The Saddest Week of my Life.

I wrote “love” on my arms on Monday for suicide awareness week, because that’s what it was. And then I  had to go over the faded letters again in pen on Tuesday, 9/11, because I heard about Sally. Her name isn’t Sally, but it’s better that I call her that.

Sally had done exactly what Suicide Awareness Week was established to prevent. She had succumbed to teen depression, and made a choice that would cause permanent results not just for her, but for her family and for her friends, and for her teachers, and any of those who knew her name.

This week a grey blanket lay over my school where she once laughed with her friends in the halls. It was sad at first, awfully sad. And then it changed to a solemn sense of remembering. Remembering her life, remembering if there was anyone else at school who had shown the same symptoms as Sally, or who had shown them that day. In my circle of friends, we found a few and checked in on them. We cried together as a school, and it was cold and dark. Not yet rainy. We cried together at lunch as friends and in classes with teachers. We held each other, and were always asking,

Are you okay?

My spanish teacher put her desk where she had sat in the back of the room facing the class, holding cards and flowers. The desk seemed sad. A table was set up by a wall where a poster read her name and people wrote messages to her. Unsaid thoughts written in Crayola marker on the poster and on the table sat flowers, several bouquets, just as beautiful as her life had been. A friend brought candles, and we lit them reverently.

I haven’t been the same. Nobody has. It’s hard to put any effort into anything, like studying or Volleyball. All drive to do things seems to be gone because there’s a hole in our school and sadness in every corner. But there’s always hope. I’m looking back up at the candle as I type… fire is hope and sorrow. It’s okay to be sad, but that sadness must spark a change. I’m still sad, but I also went to church today. Oh thank heaven for church. It’s thanks to my religion that I know where Sally rests. I do. Again, that’s faith.

All will be okay. It will be better than okay because there is still good, good life in this world. I believe that Sally is not lost, and she did not live her life here on earth in vain, because it was beautiful. And it was something to learn from. Something big enough to wake up a whole school and city. And I believe that I will see Sally again later, and we’ll all run up to hug her. We will all remember how to laugh again soon. Together. That’s what Sally would have  wanted. And may she rest in Paradise.

“Don’t forget to love each other”  – Our Principal

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I Left My Heart @ Camp Ritchie

sound of music mountains are big had

So last post, I was ready to leave for Girls Camp, and now I’m home and exhausted. Allow me to fill you in on the Oreo filling :) (Ah! Quickly before sleepy Sydney falls asleep on the couch!)

We left in cars. I with my mommy and three friends. All crammed in our little civic and making friendship bracelets.

 

We got there unpacked, boring boring boring. Well here’s what happened on Tuesday and what I wrote in my journal;

July 24th

Today I got tired of people. People are tiring sometimes, especially teenage girls, I’m tired tonight from archery and BBs, plus rappelling but also I started to get annoyed at people’s imperfect-ness. Then we had devotional. It was about a story about a town of wooden people called “Wimmiks”, who judged one anthers actions and appearances using stickers. Kinda mean huh? We do that too shockingly enough, just in a more subtle and mental way. And I realized I had been a Wimmik by thinking that my ways of sinning were somehow more acceptable than the other girls ways of sinning. Just because you sin differently from others doesn’t give you the right to judge them or get tired of them. That’s god’s job. I was humbled and bummed out. Realizing your wrong and being chastened will do that to you… but it makes us better people. But I was still left with a dry, dusty feeling that reminded me of Rango. I just prayed for some intimate inspiration. Hopefully I’ll find it tomorrow but it’s dark in our cabin and Sarah’s complaining about my headlamp light. We’re all exhausted. Thanks for listening.

-JoTo

P.S. Happy 12th Birthday Tyler!!! xoxo :)

July 25th

I’m sitting in my friend’s car on our way back from our 4th year hike. In  a car? I thought you were supposed to be oblivious to all forms of civilization for a week! Yes indeed a car. So you drive down 88, past Kirkwood Ski Resort and Caples Lake, and turn into the El Dorado National Forest parking lot. Past the bathrooms, there’s a 2.5mi trail, that brings you to Winnemucca Lake. The lake could give a Polar Bear hypothermia, but it’s the journey there that makes the journey worth it. We hiked through the prettiest woods you’ve ever seen. Brother W. said, “It’s like we’re walking through a painting”, and seriously, Monet should have checked this place out. Wildflowers outnumbered grass blades and ferns sat scattered like leafy watchmen. Pine trees aren’t exactly Cherry Blossoms, but they looked really good with colorful Indian Paintbrush gathered in bushels around their roots. Fallen logs, ancient and a soft white, lie dappled with sunshine falling from the canopy. As we trekked up and up the uphill, the Pines thinned and we were in an open meadow, aka Poppy-Town. Flowers galore covered the grassy hill like a little city of colorful people. Instead of busting places in little cars and taxis, they all stood static until alternating breezes urged them to dance. We heard running water, and to our delight ran a good-sized summer stream, running the way we would take home. It ran happily over rocks and through small granite formations creating baby waterfalls. Framing the whole stunning picture stood something entirely muting. Mountains patched with icy snow, straight out of the sound of music, or even a dream. sound of music winnemucca hikingsound of music mountains are big had

It was all uphill though, and the girls were tired. I however was high on beauty.

“This is SO Pretty! Look, BUTTERFLY! Augh, I could just live in a SHACK here! Appreciate! Appreciate! Appreciate!” I would squeal pointing to a cluster of flowers or a pool of glossy water. As I was gleefully sharing my feelings, Brother W. stopped me.

“You think THIS is cool? Imagine heaven, and the kingdoms in heaven. No one can even imagine.”

I almost cried when he said that. I’m such a marshmallow. If God could craft such a beautiful place as this, Earth, then what has he crafted for us AFTER this? This is just the Basement!!! Although I may melt my marshmallow-self by just thinking about this, I have been inspired. My soul has drunk from the well of happiness. This was the answer to my prayer. This WAS the answer to my prayer.

Tonight at our fireside I learned that before you go to bed, put on your “PJ’S”.

P- Prayer

J- Journal

S- Scriptures

Cute huh?

July 26th 

Today, the boy-scouts appeared like strapping young specks on the beach across the lake and the girls turned into boy-deprived banshees. We had been at waterfront, basking, swimming, paddle boarding, and kayaking when it looked as if boys started to appear across the waves. We went mad, yelling out “BOYS!” to those unaware. We began paddling in circles, or at least trying to stay in line of sight of the boys camp, without going so far as the speedboat would have to come over and embarrassingly scold us. Turns out, the boys hadn’t sat out just to watch our girly youthfulness or wondered which of us were old enough to date… they were too busy waiting for us to GET OUT! We realized this once our final whistle to get out blew and we scrambled in shivers to the rocks for our towels and shoes. We sat on the rock overlooking the lake, cold, sad, and wet as we watched the strapping specks do cannonballs into the water and tear away on sailboats. To our dismay, scout masters don’t approve of co-ed swimming. Dang.

My journal goes on into hardly legible entries about BB guns and Crafts that clearly display my exhaustion. However, the last night, Friday night, ended on one of the best notes of my life so far. Testimony meeting. It was more than a genius’ idea to end camp with such a spiritually strengthening activity. But again it was more than even that, to another-worldly extent.

Testimony meeting was incredible.  My heart swelled with not pride, but sisterhood and daughterhood, being a daughter of God and a sister to all of these wonderful people here. I’ve never felt so close to God before, but I’m sure the altitude is a contributing factor (; It’s so easy to feel so so so spiritual at camp, because all distractions are gone. The Media, Social Networks, material possessions, CARS are all irrelevant for six days. All that’s left is kindness and love  in the form of delicious food, under the stars and in clean air that provides for the very best of thoughts. It’s more than beautiful, it’s of God. The trick is, (and it’s VERY tricky) is to bring those same thoughts home. Like maybe… in the form of a Journal.

It’s hard to believe until you’ve felt God. If you don’t know where to find him, look to little children or the wilderness. You’ll feel his embrace in the form of Life. I know this to be true. Every last syllable.

-Sydney

Oh and on the way home we stopped at the Ghirardelli Factory. (AKA the place where they make the best Hormone Replacement)

 

Guest Post from MonkeyBrother #1: Middle School Advice?

Hello everybody, it’s brother #1.  I’m the awesome one in the family.

Now you all know my sister from somewhere, I don’t know, maybe because this is her blog.  I would also like to shout out a big “HI” to my grandpa, who is probably wondering what the heck is going on.

A few days ago I was in sixth grade until the summer came, and now I’m officialy a seventh grader.  My big sis thinks that I’m going to die in there, but between you (as in everybody reading this) and me, I know I’ll turn out okay in one piece. Now if you have any advice you want to share with me about middle school/jr. high, I would be happy to hear it. Leaf a comment down below.

[Edit: SJT repeated this question on Yahoo Answers and got some pretty sweet advice there too! Thanks again guys for all the tips and wisdom!]

A Wise Señora Once Said…

“Cause that’s the way I was brought up. You gotta treat all people the same, no matter what skin color… no matter what religion. They all got the same heart, ya know?”

-Abuela O.

(Envision with a faint, 76-year-old Tex-Mex accent)

We just finished anatomy in Biology. Ever wondered exactly how you swallow? *Cough!*Peristalsis*Cough!*  Well I did, and a lot of other body questions were answered this week. I know know what happens when “Johnny Eats a Cheeseburger”. (Essay) But I am here to testify, WE ALL HAVE THE SAME HEART! (Literally!)

“But Sydney, I learned in kindergarden that no two people are the same, WE’RE ALL UNIQUE!”

 (Sorry. Cheesy dialogue.)

Nope! Only some parts of your body are truly unique. Your skin prints, your brain, and other picky organs. Everything else can be found everywhere else. Brown hair will be brown hair, blue eyes will be blue eyes from Zimbabwe to Juneau. Then of course you allow for mother nature to step in and stir her soup further. Genetic disease, freckles, deformities are their own type of unique, but I don’t swim in the deep end. If Mother nature could just be satisfied with the consistency of her tomato bisque, then one could say that all humans are born with the same heart, because we’re all programmed to be human. (Unless you’re a genetically altered golden lab with spectacles reading this).

So maybe it’s politically incorrect to say “we all have the same heart”, because we don’t. Birth defects, accidents, heart disease, smoking… but we’re all human, and at one point had the capacity to have the same heart even if it was at the zygote stage.

Summary? Sure.

Treat everyone equally, we’ve all got the same heart.

I know it’s tough to do. Especially when it’s your dorkie-squash of a little brother interpretive dancing to Andy Grammar.

But you gotta keep your head up, OH-oh,
And you can let your hair down, EH-eh,
You gotta keep your head up, OH-oh,
And you can let your hair down, E-eh e-eheh.

 Enjoy what’s left of today and thursday guys! (TWO MORE WEEKS AND THIS FRESH-MEAT GETS SOPHTER!)

Seminary Comes to an End

Oh Friday afternoon. It’s  a breeze of cool, clean air purified from any tests, quizzes, or status-quos.  Viernes, un dia buenisima. But this year of seminary was even better.

What’s LDS Seminary like? Well, let me show ya.

First it’s cold and dark.

There you have it. A glimpse into the sleepy, spiritual, and chatty world of seminary where colored pencils satisfy boredom and epic scripture stories satisfy the teenage soul. It’s a great place to go before High School, and a great religion to be a part of. Thanks again to our AMAZING teacher Sister B. (We love you!) and to all “classmates” for the early morning laughs and yawns. See you next time!

(Oh and GO MOM! Running her first marathon in ten hours a thousand miles away in Ogden. Your hubster, kiddie-pies, and friends here in Cali are cheering Cheering CHEERING for ya, our thoughts and prayers are with ya every step of the way!!! Pet some wild horses for me!)

Have a great weekend guys!

It came. IT CAME!!!!!

I am typing on a mac.

It came. It Came. IT CAME! Actually it came two days ago. The story?

You already know the torturous part, waiting waiting waiting for the dang UPS truck. Then suddenly, an engine, rumblier than all the rest, pulled up across the street. A plump-bellied man in a brown jump-suit hopped out and walked to the back, opened the doors, and pulled out a brown box. I had been frozen because my  heart had fainted, but then it sat up in my chest cavity and screamed, “RUN TO THE DOOR YOU FOOL!” I flew instead. Throwing open the door, plump-belly stood on the thresh with his knuckles in knocking-position. He retracted his fist to pull out a massive palm-pilot and hanging from it was a plastic pen.

Oh, gotta sign.”

I grabbed the pen, scribbled something curly and un-legible on the screen, took the box, smiled and “thank-you”d, and closed the door. I ran to my room, I flew like a flash (grabbing scissors along the way) and carefully destroyed the barrier between me and about a thousand hours of babysitting.

Apple Inc., Cupertino California

Oh happy day. Throwing aside manuals, screen wipes, and apple stickers, I reached the last of the packaging. A clear plastic bag held my beloved silver mass of tech adorned with the fruit that may have caused man mortality. The Apple, complete with Eve’s bite. I plugged it in and watched it, as its life blood of electricity flowed into it’s system.

Well, anyway, I’m not bragging. Please believe that I’m not. I’m simply telling you dear reader why I’ll be blogging a lot more. With this new tool I believe God helped me to earn, I can have my own space for sharing thoughts, testimonies and stories as well as pictures. It’s a tool, but with it I have also realized the importance of human interaction (strangely enough). In order to exercise this power correctly, I have to be a good person and get some righteous blogging material.

(First PhotoBooth pic)

 

 

 

Do I look Tired?

Just got to school. It’s a Wednesday, sleep in day, but the teacher’s daughter gets to walk into class at 7:20… two hours before everybody else. I try to use this time efficiently (more so than my last post lol) and work on biology. Right now we’re doing anatomy, which means kidney stones and urine. Grody to the max. Dad’s in a meeting but a sweet teacher from down the hall and family friend stops by to say hello.

“You look tired.” She comments.

Awesome, cause I’m exhausted. Seminary, volleyball, cross-fit p.e., plus school will do that to you. But at least I’m happy. Wait, why shouldn’t I be happy? Well… I’ve got a cute hobby (blogging), I’m reading a fantastic find (Anne of Windy Poplars), My Macbook case I ordered on Etsy is coming through customs, and I’m moving out of my parents computer soon! I think I’m happy. Is it possible to be happy and exhausted?

A mother of three, two of which are twins, can still hold a sincere smile on her face after tending the needs of three toddlers all afternoon and getting ready for moving day in two weeks. A man running his first marathon can still grin and high-five his son who’s standing in the sidelines. So how come they’ve got so much dang happiness?!

The difference is they have another mindset than I, a much better one . “I trust that ye have not set your hearts upon riches and vain things of the world,” Alma 7:16

This dang laptop is completely of the world, and so are the other things that supposedly made me “happy”! No wonder I’m exhaused to the negative degree! I want to be exhaused to the positive degree, like the guys above! I’ll try, today I’ll really try to really poop myself out but go to bed smiling. I’ll try to do some good today.

Same goes for you! Tire yourself out doing good deeds or at least put a little more effort and smile into your everyday routine. Comment how you or a someone else has done good  : -)

P.S. Speaking of serivce… check out what a million mormons did this weekend!

(Singers include ex-American Idol and newly citizen both with sparkly golden vochs!)