Monday, January 31, 2011

Families Are Forever

My last surviving grandparent, William Richard Koch, is on the other side tonight. It was a long time coming. My grandpa had been waiting patiently, then impatiently, then patiently once more, to be reunited with my sweet grandma who has been gone over 6 years. From what my mother told me, his spirit peacefully left this earth around 7 pm, pacific standard time. The process was fairly quick and not painful, for which we are all grateful. I last spoke with my grandpa two weeks ago and though it was a short phone conversation, as I learned was grandpa's style, it was upbeat and positive and will stay with me forever. Grandpa was such an amazing and generous man. I'm grateful I managed to capture a handful of photos of him with me over the last several years.


When I think of him being born in 1924, I am blown away by what changes he had witnessed in the world during his lifetime. He lived a long and full life. He continually stated to his loved ones how blessed he had been in his life, how grateful he was for his posterity, and how much he loved the Lord and believed in His gospel. Grandpa was such a wonderful example to me. I'm so grateful to know that he will forever be my grandpa, and I will see him again, some day.

2010Isn't he so handsome?! I love you, grandpa!!!!!!

"Now, concerning the state of the soul between death and the resurrection—Behold, it has been made known unto me by an angel, that the spirits of all men, as soon as they are departed from this mortal body, yea, the spirits of all men, whether they be good or evil, are taken home to that God who gave them life." Alma 40:11

Friday, January 28, 2011

Winter Wonderland

Wednesday night was a crazy blizzard of sorts, as you can see below
(out my window)

The result was the best snow day ever! I took my sweet time getting out of bed and showering. Then around 3 pm, a few friends (Rebecca D. and Armineh-roommate) and I headed to Chelsea Market, an indoor shopping/restaurant mall with an Anthropologie and fun places to eat. Below is what we saw along the way.
We each found a few bargains at Anthro, then had a bite to eat, and we topped it off with stumbling upon a sample sale of Free People clothing! Free People clothing is more expensive than Anthropologie but looks like it costs less. And again, we each scored some awesome, inexpensive items! We felt quite successful.

Next, we parted ways with Rebecca, and then Armineh and I went to see the movie "The King's Speech". It was so good! I tell you what, the rating system is so out of whack. One movie that's uplifting and wholesome, except for a few cuss words (in a scene with speech therapist session) and another movie with full frontal nudity, multiple explicit sex scenes, drug use and abuse (aka the kinds of movies I avoid like the plague) can have the same movie rating. Anyone else see something wrong with this picture? I do. For the most part, I go by ratings. If a movie comes out that looks like a good one to me and I see the rating is "R", I won't see it. But every now and then, a movie comes along that is phenomenal and wrongly rated, thanks to the messed up rating system. If there's a movie I think I really want to see, I visit the website and look under the 'parental guide' section to see what the deal is, and then make my judgment. It doesn't take long for me to figure out if it's a-go. Not tryin' to justify, here. Just stating fact.

Anyway, I'll get off my soap box. After the movie (and we even bought popcorn and candy, that's how good of a snow day it was), we had to top the whole day off with a visit to Magnolia's for treat. I'm surprised I was able to fall asleep last night with all that sugar running through my system! But I slept like a baby after such an excellent day. Best. Snow. Day. Ever.

Monday, January 24, 2011

It's Crunch Time

It's starting to hit me--the fact that I only have about four months left in New York City. And I know that with my full schedule, that four months is going to fly by. I know I've complained a lot about life here, but I hope that I've also expressed some appreciation and affection for my time here. It will be a bittersweet departure, that's for sure. I've started to think of all the people I've met and made friends with and how I'll be sad to say goodbye to them. As is always the case for me, I feel like I'm just beginning to get to know a lot of awesome people just as I'm about to leave. Maybe that has to do with the fact that I have yet to stay put somewhere for longer than two and a half years.

Each place I've lived in my life I have met some phenomenal people. I have also experienced, in varying capacities, significant growth as a person. I never leave a city the same person as when I moved into it. This New York City experience and all it has held for me just might take the cake, in that regard.

Like Jay-Z raps out in his song "Empire State of Mind", "And since I made it here, I can make it anywhere."

Thursday, January 20, 2011

I Wear My Heart On My Sleeve

As most people are aware, I tend to be on the more emotional side when it comes to...well, life. And I internalize EVERYTHING and EVERYONE.

In my training to become a social worker, I'm learning that I need to find balance between my personal/emotional self and my professional self. It's not that I'm not allowed to feel emotion as a professional. I must be sensitive to emotion as a social worker; it comes with the territory. If I didn't FEEL then I wouldn't be doing what I'm doing. But before I can find that balance I need to first BELIEVE in my professional self. I feel very much like a "kid" right now. I often feel like I don't know what the hell I'm doing. All the theories and the methods I've learned are fine and good, but in the moment I often don't know how to respond to what's going on. It's almost like I'm playing "pretend", except I'm extremely aware that what I'm experiencing in my field work is NOT pretend. It's ridiculously real and heart-wrenchingly hard. Am I making any sense? I realize I'm being quite vague. I've got a lot of thoughts swirling through my head at the moment and am not sure how to formulate them into words.

I've had my fair share of doubts since I started this gig called grad school, that I don't know if I can do this kind of work and remain a functioning, contributing member of society. But I've also never seriously considered walking away from it all. I have had enough faith in myself, or have relied on the faith others have in me (namely, a loving God's) when I felt like I had none left, to keep going. If I said it once, I'll say it a billion more times. Life is hard. I know that now more than ever, and it's not from my own life experience. What I've been through is "chump change" compared to what I've witnessed.

Being an emotional person is a big part of who I am, and if I internalize, I internalize. Social work school and practice are teaching me how to harness the emotional, internalizing side of me into someone I believe in and am proud to be.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

And Another

"One cannot have adequate faith in a Christ whom he does not adequately know, “who is a stranger … far from the thoughts and intents of his heart.” (Mosiah 5:13.) Instead, by laying aside “every weight” of the world and the sins which so “easily beset us,” by looking unto Jesus and by feasting upon His words, we will be able to move forward with intellectual and spiritual vigor. Otherwise, as Paul said, we can become wearied and faint in our minds. (See Heb. 12:1–3; see also 2 Ne. 31:20.) When we understand what was revealed to Adam—“[my] plan of salvation unto all men” (Moses 6:62)—then these doctrines are keenly relevant for tomorrow’s trial, Tuesday’s temptation, or next month’s surge of self-pity. After all, chastening, the trial of our faith, and patience are part of the plan. (See Mosiah 23:21.)"

-Elder Neal A. Maxwell (Called and Prepared From the Foundation of the World, April, 1986)

I've begun attending an Institute of Religion class at my church building and we're studying The Pearl of Great Price. The above quote came from an article that one of the teachers (two guys from my previous ward team teach the class), sent to us in preparation for the class tonight. It was an amazing article and you can find the entire thing here

I need to read my scriptures.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Power of Words

One of several (if not many) of the bonuses of being the only non-married person among my siblings is that, at Christmas, my mom is always overgenerous and gets me a handful of wonderful gifts. It only seems fair, right? I have no spouse or children to buy my presents, so my mom steps in and takes care of me. :) I don't mind! Although I did tell her this past Christmas she is not allowed to buy me presents like she has been all these years. I'll let her buy me ONE. Or maybe two small ones. haha. Just kiddin'. I'm totally content to just be there on Christmas, But anyway, I digress.

My favorite gift she got me last month was The Neal A. Maxwell Quote Book. When I first saw that book, I wanted it so bad and had mentioned it to her late summer. It really wasn't a hint, I promise. We happened to be at the church bookstore together and I talked of how I would love it and planned on getting it soon. Little did I know, she made a note to herself for potential future Christmas present ideas. Genius! She's a genius. I never know what to get people come December, but she suggested that if you pay attention all year long, you'll know just what to get someone come the season of giving. I gotta remember that! Anyway, the apostle, Elder Maxwellhad a way with words that made you think twice or three times after hearing him speak or reading something he wrote. His words were always that profound. I remember when I was old enough to appreciate his talks at General Conference. Did I always understand what he was saying? No. But that was the beauty of his ways. I had to go back and listen again or read it again to get it, even half way. Here are a few of my most recent finds and favorites:

"One wonders, even in good people, if peevishness is not one of the last tendencies to be conquered. Littleness in big people is always disappointing. Perhaps such littleness is like litter on an otherwise lovely lawn.; we must not be judgmental, of course, but we cannot help noticing. Even so, we'd best look first to our own lawns". (Notwithstanding My Weakness, 51)

"Endurance is more than pacing up and down within the cell of our circumstances; it is not only acceptance of the things allotted to us, but to "act for ourselves" by magnifying what is allotted to us (Alma 29:3,6). Ensign, May 1990, 33)

"Let us have integrity and not write checks with our tongues which our conduct cannot cash." (Quote Book, Preface)

"Decisions made in the midst of fatigue are seldom the best decisions, and agreements reached between the exhausted may last only until some of the participants are revived." (The Smallest Part, 48)

"Our faith must ride out our moods, or our discipleship will be too much at the mercy of mood, men, and circumstance." (Wherefore, Ye Must Press Forward, 35)

That's all, for now. There's plenty more where that came from.

Monday, January 17, 2011

New Look!

I thought I'd give this blog a little more color and appeal with a new template design. It was well overdue. So behold, the new look!

And one more thought before I go...

I saw this ad on the subway on my way to church.Another reminder of why New York's mentality bothers me. Only in New York. Blah.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

A Near Snow Day and Thensome

We had a pretty little snow "storm" last week with a lot of hype. Both my work and school were sending out emails saying there may be a potential closing of facilities due to the impending storm. I was surprised at how much they talk about snow storms out here, like it's something new and unknown to the area. I'm pretty sure the winters out here have been like this for quite some time now. Anyway, I went out after my class (no "snow day" there) and took some photos of the aftermath.
Central Park

Washington Square Park (NYU)

And then last weekend I went to the Guggenheim for my first time. The building was almost cooler than the paintings.
I totally snuck that last one. I was told afterward that no photos are allowed of even the building on the upper floors. I wasn't even taking a picture of artwork! What a dumb rule.

I was doing some window shopping the other day near Union Square and got this lovely photoDuring my window shopping, I came across these one-of-a-kind rain boots!I was reminded of home, naturally, and I would've bought some just for the sake of buying Las Vegas memorabilia found in New York City, but I decided I did not need them. Plus, they are not the greatest fashion statement, and I wasn't the only one who thought this (see evidence below)I should mention, this was in a Ross-like store, where stuff is discounted. Even the discounted leftover boots aren't selling. Sad.

Speaking of Vegas, though, I'm 99.9-percent sure I'll be heading back to there come June. We'll see if it feels right as I plan for my future.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


What a fun date it is today! This won't ever happen again, in the history of mankind.

A snow storm is supposed to hit tonight, and it's supposed to be a doozy! People out here are on the ball when it comes to the weather. They plan snow days ahead of time. My internship sent out an email saying not to come in till 10 am tomorrow, like that's gonna actually happen if a foot of snow falls tonight (no one will be going anywhere, except maybe to build a snowman). I also got an email from NYU, since my mini course is scheduled for tomorrow, pre-warning us about the snow storm nearly upon us. I tell you what, with all this hype, if I don't get a snow day tomorrow, as well as everyone else who is already mentally there, I'm gonna be VERY disappointed.

On a different note, there was an article in the NY Times last week that has hit the World Wide Web Mormon population by storm (kinda like the one we're about to get tonight). It was written by a Mormon, single woman in her mid 30s who's a virgin and tired of the Mormon culture and standards. She decided to publicly announce to the world of her conscious choice to get permanent birth control, enabling her to experience "a man's hands" on her before she dies (her words, not mine). She expressed her frustration with the dating scene and everything that comes with it in the Mormon single world, the emphasis the church places on families and how one can feel quite alone (note: if they let themselves) because of this. While I heard her and could empathize with her frustration and desire for companionship and intimacy, I just don't get it. I don't get why she felt she had to speak out about it in a NY Times article, in a city where we're already a minor part of the population and largely misunderstood. Right, I get it. There's a little thing called freedom of speech and also freedom to choose. Well, kudos to her taking advantage and making public her most personal part of her life. I just didn't get a good vibe from her words at all. It spurred me to think about my current Mormon, single, virgin-living self. I'm grateful I have a greater understanding of the bigger picture, unlike this girl. I once said to someone that it just takes will power and a greater purpose to keep it in your pants. Really, it's that simple. I shared this on facebook yesterday in response to the whole article debacle. The reading of this scripture wasn't intentional, actually. I was just actually reading my scriptures (for once) and ended up here:

9For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my aways bhigher than your ways, and my cthoughts than your thoughts.

10For as the arain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bbread to the eater:

11So shall my aword be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.

- Isaiah 55:9-11

I've been really upset about a lot of things lately, and I admit, I've aimed some of that anger at God. But I knew all along that was ridiculous. I just need to stop being angry and move forward with faith. I feel bad for the girl who gave up. But hey, if she's happier living a different lifestyle, then what can I say? I guess her standard for happiness is lower than mine.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Too Tired To Move

I loved my two and a half weeks extended Christmas and New Years vacation, but it has made it SO DIFFICULT to get back into the routine of my life. I swear, I can't catch up! I feel really tired every day, all day long. I just can't shake vacation mode. I also just want to watch TV and movies all night long when I get home from work. NOT GOOD. I mean, there's nothing wrong with a little R&R, but I already had my R&R (and plenty of it) back home, and it's time to prepare myself for what's to come in the next few weeks. School will be upon me, once more, but for the LAST TIME, EVER! I just can't get enough of that statement. I am taking a couple of mini courses before the semester begins because that will leave me with only three classes during the actual semester. Making that happen comes with a tiny bit of sacrifice--one of the mini courses started last Friday (a bit soon after a long vacay), the second one takes place on two Saturdays (though they occur two weeks apart), and the third one takes place two days during my Spring Break week (I know, it sounds like "crazy talk", but I'm reserving vacation mode for AFTER graduation). So, my LAST TIME EVER having a school semester will not be as jam-packed with readings assignments and papers. I'm a genius for coming up with this plan. Here's hoping it turns out like I imagine it will!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Memory Lane of 2010 in Photos (Part 2)

SeptemberOctoberNovemberDecemberIt was a pretty fantastic year. Onto the next one! Although, I fear it won't be as fun (last semester of school leads to life as a non-student, which leads to more responsibility, leading to less freedom and less fun. Sad story)

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Memory Lane of 2010 in Photos (Part 1)

I stole this idea from a friend. (Thanks, Naomi!
July was busy! (onto Part 2!)