Saturday, December 31, 2011

Reflections on 2011

I really can't believe that we're already ringing in a new year.  It seems like it was just a few weeks ago that we were celebrating the arrival of 2011.  And yet, it also seems like it's been 2011 for a very long time.  Isn't that how it always is with time?

I've been thinking a lot about this past year and all that has happened.  It's been a pretty pivotal year for me.  Not because there have been any big events in my life---I haven't graduated from college (yet), I haven't gotten married, I haven't moved or made any other really big outward changes---but because I have changed.  I've learned a lot about myself, and I think I've grown a great deal.

My personal journey through the year 2011 has been long and winding and full of ups and downs.  I've laughed until I couldn't breathe and my stomach hurt; I've cried until I've wondered how I could have any tears left.  I've met and befriended some people, strengthened relationships with people I already knew, and rekindled friendships with people I thought I'd never see again.  I've developed my musical talents in ways I'd never expected.  I've said more goodbyes than I care to count, but I've also said a great deal of hellos I'd never dared to hope for.  I've shouldered burdens I never thought I'd be equal to.  I've written poems, arranged music, and experienced many other forms of personal revelation and inspiration.  I've studied and learned and progressed in my education, taking some classes that I've thoroughly enjoyed and others that have driven me absolutely insane.  I've made a number of big decisions concerning my future involving possibilities I'd never before considered.  I've made mistakes and done things I shouldn't have---and occasionally chosen not to do things that I should have done.  I've drawn closer to my Savior through scripture study, music, interactions with others, prayer, and personal revelation.  In the words of Souza, which are printed on the cover of my journal, I have danced as though no one was watching me, loved as though I had never been hurt before, sung as though no one could hear me, and tried to live as though heaven were on earth.  I've been blessed beyond my capacity to express or even to understand.

I'm so grateful for the incredible experiences I've had this year, and I'm grateful for this year ahead where I can continue to learn and grow, to try my strengths and become the best person I can be.  The year 2012 is likely to be even more pivotal for me than the year 2011 has been.  I'm looking forward to it, and I hope it will be a truly wonderful year.  Happy New Year!

Friday, December 30, 2011


I just realized that in the month of December, I have done baptisms for the dead eight times.  At four different temples.  And five of those eight times have been in the past two weeks.  With a break from school, family time, Christmas, New Years, and eight trips to a temple, it's no wonder I've been so happy this month!  :)

Wednesday, December 28, 2011


I turned the page of the book, noting that I only had a few pages left.  I sat, quite literally, on the edge of my seat, completely captivated, not knowing how the rest of the story would pan out---desperate to know, and yet, at the same time, afraid to find out.  My eyes found the final phrase, the last word, and then I sat, my brain like a pinball machine, frantically trying to assimilate all of the new information I'd just received.

"To be continued."  How I have come to loathe that phrase.  It's every avid reader's nightmare.  It means months or, more typically, years of waiting to discover what will happen next.  And yet, it also means that the reader has something else to look forward to from the author he/she has come to admire and the characters he/she has come to love.

Sound familiar to anyone?  This concept is certainly familiar to me.  However, I never thought I'd see the day that it would happen as I read the work of someone I know well.  Come to think of it, I wonder if she did either.  Two weeks ago, after two years of providing encouragement and advice and receiving chapter-by-chapter installments, I finally received the thing I'd been waiting for---a full and complete draft of the first novel-in-the-making of my favorite budding author.  And can I just say that I'm absolutely flabbergasted!  I had been from day one, and yet the finished product is beyond anything I'd been expecting!  With all the craziness of the past two weeks, I hadn't been able to even touch it until yesterday, and once I did, I was completely hooked.  I had to force myself to stop reading it last night so I could go to bed at a decent hour, and it was the first thing I came back to this morning.  I've only just finished it, and my brain is definitely still reeling.

Oh, have I not yet revealed the identity of this budding author of whom I speak?  Her name is Allie; she was my roommate of two years and is my good friend for life.  And the reading world had better hold its breath---I sense a pretty big fantasy name in the making.  :)

Monday, December 26, 2011

The Aftermath

Well, it's the day after Christmas, and I think we're all probably experiencing a little let-down.  I just thought I'd share one more spiritual thought related to Christmas.  It's a song I heard in my family's ward's Christmas program yesterday.  The song is called "Shine for Me Again, Star of Bethlehem," and it really touched me when I heard it.  I thought it would be appropriate to share the day after Christmas, because the lyrics are tender and powerful and remind us that it's important to celebrate Christ all year round, not just at Christmas time:

The night was long, we traveled far,
At times I looked but could not see the star.
Yet still it shone, unveiling then
The way to Bethlehem.
My heart held fear 'mid puzzled joy,
For I was only a small shepherd boy.
And on a hillside soft and green,
I heard an angel sing.

I saw the midnight sky aflame with
Radiant angels bathed in light, holy light.
Bringing word that Christ was born and
Beckoning to find him, go and find him.
A sweeter face I ne'er will see
Than of those loving eyes smiling up at me.
I found a King; I found a friend
That night in Bethlehem.

But life goes on, years beyond one brief night of my youth.
Time clouds my vision of truth.
And tho' I stumble and fall I can hear someone call,
"Do not despair, your star is still there."

That Christmas night so long ago
Has filled my life with light because I know
That he lives now as he did then,
A King in Bethlehem.
Whose love never ends.
Shine for me again, star of Bethlehem.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Today has been a wonderful day full of love, laughter, and light.  Of course we've had the presents and the treats, and I'm definitely super excited about the gifts I received this year.  But more importantly, we were also able to spend time in worship and wonder.  As occurred in most wards today, my family's ward's Sacrament Meeting consisted of several musical numbers devoted to the birth of the Babe who has been called the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, and the Prince of Peace.  All the numbers were beautiful, and I felt the Spirit so strongly that I wasn't able to sing the closing hymn, "Joy to the World," because I was overcome by tears of joy.

Amidst all the trimmings and trappings, I thought I'd give a little spiritual thought from someone who can say it much better than I.  In the words of President Uchtdorf, as spoken during the First Presidency Christmas devotional, "May each Christmas season remind us to lift up our voices and fill our hearts with joy and gratitude that Christ the King has come! Christ lives! He is real. He is our Redeemer at Christmas and always."

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Saturday, December 24, 2011


I can hardly believe it's Christmas Eve!  I've been singing Christmas songs and enjoying Christmas decorations all month, and yet it just doesn't seem like it's time for the actual day.  But I'm so excited!  I'm especially excited for all the traditions surrounding Christmas Day.  I was just thinking about my family's Christmas traditions; some of them have changed over the years as we've changed, but some of them have remained constant throughout the years:

  • Decorating: I've always loved helping decorate our house for Christmas, especially the tree.  We always do it the day after Thanksgiving; that used to be because we just couldn't wait another day to decorate.  :)  Nowadays, we choose that day more because that's when I'm home to help!  :)

  • Christmas music: Who doesn't love Christmas music?  I may be one of the "scrooges" who waits until after Thanksgiving to start playing Christmas music, but after Thanksgiving, I'm basically listening to or singing Christmas music all the time!  My favorite kinds of songs have changed over the years (I used to favor the children's songs like "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" and "Santa Claus is Coming to Town"; now I prefer songs that focus on Christ), but my love for Christmas music hasn't.  :)

  • Acting out the Christmas story: Every Christmas Eve when I was growing up, we used to get dressed up and act out the different characters of the Christmas story while my dad read the story from the Bible; we don't usually do that anymore, but it created a lot of fond memories.

  • "The Littlest Shepherd": The last thing we always do on Christmas Eve is read "The Littlest Shepherd," our favorite fictional Christmas story, together as a family.  Either my mom or my dad (they alternate years) will read it out loud to the rest of us.  It always makes me cry.  This is one tradition that has persisted throughout the years.  My mother's family used to read it when she was growing up, and my family has done so every year for as long as I can remember.  The only thing that has changed is that my appreciation for the story has deepened over the years.

  • Food: We always have homemade pizza for dinner on Christmas Eve, homemade cinnamon rolls and hot chocolate for Christmas Day breakfast, and ham cooked with carrots and potatoes for Christmas dinner.  Yum!

  • Christmas morning: We weren't allowed to wake up our parents until 7:00 a.m., which drove us crazy when we were little!  Now I like my sleep as much as my parents.  :)  Once we get up, we have to wait to go downstairs until everyone's ready, and we can't go into the family room to investigate the presents until after we've all eaten breakfast.  Then we take turn opening presents, which draws the present-opening out for several hours.  :)

I love my family's Christmas traditions!  What are your favorite Christmas traditions?


Jill and I finished our puzzle last week!  It only took us, what, two months?  :)

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Life is Good!

Yesterday was one of those days where you just can't help but be happy!  I started out the day having breakfast with one of my favorite people.  Then I went to the chiropractor and got my back and arm adjusted; both had been sore ever since I slipped and fell on Monday, and they both felt so much better after they were adjusted.  Sweet relief!  Then I spent the afternoon arranging music.  :)  Finally, I got to go back to my high school alma mater and see the annual Candlelight performance; not only that, I actually brought my cello and played the traditional Hallelujah chorus finale with the Bingham Symphony!  It was so fun, and the whole evening brought back so many memories.

Oh, and the inversion finally started to clear out yesterday!  I saw the sun shining and beautiful blue skies for the first time in days!  Can life get any better than this?  I submit that it cannot!  :)

Monday, December 19, 2011


I just realized that today is the 19th of December.  That means that I will be graduating from BYU with my undergrad degree exactly 4 months from today!  Holy cow!  That concept definitely hasn't sunk in yet.  And it probably still won't have sunk in by the time I don the cap and gown.  :)  And yet I'm so close I can almost taste it!  Four months!

But who's counting?  :)


Today I visited the daycare where I've worked for the past two summers.  I had the chance to visit back in October when I came home for General Conference weekend but hadn't had a chance since.  Two months isn't generally considered a super long time, but when it comes to young children, it definitely is!  I was astounded to see that half of the toddler class now consists of children with whom I used to work in the infant room.  Now they're walking, and some are even talking!  Most of them didn't recognize me, but a few did.  The other half of the infants I used to work with are still in the baby room, but they're getting so much bigger!  They're sitting up, scooting, and even starting to stand!  I could hardly believe my eyes!

Among the children two and older, the changes weren't quite so drastic, though it was still apparent that they're growing and changing rapidly.  It was so fun to go into the twos', threes', and fours' classrooms, because the kids there recognized me and all ran to give me hugs.  Even the ones who didn't know me wanted to hug me!  :)  It was so fun to hear their chatter as they told me all about the goings on in their little lives.

And I loved being able to interact with my former coworkers.  I'd become good friends with many of them and have missed being able to chat with them on a regular basis.  It was great to hear about the goings on in their lives and catch them up on mine.  All of that rolled together made me really want to just go back and work at the daycare instead of going back to school!  :)  But that's not meant to be.  One more semester, and I'll be on my way to grad school, which will lead to my ultimate career, which will, hopefully, still give me the opportunity to work with children on a regular basis.  :)  And despite the nostalgia and longing, it was definitely worth the trip down memory lane to visit the daycare today.  :)

Sunday, December 18, 2011

December Highlights

So I hadn't realized how long I've been absent from the Blogosphere until I looked at the date on my last post.  Whoops!  Finals and such will do that to a person.  Not that eleven days is that long, but considering how many blog-worthy events have occurred in those eleven days, it might as well have been two months!  So I'll just give some highlights from the past week:

  • On Sunday, the 11th, I participated in Christmas programs on both the ward and the stake level.  As I believe I've mentioned before, I am the ward choir director in my ward, and I was directly involved in much of the ward program.  The ward choir sang two numbers, and both went beautifully!  I always say that the performances are what make being the ward choir director totally worth it.  There's just something so different---almost magical---about a performance, where everything just comes together liked you'd never expected or dreamed.  It's just...beautiful.  I was also able to accompany four wonderful girls singing "Away in a Manger."  Their number went beautifully, and I was glad to be a part of it, as well as to be able to listen to the other numbers.

  • The stake Christmas fireside was also wonderful!  As the stake music co-chair, I had been jointly in charge of putting the whole thing together and trying to make sure everything ran as smoothly as possible.  We had a few hitches and some other craziness that would take way too long to explain, but in the end, everything worked out, and my co-chair and I received many compliments on how everything had gone.  My favorite part was conducting the Hallelujah chorus!  For years, my family's stake has sung the Hallelujah chorus as the closing congregational number at their stake Christmas fireside, and I thought it might be fun to try it with my stake.  So I did, and it actually went really well.  Everyone seemed to really enjoy it.

  • From Monday to Wednesday, I spent most of my time immersed to my eyeballs in studying for finals.  I just about died, but I made it through, and I already know (and am very happy with) the scores on three of my four finals.  I'll have to wait quite a while for the fourth, but that's okay.  I'm finally done!  :)  Only one more semester to go!

  • From Wednesday afternoon to today, I've basically done nothing but have fun with my friends (especially my roommate Jill and my friend Toni) and enjoy the company of my family.  It has been so wonderful on my frayed emotions and battered brain.  I haven't had to think about school or callings or anything like that, and it's been incredible!  And get this: I still have two weeks and two days left in my break!  Ha!  Absolute bliss!

So that's how things have been for me lately.  For those of you who actually like reading my random prattling, I'll try to be more consistent from now on, especially over this break while I actually have time.  :)

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Celebrate Galilee

Christmas is nearly upon us!  In the midst of Christmas shopping, listening to Christmas music, preparing for finals week, and doing all the other crazy things involved with the hectic side of this season, I thought I'd just pause a moment and reflect on the true purpose of Christmas, which I think we too often forget at this busy time of the year.  I remembered a poem I wrote three years ago at Christmas time and thought it would be fun to share it with you.  I've titled it "Celebrate Galilee."  I hope you enjoy it!

Celebrate Galilee

The lights are bright, the tree superb,
The gifts are wrapped and neat.
And hundreds all around the world
Think Christmas is complete.

But there are those who speculate
That gifts and shiny things
Do not convey the wondrous joy
This holiday should bring.

And even those who know the truth
Of the birth of Christ, our Lord,
Still wonder why a little Babe
Should be important to the world.

Why is it that we celebrate
The birthday of a Babe
Who was born two thousand years ago?
Why doesn’t the significance fade?

Yes, He performed many miracles
And served thousands in his day,
But what set Him apart from others
Who have followed in His way?

To know this answer, one must look
At the last days He lived,
When He gave us the greatest gifts
That anyone could give.

In a sacred grove of olive trees
Now called Gethsemane,
Christ suffered for every sin and pain
Ever borne by you or me.

He bled from every pore because
He loved us, every one.
And now all those who walk this earth
Can be saved because of the Son.

Then, on the hill called Calvary,
Christ was crucified;
And yet, He asked God to forgive
His killers before he died.

Such was the greatness of this Man,
That, despite the awful pain,
He’d show His love for each of us
By doing it again.

Yet Jesus’ work was not yet done:
And after three days’ time,
He rose from death and broke the bands
With which we’re all confined.

And so, because of that small Babe,
Born on that Christmas night,
Each of us can live again
And gain eternal life.

So understand the insightful words
Of one general authority:
“Before we can understand Bethlehem,
We must know Galilee.”

Sunday, December 4, 2011

My New Addiction

Because I don't already have enough potential temptations, distractions, and addictions to deal with, I have discovered another pastime that I find almost indecently enjoyable---puzzles!  I've always enjoyed puzzles to an extent, but I've always lost patience with them after a while.  What I've realized is that I've never given myself enough time to really get into them.  For the first few minutes (perhaps even as much as a half hour), all you get are a couple of pieces hooked together.  Then, suddenly, you find your rhythm and momentum, and then you're on fire!  We have a 1000-piece puzzle on my card table in the living room, and I'd say I completed about an eighth of it this evening!

Unfortunately, it took me several hours to get that far.  And I've realized that puzzles can be almost as dangerous to my grades as books.  If I get too engrossed in the puzzle, I won't want to do anything else!  Fortunately, unlike with reading, there is a limited amount of time during which I can tolerate working on a puzzle (whereas I could read all day long if I had the time!), and it's not quite as cliff-hanger-esque if I leave the puzzle to sit for days at a time (which explains why there has been next to no progress on the puzzle since my roommate and I started it weeks ago!).  So now I know what I can do when I have boatloads of free time on my hands and nothing to do!  (Like that's ever going to happen!)  :)

Thursday, November 24, 2011

A Change in Me

A couple of days ago, I saw a production of Beauty and the Beast with my mother and sister.  It was very well done, and I'm really glad I had that opportunity.  On thing that I particularly enjoyed was hearing all of the songs and dialogues that aren't in the movie version.  The song that stuck out most to me was the one Belle sings near the end of the second act, after she has rescued her father from being lost in the woods.  She's talking about her changed feelings toward the beast, and this is what she sings:

There's been a change in me
A kind of moving on
Though what I used to be
I still depend upon
For now I realize
That good can come from bad
That may not make me wise
But oh it makes me glad

And I---I never thought I'd leave behind
My childhood dreams
But I don't mind
For now I love the world I see
No change of heart; a change in me

For in my dark despair
I slowly understood
My perfect world out there
Had disappeared for good
But in it's place I feel
A truer life begin
And it's so good and real
It must come from within

And I---I never thought I'd leave behind
My childhood dreams but I don't mind
I'm where and who I want to be
No change of heart; a change in m

That song really stood out to me, because I feel like those lyrics can be applied to a lot of situations, including my own life.  Every day I feel like I have another experience that removes more of the innocence of my childhood and adolescent years, and even though it's hard, I know what I've become is much better than what I used to be.  I'm far from perfect, but I know that the experiences I'm going through, both good and bad, will get me there if I use them for my good.

Happy Thanksgiving!

It's Thanksgiving Day!  I've been looking forward to this day for a long time, mostly because I've desperately needed a break from school and have been anxious to spend some good quality time with my family.  However, the other wonderful thing I love about this time of year is the extra measure of gratitude that everyone expresses at this time of year.  I try to express my gratitude at all times of the year, but what better day than Thanksgiving to do so again?  Now, my list of all the things I'm grateful for could go one for pages and pages, so I'll just list the most important ones here:

  • I'm grateful for my Savior Jesus Christ, for the Atonement that He performed for everyone on this earth, and for His incredible love for me.

  • I'm grateful for my family and for their love and support.  I'm grateful to be with them at this time: to chat with my mother, to be teased by my father, to banter with my brothers, to tease and tickle my sister, and to hold our little critters.  :)

  • I'm grateful for my extended family and for the wonderful relationships I have with them.

  • I'm grateful for my amazing friends, who have gotten me through some pretty rough times and given me some incredibly good times as well.

  • In particular, I'm grateful for my roommates, both past and current roommates.  They have also helped me through difficult times and shared wonderful times with me as well.

  • I'm grateful for music and for the incredible blessings it brings in my life.  I'm grateful for my ability to play and sing music and to be able to listen to it as well.

  • I'm grateful that I have a home to go to, both with my family and in my college apartment, and that I always have enough to eat and a warm place to sleep.

  • I'm grateful for my health and that I have the physical capacity to do all the things that I enjoy doing most: hiking, bicycling, playing sports, playing my instruments, wrestling with my siblings and cousins, swimming, and everything else I love to do.

  • I'm grateful for the beauties of nature and the chance that I have to spend so much time enjoying those beauties when camping, hiking, or just taking a walk around my home.

  • I'm grateful to be a part of the true and living Gospel which has been restored to the earth.  I'm grateful for the Restoration, the Book of Mormon, and living prophets who lead and guide the Church today.  I'm grateful for temples and for the work I can do for those who have gone before.

  • I'm grateful for the Holy Ghost and the chance that I have to be guided by the Spirit in the important decisions I make in my life.

And the list could go on and on and on, right down to my gratitude for painkillers, toothbrushes, and toilet paper.  :)  And I guess the last one I'll add now is that I'm grateful for this holiday that we have today: a chance for each of us to show an extra measure of gratitude for all our many incredible blessings.

Friday, November 18, 2011

I Love the SNOW!!!!!

It's snowing outside, and I'm so happy!  :)  In honor of Provo's first real snowfall, I'm going to share with you a poem I wrote two years ago (whoa...has it really been two years??).  It's my own version of the song "Let it Snow" and can be sung to the same tune.  Enjoy!

Oh the weather outside is charming,
The fluffy flakes disarming.
And, though I have places to go,
Let it snow!  Let it snow!  Let it snow!

It doesn’t show signs of ending,
And on it I am depending,
For it makes me to “heaven” flow.
Let it snow!  Let it snow!  Let it snow!

How I love to dance in the white!
(Just as long as I don’t break a limb!)
And, as long as I stay upright,
I’m full of vigor and vim!

Now that winter is here, I’m guessing
Many don’t think it’s a blessing,
But I really do love it so!
Let it snow!  Let it snow!  Let it snow!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

It's a Beautiful Day!

I just realized that it's been more than a week since I posted last.  Sad day!  There hasn't really been much to say of late, and I've been up to my eyeballs in homework and other craziness.  However, I just wanted to mention a little something that I've just been thinking about for the past few minutes as I've been sitting here, trying to convince myself to do my homework.

Right now I'm sitting on my living room couch with my laptop on...well, on my lap.  :)  A few minutes ago, I happened to glance outside and had my breath momentarily taken away by what I saw: a beautiful snow-covered mountain with the sun hitting it just right to make it shine.  Now, I grew up with mountains, so it's not like that sight is necessarily new to me.  But it never gets old for me either.  I love the mountains!  And I'm just loving the beautiful fall weather and the sunshine too!  Roll it all together, and I'm a pretty happy girl right now.

As I was staring at the beautiful view outside, a song came to my mind.  It comes from the CD of songs from the 2010 Especially For Youth (EFY) program.  The song is called "Walking in Sunlight."

It's a beautiful day, even though it's dark out there.
You've got sun on your face---take it with you everywhere!
And it warms your heart that's beating; it comes from believing.
And it's a beautiful, a beautiful feeling!

It's like walking in sunlight
When the whole world's covered in rainclouds.
You're walking in sunlight,
Finding the truth and living it out loud.
Yeah, when you know what's right,
It's like walking in sunlight, sunlight!

It's amazing to me how someone else can find
The light that they need radiating in your eyes.
Then it warms their heart that's beating, and suddenly you're leading them
To that beautiful, beautiful feeling!

It's like walking in sunlight
When the whole world's covered in rainclouds.
You're walking in sunlight,
Finding the truth and living it out loud.
Yeah, when you know what's right,
It's like walking in sunlight, sunlight!

It's easy to forget how blessed we are,
But life's better when we remember, when we remember.

It's like walking in sunlight
When the whole world's covered in rainclouds.
You're walking in sunlight,
Finding the truth and living it out loud.
Yeah, when you know what's right,
It's like walking in sunlight, sunlight!

Okay, so it's true that this song has very little to do with actual weather, but it's the song that came into my head when I was looking outside, and it has a beautiful message.  I hope it brightens someone's day---it certainly brightened mine!  :)

Monday, November 7, 2011

Campuses, Cousins, Cooking, Conferences, and Choirs

This past weekend was pretty much spectacular!  When I write my journal entry about it (I didn't have time yesterday to do so, so I'll have to do some catching up soon), it'll probably be several pages, long, but I'll try not to be as wordy here.  :)

It started out on Friday.  I missed all my classes that day (first time I've ever done so except in the case of serious illness, which has only happened maybe twice in my life, so it was really weird) in order to visit the campus of Utah State University.  The presidency of the BYU chapter of NSSLHA coordinated with the presidency of the USU chapter of NSSLHA to make this day happen.  The USU presidency set up appointments with various faculty in the Communication Disorders department at USU and even set up tours of the clinic and other facilities there.  I was able to meet many faculty who teach graduate level courses in Speech Language Pathology and Audiology and get many questions answered.  Since I've been seriously considering attending USU for my graduate education, this was a wonderful opportunity for me.  Basically, by the time the day was over, I had decided that that is definitely where I want to go to grad school!  :)  It also was a day of firsts for me.  I was the one to drive the group to Logan in a car rented from BYU.  It was my first time driving a minivan, my first time driving that far, my first time missing classes the way I did, and my first time tasting Aggie ice cream (which is quite delicious!).  Over all, it was definitely a good day!

I spent Saturday morning and early afternoon being productive with homework and such, which was definitely a good thing.  :)  Then I cooked a late lunch/early dinner for Jill, her cousin Brianne, and myself.  The thing was, Jill didn't know her cousin was going to be there too!  A few days ago, Jill showed me a picture of her cousin, and I realized that she had been in several of my past music classes and is currently in my choir class!  We laughed at the connection, but that was the end of our discussions on that point.  Meanwhile, I talked to Brianne about the connection the next day, and we decided it would be fun to surprise Jill by having Brianne come over to our apartment.  It's the first time I've planned a surprise event for anyone, and it was quite fun!  Jill was super surprised and seemed pleased, which made me happy.  We had dinner together and then were able to just sit and chat for a while, which was great.  Jill and Brianne hadn't seen each other for a long time, so I was glad I was the instigator that gave them the chance to catch up together.

Then Saturday evening and Sunday afternoon were stake conference for us.  The Saturday evening session was wonderful, as was the Sunday afternoon session.  I felt the Spirit and really enjoyed the messages that were shared.  But the main event that took place for me was the performance of the stake choir.  For two months my co-chair (Jeremy) and I have been working on announcing stake choir and conducting rehearsal after rehearsal, and yesterday was when it finally came to reality.  We performed two Mack Wilberg numbers: "Praise to the Lord" and "I Believe in Christ."  Each was accompanied by a pianist and an organist.  Jeremy conducted "Praise to the Lord" while I helped the organist with all the stops and volume controls.  The number sounded fantastic!  Then I conducted "I Believe in Christ" as the closing number.  Now let me tell you something.  I had been stressing and worrying and agonizing and slaving to make these pieces come to life.  When the practices weren't exactly what I'd hoped, I'd had to just put my faith in the Lord that He would help things turn out as He wanted them to.  But when the closing number began, all my cares and fears melted away.  I conducted that number with more energy and fervor than I've ever conducted a choir number before, and those 70-some odd amazing singers and two incredible accompanists simply blew me away!  I had to fight hard to keep from crying!  (I later found out that the stake president was crying!)  I just conducted with a huge smile on my face, and then when it was over, I sat down and cried.  :)  The Spirit and beauty of that number were indescribable.  I feel blessed and privileged to have even witnessed it, let alone been a part of it.  I will never forget that sacred experience.  I'm so grateful for my callings!  Being involved with music on both the ward and the stake level has blessed my life immeasurably.  That was definitely a wonderful climax to an amazing weekend!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Wordle---My New Addiction

Yesterday I was introduced to a website that has given me a great deal of entertainment in only 24 hours.  It's called Wordle.  It's perfect entertainment for all you word nerds out there, like me.  :)  All you have to do is go to and click on the link to create your own "word cloud."  Then you paste any body of text you want into the indicated box, and voila!  You have your own word cloud, which sizes the words according to their frequency in the text.  If a word occurs more often, it will be bigger than the others.  I've used scriptures, Conference talks, my own church talks, school essays, and even my own journal entries.  I've actually had the most fun with my journal entries, because I like seeing what words I use most often.  I put six different journal entries from six different times in the last few years, and here were the results: some of the most common words I use are really, just, get, know, went, actually, and fun.  I'll go for that.  :)  And it's interesting to see the names of people that appear more frequently.  You can tell what time of my life the journal came from based on the names of the people that appear most often.  For instance, Jill's name was huge on my most recent journal entry: big surprise.  :)

Basically, I love words.  Writing is one of the easiest ways for me to express myself.  That's why I write such long blogs, e-mails and cards (if you've ever received either from me, you know what I mean!), and journal entries.  I love expressing details and emotions through language.  So making word clouds out of that language has been super fun for me.  What can I say?  I'm a word nerd!  :)

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

A Good Day in the Making

5:12 a.m.---The sound of my phone's "text received" ringtone jolted me out of a deep sleep.  Not yet realizing what time it was, I knew one thing: my alarm hadn't yet gone off, and anyone who was texting me before my alarm went off was insane.  I opened my phone, saw that the text was from my roommate Jill, and read one word: "Temple?"  That was when I looked at the clock and realized that the text had actually not arrived before my alarm was supposed to go off, but 12 minutes after.  Excellent.  (Now you see why I concluded that anyone who was texting me before my alarm went off would have been stark raving mad.  :))  I realized later that I had accidentally set my alarm for 5:00 p.m. instead of  5:00 a.m.  It was fortunate that Jill and I had planned to go together, because without her waking me up I probably wouldn't have woken up until 7:30.  That's one reason I love having someone to go to the temple with me: we can help each other by making sure we actually go.  However, when I first realized what had happened, I almost went back to sleep.  Getting to the temple ten to fifteen minutes later than usual in the early morning hours can be the difference between finishing a trip with time and to spare, and waiting for two to three hours and then having to leave early because you don't want to be late for class.

Fortunately, I had two things going for me: first, I didn't have class until 10:00, so I knew I really did have plenty of time to do baptisms, even if I did have to wait a little longer than normal; second, I had Jill to encourage me.  Since I was her ride to the temple, if I didn't go, she couldn't go.  Not that she would have said anything in that regard: she's way too nice.  :)  But I wouldn't have wanted to be the one who kept her from going.  Also, I really wanted to go to the temple, because it had been three weeks since either Jill or I last been to the temple.  We'd missed three weeks in a row for various reasons and had promised each other that this week we would go.  So I simply got up and made record time for getting dressed and ready for the temple.  In fact, I was still ready before Jill.  :)  She had texted me before she was completely ready to go to give me enough time to get ready without leaving her standing there waiting for me.  I don't think she had expected me to be ready quite so quickly.  :)

But soon we were both ready and were off to the temple.  Turns out I could have taken advantage of being ready before Jill to go scrape off my car, but I hadn't anticipated the need.  Welcome to November.  Ah well.  Being at the temple was absolutely wonderful!  I can tell that my spirit had missed it.  And after all this debate with myself over timing and waiting and whatnot, we were still back in our apartment by a little after 7:00!  So I was essentially ready for the day before my every-other-day-alarm would have normally gone off!  Ha!  So Jill and I had time to make and eat a good breakfast together, sit and chat, and even play a couple of rounds of "It Came to Pass" before we needed to head off to work and school.  Temple, breakfast, friendship.  Can there be a better way to start off the day?  I think not!  :)

Friday, October 28, 2011

My Roommates Rock!

This post illustrates just one of many, many reasons that I love my roommates.  :)

So today I got home from campus and was in the middle of making lunch for myself when my roommate Jill came into the kitchen and said, "I have something for you."  I couldn't imagine what it would be.  If there had been some occasion close at hand (birthday, Christmas, etc.), I might have suspected more what was coming.  As it was, I wondered if it was just a piece of mail or something more mundane.  Then Jill put her hand in her coat pocket...and pulled out the "How to Train Your Dragon" soundtrack!!!!!

AHHHHHHH!!!!  That basically describes my reaction.  :)  I was so excited I think I hugged Jill a total of five different times.  I'm pretty sure she wasn't expecting that much.  :)  It was pretty similar to the reaction I gave my former roommate Allie when she gave me the Steven Sharp Nelson Christmas CD.  I really like my music, okay?  :)

But I'd been wanting the "How to Train Your Dragon" soundtrack for a long time, so I was super excited about it.  Apparently Jill had been thinking for a couple of weeks that she wanted to get it for me, and then when she finally did get it, she didn't want to wait until Christmas to give it to me, so she gave it to me as a late birthday/early Christmas present.  I'll go for that.  :)  Basically, I have awesome roommates, both past and present, and I love it!  Love you, Jill and Allie!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


Yes, I went to school without a coat on today---on purpose.

Yes, I am aware that it's currently 36 degrees outside.

Yes, I was actually comfortable outside without a coat.

And yes, I am aware that I am crazy.  Deal with it.  :)

Monday, October 24, 2011

Music, Music, Music :)

Yesterday I gave a talk in Sacrament Meeting.  Though the other two speakers were speaking about a different topic, I had been asked to speak about music (I can't imagine why! ;)).  I had actually been asked to speak about that topic last Sunday, but I'd been out of town, so they had me keep the same topic for this Sunday.  I was thrilled to give a talk about music!  I had a hard time at first figuring out what direction I should take with it, but then I felt prompted to go through and discuss the various points laid out in the preface of the hymnbook.  Once I did that, everything just kind of fell into place.  I think it went pretty well, and I was even able to sprinkle my talk with a couple of humorous comments that got some good chuckles from the audience.  :)  I got a ton of compliments afterward (including several people who mentioned that my choice of using the preface was a good approach), and I hope I brought the Spirit and was able to touch someone through what I said.

And for those who are wondering, I did make a plug for ward and stake choir during my talk.  But I only did it because the bishopric told me I had to!  :)  I don't like being the annoying ward choir director, so I try to keep my nagging to a minimum.  :)  But I did express how much I love my callings.  Because, hey, I do!  :)

Speaking of my callings, ward choir went well, though we seem to be losing girls.  We had five or six men yesterday and only two girls.  Weird.  Hopefully that will pick up.  But stake choir...oh, stake choir was AWESOME!  We had probably around fifty people there!  Ideally I'd like to have between eighty and a hundred, because we're doing two Mack Wilberg numbers, and I really want a big sound.  But even if we don't get any more than what we had, it'll be fine.  Yesterday we ran through both numbers a couple of times, and I definitely got chills!  It was amazing!  I'm so excited for Stake Conference.  It's going to be great!

So basically, I love music.  That's all.  :)

Thursday, October 20, 2011


So, I may or may not be addicted so cinnamon.  I may or may not have recently discovered that it tastes incredibly delicious on oatmeal (thanks, Jill :)).  I also may or may not have put it on my frosted mini spooners as an experiment and discovered that it makes their flavor slightly (ever so slightly) reminiscent of Cinnamon Toast Crunch or Life cereal.  I may or may not be eager to try the idea I got from a friend of putting cinnamon in hot chocolate.  My favorite dessert may or may not be cinnamon chocolate cake.  I may or may not love putting applesauce, cinnamon, and sugar over my waffles.  I may or may not occasionally get a spoonful of peanut butter and sprinkle cinnamon and sugar on it and eat it straight off the spoon. I may or may not adore my cousin's recipe for cinnamon syrup.  I may or may not love snickerdoodles because of their sweet cinnamony goodness.  I may or may not be tempted to add cinnamon to every dessert I make from now on.

And I may or may not need a bigger container of cinnamon soon.

Okay, that's a definite yes to all of the above.  :)

Each Life that Touches Mine for Good

Yesterday at Institute, I received a lot of insight and inspiration.  I also heard several great quotes from our latter-day prophets.  There was one quote that really stood out to me.  The teacher didn't quote it verbatim, and I haven't been able to find it to make sure it's right, so this is probably a paraphrase, but I like the message: "If we believe that God placed planets in their orbits, then we must believe that He place people in ours."  After this past week (or more like this past year, but I'm particularly aware of it this week), how could I not believe that?

As many of you know, I was sick for a good part of the past week, starting about Wednesday of last week and going through Monday of this week.  I even went to the ER Sunday night because I was exhibiting symptoms of appendicitis.  It turns out I didn't have appendicitis (thank goodness!), but that's an indicator of how bad it got at times.  In all of this insanity, I had amazing friends and family who helped get me through it.  My parents were wonderful, as they always are.  We've called, e-mailed, and texted each other frequently, and they've always asked me how I've been doing and always been there for me.  My roommates were incredible!  If I'd had a choice of which people to have near me when I was sick since I couldn't have my parents, I would have picked my roommates.  They've shown their love for me in so many ways, and I'm so grateful to have them in my life.  And I have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of love I've received from my other friends over the course of this week.  So many people have expressed concern and love via text, on Facebook, and in person when they've found out what I've been going through.  I know that the Lord put me in this place at this time for a reason, and the biggest reason is because of the people that are here with me.  Now that I'm almost back to normal, I hope that I will be able to return that love and kindness, or at least pass it on to others into whose orbits I've been placed.  I'm so grateful for the people in my life and how they have touched my life for good.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Let's Just Dance!

So today I woke up and knew it was going to be different from yesterday.  I felt SO much better, the weather was beautiful, and life was wonderful!  Thank heaven for being pain free!

I celebrated my recovery in two ways.  First, I video chatted with Allie and Jill for nearly two hours, which was super fun!  I'm still exhausted from having been sick, so I was a little punch drunk and slap happy, which made it all the more interesting.  :)  It was the first time I'd seen Allie's face or heard her voice since she moved, and it was so wonderful!

Then I celebrated in one other way: I played Just Dance 2 for the first time in my life!  I know, most people are probably thinking, "How have you gone this long without playing Just Dance 2?"  My answer for you is I don't know, but I'm glad I have now!  I had an absolute blast!  Even though I'd never played it before, I was actually holding my own pretty well against Jill, and I even beat her on one song!  :)  I can imagine that this is going to be the beginning of a lot of dancing sessions with her.  :)  Yay for roommate bonding time, both with past and current roommates!  I love life!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Pain--The Bringer of Polar Opposites

I had a very interesting deja vu experience this morning.  I had something happen this morning that was almost identical to something that happened last night.  And yet, the two events felt completely different.  Yesterday, it felt like the end of the world; today, I couldn't have cared less.  The change?  Yesterday I was feeling more rotten than I've felt in a really long time.  I've experienced things like this before, but it has always been fascinating to me how much pain and/or illness can make the simplest of irritating events become the worst thing that's ever happened to you.  Here's what happened:

Yesterday evening, I was waiting for the bus to take me home after a long and exhausting day at school.  I was tired and hungry, and I had been in pain for most of the day.  When the bus arrived, I breathed a sigh of relief and opened my purse so I could pull out my bus pass.  But I couldn't find it.  When it wasn't in my wallet, I didn't panic right at first, because often I just stick it in my purse after using it without actually putting it away.  But I searched my entire purse, and it wasn't there.  So I had to watch while the bus left without me.  Then I had to figure out where my bus pass was.  I decided to empty my purse just to make sure; if it wasn't there, I was going to have to start searching campus to find out where I'd left it.  When I set my purse down and completely emptied it, I found my bus pass lying right at the bottom, hiding under my hand mirror.  Really?!  So I had missed my bus for nothing.  And this was later in the evening, when the buses only run every half hour.  So I had to wait another half hour (more like forty minutes, since the next bus was late) to get home.  Had I not been so tired and in pain, I probably would have cried.  As it was, I was too tired to do even that.  So I just sat there numbly, wishing I could be home.

Now, fast forward to this morning.  I was waiting for the bus to take me to school, and when I saw it coming around the corner, I started looking for my bus pass.  And I couldn't find it again!  REALLY?!  This time, I didn't want to wait for the next bus to come, so I just pulled out my wallet and paid the silly fare to just get me to school.  Then it occurred to me that I might have actually left my bus pass in my apartment (since I came home in such a state of disarray last night that I might have just dropped it somewhere when I got home), which would mean I'd have to pay the fare again in the afternoon to get home.  Great.  But before I resigned myself to that fate I decided to search my black hole of a purse to make sure I hadn't pulled the same stunt I'd pulled yesterday.  Sure enough, I found my bus pass, sitting in almost the same spot as before.  Excellent.  It was pretty funny, because I had been sitting with a friend in my ward, and so as I'd been searching for my pass, I'd told her my story from yesterday.  When I found my bus pass, she groaned in sympathy for my having to pay the fare when I hadn't needed to; what was really funny was that the bus driver had overheard me telling my story to my friend, and when she found out my bus pass had been in my purse all along, she felt so bad!  She said she'd have given me a complimentary token if she'd had one.  But my reaction was completely opposite from yesterday.  I just laughed.  What were the odds that I would have the same thing happen to me twice in a row?  Normally I would be really ticked that I'd had to pay $2.25 for no reason, but I'm just happy that I don't have to pay it again to get home this afternoon, and I'm just happy to be feeling better.  It really is amazing how much pain can affect a person's disposition.

So, if you're ever talking to me, and I seem particularly distracted (like more so than usual :)) or I say something grumpy or rude (I really hope it doesn't go that far), I apologize in advance.  More likely than not, it's because I'm in pain and trying not to show it.  I can never guarantee what I will say or do in that state, since apparently pain is the bringer of polar opposites.  You have been warned.  ;)

Oh What a Beautiful Morning!

So when I first got up this morning, the sun hadn't come up yet.  I came out into the living room to work on some various things on my computer, and it was still pretty dark.  I opened the blinds to let in what little light there was outside so I wouldn't have to turn on the lights.  As I was working, the room slowly started to get lighter and lighter.  Then Jill came in and commented on what a beautiful morning it was.  I looked out and saw that the sun was about to come out from behind the mountains that there were sunbeams cascading from between their peaks.  The sight actually took my breath away.  It was beautiful!  Within five minutes, the sun had come up, and now it's shining through my window in all it's dazzling glory.  What an incredibly beautiful morning!  I feel like it's an omen for a good day.  How does that song on Oklahoma! go?  "Oh what a beautiful morning!  Oh what a beautiful day!  I've got a beautiful feeling everything's going my way!"  :)

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


I just spent the last two hours on Gmail, in a three-way chat with two of my favorite people in the world!  One was my current roommate, and the other was one of my favorite former roommates.  First was Jill, which was pretty funny since she was sitting about two feet away from me the entire time.  :)  The other was my former roommate of two years, Allie, who's now in law school halfway across the country.  I hadn't talked to her...almost at all since she moved away.  I guess we've both been so busy that it just...didn't happen.  However, three months is much too long to go without any kind of contact beyond occasional comments on Facebook statuses and photos.  I intend to not let that happen again.

Tonight was a good step in that direction.  We had such a wonderful time catching each other up on everything that's been going on.  We talked about everything from boys (naturally :)) to school to work to roommates to Disney movies to typos to emoticons.  :)  When we finally had to say goodbye, Jill and I were both shocked to see how much time had passed.  Time really does fly when you're having fun!  So basically, I love reconnecting with dear friends, whether the time since I last saw them was two minutes (ahem, Jill ;)) or two years.  It's been a good evening.  :)

Monday, October 10, 2011


I just had an interesting experience.  For the first time in my life, I was involved in a pretty in-depth discussion about my religion with someone who isn't a member.  I can't necessarily say it was a good experience.  This person was pretty confrontational about things that I hold dear to my heart, and I was not in a situation where I could really address them satisfactorily.  I would love to have a one-on-one conversation with this person and be able to more thoroughly answer all his questions, though I don't know if the results would be any different.  I felt like my answers were pretty solid, but he didn't seem to even be listening to me.  It was like while I was speaking, he was just formulating another question instead of listening to my answer.  And we were definitely bordering on "Bible bashing," which I know we're not supposed to do.

However, I'm actually glad I had that experience.  It's one thing to tell yourself what you're going to do in that kind of situations, and it's a whole other ballpark to actually be in that situation.  And since I'm thinking about going on a mission, I really need to be prepared for that situation, because I'm sure I'm going to meet as many confrontational people as receptive people.  But let me just say this.  I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  I know with all my heart that it is God's true church on this earth.  If you want to know more about it, I would be more than happy to share my beliefs with you and answer any questions you might have.  If I don't know the answer, I will tell you straight out, and if possible I will refer you to someone who can answer your questions.  Just please respect my beliefs, as I will respect yours.

What really bothered me was the discussion we had later.  One of my friends said that she had gone to deliver food to a homeless shelter, and another friend said, "I hope you brought a guy with you!"  At this point, the guy with whom I'd been conversing earlier jumped on that comment and said that it was very disrespectful, stereotypical, and judgmental.  I responded by saying, "We (women in general) are not worried specifically about homeless people; we're worried about being out at night in the evening on our own."  His response was, "Well, I've been out in the middle of the night plenty of times and haven't ever been threatened."  My response: "That's because you're a guy."  His response: "But I'm not all that big.  All the guys here are bigger than me."  My response: "You're still a guy, and believe it or not, that makes a big difference."  He wasn't convinced.

Are any other girls out there fuming right about now?  Because I certainly was.  Guys, in case you didn't know this by now, let me spell it out for you: it is not safe for a woman to be out and about after dark alone.  And I don't care how small or short you are; if you are male, you are much less likely to be attacked if you are out walking alone.  So please respect us women if we get a little paranoid.  I think we have good reason to be.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

"Quench Not the Spirit"

Today I've had a lesson in learning to stop fighting the Spirit.  I've been trying to make a decision about something for quite some time now, and up until today it had felt to me that the answer was always eluding me.  I fasted about this decision today, and at the end of the day, I basically had a prompting that felt like the Lord was telling me, "I've given you the answer; you simply need to stop fighting it."   Once I had that prompting, I realized that as I had been weighing the pros and cons of each side of this decision, I really had known the way I should go, but because I'd wanted things to go the other way, I kept fighting it without even really realizing it.

As I was talking to Jill (whom I've talked to about this decision before) about my realization of what I'd been doing, she said that during the time we had talked about it before, she had felt like I was leaning one way when I really knew I should be leaning the other way.  My mom is that way all the time.  She always seems to figure out what I'm going to decide before I decide it.  I guess that's what mothers are for.  But now my roommate's doing it too??  I guess I'm always destined to have someone else figure out what I'm going to decide before I do.  ;)  Fortunately, my mother has always refrained from telling me about her revelations about me until after I figure it out myself so I can have the opportunity to learn and grow (although sometimes I wish she'd tell me so I didn't have to figure it out :)), and Jill did the same thing in this situation.  It's a little embarrassing to have my roommate see through me so easily when I can't even see through myself, but I guess that's a mark of when you know and are close to a person.  Or maybe I'm just ridiculously easy to read.  One of the two.  :)

Anyway, my experience today reminded me of a talk I just listened to the other day.  I've started going back through the Conference talks from past years and listening to at least one a day, and right now I'm listening to talks from the October 2007 General Conference.  I just listened to a talk by Keith K. Hilbig entitled "Quench Not the Spirit Which Quickens the Inner Man."  The entire talk can be found here:

One line that stood out to me said, "We too must be careful not to hinder, disregard, or quench the Spirit in our lives" (emphasis altered).  When I listened to that talk, I noticed the quote, but I didn't really think about it.  Then it came to my mind tonight, and I'm certain it was because the Spirit brought it to my remembrance.  So I'm going to try to keep that in mind and not quench the Spirit when it tells me what I should do.  I'm grateful for these reminders tonight.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Candy. Glowsticks. Love.

So I pretty much love BYU Divine Comedy!  I have been to several shows throughout my time at BYU, and I’ve loved every single one.  I reconnected with good friends, made new friends, laughed immoderately and didn’t get weird looks for it :), and had an all-around good time.

And I caught a glowstick chain for the first time ever!  I’d been telling my friends that in the past I have always managed to sit in the section that receives the fewest glowsticks during the show.  Not this time!  My grand total was 24 glowsticks!  Woot!

Now I just finished watching the BYU game (go Cougars!) and playing Wii Sports Resort (2092 on 100-pin bowling!) with Jill.  It’s been a good day.  :)

Friday, October 7, 2011

Happy 50th Post!

It's kind of weird to think that I've already posted on my blog fifty times.  I guess that prolific writing that my brother noticed has been put to good use.  :)  I'm going to celebrate by doing something that one of my friends just did on her blog.  Mostly it's an experiment to see if anyone actually takes me up on it.
1. I will make a little something for the first 3 people that comment on this post. It will be a surprise and may arrive at anytime in the next 365 days (yes, a year).

2. To sign up to receive a gift from me, you must play along too. Share the giving love on your blog by promising to send a handmade goodie to the first three people that comment on your blog post.

3.You must have a blog.

4. After commenting on my post, you have to post this (or similar) on your blog to spread the love. Leave me your e-mail address and I will contact you (or I can always contact you via Facebook if you have it).

If nothing else, this might get people to comment on my blogs!  I like getting comments, but rarely do.  ;)  I guess we'll see what happens.  :)

REL = Random

Yesterday I spent an incredible evening doing things that I love with people I love.  On Wednesday, I'd decided to work hard during the day yesterday so that I could be done with my homework by early evening and then be able to play guilt-free.  Of course, the whole flu shot saga kind of made that difficult, since it took four times as long to get the shot as I had planned (but after one more failed attempt beyond the ones I talked about yesterday, I did finally get it!  Hooray!).

But I still managed to get my homework done before too late.  So Jill and I watched the movie Rio.  Neither of us had seen it, but we'd both heard good things about it.  So we watched it together and completely loved it!  It's such an adorable movie!  Both of us were dying of laughter almost the entire time.  :)  And I cried at the end...surprise, surprise.  :)

I also started to play with Jill's hair at the beginning of the movie, and I ended up doing so the whole time!  We have a mutually beneficial relationship: I love to play with people's hair, and Jill loves to have her hair played with.  :)  I think that the fact that I like to play with hair is probably one of the few attributes I have that would label me as "girly."  :)  I'm not exactly a tomboy, but I've never been particularly girly, except when it comes to playing with hair.

After the movie was over, my friend Toni came over, and the three of us had a wonderful visit together.  I love that girl!  And after she left, Jill and I discovered something: CDs make great Frisbees!  :)  I've been burning all my music from my computer onto CDs to replace the CDs that were stolen from my car last week, and one of the CDs didn't burn properly, so I knew I'd have no other use for it.  So instead of throwing it away, I decided to have some fun with it.  :)  So I started playing with it, and then I tossed it to Jill, and we ended up tossing it back and forth for nearly half an hour while we were just chatting and laughing.  Good times.  :)

So it was kind of a random evening, but hey, I thrive on random!  :)



Thursday, October 6, 2011

It's Common Courtesy, People!

So I have for the second time this week attempted to get my flu shot and failed.  Why?  Because the stupid health care people have no regard for my time and money whatsoever.

On the website, it plainly states that a flu shot "clinic" will be available at Wal-Mart from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Monday through Friday of this week.  So you can imagine my irritation when I arrived at 12:30 on Tuesday to find a sign that said they would be gone until 1:15!  Oh, but the sign said "Sorry for any inconvenience," so that makes everything better...  And I'm sure you can imagine my further frustration when I arrived today at 11:20 to find no one there and waited fruitlessly before I finally decided at noon that I couldn't afford to wait any longer (I have places to go, people to see, things to do!) and left.  Now I'm sitting here fuming.  If you're going to announce that something is happening in a certain location at a certain time, it would be really nice if you could actually be there at that time.  And if you're not going to be able to make it, you could have the decency to adjust the announcement accordingly.  Whatever happened to common courtesy?

Saturday, October 1, 2011

By Any Means Necessary

This afternoon, after the second session of General Conference, I was able to go watch my sister participate in a marching band competition.  It was pretty cool!  Although it's pretty difficult to pick out the person you're there supporting when she looks exactly like everyone around her.  ;)

After the competition, my sister came home to ask me how the afternoon session of General Conference had been.  She'd had to meet with her band at 2:00, so she'd been unable to watch the afternoon session.  When I briefly recounted which apostles had spoken (she'd been hoping she hadn't missed Elder Holland, though that hope was dashed when we found out that he spoke at the Priesthood session.  Blast!  :)), she said that she'd actually been able to listen to a small portion of the first talk of the afternoon session on the bus.  She (or one of her friends, I can't remember which) had been listening to her iPod radio during the sustaining of the church officers and repeating it out loud to the others in their group so they could all participate in the sustaining of the church officers.  I thought that was really cool!  Here were a bunch of high school kids on their way to a band competition, and they still chose to literally participate in the sustaining of their church leaders, using the means that were available to them.  Way to be!  Hearing that just made my evening.  :)

Friday, September 30, 2011

One Disadvantage to Being at Home...

We don't have cable, so I couldn't watch the BYU game.  I had to follow the live stats on the internet.  Definitely not nearly as interesting.

But even if I had been able to watch it live, it wouldn't have been nearly as enjoyable as watching the game is in Provo.  For one thing, it's difficult to cheer for BYU in a house full of Ute fans.  :)  For another, it's a lot more fun with friends to cheer with, specifically Jill.  :)

Ah well.  Such is the sacrifice I make when I decide to spend a weekend at home.  And it's worth it.  Conference and quilt tying tomorrow!  Let it begin!  :)

Thursday, September 29, 2011


Yesterday, I went out to my car to go to my institute class, and the first thing I noticed when I got in was that my glove box was open and the contents were strewn all over the floor of my car.  Well, at first I just assumed that my glove box had just fallen open (my car's old enough that that wouldn't surprise me).  But as I started to put everything away, I noticed that the ash tray was also open.  That's when I realized I'd been robbed.

Well, I still didn't think much of it.  Okay, they took my Maverik card and whatever loose change was in the ash tray, but there was nothing in my car worth stealing.  Or so I thought...until I remembered my CD case.  I checked the location where I normally hide it.  Sure enough, my CD case, containing every CD I own but one, was gone.  Granted, I have all the music on my computer, so I haven't technically lost anything in that regard, and I can burn all the music onto CDs again, but there's just something about having the actual original CD that I really love, and now because of some jerk who has no morals and couldn't think of anything better to do with his life than steal something from someone who never did anything to bring this upon herself (*breath*) has taken that away from me!

The only CD I have left to my name is my Steven Sharp Nelson Tender Mercies CD, because that's what happens to be in my CD player at the moment.  It also just so happens to be my favorite CD, so I guess I'll count that as a small silver lining to the whole situation.  Additionally, I have to just remember to count my blessings.  My loss is not nearly as bad as what some people experience in this regard.  And there are plenty of other things that I could have had stolen from me that would have been a lot more traumatic.  Of all the things that could have been stolen from me, the CDs are probably going to have the fewest repercussions.  But it doesn't mean I have to like this whole blasted situation.

So basically, I think that anyone who steals should die.  Because they really have a way of ruining someone's day.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Luck of the Draw...or Roll

So this afternoon I was trying to get through all my piles of reading homework, and I was having a hard enough time concentrating that I don't know if I'd have even been able to concentrate on a Harry Potter book!  Okay, that's a lie.  There's no way I'd ever be tired or braindead enough to not enjoy Harry Potter.  :)  But I digress.  So I was getting all stressed out and frustrated, and Jill took matters into her own hands and said, "Let's play a game."

So we played several rounds of Fill or Bust, and I won all but the last round with flying colors.  Since that game is almost all luck, I can't really claim much fame for my victories, but it was still fun.  :)  Then we decided to play And it Came to Pass, and that's when my luck turned.  Now it was MY turn to win only one game.  Drat those stupid Desolation cards!  Jill kept getting all the Charity cards, and I kept getting all the Desolation cards!  Again, it was mostly luck, but still.  But I had a blast, mostly because Jill and I kept up a running dialogue on my corresponding Facebook status.  Anyone who read the comment chain probably was so confused, but we both enjoyed it.  :)  Here is a "scriptural" representation of portions of our games:

‎"And Arielle found herself in a position of prosperity, and she began to be prideful.  And justice dictated that she should be banished from the land of promise to the land of Desolation.
"Nevertheless, and notwithstanding her other evils, Arielle did not engage in secret combinations.
"And it came to pass, as Arielle was trapped in the land of Desolation, Jill remained steadfast and immovable in the land of Zion, abounding in charity and good works.
"And Jill was merciful to her people. And they were a good people, being charitable towards their fellowmen. But soon pride overtook them and they fell into unbelief.
"Then Arielle left the land of Desolation and went and preached repentance to those in the land of Zion.
"Then the people repented and dwelt in righteousness, and they did prosper throughout the land.  And Jill and Arielle dwelt in righteousness all the rest of their days."

Needless to say, we had a lot of fun, and it definitely lightened my mood.  :)  And all the comments on my Facebook post about my needing a hug totally made my day too.  I'm so grateful to have such wonderful roommates and friends.  :)

And for laughter, which makes everything better.  :)

Friday, September 23, 2011

Life is Good!

This week has been insanely crazy but really fun.  Here are some of the highlights:

On Tuesday I had my third organ lesson, and it was fantastic!  My teacher is both competent and super complimentary, so I'm learning and improving a great deal, and yet it's never at the expense of my feelings; I always walk away from my lessons feeling incredibly good about myself.  And I've finally started learning actual music instead of just simple scales and such.  Hooray!

On Wednesday I was prompted during institute to call a friend of mine, and I'm pretty sure I benefited more from the phone call than she did.  :)

Yesterday I went to the temple in the morning, which always improves my week.  :)  I also participated with Adaptive Aquatics for the first time, working with special needs children in the pool.  It was so fun and such a good experience.  I'm excited to do that every week.  Then yesterday afternoon I participated in TOPS (Tutor Outreach to Provo Schools) volunteering at an after-school program at Wasatch Elementary.  Do you guys remember when you were first learning addition and subtraction and had those pictures of the single blocks, the stacks of ten blocks, and the squares of one hundred blocks?  Yeah, good memories.  :)  Also, apparently "kill" is not an option when coming up with words that rhyme with "fill," because "kill" is apparently a bad word.  :)

Today I took my first test of the semester and got a great score, which was definitely a relief considering my recent issues with actually getting into school.  :)  Since I finished my test earlier than I had expected, I had plenty of time to go practice the organ.  I found it ironic that when I was practicing the piano and the cello when I was younger, I often had a hard time filling my practice time.  Now I have a hard time stopping myself from just practicing for two hours straight!  Not that that much practice would be a bad thing, but I just don't have the time to do that.  But today I had all the time in the world, and it was great!  Then I went shopping at Costco with my friend Liz, which was super fun!  Of course, the two of us can make just about anything fun when we're together.  :)

Now I have a great weekend to look forward to!  I have a lot of homework and such to do, but I also have some fun things to look forward to.  University Chorale retreat is tomorrow morning, the Relief Society broadcast is tomorrow evening, and after that waits another wonderful Sunday.  I love my life!  :)

Monday, September 19, 2011


Last night, I realized that, for the first time in my life, I truly wish that I were living in Provo but not going to school.  That has never happened before.  Yes, there have been times when I wished I didn't have school, but they've never been particularly strong.  And in the past, my main reason for coming to Provo has always been simply school, and the "fringe benefits" (friends, ward, classmates, etc.) just happened to come along with the package.  Yesterday, I realized that those "fringe benefits" have just as strong a pull on me as school does, and my feelings against school soared to new heights.  I had just spent a wonderful Sunday interacting with lots of amazing people, particularly my roommates, and then I realized that the next day I had to return to the real world, and I didn't want to!  Though there have been times when I've been tired of school and wanted a break, I've always loved school and been willing to go despite being tired of it.  Now, it hasn't even been that long since the semester began, and I'm already sick of it.  I even considered skipping class today...for about half a second.  :)  No matter how sick I am of school, I don't know that I'll ever go that far.  :)  However, I do know that if I want to keep my grades up, I'm going to have to step it up, because I'm definitely only about half in school right now.  Suddenly I'm much more interested in being social than I used to be and much less interested in keeping up with my homework.  And I'm certain that knowing this is my last year in school (I just applied for graduation!  Crazy!) hasn't helped.  I guess it's just a good thing that I haven't had much homework so far so I'd have time to get my life figured out.  I suppose I just need to learn to find a balance.  In the meantime, if I'm just a little all over the place (like in recent posts)'ll know why.  :)

Saturday, September 17, 2011


So, even though I'm no longer majoring in English Language, once an English major, always an English major.  So even on my blog, I always have to have some sort of theme and some form of cohesion and coherence to my blog posts.  Well, today, the only form of coherence that exists is to say that all of these are simply the rambling thoughts of one busy, tired girl going throughout her Saturday.  :)

  • My dreams are really weird.  Very vivid, very literal, and very weird.

  • I can hear the noise of the stadium from my apartment.  Haha, it's pretty awesome!  What's really funny is that the TV is slightly behind the noise, so I always hear cheering before I know what the cheering is for.  :)

  • I face a slight conundrum since I was raised a Ute fan but now attend BYU---normally I just cheer for whatever team everyone around me is rooting for; when I'm by myself, who do I cheer for?  :)

  • That last question was definitely rhetorical.  Just saying.  ;)

  • James Earl Jones has a fluency disorder.  In other words, Mufasa stutters!  Weird!

  • I am far too addicted to peanut butter and cinnamon (not necessarily together, though I have to admit that would probably be really good!  :)

  • I never thought I'd see the day when I would have a roommate who regularly went to bed before me.  How do you like that, all my former roommates?  :)

  • My internet is currently being really dumb; it won't refresh itself or complete any commands I give it unless I'm moving the cursor.  Odd.

  • I love using pictures and videos to reminisce.  Today's subject matter: the Gardner family reunion at Fish Lake.  :)  Good times.

  • The Awful Waffle uses iPads to record orders.  Haha, awesome!

  • It's kind of fun to try to figure out what commercials are about and what the narration or dialogue in commercials might be when the TV is muted.

  • Um, Utah of you needs to turn your back to the camera and hold still so I can look closely at your helmet I've probably spent a good fifteen minute over the course of the game trying to look at one of your helmets and see if they still have "JWB" tatooed on the back.  I can't see it, and it's making me sad!  Don't tell me they took it off!

  • Time for soon as the game is over.  :)

Sunday, September 11, 2011

I Remember

September 11, 2001---

I woke up at my usual time, which I believe back then was around 7:00 a.m.  I walked down the stairs for breakfast and found my mother and brother glued to the TV, watching the news.  My family almost never watched the news while I was growing up, so that was surprising enough.  My mother informed me that two planes had just crashed into the World Trade Towers (whatever those were); she and my brother had actually watched the second crash live.  I watched several replays of the second crash while I ate breakfast, and then I went off to school and thought very little more about it.

Unlike many other schools, my elementary school (I was in 6th grade) didn't put everything on hold to watch the news.  There was just some chatter about the event in the morning, and we all moved on.  I didn't watch the towers collapse, and I saw very little footage of the aftermath.  But what little I saw and heard about, I remember.  I remember my naivete and how I didn't understand the severity and significance of that fateful day.  I remember my father sitting me and my siblings down and explaining to us the devastating effects of the tragedy---the deaths, the injuries, the families without loved ones, the children without fathers.  I remember sobbing uncontrollably as some small piece of my innocence was stripped away.  I remember fasting on a day other than Fast Sunday for the first time in my life---fasting through an entire school day for those people who had to live without one or more loved ones.  I remember 9/11.

And now today I've had the opportunity to watch a commemoration by Music and the Spoken Word and a documentary about 9/11 that tugged at my heart all over again.  I've discussed with Jill the experiences we each had when we were just children and how that has affected both of our lives.  We both agree that 9/11 feels like it just happened last week, and yet we also feel like we can hardly remember a time when the memory of 9/11 didn't hang over this country we love.  We've marveled at how much can happen in ten years, how much we've learned and grown---from elementary school to middle school to high school to college, from primary to Young Women to Relief Society, from children to teenagers to adults.  I still feel naive and innocent, unaware of much of the suffering and troubles of the world.  But I will never forget that day 10 years ago.  I will work hard to not take for granted the freedoms with which I'm so blessed today.

I will always remember 9/11

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

What's in a Name?

Today in institute, we were discussing the Creation, the Fall, and the Plan of Salvation.  At one point during the lesson, the teacher listed a few of the names that the Plan has often been called: the Plan of Salvation, the Plan of Redemption, the Plan of Happiness, the Plan of Our God, and the Plan of Mercy.  Then she asked us which was our favorite name and why.  This question intrigued me.  I don't know if I've ever really thought about the actual names and why they might be important.  More than actually coming up with my favorite, I liked just being able to think about what each name means to me:

The Plan of Salvation: because of the Plan, we have a chance to be saved and to return to our Heavenly Father and receive eternal life.

The Plan of Redemption: the Savior has redeemed each of us from our sins.  As when one redeems a coupon at a store, and the purchased item belongs to that person, so we, through the atoning sacrifice of our Savior, become His.

The Plan of Happiness: the Savior took upon Himself our sins so that we could be freed from the misery of sin, and he took upon Himself all of our other burdens so that we can rejoice and be happy, both in this life and the next.

The Plan of Our God: how encouraging and reassuring it is to know that there is a plan at all and that this really is His Plan.

The Plan of Mercy: can any of us truly comprehend what an incredible blessing it is to receive the mercy of a loving Heavenly Father?

Anyway, those were just some thoughts that ran through my head tonight, and I felt impressed to share them.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011


"For it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things. If not so, my first-born in the wilderness, righteousness could not be brought to pass, neither wickedness, neither holiness nor misery, neither good nor bad. Wherefore, all things must needs be a compound in one; wherefore, if it should be one body it must needs remain as dead, having no life neither death, nor corruption nor incorruption, happiness nor misery, neither sense nor insensibility."  2 Nephi 2:13 (emphasis added)

This weekend was a prime example of this particular doctrine.  There were many wonderful things about my weekend, particularly my chance to spend time with my family on Labor Day.  However, some things happened that made part of the weekend very hard, and I didn't understand at first why it had to be that way.  I cried all the way back to Provo after I left my family, wondering what on earth I was doing and why I didn't just go home and leave all my cares and worries behind.  Of course, the rational part of me knew that going home wouldn't solve anything, but after about 8:00 at night, my emotional side has free reign over my thought patterns.

Once I arrived in Provo and began the methodical process of unpacking and organizing my stuff back into my apartment, I had a chance to ponder a little bit on the weekend, and here's what I realized.  I started reflecting more on what has happened this whole week, and I discovered a connection I hadn't made at first.  Let's start with last Sunday.  I had a wonderful block of church meetings, I met some great people who are new in the ward, I got to know my roommates a little better, I listened to the ward choir flourish, I got set apart for my new calling, and I felt the Spirit all day long.  Throughout the week I've been able to become re-acquainted with my friends from my major and get excited for my new classes.  On Wednesday I attended institute, met some new people, heard a great lesson, and received several distinct insights of personal revelation.  This week I wrote the lyrics and arranged the music for a song that centers around Christ and turning toward Him.  This weekend I pulled out my cello for the first time in months, played the piano, spent time with my roommates and friends, enjoyed another wonderful Sunday (Music and the Spoken Word, ward choir, an incredible testimony meeting, and two other extremely spiritual church meetings), played with my siblings, talked to my mother about school and other stuff just for the sake of talking and connecting, watched a movie with my family, and came back to Provo to continue my education and my mental, emotional, personal, and spiritual growth.

Do you see where I'm going with this?  How could Satan allow a week full of such incredible growth and spiritual experiences to go by without opposing it?  So, what did he do?  He attacked me where he knew I was weak, forcing my false beliefs to the forefront of my mind.  He attacked my whole family when it was late and we were stressed and we were more vulnerable to his influence.  He attacked me as I was driving home, planting thoughts like, "What in the world am I doing?" and "Why can't I just go home?" in the forefront of my mind.  He tried to make me think that the things that I had done this week and weekend weren't worth the trouble.  But they ARE!  They are worth every ounce of trouble that Satan and the world can throw at me!  And you know what?  Rather than weakening my resolve, I think Satan's onslaught has made it stronger.  Because I know that he would only oppose what I'm doing if it were good and right and true.  If I'm getting that much opposition, I know I must be doing the right thing, and that has only served to tighten my resolve to keep going and do the best I can.  Sure, it'll be hard, but I have a wonderful family, my Heavenly Father, my Savior, and "numberless concourses of angels" standing behind me, in front of me, and all around me, and I know that things will be all right.

I'm grateful that the Spirit allowed these thoughts to enter my mind so I could understand my feelings and better know how to handle them.  I'm grateful that He sent my dear friend Toni to me when I needed someone to talk to and a shoulder to cry on.  And I'm grateful that I had the chance to spend some time with my family this weekend.  We may not always get along, and we have our own set of challenges, but I love them with all my heart, and I'm so grateful that, if we all live worthily, we will be able to live together for eternity.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Friendship: What Keeps Me Going

I've been thinking about posting a tribute to my wonderful friends for quite some time now.  After some wonderful time spent with friends today, I think it's a good time to give a shout-out to all my wonderful friends for all they've done for me.

First of all, I have to give a shout-out to all my awesome roommates, both past and present, who have made living here in Provo such a great experience.  At this moment, I'm particularly grateful to my former roommate Lauren (who even after more than two years since we lived together is still interested in my life and how I'm doing), my former roommate Allie (who can still make me laugh even when we can only stay in touch long-distance; I was reading some of her comments on some of my old Facebook statuses, and they cracked me up! :)), and my current roommate Jill (who has already made this current living situation so fun, and who is so easy to talk to and be around).  I have been blessed to have such great people in my apartments.

I also have to give a shout-out to all my fantastic classmates in the ComD department.  Because of the way the classes are scheduled in BYU's ComD program, most of my classmates from my first semester in this program have taken the same classes at the same time, so I usually have the same people in my classes.  It's great to see familiar faces, even on the first day of class.  I had to laugh when my Rhetoric and Civilization class is still dead silent before class starts, even after a week of classes, and my ComD classes were noisy and buzzing with excitement on the first day.  :)  And I've been especially happy to see and catch up with the good friends I've made throughout my time in the program.  To Devyn, Rylee, Heather, Kara, Liz, and all my other wonderful friends there, thanks for making my classes such a fun experience, and thanks for putting up with all my craziness.  :)

And finally, thanks to all my friends in my ward, and to all my friends outside of BYU and Provo who just make my life so much more rich and full.  I don't know what I'd do without all of you.  My friends have gotten me through a lot of hard times in my life.  And they've brought so many good times.  Second only to my family, my relationships with my friends are my most treasured and prized possessions.  I thank my Heavenly Father with all my heart that He has put all of these incredible people in my life.  Thanks for all you do!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Music: the Madness in Me

Today has been a day full of musical mayhem, and I've loved it!  It started out with listening to the EFY 2005 (A More Excellent Way) CD in the car on the way to the temple.  I love EFY music!  Then, this morning, while I was studying for a quiz in Hearing Tests and Measures, I decided to listen to some of my new classical music that I bought at that yard sale last Saturday.  Today's selection was a marathon of all nine of Beethoven's symphonies.  :)  Of course I only got through five and a half (they are rather long :)), but I loved it!  Definitely a good find!

By far my favorite musical episodes of today happened this afternoon and evening.  After two days of forcing myself to work on the homework I've been neglecting, I finally finished and was able to allow myself to do one of my favorite things in the world---arrange music.  I had the inspiration for the lyrics of a song strike me on Sunday, and inspiration for the accompaniment soon followed.  And anyone who knows me knows that, once I get started on a song, it takes great discipline to stop before I'm done, and it grates on my every nerve!  But today I was finally able to work on it to my heart's content, and I finished it!  I'm super happy with how it turned out, and my roommates really like it too.  I'm looking forward to seeing it come to life, which I hope will happen in the not-so-distant future.

And, last but not least, when I was done with the song, I had the sudden urge to pull out my cello, which I haven't done all summer.  I can't believe I let myself go that long without playing it!  I only had time to play one song, and I was definitely rusty---my fingers were so stiff I could only go about half of the speed of the normally upbeat song---but it felt sooooo good!  I'm definitely going to make some time this weekend to play, and I really hope I can spend some good quality time with my cello over the next few months.

So, now my roommates know (a little sooner than I might like :)), what a nut I am when it comes to music.  And supposedly they like me anyway.  :)  I guess that's a good thing.  Because, like it or not, this is me: mad musician to the core!  :)

Monday, August 29, 2011


That's about all I can say about today.  It really hasn't been too bad, but there is just too much on my mind and too much going on.  I had four classes today, which just loaded too much information into my brain at once.  Not only that, but three of the classes were back-to-back; the first was in the JFSB, the second in the Taylor Building, and the third in the HFAC.  Anyone who knows where those three buildings are will understand my pain.  For those who don't, suffice it to say that I will be have to be practically running to get to each class on time.  Additionally, I managed to leave something behind when I moved from one place to another---twice.  Normally I mange to keep my personal belongings corralled on my person for at least a week before I start leaving things lying around, but no, the first day of the class I'm already leaving my stuff behind.  Ugh.  And to make matters worse, I had inspiration for a song come into my mind last night, so I've hardly done anything else today besides work on it.  :)

So after all that, I'm totally exhausted and on information overload, but it has still been a great day.  I've loved seeing my friends and classmates from last year!  I found out that one of my friends just got engaged (hooray!), and I got to catch up with several others.  And I got assigned an instructor for private organ lessons!  And I got time to chat with my roommates and attend ward FHE and talk to people there.  Over all, there have been a lot of ups and downs today, but I'm optimistic for tomorrow.  Onward and forward!  :)

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Looking Forward

I've concluded that I probably shouldn't post past 9:00 at night anymore.  I know myself well enough to know that everything looks worse late at night and when I'm tired, and yet I still insist on allowing my emotions to take over when this happens.  Ah well.  Anyway, this morning has been much better for me.  My church time has changed to 1:30, but I woke up at 7:00, unable to go back to sleep---drat my internal clock!  But despite my annoyance, it means I've been able to have a slow, easy, productive morning.  Additionally, I've been able to sit out on my patio and enjoy the beautiful sunshine.  What a lovely morning!  After a good night's rest and a chance to put the finishing touches on my new room, I'm feeling much better about the things to come.  I love my roommates, and I'm again looking forward to meeting new people, seeing old friends, and enjoying this new phase in my life.  Things are looking up as I look forward with faith!  :)

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Mixed Feelings

Well, it's official.  After packing and getting ready to go all morning, driving to Provo, running a bunch of errands, and hours and hours of unpacking and organizing, I am almost completely settled into my new apartment.  Hooray!  For the first time in months, I will be attending church without first having either spent the night on the floor in Provo or commuted from home.  :)  I've been looking forward to this day...basically since I moved out in April.

And yet, here I am, sitting on the floor in my new living room, definitely less than ecstatic.  I have always gotten these mixed feelings in past years, but this year seemed different, and I didn't think I'd have to deal with these feelings again.  But here they are.  I guess I should know myself well enough to know that I can't go through any big change, no matter how excited I am for it, without some reservations.  And it certainly doesn't help that I'm exhausted from a day of hard work and that it's late at night.  Things will probably look brighter in the morning.  I really am so excited to be able to contribute more fully to my ward, and to start classes again and see my friends and learn and have fun.  It'll be great!  I guess that's the definition of mixed feelings.  :)  It's just too bad that I can't be one of the stereotypical college students who seem to thrive on change.  Ah well.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Out of the Mouths of Babes

...or in this case, out of the mouths of children's movies.  :)

This morning my sister and I watched the final movie that was on our list of movies that we wanted to watch together before I move back to Provo.  The final movie was The Land Before Time.  As annoying as I think it is that there are...what...thirteen now (?)...Land Before Time movies, I actually really love the first one.  It's adorable, and it actually has a good message.  Hence my title.  Imagine having a children's movie teach you about one's journey through life.  Because that's what The Land Before Time does.  I was first made aware of the connection in a seminary class, and today I noticed many parallels that I really loved:

  • When Little Foot asks his mother if she's ever seen the Great Valley, she says no, and he asks her how she knows it's really there.  Her answer is, "Some things you see with your eyes; others you see with your heart."

  • Little Foot's mother tells Little Foot to follow his heart to help him find the Great Valley.

  • When his mother dies, Little Foot loses heart and temporarily gives up on his hopes of reaching the Great Valley.

  • The young dinosaurs have to overcome some prejudices when interacting with each other, but in the end they must rely on each other and work together to reach the Great Valley.

  • Cera decides to take the "easy way" to the Great Valley; she leads all of the others but Little Foot astray, with nearly disastrous consequences.

  • Even though Cera criticized Little Foot, he still helps her and the other dinosaurs find their way back to the right path when they realize their mistake.

  • When they arrive in the Great Valley, the young dinosaurs are greeted by the loved ones who had arrived before them.

Perhaps I'm reading more into this movie than was actually intended by the people who made the movie, but don't get all preachy to me about how I shouldn't be seeing symbolism that isn't there (ahem, Mrs. Pratt's former students).  I'm not trying to convince anyone, nor am I holding anyone's grade on the line over whether or not we agree that the symbolism is there.  :)  I'm simply pointing out something that I liked about a movie I hold dear.  I just thought it was a very fascinating comparison.

So to liken these points to real life: I haven't seen heaven, or my Heavenly Father, but I know they are there.  I'm trying to use the Holy Ghost to guide my life.  Even though there are trials, I'm working hard to concentrate on an eternal perspective.  I'm trying to learn to love everyone, and I am grateful for the friends and family I have, on whom I can rely to help me make it on the path of life; I hope I, too, can be relied upon to help others.  There is no "easy way" to eternal life; I hope I will never be enticed by such possibilities and that I might help others to come back if they stray off the strait and narrow path.  Finally, I'm looking forward to the day when I will be greeted by those loved ones who have gone before me, and I hope that I will be able to hear the Lord say to me, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant."

You never know where you'll notice insights you never thought of before.  Think about that the next time you scoff at cheesy children's movies.  :)

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Let it Begin

I got a new key today.  Actually, I got three new keys.  All part of the procedure as I checked in to my new apartment!  Hooray!  I took the morning off work so I could shuttle a carload of stuff to my apartment and officially check in.  It's so nice to finally have my own bedroom again.  As much as I have loved sleeping over in Jill's room whenever I've stayed overnight in Provo (and who knows, I might still do it occasionally, but at least now I'll have a choice :)), but it's nice to have a place to call my own.

To make things even better, I was able to see two of my favorite people while I was in Provo.  Toni helped me move my stuff to my apartment (what would have taken me eight to ten trips only took us four!), and then I was able to chat with Shantel.  Both encounters made my day and got me really excited to officially move in this weekend.  I also met one of my new neighbors when I offered to help her carry her stuff to her apartment.  Nothing like doing a good turn to someone else to make a bright day even brighter.  :)  I'm so excited to start this last year of school, meet new people, see old friends, and have a blast!

I also got a new wallet today.  Random, I know, but hey, it makes me happy.  :)