sunsets, wishes, & painted horizons.

30.10.14

//I like when the missionaries come to visit; even if it's just for a glass of water. (Especially when one hails from Asia and we end up talking about K-Pop and Kimchi.) 

//I consider my trials steps that I can climb, not walls that I can't overcome. Maybe the steps are really steep and my legs feel extra wobbly, but I can climb them nonetheless-- even if it means crawling.

//It's funny because whenever I try to plan out the events of my life, life turns around and laughs in my face. No, CaLea, you're not in charge. Yes, CaLea, it's all going to be okay; just different than you expected. But different is what's best for you, so just hang in there and take deep breaths.

//Once upon a time, when I was reclined upon my floor mat in my little Korean apartment, I found myself muttering the words, "I.... I'm going home." to my Trainer across a telephone line. She was quiet for a moment before whispering back, "Well, you're anything but ordinary so it's only natural that you'll find yourself in extraordinary circumstances throughout the course of your life. Just like this." And then she told me stories that made me laugh even though I wanted to cry. And before hanging up she said, "Bagley, if anyone could do this, it would be you."

//I'm at the airport, standing just outside the gate. I hug my mission president's wife and then take a step back to see them both, standing there with no words to say. My mission president extends his hands to me for one final, firm handshake before sending me on my way. And as my hands are clasped in his, he says, "See ya soon." With that little smirk on his face; and I believe him.

//I'm right in the middle of everything and nothing all at the same time. I've done my part and now all I have left to do is wait. You'd think I'd be good at this whole "waiting" thing by now. I assure you, I am not. Which makes me think that I'll be learning how to wait for the remnant of my life... 

"I love you, ya know.
Just remember, every time you close your eyes...
I'll be there!"

xoxo

halloween & hauntings // real life nightmares.

29.10.14

My dreams are the kind of dreams that would be considered nightmares if they existed within any other human skull. We're talking zombie apocalypses, mutant alien worms, serial killers, haunted mansions-- you name it. Maybe there's a broken wire in my head that makes me adore things that most people abhor. For instance, I consider the most fun photo-editing opportunities as the ones in which I get to mutilate, twist, and destroy my own face. I'm a freak, I acknowledge that, but I'm definitely proud of this horrific zombie picture. (And I'm not entirely sure how this happened... but somehow it landed me a date next Friday. So.....?)

I've always loved Halloween. There's a certain spirit about the air-- almost as if terror itself lurks in every dark corner. There's a constant vague and yet somewhat distinct scent of pumpkin. People wear whatever they want whenever they want and no one can actually judge them for doing so. It's the one time of the entire year where absolute nonsense actually kinda makes sense. And I LOVE it. 

It's sad because this year for Halloween, I'll be dressed up like an adult and working an art show until five. And that's all I've really got planned for Halloween. Welcome to the big kid world, CaLea. This is where real nightmares kick in-- bills, and work, and real responsibility. Get ready to bid adieu to your teenage years, the big two-zero is knocking on your back door and you can't avoid it forever.

xoxo 

the leaves turned gold // the gold turned to dust.

27.10.14

We will never be capable of running from change. It's in every season, every stage of existence, every day-- every moment. And the more determined you are to prevent it from inhabiting your life, the more likely it is that its slippery fingers will find a grasp upon you and leave smudged fingerprints all over everything you've ever known; in an instant, it will all be different. I've learned that, although it can be heart-wrenching and bitter at times, change isn't always bad. It builds character and helps us to appreciate life from a moment-by-moment perspective. In just a moment, everything can change. 

When you aren't thinking about anything in particular, where do your thoughts wander? Mine wander to the tippity-tip-top of the rocky mountains, to the busy, heavily-populated streets of Seoul, Korea, to evenings spent beneath the weary summer sun as the autumn breeze sneaks in with the night. Mine wander to taco tuesdays, Taylor Dale's magical hot chocolate, and poprocks. There are so many adventures etched onto every wall of my skull's interior that my thoughts wander at least a thousand different times in each individual moment. My mind is a maze of cozy once upon a times' and hopeful somedays'. 

The lips of strangers and acquaintances alike keep forming the words, "Probably not," but my heart and my soul keep screaming, "YES!" If they know me, then they know that it's possible. Since the day I was born the world has labeled me as stubborn; but I like to call myself determined. So I brush all those, "not likely...", "it's okay if you stay," and "you're not going to be leaving this country again," comments right off my shoulders and I keep pressing forward. I can't change what happened but I do have a say in what is yet to happen. I'll accept my fate, of course-- but that doesn't mean I'm not going to fight for what I want. 

Faith is made up of two parts: belief and action. Maybe I'll compare life to a vast and dangerous body of water across which we must cross; faith is the vessel that will carry us there and the ores that propel the boat forward represent both belief and action. If you use one ore without the other, you don't progress, you're stuck going in circles. So yes, I believe that I can do it. And yes, I'm doing all in my own power to do just that.

When I was five years old, I had a major accident and the doctors told my sweet mother that I'd likely never speak again-- but if I DID, it would require extensive speech therapy and other such treatments. I can only imagine the amount of faith my mother wove into her heart-felt prayers that day. The next morning, when I came around after they'd put me out for my surgery, I wiped the sleep from my eyes, yawned, and said, not understanding the gravity of my words, "Mom, I want a waffle." I remember watching her in confusion as salty droplets of pure joy dripped down her cheeks. 

Faith can bring to pass miracles. 
I've seen it many times and I'll see it many times to come.
xoxo

whatever we are, i remember what we were.

25.10.14

People always tell me that love isn't what the books and movies portray it as; that it's something far different. And they're right. But what they never told me was that it's far better than any book or any romance movie out there; it's different because it's real. 

I've gotten really good at missing people. I guess that's just one of the side-effects of this stage of life. And I suppose missing someone who is dear to you isn't necessarily a bad thing. It hurts and sometimes it's lonely, but the heavy feeling that rests upon your heart and burdens both your mind and soul may be something to be grateful for. It means you love someone. And the twinge of longing that so often encompasses your entire being is the not-so-gentle reminder that a piece of your heart belongs to someone else. 

Maybe fearing vulnerability is merely the world's way of trying to keep us leagues away from falling in love (and just loving those around us in general). Heartaches and heartbreaks, romance horror stories; the universe keeps telling us to run, to plunge forward into the great unknown alone-- to not hesitate for even a moment. After all, it only takes a moment to fall...

But the truth is, the vulnerability of love doesn't make us weak, it makes us strong. And somehow, despite everything and anything the world tries to throw in its face, love will always come out of the darkness as the conqueror. 



*     *     *     *     *

"...Sometimes I wonder if she's real. If I didn't imagine the whole thing. It's too star-crossed and ironic to have actually happened. It seems like just the kind of sardonic, tongue-in-cheek thing my brain would concoct to keep itself entertained. 

But then I remember how small her hands are in mine, and I remember the flush in her cheeks when I look at her, and I know my mind could never have created something so beautiful." --Him xx



xoxo

cornbellies & other things.

24.10.14

I am convinced that God gave me the coolest family in the whole universe. They're the most amazing human beings. And I guess I'm just feeling incredibly grateful to have a family that I not only love, but who loves me back just as much. I ditch out on dates and hanging out with peeps just so I can kick it with my family. (And for the record, the term, "family" includes not only my blood-relatives but our adopted family-friends as well. And we kind of have a lot of those...i.e. Jill.)

Last night at Thanksgiving Point's cornbellies was a blast! Quincee was terrified of every attraction but we made her do everything anyways (hence the look of sheer terror upon her face in almost every photo), I crawled through a claustrophobic rat space and had so much fun that I went back and did it again, the competitive edge that runs through the Bagley veins came out a couple of times during various activities and that was exciting; everything was perfect. I think this was the best cornbellies year I've seen yet (and I've seen lots of years at cornbellies).

It's weird because I was supposed to miss a year of cornbellies with the fambam... but now I won't. Isn't that odd? I think it is. But I sure am grateful to be with my favorite people during my favorite time of the year. And although my heart is all the way back in Korea, despite how heavy my chest cavity may feel at times, there are always moments of pure bliss in which I remember that it's especially important to be happy and smile when times are hard for you. 

{Doctrine & Covenants 121:7-9}

"My [daughter], peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment;

And then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high; thou shalt triumph over all they foes.

Thy friends do stand by thee, and they shall hail thee again with warm hearts and friendly hands."

Yes, this is hard. but the blessings that have come from it have been nothing but extraordinary. It has been such a humbling thing to acknowledge that I need help. And even more so, that so many people are keeping me in their prayers, putting me on the temple prayer roll, and doing all they can to help me and to support me through this time.

As I was on my mission, I kept a "dream journal," and every morning, right after my morning prayer, I'd roll over, grab my dream journal and my pen and write down the contents of my dreams from the prior night. 

I was reading back through it recently and realized that I had over fifteen dreams about coming home early-- and the most vivid one was the week before I got sick. I remember waking up in the middle of the night completely disoriented. The dream had felt so real that it took me a solid couple of a minutes to establish that I was still in my little bed in my little apartment in the big city of Gangnam as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I rolled over  onto my knees immediately to thank the Lord for giving me the opportunity to be a full-time missionary. That was one of the moments of my mission I will never forget because of the way I felt; my entire being was warmed with gratitude. 

The next morning, I shared my experience with my companion and we both just talked about how hard it would be to come home early. The words, "I could never do that," were the only words I could find to express my feelings about having to come home early-- for any reason. And yet, a month and a half later, I was stepping onto a plane that was headed to America and it was one of the most surreal experiences of my life. 

My feelings about coming home early remain the same, "I can't do this." But I was never expected to do this alone. I've had loving hands reaching out towards me and helping me take steps forward each and every day since I arrived home. And I guess the lesson that I've learned is:

God will stretch us beyond our own spiritual, emotional, and physical limits in order to help us understand that although WE cannot do it on our own, in Him, we can do ALL things. 

xoxo


xoxo // flashbacks

23.10.14

//I'd fallen asleep, just like I always do. It was an inevitable fact of life in those days; when the decision was made to watch a movie, they were well-aware that ultimately that decision would result in an unconscious CaLea. But nonetheless, we watched movies a lot. When the movie began, the three of us were nestled comfortably on the couch. When I eventually dozed off, however, my unconscious-self felt entitled to the entire couch. So, in a precious moment, when I came to for just a minute, I found myself sprawled across the two people who, together, made up my entire world. I fidgeted a bit, in an attempt to get comfortable again, but in my tossing and turning the blanket that was covering me exposed my toes. And almost immediately, I felt him tucking my toes back in, ever-so-gently. 

//The sun was out but autumn refused its warmth. And there we were, cuddled up in the tiniest of blankets, as the fall breeze nipped at our noses and beckoned for us to come out and play. The sky was painted with the most magnificent pattern of clouds and the sun, despite its loss against the autumn breeze, valiantly illuminated the moment with its brilliant rays of light. I swear that one moment lasted for at least an eternity. There were no words exchanged because at that point, words were simply not necessary. He knew my heart and I, his. So we stayed there, cozy and content, and I thought to myself, "If this is what forever is like, then I want forever."

//I told him I wanted to learn how to longboard, but now that I think back to it, I think all I really wanted was him. I was just never really willing to admit that. But nonetheless, he showed up on my front porch with his longboard tucked beneath his arm and a smile spread across his face as he said, "Ready?" I didn't realize how difficult it was going to be merely because he'd always made it look so easy. The moment I placed both feet on the board my knees got all wobbly and my thoughts began to match. "Woah, woah, woah, hey. HEY! Don't let me fall!" I exclaimed as the board (slowly) began to drift down the natural slope of my cul-de-sac. He casually jogged after me and put his hands on my hips to stable me. Without a moment's hesitation I death-gripped his shoulders. He thought that was so funny-- tough CaLea with eyes suddenly full of uncertainty. I didn't let him leave my side once that night; which resulted in him running laps around my cul-de-sac so I could get a glimpse of what it felt like to ride a longboard. I bet he was exhausted... but he didn't care. I remember noticing the way he looked at me and thinking, "It would only make sense for me to fall in love with you." Little did I know...

//It was one of the very last nights of summer. The weight of the coming school year was weighing heavily upon our shoulders. I didn't want to think about it-- which is exactly why he kept teasing me about it. We sat upon my front porch with guitars in hand and plucked at the strings until the very last rays of light leaked from the heavens. I don't remember what we talked about, I just remember the moment. I remember it because it was a moment of peace and happiness despite all the chaos and madness of the world. That's always what he could offer me: peace and happiness. Year, after year, after year... he was so patient and so loving and eventually, I came around. 

//We were playing hide-and-go-seek and we'd both ended up in the exact same hiding place. It was a cramped little place for the two of us to hide and I thought the fact that we were wedged to awkwardly together in such a bizarre set of circumstances was absolutely hysterical. He covered my mouth with his hand as I was overcome by a fit of hysteria, "CaLea!" he whispered,"Lea, you've got to quit laughing or else they're going to find us." And of course, his urgency for silence just made me lose all control over my laughter. Someone came into the room-- we heard their footsteps slowly move across the room-- his grip on my mouth tightened and I held my breath. And then, just as quickly as the searching visitor had come, they vanished. I looked at the darkened figure of that boy I knew so well and quite unexpectedly, my whole heart was filled with an unexplainable warmth. Before I even knew what I was doing, I had pressed my lips to his cheekbone in a simple act of adoration. We stayed like that for a moment-- he was entirely confused and I guess I was too-- but when the words came to me, I whispered them, with my lips still pressed to his cheek, "Hey, I adore you."

//I knew what day it was but I kept trying to distract myself from thinking it. I diligently slaved away at work in attempts to drown out thoughts of him with thoughts of everything and anything else. But despite my efforts, all I could think was, "He's leaving. He's leaving. And he never said goodbye." I pretended that it didn't bother me, but it did. It was eating away at my heart and cracking my soul and leaving my mind in a whirl of confusion. When I got off work, I grabbed my things from my locker and slowly made my way to my bike. I was scared to check my phone because the time had already passed, It had already happened. I was so happy for him yet so torn up about how everything had played out and there was nothing I could do about it. His goodbye came in the form of a text message; after months of no exchanges of words at all, I received a final set of words as a parting gift, "CaLea. Thanks for all you've done for me over the years. Maybe you don't know it, but you've been such an incredible influence on my life and I wouldn't be the man I am today without you. Thank you for all that you've done for me. See you in a few. --xx" And that was it. After everything, it was done. He was gone. I couldn't hug him, I couldn't say goodbye to him, I couldn't even remember the last time he'd looked at me like he actually cared. My heart felt heavy-- but not in the normal way. In a new, much worse way. I rode my bike off campus and back to my apartment as the sun flooded the sky with brilliant oranges, pinks, yellows, and purples. 

The sun was setting on another day and I had to accept that tomorrow would come, whether I was ready for it or not.

xoxo

Hope // Despite Everything, You Can Win.

21.10.14

Over the past couple of months I've been struggling with my health. I was digging for answers everywhere and it seemed as if nobody could manage to come up with even one valid answer as to why I was feeling the way I was feeling. I received treatment, but I was not healed. As I have passed through this trial, my eyes have been opened and my heart has been filled with a sense of understanding and sympathy for all those who are currently enduring, have endured, and will yet endure similar sets of circumstances.

I was recently contacted by a woman name Heather Von St James, who, eight years ago, was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer known as pleural mesothelioma. After all that I've experienced with my own health issues over the past couple of months, her story not only touched my heart, but inspired me enough to want to share it with you as well. 

Mesothelioma is a cancer that affects the membrane lining of the lungs and abdomen. The only known cause of this form of cancer is exposure to a toxic substance known as asbestos (which is not banned in the United States). Heather was diagnosed just after she had given birth to her sweet daughter, Lily, and was told that she may not live to see her daughter's first birthday. 

Mesothelioma is a very serious medical condition and, like many other medical conditions, doesn't receive the amount of attention that it truly deserves. At this point, there is no current cure for mesothelioma, but there are procedures that can be done in order to improve the mesothelioma prognosis. 

I was so touched not only by Heather's fight against mesothelioma, but by the attitude that she carried and her determination to never give up hope. In our lives, we will be faced with countless situations in which we will feel the weight of the world upon our shoulders. It is my hope that we can always remember how important it is to never give up-- even when we feel surrounded by darkness. 



I searched for so long for answers to my own health problems and came up short. I hope, however that when others are diligently seeking out answers concerning their lacking or failing health, that they will be able to find the answers they need in order to not only fight against their ailment, but to, like this incredible woman, Heather Von St James, conquer it. 

By spreading awareness about health conditions such as mesothelioma, we can promote not only the discovery of new treatments, procedures, and ultimately a cure, but we can also help others who may be suffering from this ailment to be able to find answers before it is too late. 

For more information on the symptoms of mesothelioma cancer, click here

My love, support, and prayers go out to all who are looking for answers concerning their various medical conditions! 

Oh, and happy National Healthy Lung Month!

xoxo

i'm good at matching.

20.10.14


//I dress myself exactly the same way my five-year-old niece dresses herself. And I'm completely fine with it. Matching colors and patterns are too boring. My brain needs a little utter chaos in order to feel at ease. 

//Yesterday was such a busy Sunday. I felt like a missionary all over again. I left my house at 7:30am and didn't get home until 6:00pm. And after teaching mission prep, speaking in sacrament, meeting with my stake president, getting set apart as a ward missionary, and attending a ward missionary meeting-- as soon as I got home I stuffed my face with as much food as I possibly could in five minutes then went into hibernation in my room for the remnant of the day. Seriously. I crashed. And didn't wake up until morning. 

//So, as of yesterday, I've officially "resubmitted" to be a missionary. As for the rest of the details, (such as, how long I'll have to wait to hear back from the mission department, where I'll end up going, what's going to happen, etc.) I'm entirely in the dark. I have no answers whatsoever. BUT, I've done my part and now, it's just time to wait. (again.) Cross your fingers on my behalf because I left my heart in Korea and it's kind of important to me that I get it back.

//Today, as I was driving home, I started craving sour gummy worms. So, naturally I made a pit-stop at my local sour-gummy-worm-providing store and began my journey home extremely excited to indulge in the gummy goodness. As I arrived at a stop sign, however, I saw a whole family, kids and all, just hanging out on the corner with a cardboard sign that I'm sure said something along the lines of, "Please help us." I pulled away from the stop sign and I just couldn't seem to ditch the feeling that I needed to go back. And I just looked to the passenger seat of my car where that bag of gummy worms was sitting and I thought to myself, "Are you REALLY going to be so selfish that you're going to give up on one of the only opportunities in which you actually HAVE something to give?" SO, thanks to my conscience, I made a giant U-turn and pulled back up to that corner, rolled down the window and said, extending the bag of gummy worms, "I don't have much, but I do have this." I've never received a more genuine look of gratitude in my entire life. I rolled up my window and pulled away for the second time just as he turned towards his family and I heard him call out his kids' names.

//Several times over the last couple of days I've felt SUPER prompted to do very simple things for strangers. For example, holding open the door for a wobbly little elderly woman who is walking into the store, smiling at the mail-man, you get the idea. And a couple of times I've neglected to act upon those promptings. It's crazy to me that so often I find myself displacing promptings from my father in heaven just because it may seem "awkward," or because I'm "busy," or for no reason at all. But I've learned that the more diligently we heed those promptings, the more often they come. 

p.s. never withhold a compliment, because I think those are almost always promptings from heaven.

//My feels are all over the place. Like, holy hannah. I didn't even know that some of these emotions even existed.

//Sour gummy worms and the dollar store are my two favorite things right now. Whoop whoop.

xoxo