Friday, November 26, 2010

Let the holiday begin!

"Out with the old, in with the new"
is what the day after Thanksgiving is all about. This day is known as one of the craziest days of the retail world year. BLACK FRIDAY, as most of us most commonly know it as, is all about Christmas, shopping, material items, sales...and so on and so forth. I did NOT have the courage to brave the crowds today so I opted out. I just can't get myself to strategically plot out a shopping plan to hit all of the stores during their prime sales and defeat the other ruthless shoppers. Maybe one day I'll try, but not this year.

So Thanksgiving is over [It was such a great holiday full of delicious food and delightful family. I couldn't have asked for a more relaxing and inspiring day with the ones I love.] and now it's full steam ahead into the Christmas season. I'll admit, I love Thanksgiving as much as the next person, but I get a little extra giddy the day after when the Christmas decorations come out, my dad sets up the Christmas lights, and I can officially listen to Christmas music without getting ridiculed by other peeps. It really is the most wonderful time of the year.

My pops putting up Christmas lights/decorations.

Jared watching some football. Go figure.

Tonight is also opening night for the Pickleville Christmas Show "Santa's Elves". I have been rehearsing for the show since early October and it's finally time for all of our hard work to pay off. There are 5 actors in the show, so it's a pretty small cast. The Davis family has put a lot of hard work and effort into helping with every aspect of this show. They seriously are one of the most amazing families I have ever met. Holy smokes. Anyway, the show is a fun story line about a few of Santa's Elves who are putting on a Christmas telethon to help encourage people to believe in Santa Claus. Of course, some things go wrong along the way, but through comedy and fun Christmas music, things turn out great. It's been such a fun production to be a part of. It's a very intimate theater experience because of the small cast and the small theater we are performing in up on USU's campus. This has helped me think about the magic of Christmas and what it's all about. I can't wait to start performing it!

For more information including dates, the cast, and how to get tickets,
visit Pickleville Playhouse website.

Here are some awesome pictures of the show too. Enjoy!
(The link will take you to more through Facebook. Don't have a FB account? Here are a few pictures so you can enjoy too.)


Needless to say, I'm pretty excited for the Christmas season. Not even necessarily for the monetary aspect, but just for the feeling. It's a magical time of year that helps me to reflect on Christ and His life. It's a time of year for yummy treats and holiday cheer. It's a time for laughter and joy. It's a time for family. I love Christmas. Let the holiday season begin!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Baby, it's COLD outside.

Today I am thankful for hot chocolate.


Blizzard Alert has been ringing through the radio, television, internet, Facebook, text messages, and lips of concerned people all day long. Yes, it's true. There is currently a nasty blizzard swirling through the state of Utah right this minute. It's been the cause of canceled school, sporting events, and performances, early closure of retail stores and many white-collar workers have been sent home early. Needless to say, today would be labeled as a SNOW DAY. News stations including Weather.com, KSL.com, and Deseret News, just to list a few, have been keeping all of us worried Utah residents updated on the latest details of the blizzard.

So crazy as this sounds, I figured it would be appropriate to document this "monumental" day in 2010. I braved the cold for a minute and snapped some photos.

Early stages of the blizzard.

Our front yard and driveway getting dumped on.

The backyard.

Documenting the day. I braved the yucky weather.

Grateful for UGG's today. They kept me nice and warm.

I was one of those workers/students that was off the hook early today, due to the weather. I work up on campus and the University closed early today, as did others across the state. So not only did I get off my shift early, I didn't have to take a test in one of my classes. Thank you Stan Albrecht for allowing me a few more days of studying. My rehearsal for the Christmas show I'm in was even canceled tonight, which obviously means that Jack Frost is throwing out some pretty serious stuff. We open the show on Friday so it's crunch time. Days like today show just how subject we are to the weather. Life pretty much goes on halt when there are rough conditions.

For those lucky individuals who didn't step foot outside today, or who have never been in a blizzard, here is a "virtual tour" of what one is like. This is what the weather was like today around 4:00 pm. The blizzard had just begun...

video

What a way to welcome the winter season, eh?
Today is one of those days that you just want to snuggle up with a loved one in a big fuzzy blanket, sitting close to the fire, with a cup of cocoa in hand and watch a delightful holiday movie.

On a blisteringly cold day like today, I am very grateful for a warm house I have to live in. I think of the pioneers who were crossing the plains during the winter. I guarantee they hit blizzards along the Mid-West that were worse than what has been blowing around Logan today. I am grateful for central heating, fireplaces and blankets. I am grateful for electricity that keeps our lives running despite Mother Nature's surprise. I am grateful for my sweet family that I get to spend the whoooole night with.

Tonight's agenda: brewing up a nice cup of hot chocolate.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Don't worry. Be happy.

Today I am thankful for happy moments.


This post will come in a series of different "happy moments" that I am thankful for. Pretty much I just want to blog about highlights of my past week/weekend and when I look back on it, it was filled with delightful moments. So that is truly what I am thankful for today. Those moments that give your insides a warm, fuzzy feeling. Those moments when you can't stop smiling, no matter how hard you try to keep it concealed. Those moments that you would freeze just to live in them a little bit longer. Those moments when you feel like your heart could just burst because of joy.

So first things first: Sara Bareilles.

I am thankful for Sara Bareilles.


Genius. Musician. Performer. Talent like you can't imagine....words cannot even describe this fantastic music artist. She truly is an artist. This past Wednesday I went to her concert. My darling friend Tessa and I hopped in my little blue beauty (which would be my car) and drove down to Salt Lake City for one of the best concerts, if not the very best, I have ever been to. The concert was at In The Venue in SLC, and I'm not gonna lie, it was a little sketchy. But, it ended up being a great place for a concert. It is kind of small so no matter where you stood, you were pretty close to the stage. The opening acts were good...but WAY too long. I kind of feel bad for opening acts at a concert because people really just want them to end. I paid money to see Sara, and that's who I want on stage. But they are very talented groups/performers that open. These ones, Holly Conley and The Cary Brothers, were just that.

Waiting for Sara to perform.

Then Sara finally came on. Ah, she is so stinkin' cute and ridiculously talented. She's one of those people that you kind of hate because she is SO good, yet it's impossible to actually hate her. Her ease and skill on the piano is unreal. Her vocals are hauntingly gorgeous and she has so much control. She'll wail on a loud, uncomfortable-to-sing-but-sounds-perfect-when-she-sings-it note then automatically transition to resonate on some beautiful high note. Then she goes and picks up a guitar and ukulele and plays like it's not big deal. Seriously, the girl is amazing. AMAZING. I feel so lucky to have been able to go to her concert. In her final song, she stood on her blue grand piano and jammed out. Who does that? Who is cool enough to do that? Sara Bareilles. On a scale of 1 to 10, she definitely earned an outstanding 10 from me. Wow, what a performer. What a night!

Sara in her glory at the piano.

Tessa and me enjoying every minute.

Surprise! She plays the guitar too.

Tessa, me, Derek, Meesh, Parker and Whitney

I am thankful for future vacations. Aka: HAWAII

This week I found out that I am FOR SURE going to Hawaii in December/January. I have a group of friends that had talked about going, but we never bought tickets and the scheduling kept having to be changed. Ya know, what happens the majority of the time trips with friends are being planned...it often times doesn't end up happening. But after some diligent ticket fare comparisons, we finally found a great rate and booked the tickets. There's 3 guys and 4 girls going and I couldn't be more EXCITED! I think that the last time I was on an airplane, I was about 5 years old. I don't really remember. Not to mention it has always been a dream of mine to go to Hawaii. Well folks, let me tell you, dreams do come true. We are going to the island of Oahu for about a week from December 30 to January 7th. So New Years in Hawaii? Yes please! I'll be sure to blog about my trip in just over a month.


I am thankful for dating.

Okay okay, I know this sounds so weird, but hear me out. This weekend I went on a couple of dates and it was really fun! Friday night was the IWA casual dance. Only downside to this was it was girl's choice, so I had to be the one asking the dude on a date. It is scary, let me tell you. I hadn't had to ask a guy out since girls choice dances in high school and I forgot how much I don't like it. I'd much rather have to deal with turning down unwanted dates then asking. Why? Definitely the fear of rejection. Anyway, I asked an awesome guy named Rich and we had a blast. Well at least I did! Then last night, I went out with a good friend named Corey and had nice little evening. I have been on some really fun dates throughout the years. That helps solidify the fact that there are awesome guys out there. It's easy to forget that and think that they are all lame when one does something stupid. But that one troubled boy is not all of them. I think about the guys in my life that I really love and they are all awesome! So for all of us single ladies, keep the faith. There are good guys out there...sometimes it just takes a little extra effort in looking.

There are so many happy moments in my life to be grateful for. I have wonderful friends and family that help make these moments happen. I have a loving Father in Heaven who allows me to take part in experiences that better me as a person and bring joy to my life.


"Happiness is a perfume you cannot pour on others without getting a few drops on yourself."
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared."
-Buddha

"Most people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be."
-Abraham Lincoln

"Happiness is the meaning and purpose of life. The whole aim and end of human existence."
-Aristotle

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Pretty awesome servants.

Today I am thankful for missionaries.


My mind has been thinking about missionaries a whole lot lately. Lately as in like the last year...and possibly even before that. But today I have been thinking about them a lot. I have two good friends, Layne Lawson and Cole Lewis, who gave their farewell talks today. One is going to Anchorage, Alaska and the other is going to Rochester, New Hampshire. I could provide a very loooong list of peeps that have been or are missionaries. But I don't think that I realized the sacrifice and importance of missionary work until my brother Matt left on his mission just over two years ago. He was one of the first guys close to my age that I loved and cared about that left our little community in Cache Valley to serve. Since then, the majority of my guy friends from high school have left. Many of them have returned, some are currently serving and there are some still preparing to leave.

The calling of a missionary is such a divine and important calling. I find it hard to understand when I hear of guys or girls that don't take it seriously for all it's worth. I have never served a mission and can't imagine how difficult it may be at times, but I'm so grateful for the wonderful examples in my life who have made that sacrifice to serve the Lord. They give two years of their life, just a slice essentially when looking at the big picture, and dedicate all their work to the One who loves us unconditionally. He has done that for us that we could never do for ourselves. So it is our duty...our commandment...to serve him the best we can, be that through missionary work or through our daily service to others. Every member a missionary, right?

The lyrics to the well-known primary song always run through my mind when I think of those young men and women out serving missions.

"I hope they call me on a mission
When I have grown a foot or two.
I hope by then I will be ready
To teach and preach and work as missionaries do.

I hope that I can share the gospel
With those who want to know the truth.
I want to be a missionary
And serve and help the Lord while I am in my youth."

A mission is something that I have seriously contemplated in my life as well. If I were a dude, I would be gone serving a mission right now. That's so crazy to think about. I think about everything that I am involved in...be that school, work, socializing and dating, musicals, etc. and it would be so difficult to leave all of that behind for two years. I feel like girls have a hard decision (in a different way than boys) ahead of them when it comes to going on a mission. Guys have been commanded to do so, but girls have been given the option. Sometimes I wish that I was told a black and white answer as to whether I should serve or not. I know that marriage and family is of number one importance. And if that is to enter into my life in the next two years, I will welcome it with open arms. But if in two years I am still single, I think that I would want to make that leap of faith and enter those MTC doors to begin a year and a half of serving the Lord.

Anyway, I know that missionary work is inspired of the Lord. I really am thankful during this time of year for my family and friends that have incorporated a mission in their lives somehow. I remember when I was younger and the thought of dating an RM was scary! They were waaaay too old for me. Truth be told, now the thought of dating someone who is not an RM is what makes me a little more nervous haha. There are many ways to be a missionary every day. Even if it's just giving a sober-faced stranger a genuine and heartfelt smile. It's making a difference. That's just what the Lord would do. And He is the perfect example for everyone to pattern their lives after.

Here are some pictures [some including quotes from letters] of just a few loved friends in my life that are serving or have served. I wish I could post stuff from them all. But regardless, enjoy!

Elder Jeff Manning (Baltic States, Lithuania)

Elder Taylor Griffin (Brazil, Sao Paulo)
"...and it just really helped me realize that this work isn't done by us missionaries. It's done by Him who does everything else in this world."


Elder Doug Wixom (Dominican Republic, Santa Domingo)
"This isn't a sacrifice; it's an opportunity that millions of other people don't have. It's an opportunity to bring happiness into other peoples lives that millions of people will not receive. I know that the work of the lord is real. I wouldn't be here if it wasn't."


Elder Dallin Maxfield (Chili, Santiago)
" I know God is our literal Father in Heaven who loves us and hears our prayers. The mission is really hard sometimes, and the only thing I can possibly do is just get on my knees and cry in prayer. But I can say, without doubt, that every sincere prayer is answered in His time and way. We are so blessed to know such things like that. I love being a missionary and sharing my testimony with other people. Sometimes it is the only thing that lifts my spirits and helps me to keep going."

Elder Brian Williams (Canada, Montreal)

Elder Michael Black (Mexico, Guadalajara)
"Missionary work is about bringing people unto Christ and to help them get to the first of many steps to obtain the celestial kingdom, which is baptism. As it says in D&C 18 “How great will be your joy if you should bring many souls unto me.” This is why I’m out here. I’m not on my time, but the Lords time. I was discouraged after day one but I know that through God EVERYTHING is possible."


Elder Matt Bagley (now returned from Arizona, Tucson)
"I am really grateful for you all, and I hope God continues to bless both me here and you there as we strive to keep His commandments and become more like Christ, so we can one day qualify for eternal life together as a family."


These guys are pretty awesome servants if you ask me.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

I will go and do.

Today I am thankful for Firesides.


Throughout my growing up years, I have gone to more firesides than I could count on both hands. I have been to firesides for young womens, youth conferences, stake youth meetings, mutual activities, etc, etc, etc. Since I graduated from high school, I have dabbled my feet in the CES firesides. And boy oh boy are they fantastic! Different apostles and church leaders like Richard G. Scott, H. David Burton and Dieter F. Uchtdorf are just a few of the speakers from the past year. These inspired men speak words directly targeted for the single adults of the church. That would be me. A single adult. Weird.

Just this past Sunday was another CES fireside and perhaps the most powerful and touching one I have attended since I have declared the single adult status. President M. Russell Ballard spoke from the Marriot Center in Provo. And I was there. In person. The Logan Institute formed a choir of 1100 people. Yes, let me repeat that. 1100 PEOPLE! We filled 21 buses and made the two and a half hour trip down to Happy Valley. I don't remember school buses being so squishy, but maybe that's because I was younger when I used to regularly ride them. Then to add to the already confined space, I was lucky enough to sit on the tire seat. Now I know what it feels like to be a 6+ foot man sitting in a small chair. Not a pleasant experience. My deepest sympathies to you tall men in this world.

A group of us getting ready to load the buses.

Despite the uncomfortable ride down and back, the experience I had on November 7 was one that I will never forget. After about 6 weeks of practicing, we were prepared to sing for the world to hear. We sang True to the Faith and Our Savior's Love. When the broadcast began, we were a group of 1100 college kids wanting to sing hymns and please our choir directors. When we actually sang, something happened. We turned into a choir of angels praising our Lord and sharing our testimonies through the powerful aspect of music. At least, that's how I felt. We had never sounded as good as we did during that broadcast. I believe that everyone feels the spirit in different ways and at different times. For me in particular, it was during our final song, Our Savior's Love. I pride myself for not being emotional, but I couldn't keep back the tears from swelling in my eyes. [Thank you mascara for not running all down my cheeks.]

Our Father, God of all creation, hear us pray
In reverence, awed by thy son's sacrifice.
Praises we sing. We love thy law; we will obey.
Our heavenly King, in Thee our hearts rejoice.

This third and final verse touched my heart in a way that I can't describe through text. Let's just say it was an incredible experience. I didn't think that I would have felt the way I did that night, but I felt the Spirit of the Lord in that room very strongly. I am so grateful for uplifting music and the power that it can have to so quickly entertain specific feelings and emotions.

Finally, I am thankful for faithful servants of the Lord. Regardless of the fact that I sang in the choir, I think that this was my favorite CES fireside I have attended. Now it's hard to pick favorites, but the words Elder Ballard spoke that night were written for me. I know that many other people probably feel that same way, but his talk was a confirmation to me that the Lord loves me. He knows what I'm going through and the feelings I have. He wants me to be the best that I can be, and that may require some change and discipline to accomplish that. There is a divine plan for me that I can accomplish if I keep His commandments.

When Elder Ballard entered the room, everyone fell silent and stood in respect. Call me a cry baby last Sunday...it's true. But my heart was filled with an indescribable feeling. I just knew that he was a disciple of Christ. He brought a special spirit into the room that was not there before he entered. I hope that one day I will be able to do the same. I hope that I can live righteously and worthy of having the Spirit with me so strongly wherever I go.

Well, time to wrap up my gratitude-filled heart being spilled out on this blog. Elder Ballard's talk was an extension of his conference address this past October. He told us to watch out for Satan and his cunning plan. Satan knows us as well and knows our weaknesses. My generation is the future of the church. We must be strong as ever to withstand his slimy tactics and traps and become the leaders of the church. Membership numbers continue to grow thanks to the work of those faithful missionaries. The Lord needs us to live righteously and help the work of His kingdom. May we all be like Nephi, obedient and eager to do this work.

"And it came to pass that I, Nephi, said unto my father: I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them." 1st Nephi 3:7

My dear friend Tessa and me.

Cousins. Joanna and myself.

What good friends I have. Parker and Lauren.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

An APPLE a day keeps the doctor away.

Today I am thankful for iTunes.

Apple's genius invention of iTunes has been my best and worst friend since I owned an iPod, which was my sophomore year of high school. I remember that Christmas morning opening a package from Santa, and being ecstatic at the sight of a small white iPod. Ever since then, I'm sure I have invested thousands of dollars into the purchasing of music through iTunes. It has helped me find almost every song I have ever wanted to find, be that the most popular hit on VFX, some oldies classic from the 1960's that I heard at my old job, or a cheesy karaoke track that I will never be able to actually sing to because it sounds WAY too canned. An iPod upgrade and a good chunk of change later, and here I am today. Still addicted to iTunes. And to be honest, I'm not really trying to break that addiction.

Today, I went a little overboard perhaps with my purchasing. But hey, it had been at least a month and a half since I bought any new music. That's a long time for an addict like me.
Items purchased on November 6th:

A Thousand Suns (Album): Linkin Park [Thank you Cole Lewis for introducing me]
Teenage Dream (Album): Katy Perry [Finally I am buying this!]
Speak Now (Album): Taylor Swift
Love, Save the Empty (Album): Erin McCarley [On sale! YEAH!]
On a Clear Night (Album): Missy Higgings [I just completed this album. It was necessary.]
Without You: Keith Urban
We R Who We R: Ke$ha [Don't judge. I like this song.]
Don't You Wanna Stay: Jason Aldean w/ Kelly Clarkson
Love Story Meets Love Story: Jon Schmidt

Also, please note the new selection of music in my blog's playlist. If I'm updating my iTunes library, I might as well update my music here, right?

Alright now you know of my music obsession. But there is something good that comes from this. I have been exposed to a lot of different types of music. And perhaps the best reason for iTunes is the amazing access to wonderful music, like hymns. I have found some really amazing arrangements of Sunday appropriate songs, including my favorite hymn Abide With Me; Tis Eventide. In fact, I have a whole playlist on my iPod, named Righteous Tunes, that is full of uplifting and spiritually inviting songs. Many of which were purchased on iTunes.

I am grateful for technology and the rapid advancements it is making. I feel like there are always updates and as soon as I upgrade anything, it's already outdated, iTunes being the quintessential example. But I have to imagine that the Lord puts this incredible technology in our lives for our benefit. Our job is to use it wisely, discover the good that can come from it, and stay as far away from the evil as possible. If we do that, we will continue to be blessed and can increase our spirituality through these tools that are at our fingertips.

Enjoy this new favorite comic of mine.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Ouch.

Today I am thankful for Band-Aids.

This is a weird thing to be grateful for, but these dear friends of mine helped me out during my time of desperation today. Let me explain what happened...

So tonight at IWA we baked cookies to give to someone that we were grateful for. After the cookies were made, we put them on a plate, wrapped them with cellophane, and tied the curling ribbon around...yada, yada, yada. You get the idea. Then we had these little paper cards to write on. So I chose a cute card with a royal blue flower, selected lime green ribbon, and decided that would suffice. Well, the trick was attaching the card to the ribbon. Why was this tricky? Because I had no hole punch. So when there is no hole punch, the scissors act as the hole punch, right? Right. And usually this works great. But not tonight. My little birdie finger was a little too close to that blade because when I poked the hole through, it went through the paper and a good couple layers of skin. If I could fully describe that feeling of being SLICED by scissors, it would not be pleasing to the reader. Trust me. After that, there was a bunch of blood and stuff....for about a half an hour. I never knew a finger could bleed so much! When I got home, I ran to the band-aid box to save the day.

The reason for the cut. Cute? Yes. Worth it? Debatable.

The damage. I can't decide if it hurt worse or it if looks worse. Once again, debatable.


So basically, I love band-aids. They make any kind of boo boo better. Whether that be a hangnail, a scraped up elbow or knee, a nicked ankle from shaving, or a sliced finger from scissors, they make me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Thanks band-aids. You're simply genius.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Ever Be Thankful.

January through October have come and gone. 2010, why the rush to end? Seriously. Wasn't it just yesterday that I was still a Freshman in college walking up on campus with the blistering-cold canyon wind slashing my face? Yes, yes it was. And now I'm about to do it all over again. Time flies. Enough said.

So since the wonderful holiday of Halloween has now passed (which is one of my favorite times of year, btw), it is time to move on to the next holiday....THANKSGIVING. I'm looking out my window, gazing at the beautiful colors, the crisp air empty of birds song, and a garden all harvested-out, and I feel a lot of gratitude in my heart. This truly is a time of year to be thankful. I have been blessed immensely. If I was an Atheist, it would surely shake my belief in no God because of everything I have been provided. There's no way it all would be possible if there wasn't a God. And more importantly, a God that I know loves me, no matter what.

So to show my thanks this month, I'm going to blog about something I'm thankful for each day. Well, maybe not each day because time doesn't always permit that. But as often as I can. There's about 24 days left until Thanksgiving, and I guarantee that I have more than just 24 things I'm grateful for. So here goes:

Today I am thankful for my family.


I know I'm starting off a little cheesy and blatantly obvious, but really they are the best! Now, everyone typically says that they have the best family, so essentially this could be a never-ending argument. So, I've decided that everyone is perfect for their family. For years and years I wanted a sister. And I never got one. But I wouldn't trade any of my brothers for the best sister in the world. They tease, pry, bug, and annoy a whoooole bunch. I'm used to it by now. However, they also smile, share, and love a whooooole lot more. There's nothing better than having a heart-to-heart with Matt, a "grown-up" conversation with Aaron (since he claims to no longer be a child), or being squeezed half to death by Jared's strong hugs.


And then there's my parentals. They are splendid. We don't always get along...in fact, I think because my mom and I are so alike, when we disagree, we really disagree. Luckily though, that is pretty rare. She's so selfless and I can't think of anyone who sacrifices much more than my mom. My dad is the perfect example of kindness too. He is never not nice. Honestly. My mind is drawing a blank just trying to think of one instance.


Gosh, I am sure blessed with a great family. What did I ever do to deserve them?


This video was made on Matt's 21st birthday. This was our birthday wish to him just weeks before he came home from Tucson. Here is a very minor glimpse to our personalities and the fun we have together.

video