Sunday, May 11, 2014

Let's Hear it for the Mom!

Oh, Mother's Day.

I could go on, and on, and on, and on about how wonderful my Mother is. And if you know Andrea Whetten Ringer, you know that I really could. She is the most genuinely kind-hearted, smart, organized, go-getting, loving woman I have ever met, and I was lucky enough to be sent to earth to be her daughter. Instead of making you gag with the lovey-dovey sap fest I'm getting close to writing out, I'll just share some of my favorite memories with my mom from the past year in picture form. I love you, Mom!

Also: My roommates and I covered an old primary favorite, with a twist, as our Mother's Day gifts this year:

IMG 3659 from Jenna Ringer on Vimeo.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Updates- New Term, Lots of Things

It's been a while since I've written a "news-y" post.

What's new?

I just started another term of school. I know, I'm crazy. This is only 7 or 8 weeks long, though. I'm just taking 2.5 classes, but since it's the same work load in half the time, it's a lot of work. I'm also working quite a bit, so I'll definitely be busy until the 2nd week of June. I'm taking Persuasive Writing, New Testament, and Zumba. Yes, Zumba is a class. It's the best thing to ever happen to me.

Side note: Part of my New Testament class requires me to write a little post about what I learned and felt after each class period. I have to share it with someone, so I've created another blog where I'll be posting those. If you'd like to read them, they'll be uploaded to this blog, hopefully every Monday and Wednesday... but lets be honest, it will probably be both posts on Friday or Saturday. Possibly even Sunday. I'm not very good at keeping up on things. We all know this.

Now, because I haven't really posted anything of interest  in a long, long time, here's what's been happening lately!

  • I went to the Holi Festival of Colors in Spanish Fork with some of my friends. It's a total cliche Utah County Mormon thing to do, but I had to do it once. It's the largest Hindu festival outside of India, and a really cool experience. However, it's kind of comical because there are far, far, far, more Mormons there than Hindus. But awesome nonetheless. 



Dani threw some of the chalk directly up my nose at one point. I swear to you, I was sneezing orange for days. Also our shower is still slightly purple.

  • Andy Grammer came to BYU! The picture quality is terrible, but the concert was an absolute blast, and only $5. Andy is an absolutely incredible performer and it was definitely one of the best concerts I've ever been to. My favorite part was his absolute amazement while singing a cover of Thrift Shop by Macklemore when we all sang "this is freaking awesome" instead of a swear word. He was so surprised he actually stopped singing. It was pretty hysterical.

  • We got a new roommate! One of my old friends  from my EFY days, Dani, who I went to the Festival of Colors with, just moved to Provo for the summer and moved in with me! It's been an absolute blast to have her here!

  • One of my favorite friends ever, Jensen, came to visit! We met in a class last fall, but then he moved to Hawaii and ditched me here in Utah. I've missed him a whole lot, so spending the day with him was a dream come true. 
we took a bunch of pictures on my webcam, and this was the most normal one. That's embarrassing. 
  • The weather has been (mostly) beautiful lately, so after church today we went on a picnic! We only lasted about 40 minutes before we decided we were too hot, but it was nice to be outside! 

I think that's about it! I hope you all have a blessed week. Keep on keepin' on.


Thursday, April 17, 2014

Coming Clean & Finding Joy

This post has been weeks in the making. I've written draft after draft after draft, trying to find the words to adequately express what I want to say. Nothing has been quite right, though. This is a hard post to write, mostly because I'm embarrassed and nervous to let this part of my life become common knowledge. I hope this does my feelings justice, because I'm posting it no matter what this time. So, here goes nothing.

I've been lying to all of you. Don't worry- I'm not a murderer or anything; nor am I running a meth lab out of my apartment*. But I've definitely been misleading pretty much everyone about the state of my life.

 I've been faking happiness for a while. I'm in my second year, and I'm still struggling with the transition to college. I, like essentially every other human being, am finding adulthood much harder than expected. Especially since moving to Utah and attending a university that seems to be full of extremely happy people, I've felt a need to constantly put on a happy face and "suck it up", for lack of a better term. I've felt like there's something wrong with me for feeling sad, which just compounded my sadness.

People ask me how school is going, if I'm "loving it", etc, and I felt absolutely obligated to gush about how great it is, how much I love my major, all the fun things I'm doing, how great BYU is in general. I felt like that was how I had to respond, because it seemed like that was what was expected of me. But that's not how I felt. Up until a couple weeks ago, I was so down on myself. I was feeling the way I'm sure a lot of other people felt- I went from being one of the better students in my high school class to very, very average here at BYU. Classic "Little Fish in a Big Pond" syndrome. I was aware that others felt this way- but it didn't change the fact that I still felt absolutely worthless. I couldn't pass a test.  I left the Testing Center completely devastated after each and every one. I got to the point where I was completely and totally unmotivated. I couldn't convince myself to even try anymore. With the exception of my parents and a couple close friends, no one knew. I felt like I couldn't admit that I hated school. Everyone loved BYU. It seems like everyone I've talked to has admitted to being stressed and finding school hard, but they're somehow dealing with it and still "love it". I hated that I couldn't figure out how to feel the same way. So I faked it, because I didn't want people to know that there was something wrong with me. I didn't want people to think less of me for not loving BYU. And then I got tired of having to fake it.
I got tired of the constant cycle of sadness.
I got tired of hating myself for my "failures".
I got tired of not being happy.

So I decided to be happy. And it wasn't an easy choice. Not in the slightest. It's still difficult. But it's so, so worth it.

So how do I do it?

First and foremost, I have to credit my Heavenly Father. There is no way I could make this change in my life were it not for Him. The first thing I did was learn to pray, all the time. I've always been pretty good about saying prayers before bed, but recently, I feel like all I've done is pray. I'm starting to understand what it means to have a prayer in your heart. When I'm feeling down on myself, I try to force myself to pray for peace and an ability to overcome the moment. And the effect is incredible. I wouldn't be able to do this without him. No way, no how.

Other than Heavenly aid, there are a few things that have helped me.

  • Gratitude. The best way for me to get out of the downward spiral is to try to remember the things I'm grateful for. I recently made a list of everything I'm grateful for that I look at when I'm feeling really down. 
  • Laughter. I do just about everything I can to make myself laugh on a daily basis. Whether that's spending some time with my roommates, who are always able to crack me up, no matter how upset I am, or watching a stupid YouTube video. Laughter really does help. 
  • Sleep. Sleeping your life away is never a good idea, but exhausting yourself is awful, too. It's so, so much easier to feel good and optimistic when you're well rested and fully functioning.**
  • Service. Serving others makes it really easy to forget about your own problems. 

It definitely hasn't been easy, and it's not going to be a fast, easy fix. But I'm going to get better. And just knowing that makes me happy. 

So yes, I'm coming clean. I'm  not super happy. I don't 100%  love BYU***. But I'm working on it, and I know I'm going to be okay. 

*Things could always be worse. Another tactic for reminding yourself of the things to be grateful for. 
**I'm a total hypocrite because It's currently 2:43 am and I need to be up at 8 for work tomorrow morning. Talk about irresponsible.
***I know some of you are probably really worried that I don't absolutely love BYU all the time. I'm still a true blue Cougar. I'm not transferring to the U any time soon- or EVER. I know I'm in the right place, but it is still really difficult sometimes. 

Sunday, April 13, 2014

An Inspiring Ending

 I'm sure most of you from home have at least heard of Michael Collins and the #MCstrong Pay it Forward movement and the incredible impact it has been having on Central Illinois, the rest of the country, and even some other places in the world. 

For those of you who haven't heard the story:

A couple weeks ago, Michael Collins and a few other college students were being driven home by a designated driver, when they were t-boned by a drunk driver who ran a stoplight. Michael received serious brain damage, and passed away on April 2nd after a 5 day long fight. As an organ donor, Michael was able to greatly improve or save over 200 lives. That alone is enough to inspire; however, the story does not stop there. 

My little community in Central Illinois has come together to honor Michael in a way that never will be forgotten. A Facebook page was created by a friend of Michael to encourage people to perform random acts of kindness, and pay forward Michael's incredible act of love and kindness. So far, the page has 16,000 members, and posts from all over the country. While many of the posts are from friends of Michael, the vast majority are from people who have simply heard the story and have been inspired to Pay it Forward. These acts of kindness posted range from leaving a large tip for a waiter or paying for someone else's meal, to a free lemonade stand put on by young children, all the way to a family who pre-paid for cabs to take college students home from the local bars.

Not only have hundreds of people have told the stories of random acts of kindness they experienced or they performed in memory of Michael in just the past few days, but the accident and aftermath have inspired many people to become registered organ donors after learning how many lives Michael was able to save.

As this campaign continues, and I hope it will for a long time, I am filled with love and pride for my hometown.  Though the story is still heartbreaking, as it is for anyone to lose their life at 22 years old, the incredible outcome of Christ-like love and kindness is absolutely amazing to me. I will be forever grateful to Michael Collins for what he did to change lives and inspire a movement to change our community, the country, and hopefully the world.

Pay it forward, and please, never drink and drive.


Wednesday, April 9, 2014

The One Time Blogger Deleted My Blog & Other Things That Have Happened

Sit down everyone, I'm going to tell you a story.

Once upon a time, there was a little girl named Jenna. She had a blog called A Beautiful Mess at She blogged happily for a few months, accidentally offending quite a few people along the way while sharing her opinions. Oops. One day, she logged on to her blog only to see a "sorry this blog cannot be found" error message! Much to her dismay, she could not get any answers as to why her blog had been deleted. So she gave up and made a new one. The end.

Great story. So yes, here I am. New blog, new life. Sooooooo what's been happening?

No one is allowed to judge me. This is a judge-free zone. Okay? Okay. Thanks.
I changed my major.
I know.
I know.
I've done that a lot. And I say every time that it is for sure the one. But this time it really, truly is!
I'm officially majoring in Human Development.

Now, I know you're asking, "Jenna. What the dang heckie* are you gonna do with a degree in Human Development?"

Answer: I have absolutely no idea. But I love the topic. I'm so interested in it, and even if I don't necessarily use it after I graduate in my career, the knowledge will aid me in my future plans to be a mother. I'm also going to pursue an Interpreter's license** in American Sign Language. And I still want to go to cosmetology school. Cuz I like hair and stuff, ya know. So many possibilities!

* What the Dang Heckie now has an official acronym. WTDH. Spread it. Share it. Tell it to your friends. Use it for everything. We're gonna make it happen. 
**I'm really embarrassed at how many tries it took me to spell license correctly. Even just then it took me two tries to get it right. Yeah, I'm in college. No big deal. 

Other than that....
School is almost over! Woohoo! Just 4 more days of classes, 1 midterm*, and 5 finals until I'm free! But only for 6 days, because then Spring term starts and I apparently hate myself so I'm taking classes... But, still! 5 whole days of not doing anything and not feeling bad about not doing anything! Except those 5 days are Graduation and Women's conference... which means I'm working 6-8 hours almost every day in the crazy, crazy busy store... but work is better than school and money is great, right? That's what I keep telling myself, anyway.

*Yes, I have a midterm the week before Finals. How rude is that? Let me tell you, anyone thinking about coming to BYU. Do whatever you can to not have to take Physical Science. Seriously. It's not worth it. 

That's about everything. Not super exciting, I know, but I'm not really a very exciting person anyway, so what did you expect?

Until next time, my friends.