Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Rock on. Peace out.

Tonight I had a really unique experience. One that was a little challenging, but reeeeally awesome! I learned how to sign tonight. Sign as in sign language. "Signing exact English", to be exact. I learned the signing for the song I Love to See the Temple. Now, could I show you what I learned tonight? Ah, maybe. Chances are that I will remember a few words like pray, beauty, love...the ones that are really easy to sign. Unfortunately, my short term memory is a little bit like that of Dory the fish from Finding Nemo, aka: pretty poor. So by tomorrow morning, I'd dare say that the beautiful signing that I learned less than 24 hours prior will mostly be gone.

Regardless, I feel a wonderful sense of accomplishment. It amazes me how there is an actual language that can be communicated through actions. In my Family Finance class this semester, there are a few deaf students. Two translators sit in the front of the class and sign ASL to these students. I find myself paying more attention to these ladies doing the sign language than my actual professor. It's a little bit of a problem. Anyway, let's just say that it fascinates me. And it completely blows my mind how people can learn it. It seems very difficult. But, I actually learned that many children learn to sign before they speak. The linguistics of a child develop after their motor skills develop, which makes it possible for them to carry full conversations through signing before they can speak a full sentence. Pretty amazing, I'd say!

So I'm very appreciative of my ability to hear. I can't imagine a life without hearing the melodic tunes of the birds chirping on a summer morning.
Or the calming sound of the waves crashing on the beach.
Or the jaw-dropping singing from a musical genius like Celine or Whitney Houston.
Or even the sound of the cracking voice of my pubescent teenage brother.
Hearing is a definite blessing. But I have such admiration for those individuals who do not have the ability to hear, whether they are deaf from birth or their deafness came later in life. What strength and courage they must have.

"But as far as my work is concerned,
I see no impediment, and various advantages, to being deaf."

-Stephanie Beacham

Now for my favorite phrases in sign language:

My name. Obviously.

Rock, Paper, Scissors. A classic.

"Y" aka: Hang Loose

I love you.

So bottom line? Sign language is awesome. And hard to learn. But kind of fun too.
Well, time for homework and studying.
So rock on......and peace out.

Monday, September 27, 2010

One Wonderful Week

This week is Business Week up at USU so of course, they've got a bunch of weeknight activities. Tonight was a benefit concert put on by Kalai. What an awesome performer he is. He is incredible on the guitar and he has got such soul to his music. He's Mormon too. I didn't know until tonight. I guess it's true when they say you learn something new everyday. The concert began winding down and people began to slowly migrate away from Old Main Hill. That left me there with two of my new-found friends, Matt and Scot. We sat there listening to the smooth tone of Kalai's final song, Thank You, Lord. What a way to end a concert. He expressed his gratitude to the Lord for the talent and the blessings that he's been given in his life. I think that the Lord so immensely blesses each of our lives daily, and often times I find myself taking it for granted. Instead of me showing gratitude, I expect things. It was so awesome to see a man with such great talent humble himself through song and show that love he had for the Lord.

So of course, I had to search this song on YouTube and found it. Fast forward to about one minute to get to the actual song. He rambles on a little at the beginning. Enjoy!

Thank you, Lord, for what You've done for me,
Thank you, Lord, for what You're doing now.
Thank you, Lord, for every little thing,
Thank you, Lord, for every song I sing.
Another highlight of the past week:
Last Saturday night was the General Relief Society Broadcast, which I had the opportunity of attending. And no, I wish I could say I attended at the Conference Center, but I wasn't that lucky. I just went to my stake center with a good friend and enjoyed the meeting from my hard metal chair. All the talks were so delightful. What wonderful leaders we have as members of this church. The Lord has blessed our lives by putting them as the authority figures, and examples for us to look to. Themes such as Relief Society history, visiting teaching, and our personal faithfulness were touched on by the sisters in the Relief Society presidency. However, President Monson's talk was quite possibly the most powerful part of the evening, at least for me.
When he stood up and began speaking, I had this incredibly strong feeling that he was the true prophet. It was like I was being washed from head to toe with this warm, tingling feeling. I had no doubt in my mind that he was a man called of God to lead us Latter Day Saints to righteousness and prepare us to meet God again. I think that I have always felt that way, but it was reconfirmed to me Saturday night. And golly, he has such a charming sense of humor. I never remember thinking he was a light-hearted man when he was a counselor in the First Presidency, but now that he's the prophet, I feel like I am aware of his colorful personality. I am even more endeared to this amazing man after hearing his words...the funny and the powerful. The spirit is so strong when he speaks. Honestly, it's strong just when he enters a room. A lifetime goal I'd like to aspire to is that of constantly having a strong spirit with me at all times, in all things, and in all places.

President Monson gave a powerful talk about charity and casting judgments. It was pretty bold, and oh so needed in the lives of all women today. Here are a few of my favorite thoughts and quotes from the words spoken that night...

"Faithfulness and service are signs of our conversion and commitment."
"Relief Society can replace fear, doubt and selfishness with faith, hope and charity."
-Julie B. Beck

"Our faith gives us courage and confidence to face the challenges of life."
"Each of us is needed in building the kingdom of God."
-Silvia H. Allred

"Christ was moved upon with compassion."
"No one can assist in this work [visiting teaching] without being humble, having love and compassion."
-Barbara Thompson

"Judge not. None of us are perfect. Despite our imperfections, we find them in others."
"If you judge people, you have no time to LOVE them."
"There's a serious need for charity for those who go unnoticed."
"True charity is LOVE IN ACTION."
"To pity distress is human. To relieve it is godlike."
"All of us are the mantle of charity. May we strive to do our best to help out."
-Thomas S. Monson

This weekend will be General Conference. I can't wait to hear the words of the apostles. I remember being a young girl and thinking that General Conference was fun because we got to stay home, but really long and boring because men and women would just give talk after talk. Haha how much a person can grow and understand as they get older. I now look so forward to conference weekend. One day, I'll be shoving crayons and coloring books into my daughter's lap too, so she will stay content while I listen to the words of the prophets. That won't be for a few years though. Let's work on getting a boyfriend first. Anyway, I am very grateful for the prophet Thomas S. Monson as well as the other apostles of today. They speak wisdom and give counsel that we all should heed to. I'm even more grateful that the Lord loves us enough to share revelation with these leaders and provide them for us in this spiritually deteriorating world.

So for a total subject change here! Back to Kalai. Here's my ultimate favorite song of his. This song gives me chills. I could listen to it all day. And all night. And never get sick of it. Honestly.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Don't let the bed bugs bite...

Time to call it a day.
Sleep: a natural and periodic state of rest during which consciousness of the world is suspended.

Dear consciousness, it's time for you to make the world suspend because I am tiiiiiired.
Can't wait to burrow under those warm covers of mine. This will be me momentarily...

Good night. Sleep tight.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Beautiful Goodbyes

The past few weeks have been full of "See you later", "Auf Wiedersehen", "Au revoir", "Adios", "Zai jian"....and in my native tongue, and the form I've most often heard it, "Good-bye."

Pickleville Playhouse, my second home for the past five and a half months, finally came to a close last weekend (September 11). What an amazing chapter of life to close. I'll admit it's a little difficult to do. I have invested a lot of time and, ultimately, love into my two years there. It took up so much time. I had to sacrifice a social life and frequent dates. I developed more zits on my face than I like to remember. I had to rack up a whole lot of miles on my car. I had to cough up a lot of gas money. I had to drive long, curvy roads while battling with my eyes to NOT close. I had to give up summer nights full of barbecues, friends, family, star-gazing, camping, sharing scary stories, pina coladas, fireworks, and bonfires. BUT...

I wouldn't give Pickleville up for any of that. Honestly. Looking back on my experience up in Bear Lake, I am so grateful for my time there. I owe so much thanks and gratitude to the beautiful Davis Family, who so willingly offered their cabins, food, and love to all of us cast members. They gave me the opportunity to do what I love...perform. They faced such hardships, with multiple deaths in the family. But never once did I hear any of them complain or whine. They love what they do and they have such incredible perspectives on life and the gospel. I couldn't have asked for better people to associate with all summer. Then, there's my wonderful cast members. WOW. Some of my best friends were made through PVP. And oh the memories we had! My heart aches a little thinking of how I won't see them day in and day out.

So the lesson learned from this all? When a choice is made, there is a consequence. I made the choice (two years in a row) to participate in Pickleville. Consequences include: everything listed above and more. But the positive so greatly outweigh the negative. There will be other barbecues. There will be more fireworks. There will be plenty more family reunions and shooting stars. But there won't be many more opportunities for me to perform in such a wholesome, inspiring environment with the most amazing people I could think of.
A piece of my heart will forever live in Bear Lake. In a log cabin. On a stage. Under the hot lights. A little place that I like to call Pickleville Playhouse.

Today was my cousin Michael's mission farewell. So at 5:15 am, I stumbled out of bed, blurry-eyed and groggy to get ready. Not the best part of the day, let me add. My family hit the road to Mapleton and arrived in time for his 9:00 am address. What a fabulous program it was. The spirit was so strong in that room, thanks to the comforting and inspiring words of the speakers as well as the humble music. It's days like today that I wouldn't want to be anywhere else but with my family forever, basking in the joys that the gospel brings each and every one of us. As the after-party (including the quintessential missionary farewell lunch: pulled pork sandwiches and a smorgasbord of salads and desserts) came to a close, I said good-bye to Michael. My cousin who is exactly one month older than me. My cousin who loves the Jazz more than anyone I know, and supported me when I sang at the Jazz game. My cousin who has been such a pleasure and delight to be around at family gatherings. My cousin who is a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I am so proud of him for choosing to serve the Lord for two years. In his farewell address, he shared one of his, and now my, favorite missionary quotes. It's the definition of a missionary.

mis·sion·ar·y (noun): someone who leaves their family for two years so that others could be with their families for eternity.

Elder Michael, you will be an amazing missionary.
God be with you till we meet again.

And finally, as lame and cheesy and this may sound, it is that time of year to say good-bye to the garden. Gardening defines the Bagley Bunch. My dad has always loved gardening. Ever since I was a young baby, we've had one. As the primary song says, "The prophet said to plant a garden, so that's what we'll do" sums it up just about right. In fact, my dad loves it so much, he even dug up "cement-like" ground with a crowbar just to produce a few veggies. Well, this summer, he ruptured his Achilles tendon playing basketball. Let me share a photo of the scar.
So he was a little debilitated to say the least. Well what happens when the starting player (or gardener in this story) gets taken out of the game? The back up steps right in! That would be my mother. And let me tell you, what a good back up she has been. The garden this year has produced beautiful vegetables and fruits, thanks to her diligent efforts of weeding and watering on a consistent basis. There is such a sense of accomplishment in gardening. I was able to see my mom in a completely new light as well. She is a very hard worker. She always has been. But seeing her down in the dirt, fighting off massive grasshoppers, and sweating in the hot sun has made me admire her even that much more. What a wonderful example of selflessness she shows me each and every day. And because of that, we have had rockin' crops this year!

Goodbyes are never easy. Granted, some are easier than others, but they are not overly desired in most cases. However, Newton's Third Law of Motion states that:

To every action there is always an equal and opposite reaction

Who says that this only applies to motion? No way, jose! To every good-bye, there is a hello. To every closed chapter, there is a new one just itching to begin. And that's where I am right now. As I have been closing door after door, I am now in a hallway with a million news ones that I can open. Sheesh, what an exciting place to be! Life is sweet. It is oh so sweet. Thank you life for being filled with such beautiful goodbyes...