Wednesday, December 23, 2009

English 777: Christmas as Literature---Merry Christmas!!

I'm sorry if I get a little too deep, loquacious, English major-y, or preachy in this post. I write about things I care and think about, and I count the content this post as one of those things.

Other than reading books, poems, and short stories I love for assignments, one of my favorite things about having been an English major is interpreting symbols and meaning in texts. Symbols allow us to understand abstract concepts more clearly. Likewise, one of my favorite things about Christmas is that it is completely filled with fun symbols and interpretation.

Some meanings of symbols are easy to see.

Candles and twinkle lights represent the light that Christ brings to the world. Even during dark nights, their, and His, light can be seen.

Wreaths symbolize the endless nature of God's love and the eternal life we can have with Him.

Just as the evergreen (especially the now popular fake tree) never dies, the love of Christ never fails or fades.

The star guided the shepherds and kings to the Savior just as He guides us through life back to Him.

Gifts symbolize the gifts brought by the kings and, obviously and more importantly, the gift God provides for us--His Son (John 3:17).

Candy canes resemble shepherd crooks. (Shepherds are one of my favorite symbols in Christianity. I'll talk about shepherds more later.)

The humble setting in which the Savior was born foreshadowed His living conditions through life--humble and lowly.

It seems that almost everything about Christmas points to the Savior. But lately, a few symbols or representations have stuck out to me.
As I thought about how "cold" it is getting, I started wondering what winter had to do with Christmas, other than that's when we have this holiday. Why is the celebration of the Savior's birth in the season when much in nature dies?
Again, I might be stretching here, but these are the thoughts I had. The birth of the Savior, as miraculous and beautiful as it was, only served to bring Him to the earth for His real purpose: to atone for the world, to save the natural man, to help us return to Him. Before He came, fallen mankind had spiritually died or was spiritually separated from God. Before He came, people could only hope that He would come to save them. "The hopes and fears of all the years are met in [Bethlehem] tonight" ("O Little Town of Bethlehem"). His birth interrupts this state, and when He performed the Atonement, was crucified, and was resurrected, He overcame man's fallen state, a spiritual death or separation from God. We can now experience a rebirth and live again with God because of Jesus Christ. Similarly, Easter, the celebration of His death (and obviously His Atonement and Resurrection as well), comes at a time when life in nature is restored. In this way, nature serves as a symbol for man's relationship with God.

There are so many meanings, messages, and responsibilities associated with shepherds. When we refer to the Savior as our shepherd, we usually think of the one lost sheep He saves (Luke 15:4-7) and how that applies to all of us. We also think of our roles as stewards to help those around us by feeding His sheep (John 21:15-17). I love these interpretations; they add so much depth to my understanding of the Savior and my relationship with Him.
But I've come to see shepherds in a different light as well. Jesus repeatedly says, "I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine" (John 10:14). At BYU my New Testament professor, Dr. Parker, told a story about a shepherd he met in Israel. When Dr. Parker approached this shepherd, he noticed that the shepherd was wearing a bulging sling closely tied across his chest. Drawing closer, Dr. Parker realized the shepherd had an injured lamb in the sling. When asked how the lamb was injured, the shepherd admitted to breaking the lamb's leg--on purpose. He said that the lamb would not come when he called its name, so he broke the lamb's leg, so that it would need to be held close to him and learn to recognize his voice and come to him when beckoned. This story has meant a lot to me as I have gone through difficult times. Sometimes we need to endure trials to know Him more, to recognize His voice, to follow when we are beckoned.

In ancient and modern Israel, shepherds cared for the sheep that would be used for sacrifices. But in Exodus, the Lord says that only a firstborn lamb can be used for specific sacrifices (Exo. 13:2-3). So shepherds must witness the birth of the firstborn lamb and present that firstborn lamb for a sacrifice. In the Christmas story, after they witness the birth of the baby Jesus, the shepherds "made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child," this Messiah, this Savior, this Firstborn Lamb of God (Luke 2:17). They are witnesses of the Lord Jesus Christ. In this way, we need to be shepherds just to bear witness of the divinity of the Savior. At this time of year, I feel it is appropriate to share my feelings about the reason we have this holiday. I testify that I know Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world and that He lives and loves each of us. He was born that He might live to save us from our sins, to die, and to live again.

Merry Christmas, everyone!! Enjoy the wonderful spirit of the season!!!!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


I have decided to carry on a family tradition--making fudge kisses!! I called Mom and asked for all her secrets and tips, had everything set out, and documented every second of this monumental occasion.

I wore the apron this high because I didn't want my sweater to get dirty. I didn't care about my pajama pants. It looks dorky, but it works.
This is me showing my apprehension... here we go!!
All the fudge is gone already!!! Just kidding. This is after I loaded up the kisses.
Even though this looks like crap, it's leftover fudge. Big difference.
Cooling fudge kisses. Sorry this one is oriented wrong. Just turn your head to the side.
In the end, I am pleased with the results. I think I did everything right, even though I made a mess when I poured fudge into the kiss molds. Not bad for my first time. Thus, the tradition is passed on to the next generation, and the circle of life continues.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Baby, It's Cold Outside

Here in Texas, Tracy and I have the chance to postpone turning on the heater as long as possible. Through days of 50-degree weather, we have enjoyed a cool apartment. I think I could get used to this kind of weather.

We just barely turned the heater on last night because it is 40 degrees today. It even "snowed." brrrrr.... This is probably the coldest it will be all winter. Assuming today will be the coldest, Tracy and I are pretty determined to leave our winter coats in the boxes, but we aren't above bundling up.

I like these little bits of cold in December. It's just enough to want and need hot chocolate and, for mom, start a fire in the fireplace. It's just enough to cuddle up in a blanket and feel perfectly content. It's just enough to make it feel like Christmas.

What a wonderful time of the year!!!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Giving Thanks

I would kick myself if I didn't write a blog expressing my thanks. Obviously, I can't include everything I am grateful for, so I'll just mention the ones that have been on my mind lately.

I am grateful for ice cream. It makes my work week melt away as it melts in my mouth. Just talking about ice cream makes me want some.

Tracy is grateful for his alarm clock, because he would be late for work and class every day without it. It is his drill sergeant, and it gets him going. Thanks, alarm clock!

But seriously...

I am so grateful for family. This may seem too generic or boring, but in saying that I am grateful for family, I communicate much more. I am grateful for my husband, my best friend, who has done so much for me to make me feel loved and happy. I am grateful for parents, who love and support me and who have taught me how to be a good human being. I am grateful for siblings, who have been brilliant examples of love and true friendship. I am grateful that I belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which declares that families can be together forever. I am grateful for a loving Heavenly Father, who gave his Son so that I may return to Him.

I am so thankful for the written word. I can't describe the feelings and thoughts that race through me when I read beautifully crafted writing. So much of who I am comes from what I have read. Some reading has forced me to evaluate my life, ponder aspects of humanity, search my soul, stretch my faith, and dig deeper into myself and into truth. The written word can communicate almost any emotion or idea. Even though most of the words I see at work and on a daily basis are for school assignments and for putting me asleep, I treasure my literacy.

I am so grateful for music. Sometimes even more powerful than the written word, music communicates emotions audibly. I'm in awe of those who can arrange notes in a manner that is compelling and moving.

I thank God for beautiful moments. I suppose all the things I have already expressed thanks for fit under this category. I live for those tiny moments when my breath catches in my chest and I have an "ah ha!" moment. They come at different times: sometimes when Tracy holds my hand, when a book or poem makes me laugh or cry or contemplate, when I see my family all around me as we talk in the living room, when I see a beautiful painting, when a beautiful song makes my heart pound. And the message of the "ah ha!" moment varies: I am loved, family rocks!, this is what heaven must be like, this is exactly what I've always wanted in life, I need to change, and others like these.

But beyond just giving thanks through words, I think it is also important to give thanks to those around me by serving them. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! I am grateful for all of you!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

You put what on it??

One of the many adjustments involved in marriage is getting used to each other's tastes--in decorating, in clothing, in food. For the past two years, I have been amazed at how much pepper Tracy puts on his food. With the exception of sugary foods, he puts a ton of pepper on everything. His plate is usually covered in black.

But excessive pepper isn't the only thing he does that shocked me at first.

Can you guess what this is? (Karen, you aren't allowed to give it away, because you ate this meal with us once! jk.) No, it's not taco salad. No, it's not nachos. It's baked potatoes. Can't see the potatoes? That's because on top of two large potatoes there are several layers of sour cream, cheese, (both pretty standard) ham, olives, and salsa. Yep, salsa.

By the time he's done designing this masterpiece, it weighs about a pound or a pound and a half--no joke. I admit that I have implemented olives and ham into my normal sour cream and cheese baked potato routine, but my potatoes weigh probably half or three-quarters (at most) as much as his do.

He swears that salsa is what makes baked potatoes delicious, so the brave-hearted and hearty-stomached can try this combination if you wish. I'm perfectly content with my baked potatoes how they are.

By now I'm used to it, and I set the salsa out for him. The pepper is sometimes still shocking though. I feel that it will take many years of marriage to adjust to that.

Friday, November 13, 2009

No, I am not a student . . .

This December I'll be a college graduate for one year. It doesn't seem that it has been that long. Don't get me wrong, we've done a ton since last December, but I feel that I have never left school.

At work, all three jobs of work, students ask me about my homework load, my classes, my major, my graduation date, and all the other normal college small talk starters. Instead of explaining everything (I'm actually done, my husband is a student, and I'm just working) and dealing with all the funny looks people give me, often I just say, "My major is English. My class load isn't too bad. And yours?" Is it lying? I suppose technically, but do people really want to know my whole life's story? No, not really.

I am taking a non-credit class, and I attend a political science class as part of being a professor's writing assistant. I carry a backpack around with all my notebooks, novels, and planners. That makes me a student, right?

I do miss the lectures and class discussions, I'll admit, but it's nice coming home with little to do. Lately, though, I've a lot of papers to comment on, presentations to plan, and other outside-work planning. I feel like a strange student-teacher combination.

When Tracy is finally done with his master's degree in a year and a half, I'll feel like I have truly graduated, because we will probably not live in a college town.

So, I have another year and a half to my graduation, too. haha.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

This Girl's Girly Weekend

While Tracy is out in the wilderness, hiking the Oklahoman terrain, looking at rocks, taking vigorous notes for a thorough Dr. Pope, and laboring geologically from 6 a.m. to 6 or 7 p.m., I have the house to myself. Whoa! What should I do? Perhaps the question should be what can't I do?

So far I have watched You've Got Mail, one of my all-time favorite chick flicks, and eaten pizza. (Don't worry. I didn't eat it all. I had to save room for candy and Oreos. Only somewhat JK.) While I watched, I painted a first coat on two shelves and a small sign. Yay!!!

What should I do today? I'll apply a second coat of paint to the shelves. I'm going to a baby shower this afternoon. I'll probably finish off the pizza and try to avoid all the other junk food we have somehow accrued these past couple of weeks. (Dang it!) I'll probably watch a few more chick flicks or musicals, because Tracy gets most of the airtime with football when he's here. I have to take advantage of this opportunity. Hello Dolly, Phantom of the Opera, or Sense and Sensibility?

I have missed him though. I hate going to bed alone and being the only one in the house. It's scary. But it has been nice having the house to myself and doing those girly things that I occasionally want to do, although the only girly thing I've done really is watch girly movies. haha Tracy gets back tomorrow night, and I can't wait to see him!!

Monday, November 2, 2009


Yes, I am wearing socks with my flip-flops. It looks more Japanese, don't you think?

He hates pictures of himself.

I have to say that I'm rather disappointed in myself this Halloween. My costume wasn't that impressive and we didn't really do anything with friends. I was Michaelangelo, the orange ninja turtle, and Tracy was a Brazilian cowboy, a gaucho.

I hate scary things. I refuse to watch scary movies, because even the most innocent of movies have given me nightmares. For example, I had several nightmares about the spiders from Jumanji and the carnivores from the Jurassic Park series. So you'd think that I'd hate Halloween. I will never go to a haunted house, go to a cemetery, or, as I said earlier, watch scary movies. But Halloween isn't all that bad. I like dressing up, being silly, and eating disgusting amounts of candy (I like it, but my stomach does not). When I am coming up with my costume ideas, I try to keep two things in mind: humor and ease.

I like to make people laugh at my costumes, even if it's just for a few seconds. I don't want something I have to explain. These two often are at odds with each other. For example, last year I was a "DEAD manuscript." In the editing field, when the editing changes have been input, the marked up manuscript is no longer new or useful, so we put "DEAD" on it to indicate that it is an old copy. For my costume, I wrote black text and marked over it with red permanent marker and stamped "DEAD" on it. My co-workers laughed, my bosses took pictures, my editing professor proudly showed me off to his colleagues, but I had to explain the joke to everyone else, which killed the joke.

I like to use what I have or spend very little in putting a costume together. While store-bought costumes look more authentic, more time and effort obviously goes into making a costume from scratch or from random pieces. One of my co-workers at the bookstore dressed up as a ghostbuster. Other than the flight suit, he made everything himself: the patches and the pack (made out of an egg carton, vacuum hose, and an old lunch box with a light inside and some green sludge). I think Halloween should be more about creativity and fun than scariness.

On to the next holiday!! Thanksgiving doesn't get neglected in our household!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


I consider myself a pretty well-rounded person. I play volleyball and some other sports, sing, write and edit, play the piano (a little), make scrapbook-y cards, and cook (albeit grudgingly).

Lately, I've had the urge to branch out in all directions. Just thinking about it makes my head hurt. I want to make ridiculously incredible home decorations and furniture myself. I want to paint on canvas. I want to photograph artistically. I want to be involved in theatre productions. I want to try to write a book. I want to make beautiful flower arrangements. I want to read more books. I want to learn a few other languages. I want to join a city league for volleyball. I want to do anything and everything artistic and fun that I possibly can think of. See my problem?

I've tried to narrow down my list of desired hobbies, but I can't bring myself to get rid of any of them. Tracy recommended keeping all of them on the list but just working on a few at a time. But then I have to decide which ones to do first. I'm being silly and childish, but I really want all of them, and I want them now!! :)

Any suggestions? I'll let you know what I decide to focus on, but it will definitely be a difficult decision.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Planning Ahead for Next Summer

We Wulfs like to be prepared. We like to have things planned out. I keep my planner updated religiously. But both of us were unprepared for geology grad students applying for internships for next summer just a week or two after the semester started. For next summer! Already?! Seriously?!?

Even though Tracy got a slower start on applications, he interviewed with fifteen companies and come home with tons of free stuff--five water bottles, a flashlight, a toy truck, a coffee thermos, flash drives, a deck of playing cards, office supplies, and a hand lense (for looking closely at rocks). But perhaps the most common free item was food. Tracy got at least free ten dinners for going to information sessions and special dinners. We went to the grocery store and realized that we didn't need too much, because we hadn't really eaten any of our own food for dinners. SWEET!! I love free stuff!!!!

But the biggest piece of news we have to share is that Tracy has accepted an internship with Hess, an oil company that is pretty popular on the East Coast. It has many international locations and, while it is relatively small compared to Exxon or Chevron, it has done well in the recent economic crisis. Tracy will be working for Hess in Houston next summer. We are so excited!!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Before I Die

I really like lists!! I fill notebooks with them. This list was particularly fun to write.

It might seem strange that I’ve compiled a list of things to do before I die. I’m only twenty-two years old for crying out loud! But I’ve learned in the past couple of years that time flies by, and lately I’ve realized that unless I keep these goals of what I want to accomplish in mind, I might never complete them.

Some of these things are things I would like to do, but I’m not sure if I’ll ever be able to. Others I must do before I die (for example, going to Britain). Although I realize that some of these goals are far fetched, I’d like to think none are completely out of my reach. I guess if anything else, this list tells you how imaginative and hopeful I am.

Go to Britain—I must do this!! Did I already say that? I’d like to go for at least two weeks, but I’ll go there for as long as I can. Tracy promised me he’d take me there when we got engaged. I would rather go to Britain than anywhere else on this planet!!

Go to Hawaii or on a cruise (I’ve never experienced this and would like to someday.)

Go to New York City and see a show (or perhaps several) on Broadway (That is, if I can convince Tracy to come and if I bring a pillow for him to sleep on while I watch it.)

Be in another musical (perhaps even be the lead!)

Record my singing on a CD (Obviously it won’t be professionally done and my voice won’t be heard on the radio, but I would like to record my voice on better technology than a twenty-year-old tape recorder.)

Take my kids to Disneyland (or Disneyworld)

Have a garden (both with food and flowers)

Learn French, Latin, Italian and/or Portuguese (I doubt I could learn all of these languages, but I would love to. This list is in order of priority. Since Tracy already knows Portuguese, I figure he can just translate for me. J)

Complete a somewhat impressive visual piece of art (whether a painting or something else) This one might be a little too far out there for my abilities.

Edit for a magazine or book publishing company (even if it’s just for less than a year)

Write a book—not sure whether fiction or nonfiction. I haven’t decided if I actually want to do this. Ironically, I prefer novels written before 1900, mostly from Britain, so it’ll be interesting if I decide to write fiction in America now. A bit hypocritical, huh?

Go to Australia and New Zealand with my brother Todd. (Haha! Right! This is one of those more imaginative ones.) We agreed on this trip years ago—other siblings and family are welcome to come too. This probably won’t really happen, but it would be awesome if it did!

Learn to fence (Not required but again this would be awesome!)

Ride a horse up to a gallop and feel comfortable doing so

Get a master’s degree in English literature and teach (Maybe even a PhD and teach at the college level. This again probably won’t happen, but I’ve thought a little bit about it. Who knows? If this does happen, it will come after my kids are older and I have completed most of the other things I want to do before I die.)

As you can see, I’ve got a lot of work and saving to do to accomplish all this before I die.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Working/The Plague of Texas

I have finally reconciled three work schedules and am finally working at all of them. I don't do much else, but I am working. Yay!!

Last Saturday, I worked at the home football game on the third deck in a trailer full of shirts, hats, stuffed animals, and other memorabilia. By the middle of the third quarter, I wished the game would end soon. It wasn't too busy or too slow. It was warm but not unbearable outside. What was the problem? Moses sent the plague of locusts to Texas, and they were all at Kyle Field. Every shirt and hat was covered with inch-long crickets, moths, gnats, and other creepy crawlers.

By the fourth quarter, I was swatting in every direction like a madwoman. When the alumni left their seats at the end of the game, I heard tons of horror stories about crickets landing on people's faces and shirts and crawling down people's shirts and about people's needing to basically brush and groom the backs of those in front of them because of all the bugs. Yuck!!!

Above is a picture from Texas A&M's student newspaper depicting the conditions at the game. Yes, all those black things are crickets. The headline above this picture read, "Bugging Brazos County." I'm glad I'm not the only one. Tracy tells me that in late October the bugs will go away. Needless to say, I'm counting down the days and praying for seagulls to come and eat all those nasty crickets. What did I do to upset you, Moses?

Saturday, September 12, 2009


Friends, family, and loved ones.

I want to announce that I am unofficially a widow for the next nine to ten months. College football season starts in September and the NBA Finals end in June. I say again, I am a widow.

Although I admit that I enjoy a few games with him (BYU wins, Notre Dame losses, USC wins, and Texas Longhorn wins), after two games a day, I'm done with football for at least a week. When he watches sports, Tracy becomes a machine. He can't get enough football and basketball.

So, here's to all those good times I had with him. I'll remember him, and I look forward to seeing him again in nine months. Until then, I live with this guy. I guess he'll do until I get Tracy back.

A coerced sports spectator/commentator shows his enthusiasm.
The enthused spectator/commentator caught in action.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Laboring on Labor Day

Today I went to work and Tracy went to school just like any other Monday, but it isn't another Monday. It's Labor Day.

I'm confused. Aren't we supposed to have Labor Day off? Isn't it a national holiday? I found out that Labor Day was created to celebrate "the social and economic achievements of American workers" (United States Department of Labor) and give the working man (or woman) one day's rest he (or she) rightfully has earned. Even though I've worked at my new job for only one week, I worked well over forty hours (actually closer to fifty hours) doing rather frustrating tasks with people not too eager to help out. Why does Texas hate the common worker?

I'm happy I have a job--don't get me wrong--but getting a day off is always nice.

I got another job at the Texas A&M Writing Center, and coordinating two schedules is way more difficult than I thought it would be. But again, I'm grateful for my jobs, and I will work hard. Too bad I don't have a holiday to celebrate my labor!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

New Job, New Possibilities

Sorry I haven't posted anything in a long time. I've been waiting until I had something to post. Although I have been working on our apartment pretty much every day, there's only so much you can do without spending money, which we are avoiding right now until I get a job.

I've searched high and low, applied for any and all kinds of jobs, had to take the SAT to be considered for a job (but that job didn't work out), and almost given up hope that I would one. But, thank goodness, I got one. I'm working for the Texas A&M Bookstore. I'm excited. It should be fun. And a few other probably possibilities have shown up as well, so I could have two jobs. Plus, I'm pretty sure that even if I find one or two other jobs that have me work forty hours a week I can still work at games and special events for the bookstore. (My co-workers, 99.9 percent of them students, don't want to work during the football games, so I get to.) So this is great!! Yay!!

Because I have had relatively no work for the past six months (should I consider tutoring at the WSU Writing Center for four hours a week work?), I'm ready to work, work, work!!

I'll update the job situation when I know more myself.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Warm Texas Welcome

Whew! Moves are hard, but we've had a lot of wonderful help. We're moved in, unpacking, actually putting stuff on the walls, and starting to feel a little more at home. But even before we set foot in our apartment, I noticed: We're definitely not in the West anymore, Toto!!

If any of you doubted or wondered, Texas really is different from anywhere else in the country.

1. The stop lights are not vertical like the rest of the country--you know, red on top, yellow in the middle, and green on the bottom. They're horizontal--red on the left, yellow in the middle, and green on the right. WEIRD!!! Well, I was weirded out. They are horizontal because they are more stable on the poles against hurricane-force winds.

2. Although the scenery on the highway was pretty boring (mostly bushes and dead grass), there were a few interesting roadside gems. Tracy saw armadillo roadkill, which I wish he had pointed out to me! There were several stretches where oil rigs were just by the highway. You'd think in this land of oil plenty, gas would be cheaper than $2.50 per gallon!! But oh well.

3. Native Texans are really friendly, want to know your whole life's story, and will tell you theirs. On our first day in College Station, Tracy and I went to Denny's, and our waitress called me "hun" and "dear" probably about ten times. She told us stories about other customers she's had and about table manners (no one should start eating without everyone's food present--which we already do anyway).
Tracy's professor bought a used truck down here for his son, and after the car was checked out by an old mechanic, we went with his wife to pick up the truck. Just during the phone call, the mechanic covered topics ranging from restaurants in town to movies to the house he grew up in to what church they would attend.
One of the guys who helped us move in offered his old (being not exactly new but not yucky or ugly) couch to us. Yay for having a couch!!

4. Even the traffic signs are friendly. On the highways we'd see signs that would say, "Please help prevent forest fires," "Drive friendly," and "Maintain your vehicle." Such polite reminders! But my favorite sign was this one.

5. And this sign leads us perfectly to the next thing that makes Texas different--state pride. We stayed at Fort Stockton our first day of driving, and they had waffles on the breakfast table. I like waffles, but these are a little silly.

And state pride is huge here!! The guy who installed our internet talked about Texas football with Tracy for fifteen minutes and probably would have stayed longer if he didn't have other appointments.

While I hope I don't adopt all the Texas quarks, some aren't that bad. The last new fact about Texas is that we live in Brazos County. Brazos is Spanish for "arms"--for those who struggle remembering high school Spanish. So, Texas has received us with open arms, and we are grateful for our safety and for all those who have helped us move at all stages.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Yee-ha!!! Texas, Here We Come!!!

After months of "moving," we are finally getting to Texas on Friday! I don't know about Tracy, but I am having so many emotions right now: excitement, relief, anxiety, a little apprehension, a little homesickness (for my family--already), and hope.

Excitement--Tracy will be going to a school that focuses on sedimentary geology--Tracy's focus--and prepares most students for jobs with oil companies. We know the Lord has had a hand in our lives to provide this opportunity. It will be interesting to see how school goes for Tracy and, when he's done with school, whether he'll be able to get a job in Texas.

Relief--For the past two months, I haven't known what my next apartment will look like. Although I have had fun planning for several new decorations and home projects (thanks Mom and Karen), I will be so happy to get into my new home and actually carry out those plans.

Anxiety and apprehension--While College Station is a much bigger city than Pullman and surely will be a little easier to adapt to, I am still nervous about finding an editing job. And I had such high hopes for Pullman, which were pretty crushed when we got there, that I can't let myself get too carried away in hoping and imagining what our life will be like in CS.

Homesickness--I have always been attached to my family. I never looked forward to getting away from my family in high school, and I cried when I went to college. I cried when I didn't spend my first Christmas with them, and I call home at least every week, if not way more often. So after spending two months with my family, I find it hard to say good-bye to them, even though we are coming back for Christmas. This move is a good, needed part of our lives, but getting what we want is sometimes complicated.

Hope--We have hope that things will work out for us. The Lord has provided so much for us in our lives, and we know that as we try our best and do what we are supposed to do, He will help us. We have many hopes about our future that we will work hard to accomplish.

We are ready for the ride!! Bring it on, Texas! Yee-ha!!!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Two Years of Marriage: The Beginning of a Masterpiece

Today is our second wedding anniversary. Looking back at our marriage so far, Tracy and I seem to sigh, look at each other with exhausted expressions as if to say "whew," and then smile and laugh.

We've been through and done a lot these two years. We've moved twice, lived in three states (four including Arizona for two months), finished school (me), started grad school (Tracy), started new jobs, finished old jobs, dealt with physical problems (my surgery), dealt with financial problems, had a death in the family (Tracy's aunt), and had two new nieces born (one on both sides). I won't lie--we've had hard trials, frustrating arguments, tough decisions, and physically and emotionally painful moments. But we've also had meaningful discussions, sweet reconciliation, sincere expressions of love and kindness, increased closeness, and priceless laughter.

I had an professor at BYU who told me that marriage isn't work; it's art. At first, I just thought that was her marriage. Her husband taught psychology. He knew how women worked more than most men. But I realize what she meant by that now. When an artist creates a piece, he or she spends hours and hours on it, using carefully calculated techniques, paints, and strokes. It is, in a way, work, but the artist doesn't see it as work. The artist keeps in mind the beauty of the end result. He or she uses the goal to guide what strokes, colors, and brushes to use during the process. So while the artist is working to create his or her piece, it isn't work in that the beauty of the piece compensates for the work put into it. I think marriage is beautiful only when we have put time and effort into making it as such. So it technically is work. But we need not see it as tedious or annoying.

Having been married only two years, I can see that our artwork's canvas still has a lot of space and potential left. (The above painting isn't ours, even though it is pretty darn cute.) We're trying to keep the goal in mind, but we're enjoying the little moments along the journey. We love each other and are grateful to everyone who has helped us long our way so far. We are also grateful to the Lord who has blessed our marriage and has helped us through those hard times, so we can get back to those precious happy moments.

Well, Tracy, two years down . . . and eternity to go!!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The Silver Lining to a Very Dark Cloud

Just in case my handful of devoted readers, who mostly were around me when everything was happening, are concerned about my neglected blog, the biggest reason I have not posted anything in so long is that I have been in the hospital.

On June 25 in the year of our Lord 2009, I, Lacey Kupfer Wulf, experienced the worst pain of my life from a ruptured appendix and underwent immediate surgery. Because of extra harmful fluids in my abdomen, fevers, and other complications, I stayed in the hospital for the longest twelve days of my life. For at least six of those days, I was on a strict clear liquid diet of jello, broth, and juice. I was poked with needles daily, woken up at all hours of the night, almost accidentally operated on unnecessarily, and blown up like a balloon with IV fluids. To drain these harmful fluids, the doctor put a tube through my bum, which was soar and uncomfortable, not to mention embarrassing. Perhaps the hardest to bear, because we are in the process of moving, we have no insurance--no guarantee that we will be able to pay the hospital for almost two weeks worth of care.

Although the last two weeks have been horrible, frightening, and discouraging, in reality I have gained so much. This dark rain cloud does have a bright silver lining.
1. I have a year supply of free juice boxes, free bandages, and new thermometers from my hospital room. Yay for $FREE.99!!
2. After I gained ten pounds from IV fluids and after they took me off the IV, I lost fifteen pounds. I'm pretty sure my total weight loss will be more than five pounds though.
3. For almost two weeks, my family got to enjoy cable television, a luxury they do not have at home. TLC's new show Cake Boss is pretty good when you have nothing to do--for all of you with cable and a lot of time.
4. Because of all the poking, I am almost over my fear of needles. (Keyword: ALMOST) I probably could start donating blood now because of it.
5. I have always been a modest person. I would change in the bathroom for PE in school, and I hated bra shopping because my mom would see me without a shirt on. But now after having nurses and doctors ask me about my bowel movements and see me practically naked almost daily and needing my mom to help me shower, I think I'm basically over any embarrassment of exposure.
6. I appreciate my health so much more. I can walk, bend over, get up out of bed, eat normal foods, shower myself (sponge baths aren't that bad, but it's better to do it myself and thanks again, mom!), stand up to brush my teeth, brush my own hair, and do so many other little tasks that were so hard while I was sick. I appreciate my body and its intricacies, even though that's what got me in this mess in the first place.
7. I got to spend more time with my family. Tracy left to find housing in Texas, and although I have missed him a lot, I have my parents and siblings around to visit me. I thank God that this happened to me in Arizona with my family instead of Texas or Washington or Utah or wherever. I truly believe the Lord knew I wouldn't have been able to make it emotionally, especially with Tracy gone, if I didn't have them.
8. I've learned to have patience with myself and the Lord. There were days when I thought I would never get out of the hospital and I would never stop hurting. I was so frustrated that something always hurt, whether it was my stomach or my side. I wanted to go home. I wanted to stop hurting. I wanted to go back to being me. My body is still healing, and I still feel a little frustration with myself, but I know I will get there steadily.

As ashamed as I am to admit this, I remember wondering why I even had my dad and Tracy give me several priesthood blessings--they weren't working in my eyes. I wanted the instant healing. I wanted the pain to stop. I wanted to be home. But I know now that I needed to be there to learn and gain these things (obviously the last few more than the first). I know the Lord puts us in hard situations for our benefit to learn and grow. I hate being in a situation and trying to ask myself, "What can I learn from this? What does the Lord want me to take from this experience?" But it has made the whole mess more bearable. I know the priesthood is a real power, and even though I wasn't instantly healed, I believe in its power and those who carry it. I know He hears our prayers even though He might not grant the blessings we ask for. He loves us individually. He has a plan for each of us that will make us happier and better than our own plans would make us. I know the Savior lives and has born our sins, but even more than that, I know that He has born my sorrows, my pains, my trials, my frustrations, and all the unfair things that happen to me. Even though I'm crying as I write this post, these are tears of joy and love and appreciation to my husband, my family, the doctors, the hospital, modern medicine, and the Lord. I am doing well, and I am happy.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Washington Adventures

We really want to get as much done here before we leave for Texas. And believe me, we've done a lot!! Sorry, this one is long with lots of pictures.

We are excited to see the Wulfs.
This is mostly what our drive looked like. While it's somewhat boring, it's also pretty, huh?
Happy! And I'm trying out a new part in my hair. Like it?
We visited Palouse Falls again to hike around in better weather.

Tracy is dangerously (according to me) close to the edge. I hope he doesn't kill himself on geology field trips in the future.

Tracy on Pride Rock. (Because it sticks out--yes, I named it Pride Rock.) Too bad we don't have a kid so he could hold it up. But then again, I wouldn't want my baby hanging over a cliff. Nevermind.

Enjoying the sun and wind.
Tracy is in the background.
The shortest telephone pole ever.
The Wulfs' dog, Suzie, loves car rides.
Crates of apples. Lots of crates of apples. Well, it's Washington.
We tried to go to Mount St. Helens, but the road to it was closed, so we drove around on nauseating, twisty roads to hike somewhere else.
Want old news? We've got it here!
Shania and Dominic.
Jill and Idil.
Hahahaha!! My father-in-law is the only person I have met who can fall asleep faster than Tracy. And no, I didn't put that hat there. It fell off his head when he fell asleep.
We passed a little town that was hosting a big festival. You can find pretty much anything at those things.
The navigators come up with plan B--Multnoma Falls in western Washington.
The boys.
Happy to be out of the car.
The smaller waterfall was about seventy feet high. The larger waterfall was over five hundred feet high. HUGE!!!

A view of the Columbia River from the hike to the top of the falls.
After Tracy took this picture, about twelve other people had to do it. Yep, we're trendsetters.
I didn't realize my neck was so strained. Whoops! But that was a cute little bridge, and the water was really cold and refreshing.

The top of the five-hundred-foot waterfall. Don't look down!

Hahahahaha!! I laughed so hard when I heard Tracy's parents talking about this bridge. I thought it was joke. But no! I made Tracy pull over to get this picture.
Tracy is testing out his parents' bed. It is so comfortable. I slept all day and night on it when I got sick this past week. It can raise the head and feet. He had both maxed out, so he was sitting at a right angle. What a goof!!!
At the Kennewick Mall, they have art exhibit made out of canned goods.
Want fries with your burger and drink?
Happy nuclear plants. I know. It seems wrong.
Happy Memorial Day!!!

Although I am really looking forward to moving, I realize that Washington has some pretty cool things going for it.