Thursday, June 28, 2012


By Max Ehrmann

Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.

As far as possible without surrender
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons,
they are vexations to the spirit.

If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain or bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs;
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals;
and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself.
Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love;
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment
it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe,
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful.
Strive to be happy.


Do you ever have those moments when something is so beautiful that you can't breathe? When your heart is so full and fit to burst that there actually isn't enough room in your chest for air? When you ache with longing, and you aren't quite sure why, but your white-hot joy is tinged with just a shade of grief? When you are reminded of something that feels more like home than anything you've ever experienced, but you can't quite put your finger on what it is? 

That feeling has come and gone many times lately. It's because I'm getting ready to say goodbye to my beautiful family for 18 months. It's because I've never been happier to be with them. It's because I have hope of good things to come. We're going separate ways for a while, and because of that I'm sad. But we'll be together again, and because of that I'm happier than ever! I am so blessed.

Team Alpha Wolf Squadron, getting ready to hit the beach!

Running a race with (or about a mile behind) Dad.

The prettiest pyramid ever!

Temple time with my parents.

Saying goodbye to Elder Jesse Sumrak. He'll be in Sierra Leone, I'll be in Hong Kong. We'll be across the world from each other, but we're both working toward the same end!

Sister and elementary-school-best-friend date! Fancy dinner followed by a crazy dance par-tay.

It doesn't get much better than this!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Just your normal game of Pirate Dog Hotel

As the babysitter of two very imaginative children, I wear multiple hats: lion tamer, Mom, cheerleading coach, bus driver, and, my personal favorite, sea lion. Today we played Pirates, but I was the only human pirate--the children were both pirate dogs, the older with a nose for treasure, and the younger with a nose for trouble. Per the request of the older pirate dog, I sailed our pirate ship to "the nearest hotel, please." Yes, very adventurous.

"And in which direction is the nearest hotel?" I asked. 

"West east." 

(Pointing both to my left and my right) "So this direction?"


(After arriving at the hotel) "So where exactly is this hotel?"

"Right here!"

"Well yes, but where in the world is it?"


"That doesn't answer my question."

"Oh yeah? Prove it!"

"Never mind."

Somewhere over the Rambo.

Mondegreen noun: the mishearing or misinterpretation of a phrase due to near homophony, in a way that yields a new meaning to the phrase.

Today's conversation at my grandparents' house:

Jesse: Yeah, BYU intramural soccer can get pretty intense. Some players take themselves way too seriously. I just play my soccer my way, which just happens to be fancy, and it ticks a lot of guys off. Once somebody tried to fight me just because I rainbowed his girlfriend.

Katie: Yikes! That's ridiculous.

Mom (after several moments of pondering): So what does it mean when you Rambo somebody? It doesn't sound very nice.
I don't want to know...

This conversation reminded me of another soccer-related conversation we had at a rec soccer practice in high school. My father was the coach, and on the day in question he was teaching us how to effectively guard our opponents. It is important to note that my father has a British accent.

Dad: Can anybody tell me what marking is?

Nico (again, after several moments of pondering): It's when you make fun of someone!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Adventures whilst at the boy scout store

Can I just take a moment to praise the Boy Scouts of America for their dedication to the welfare of this nation's children and future leaders, as well as the inexhaustible thoroughness of their merit badge program.

Not only do they give young men the opportunity to toughen up and enjoy the outdoors, but they also reward every small step on their way to manhood--even the step where the boys learn how to use the great outdoors instead of a cushy, indoor restroom. I would be proud to wear that on my sash. (Sash is kind of a girly word. Maybe they don't call it that. Because BSA is the furthest thing from girly.)

(The responsible, honest, too-mature-to-appreciate-bathroom-jokes voice in my head compels me to inform you that this is actually the "pulp and paper" badge, not the "nature is a bathroom" badge.)

Monday, June 11, 2012

Conclusive proof that conversations never seem quite as funny when you retell them.

Various conversations I have enjoyed in the past two days:

Sunday morning, mother and I were discussing... well actually, I have no idea how we got onto the topic, but she asked me if I liked Fiber One Bars, which I do. She then told me about that day's question-and answer article in the health section of the newspaper. A woman wrote in saying (and I paraphrase), "My friends and I recently decided that we needed to up our fiber intake, so we've greatly increased our Fiber One Bar consumption. We all have observed that as our Fiber One Bar consumption increases, so does our proclivity to pass gas. Is this normal?" To which I would respond, "Are you asking if the gas increase is normal? Or if your friends' tendency to discuss their gassiness is normal?" (But apparently they were onto something.)

The following conversation occurred in the car after dinner at the Sumraks, which consisted of three different types of cake, all of which were delicious. I blame the absurdity of our conversation on our ridiculously high levels of blood sugar. Rowan, attempting to tell Rebecca to "quit the back-sass," invented a new word: "back-sauce." We corrected him and then made two important observations: firstly, that "back-sauce" sounds disgusting; secondly, that you don't really need the prefix "back" for the sentence to make sense. "Sass" is sufficient. This led to an extensive discussion about various prefixes that could be used with "sass" and how those prefixes would change the meaning of the word. A debate ensued about the difference between "unsass" and "desass." "Resass" was pretty obvious. It all went downhill from there:

Katie: Mom, I think this car must run on "sassoline."

Rebecca: If you sass someone to death, you might be a "sassassin."

Rebecca: If you are huge, hairy, and extra sassy, they might call you the Sassquatch.

Katie: If you are a beloved and photogenic sheepdog with a tendency to be cheeky, they might call you "Sassie."

Rachel: If you are sassy, fairly attractive, with a strong Irish hairline, you might be Carlton "Sassiter."

Katie: If you were sassy and you married Prince Harry, you might live in a "sassle." They would call you the "prin-sass."

Katie: Mom, if you eat too many Fiber One Bars, you might get "sassy!"

Rowan chimed in with his own jokes, none of which made sense and all of which brought me to tears. The best part was after his sixth or seventh joke when he slapped the back of the passenger seat in frustration, slumped back, feeling defeated, and said with a grin, "You guys are lame."

And these gems come from recent babysitting adventures:

"But Katie, he keeps taking my car away from me! Make him stop!" "Don't worry, watch this." (I then start playing very enthusiastically with the airplane to distract him: "Quick, get your luggage, we're going to be late! Wait, you aren't the real pilot--you're a monkey! How are you going to drive the plane? Oh no, MAYDAY MAYDAY WE'RE GOING DOWN!") "Wait, actually I want to play with the airplane! NO, give me the airplane, he can have my car!" (I then proceed to rotate through the Marina, the Main Street, and the Zoo, making each one seem even more fun than the last. Much inner turmoil ensued, as both children tried to figure out whether to grab my current toy or wait to see what was next. I love Fisher Price.)

"See this dress? I wore it in my tap dance recital." "That's so pretty! When was your dance recital?" "The day after yesterday." "Don't you mean the day before yesterday?" "No, the day AFTER yesterday."

"Wow Katie, you're a good train track builder. This track is better than ever!"

"This train is going to take us straight to England! But it will take about 25 hours I think, because we have to stop off in Texas first." "Oh, you're going to pick up the cowboys?" "No way am I picking up any cowboys! No cowboys are allowed on this train!" "Why? Are you prejudiced against cowboys?" "You bet I am!" "You could put them in the next rail-car. You know, separate, but equal?" "Yeah, that's a great idea!"

"I usually eat my baked potato with whipped cream." "And a cherry on top?" "Huh?" "Never mind."