Saturday, June 20, 2015

finding my tribe

it's been well over a year since i casually but still pretty officially walked away from the church. it's been SUCH a good year in regards to my mental and emotional health and well being. and my spirituality, more than anything else. i've grown so much into the person i really am, the person i never knew existed through all my years of mormondom. i feel so free and relieved and authentic and whole. i have no regrets.

i hadn't realized until last week that i've been wandering in search of community. community is a special, wonderful thing the church provides it's members. a worldwide community. i knew when i walked away that i was giving up the church community. but i had a contrived idea in my head of what that might mean. i thought that meant i would miss meeting new women in relief society each week and having visiting teachers over. i loved that part of church activity. and i do miss those parts.

but rather than missing the actual church community, i more so miss the sense of community. and that's something you can't control with behavior, only with belief. you just don't get to fully experience the sense of community when you flat out don't believe what the church teaches. even if you do attend and are actively involved, that sense of community is gone when you just don't sincerely share the common beliefs.

that doesn't mean i don't love to death my friends and family who are involved with the church. i can love individuals no matter what they believe. but. the sense of community, the feeling that you belong to a network of people larger than you, most of whom you don't even know, where you all share this common, general set of beliefs, is really such a grand thing.

and it is no longer part of my life. but that's really okay. that aspect of community didn't disappear from my life all at once, rather it faded with my belief. the church community isn't supposed to be part of my future, because it's no longer who i am. it's not specifically the church's sense of community one needs in their life so much as any sense of community, with people whom you sincerely connect and identify, despite what you might hear in general conference.

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i've been searching for "home" rather intensely this last year, but it's actually been on my mind quite a bit since jared and i got married. before jared, i just wanted to travel, not necessarily looking for a landing destination. but now that he's part of my life, for which i am eternally grateful, i'm on this search for home, and i'm very much ready to find it soon. i will look back and remember 2011-2016 or 2017 or 2018 or 2019 or however long it takes as my "finding home" years.

and i will remember 2014 through however long it takes as my "finding my tribe" years. and although i hope to eventually find a tribe, a community of people whom i share beliefs and ideals and views, whom i work and play and live among, i plan to always be searching for my tribe. as i discover more parts of myself, and parts of the world, and communities and peoples and lifestyles, i hope to be ever expanding my tribe.

because although Mormon will always be an ethnicity to which i identify, it is not my tribe. not at all.

and although utah will always be my home state, the place i grew up, the place i met my husband, the place where i experienced the majority of the first 27 years of my life, it isn't my Home. it isn't my landing destination. my friends and loved ones must be so sick of hearing about this, but utah just isn't my place. although it feels familiar, it has never felt like Home. logically, i count all the ways and reasons that utah is a terrific place to live, a wonderful place, really. but logic can't make the heart agree, it can't make a place feel like home.

i think about this all too much and will be the first to admit that it is verifiably exhausting. but the alternative would be much worse. i consider different locales around the world and hold various places in my mind and heart for several days or weeks, wondering if they might be home. sometimes i think it might be a climate and weather situation that will make a place feel like home. sometimes i think home might be a place i would never ever choose myself, or perhaps it is a homestead on nantucket island, or a villa outside milan, or a cottage on an english hillside.

but i think i've figured it out in the last few weeks. people feel at home when that place is where their people are. where their family and community may be found. but jared and i don't feel tethered to this place. i've realized that for jared and i to find home, it will have to be a place we make together. we're never going to find a perfect place, we have to create it. as i've been unraveling who i was supposed to be and so many aspects of my life and communities and social circles that were handed to me, i've been finding who i am. and who i want in my life. i feel a bit lost right now, at least socially and communally, but i know this won't last forever. this is part of the process of my life. and i'm striving to enjoy the process. and one day, i will find myself in a home i love, involved in a community i love, working and playing and living with people i love and connect with. and for now, i'm enjoying each day, each present moment i have, with people i'm lucky enough to already have.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

luckiest summer

Luckiest Summer from Kelli Anderson on Vimeo.

jared isn't much for photos or videos. he doesn't get excited for a photoshoot and he's happiest when we leave the camera at home. unfortunately for him, i whip out my iphone every two seconds to photograph basically everything, whether we bring the dslr or not. i usually try to tone it down when he's had enough photos, because i think it's understandable and i love the guy.

he took last saturday off work to celebrate our anniversary. this is a big deal because he works every single saturday. he works a lot. we are so tight on money right now because i'm very low on work. i'm transitioning out of school and looking for jobs. that's another blog post. anyways. as a "free" gift to me, jared offered to spend the day making a video. i didn't really have anything in mind, we just wanted to spend some time in the mountains. so we packed up our bags and headed up there. i was inspired by this picture, and wanted a lovely vintage feel to the video. but other than that, i didn't know what would turn out.

i must admit. it was hot that day. super hot. like summmmmmmer hot. which is unusual for june in utah. june is usually a string of those perfect 79 degree days. not this year. but that's okay. i love summer. the back of jared's neck turned cherry red because we failed to apply sunscreen, but interestingly enough, i didn't get any color. hmm. anywho. enjoy the video (:

Friday, June 5, 2015

I must be honest. I'm going through such a transitional phase of my life right now. Actually. My life has been non-stop evolving and change for the last decade with lots of transitions. But it's especially transitional right now as I wrap up school and move on to what's next. I'm all but done with my bachelor's degree and now Jared and I are trying to figure out what's next. Where to live. How to live. What we want. Where we're willing to compromise to help each other's pursuits. How to make both our goals into reality. My disposition is already that I'm rather preoccupied with the future, but this transition is much exacerbating it and my husband is handling it wonderfully, I might add.

Some people don't seem too troubled by devoting their entire life to only one or two big goals. Actually, I think that's most people. Sure, they might casually wonder about what their life would be like if things hadn't gone in such a way, but most people, I think, want only a few things. Precisely because I am not one of those people, I'm realizing I must be quite choosy about to what I devote myself, and to where I spend my time and money. But that is difficult when my wants and my desires are so polarized, so mutually exclusive.

Wanting a home, wanting to be a wandering nomad, wanting to invest in a community and set down roots, wanting to move across the world, wanting to live by my mom, wanting my husband to be able to go to school, wanting to spend my life with my husband, wanting to travel, wanting to travel solo for years at a time, wanting to be a grandparent one day, not wanting kids really, sometimes wanting kids kind of, wanting to start a business, wanting to spend my days in nature and back to the land, wanting to spend my days working hard in a studio, wanting so many conflicting things. I realize I have only one life, only 24 hours each day, and only so much money, and sometimes I feel it is imperative that I find out what will truly make me the happiest and go after only those specified results.

BUT sometimes you just can't theorize and quantify everything, and the truth about the universe we live in is that no one can predict the future accurately every time. Sometimes I wonder if the life that will make me the happiest is one I will never live, with people I would never deliberately build relationships with, doing things I would never choose to do. I think sometimes you just have to pick a pursuit, unsure it will grant you the most happiness and the least regrets, and pursue it with everything you got. Sometimes you just have to get started doing something, because doing something is better than nothing at all. Because we live in the third dimension, and sometimes my thoughts and fears and concerns and desires may only come to pass in another.

Here are just a few of the questions I've been asking myself, pondering, brainstorming, and journaling over: Where do I want to be a year from now? In ten years, what do I want to look back and say, "I built that."? If I were on vacation right now, where would I wish I could come home to--where do I wish was home? When I'm old, what do I want the story of my life to have been? Even with all the evolving and transformative changes in the last few years, who have I always been? What hasn't changed? In the last ten years, what have I always loved? What in my childhood sparked flutters in my stomach? Which of those things still spark flutters today? These are just a few questions, there are of course many more questions and ideas and lists and long, drawn out hand written journal entries.

I remind myself this is a phase that will last only a season, and one day I will miss this free time, I will miss this freshness, this feeling of new opportunities and the endless horizon, and maybe even the stress, the frantic planning, and the quiet quiet quiet of my home. But for now, I'm standing tall, confident, and courageous, and I'm looking straight into the future.

And this post, and all that it entails, will be but a moment, and I will look back endearingly, at all my growth, and hopefully continual nonstop change, with hearts in my eyes.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

hello. so tonight i was frustrated because this summer semester feels like quite the joke. it feels rather superfluous to the overall progression of my life and i feel more than, so much more than, ready to be done with this whole college phase of my life. i graduated high school almost a decade ago and since then i have been in the "college student" phase of life, with greater and lesser degrees of intensity.

i walked and received a diploma a few weeks ago. my school does it once a year so even if you have a few more classes to finish you walk with everybody else in the spring. it really cemented in my brain that i'm done. and i knooow i'm in the final home stretch, but it's really getting in the way of living how i really want to live and being able to fully devote myself to meaningful long term projects. it's unarguably annoying and just my reality. but.

but jared stopped me in the midst of my wallowing and frustration this evening and hilariously pointed out that he finally understands that cheesy quote. "that life is not about something-something-something, it's about dancing in the rain." i clarified, "the quote goes, 'life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass, it's about learning to dance in the rain'".

something clicked while we were talking and it really cemented for me that i need to appreciate my life, each moment i am living it. i know nothing about this is groundbreaking. but that's okay, i'm not expecting this old blog to go viral (: in fact, i always hope people will just stop reading this since i enjoy using this space to journal the occasional words i need to set down here, and i enjoy writing without censoring myself.

anyways. i'm just putting it out there with words, since words always make things much more official, that i'm feeling more positive in my life. and it's good. i'm feeling like life is good, it's really good. even the parts that suck, still suck, but that doesn't mean i have a sucky life. i have a good life. and i'm working on balanced perspective. today is here, so i'm going to enjoy it the best i can, and remember that when today just plain sucks, there's always tomorrow.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Jerry Anderson, Bicycle Fanatic

This is Jared, he's my husband. He loves bikes. I took these photos for a fun side project we are working on. I had been wanting to get some portraits of him in his shop for a while now. It's been wa-aaay too long since I pulled out my DSLR. It felt good to use the camera and to have such a handsome subject as well. I can't talk for too long now but please, do enjoy these photos. What a great looking guy!

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

intoxicating fantasies that aren't really dreams

so i'm here because the usual reason, it's late at night and my mind is totally wandering and i just want somewhere to set down these thoughts right this minute.

i'm recently admitting to myself that i'm way more domestic and domestic-loving than i ever let on. i think because i'm also very career-driven and i've always pondered the ways in which those two things feel very mutually exclusive, if only for practical reasons alone. i fear the reality is such that one will win and the other will suffocate to death. i mean, there are only 24 hours in a day. life passes so quickly and i know i can't live every dream. but i'm learning to respect all the dreams and realize that the ultimate dream is the realistic marriage of them all. so we'll see. and here's this dream, this totally domestic dream, quite extreme, quite a fantasy, and not even what i want actually. it's just a dream, but parts of it will prove to be what i want, i think, and prove to be realistic, and parts of it will come to pass and pragmatically so.

i've recently been so enamored by the idea of country living. this is the natural extension of my recent transformation into an organic, earth-loving lifestyle. i dream of having a home in the psuedo-country. by this i mean perhaps a home a half mile up city creek canyon. as in, right outside the hustle and bustle of the city but still almost considered the city. or something just outside, and i mean just outside portland. or a sunny city. or a tropical city, even. i'm not so sure. i'm still figuring out the locale. but not the midwest, no way (knock on friggin wood). but i do know that it will not even be far enough away from the city as the burbs. most cities actually have a decent amount of undeveloped country space basically on top of them so even though i have absolutely no real knowledge on the subject, i'm declaring this dream of mine a realistic option. this is my way of enjoying city and country living on a daily basis, in this fantasy of mine.

i dream of having an old house with tall ceilings and hardwood floors. because duh, this has long been established in most of my visions of the future. there is a dog and two cats and chickens out back who roam around our foresty backyard. and there we send the kids out back for an actual egg hunt. and about once a week we all head out back with a basket and cloth to collect the blue and green and brown eggs, full of minerals from the hens who had the freedom to roam and munch on earthworms and wild herbs. the wild herbs we will gather into our baskets and tie together and rinse clean in the kitchen sink.

our garden, because of course there will be a garden, will have strawberries and tomatoes and zucchini and spinach. our property will see the occasional raspberry bush and a few apricot trees will spot the land. the tall trees will house my dream treehouse (which is not a dream at this point and just a yet-to-be-fulfilled-plan, mark my words with permanent ink), where we spend whole afternoons reading and napping and exploring.

our home is conveniently located near a spring where we regularly carry back and forth gallons of water for storage. the pond down the road freezes over in winter and we bundle up for ice skating with the neighbors. sometimes in this dream, we pack up all our goods and hold down a booth at the local farmers market every saturday. we show up to the winter market offering free freshly brewed coffee and tea until it all runs out. selling our goods with smiles, exchanging by hand dollar bills and bags of dark leafy greens. in summer we i show up in overalls with giant batches of lemonade.

perhaps we get a little crazy and have a few goats and rabbits and an alpaca or two and perhaps even crazy enough to have our own bees. we would be our own little farm, almost. alpacas--purely because they are adorable and i could shear them every spring and spin their fiber into yarn. yarn i would use to knit my own throw blankets and wool sweaters for winter survival. i spend my days doing the laundry and hanging bright white linens to dry in the fresh country air, misting them with lavender essential oil. i spend hours preparing our own fresh pet food and gravy in our kitchen, alongside our own food preparations. the shady backyard hammock gets plenty of use and the sheepskin rug in the living room needs regular cleaning, which i do by myself, in the backyard on the line with a wire brush and tea tree essential oil with the help of the baking sun. the kitchen often smells like chocolate chip cookies and sunday brunch and crock pot stews. my free time is spent crafting felted gnome dolls and fairy garden bits and pieces, which i usually keep for my family or give away, but occasionally sell on etsy.

these are the images that have been swirling around in my brain the last few weeks. they are undoubtedly informed by my instagram feed, from women who are all but living this life, but also seem to satisfy this self-reliant, basic human desire within me to live truly organically, at one with the earth, as much as is possible. this pretend world has no busy schedules or fear that i'm squandering my young years, even no wanderlust and no wasted plastic bags. it has no pressing anxieties and fears about what else the world may offer. it is happy with being small, living a small life in a small town.

like i said before, this actually isn't the life i want. but many aspects of it are. i can't give up the busyness. i could not ever for a second give up the giant part of my life that will be my career. i can't give up the travel goals and myriad of lifestyle aspirations and the love of the big city life and unrealistic, crushing career goals no single person can ever realize. but writing this helped me sort out the dream. and one day i will have my hens but not my alpacas, or my alpacas but not my rabbits, and i will clean sheepskin rugs with essential oils and wire brushes in the baking sun, but not spend whole days of whole weeks and months and years being domestic. and that is okay. i will find my balance, i'm not worried about that. how funny will this post be to read in ten or twenty years. and if we buy a farm in the midwest, so help me.

ps - it's hilarious to me that this blog still has 187 followers. i collected all of you back in 2008 and you're all still here but you don't even know it! muah-haha. shoutout to the roughly 47 of you who will see this! all my love, xo

Saturday, April 11, 2015

dream home

i dream of having a home. i try not to be too tempted by the idea of having our own washer and dryer or our own backyard, because i don't want to make a rash decision about a home. we are willing to wait out several more years of apartment living with our eyes on the prize of that dream home. in fact, i want to have a home, but the actual decision will be informed, educated, thoughtful, and calculated. retrospectively, i'm now realizing the amount of time i've spent thinking and dreaming about this perfect home through out my life.

but before i detail it all, i have to interject about privilege. i'm aware that my life has been extremely privileged, for which i am grateful. the fact that i will probably have this home one day and not just dream about it, is evidence that i am very privileged. this post just discusses my dream home, which is only one part of a whole life i want to live. sure, i would love to live in this perfect, dream home of mine. but it will just be that, a home. i hope to use my home to help others. i hope to have a home so that it can act as a temporary or surrogate home for others, too. i hope to use the mental clarity, the recharge, and the safety of my home to go out and help people every day. that it may be my home base which allows me to do good work, the best work i can for the world every day of my life.

i remember the resolutions i set even from a young age that my grown up home would not be mass-produced and boring. it would not be a brand new, cookie cutter home. i would not have boring furniture and decor. even from a young age, i knew that i wanted my home to be filled with items i had collected from around the world, one of a kind items that didn't come from a big corporation and that wouldn't also be found in my neighbor's home. i remember being inspired by some homes i saw on tv and movies, but rarely by the homes in the area where i grew up. here is how i envisage my future home:

i dream of a smaller home, perhaps three bedrooms, two baths. but the rooms are large and spacious. there will be tall ceilings and unusually wide hallways, as though the place was built for giants. the rooms may feature french doorways, circular windows, large sinks and pipe faucets. the whole place will just kill you dead with old world charm. but calm you with minimal simplicity. when you look out the large windows you'll be met with green, either palms or pines--depending on where we end up. either way, the views will be stunning.

for balance, there will be bright, sunny rooms for productivity, like the living room, and dark, calming rooms for rest and reflection, like a den or reading nook. the bright rooms will have white painted floors and walls and ceilings with giant nearly floor to ceiling windows--while the dark rooms will have dark walnut stained wood and strategically placed, warm lighting. the master bedroom will be spacious with an all-white king sized bed. somewhere there will be a set of three or four wiiiiiiiide steps. the kitchen could be very similar to the kitchen we've got in this apartment and hey, i'd be happy. the master bathroom will have a giant tub for two and duel shower heads.

the backyard. the backyard will be similar to the backyard i grew up in. it will have tall trees and the feeling that you could get lost back there. it will have dreamy, plant covered wooden or concrete steps. it will have a treehouse with a rope bridge connecting to our back deck. there will be space for social gathering, a swing, a vegetable garden, and a chicken coop. there will be ample flowers, ground cover, stone paths and a hidden hammock. there will be an outdoor shower for zen moments and childlike summertime play. and before you think i'm over gnomes, there will be a few gnomes and a little fairy garden corner. i will always love gnomes. there will be grassy space for outdoor movies. you might find details like bird feeders, a sundial, and solar lights. it will smell fresh, birds will be chirping, and it will be very shaded. but most of all, i want the garden and backyard to be useable spaces that are inviting for adults to relax, for kids to play, and for gatherings to happen.

i love the idea of incorporating permaculture into my home and garden, and maybe we could have a green roof one day. i love the idea of alternative home builds such as straw-bale construction and cob houses. but realistically, i see jared and i buying an old home or industrial space.

but seriously here's the deal on the treehouse: it's a real deal. it's the realest deal that's really happening. jared and i decided somewhere along the twelve hour drive home from california that we are most definitely building a treehouse once we have a home and a backyard that will be insulated like a home as a bonus living space. if by the time we make this dream happen, airbnb it still a thing, we would definitely airbnb the treehouse.

jared's few requests include, are you ready for this madness? -- a garage workspace, a basketball area, and a grill for barbecues. so demanding.

it is important to me to have a home that's filled with people i love. the space will be welcoming for people to lounge and enjoy themselves. we will always have open hearts and doors to friends and loved ones and even strangers.

it will take time, duh, but this space will be a reality one day.

and last but not least, a fluffy, teddy bear-like dog.

i don't usually share photos that aren't mine, but it makes sense for this post. i don't know who owns the photos and i'm stating clearly here that none of these photos are mine, i just found them around the web.


love the space. dream nightstands
rusticwide open stepshallwayMight need to run more plumbing, but this is AMAZING and I think we would have enough room. Love the subway tile and double rainshower heads. Tree houseA hideaway for me n the bootiles
black stained wood stairs

Inside outside


It's Good to Be Here - Candy Chang, New Orleans, public art series