The best of times

28 May 2015



And I’d choose you; in a hundred lifetimes, in a hundred worlds, in any version of reality, I’d find you and I’d choose you.  -Kiersten White, The Chaos of Stars


The last little while with Ryan has been the best it's ever been, and we've had some good times.

We have just been REALLLY seeing each other, and loving each other, and taking care of each other.  Our future is so clear and aligned and we are so so so so much in love.  We both want to take care of each other, asking for specific things we can pray for each other each day.  And we are aware of each other in a way we've never been, and our desires and goals for our futures and our families and our relationship are so strong and so aligned.  I feel so empowered and in order and confident about him.  I LOVE him.  I love who he is so so so so much.  Such a responsible and respectful man.  A man that makes me feel safe physically, financially, emotionally, sexually, spritually, intellectually.  A man who completely encapsulates masculine energy.  EVERY aspect of our relationship is so perfectly synced and fulfilling.  We meet each other's needs in every way.  There is nothing left dangling.

And I LOVE that our relationship has had such a long courtship and a path of such varied terrain.    We've been through good times together, and we've been through hard times together.  At times, we had to be completely exposed and honest and shed what just could not be to produce such a celestial relationship.  To be further intimate and joined, we had to be completely honest and willing.  We both felt the vulnerability, we both felt the remorse our human weaknesses, and we both gave the commitment to take what we needed to to the altar of sacrifice and shed it for our greater unity.  And we did.  And now our unity is without question, a companionship I have never yet experienced.

We have both lived in a way that has cultivated a lot of courage and passion in each of us.

I love him.  I love it all.

You don’t measure love in time. You measure love in transformation. Sometimes the longest connections yield very little growth, while the briefest of encounters change everything. The heart doesn’t wear a watch - it’s timeless. It doesn’t care how long you know someone. It doesn’t care if you had a 40 year anniversary if there is no juice in the connection. What the heart cares about is resonance. Resonance that opens it, resonance that enlivens it, resonance that calls it home. And when it finds it, the transformation begins.   -Jeff Brown


Upward and onward,
 







Image source:  Maurice Sapiro aka Maurice L. Sapiro (b. 1932, NJ, USA) - Moonglow, 2014    Paintings: Oil

Sharing the Good

27 May 2015



Like a wild flower; she spent her days, allowing herself to grow, not many knew of her struggle, but eventually all; knew of her light.  -Nikki Rowe


I read the parable of the seed this morning.  That parable really speaks to me because a rich seed can be offered to anyone, but it is our choice to be a receptor of stony, thorny ground or an open place of understanding. The see being a pulse of knowledge - God's sacred secrets - or some surge of resounding eternal joy.   And if we cultivate it, we can share it.

"[Some seeds] fell into good ground and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold."

The Gospel really speaks to me when I get out of my own way and let my deepest channel do the receiving and the understanding.  Last week, I reviewed my strengths in Strengthsfinder, and I understood a little better why I have a heart that is an easy receptor of rich seeds, but I have a harder time sharing them.  Because, I am a Relator.

Because if I seek to share my soul, the things that really give me very burrowed hope and joy, there is no immediate traction.  People don't readily understand or connect with the deep channel of God's truth.  It's not relatable

 Like my co-worker just last week, who I attempted to share how strong the Spirit has been for me lately, and she put her hand up and said, "I do love the Gospel, but I try to keep it out of my work here."  And in a space where we were once relating so strongly, suddenly broke and became empty.  And I hate to feel as one who is disconnected, who seemingly doesn't fit into the ways of the culture around me.

But last week, I came up with another plan at work.  Because I don't have to share the Spirit with my voice, through words that must make sense to someone.  I can pass it in another way that isn't words, but feeling.  And others will not understand it to be a form of me sharing the joy of Christ inside of me, but they will feel some sort of joy emanating from me.  As the "little helping hands" signs that people place on each other's cubicles to express appreciation.  I only have one and it says: "Chantel is the most smiley person; she is always so friendly."  And I just grin, because that is the light of Christ being received.  And that passing of light, every day, is my ministry. 






Here's to finding subtle ways to spread good.

Upward and onward,





Moab Memorial Weekend

26 May 2015

 

For Memorial weekend, Ryan and I traveled with his best friend and his fiance to MOAB!  Ryan's hometown.  

Oh Moab.  I've SEEN Moab as I once ran through it in the most impulsive relay of my life, and one other time when I stayed at Ryan's parent's house for a quick trip (here).  And though I've always admired the beauty of the red rocks, I've never huffed and puffed through them.  And that's exactly what I wanted to do for Memorial weekend, so Ryan cancelled his fishing plans, and next thing I knew, we were in his truck, watching movies on Mike's iPad, eating The Most Delicious Chocolate in All The World - some organic reeses given to me by my visiting teacher - and making our way down there.

After a night's rest at his parent's house, we were off hiking!  We hiked and hiked all weekend, and I had a really good, satisfying case of verbal diarrhea, where all my thoughts over the last several weeks spilled out to Ryan, and we conversed about them.  I told him what I believe about the levels of consciousness and choosing to exist in deeper realms, how our culture is trained to merely skid with our mental capacities.  We flop to our screens, we flop to our jobs, then we flop to our beds.  It's a whole society of floppers.  But I am choosing to be a diver.  By allotting time to exist outside of linear time, aka - doing my meditations, I have learned how to exist in a deeper consciousness of body and of soul.  Where time is extremely still, empty and nonexistence, and the space remaining is full and very enriching.  (This was all spurred from me hiring a meditation coach in New York, and I am not just flickering with benefit, I am dripping with it!)

We stopped, snacked, rested, snuggled, and then we hiked some more, eating packed sandwiches in the parking lots between our trails.  We hiked all the places that time would allow in our three-day period.  Our legs were throbbing in the most satisfying way, and we soaked them in the hot tub of the Bed & Breakfast Ryan's dad manages.  Ryan and I were attached at the hip the whole time and flirted mercilessly.  I LOVE being around that man - we are the most blended and balanced and fun and stimulating match.  Couldn't have even potioned a better human to be by my side if I had been allowed into the Earthlings Conjuring Room in heaven.

Ryan's parents and two younger brothers graciously welcomed us into their home for the weekend, and we had many moments over the dinner table talking and laughing, even playing a game for Sunday lunch dishes that was so fun!   I LOVE being at Ryan's house and around his family.  I know it is because of the Spirit and the quality of people they are.  But through my observation, I pieced together exactly the kind of Spirit that is upheld within the walls of their home.  Because while the Spirit is present in many homes, it manifests differently - kind of like how some people's family's have a very distinct smell.  Anyway, in Ryan's front yard is a stone his dad made that has a carving of Moses's commandment stones, a beehive, and a heart.  And then some scriptures on the back.  This stone in the yard peaked my curiosity.  Then later, in their living room corner, I found a little cross-stitch picture that says "A Zionlike community is: (with all those same respective images)  Obedience (Moses's stones), Service (beehive), and Love (heart."  There it is.  ZION.  This home right here is part of what I believe to be Zion.  I LOVE that.  love it.  

Because first of all, I believe in Zionlike communities.  I believe in them so much.  To break it down, this is what I believe:  a) I believe Zion to be a community that is created when each member is of the most superior behavioral qualities, specifically: strict obedience to God, freely offering service, and always responding with love and understanding in every situation - exactly the qualities that the Stucki residence is founded upon.  b) I completely believe these communities can be created on this earth life with people who are daily and actively working for them.   c) I believe the Zion-like attitude is first created in individual hearts, where these principles are lived with great sacrifice to live sustainably above the entropy of the regular human mind and conduct.  Then a Zionlike culture manifests into individual households.   And many Zion homes together uplift communities - and onward and outward. And because of the great sacrifice involved, these homes will be found few and far between.  d) I believe someday God will call all these points of Zion, and we will come together, and we will see greet each other with the most ethereal love, knowing the great effort we all put into promoting and living this sort of a life.  e) And then I believe the Last Days will happen, but this small Zionlike community will be safe, and the happiness and love between us will be the closest inkling to celestial life that we will be capable of experiencing while still in our mortal state.  I very much believe all of that.  And this topic - creating Zions in ourselves and the Last Days - are actually my FAVORITE topics to think about and discuss.  So you bet I did with Ryan.

I also love his parents house because they have a full library downstairs, where Ryan and all 8 of his siblings were once homeschooled.  I LOVED all of their books - so much knowledge and thought and values on those shelves.  So with Ryan's help, we selected some of the best books for me to borrow and read.  Ryan and I read an entire book together on the ride home about the US economy and fiscal system - really interesting and liberartianish.  And now I'm reading a youngadult fiction about a farming family and such adventures.  Love.

It was a full and great weekend, that's for sure!  And now, end words, cue images :)


The Corona Arch hike:






The Negro Bill Canyon hike: 




Taking a break from hiking for church.  It was an AMAZING 3-hour block!  Came home with such an inspired soul and two pages of notes.



The Delicate Arch hike (soooo windy - SUPER fun!):









The Wild Horse Slot Canyon hike:







Goblin Valley (where clay/rock formations have formed HUNDREDS of goblin-looking structures - extremely cool!!!):
 



(trying to smile with the sun in my eyes)

Ryan was the cutest photographer :)  Love that guy so much.




Travel reading:











      



*****  - best book on love!


UPWARD AND ONWARD 
 (I yelled that this time because I think this post really speaks to that message),


The stakes in starting a business

22 May 2015

Waiting for the printer to be repaired at work, I decided to clean out my personal Google Drive. 

Some context for this gem in my ancient records:  back when I was 22 and starting my own home decor business, I was calling half of the entire world to find an affordable & high-quality web developer and designer.   And let it be documented that I took the process rather seriously:


All the good good good good good things

21 May 2015



My phone followed me around all morning. So the fact that I forgot it when I left for work is beyond me.  You see, I was texting Ryan while I was working out early.  Then my phone came with me when I ran up into the mountains afterwards, it followed me into the bathroom to serenade me while I got ready, followed me to my bedroom for some clothes, to the kitchen for a protein shake, and then out the door..... and it didn't come with me.

Well, last night, I was basementing with my roommates- popcorn, chocolate, and a Bachelorette marathon - so I was basically out of touch.  And, while we were guffawing at the television, I had received a text message from my friend Audrey.  "WHERE ARE YOU??????" she wondered.  Because I haven't been logged into the social workings lately.  So, because I never got back to her last night, and I wanted to answer her question this morning, I snuck out of work and drove home to get my phone.

And I found this old couple in my kitchen.

NOT EVEN KIDDING.

So I asked them if they wouldn't mind if I made some eggs.

HAHAHAHA!  You guys, this is a true scenario.  Every word.

And then after all this happened exactly as I've described it to you, I asked what they were doing.  They said they were the home inspectors.  (Because our landlord has been showing our house and went off and sold it, and you know what, I didn't even bother picking up my clothes on the floor or putting the 8,000 cups in my bedroom in the dishwasher, because don't home buyers want to see what the home looks like in its natural state of a REAL LIFE BUSY HUMAN?  Yeah, I'm sure they do).

So anyway, I learn these old people are supposed to be in my house.  Not that I really would have cared much if they weren't.  So I tell them that I live there - in case there was any confusion that other strangers just made themselves welcome in this house - and I say that I forgot my phone so that's why I'm here.  And then I kept talking to them while I fried some eggs, and they were really great, and I thought it was cool that this old couple is running a home inspection business together, and then I took my plate of eggs, and said "Goodbye!  I'm headed back to work!"  As if they were anything but just some strangers in my kitchen.

So anyway, Audrey's text made me decide to come here and tell everyone how I've been....

GOOD.

Things are just so good.

(!!!!!!!!!!)

You guys.  I wish I could write everything out that I have in my mind, in my soul.  But, work - WHAT THE HECK?  Why must our society be based off a system of shuffling around temporal resources so that we may receive electronic numbers so that we may put living sustenance into our bodies?  WHY IS THIS OUR SYSTEM?  Why can't it be that we spend our time, shuffling nothing of finite matter, but emitting goodness and love and testament that will reach and remain down into the eternal pieces of our cores.  And then the resources of upholding our bodies will be given to each other with our maximum sacrifices and received from each other with our minimum requests.

Like, I can give the mailman a BIG hug for him to put a little waffle on my front porch every morning.  Yeah.  And then, I could write everything to you and bring you all into my intimate journey over the last two weeks.

But alas, I can't.  Because I'm in a cafe on my lunch break, observing a first date out the window, so close to me I can observe their nervous jitters..... seeeee:  (They're slouchy and relaxed now because we've all been here far too long).



And I have to go back to work to make sure that the homes being built in Utah are making a profit.  BECAUSE THAT MATTERS......

But here I am.  I still have a face, not that those suddenly go away.  The only change is that I've only found two gray hairs since we last talked, so that's nice.


 And a picture of Ryan.  Because he matters to me.

  

And the truths in my heart will be written here soon.  Because those matter. 



 Upward and onward,


Free-Thoughts: Mostly on the Atonement

17 May 2015





Some notes on my recent thoughts:


- importance of self-belonging.  One must cultivate the strongest ground of Self-Belonging. 

- the Atonement makes such sense to me. Sometimes I need a therapist, to comfort me and listen to me with unconditionally judgment. And other times I need a coach yelling at me on the sidelines to pick my up my feet. Whether I'm in a phase of pushing forward or trying to merely just stand up, the  atonement is relevant, providing a role for just what I need. 

-  improvement comes in more vulnerable layers the closer we are to God.  Like that man in the Bible who comes to Christ and is urged to give up his riches. Yes, external. But as one asks again, "God, what would you have me bring to the altar of sacrifice now?" It's increasingly more internal, more attached to you.  That brings a much more intimate pain.

- Entropy.  That is the law of the universe that states things left to their natural state will move to disarray. Things don't naturally become more orderly.  Forces bend and break, but forces don't make upright and repair.  Except the atonement.  The one thing to reverse the forces.  The only law to set the glass of spilled milk upright.

- from C.S. Lewis's quote, I like to think of myself as a house renovation. I don't want to be one of those untouched pristine houses. Where you feel you shouldn't sit on anything, touch anything, or even breathe so you don't flick a speck of dust. But I also don't want to be one of those houses that seems to be overflowing into the yard, where "junkyard" is the title of their landscape.  In other words, I don't want to be a house that is so perfect and unlived.  But I also don't want to be a house that has never given thought to progression or order or upkeep.  I want to in the middle of the spectrum.  A house that is obviously lived in, where entropy and disarray is evident in places. But so is conscious improvement.  Where it's evident that there has been a lot of falling, kneeling, and standing back up.


Upward and onward,








image source

Picture Weekend in Boise

16 May 2015

With my job at Oakwood, we get a BIRTHDAY holiday.  A full day's pay for an extra adventure.  So, like last year, I was going to take another birthday trip to Vegas to see my friends Hannah & Daron.  But due to Hannah's morning sickness with her pregnancy, we decided to postpone my trip until later.  Instead, I drove five hours in the other direction to go home to Boise for my brother-in-law's Master's graduation barbecue.

So, my weekend in pictures!
My favorite roadtrip snack.  I only buy these when I go on trips, which makes it that much more special for me.  Oh yeah, and also every time I force Ryan or Katie to go out to frozen yogurt with me.  Actually, Katie and I's friendship started on a mid-week yogurt run, and now she severely regrets that decision three years ago because she didn't realize that meant EVERY WEEK for me.


Rachel gave me these incredible organization gadgets that caused my life to suddenly make sense. Traveling is one million times easier.

Once arriving at my parent's house, while spending the whole driving having the most AMAZING conversation with Ryan, I went straight to bed.  I woke up on my birthday holiday to an empty house.  Mmm, my favorite!   So I worked out while voxing with Kelli, and it was perfect me time!  Then I went to the mall to find a gift for Matt.  Who shops these days?  NOT ME.  But I walked through Macy's and doused myself in some random perfume that stayed with me for the rest of the day and made it all the better.  I ended up at The Body Shop, and I made this lady rub lotion all over my arms and paint my face with everything I pointed to.  I walked out a smooth, glimmering mess and a gift for my mom.  Then I went next door to some store that I've never heard of, and it had no apparent theme, just interesting crap.  Which is what I would name a store if I ever have one:  Interesting Crap.  And I quite enjoyed looking at things, flipping through Zen coloring books, and then, in the back corner of the store, I found the perfect T-Shirt for Matt!

Then I went back home and after reading on the couch for awhile, Brennan came home from school!!!!!!!!!!!  I love that kid.  He did some homework on the opposite couch, and then it was time for Studio C.  OUR FAVORITE!!!!  We laughed and laughed and laughed, per usual.


Then my parents came home from work, about the same time Trevor arrived, coming from Rexburg!!  We all sat down to dinner.  Afterwards, we watched The Voice, and aside from just being with my family, my favorite part was Walk the Moon performing "Shut Up and Dance With Me."  Holy.  holy. holy.  Katie and I have a thing for that song, seriously talking about it for a whole day, deciding to make a music video with it.  But watching them PERFORM, I loved it so so much.

Afterwards, I retreated to my bedroom and read The Infinite Atonement that I borrowed from a friend in my ward.  SSOOOO good!!  And I still smelled amazing in my cherry sweater.



The next day I worked out and voxed Kelli again.  Then I met up with Chelsea and Emily for lunch, per usual when I go to Boise.  Both of them being in a hard time, we spoke of healing for a long time, and I FINALLY was in a place to emit light and love and so many words of encouragement.  I've been on the other side of that for so so long.  I LOVE this peace and self-assurance in my heart.  We walked from Emily's house to the Boise Co-op and I took a picture of the local artwork on the walls.



Afterwards, I went to Angie's house to help her prepare for the barbecue.  And by that, I asked her if I could eat some food and I sat next to her on the couch and ate cereal while we watched a show called Property Brothers.  Really good!  Then I helped her put stickers and some of her school books and chatted.  It reminded me of the days I'd come to school and a Scholastic Reader book magazine would be on my desk, and I'd meticulously circle all the books I wanted to buy.  Still have all of them!

Then we went to the barbecue.  I showed up in a white peacoat that I just bought at Goodwill with my big gold earrings, and later Matt's mom told me that a whole table of his little girl cousins were like, "WHOOO is sheeee?  Who is that girl?  She's BEAUTIFUL!!"  And Janey told them who I was, and asked if they'd like to meet me.  They all nodded their little heads.  SO CUTE.  So after eating, Janey walked me over and introduced me to all six of these little girls.  Aaaaannd, I can't remember their names now.  But they made me feel like a princess.  Ryan later said, "as they should have."


Later that night, Brennan and I went for a walk around the fields by our house.  We walked right at sunset, and he told me about all the funny things that happen at school.  He told me about a website he and his friends are into called The Strangest Ways to Die.  Brennan and I laughed and laughed as we came up with more ridiculous ways one could die.  Being with him always makes me so happy.

Afterwards, my whole family watched the last Hobbit movie, and then woke up to a breakfast casserole and cinnamon rolls from my mom.  Afterward a bit more chatting, everyone had to get ready and leave for church, and I headed back home.  As I drove away, I thought about how much I love my family because of their meek characters.  We're all fairly quiet, keep-to-ourselves, introverted people.  We don't throw huge parties or get togethers when we're all around - we simply just like to sit in the same room and be in each other's company.  Even just reading books silently next to each other on the couch.

And now, back in Utah :)



Upward and onward,