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!  :)