July 23, 2015

Max and the MCAT

I would never, ever wish the MCAT/applying to medical school on anyone. Which sounds really dramatic, (and yes I know this is just the prologue to ten million chapters to follow called: Actually Going to Medical School) but this whole things is not for the faint of heart.

Max took the MCAT in La Grande, Oregon of all places, in this teeny tiny building on Main Street with three other students. It just so happened that this was the same weekend leading up to our grand family reunion in Wallowa Lake, Oregon so we left a few days early so Max could take his test the Saturday before.

I will never forget that weekend. The night before we went out to eat at Hought's 24 Flavors, "the best diner in Union County!" Mind you, this diner has been open since the 1940's and I am pretty sure we were transported back in time that night, just living the fifties dream on our date night at the soda shop. I was in heaven. After dinner, we got our ice cream to go, and walked around the old neighborhoods nearby. As I admired the bungalows and old rocking chairs on old porches, I am pretty sure Max was just stressing about his test the whole time. I, on the other hand, felt like that night was straight out of a movie. It will always be one of my favorite memories.


The next morning, we woke up at six AM. I remember kissing Max on his way out the door of the hotel room, and I nearly threw up I was so nervous for him. Month and months of studying and here we were. The day of the MCAT. And of course, he did phenomenally well.

Every night I count my lucky stars for Max. For all the lovey-dovey reasons of course, but especially because of the amount of hard work and time and devotion he puts into becoming a doctor. It's honestly amazing, and my heart bursts with pride when I get to talk about him with others. He's going places I'm telling you, and I get to tag along for the ride. At the rate we're going, or at least considering the few school's he's been hearing from, we'll end up on the East coast by this time next year. Which I'm more than okay with. Fifteen-year-old Kelsie is actually screaming inside.

July 20, 2015

26th birthday eve

My feelings regarding my 26th birthday tomorrow are best explained by Joey Tribbiani:

Just kidding (kind of). I can't wrap my mind around being closer to 30 than I am to 20, but 26 is here and I have a whole lot to thank 25 for. So maybe I'm more of a mix between Joey Tribbiani and Robert Browning who once wrote, "Grow old along with me! The best is yet to be..." -- maybe just a titch more Joey though.

July 19, 2015

wallowa lake

1. Horseback riding up and down the trail of DEATH. I think I muttered unmentionable words fifty times under my breath - I honestly thought that I was going to die. Didn't help that the very next day someone was life-flighted off the mountain from being bucked off a horse.
2. No A/C. Which usually isn't a problem unless you come home sunburned every day from the lake.
3. No dole whips. I'm tempted to go open up a restaurant selling dole whips and churros and turkey sandwiches.

1. Being with family at one of the prettiest places on earth.
2. Spending time with Max for the first time in what feels like months.
3. Our friendly outdoor neighbor Elvis, the deer.
4. BBQ's and days on the lake.
5. Our "secret-last-night-ritual" (which keeps the Wallowa Lake monster at bay until next year).

Nothing in this world can beat traditions and families and summertime.

July 2, 2015

God Bless America

We spent our last week in Wallowa Lake, as we do every summer, but something caught my eye this time as we drove through the small towns leading up to our family cabins. There were American flags waving on most street corners, homemade banners announcing Fourth of July parades, and signs supporting and thanking the troops who had served from those communities. Max told me as I stopped to take pictures that I had found my people. If they like turkey and cheese sandwiches as much as I do, then I really have.

I love our country, I am proud of our country and I am so grateful to live in this country. I've spent the last month reading The Greatest Generation by Tom Brokaw, and am amazed with every story of those who only 60 years ago, many younger than me, were willing to give up their lives and their jobs and leave their families here at home to protect the safety and freedoms of our country and those abroad.

I've always loved what John F. Kennedy declared in his Inaugural Address in January of 1961,

"We dare not forget today that we are the heirs of that first revolution. Let the word go forth from this time and place, to friend and foe alike, that the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans... Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty...

In your hands, my fellow citizens, more than mine, will rest the final success or failure of our course. Since this country was founded, each generation of Americans has been summoned to give testimony to its national loyalty. The graves of young Americans who answered the call to service surround the globe...

And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you--ask what you can do for your country. 

My fellow citizens of the world: ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man. 

Finally, whether you are citizens of America or citizens of the world, ask of us here the same high standards of strength and sacrifice which we ask of you. With a good conscience our only sure reward, with history the final judge of our deeds, let us go forth to lead the land we love, asking His blessing and His help, but knowing that here on earth God's work must truly be our own."

-You can read (and listen!) to the rest of it online here. It gives me chills every time.
Happy Independence Day!

June 26, 2015

a thought in response to the supreme court rulings

Max shared this with me after seeing a friend of his post this online. As always, Elder Neal A. Maxwell expresses himself and the Gospel of Jesus Christ so eloquently, and now I miss miss miss my job at the Maxwell Institute!


"In short, brothers and sisters, not being ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ includes not being ashamed of the prophets of Jesus Christ! We are now entering a time of incredible ironies. Let us cite but one of these ironies which is yet in its subtle stages: We will see a maximum, if indirect, effort made to establish irreligion as the state religion. It is actually a new form of paganism which uses the carefully preserved and cultivated freedoms of western civilization to shrink freedom, even as it rejects the value essence of our rich Judeo-Christianheritage.”

“Your discipleship may see the time when such religious convictions are discounted. M. J. Sobran also said, ‘A religious conviction is now a second-class conviction, expected to step deferentially to the back of the secular bus, and not to get uppity about it’ (Human Life Review, Summer 1978, pp. 58–59). This new irreligious imperialism seeks to disallow certain opinions simply because those opinions grow out of religious convictions. Resistance to abortion will be seen as primitive. Concern over the institution of the family will be viewed as untrendy and unenlightened.”

“Before the ultimate victory of the forces of righteousness, some skirmishes will be lost. Even in these, however, let us leave a record so that the choices are clear, letting others do as they will in the face of prophetic counsel. There will also be times, happily, when a minor defeat seems probable, but others will step forward, having been rallied to rightness by what we do. We will know the joy, on occasion, of having awakened a slumbering majority of the decent people of all races and creeds which was, till then, unconscious of itself. Jesus said that when the fig trees put forth their leaves, ‘summer is nigh’ (Matt. 24:32). Thus warned that summer is upon us, let us not then complain of the heat!”

-Elder Neal A. Maxwell

June 21, 2015

happy three (three??!!) years!

"My young friends, there is much happiness and joy to be found in this life. I can testify of that. 
I picture you with a companion whom you love and who loves you. I picture you at the marriage altar, entering into covenants that are sacred. I picture you in a home where love has its fulfillment. 
I picture you with little children about you and see your love growing with them. I cannot frame this picture. I would not if I could, for it has no bounds. Your happiness will have no ends." 
- Boyd K. Packer

Three years isn't a lot of time to put this quote to the test, but I still feel like chiming in and saying yes yes yes! That's it! That's exactly it! So Happy Anniversary Max, I can't imagine anything more refining or rewarding than what I've experienced over the last three years with you, and I wouldn't have had it any other way.

June 2, 2015

long time no see

May has definitely been the busiest month of the year. Work has become increasingly insane, church callings, studying for the MCAT, lots of rain that kept us indoors, yada yada yada... It's gone by fast. Three of the highlights include:

1. I started reading Erik Larson's The Devil in the White City and Esquire's review perfectly sums it up: "The heart of the story is so good, you find yourself asking how you could not know this already." That is honestly what I ask myself every time I turn the page: HOW DID I NOT KNOW ABOUT THIS BEFORE!? WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN ALL MY LIFE?

2. The month of May was mostly rainy, which is why Memorial Day especially felt like the start of summer. We spent so much of the day outside in the sun, reflecting on family and our country and the things we easily take for granted. Memorial day in some ways feels like the prelude to the Fourth of July, with flags waving on street corners and front porches.

That afternoon Max and I spent some time with my dad who shared this with us, which was especially fitting:

"I sometimes wonder how we can best honor our forebears. Might we not best honor them by honoring one another? A watch tick in eternity, you know, and we will ourselves be ancestors. What would we desire most from our posterity? 

Personally, I feel that I should not care if my posterity failed to do special homage to me on occasions like this. But I am sure I should be unhappy if they failed on all occasions to be kind, considerate, helpful to one another. 

If Father and Mother were to reprimand me today, I am sure it would not be for thoughtlessness regarding them. It would rather be for thoughtlessness regarding my living brothers and sisters, my failure to draw nearer to them in these hard declining years, nearer to them in sympathy and helpfulness. 

Why not in the future make our reunions something that will draw us all a little closer together in understanding, sympathy and love."
-Parley Alma Christensen

Parley Alma Christensen is my great-grandfather. We visited his grave that afternoon together, and I hope I get to meet him someday. If he was anything like his son, and my grandpa, (and it sounds like he was) he is someone I hope I can be like too.


3. Max had a Birthday! Considering Max and I met when we were fifteen, birthdays always feel a little extra special. There is something so rewarding looking back and seeing how far you've come, and how far you get to go with each other. We celebrated the big day together up at Sundance, and I think I told Max at least half a dozen times that we have to spend more time up there before our move next summer. 

And that is that. May was a busy month, plenty of highs and lows included, but I can't complain. And now that I think about it, I've been to In & Out twice this week which is a telltale sign it's JUNE.
I can't complain about that either. 

April 29, 2015

tuesday night lights

So a group of friends decided to start a spring baseball team called: the young stunnas. I don't know who came up with our team name, but I feel like half the time we're with friends I look around and think "how are we all closer to 30 than 20?" And then I can't think about it anymore because... thirty. I can't go there yet.

Since the season began I have yet to actually play a game. I've been sick the last three weeks with everything ending in "itis" (bronchitis, conjunctivitis, sore-throat-itis, every-other-itis) and so my spot on the team has been hanging out in the dugout. I wish I could write about an incredible last minute win after an amazing home run, but unfortunately our team stats are running 0 - 4 this season. In case you didn't catch on, we're 0.

And I wish I could say that it's still okay to lose when you're playing America's favorite pastime with a group of friends, but the truth is we're all so bad we might need therapy after this.

April 22, 2015

throwback thursday and other things

I am on a huge 90's music kick. I was driving with my dad in the car a few days ago and as we listened to the Backstreet Boys I caught myself saying, "Music was just so much better back then." I felt like I was 25 going on 50.

I watched the documentary Fed Up three nights ago with Max, and if the proof is in the pudding then you should know that this is why I've gone three days without Diet Coke. Fact 1: If nothing changes, then it is predicted that over 90% of all Americans will be overweight or obese in two decades. Fact 2. One in three kids are expected to have diabetes by 2050. Fact 3. This if the first generation of American children that are expected to live shorter lives than their parents.
--- Whether or not these facts entirely check out, we were both convinced to give up our beloved cancer-inducing diet coke. for now.

Speaking of which, I've never given much thought to eating "organically" - that is, until, my friend and his older brother started the blog True Organic Purity. Who would have thought human meat was vegan?

And last but not least, for whatever reason nearly all of the texts messages I've been sending/receiving to/from friends and family are all blasts from the past... We even ran across this little gem below:

An Avril Lavigne music video in a CalRanch Parking lot. __________ Judging space.

And as for life in the Bingham home, life is flyyyyyyyyying by. We're in full MCAT mode over here, but I can't complain because the high is 75 and I just finished spring cleaning. HOLLA.

March 30, 2015

"when the earth is puddle-wonderful"

Max and I went on a picnic Sunday afternoon.
We sat under this tree.
And naturally, Edward Estlin Cummings came with us:

the great advantage of being alive
(instead of undying)is not so much
that mind no more can disprove than prove
what heart may feel and soul may touch
—the great(my darling)happens to be
that love are in we,that love are in we