19 April 2011

Realizing My Dream of Being a Rock Star

So in our family home evening groups this semester we made music videos. We decided on "Separate Ways" by Journey (or rather, I decided on it and convinced the rest of the group that it would be epic). It was. Here it is. Please don't judge me too harshly on how I look.

16 April 2011

Lesson 2 in Overcoming Acrophobia: Push Your Limits

Today I went climbing up the canyon again. It was a glorious day. I'd been planning on it for a few days. I now check the weather religiously. Like really, religiously (especially when it looks nice outside and there are freshmen playing frisbee in the huge field right out my window at work and I'm so sad that I'm stuck inside during the day but soon it will be over because I'll get to leave earlier once I'm graduated...this week). So I knew that today was going to be beautiful. And it was. Thank goodness. That would have been a huge disappointment.

After an extremely successful morning in the library, I came home and we set off for the canyon. I let my friend choose where we go (he knows better than I do). So he chose this rock face that was super hard. I tried to go up the way that it was intended, but I ended up cheating it and going up the easy way. It did, however, require that I shove my body up a huge crack and shimmy up the rest of the way. When I went up there I made the mistake of looking out to the trail. That was not smart. I couldn't see the ground and I started getting really nervous. I tried to calm myself down and get a grip, but I got another wave of acrophobia and ended up burying my head in the crack so I could calm down. It was then that I gave up and was lowered to the ground--a mere fifteen feet from the top of the climb.

I then belayed for him as he went up again, content to have both feet firmly planted on the ground, and in the sun.  Unfortunately, he had forgot some necessary gear to get the rope off of his carabiners at the top of the line. Whoops. So he came back down and told me that I needed to go back up and get the carabiners.

I was not a happy Laura. All I wanted to do was stay on the ground and not freak out again. But somehow he convinced me to try again. So up I went. And I got up just fine. It took me a while to figure out how to shove my body up the crack so that I could use my back to leverage me up instead of my knees.

But I did it. I got up.

While this may not sound all that impressive (and really, it wasn't by any standard), I still looked my fear in the face and told it to go bother someone else. It was a good feeling to get those carabiners off the anchors and me back on the ground. And I was a much happier Laura.

Sometimes you just need to tell your fears to take a hike and see what you can really do. Thank you rock face for helping me conquer my acrophobia just a little bit more. Until we meet again.

06 April 2011


This morning at 5:55 a.m. my friends came and picked me up so we could go to the gym to lift weights.

1. I'm not a morning person. I hate waking up any earlier than is necessary; I usually end up waking up too late. So me waking up earlier than was necessary was weird.
2. I'm not huge on lifting weights. I lack the discipline needed to push myself with lifting weights.
3. Most of my workout clothes were dirty, so I had to wear my gigantic sweatpants. (I love these sweatpants, but they just aren't conducive to working out.)

But it ended up okay. My friends stayed together and did their man thing. I steered clear of lifting anything near them. I didn't feel like looking like a wimpy girl. But I would go over and check in with them when I was feeling lost or out of place or when I wanted to dance to a Justin Bieber song in front of them to mock them.

Lately I've been thinking a lot about pain. This semester has been a hard one for me for many reasons. It's been a big adjustment period for me. I'm working full-time. I'm going to school part-time. And I don't love, love, love my classes like I always have. And work can be tedious and disappointing. In many ways and with many things I've been disappointed with how everything has worked out.

But that's just how it goes sometimes.

Life can be disappointing. You just need to learn to roll with it. This weekend I listened to General Conference and one of the speakers talked about pain. It didn't really resonate with me until my dear roommate told me what he had said. He said something to the effect of "when you're feeling pain it means you're healing." That touched my heart. As all of us know, life goes in phases. There are harder times and there are more steady times. This just happens to be a harder one for me. And that's okay.

So today I've been so sore from lifting weights. From the resistance that I put myself through--to become stronger. My hamstrings and quads and those muscles under your armpits have ached. But it's been a reminder to me that the greater the resistance and the longer you put up with that resistance, the stronger you become. Right now, God's working on making me a stronger Laura. And I feel blessed by that. So I'll keep on lifting weights and waking up early so that I can be reminded that as I get physically stronger, I am also getting spiritually stronger.

03 April 2011

Lesson 1 in Overcoming Acrophobia: Learn to Trust

Step 1 in overcoming your irrational fear of heights: learn to trust.

Have I fallen? Yes.
Did I die? Nope.
Did I get banged up a bit? Yep. But bruises are pretty, so it's no big deal. Just don't try kneeling down.

As I've mentioned previously, this past semester I've been climbing pretty consistently. It's a two-man kind of deal, so I've needed a consistent climbing partner. So I've been going with the same friend and I've had to learn to trust him. The first time we went, I couldn't even recognize his voice when he called out where I could place my feet or what I needed to do. But with time we've built up trust because when someone's got your life in their hands, you really don't have a choice. You just have to trust.

I haven't always been the most trusting person but people surprise me pretty often. That's part of the deal with this life, we have to learn to trust and have faith. I remember sitting in our den when we were living in Kansas and watching Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade for the first time. I watched this scene and I remember thinking "What is he doing? He's going to fall into that great big ravine!" But then it all worked out. I still think about that scene sometimes. Life is about trust. We don't know where we're going, but God does. We just need to have faith. Everything will work out if we're trying to do our best.

I just have to keep telling that to myself whenever I'm climbing. Trust the equipment. Trust the shoes. It's okay if you fall. And it always turns out just fine.

Thank you climbing.

Physics--It Will Never Leave Me, Part 2

I've talked about physics in the past in this blog. I know, I keep coming back to it. But it keeps coming back to me. This time I'm sticking it to gravity.

I hate limits. I hate when I can't do something. I'm a stubborn person, I'll admit. But I hope that my stubbornness more often than not manifests itself as tenacity. You see, I have always had a fear of heights. I remember being nervous as a child when we went to see the Grand Canyon. I am reluctant to climb on ladders and even on chairs. I had a traumatic episode when I was about fifteen when I had to climb up a really tall tree to go down a zip line. Really, me and heights were not friends at all.

So about two and a half years ago my friends said they were going rock climbing. I thought, hey I like the mountains, I like being outside, that sounds like fun. As soon as I started stumbling up the rock face I realized, Wait a minute, I'm getting higher, I could fall, this could be bad. Then I ended up swinging around the corner of the rock face and I was terrified. It was not a positive experience. Then last summer another set of friends said they were going rock climbing. I determined to go with them. I wanted the bitter taste of that bad experience out of my mouth. So I went with them.

They selected an easy route and everyone went up before I took my turn. And oh my, did I ever take my turn. It probably took me at least a half hour, if not longer. But they encouraged me and told me not to give up and wouldn't let me come down. And I made it to the top. It was a good feeling.

This winter I've started rock climbing on a regular basis. I've been going indoor at a climbing gym about once a week and I absolutely love it. I get better every time, and what's better is I feel more empowered with each climb. No longer am I being conquered by my phobia. I am conquering it. I'm sticking it to gravity. Stay tuned for lessons learned in climbing.