The Happiness of Pursuit.



Confession. I've watched three rated R movies in my life. This (Hector and the Search for Happiness) is one of them. Granted, two choice scenes must be expertly skipped through. Besides that, this movie rocks my socks off. I won't attempt to give a synopsis of the whole thing because you should just watch it on Netflix and then we can chat. I did want to talk about this one scene though. The happiness of pursuit. I've been thinking a lot about that lately.

If you think about it, our entire existence is one of of progression. Sometimes I get fooled into the classic "I'll be happy when..." myth, aka the pursuit of happiness. Instead of the "I'll be happy now..." mantra, aka the happiness of pursuit. We are designed to pursue. Pursue development, relationships, accomplishments, etc. True, when we reach significant milestones in life, there is often a short period of happiness. But when I look back on my life, it's the experience of pursuit that brings me joy. It's the years I spent in the gym with my volleyball teams, not the actual games won. It's the late nights studying for exams with friends, not the grades. It's the being lost in the streets of Rome with my family, not the Colosseum. You get the point. Think about it for a second and you will agree with me...I promise.

Additionally, I think figuring out this whole happiness of pursuit deal is more important that just figuring out how to be happy on this earth. I think subconsciously, I've always thought that I'll have "arrived" when/if I make it to heaven. Set me up in my mansion with my family and I'll be good to go right? WRONG. I believe that we are eternal beings. Our progression will never cease. And in order to one day become like God, I need to figure out how to find joy in my pursuits. In order to be happy for eternity, we need to learn how to be happy because of progression.

Anyway. There is my thought of the day. Of course I think it's pretty great and I have zero idea how to apply it to my life. But bam there it is.

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editing papers.

This post isn't actually about editing papers...don't worry. It's just a principle I realized recently that's easier to explain with this whole paper idea. Details and a confusing explanation to follow (bear with me).

Remember in high school? When you had to write SO many papers? Maybe you still do. It's been a while for me, but that's beside the point. Anyway, you would write it up...nail that page requirement (##double spaced##). Immediately afterwards, you would hand it over to mom or dad, so they could help you edit it. I don't know about you, but in my case I always had to VASTLY different experiences depending on which parent I handed the paper to.

(**Note: This is in no way a slam to papa Ken. Because I could write essays on how much I love that man and would never change a thing.)

Mom vs. Dad (assuming the exact same paper…)
Dad: Dad takes the paper. Sits down at the bar. It’s 9pm. He’s probably eating some cold cereal, so I pour myself a bowl too (because eating cold cereal at night together is kind of this bad habit that we’ve have had since I was like 3…literally). He skims it over. Adds a comma here and there, gets rid of an “and”. He hands me back the paper. Tells me I’ve done a really great job, he loves it! SWEET. I run off to bed with no angst and no hard feelings.

Mom: Mom takes the paper. She’s a little upset because you handed it to her at 9pm and she wakes up at 5 every morning to run (without fail). She goes into her room, with your paper and a pen. Thirty minutes later she calls you in. Your paper is a MESS. Her scribbles are all over that thing. She’s confused. You are now also confused. You start questioning everything you just did. The two of you begin going through the mess, sentence by sentence. We would argue—creating this perfect storm of frustration and exhaustion as we neared 11ish pm. I would probably shed a few tears (knowing myself). Once we went to the underworld and back with that thing, I’d thankfully retreat to my bed, thankful I had survived the storm and thankful for my mom dealing with me and my MESS.

Dad: Well…let’s just say we got an ok grade on that thing.

Mom: You freaking nailed that mess turned literary analysis.

Moral of the paper story: you absolutely HAVE to go through the mess to get that grade.

You might still be a little confused at where I’m going with this. So, let’s throw in some classic 2 Nephi 2:11 to get us centered on my point:

“For it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things. If not so, my firstborn in the wilderness, righteousness could not be brought to pass, neither wickedness, neither holiness nor misery, neither good nor bad. Wherefore, all things must needs be a compound in one; wherefore, if it should be one body it must needs remain as dead, having no life neither death, nor corruption nor incorruption, happiness nor misery, neither sense nor insensibility.”

OPPOSITION. Let’s think about that word for a second. When I think about it, I automatically think of something miserable. Like editing a paper (the mom version of editing at least). Opposition is something that makes us all a little squirmish. I think initially, we would all feel good about avoiding most of the opposition we come in contact with on a daily basis.

I’m coming to understand a few principles about opposition though. The first is this: Opposition can often be something negative. But a lot of times, it’s just something opposite! Opposite doesn’t have to mean good or bad, it just means different. How blahhhh would life be if everything was the same? The scripture says, if we were “one body” (all the same) we might as well be dead. That’s quite the statement if you ask me. How GRACIOUS is our God to give us a life and a world filled with glaring opposites. So many instances of “opposition” have brought me joy in my life. A random list to name a few:

·         When I was little, my favorite activity at any hotel was running from the hot tub, to the swimming pool...back and forth for hours. Jumping in one extreme after another was THRILLING to me as a kid—the hot was extra hot and the cold extra cold. (I may or may not still enjoy this activity occasionally…)
·         A brownie, with hot fudge, and some cold vanilla ice cream. Opposites my friends. I rest my case.
·         Waking up at 5 am. Hiking in the cold and the dark to the top of a mountain to see the sun come up. Or…sleeping in on a Sunday morning. One of those days when your bed is juuuust the right temperature and it feels like your comforter is literally giving you a hug. Opposites. And both SO DANG GOOD.
I know those are kind of silly examples, but on a more serious note—that brings me to my second point about opposition. Opposition refines us. I just truly believe that you can’t have the good without the bad (or…opposite). It’s why we came here. To struggle with the natural man. To progress through life. To experience changes with opposition. It’s the opposition that turns us into really good and really amazing people.

Now to bring it back to editing papers. I’m thankful to have a mother who is willing to go through the mud with me. Because it produces a really amazing paper. I’m thankful to have a mother who I can fight with. A mother who is honest and open with me. A mother who helps me be a better person. Even though most might see those things happening and think we are a little intense sometimes as we are yelling at each other…at the end of the day, my mother is also my best friend. She’s the person I disclose every detail of my life to…from what I ate for lunch, to who I have a crush on, and what my biggest fears and insecurities are. She’s the person I come looking for when I get home from work. I honestly believe I feel so close to her, because of how crazy we are. I know that sounds un-logical…but I think it’s the key. It’s the opposition and the struggle that brings the closeness and joy. We can’t have one without the other. The hot without the cold. The loneliness without the love. The triumph without the struggle. The light without the dark.

I could keep rambling for pages about this. But maybe it makes sense to someone. The moral of my story with opposition this understanding that I’m slowly obtaining, that it’s something good and necessary in my life. The understanding that gives me patience when I’m tired of being tried. The understanding that gives me context for my struggles. And the understanding that lets me see the contrasting colors that God is letting me splatter on my life through the beautiful principle of opposition.

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sister sister.


Moving home this semester for my internship has been…bliss. I can’t get over how much I LOVE being home. I love living in Salt Lake. I love my job. I love my friends here. But most of all I love coming home to the tall and pretty people that I get to call my own. I’ve always had a great relationship with all of my family members, but for some reason, this period of time feels different. You know when you are experiencing something, and you just know you’ll remember it, because it’s special for some reason you can’t put your finger on? It’s almost like you know you know you’ll never get to re-create your current situation again, and the higher powers that be are telling you to just catalogue every detail in your brain because what you are experiencing is going to be a really good chapter in your book of life. 

Anyway, that’s how I’ve been feeling since January. I have this hypothesis that my sisters and I have an unspoken understanding that this might be one of the last times in our life when it’s just the three of us; so we are taking full advantage of loving and living and experiencing everything with each other. I was thinking about it; in a year—Allie will probably be on a mission, Kate will probably be on her way to Princeton or some other crazy Ivy League school…and me? Well I wish I knew. I’ll be in school, or working, or married (except probably not that last one for a good while…). Basically, we understand that right now there’s no far away colleges, or husbands, or careers pulling us away from each other, so we can just soak up all the good that comes from living under the same roof. I love getting woken up by Kate practicing the piano at 5:30 AM (p.s. she is UNREAL). I love coming home way too late, and having Allie sitting at the bar after her night out too, and talking about boys and life and anything else that two sisters talk about at 2 am. I love our “MUSSENS” family chat thread that keeps my phone happily buzzzzing all day long. I love going to the gym with Allie after work, and cooking some healthy dinner with Kate way later than people should start cooking dinner. I love going to my dad’s singles ward with my teenage sisters, and I love watching 25+ year old men try to flirt with them at socials…(lol). I love that sometimes we meow at each other and try to watch Lord of the Rings (for the first time in our lives) but it’s way too long. I love a lot of things. But mostly, I just love the feeling that’s in our house right now that I can’t totally describe.

The three of us have been on a hectic ride the last two years. A flooded house. Kate’s back surgery. Allie almost dying of internal bleeding. And just last month ALLIE’s back surgery. (Yeah…either I’m a miracle child or the recent Rasmussen medical plague is coming for me too). Even though it’s been tough and scary at times, it’s definitely brought us closer together, and made us see pretty clearly how lucky we are to have every minute that we do have together.

So there’s my little personal detail for this chapter that I’m really loving right now. I hope my sisters know how much I completely adore them, and I’m real happy that I somehow got stuck with them.

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stormy seas.



Hi. Well I fell off the planet for a solid two months. But I had good reason to. There have been a million things I’ve wanted to write about, but I just kept getting hit with wave after wave of...well, hard. I love this blog, I know that I’m its number one fan, and that’s okay. Maybe my best friend liza, or my mom will take a peek at it sometimes. But it is so therapeutic for me to write. It gives clarity to my thoughts swimming in my brain.

Regardless, let’s get to the point. Even though there are many points I wanted to catch up on. The most important one are these “waves” I was just talking about. So, this little analogy, that I’m now obsessed with, came out of getting dumped back in November. I think it’s really applicable to that situation, but it actually applies to so many situations. So here it goes, hopefully it makes a twinkling of sense.

After I was dumped, it knocked me off my feet. I was so confused. I didn’t see it coming in the slightest. The night it happened, I just felt like the dust of the earth. I felt weak. And downtrodden. I begged Heavenly Father to just give me something—anything. So I cracked open my Book of Mormon and there was the Book of Ether, chapter 2.

{context: the Jaredites are preparing for a sea journey to the promised land}

vs. 5
“And it came to pass that the Lord commanded them that they should go forth into the wilderness, yea, into that quarter where there never had man been. And it came to pass that the Lord did go before them, and did talk with them as he stood in a cloud, and gave directions wither they should travel.”

vs. 6
“And it came to pass that they did travel in the wilderness, and did build barges, in which they did cross many waters, being directed continually by the hand of the Lord.”

vs. 7
 “And the Lord would not suffer that they should stop beyond the sea in the wilderness, but he would that they should come forth even unto the land of promise, which was choice above all other lands, which the Lord God had preserved for a righteous people.”

So, before I begin. Let’s think about this situation. God is telling you to build a boat. A boat that has no windows. And you are supposed to get in there with your family, animals, and supplies. Then you are supposed to launch this boat into the ocean and just hope and pray that God is going to deliver this little cubicle to some promised land. Let’s be would I probably respond? Hell no. (excuse me). But seriously, think about it. Could you imagine how crazy you would go in a dark boat, not knowing where you are or how far you had to go? I would probably jump ship. Luckily, God knew I couldn’t handle being a Jaredite. Except, here’s the thing—God has actually asked all of us to trust him, and get in these dark little boats. Whether we like it or not, we are in the same situation as the Jaredites. Our boats are just custom tailored differently for each of us. On the largest scale, we jumped in our boats to travel throughout life. Life can be a scary place at times. It’s confusing. It’s stormy. It can be a lot of things. But we can take faith, because we know that the Lord will go before us, directing our little boats called our lives, “continually”.  Another interesting note is that it is actually the storms that guided them to their destination. Similarly, the storms we encounter in our lives are what actually force us to grow, to become, and to arrive at a happier state of being. Additionally, God isn’t going to let us jump ship before we reach the Promised Land. I can imagine, that I would have, and I have, complained about being dragged through a stormy sea. Sometimes I just want to be left alone for a minute, I am tired of being tested. Thankfully, we have a Father who loves us far too much to let us out the easy way. God wants what is best for us, he wouldn’t let us settle for anything less than the Promised he keeps us on the boat, and doesn’t let us “stop beyond the sea in the wilderness”, but makes us wait till we have truly arrived.

Now, to apply to dating. Dating is it’s own little dark Jaredite ship. We get tossed around on the sea, and it’s sort of terrible sometimes. We all think we want to get off the dating ship as soon as we can, but for some of us, we have to stay on the boat until the right Promised Land rolls around. Take faith in the notion that God wouldn’t let you settle for something less than the best. And with every storm, you are becoming, and growing closer to your final destination.

Regardless, (sometimes I feel like dating is a little shallow of a topic...) I think the principle applies to everything. So, what I'm trying to say, is I'm thankful for the storms. But I'm more thankful to know the purpose and the big picture behind all the waves. 

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