I am homesick.

Every one in a while I get hit really hard with homesickness. For some reason, the past few days have been particularly difficult for me, but I haven’t really been missing people. I’ve been missing places, which is a first, because I am so in love with Thatcher you would think I wouldn’t miss anything at all, but I do. I’ve found that it helps if I write about these things, so I will do so now. (why else would I be blogging about it?)

What triggered this latest bout of homesickness was just about the weirdest thing ever. I was listening to Hellogoodbye’s latest album, and at the end of their song “Summer of the Lily Pond”, there’s an echo-y trumpet part, and for some bizarre reason it reminded me of downtown Main Street in Mesa. It reminded me of the old music store Milano’s, and how you could almost always hear music somewhere on that street. I love the sound of music played outside. It sounds airy, and I love live performances- something that happens quite frequently on Main Street. Live music. I miss that so much, to be frank. Music here is all from YouTube, Spotify, or other internet radio stations. There’s no live music.

I also miss lunch on Main Street. (yes, I’m referring to high school.) I miss walking up to the bank and sitting on the highest story, overlooking the whole city. I miss chatting with my two best guy friends up there, just enjoying each other’s company and not having to worry about our latest utility bill and how much higher it is this month than last month’s. I miss walking around the MAC with my sister in the morning before class started, putting our feet in the water and being able to talk through our problems. I miss having math lab with her. I miss quietly laughing over stupid things with her. I miss doodling with her.

I REALLY miss going on walks/long bike rides back home. I miss the greenbelt, and how beautiful it looked just as the sun was going down. I miss the canal just across from it. I miss being able to see huge goldfish splash around in the water if I waited just long enough. I miss hearing all the birds chirping as the evening drew closer. I missed the silence that came with being on the walking trail in between the canal and the greenbelt; a silence so uncharacteristic of Mesa. I miss the yellow flowers that grow everywhere by the canal. I think I miss this area so much because I love going there with people I love, especially since there’s someone new I want to show it to now. I want to share the little piece of heaven I found in my neighborhood, and now I can’t, because I am too far away.

I guess what I’m saying is I’m kind of tired of this right now. I want to go home and be young enough to not have to worry about my bills. I don’t want to have to figure out what to have for dinner. I want to go to Jamba Juice or Bahama Buck’s with my sisters. I want to stay out too late with my friends, doing dumb things like getting caught in the sprinklers at the park because we were there past closing time. I want to be able to wake up and play with my dog, and hear my baby brother’s lisp as he asks me to play with him. I want to hug my mom when I want to, because she’s right there. I want to hear my dad come home, and I want to hear my nickname again.

I guess I just want to stop being lonely.

~Haeley

Flirting tips and tricks guaranteed to get you a man.

This has got to be my favorite. It’s fail-proof.

If you follow these tips and tricks, you’ll have yourself a man in no time at all!*

~Haeley

*these have not actually been tested. Results may vary.

Alone.

Last night was a rough one.

I didn’t get enough sleep, I had to wake up early, and I was generally not looking forward to the day ahead. It was like a Monday all over again. As I shuffled through the door to get to my first class, however, I noticed something different.
 It seemed…. Quieter than normal. Mornings are usually relatively quiet, but this was different. Perhaps the cloud cover had done something to the atmospheric pressure, making it some sort of blanket over the town, but everything had a softer, muted quality to it.

Hearing and feeling the silence was extremely calming, and I found myself wishing I could just skip out on all of my classes, call in sick to work, and go exploring. But, being a good person, I did as I should and went to all my classes and finished work.

As soon as I got out of my last class, however, I knew I couldn’t wait anymore. I hopped on my bike and away I went, to see what I could find. I rode past the graveyard and the park, in my quest to be closer to Mt. Graham, and in doing so found an abandoned ballpark.

 Why I’d never noticed this before, I wasn’t sure. But I pulled over and walked around it a bit. Even though it was run down and rusty, it had a certain charm to it. 

I took some pictures and continued meandering around, until I found some flowers growing on the side of the road. One thing led to another and before I knew it, I had a headband full of bright yellow flowers. I felt a bit like Anne of Green Gables when she decided to put wildflowers in her hat. It might look crazy to others, but to me it felt splendid.

I continued along, riding my bike in hopes of being able to get a good, clear view of Mt. Graham. I ended up further than I planned, but I found some beautiful, beautiful scenery. Today was a perfect day to be alone.

As Dr. Seuss said, “alone is something you’ll be quite a lot,” and I have found this to be true, especially since moving out. But there is a fundamental difference between being alone and being lonely. More often than not, I’m lonely. But you know what? I think I figured out why.
I spend so much time alone in my little apartment, plinking around on my laptop, that I have effectively closed myself off from the rest of the world. No matter how much time I spend on social media, it doesn’t change the fact that I am no longer a very social person, and frankly, that scares me. Where did the zeal I had for life go? Why do I care more about the number of “likes” I get than the people I like? It’s a slippery slope leading directly to a black hole, and I am very afraid I am being sucked in.

Having realized this, I’ve decided I need to spend more time outside, particularly while the weather here is so lovely. Today was the beginning of that, and oh, how therapeutic it was! Not having to talk to anyone else, not needing to smile constantly, and not having to publicly update everyone on my whereabouts was so nice. I realized that maybe instead of focusing on having more friends, I need to focus on being my own friend. I loved being able to just think to myself in the wide open spaces. I loved not speaking a word out loud. I loved absorbing the scenery, and finding places I would like to visit again.

Being alone is something I think everyone should do more often. I was able to take my time, stop and smell the roses, and go as far away as I wanted without having to worry about tiring anybody else out. I went at my own pace, and my goodness was it wonderful. Do I want to share that with somebody? Of course I do! Maybe sometime. But taking it all in on my own time was important. I really got to enjoy the simple beauty of nature; something I forget to do all too easily.

Guys, be alone every so often. Take an absurdly long bike ride to clear your thoughts and find out who you are. Get to know yourself. It doesn’t matter if you’re in a small town like Thatcher, or a big city like Mesa. Find a bike path and just GO. Even in Mesa I found some wonderful places to explore, and so can you. The world is so beautiful. There is so much to see! So step away from the laptop. Take some pictures of the places around you. Immerse yourself in the outdoors, even if you live in a concrete jungle. You can do it.

And you don’t have to tweet about it. Trust me. (the irony of me writing this and promoting it on my social media outlets is not lost on me, fyi. Just a friendly reminder to tune out every once in a while. :^) )

Adventure is out there!

~Haeley

Things that are difficult.

After being here for over two months, I feel like I have settled into a routine of sorts. And for the majority of the time, I am very happy. I’ve told you guys this dozens of times, in fact. I love Thatcher! I love my bike! I love my ward! Happy, happy, happy!

But in all honesty, it’s not all sunshine and daisies and freakishly huge grasshoppers. There are struggles. There are issues. And what kind of person would I be if I didn’t tell you all about them? So here goes.

Coming home is hard. I was able to attend my little brother’s baptism over the weekend, and it was a weird experience. Having only visited twice since moving, I’m definitely not used to the changed dynamic of my Mesa home. For one thing, I keep forgetting where everything is, and I feel guilty every time I eat their food. Is that not bizarre? I suppose since I have to buy everything now, I feel the loss of even a few crackers.

For another, I have to learn how to manage my time. Since I’m not readily available in Mesa, I am now a hot commodity, it seems. All of my siblings want to spend one-on-one time with me RIGHT NOW, and my parents want to spend time with me RIGHT NOW, and my friends want to see me RIGHT NOW, and I want to be with them all individually RIGHT NOW, but that is impossible. And so I have to figure out how to divide my time between everyone, and that is easier said than done. It’s so hard when everyone you love wants to be with you, because you want to reciprocate that and spend as much time as humanly possible with them, but the fact of the matter is, there are other loved ones who want to see you just as badly as all the rest. So I was stretched very thin over the course of those few days, and even though it was a wonderful time, I was emotionally exhausted by the end of the weekend and ready to be back in my tiny apartment with my crazy roommates. I’m not as in demand back there, so it’s easier. I can only hope that winter break helps solve those problems, as I will be in town much longer.

Those things aside, I want to get to the heart of the matter. The true reason for writing this post, which is…. Food. Did you expect anything less from me? Specifically, Asian food. I am going through major withdrawals.

It’s funny, because I really didn’t have that kind of food very often back home, but it was accessible almost 24/7, which was comforting. But now? I am nowhere near a Thai restaurant, or an Indian buffet, or- and this is the painful one- a sushi bar. Thatcher just doesn’t have any of those things. And it is slowly but surely killing me and depriving me of my happiness.

Okay, fine, I’m just kidding. But I am suffering.

For example, tonight I had a hankering for pad Thai, so I decided to get crafty with it and make some myself. Meaning I made rice noodles and topped them with a meager spoonful of peanut butter, soy sauce, minced garlic, and lime juice. A far cry from genuine, perfect pad Thai, but I tried, okay? It’s the thought that counts…. Right? I’m pathetic.

At least I haven’t attempted to make sushi with the canned tuna and brown rice I have. Yet.

A girl needs her sushi fix every now and then.

~Haeley

Why.

You know, each year it gets harder and harder for me to be okay with General Conference passing. On some occasions it’s because I slept through one too many talks (you know you’ve done it, too) and I feel guilty about missing those inspired words, but more often than not it’s because conference weekend is full of so much good. This year was no different.

Since I no longer live in Mesa, I attended conference at the institute building right next to my apartment. I could have stayed in my apartment, but I knew I would eventually get distracted and eat the whole kitchen or fall asleep or something. Plus, I figured I would be able to see some friends, and that’s always a good thing. So off I went to the institute building, and there I was able to watch all four sessions of conference.

I don’t know if it’s because I wasn’t on a super comfortable couch the whole time, I didn’t have ready access to a kitchen full of food, or because I couldn’t easily fall asleep without everybody noticing, but I got SO much out of this conference. I was inspired to try harder to be better, and I was reminded of how good I have it. I feel one of the themes of this session was building up our testimonies for times of trial, and I realized I need to work on that. Specifically in regards to prayer.

 In Richard G. Scott’s talk, he highlighted the importance of prayer, and it really hit me. Heavenly Father is interested in ME. He is interested in YOU. Whatever you have to say to Him is important to Him. God is our biggest fan, and the more I learn of Him the more I know that to be true. He is rooting for us even beyond the veil. His love for us is unfailing and everlasting, and all He wants us to do is come back to Him. Isn’t that awesome? We aren’t merely a passing acquaintance to God. We are His children, and His love for us encompasses all that we have. You and I are alive today because He wants us to be here. He wants us to have the experience of having a body, because He knows how wonderful bodies are, and He loves us enough to share that with us. I need to remember to pray to Him more often and let Him be a constant part of my life. There can be nothing but good that comes from keeping the way of communication open between us and God. How grateful I am that I was reminded of that.

You know, in today’s world, religion is often openly mocked and scorned. It’s easier to not say anything at all, or perhaps even abandon your beliefs rather than stand up to such an oppressive wave of hate. But it is imperative that we do so! We can only truly be happy if we stick to our guns and stay strong, no matter how hard they push against it.

Before moving here, I was worried I would leave the church, but now I know I won’t. I was scared that, because of my newfound independence, I would get lazy and stop attending church slowly but surely. It’s not because I was lacking in faith, but Satan is patient and will stop at nothing to drag us down. I was worried that because of the work of the adversary, I would stumble and fall. But having been raised in a family as wonderful as my own, church attendance has been hard-wired into my brain. I have never once questioned whether or not I should go, because it is a natural desire to do so. And I love my ward! I love who I am surrounded with. Being a part of this church is the best thing that has ever happened to me. I know I will not leave it, because, simply put, it makes me HAPPY. I am comforted knowing I can return to my Father in Heaven, and I can be sealed to my family forever.

Another reason I want so badly to stay a part of this church is because my children deserve it. They deserve to be raised in a home full of Christlike love, and I feel my husband and I can only give that to them if we are united in belief in the church. I want my children to come into a home that is as close to heaven as they can get, because I don’t want any less for them. I was raised in such a home, and I know it works. Because of two parents who have a rock-solid foundation in the church, I am where I am today, and I know how I want to raise my sweet babies.

Conference has a way of bringing those feelings to the surface for me. I’m scared about the world we live in today, but I am so excited to be able to bring children into a world where I can help teach them wrong from right. I look forward to the day when I kneel across the altar from a worthy young man and we become a forever family. I am so excited to know that we can be sealed together forever.

I am not perfect. You are not perfect. But by listening to these messages and applying them, we can eventually become like Christ, who is perfect. I love that! I hope to remember these things the next 6 months.

~Haeley

(find the messages from this conference here.)

Haeley and the Mystery of the Fizzing Watermelon.

I think this is as close as I’ll ever get to being Nancy Drew.

It began as a normal night. I sat on my couch, alone, save for one roommate who was peacefully slumbering away in our room. It was late, and I was tired after watching a movie. As I removed my headphones and made for my bedroom, I heard the strangest noise. It was a…. Hissing? I slowly backed up into my kitchen, searching for the source of the sound.

I initially thought it was a gas leak, and it was spelling out certain doom for the lot of us. I couldn’t smell anything out of the ordinary, but that doesn’t mean anything when it comes to gas leaks.

Once I determined that it couldn’t be a gas leak, I then thought it must be a balloon. We had some balloons in the apartment about a week ago, and I was sure we had gotten rid of them all, but there could be a hidden one lurking around somewhere, right? I checked, and was wrong once again.

As I was turning around, I was met with a peculiar sight. The watermelon on our counter was covered in white foam. Did one of my roommates wash dishes and accidentally get soap on the melon? Upon closer inspection, I deduced that the foam was coming from the watermelon itself. What’s more, is it appeared to have been flowing free for some time, as the counter was covered in a beige fluid leading to the frothy puddle pouring from the fruit.

I got closer, looking incredulously as the foam continued to spurt from some unseen pore in the watermelon, I noticed the smell it was giving off. I expected to smell a sour, fruity smell, but was instead met with the aroma of yeast, almost as if the watermelon was actually a lump of bread dough. It wasn’t unpleasant, but it was definitely unnatural.

This watermelon HAD to be under some magnificent stress for it to be able to force such liquid through its tough rind. I knew it was undoubtedly due to blow at any time, and it would cover the kitchen and me in a pulpy, rancid mess. I knew what I had to do. It was time to take action.

I gingerly picked up the great, rotting fruit and made my way for the door. Fearing that at any moment it would blow, effectively scarring me for life, I walked swiftly towards the nearest black barrel in sight. On my way to the bin, I was met with a small crowd of attractive young men who looked at me quizzically. I suppose the sight would be an odd one, maneuvering through the dark parking lot with a large oozing melon. Nevertheless, I was on a mission and had no time to stop and discuss the matter at hand. So I merely smiled briefly and continued on my way.

Just as I reached the black bin, I was overcome with a wave of curiosity. Would it really explode? What if I threw it? What then?

But then my conscience whispered that that would be considered littering, and I try my best to always listen to my conscience, so I threw it away, went back to my sweet little dwelling, and cleaned up the counter.

And that is the story of how I almost blew up via watermelon. The end.

~Haeley

Here’s actual footage of the fizzing fruit: