To Express Junior Year Thus-far

…in 34 Gifs. Ready, go.
Everyday in Trig-Precalc:
When the counselor took over 5th period to have the “Scary Junior Talk”:
When our Spanish teacher has random outbursts that are borderline socially unacceptable:
When I picked a song I really liked the night before to be my alarm in the morning and woke up hating it for waking me up. (If that makes sense) :
Seminary at exactly 6:22 am and teacher’s telling that cop story we’ve already heard twice:
Getting all the Physics homework right because it’s about gravity and gravity makes sense:
Me at to kid who went to Chipotle for lunch and isn’t sharinggg:
Seeing that kid walk by who you know is taking 5 AP’s and is captain of the Football team AND has a girlfriend:
The computer jocks in film who claim PC’s are superior to Macs:
That lovable weirdness that resides in all my friends:
When teachers don’t realize that together they’re giving us 7+ hours of homework per night. TALK TO EACH OTHER FOR CHEESE SAKES YOU ALL SHARE A BREAK ROOM DO YOU NOT?!
Every single single boy my age:
“So does anybody have any questions?”:
When parents say that these are the best days of our lives:
Having my dad as my APUSH teacher:
When sweater weather knocked on our door yesterday:
Trying to put kids to bed babysitting:
Turning on my phone to iOS7 after it downloaded all night:
Haring tiresome words like, “SAT”, “PSAT”, “ACT”, “College Visits”, “CCC”, “Letters of Rec”, “hashtag yolo swag”:
That time when I was walking back onto campus at the end of Friday tutorial with Starbucks in hand and saw the yard duty marching towards me shoulders hunched pink notepad in hand:
When film teacher asks who can storyboard:
Freshman. Just all the Freshman that are everywhere:
“Frieeeeend, can I have a nibble of that delicious-looking Luna bar? Pluheez?”:
“Hey Syd, how was school?”:
How the people who make those amazing vines circulating Facebook must feel:
The american educational system:
“Syd syd syd let us go say hi to cute boy over yonder”:
“Ooh I love the way ^^ooh I love the way you make me feel I love it I love it” 
Being a teenager having to cope with other teenagers
Friends and our addiction to snapchatting during lunch:
Seeing any sunset, puppy, puddle, or rainbow:
In summary of Junior year thus far:
as expressed in gifs :) Thank you Mr. Wilhite
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We Are Here With You

newton remember candles

It’s been rough. Super rough. Rough in keeping my head held together through all this. My hearts in shambles and still aches a week later. There are no words but the ones we know. But this story, these sickening events have made all words run away. I don’t have the will to chase them down and arrange them in a way that’s presentable to my readers.  But one of my favorite bloggers does. I am grateful for her strength, that she can express so eloquently, what sadness and prayers and solemness feel like. It’s sad, and it’s raw. As raw as crying is. It hurts. But it will heal. And all will be well again. I know that God loves all his children, but has a special attachment to his littlest children. He would never lose them to this sort of evil darkness. He has a plan. And we can be happy knowing that. We are here with you. 

 

The Renegade Rulebook

I know my blog has been a bit heavy lately in terms of content, and while many who know me in person know this is the exact opposite of my personality in real life, I am not quite ready to depart from contemplation. I have debated not writing about this, not touching this subject. It is a subject that sent waves of terror through every parent in the country, and quite literally broke hearts across the world. In the last four days, friends from all around the globe reached out to express their sincere sympathies to a grieving country.

It is a subject that I do not know how to write about.

I don’t understand it.

For four days, I was at a total loss of words.  For four days, I sat numb on my couch, surrounded by a mound of damp tissues, and then my sleeve when the box…

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Night-Time Epiphanies

Hit the Regina Spektor Radio on Spotify, pop over to WordPress, “New Post”. I got words today man!

Hey this fire
It’s burning
Burning us up
Hey this fire
It’s burning
Burning us up

The fire of words baby! I swear they’re eating at my soul this day and unless I pour them out on my keyboard I may be ashes in minutes!

Night-time epiphanies. Have ’em? Thought processes really do take place at night, when things are quiet and muscles are tired. Well, your brain isn’t a muscle. True story bro. Something about the dark and waiting for unconsciousness to come… thoughts run into genius strands that are so frustratingly forgotten the next morning. Solution:

Write it down! I had to turn on the light a few times but it was soooooo worth blazing my eyeballs out. Otherwise you’ll think you’ll be able to decipher your writing that was written in the pitch-black darkness, but really you won’t. (Testify: middle bottom picture, middle of pad.) Anyways, there was something my half-conscious self came up with last night that I liked.

More sleep.
More water.
More grains.
More Color.
More right.
More clear. 
 

Read it over again. Now you should know that I love self-improvement, and at night like think of ways to make SydneyJoTo a better SydneyJoTo. That’s pretty much all this list is. An eclectic gathering of goals for the soon-to-be sophomore.

(pssssst! Stop reading here if you gotta get to doing, or stick around if you’re seat’s comfy enough or if you’re a teenager.)

More sleep.

Most Teens stink at time management. So usually it’s the latest thing in the day that takes the hit. Bedtime. I think ending school at 3:30 is dumb. Why? The average American household has dinner from 6:30-7 o’clock. That’s leaves a succinct 3 hours for homework, sports games/practice, friends, and travel to and from all of these. However! Many families with teens have dinner later, like from 7-8, even 9 o’clock as to not disrupt the order of early evening activities. Why don’t we just try that?! The trick must be getting all of one’s homework done before the dinner bell rings, so one can have some restful family time after dinner and then hit the hay.

Ask your boss-people if a later din-din is right for you. Side effects may include an earlier, less desperate night’s sleep.

More water.

Utah. Geeze Louise. Water not only tastes fabulous there but an excessive amount is also vital to one’s happiness at that high and dry

Water. Go get a glass NOW.

altitude. I stayed with my Aunt K. who taught me the importance of the “H2O Diet”. She told me that before going anywhere, drink a glass of water. Then when you’re done with that, drink another one. This was a few days before volleyball camp and she knew this advice would later prove valuable during my sweaty court antics. Also, I’m pretty sure water has an effect on one’s happiness. After camp, I kept up on the water intake. It’s bad but, Water made things clearer. (El-Oh-El!) But seriously, there is something about more agua in the system and  I’M SURE THERE’S A SCIENTIFIC ARTICLE OUT THERE SOMEWHERE that ties water with happiness! If over 70% of the human body is made up of water, then why not be constantly trying to maintain that? Especially since water has ZERO cals and other junk. It’s the purest and best thing for you on the planet. Plus, dehydration is found frequently in TEENS! Read about it here. With all the other social/educational/hormonal crap we’re dealing with, I’m sure water intake is very low on the priority list for most teenyboppers-and-poppers. Not good.

So go drink some now! I’ll wait.

More grains. 

If Manna was bread, (which it probably was) it took this form.

 Again, Aunt K. But also my mom. You see, I’ve just begun to hate white bread. It’s this little flower of hate that was planted by these two lovely women and has been watered by my love  for health food ever since. Oatnut bread is too good to cheat on with that white fluffy stuff that has absolutely NO nutritional value. So dear reader, I invite you to hate white bread with me. And feast on Oatnut for your breakfast toast instead. And then for your sandwich at lunch. Take a break for dinner. Teenagers, there is no “w” in pb&j. However there is a “b” which stands for bread, which could easily mean “Oatnut bread”… if you wanted it to.

More color.

I can’t stress this enough. There is color in the world but when the world chooses to paint something beautiful whether it be on the ground, down an alley, or in the sky you’d better darn well appreciate it.

Colors.

More right.

Not less left, but rather more doing the right thing. The Right Thing. We all subliminally know what that means, whether we want to or not. Some would argue that everyone has different priorities, and therefore different ideas of right and wrong. But I don’t think so. Balance. There’s a balance everywhere, and when you start looking for it, you’ll find it, especially in people. Somehow there are happy stories and there are sad stories and there’s the untold stories of people just making it through. But those are just stories. Whether the story happened to a loved one or a stranger you are still you. And you always have a choice. We all do. And so we control the balance of right and wrong. It just seems that the gusts of the world head in the wrong direction and so we have to lean against it. That’s when I come in with my belief of Heavenly Father and Satan. The Gusts are from Satan and the freedom to be blown away or lean against it comes from Heavenly Father. Then, Heavenly Father will go so far as to give you something or someone to hang on to, or will even lead you to a non-gusty area! That’s all called faith, take it or leave it.

More clear.

So I’m rested, hydrated, healthy, appreciative of the world around me, and I’m trying to do the right thing. That lifts a fog, and what I see now gives me something real to write about.


P.S.

This concludes my 100th post and first year of blogging! I would like to thank my dear dear dear readers, hug my mostly supportive parents who thought this would be just another phase, and my poor computer that has put up with a year of frustrated writers-block-induced-head-banging. This kid loves you all!

{Edition}

Just heard this song on Spotify: thought it applied perfectly to my “theory of balance”. That’s it :)

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)

 

The night before GIRLS CAMP!!!

“Everything has a beginning, a middle, and an end- the middle’s the most important. Think of… an Oreo cookie! Right now we are in the middle of our lives, and this is the time that matters most. We’ll get to camp tomorrow, and we’ll leave on Saturday. It’s up to YOU what you do with that creme filling.”

Words from a high-adventurer of a sister in the stake, witty and smelling of Hawaii and full of jokes as well as inquisitive wisdom. It was a great talk. Anyways, I’m leaving for camp in the morning. With my dear non-member friend K. who is absolutely stoked about spending a week in cabins in the Sierras overlooking a lake. Yes, a sparkly cold lake. Our volunteer cooks are also food gods. I have to go to my restful slumber party now (excitement will keep my eyes open anyway) but before I do, I want to wish you all a happy mid-summer, and a happy mid-life! Please, Enjoy the filling :)

(Via Sodahead)

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!

The Warriors’ Mothers (Happy Mommy’s Day!)

When you’re a Mormon, you meet at a building according to where you live. and the people you see every Sunday and who live in your relative neighborhood are in your “ward”. There are thousands of wards across the globe. A ward becomes a family as people move in, move out, have babies, pass away… you get it. In a ward, the adults are given different assignments called “callings”, like chores within a family. These callings range from helping in the nursery to being the Bishop. (Equivalent to a pastor). Well anyways, my parents have the two coolest callings in the world. Mom is a Public Affairs Spokesperson which pretty much means she gets to know other church leaders from all faiths and works with them to do service within the community. She also helps to put on Mormon Helping Hands which is the big, annual mormon service project. Once again, I share this video a guy and friend in our ward produced.

This was filmed in our area at several of the sites we served at. This leads into my dad’s calling, Ward Mission Leader. Watch it again, and play iSpy for anyone wearing a rectangular black badge with white writing. (Do it now)

They are all missionaries, sent from our church to preach the gospel, and rake leaves when needed. My dad’s job includes the Young Men Missionaries, who have chosen to leave normal society for two years and dedicate those two years to God. My dad acts as a step-in mentor who drives them wherever they can’t walk or ride bikes, gives them what advice an ex-missionary can, and lets them Skype and call home on Mother’s Day. Destination reached.

Right now, two dedicated young men are contacting home to talk to their families, but most importantly, their moms. (Bing!)

” All that I am, or hope to be, I owe to my angel mother. ” Abraham Lincoln

Mormon Missionaries and their relationships to their mothers could be equated to the Stripling Warriors and their mothers. I would jump into a summary of this epic tale from the Book of Mormon, but I’m lazy and this one is so much better,

“Nearly 10 years after Captain Moroni raised the Title of Liberty the Lamanites and Nephites were once again at war. The people of Ammon desired to help the Nephites. But they had made a vow to never to take up arms again. Their sons had not made this vow. These young men entered into a covenant to fight for the liberty of the Nephites.

They were men who were true at all times in whatsoever thing they were entrusted. They were men of truth and soberness, for they had been taught to keep the commandments of God and to walk uprightly before him.

These 2,000 stripling soldiers had been taught by their mothers that God was with them, that He would not let them fall. Now they never had fought, yet they did not fear death; and they did think more upon the liberty of their fathers than they did upon their lives; they had been taught by their mothers, that if they did not doubt, God would deliver them.

Being led by Helaman, they were in many battles, but none died. The Lord rewarded and preserved them; for believing in Him, for having faith, for obeying His commandments, and for striving to serve others.” -mormonfind.com

stripling warriors, moms, mother's day, clouds, mommy, mommies, warrior, spear, courage, missionary
“Farewell my stripling warrior” Del Parson
missionary, missionary farewell, farewell my stripling warrior
A Stripling Warrior Saying Farewell

Today is Mother’s Day. Regardless of your religion, be grateful for mothers everywhere who are preparing their children for the battlefield of life. Be grateful for women who have the patience to teach children to be warriors. Mom, thanks especially for teaching me how to be a smart warrior and to stop and smell the flowers along the way.

What were some battle skills your mom taught you?