to be doing.

Well, life is beautiful. Hopefully I will never doubt that again. I love the beauty of this earth. I love the gospel. I love my family, and I love you. May you have an incredible day every day!