shazzamber http://shazzamber.com The colors of my energy. Mon, 17 Jul 2017 05:05:26 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.7.5 45634951 A Surprising Discovery http://shazzamber.com/a-surprising-discovery/ http://shazzamber.com/a-surprising-discovery/#comments Mon, 17 Jul 2017 05:05:26 +0000 http://shazzamber.com/?p=1206 Continue reading A Surprising Discovery]]> So I’ve had a pretty epic first teacher Summer so far. #teacherSummer #teacheroffduty

I’ve checked off several bucket list items already, and I’ve been learning and growing like crazy. HOWEVER, as I’ve discussed here on multiple occasions, I am by no means where I’d “planned” to be at this point in my life. If all had gone according to “plan,” I would’ve met my soulmate a few weeks after getting home from my mission, fallen madly in love with him (but kept it to myself), been heavily pursued by him, finally agreed to date and marry him, and had at least two babies by this point while also having graduated with a teaching licence and put my husband through medical school.

Instead, I just finished my (super hard) first year of teaching. I was in a refiner’s fire for like 10 months, so hopefully I’m way more polished now. I have tons more life experience. I’ve been to EUROPE and learned about other cultures and all kinds of other interesting things. I ran a marathon in Southern England! I experienced authentic Finnish sauna! I went to King’s Cross! I navigated Iceland all by myself!

Turns out God’s plan was better than mine. I never thought I’d say this, but I’m grateful that I’m single right now! I have an amazing life, and I’m doing incredible things that I would never have done if I were married. I’m not saying life gets lame when you get married, but things change. And I’m grateful I’m in my present situation. My life is good.

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June Book: Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance http://shazzamber.com/june-book-zen-and-the-art-of-motorcycle-maintenance/ http://shazzamber.com/june-book-zen-and-the-art-of-motorcycle-maintenance/#respond Sun, 02 Jul 2017 13:33:28 +0000 http://shazzamber.com/?p=1199 America, and I literally slept for 12 uninterrupted hours last night. It’s good to be … Continue reading June Book: Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance]]> Hi friends! So I’ve been MIA for the last month because I treated myself to a European trip (my first time!) as a reward for successfully finishing my first year of teaching. It was amazing, Finland was my favorite country, Europe>America, and I literally slept for 12 uninterrupted hours last night. It’s good to be back.

This particular trip afforded me with ample time in airports and on trains, which means I read quite a bit. The book I finished yesterday in the Reykjavik Airport is Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance– my dad’s favorite book. I now know why it’s his favorite.

The premise of this book is a father and son on a cross-country motorcycle trip. The father shares his thoughts on proper maintenance of motorcycles, which is actually a metaphor for our lives. He also discusses quality in depth. Really interesting.

I found myself silently sobbing to myself in the airport yesterday, surrounded by hundreds of people that had no idea about the journey I’d just taken. Books are like that. You finish, and it’s hard to believe that no one else knows what you’ve just experienced. Reading is the best.

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A Reflection on My First Year of Teaching http://shazzamber.com/a-reflection-on-my-first-year-of-teaching/ http://shazzamber.com/a-reflection-on-my-first-year-of-teaching/#comments Sun, 04 Jun 2017 13:21:02 +0000 http://shazzamber.com/?p=1194 Continue reading A Reflection on My First Year of Teaching]]> Cue “Celebration” because I’M DONE WITH MY FIRST YEAR OF TEACHING!!!!!!

I thought this day would never come. There were times when I thought I would surely die. It is a literal miracle that I survived this year. Praise the Lord!

This year was unquestionably my hardest so far, but simultaneously my best. It definitely yielded the most growth. Here’s a list of lessons I learned:

1. Nobody likes to be forced to do stuff. Never force.
2. Meet people where they are. Validate, and then teach.
3. Always express gratitude. Ingratitude is incredibly annoying.
4. As management goes, it’s easier to loosen up later than tighten later.
5. Exercise is a key to happiness for me.
6. Trials pay off if you see them through to the blessing. Not if you quit.
7. Everyone is entitled to his or her own opinion.
8. God knows better.
9. Things work out. It will be okay.
10. Good leaders inspire with love, not fear.
11. Being single can be awesome. (Another post to come on this one.)
12. I’m happiest when I’m authentically Amber.
13. Being liked isn’t as important as being respected.

There it is. I’m grateful for this amazing, super difficult experience. Those kiddos will always hold a special place in my heart. Here’s to Summer!

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May book: The Happiness Project http://shazzamber.com/may-book-the-happiness-project/ Thu, 01 Jun 2017 07:27:07 +0000 http://shazzamber.com/?p=1190 Continue reading May book: The Happiness Project]]>

Okay, so I actually started reading this book about 9 months ago, but I finally finished it this month! I guess that kind of makes it sound like a boring book, but it’s really not. It’s well-written, engaging, interesting, and practical. By that I mean it could literally change your life.

The premise of this book (as you’ll see from the cover) is the author, Gretchen Rubin, writes of her experience spending a year trying to be happier. She deliberately focuses on one aspect of happiness each month for a year. Fun read, good stuff.

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9 Reasons Gilbert Blythe is the Ideal Man http://shazzamber.com/9-reasons-gilbert-blythe-is-the-ideal-man/ http://shazzamber.com/9-reasons-gilbert-blythe-is-the-ideal-man/#comments Mon, 29 May 2017 03:15:50 +0000 http://shazzamber.com/?p=1180 Continue reading 9 Reasons Gilbert Blythe is the Ideal Man]]> I’m on an Anne kick RN, because I recently watched the new Netflix series “Anne with an E” and was so overcome with love for Green Gables and Anne and Matthew and Marilla and Gilbert that I just had to watch the beloved BBC films as well.

I’m in love.

In love with Avonlea. And Anne and Gilbert’s relationship. And the whole small-town, book-loving, creative, passionate orphan girl turned successful author. And the idea of a perfect young man being in love with me since the moment he saw me, and never giving up on me, even after multiple rejections.

Okay, so maybe it’s not terribly realistic… But I yearn for a man like Gil. Someone who’s head-over-heels in love with me, but still respects me and wants my success and happiness, and continues with life even after temporary rejection, but remains loyal.

Here are a few reasons Gilbert Blythe is the ideal man:

1. He’s ambitious.
Off to med school while the rest of his classmates stick around to be farmers.

2. He’s studious.
He and Anne were the top of their class, and both worked hard and got great scholarships.

3. He’s kind.
He was always offering to help Anne. Even after she cracked her slate over his head.

4. He’s honest.
Ohhhhh if all men were like Gilbert. He’s straight up with Anne and tells her exactly how he feels. So much of the horridness of dating would be avoided if everyone was up front and open.

5. He’s loyal.
Even after being rejected by Anne, he STILL waits. He even calls off his engagement because “it wouldn’t be fair to Christine.” (This is totally different from Snape, because Anne wasn’t married. Lily was married. Snape was lustful and creepy; Gil was loyal and determined.)

6. He’s handsome.
I mean, this doesn’t really need an explanation.

7. He’s supportive.
He goes to Anne’s performance where she recites “The Highway Man” and GIVES HER AN ENCORE.

8. He’s useful.
Okay, this one takes some explaining. He actually helps Anne progress. Like, he gives constructive feedback on her book in a tough love sort of way, which she totally hates at first. But it ends up saving her writing career. He’s not afraid to be honest.

9. He’s forgiving.
Back to the broken slate. This boy is a saint.

So I’m not settling until I meet the living equivalent of Gilbert.

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The Race http://shazzamber.com/the-race/ http://shazzamber.com/the-race/#comments Sun, 21 May 2017 15:01:59 +0000 http://shazzamber.com/?p=1174 Continue reading The Race]]> One of my favorite analogies for life is a race. That poem by my uncle Dee that used to get quoted all the time in Sacrament Meeting has always given me strength– in order to be successful, we just have to get up each time we fall. Racing as a metaphor for life makes sense to me because I have about 20 years of personal experience with racing. Each time I race, I feel like the Lord teaches me something important.

This is me yesterday. I’m finishing the Ogden Half Marathon. (I know, it’s lame. I’ll run a full marathon asap.) My parents and my recently-returned missionary sister Lauren all drove up to Ogden with me on Friday afternoon, and we went to a nice Thai restaurant for dinner.

As we were eating, the topic of her new boyfriend came up. I expressed how frustrated I was that both she and our cousin Haley, who went on their missions at 19 and both got boyfriends almost immediately after returning, seemed to be getting all the blessings I wanted, way faster than me. I couldn’t go on my mission until I was 21, I’ve been home for 3 years, and I don’t have a boyfriend.

During my race the next morning, these words from Elder Holland came clearly into my head: the race is against sin, not against each other.

It’s not a race to get married first, or make the most money, or have the most degrees, or travel to the most places, or have the most kids. It’s a race against sin. We’re all running it together, and our Coach has asked us to help each other get home.

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The Internet Gets Me http://shazzamber.com/the-internet-gets-me/ Sun, 07 May 2017 14:53:48 +0000 http://shazzamber.com/?p=1166 Continue reading The Internet Gets Me]]> The other day, Pinterest presented me with a highly compelling quiz: Why Are You Still Single? “Please, Internet. Give me your wisdom on this predicament I face on a daily basis. Teach me!” And so it did. I dutifully responded to the questions, and this is the loving, sincere, honest answer I got….

(If you can’t read it, it says, “You’re happy being single. You’re an independent, incredibly focused person, who is out-of-this-world awesome. There’s nothing wrong with being by yourself, and you totally get that. So keep enjoying the single life and chasing after those big dreams, because you’re a shining, radiant star.”)

Uh-huh. Yes. Yes! My thoughts exactly! How, Internet? How did you know I was out-of-this-world awesome? Without actually meeting me, how did you know that I was a shining, radiant star? I feel so understood, on a personal level! We should do this again in the near future. I have a really good feeling about this. <3

Okay, so obviously I understand that the Internet isn’t a real person. As a Millennial, I’ve lived 100% of my life with it, so we may have a different relationship than those of previous generations. Lol I can’t stop personifying it. THE INTERNET IS NOT A PERSON. IT CANNOT THINK OR FEEL. IT HAS NO EMOTIONS.

Humans that publish content on the Internet understand that we as a society have come to accept the Internet as one of us, and that we’re all in a long-term (lifelong) relationship with him or her. I mean it. Therefore, some humans that publish content on the Internet (why am I still capitalizing it?) strive to keep the fire burning by flattery and endless feeding into exactly what we want to hear, based on algorithms that identify our opinions, interests, dreams, and deepest secrets. They get us because they know us on a seemingly intimate level.

I feel weird about that.

The ambiguous nonentity of the internet (not capitalized) knows pretty much everything there is to know about me… because I told it. I have fed it all my information of my own free will and choice. It knows that I don’t like Donald Trump, so it obligingly puts cat faces on his face whenever someone has the gall to post a photo of him. It knows I’m a teacher, so it kindly gives me ads for Teachers Pay Teachers or other such helpful teacher websites. Thank you, dear friend! (Did I just say that? The internet is not my friend.)

So I’m okay with the internet feeding into my interests and stuff. That’s not a big deal. But I think the danger comes when we allow ourselves to live in this almost alternate-reality of an existence, where everything is catered to personal preference, and bias is omnipresent.

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No Control (No contro-o-ol) http://shazzamber.com/no-control-no-contro-o-ol/ http://shazzamber.com/no-control-no-contro-o-ol/#comments Mon, 01 May 2017 03:51:55 +0000 http://shazzamber.com/?p=1161 Continue reading No Control (No contro-o-ol)]]> I like it when people do what I tell them to do. I like it when things go my way. I like it when people behave as I would hope.


On the other hand, I despise it when people don’t do what I want. I loathe it when people don’t do what they commit to. I hate it when people don’t meet my expectations.

I recognize that this characterization makes me sound like a really awful person, and that may well be true. But I learned on the mission that a weakness of mine is having high expectations for myself and others, and holding us all to that high standard. I suppose there are some strengthy things about that, but I think it’s mostly a weakness. I need to just calm the heck down and let people live their lives.

Things I can’t control:
-How other people act
-Other people’s choices
-Other people
-People’s opinions

Things I can control:
-How I act
-My choices
-Myself
-My opinions

I’ve found myself recently being super stressed about my roommate, who just re-entered an unhealthy relationship; my students, who have difficult home lives; various family members who are straying from the teachings of the restored Gospel; etc. etc. This just won’t do. I can only control my own actions, and worrying about others’ choices won’t solve anything.

I’m officially stepping away from trying to control other people. One of the most overwhelming aspects of this school year was being controlled by others. I hated it with all my heart. I don’t want anyone to force me to do anything I don’t want to do, or be anyone I don’t want to be. I want people to respect my decisions and let me live my life the way I decide.

So unless someone asks me for my opinion, I will do my best not to offer it. I’m going to respect the decisions of others and just try to lift them up. After all, our job is just to walk each other home.

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April Book: Catch 22 http://shazzamber.com/april-book-catch-22/ Sun, 23 Apr 2017 20:24:40 +0000 http://shazzamber.com/?p=1157 Continue reading April Book: Catch 22]]>

Ugggggghhhhhhhh. I did not enjoy this book.

Catch 22 is a WWII novel, set on an island in the Mediterranean Ocean. It’s pretty much the story of Captain John Yossarian, and I don’t even have anything of substance to share. I don’t feel like I’ve been changed by reading this book, and I can’t say that I enjoyed any of it.

In summary: this is your warning. Read it if you so desire, but don’t say I didn’t warn you.

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Dogma Eat Dogma http://shazzamber.com/dogma-eat-dogma/ http://shazzamber.com/dogma-eat-dogma/#comments Sun, 09 Apr 2017 05:07:38 +0000 http://shazzamber.com/?p=1148 Continue reading Dogma Eat Dogma]]> One of my deep desires is to just love everyone and be okay with whatever decisions other people make, even if they aren’t in line with my personal belief system. But sometimes it’s really hard for me! Like I have a hard time tolerating people who
-Don’t like Harry Potter
-Support Donald Trump
-Think public education is a waste of time
-Undervalue high-quality music
-Use Comic Sans
-Vocally oppose President Monson and other Church leaders
-Hate Utah (the state) and/or BYU
-Don’t use the Oxford comma
…and the list goes on.

Is there anything fundamentally wrong with folks that hold any of the above beliefs? I guess not. I mean, we’re all God’s children, trying to make it through a series of 24-hour periods. But when do you take a stand, and when do you just back off and let people do their thing?

A big weakness of mine is I hold such strong opinions that I tend to believe them to be fact. I’ve been known to make statements like, “Tchaikovsky’s first piano concerto is the most glorious piece of music ever to be written!” or “Running in the morning is the best way to have good mental health!” or “The North Shore of Oahu is the most beautiful place on Each!”

These statements may be true for me (and who can argue, right?), but the key is they are my personal beliefs; not universal Truths or even truths. They work for ME.

I had a companion at the end of my mission who wanted to help me with this problem, so we worked out a simple solution: Every time I made a Sis.-Blair’s-opinion-as-fact statement, she would say, “You think?” and I’d modify it to start with, “I think…” This is something I’ve tried to continue to practice since coming home, but sometimes it’s hard for me to distinguish between facts and my right opinions!

So here’s my quandry: I’m not sure about when it’s appropriate to just take a step back and be cool with everyone, and when it’s appropriate to take a stand. As Hamilton says to Burr in the beginning of that delightful musical, “If you stand for nothing, what’ll you fall for?” Elder Christofferson also addressed this issue in his most recent Conference talk. How do we lovingly stand for our beliefs (and opinions?) without being dogmatic or pushy or narrow-minded? Where’s the balance?

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