The Merna

Once Upon a Time


Once upon a time there was a girl who knew exactly what she wanted. She knew what she wanted, and it was easy for her to get. Because it was easy, she took her time and danced around it, enjoying the anticipation and savoring the victory.

But then, she got what she wanted. 

And it was just what she wanted. She knew because she had planned for and imagined it all her life. She knew that this was precisely what she had constructed in her mind, her perfectly knowing mind. After all, who could know her mind better than herself?

But, this thing she wanted, it didn’t …something. What did it not do? Maybe that’s not it. Maybe it was her. Maybe she just wouldn’t enjoy it. Why would she do that? This is just the right thing for her. What a fickle and confused girl.

So what did she do? She, perfectly knowing that this was exactly the right thing for her, walked away.

Not just walked away, but didn’t even bother to consider whether she would regret this. Because either way, she didn’t care. Apathy.


And so what now?


What happens to the horizon and to the ideas when the perfect idea, even still the perfect idea, no longer shines. It just doesn’t even matter any more.

Well, what happens is, you learn how little you know your own mind. And you learn that maybe more perfect than perfect, is oddly …imperfect. Not because you can’t have it. You can still have this too. But there’s something more sound and more substantial to this, never-planned, imperfect thing.

And so what happens? We laugh at the idea of us getting everything we ever first thought we wanted. How great a blessing to not get exactly what you want.



Soul Mates


“To say that one waits a lifetime for his soulmate to come around is a paradox. People eventually get sick of waiting, take a chance on someone, and by the art of commitment become soulmates, which takes a lifetime to perfect.” 
― Criss Jami, Venus in Arms

“Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing at all.” -Helen Keller


You know what I almost didn’t do, that I’m so glad I did?

-Chopped off my long, long hair into a really sassy short a-line when I was a freshman in college. It ended up really cute.

-Walked BACK into the middle of a restaurant to hand a stranger my phone number. He called.

-Decided to run for student government even though it meant giving a speech and running against kids who hired planes to fly around the school and chick-fil-a to cater lunch. I won.

-Singing karaoke at a ward activity. I was terrible, that’s all.

-Bringing up the gospel to the woman on the plane next to me and giving her a Book of Mormon. I was so nervous to pull it out and offer. She accepted graciously.

-Waking up early. Any time. Every time.

-Saying yes to playing on the Tyler’s soccer team. They were much, much better than me, but whatever.

-Learning a part way too difficult for me and auditioning for the state youth orchestra in high school. I made it, we played at the Tampa Bay performing Arts center and I’ll never forget it.

-Being honest when Adam Tebbs asked why I wouldn’t date him. I wanted to date a returned-missionary. He went on a mission.

-Going to my work’s fancy dinner party alone, with all my married co-workers, at my boss’s home where he was serving a 7-course meal. It was the most amazing meal I’ve ever had.

My friend Liz used to always say “make decisions based on your faith, not your fears.”

What are you afraid to do?



I saw someone using an old fashioned typewriter the other day. Their fingers clicked around in the most satisfying manner as they clipped each letter and it’s key to print out their magical message. Yes, it must have been magical because a story printed on such a device couldn’t really be anything else.

It’s too deliberate an effort to print whatever the story is, and things that require that much work tend to have a pinch more magic than those that come too easily.

Besides, some things are just non-magical by nature. I mean, can you really see something as harsh and drab as a laptop or macbook coming to life at night, plunking away it’s own secret story and leaving it there for you to read in wonder the next day? No. That won’t happen. But I tell you this, when your brain is blocked, the story left unfinished, or your back turned, you can almost image those typewriter keys coming to life. They will plunk out a secret message, a story of true mystery for you to happen up the next morning.

Not to mention, there is something so oddly satisfying about punching those keys, hearing the clicks, feeling the slightly resistant pressure of the key before it goes all the way down. Ahhh.

I want one.

Why we like sad love stories

A song came on the radio today, “Look What you’ve Done,” and it got me thinking: Why do we sometimes take secret satisfaction in a truly heart-breaking love story?

What is it about the “Romeo and Juliet”‘s, the “Walk to Remember”‘s, the “500 Days of Summer”‘s, the “Remains of the Day”‘s, that just tug at our heartstrings and give us an odd sense of real-ness and satisfaction?

Well, I don’t really know, but I would like to suggest an idea.

Is it because, in stories such as these, it seems that the lovers have found something “ideal”? They have found the most perfect match for themselves, the best best-friend, the fellow-weirdo who likes the “same bizarre-o crap” as them, the perfectly-understanding companion, and then…

They lose them.

Why do we like this? Why do we sometimes feel the most in the sad song, the melancholy song instead of the upbeat-Michael Buble tune? What is it?

Is it maybe because, secretly, when we see these seemingly “perfect” relationships not work out, fall apart, be lost, that we are …relieved?

Is it a relief to think, “even if that perfectly right fit in love does exist out there, it can’t be left to exist. That kind of perfect rightness can’t be allowed to live, even for those who find it”?

Well, maybe.

But, there are no soul mates, just really great, imperfect fits. And, despite not being perfectly in-tune, despite fights over stupid things, despite not always understanding one-another, perfectly real imperfect love stories DO happen. They do exist. And they are allowed to live.

For example:

Sweet Fred had his darling wife and wonderfully sweet, imperfect, and REAL love story for the majority of his life. Watch this with a box of tissues, because this is one true-love story that will induce tears, not because of it’s sad ending, but because of it’s evidence of true love being allowed to exist.

Just Before Sunrise


It’s my favorite time of day.

I used to worry that if I were to make a decisive statement about what time of day was truly my favorite, the other times of day would be hurt. After all, of course I find dusk lovely and mysterious. Of course I think noon offers warmth and sound judgement. Of course starry night gives way to dreams and freedom.

But my honest heart cannot deny it’s sure favor for that hour of early morning, just before the sun comes in full power. 

Earliest morning, where sunlight dilly dallys, deciding whether it is quite ready to step out and start the day.

I know I have written of this before. But for whatever reason, I feel the need to write of it when I think about it. It’s as if I can’t fully feel an emotion until it has been expressed. And so, to early morning, I write this post.

You are the most hopeful time of day.


Thank you early morning for giving me promise. If hope and truth are manifest in a time of day, it is in you.

There’s something different about the light at that time of day.

A couple months ago I found myself running very early one morning. It was around 4:30 when I started. The sun was so far off, the sky almost looked green. I took off towards the east, towards the light. There’s something freeing about running in the dark. It’s as if obstacles otherwise more insistent before us in the light,  somehow dissipate in the darkness. When I run in the dark I like to wave my hands before my running legs, letting my free arms touch the black air and feel their uninhibited space.

As I ran, more light gradually illuminated my path. God was with me on that run. He lets the light in, and I love to watch Him work.


As I ran, I forgot the pain. My legs came down beneath me like they were intended only for movement. The trail I took was along a rushing river. Upon catching glimpses of increasing light, the water became flirtatious. Spurting up here, making noise there, it was anxious to greet it’s friend, morning light.

I loved that path because on the other side of the river, right up close, were beautiful mountains. They were guarding the still-sleeping world from the rising light. Over their peaks, I could see the insistent sun peering. As it shyly slipped through the mountain cracks, I could see more of the branches and vines that hung in my path. The path wound and I loved to turn and see more of what was around me.

Why do I love you, morning?

You are the most reverent time of day. Your silence is deeper than any other time of day. Even the quiet, still of night has been hushed after a full day of noise and chatter. Not you morning. Your silence is born.

In you, I most often feel the whispering of the Spirit. In you, I feel goodness lives and is born again each day, hopeful that it might endure untainted by the harshness of full day and what man awakens therein.

Dear Today,


You’re lovely. Thank you for being a giant cloud of whiteness. I want to step outside and fall, mouth-opened and face-first into the piles of white, soft, glitter you have piled up for me. 

I want to slip into your soft mounds of wintery-magic. 

I want to throw snowballs at the branches of those walking ahead of me and laugh as I watch clumps of snow fall on their unsuspecting heads.

Today, thanks for giving yourself to me. I think you’re swell.

Today, I have a gift for you too. I’m gunna make the most of you. 

Today, thanks for being here.



It could go one of two ways


It has come to my attention lately that I often dream up things I would like to do…if it weren’t for common good sense and decency. Admit it, you yourself have often thought, “what would so-and-so’s reaction be if I just straight up told them that I can smell their toots at the office”? Would they stop doing it? I mean, if they have the GALL to do it in public, then how stupid is it that I’m too afraid to SAY something? 

…See what I’m saying?


So here’s the idea: What IF…what if for one week only, or even just one DAY only, you decided to live completely free of any inhibitions. I’m not saying running naked through the street, necessarily. I’m saying doing what you’re afraid to do because it’s not normal. For me this would have resulted in the following things happening today:

1. Me standing on my chair at lunch time announcing “hear ye, hear ye, the chocolate at the front desk is delicious. I ATE-eth two pieces…you idiots!”

(I dunno why, it just felt like something I wanted to do, but my co-workers would be like, “what the crap weirdo?”)

2. I would have jumped down the stairs two at a time on my way to lunch.

3. I would have kissed someone’s red cheek while we were playing phase ten, in FRONT of my roommates and guests. It looked like it needed kissing right then, and I was too scared.

4. I would tell my CEO that I want more hard stuff to do. That he should send me to London next year and I can actually get some good things done.

5. I would throw my arms around the person who comes to my door tonight and hug his guts out without worrying that he’s gunna know I like him too much.

6. I would skip to my car.

7. I would tell all the ladies I sit by at work that they’re cute and I think they’re funny. AND that I giggle at them when they speak Japanese and they don’t realize it.

8. I would write a poem about the weird people who KNOW how to socialize in the office but CHOOSE not to and read it out loud in the break room. “You know better! Be friendly!”

What would you do?

Oh, also, I would dance badly and not worry about it. It feels good to dance.

Don’t Lock Me Out

Our apartment has two jack-and-jill bathrooms. One of these bathrooms has a third door in the middle of the bathroom to allow guests to come in without having to go through someone’s bedroom.

Roommates Katie and Amber share this bathroom. They keep that middle door locked at night and their bedroom doors.

Do they not realize I know where the spare is?

I let them fall asleep first. I had been rambling about something when they both snuck off  and got in their beds, locking me out and leaving me in the dark. Well!

With my ear pressed against their bedroom doors, I waited to hear the sounds of their sleeping. Then, taking the spare key, i carefully and quietly unlocked that middle bathroom door…the door that lets you into their jack-and-jill bathroom…the jack-and-jill bathroom that let’s you into both their bedrooms.

Like a wild woman I shrieked into their bathroom, darted into Katie’s room first, RIPPED her covers off, threw on the lights and darted for Amber’s room. I could hear Katie’s horrified scream of warning to Amber as I burst through Amber’s bedroom door. Her terrified eyes barely peeked above the covers seconds before I yanked them clean off the bed. Throwing them to the floor and laughing, I flipped her lights violently on and dashed from the bedroom.

Good luck getting back to sleep now!

Yes, the answer is yes. They love living with me.

I cried


Mostly I laughed and then there were tears. My mother and I got into an argument today. It was fierce. What did we argue about?


You heard me. I can’t really get into it (it was too long …and elaborate). But basically I told her that while I do strongly feel that Liam Hemsworth is undeniably hot, Josh Hutcherson is also hot in his own rights. I mean, you tell me that if you met a Josh Hutcherson with those cheekbones and that jaw line in real life, that you wouldn’t think “there’s a hot dude.”

No, there is NO question about whether any female on earth would find Liam hot. But, the point was Josh is ALSO hot, just a different hot.

Here is what inspired the debate:

…alright…maybe Liam is “hotter.”

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