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!  :)