Elysha's World

Elysha's World

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Policing the Happy News

When I was a kid,  I had an uncle tell me that he wished there was a news program that would come on after the evening news called “The Happy News.”  On this show they would share news, the same style as the evening news, but it would all be happy positive things that were going on in the world. They’d share stories of triumph and joy. They’d point out the good in the world and share uplifting messages. Then he said, “To tell you the truth, I don’t know that anyone would watch it, but I’d watch it!” 

That thought has kind of stuck with me. I thought of it today while I was driving back home from my family Thanksgiving festivities. As I was driving home through a side highway off of the interstate I saw a cow on the side of the highway. That’s typical, but it was outside of the fence and practically on the road! I panicked. I was on the opposite side away from it, but cars were coming towards it. I called my mom, because she’s called people before after we’ve seen cows running on the side of the interstate. She told me to call 911. I was driving, but this was an emergency and I was almost to the next small town. I noticed the mile marker and called 911. 

The last time I called 911 I was 5 maybe, and I thought it would be fun to call and hang up a bunch of times. It was the only phone number I knew. I honestly thought the phone was unplugged, but turns out it wasn’t. A cop came to our house and I was told I’d get in big trouble if I did it again, so I never have. Luckily I haven’t needed to call. 

A dispatcher picked up and I described the situation as I watched a semi-truck drive past me on the two lane highway at 65 MPH up the hill toward the cow. I tried to flash my lights at the driver to warn him, but it was the middle of the day. The dispatcher transferred me to a different dispatcher closer to the area where I was. As that was happening I passed the place where my sister rolled her car 4 months ago, and then I passed a cross placed by the side of the road where two of my friends passed away about 10 years ago. I talk about that in this blog The Dead Zone: How to Save a Life I thought of the people who came to the rescue of both accident scenes, and how grateful I was for those who were willing to stop and help. 

I finally got on the phone and blurted out all of the information I was trying to remember in my mind: which highway, which mile marker, which direction. When I finished, she told me to calm down, slow down, and tell her again. So I did. I realized that when it comes to “fight or flight” I remembered there is a third option “freeze” which apparently I’m really good at. There wasn’t even an accident, but the thought of the possibility of one made me panic. I felt better knowing that my actions were hopefully preventing one from happening. 

About an hour later I was on the interstate and noticed that there weren’t a lot of cops around, especially compared to previous Thanksgiving weekend. I slowed down just in case there was a cop. Just up ahead of me I saw a police car driving with its lights on. It was pulling someone over. 
About 8 years ago if I saw someone who was pulled over I would think, “Ha! I’m glad it’s him and not me. How stupid could someone be to speed?” Well then one day I got pulled over after speeding in a city I wasn’t familiar with. I got a ticket and was so scared and embarrassed I cried the whole way home. 

This time was different however. As I passed the highway patrol man I thought, “I really hope he doesn’t get shot. That cop has a family and loved ones.” I said a little prayer of safety for him.  Then I felt awful for thinking that he’d possibly get shot. I had to tell myself that not everyone is a murderer and it was probably going to be just another normal day for him. 

What has the media done to us? It’s saturated us with so many stories of awful things happening to us, that it becomes almost the norm instead of the exception. I thought of the song Hollywood's not America by Ferras. The song talks about a model that moves to California and changes her name. After a few years she feels lost and isn’t sure where to go. He tells her to go home and reminds her that “HOLLYWOOD IS NOT AMERICA.” 

I then thought of a quote by Elder Boyd K. Packer. It’s seriously one of my favorite quotes of all time from a talk called Marriage given in April 1981.

“Some think that every marriage must expect to end in unhappiness and divorce, with the hopes and dreams predestined to end in a broken, sad wreck of things.

Some marriages do bend, and some will break, but we must not, because of this, lose faith in marriage nor become afraid of it.

Broken marriages are not typical.

Remember that trouble attracts attention! We travel the highway with thousands of cars moving in either direction without paying much attention to any of them. But should an accident occur, we notice immediately.

If it happens again, we get the false impression that no one can go safely down the road.
One accident may make the front page, while a hundred million cars that safely pass are not regarded as worth mentioning.

Writers think that a happy, stable marriage does not have the dramatic appeal, the conflict worth featuring in a book or a play or a film. Therefore, we constantly hear about the ruined ones and we lose our perspective.

I believe in marriage. I believe it to be the ideal pattern for human living.” 

Isn’t it amazing! I think I love it so much because it’s so true! The first half is how I felt before I found this quote, and the second half is how I feel now. This quote comes back to me again and again. 

I started thinking about what kind of interactions I’ve had with cops. I’ve always felt safer when they were around. 

 When I was 12, my parents went through a terrible divorce. I’m from a small town and so it felt like everyone got involved. My first real interaction with cops came after an altercation at my dad’s house when it was his weekend with us. Something happened and I called my mom because I was scared. I huddled with my little sisters in a room and she kept me on the phone while she called dispatch. I don’t remember all the details, but I think we stayed there until we heard a knock at the door. We had some other family there and someone loudly stated that “someone called the cops.” 

A police officer came in and asked to talk to me, but I wouldn’t leave or talk to him until I knew another cop was there to be with my little sisters. I remember going down stairs with one of them so we could talk in private, but I felt suffocated and like the walls were listening. So instead we walked back outside and I stood on the corner bawling and telling him my story. Cars were passing by and I kept thinking, “This is so embarrassing, everyone is watching us as they drive by.” I didn’t care though, because I had this strong cop standing next to me, and for the first time in a long time I felt safe, heard, and understood. 

After that incident, every time we were transferred from one parent to another the cops were called and they were there to “keep the peace.” They did just that. Was it always embarrassing? Yes. Did I care? No. Why? Because I felt safe, and I knew that they wanted what was best for us. 

In a devotional I heard recently, the speaker said that every morning he wakes up and reads the newspaper so he’s aware and updated on current events. He then puts the paper away and doesn’t check the news again until the next morning. We are so saturated with news, that sometimes it’s hard to tell fabricated stories from reality. 

I have some Happy News for you. I’m proud to be an American. America is a great nation and a great place to live. I’m so thankful to all of the service men and women who put their lives on the line every day so that I can be free. I’m grateful for those that are capable of running into a burning building when others are running out. I’m thankful for hard experiences that make us grow stronger as a person, as a people, and as a nation.

God Bless America 

Sunday, November 6, 2016

These Are A Few of My Favorite Things

Just over 5 years ago I went to a fireside where Elaine S. Dalton was speaking. She talked about having a personal scripture list that she kept on a laminated bookmark.

She felt inspired to share with us her personal scripture list. She told us to put down scriptures that were personal to us, and that if we were ever having a bad day, we could look at that list and feel God's love for us. These scriptures can be written down in the front of your scriptures, on a bookmark, or piece of paper.

Since that time, my scripture list has grown to almost a page long list. It reminds me that I'm loved, and makes me feel that the Lord has specific scriptures and specific guidance just for me! 
I have a post on here with some of my favorite speeches given  at BYU Devotionals, Conference, and CES Firesides. Here is a link to that list Words of Wisdom: My Personal Pot of Gold.

I've been wanting to put together a list for a while now of some of my favorite songs. These songs make me feel better whenever I'm feeling down. A lot of them are peppered through this blog, and a lot of them are Christian songs. I love the messages. I love the reminder that God is in the details. Enjoy!

One of my favorite bands is called Sikewalk Prophets. The name made me a little weary when I first heard it, but I can't help but feel loved and uplifted every time I hear their music. 

Okay, I'll stop now. These are just a few of my favorites! I tried to put at least one song from each of my favorite artists. I could talk about these songs and how they've changed my life for days! For now, I'll just say that I feel very blessed to have found them, and I'm happy to be sharing them with you!

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Dating Highlight Reel

Due to the popularity of my last dating blog, a lot of people have asked me questions like “What are some of the best/worst/weirdest dates you’ve been on?” I’ve decided to post some of the highlights here. How do I remember all the details of these great events? It’s courtesy of my weekly journal writing. Enjoy! 

1- Gift Card Boy

Back in 2011 I was working and going to school. I had a great group of friends and would occasionally go on dates. We got bored one day and decided to knock on every door that was anywhere near our apartment and invite a bunch of random strangers to our house for a party. No one decided to take us up on that offer, but we did run into my roommate’s brother and his friends. 

Everyone was outside sitting in the sun, but one guy who was wearing a "Kiss the cook" apron was going inside and outside of the house while finishing baking some cookies. He looked really familiar, and he thought the same thing about me. We talked to each other trying to figure out what it might be. The same school? No. The same EFY group? No. The same major? No. The same state? No. I offered up that I was half Portuguese? No, but that was something! Guess what? He ALSO was half Portuguese! He got really excited and started talking about his parents and how they met. He talked about his mom and how she was from Portugal and how they’d love to meet me. It was all just a little too much and really weird. 

We left the party and before we left he said he’d probably stay up all night long thinking about it and tell me when he’d figured it out. I didn’t give him my number, and figured I’d never see him again. 

A few days later I was at work sorting the mail in the basement of the university I worked for. I would open the mail, figure out where to send it, and divide it into piles before delivering it. As I was doing this I saw a guy pacing in the hallway. It was the guy from the party! I started realizing that I never told him where I worked, but as soon as he walked in I figured out why he knew where I worked. 

(Side Story: A few weeks before, he’d come into my work for an interview. He was in the wrong building on the wrong side of campus and so we gave him directions on how to find the other building and sent him on his way.) 

He walked in and we started talking. We’d come to the same conclusion of how we’d met, and he came all the way down to my office to let me know he’d figured it out. I politely chatted with him while working on the mail. It was a large open office, and I had about 6 of my awesome older female co-workers watching to find out what would happen next. I felt super awkward and wanted him to leave, hopefully without incident. (But that’s never how it works.)

The conversation had gotten to that awkward point where it wasn’t going anywhere, but he wasn’t leaving. I kept sorting mail and as he got ready to leave, he dropped a little envelope on the counter. I was working on the mail, so I figured he was leaving it for one of the full time staff that worked in the office. It didn’t have a name on it, so I picked it up and said, “You dropped this.” He said, “I know.” I was confused and just gave him a weird look until he said, “It’s for you.” With that he walked out the door. 

I opened it up and inside was a prepaid $20 gift card for Costa Vida. I turned to everyone in the office to show it to them and tell them what it was. The card inside said, “Of course I remember you, how could I not?”  It also had a smiley face, his name, and his number inside the card. It didn’t have my name on it, and I assumed that he’d forgotten my name, because I’d forgotten his. I was kind of tempted to take the card and just go out to eat by myself, but everyone in the office told me that I had to call him when I got off of work and go out with him. 

So a few days later we went out. I wasn’t very interested in him before the date, but I really wasn’t interested in him after the date. We went to Costa Vida and I ended up paying with the gift card, that he'd originally paid for, and talked for an hour or two. We didn’t really have a lot in common except for our ethnicity, and I was planning to put my mission papers in, which I did a few weeks later. 

It didn’t work out, but I did have to give him points for creativity and putting himself out there. 


  2- Date Swap

This was one of the weirdest dates I’ve ever been on. I’d met a guy, we’d gone out a few times, but nothing ever came of it. My roommate and I had met some of his friends, and a few weeks later one of his friends called and asked me if my roommate and I wanted to go on a double date. I asked her and she was all in. 

The day of the date came and we realized that we didn’t know which guy we were supposed to be on the date with. So we decided that when we got out to the car whichever guy opened the door for us would be our date. 

They came to the door and we walked to the car that was parked right outside our door, and they were both standing by a door with the door already open! I was confused so I asked them where we should sit. They said we could sit wherever we wanted to, so I just jumped in the front seat and decided that the driver would be my date.

We went to the bowling alley and met up with 2 other couples. Bowling was fun. I tried flirting with my date a little, but all he wanted to talk about was his ex-girlfriend, and neither of our dates wanted to sit by us. It was weird.  

About half way through the date, I walked over to my roommate and told her that we should switch dates (because obviously this was an open date, and my date wasn't really talking to me anymore.) I started talking to her date, and she went to talk to mine. Her date was a lot more talkative, and it was his first date home from his mission. My date seemed to like my roommate a lot more, and was actually talking to her.

 After we all went and bought ice cream at Wal-Mart and then went back to our apt. We played Monopoly Deal, and they didn’t seem like they wanted to leave. Around midnight they got up to leave. We didn’t know how to say goodbye, because we weren’t sure who we were on our date with because we’d switched back and forth and flirted with both boys throughout the night. So I hugged boy #1…and then I hugged boy #2. My roommate did the same. It’s the only thing I could think of to do. It was the first and the last time we went out with those boys.


                                                                    3- The List Continues

I’ve been on a lot of weird dates, but I’ve also been on a lot of fun dates. I think dating is one of those necessary things in life, and I’ve walked away with some great stories. I’ve posted about some more recent dates I’ve been on in these two blog posts Not All Dates Are Created Equal and How Do You Define Yourself?

One of the more memorable dates I went on included a guy taking me to his tithing settlement. I sat out in the lobby smiling at people who were in his ward and making small talk. This was on our second date. We went to a play afterwards.

My shortest date was about a foot shorter than me, and lasted about 30 minutes. He came and picked me up from a relatives house and we went to a local book store. He instructed me to pick out a book that represented me, and then we'd meet up and describe why that book represented us. I picked a poetry book, he picked a motorcycle book. I picked a movie book, and he picked a book about dogs. We did this about 5 times. As soon as we were done, we got back in his car, and all of the sudden we were driving back towards my house. We got to the front porch and my aunt opened the door on her way out and said, "Oh! back already?"  Smiled politely and closed the door. It was awkward and totally embarrassing.

On another occasion I went on a "work out" date. We went to the indoor track on campus and he had planned for us to go for a run. I'm not much of a runner, and by that I mean I don't run ever. I told him to run and I'd just walk at a quick pace. He didn't like that idea, so instead we walked for 6 or 7 laps. After when we got back out to his car he had Gatorade for us, and then we went and got In-N-Out Burgers.  

I also got an interesting gift after one of my dates. It was really cool and delicious. However it was really heavy so I had to leave it at a friend’s house until I could get my car and drive over to pick it up.