Friday, June 7, 2013

He's back!

I left for my mission in June 2010, and Isaac left for his in June the following year. That means that we overlapped and went almost three years without seeing each other. Man, I've missed Isaac! There have been multiple occasions in the past year and a hald when I think, "man, I haven't talked to Isaac in ages. I should give him a call!"...only to remember that he's on his mission and I simply can't call him. Ha.

Isaac is such good people. His emails inspired me and just confirmed that he was a fantiastic missionary--one of great fire and focus. He was there to serve the Lord and to teach the people of Hong Kong. It's been great to hear his mission stories today, and I look forward to more to come.

The three amigos--I feel complete to have us together again.

Isaac's flight came in a half hour early and we were running late. Bad news. We were crusing (and I really mean crusing--just flyin'--on the freeway) to get to the airport and be there when Isaac came out. Can you even imagine how depressing it would be to not have anyone greet you upon returning home?! Anyway, Mom and Dad had Eli, Lacy, and I run in just to make sure someone was there. Luckily we were. But don't worry, Mom and Dad still got proper homecoming hugs :)
Oh, and Eli's the one who made all the sweet posters. 

I'm so looking forward to spending more time with the fam this weekend. (And I'm not-so-secretly not looking forward to going back to Utah. It's so nice here and I just love feeling taken care of! Who needs real life when Mom makes breakfast and there's a piano to play at your leisure?) 

Atta girl!

Last year at BYU–I I went to a lecture from on the faculty members I really admired. She talked about the transition from college to the work force and how to get your foot in the door. One of the things she mentioned in her lecture was the value in creating an "atta girl" folder of sorts. An "atta girl" folder is a place, whether online or physical to gather positive feedback you receive for your work. As simply and even vain as this may sound, I can't tell you how much I've loved the suggestion. 

Anyone can tell you that I'm an avid Gmail labeler--and that may be an understatement. Anyway, one of the labels I created for my work email is "atta girl," and I'm just loving it. See, as cool as it is to have my work published and seen by so many, it's also terrifying. When I wrote for the school paper back in high school I cringed every publication day because I was sure that someone would call or write in saying something was inaccurate about an article I'd written. You'd be surprised by how disheartening and even crippling it is for me to disappoint someone. It is one of my least favorite feelings in the entire world. That being said, sometimes I get some painful emails. I got something wrong, I used a quote someone didn't like, and one time someone was angry that my endnote says I'm a BYU–I grad (he said my writing should not reflect my university). 

So, sometimes I really do get nervous when I see a new message in my inbox. But because of the bitter, the kind notes I recieve are all the sweeter. Here are some of my favorites from my "atta girl" emails :)

  • This is a terrific example of a roundup-- a main storyline within our areas of emphasis (faith, religious freedom) coupled with useful links to deepen understanding.  Well done. - Chris Lee, one of DDM's main men
  • Appreciate you checking out our Rainn Wilson piece and writing it up. - Eric Marrapodi, Sr. Producer for
  • I just read your article about the woman that taught her daughter about bullying. Super good! I really enjoy working with you and I think you are a great writer. - Emilie B., coworker
  • You should be proud of the articles you produce, much luck in the future. - Joseph R.  
  • Wow, that's sooooo awesome, thank you very much. - Erik Endress, a man I quoted in my piece about Google Glass (this was his response when I emailed him the link to the article.)

I realize that I need to develop a thicker skin, but what it all comes down to is that I just want to make people happy--and it means the world to me when someone is willing to go out of their way to give me a boost. I can't help but smile when I know someone just wanted to say something kind and make me feel better. You know, there are a lot of good people out there :)

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

1 Month at D. News

Tomorrow is my one month mark at Deseret News. My thoughts: me gusta. I'm kept busy all day, the girl in the cubicle next to me is a bud, and I feel competient and useful. Allow me to break down a typical day for ya:

  • 8:30-8:45 - arrive at work, start browsing the news to see if there's anything I noteworthy
  • 10:15 - editorial meeting on the Deseret News side (I actually work with Deseret Digital Media, so I hang out on the web side). The meetings consist of Emily (my editor), Sarah (my work buddy), Emilie (a BYU–I grad and the "RM Hipster"), Kate (BYU grad and friend of Katie Fred), Katie (not to be confused with Kate), Aaron (D. News main-man), Trent (big time sports guy, served in Chile, and all-around hilarious), and Joe Walker (a phenominal writer and that kind of man that mades one feel happier with his mere presence). In the meeting we talk about what's going up on the web that day as well as pitch possible story idea. 
    • I'm working on my annoying habbit of saying "Oh! I saw that too!" when people talk about an article I saw earlier. It's irritating, and I've started to bug myself.
  • 10:50 - story time. I either have a left-over piece from the day before, one of those long-term features to work on, or start on a new piece. Sometimes it's something I brought up, and sometimes it's a piece Emily asked me to do. How long it takes me to write an article varies on how much research is involved, how much commentary there already is on the topic, and how juicy I think it should be. 
    • link off - a link of is simply a brief synopsis of an article that already says it all. My job is to say, "this website said this, take a look.
    • round up - this is when multiple sites are saying similar things. I take the most important information and put it into a faith or family perspective.
  • 1:30 - Well into my snacks that constitute my lunch at this point. With slight variations, I usually have: apple, crackers & cheese, sandwich (PBJ, PBH, tomato, swiss, and mayo), granola bar, veggies (carrots, snap peas, and cherry tomatos).
  • 4:00 - ah, still writing
  • 5:30ish - go home, and that's a wrap
  • throughout the day - checking Facebook, Twitter, and even Google News for fresh story ideas. I don't feel super up on my hard news, but as far as everything else goes, you'd better believe that I know about it!

My New Besties

Having Eli and Lacy live so close has been nothing short of heaven-sent. Seriously. I can't tell you how great it is to join them for Sunday dinners and to stop by occasionally during the week. (In return for a fabulous meal Eli makes me play a board game with them afterward. Let me put an emphasis on board game. Gah, not my fav, but it's totally worth the food and the company :) But really, those two have been so good to me.

Playing "Aquire" with Eli and Lacy. It's all about buying stocks in the right companies and building a fortune. One time I won. That was cool. Another time I really messed things up and I made Eli really mad. So mad that he made us play another round of the game. I'll never make crazy moves like that again becuase it means playing more Aquire. Nei takk.   

Eli has become one of my best friends. We've had some meaningful heart-to-hearts that I won't forget. I feel comfortable telling him everything--work, guys, money, fears, triumps, ward, frustration--and he tells me about his life. Heh, he's also talked to me about home equity, travel bugs, Star Trek history, and more. I know. We do it all.

Last Friday he picked me took me on a motorcycle ride, we went out to eat at a flatbread pizza joint, and browsed through Barnes and Nobel. The next day we went up Milcreek Canyon to go geocaching and Eli wouldn't leave until we found the box we were looking for. He's no quitter, which is actually a really good example to me. Here's to my older brother!