Friday, September 28, 2012

Best of the Internet

I have been coming across the most HILARIOUS links from the interwebs for the past twelve hours, and I want to share them all on Facebook because they're all so funny, but then I think people might start deleting me as friends for spamming their news feed?  So, I'm going to put them all in this blog post.

When I was a freshman, I was chilling with my friends in the Cannon Center, eating some generic rice krispies for dinner because I love them.  I was slicing a banana to put in my cereal because they are delicious and people that don't put sliced banana in their rice krispies are probably felons. One of the guys at my table said, "Wow, you are going to be such a good mom.  Look at how perfectly you sliced that banana."  And I was like, "What do you mean?  Everyone slices bananas with this level of care and precision, right?"  And everyone was like, no.  No, that's not normal.  People don't spend that much time slicing bananas.  Only tiger moms.

Ever since, I've felt kind of isolated.  How can I achieve the perfect banana slices I so desire while maintaining the facade that I'm a normal person and maybe saving time to boot?  Enter the Hutzler Banana Slicer.

 Please go read the reviews on Amazon here. PLEASE.  "It's yellow-like bananas!"

I want to preface this next one by saying that I really, really, really love and respect the leaders of the Mormon church like, a lot, and I think that they are men of God.  Literally, that is what I think.  So I am not trying to make fun of them.  If you aren't Mormon, (which you probably are, because only my mom reads this blog and she is Mormon) you can learn more about apostles and prophets here.

That being said, the following video is AMAZING and warms my heart so much.  If you're friends with me on Facebook, you know how much I freaked out when Barack Obama sang (talked) (what do I call this...) Call Me Maybe.


I especially love how they included Elder Costa's "keeeeess" because I really love the way he says that.

(Incidentally, Elder Costa gave the BYU devotional that convinced me I should be with Robby forever.  I had broken up with him because I'm an idiot and was stressed about getting married at 20, but then I went to listen to this devotional in the SWKT and it made me realize that I was being an idiot and shoot, ships are safe in harbor but that's not what ships are for! and I should obviously marry Robby, so then I got back together with Robby and that night he had a Brick Oven pizza delivered to my apartment that was in the shape of a heart and had little pepperonis on it that were cut into little tiny heart shapes.  It was adorable.  Because right before we broke up I incited this stupid fight with Robby because I wanted to go get Brick Oven pizza and he did not.  The moral of this story is that I am a silly person sometimes and I love Elder Costa.  And Robby.  more.  in a romantic sense.  End parentheses.)

Anyways...look at this hilarious thing.

My awesome sister-in-law Katy sent me this link.  We had a cat named Daisy for a few months, but Robby really hated her and it got awkward so when I was in Utah this summer my parents babysat the cat for me and we just...never picked her up.  Thanks Mom and Dad!  Hope you like your new pet!  I'm thinking Robby and Daisy would have been much better friends if I had picked up one of these.  Robby has a well-documented love of unicorns.  Look at this picture of Robby with his best friend Jeff at his unicorn-themed 24th birthday party!  We've decided to throw the exact same party for our firstborn's fifth birthday, down to the cotton candy, pinata, and coloring.

And now, a few honorable mentions.

This, which made me laugh for a looooong time but it says the f-word and my mom reads this blog so I can't have that on here!  But you should click the link because it's funny.

I love Beyonce for a variety of reasons, and I also love snuggies. Which is why I love this, which I would just embed but I think the length of this post is getting annoying.  My bestie Brooke sent it to me and it is FABULOUS.

This is not hilarious at all, but I think it's really important and everyone should read it.  Womanhood, man.  It's tough stuff.  

Well, that's all.  Happy Friday.  I think my fever broke.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

And I'm a Mormon

DISCLAIMER:  If you disagree with me, that's great.  I respect your views; and I won't get offended.  If you want to express it to me in a rude way in the comments, that's not allowed.  You are literally prohibited from saying it.  It's against the rules of this blog.

And another disclaimer:  I want to make it clear that I don't think Mormon republicans are bad, mean people, that they don't believe in being charitable, or agree with the ideas I'm about to talk about.  I just want to explain the link, in my eyes, between my politics and my religion.

I have been sitting on this blog post for a long time.  I've been writing it out in my head for months, and this typed version has been resting in my draft posts for about a week.  I really didn't want to post it, because I don't want to cause controversy or alienate anyone.  But I think it's important for me to express how I feel about my religion and politics.  I know people wonder how I reconcile being a Mormon with being a registered democrat.  Most people are surprised when they find out.  Some start to treat me differently, some think it's a funny quirk.  Some jerk in high school even went so far as to say that being a democrat should prohibit me from having a recommend to enter Mormon temples.  This isn't the case.  I'm a devout, happy Mormon and a strong democrat.  Here's how.


These scriptures are why, in a nutshell, I am a Mormon and a democrat.
 Mosiah 4:19  For behold, are we not all beggars? Do we not all depend upon the same Being, even God, for all the substance which we have, for both food and raiment, and for gold, and for silver, and for all the riches which we have of every kind?
20 And behold, even at this time, ye have been calling on his name, and begging for a remission of your sins. And has he suffered that ye have begged in vain? Nay; he has poured out his Spirit upon you, and has caused that your hearts should be filled with joy, and has caused that your mouths should be stopped that ye could not find utterance, so exceedingly great was your joy. 
21 And now, if God, who has created you, on whom you are dependent for your lives and for all that ye have and are, doth grant unto you whatsoever ye ask that is right, in faith, believing that ye shall receive, O then, how ye ought to impart of the substance that ye have one to another.  
 I remember reading this chapter in the Book of Mormon as a freshman in seminary, and it really moved me.  It was one of the very first times that my fourteen-year-old self thought, "This is what I believe in and what I know to be true."  I'm crying just thinking about it.  It was a powerful experience.

I think these verses contain a universal truth; we can all understand it, religious or not.  If we are blessed, we have a moral obligation to give charity to other people.  If we understand that our blessings come from a forgiving and benevolent God, we will feel so much joy about it we will want nothing more than to be charitable.  There have been many times in my life that my mouth was "stopped" so that I "could not find utterance, so exceedingly great was [my] joy".  I am very blessed.  My life is wonderful, happy, and very easy.  And I understand that all of the blessings I enjoy come from God out of pure love for me.  It fills me with gratitude to God and compassion for others.

It's kind of an intense idea, especially if you aren't religious.  But the thing is, I believe it very deeply.  I believe that one of the main purposes of life is to become humble and compassionate--to recognize everything we should be grateful for and to feel the drive to help others.  I think you can't really have one without the other.  If you are grateful, you will feel compelled to help people.  Then, if you help people, the world will be better.  That's why we're here.  Funnily enough, Michelle Obama's speech at the Democratic National Convention played perfectly into this idea.

 I think the democratic party most closely aligns with this world view.  I really hesitate to say that, because I think the single-greatest problem in American politics is viewing the republican/democrat dichotomy as a good/evil dichotomy.  It simply isn't the case that one party has God on their side, and one party is of the Devil.  I think the partisan system exists to provide checks and balances--not to separate the righteous from the heathens.  Most of the people I am closest with are republicans, and I don't think they, or their political views, are evil.  Many of the leaders of the republican party are very good people.  (Except for Paul Ryan, who blatantly lied about his marathon time by an hour.  Not cool.) (Obviously that was a joke.)  I hope the people who associate with me feel the same way about me and the democrats.  The divide between political parties is not the same as the divide between right and wrong.

So let me say it like this:  I am not a democrat because I am a Mormon or vice versa.  But, for me, and me alone, the two belief systems compliment each other.  I am a Mormon because I believe in the gospel of Jesus Christ, because nothing brings me greater joy or peace than this church, and because I believe in the pure love of Christ.  I'm a democrat because I believe the government has an obligation to provide welfare to the poor, because I believe having access to affordable healthcare is a human right, because I believe improving K-12 public education should be a top priority, and because I fundamentally believe government can help people.

The year before I started seminary, 2004, was the Bush/Kerry presidential election.  I was in eighth grade, so I obviously didn't know very much at all about politics.  But I remember having a vague sense that John Kerry was the bad guy, because he was a democrat.  I was a Mormon, and we were supposed to be republicans.  Democrats believe in raising taxes, taking away our freedom, and worst of all, abortion--ideas I literally could not fathom supporting at thirteen.

But then I read the Book of Mormon.  I learned more about how government worked.  My worldview expanded, inch by inch.  I would like to clarify that I have always been and will be pro-life (not that I think there should be any sort of legislation passed about it), but I started to question some of the other things I was under the impression were evil.  I put it together that taxes paid for schools, roads, welfare, and government programs.  I thought those were really good things.  I thought of the above verses in Mosiah.  If we can help people by paying taxes, especially those who, in Mormon terms, are "less fortunate than us", we should do it gladly.          

The Mormon church has a position of political neutrality and, every year around election time, someone will read this statement at our Sunday meeting.  It brings me so much peace.  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints cares that its members are informed and involved in the political process, and they trust each of us to vote according to our conscience.  Every time a member of the Church tells me that I am a bad Mormon when they find out I support Barack Obama, I take strength in this idea.  Nobody but the prophets can speak for God--and the prophets have told me to vote for the candidate I believe in.  So I'm going to do that.

My name is Amanda.  I love grocery shopping, my husband, reading, and eating delicious treats.  I am passionate about the gospel of Jesus Christ.  I'm voting for Barack Obama this November.  And...I'm a Mormon.