Friday, July 31, 2009

:::Day 14 -- Jump Start:::

Educational Brick Letter D KMcElman_090516_A6 Y No.1 Sudoku Black Number 4

Do you have any weekend plans? I don't really, nothing that's going to blow anyone's socks off. I'm going to try and organize myself again so that the weekdays aren't so difficult. I've had some frazzled mornings lately, replete with yelling at inanimate objects and leaving without hair and makeup completely finished. One of my goal for next week is to go one step further in my regular organization strategies and have my outfits picked out and ironed the night before.

I've been doing such a good job at hanging onto my money lately, but I had to spend some today on a few valid purchases. One thing that you don't realize when you're younger is that life costs money beyond the regular planned expenses like rent, food, and bills. Things may break, stop working, get ruined and need to be replaced, you may get sick and have to pay for health care, or maybe something ends up costing more than you originally budgeted for. That's why you can't spend money when you have it. Well, not all of it. Sad, and maybe a little cruel, but it's better in the long run.

May you sleep in a dark room with a cool breeze. See you tomorrow.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

:::Day 13 -- Sweet Shoes, Yo!:::

D letter A y4 1 Dice number 3

If you noticed that some of your Jewish coworkers were wearing out of the ordinary shoes today, like, for instance, Chuck Taylors under their suit pants, it's not because they were trying to "kick it out school." You may think that's why, but it's not, so don't say that.

In general, if you ever notice that a Jewish coworker is wearing anything out of the ordinary, just assume it's for religious purposes. That's always the safest route to take, much safer than cracking jokes in the elevator.

I have a migraine. If I didn't have a migraine, this post wouldn't be so lu-hame.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

:::Day 12 -- No Más:::

letter D a KMcElman_090516_Y2 yet another one 2

Today I took a mental health/sick day. I pretty much stayed in bed all day, slept, ate a sandwich, etc., etc.

Here's a fun thought -- I will retire in about 40 years. I haven't even been alive that long! Ha, ha, h--oh, chest pains.

Back to work tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

:::Day 11 -- This Is Quite Fun, Actually:::

D A Y 1 time one

Well, I'm a third of the way done with my 30 day challenge, and you know what? It hasn't been that hard. Honestly. All I do is sit down and write about my day, my life, my thoughts, maybe add a picture or two, some hyperlinks, and I'm done. I've really enjoyed this self-imposed challenge for a few reasons.

First, I like having a daily routine that is dedicated 100% to something that I want to do. Second, blogging is a creative pastime for me, and I love being creative, so doing something creative everyday is just stellar. Third, I like the fact that I'm working on something that I can see grow. If I was keeping up to date on my sidebar, I'd have a list of eleven posts now. I enjoy seeing visible progression, and adding to my blog everyday provides that fix.

Ooh, and it also fulfills my 'cross things of a list' fix. I looove that one.


Today I went to a lunch meeting at another law firm that is 3 or 4 blocks away from my office. When I walked over there it was hot and swampy outside. When I left an hour and a half later, it was less hot, still swampy, and sprinkling. Welcome to DC. The number one rule of being a Washingtonian -- never leave home without your umbrella. Here's why --

{Yay! Poor quality camera phone pictures!}

One minute, you're under a clear blue sky. Then you cross the street and you're being rained on. Literally.

And then it's over. Huh?

I don't write a lot about my job here for propriety's sake. Not because I do anything top secret, but because you just don't do that if you've got any sense about you. Also, this is my space. Heaven knows I give 'them' enough of my soul...:)

Monday, July 27, 2009

:::Day 10 -- Etsy, Etsy:::

Vintage LEGO brick letter D A y9 1 Zero
{ The 'a' is from Ikea's reusable shopping bags! I don't think I've recognized any of the other letters before.}

Do you shop on Etsy? I do, and I love it.

Every payday I buy myself something on Etsy. I usually don't spend more than $10, and I always get something pretty and fun that never fails to make me giddy when it arrives.

I've had a thing for letterpress lately. I love running my fingers of the indentations that the press makes on the thick, cotton paper.

Last Friday, I spent more than my usual $10 and bought a few cards and this print from a letterpress shop in Heber, Ut.

One thing that I love about Etsy is the direct and personal relationship that you have with the sellers. I love buying handmade items, but I love it even more when I can buy directly from the seller and have a personal conversation with them about what I'm looking for.

Every Etsy order I've ever placed always comes with a personal note, almost always handwritten, thanking me for the order. Sometimes sellers even include little tokens or free gifts. I just love Etsy. I wish I could do all of my shopping in this kind of environment.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

:::Day 9 -- Belated Pioneer Day:::

D A montere Y 9

This quote was printed on the cover of our sacrament program today in honor of Pioneer Day.

"I’ve often thought, and I’ve said to my own children, that those parents who kept going past Chimney Rock and past Martin’s Cove (and sometimes didn’t get farther than that) and those little graves that are dotted all across the historic landscape of this Church—they didn’t do that for a program, they didn’t do it for a social, they did it because the faith of the gospel of Jesus Christ was in their soul, it was in the marrow of their bones. That’s the only way those mothers could bury that baby in a breadbox and move on and say, “The promised land is out there somewhere. We’re going to make it to the valley.”

Well, that’s because of covenants and doctrine and faith and revelation and spirit. If we can keep that in our families and in the Church, maybe a lot of other things start to take care of themselves. Maybe a lot of other things sort of fall off the wagon. I’m told those handcarts could only take so much. They had to choose what they took. And maybe the 21st century will drive us to decide, “What can we put on this handcart?” It’s the substance of our soul; it’s the stuff right down in the marrow of our bones. We’ll have blessed family and Church if we can cling to the revelations."

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland
Worldwide Leadership Conference, February, 2008

I am proud of the pioneer spirit on which our modern day church was founded. To me, it's at the essence of what it means to be Mormon. This spirit continues in our church today, and it's why we keep spreading the word, building temples, supporting families, sending out missionaries, collecting tithing, splitting wards, creating new stakes, translating materials, broadcasting conferences, breaking new ground, blessing babies, baptizing members, ordaining priesthood holders, passing out scriptures, knitting bandages, making dinners, canning food, bagging sandbags, and on, and on, and on. We are a church that is moving forward and onward. We are busy and engaged in good causes, we are self-sufficient and charitable. That makes me very proud.

I was talking to a girl last year who was here doing research at the Library of Congress as part of her PhD program at the University of Chicago. She was studying American History, and particularly the founding of the American West. When I told her I was Mormon, she began telling me how completely impressed she was with the early saints. She said something to the effect that no one would ever think that such a (seemingly) ragtag group of people would be able to make it across the plains, let alone successfully settle and flourish in the desert. She praised their hard work and all that the pioneers had done to settle the American West. Then she tried to find one word to describe the pioneer settlers, but couldn't find the right one. I then told her that the word was 'industrious', and she couldn't agree more.

I wonder if I've made enough forward motion in my life to mirror the efforts of the pioneers. While our physical tasks are different, I think that in spirit they are the same. I could be doing more to bring the kingdom forward. I could be sacrificing more and focusing more on the faith. Thankfully, that doesn't mean that I've given up, but that I'm still on the road. If there ever isn't more to do, it means I've given up.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

:::Day 8 -- I Guess Everest Is Out of the Question:::

D letter A y5 park 8

Stairs are my mortal enemy.

Stairs -- with their sharp incline, their unrelenting repetition, one right after the other, killing me slowly, not letting me stop, forcing me against the heavy pull of gravity.

Stairs. Grr...

Tonight's blog post brought to you by a locked up elevator, aching knees, and a sore back.

Friday, July 24, 2009

:::Day 7 -- Mormon, Therefore:::

D Red A Y Seven  on Tile
{Wherein we learn that late night blogging makes me philosophical}

I ended up riding the bus twice this week with a woman from my ward. We sat together and talked, talked, talked about life and work, but mostly about church. Each time I got off at my stop I felt so energized, and I felt so happy that out of the thousands of people in this town, I have a built-in network of people who, by commandment, have to love and care about me. Zion works, people. Watch me live in it and see me prosper.

Being a believer in a sea of disbelief is like living in a refiner's fire. I'm sorry for the cliche (too tired to figure out how to accent that 'e'), but it works. The flames either burn out your weaknesses and make you purer and stronger, or they destroy you because after the impurities are gone there's not much to be reckoned for. While living in the strange lands, sooner rather than later you'll be forced to make an important decision about how Mormon you're going to be. Will you wear it on your sleeve or sweep it under the rug? (Hint: receive His image in your countenance)

I'm happy that being in DC has made me 'more' Mormon. I read a quote somewhere (too tired to source it now, maybe tomorrow?) from a prophet or member of the Twelve Apostles that said we should not say, "I'm am Mormon, but...," but should instead say, "I am Mormon, therefore..." It's the therefore should dictate the content of our lives, not the but...

I am proud to be 'Mormon, therefore.' If people ask me why I don't drink, don't smoke, don't see rated R movies, and on, and on, and on, I just say, "I'm Mormon. We don't do that. I don't do that. Do you want to know why?" In my youth I tried to get away with an evasive, "Er, I just don't want to.' But these days I'm all about owning the name. 'Oh, I'm Mormon (always said with a big smile).' And, what?

When people ask questions, I answer them. When people try to spin the truth and get antagonistic I say, 'Hey, that's awesome, but I've been a member my entire life. Want to hear how things really go down?'

Bring it. I'm Mormon. I like you just as Jesus does. I'm kind, I have hope, I try have perpetual goodwill towards all mankind. I pray, I study, I ponder. I'm part of something that you should be a part of too because it will uncover the greatness in your soul.

I'm Mormon. I like it that way.

And, what.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

:::Day 6 -- A Long One About Life:::

d16 City Carpet Letter A Y 6

{Written too close to midnight. May contain numerous errors.}

I get it, I'm lucky to be here.

I set my heart on living in DC when I first visited my oldest sister during her college internship in 19(yep, that long ago)99. 1999.

I didn't make it back to DC until fall 2002 when I was doing my own internship. That move wasn't permanent though, and I had to leave again to go back to BYU.

After that, I repeatedly visited my middle sister who had recently made DC her home. Each time I left my heart would ache for this place. Without a shadow of a doubt, I knew it was where I wanted to be.


Life takes time, and no matter how much I wanted to be here, I knew that it just wasn't time. There were a few false starts when I thought I was on my way, but my plans continued to fall through.

After a brief stop in California after graduation, I moved back to Provo and spent some good years there making some of the best friends of my life.


DC was still nagging at me.

Fast forward a couple years, and it was 2007. There still weren't any doubts in my mind that DC was where I was headed next. At that time I finally felt that I could start praying for a way to open that would take me from my here and now and toward my long held dream.

Oh, I prayed mighty prayers, through the tail end of winter, the budding flowers of spring, into the scalding heat of summer, and past the changing leaves of fall, and then it finally happened -- I lost my job.

That was my ticket out.

I sold my belongings, wrapped up loose ends, packed up shop and drove home to California. About a week later I flew out of LAX nonstop to DCA. When the timing is right, things come together like legos. All the pieces that used to be laying scattered on the floor quickly snap into place and you are go-ing places.

But before that I waited. I waited for eight years.

Eight years.

I waited eight years for something that was perfectly reasonable and perfectly wonderful.

This is what I know about the Lord's timing -- when it's right, it feels right. When it's right I don't feel constrained. I feel free, as if something is pulling me forward. The visions of what I've been waiting for become crystal clear in my head, as if a connection has been made between my current heart and the soul of my future self. When I hit my window of opportunity it feels like rush hour traffic has just broken up and I'm sailing down the freeway.

It feels like angels are hastening me and loved ones are cheering me.

I feel endowed with power, ability, and confidence. I know that things are going to turn out the way that I see them.

I know what the right timing feels like. I'm thankful for that.

I'm thankful that the wait ended, and that I finally got what I was waiting for.

I took a cab ride at dusk this evening that led me through all of my most favorite parts of town -- from the mouth of Georgetown to Foggy Bottom, down Penn to Constitution, past the back of the White House and the Washington Monument, behind the museums, and up, up, up the hill, which is The Hill. For the price of a cab ride I fell in love again with all that I originally loved about this town, and I remembered how badly I wanted to be here and how certain I was that this was the place.

I love this town. I don't like the urban lifestyle, I miss wide open spaces and big blue skies, front lawns, stars at night, grocery stores, cars, silence, full-size church buildings, wildflowers, the frontier spirit, fabric stores, fewer options, more options, nuclear families...

But...I love this town.

Serenity now.

I can do this. I want to be here.

Serenity now.