Wednesday, October 19, 2011


Lately I've been thinking about well, you. I've been thinking about what I can do for you. I want to bring a little joy into your life. I want you to walk away from me feeling better about yourself. Maybe we'll just have a quick, small-talky chat and it will be enough to make your face a little brighter and your heart a little lighter. Maybe it'll take a hug or a quick squeeze of your arm, just to let you know that someone cares about you. Maybe I can give you a ride or answer a question or shovel your walkway or do those dishes you never find time to get around to. I have a feeling you don't understand that I would do anything for you. We're talking give you my extra kidney to save your life type of anything. I'm not very good at showing it. Sometimes I forget to say it. The only way I can think of to explain it is that my momma once told me that I should always leave a place cleaner and better than it was when I got there. The same is true of you. I want you to be better off than you were when you met me. That's why I've been thinking about you. And why I always think of you.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Who would have known...

...that a text from two months ago would be what I needed to hear tonight?

"You're going to feel increased anxiety, Tori, as you 'water-walk,' and, like Peter, you'll probably sink a few times along the way. On the other hand, as with Peter, Christ will not let you drown."

Friend, thank you.

Monday, September 26, 2011

The key to enjoying children is to be a child yourself.

Ready, set, thoughtpurge.
Some thoughts from the last couple of months:

Dear world, sometimes living the standards of a Latter-Day Saint can be incredibly isolating.
Toto, we're not in Rexburg anymore.

Abby: You're the greatest aunt ever! You can even make CLEANING fun!

Solitude is sometimes as simple as internal silence.

The hardest thing about being in Washington is being here.

I feel like we are being prepared for each other. I've never been so certain about something so uncertain.

Sometimes when sad things happen to my friends, I cry about it like they are my own children.

Sometimes I don't even feel like a real person, because life feels like a dream.

Music is not my life, but music saves my life.

I don't feel like I'm missing out on things in Utah (&Idaho), even though I am missing things in Utah (&Idaho). That's the good news. What that says to me is that I am in the right place.

This is KEY to my happiness right now: As long as I am serving, I fit.

I can't shut the door because it was never open. But I swear I can see through it like it was never there.

"I miss you" never gets old as long as you mean it.

Here's to love, in all its infinite varieties.

This: "The idea hovered and shimmered delicately, like a soap bubble, and she dared not even look at it directly in case it burst. But she was familiar with the way of ideas, and she let it shimmer, looking away, thinking about something else."
Plus faith.
Equals this: "When a person really desires something, all the universe conspires to help that person to realize his dream." -Paulo Coelho

The only person who doesn't believe in him is himself.

The key to enjoying children is to be a child yourself.

Sometimes all you need is a bathroom stall and a silent prayer to get you through the day.

Something about a full tank of gas makes me want to drive until it's empty.

"I'm finally catching on to it, the past is just a conduit."

I want to marry someone like George Washington.

Anyone get anything out of that?

Monday, August 1, 2011

Deep water.

un.cer.tain.ty [un surt'ntee]

1. fact of being uncertain: the quality or state of being uncertain

2. unpredictable thing: something that nobody can predict or guarantee

synonyms: doubt, indecision, hesitation, vagueness, ambiguity, insecurity

There's something about it that captures me, excites me even. A year ago, I grasped the idea of faith being akin to walking in the dark. I'm scared of the dark, truly. Sometimes I feel like I'm still a 5-year-old child in a red brick house in Sugar House that clings tightly to my stuffed bear, Stanley, for the few seconds it takes for daddy to walk from my bed covers, that he just tucked in, all the way to the electrical outlet in the wall, where he picks up the night light we bought from the dollar store and firmly plugs it into the wall. Those seconds used to feel like hours. And sometimes as I'm taking hesitant steps forward, feeling my way through the darkness of mortality, the days of darkness feel like months and years. Sometimes they are months and years, but in the vast concept of eternity they are comparable to just a few seconds of holding tight to dear Stanley.

But.. Something has changed about my perspective in the last year. I have been climbing mountain after mountain, and the higher I climb, the better the view and the more I can see. Fear of the dark becomes nothing more than a silly temptation the more I realize that faith dispels it entirely each time I choose to rely on my perfect Savior in lieu of my flawed and prideful self.

I have been saying that I feel as though I have been tossed back into the middle of the ocean. I'm just treading water and drifting slowly until I can see the shore again. I feel like I'm back in deep water with only a spiritual Liahona to tell me which direction to swim in. It takes tremendous faith to stay afloat and paddle diligently onward with no immediate or tangible results.

But! As Joseph Smith said "Deep water is what I am wont to swim in. It all has become a second nature to me." More than just second nature though, I have come to discover joy in uncertainty.

Some sliver of a waver (or wave!) excites me. Something about the unknown is terribly beckoning. Some mystery of a story's ending arouses a twisted kind of confidence in me. A confidence in a Creator who creates exhilarating waves and sends them crashing in my direction, an omnipotent Author who ultimately generates a more edifying plot than I could ever imagine with the powers of my own limited being.

More than that, He gives me the power to create my own destiny. Much like a thrilling roller coaster with dives and loops designed to enlighten, His path stretches ahead of me, should I choose to trust in His intimidating construction.

So what am I saying here with all of this over-the-top imagery? Well, I once told my dad (in reference to my mother and me): "Women like us aren't comfortable unless we're uncomfortable." Somehow, through a series of trials designed to test my patience and faith, I have gained an appreciation for the deep water I get thrown into every now and then. Sometimes it smells so strongly of salt that I forget how savory the moments are when I must rely solely on my spiritual senses to direct me. But without the consistent use of my swimming muscles, I'd never get anywhere anyway. So the real idea here is as simple as an oft-quoted memory-deprived fish named Dory from a children's movie:

Just keep swimming.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Just feel.

A recent missionary letter I received said:
"I want so badly for people to just stop whatever they're doing, stop thinking and just feel."

I know he's only 19, but the kid knows what he's talking about.
Sometimes nothing seems real except for the way I feel. Because nothing is real unless I feel something.

Is it possible that in a world of fast-paced technologies and endless representations of reality, we sometimes get so caught up in what swirls around us that we forget to just stop and think about ourselves and what we feel? I submit that maybe we spend so much time in movies and music and other false realities that we sometimes lose sight of our own reality.

At least I do.

So college is all about figuring yourself out, for real, you know? It's the real deal.. Deciding what you want to do for the rest of your life, and what you want to be and what you want to become. At least for me, college is about deciding and deciphering my own personal reality. That's why it doesn't matter what crazy, fun things I did this semester or last. It doesn't matter if I have a date this weekend or not. What matters is that I'm still progressing and learning at a fantastic rate and I'll never get this opportunity again. The fun times I have along the way are all part of that, but only a part. Just another tiny little piece falling into its place in the Master's grand plan.

The talk that inspired a significant portion of these thoughts:

Think about it.
And don't be afraid to feel a little too.

Monday, April 18, 2011


I'm not engaged.
I went to a wedding on Friday.
That's all.

Saturday, April 16, 2011


Yesterday I prayed a lot. worked. :)
That's all.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Just some ideas being tossed around in the dryer.

Growing up is weird.
Change is why we're here.
Faith gets us through.
Agency is power.

To be in time means to change.
-C.S. Lewis

My mind is full of big ideas. Massive concepts. But they're just stuck in there. I have such a hard time squeezing them out. Occasionally I attempt to share one, but when I do I feel as if it's been condensed. Now it's the Reader's Digest version of my profound idea, it shrunk in the dryer and doesn't fit exactly the way it did before.

Some shrunken, shriveled, wrinkled, watered down major big conceptual ideas:







Love and Pride

The main reason I fell into such adamant admiration of Mr. Fred Rogers is because of his astounding ability to convey big ideas in such simple terms. (Check out the alliteration in that last sentence!) Simple enough for a child to understand. The gospel is simple. I want my ideas to be simple. I analyze all of the information that I take in and desperately grasp several concepts at once, trying to tie them all together. It seems to work fine in my mind but when I start to put it into words the threads become thinner and some of them break and everything gets all jumbled up again.

I just feel as though there are only a few underlying concepts to understand in this life. They really are quite simple, but we spend our whole lives examining their complexities in an attempt to comrehend something beyond our mortal comprehension.

I suppose what brings me peace is knowing that we are not meant to understand all things at this time, only what we can. We learn to trust God and be at peace with the fact that the universe is in His merciful, loving hands. We learn to love the questions in our heart as line upon line glorious mysteries are unfolded.

And that is the joy and the glory of this life: To inevitably bring to pass (line upon line, precept by precept) the immortality and eternal life of man.

"Behold, great and marvelous are the works of the Lord. How unsearchable are the depths of the mysteries of Him; and it is impossible that man should find out all His ways. And no man knoweth of His ways save it be revealed unto him; wherefore, brethren, despise not the revelations of God."
Jacob 4:8

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Emotions Unplugged

As courageous as I deem myself to be
your arms drown me in undeniable peace
A peace that I crave every second
of every year and when I’m not within it
I swoon with the uncertainty
Oblivious to what this could be
I skip lightly through the flowered days trying not
to sink too deep into the sweet smelling soil
of your still meadows
But if I did, I know you’d be there waiting
to envelope me in your unfathomable calm
In the deep brown light that hides
under your perpetual eyelashes
I set myself aglow
And even now, as my pen glides across
this yellowed sheet of paper
There is unshakable fear settling in my heart
beside ancient, bottomless stores of hope
They swirl together to create
the mist that sparkles in my eyes
when I look up and see through
your transparent manifestation
I trust that some omnipotent Creator
placed me here in your arms to
blanket me in peace
despite my failed courage

I wrote that over the weekend. About a boy that I guess is pretty special to me right now.
The last few months have been kind of a whirlwind of awesomeness. My first semester of college is wrapping up in the next few weeks.
College? I started this blog when I was a sophomore in high school. I finally understand what people mean when they say that the things you go through in junior high and high school aren't as important as you think they are. But there's no way for anyone to possibly understand that until they've lived through it.

Despite the fact that passionful crushes fade and friendships become long distance, the things we experience as adolescents really are important. Maybe I won't marry my high school sweetheart, but my experiences with him and everyone and everything else made me who I am today. Now I understand what people mean when they say that teenagers are living in their own reality, but that doesn't change the fact that it IS reality for them. I have always disliked how my age defines me.

I have so many dreams..
The literal, symbolic kind that scare me half to death because they are so full of meaning
and the figurative, hopeful wishing kind.

I think of all the things I could do if I really applied myself like the people in history that you hear stories about. The kind of people that start at the bottom but out-work everyone else until they get to the top. I'm the kind of person that floats around in the middle because I'm talented enough to get by, but not motivated enough to push myself to the top. That's a pretty picture.. Sigh. I've always been a floater.

Some examples of crazy dreams:

- American Sign Language Interpreting for General Conference
- Directing a high school or fireside choir
- Singing for an EFY CD or something of that nature

The problem with pursuing my dreams is that there are only two things I am truly passionate about, two things that I really sincerely ache for:

1. To serve and love every single human being that I ever come in contact with
2. Be the best full-time wife and mother that Tori Jensen can possibly be

That's all I really care about. Even the things I dream about and would love to do come in second to those two desires. Everything I do, everything I focus on goes back to those two things. And the gospel, but I figure that's just a given. I'm reminded of the talk "Our Strengths Can Become Our Downfall" by Dallin H. Oaks. Check it out:
As I read through this, I was surprised to discover how many of his examples applied to me. I never thought that there would be a way to rely on the gospel TOO heavily. But lo and behold, when you put it that way..

I suppose that's why my personal spiritual theme for the semester seems to be learning how to rely on myself and my own power to make decisions and do what's right. For so long I have relied heavily on my testimony and being in tune with the spirit, which of course I still do. But Heavenly Father is making it clear to me that I have the knowledge and skills I need to make my own righteous decisions. I've been learning about Agency. It is more than just a gift He gave us to make us happy. Agency is the POWER to be like Him. Our Agency is what gives us the potential to be Godlike. No matter what conditions we are born with or born into, we have a choice to be happy or not. The Gospel trumps EVERYTHING. No matter what hand we are dealt in this life, we have the trump card, the Gospel, that wins every round. We came to this life to learn how to use the unfathomable power of Agency.

One more thing. This comes from a stupid 5-page paper I had to write for my Home and Family Management class, but I worked hard and believe this is well-constructed paragraph:

"Preparation and planning work harmoniously together when we use our planning resources to prepare, specifically prepare for the unexpected. By implementing future plans and utilizing schedules, we organize the resources and information that we already have so that we can exploit them to the optimum level when we collide with time in the present. We have all heard the John Lennon adage “Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans.” Let us then make plans for life to happen, and avoid the intense friction that occurs when what we thought should happen does not coincide with what in reality does happen."

On that note, just a reminder that "whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should." And if we are righteously striving daily to reach our potential by being anxiously engaged and consistently repenting, then we have no need to fear. Just keep loving.