Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Jingle Bells... sorta

Dashing through the snow, in my red front wheel drive car
Shopping, hair cut, wrapping and even Desert Star
Songs on the radio and lights twinkling in the night
Fill our house with love and hearts with light!

Oh Christmas time, Christmas time
Busy yet so great
Oh what fun it is to countdown to the date

Christmas time Christmas time
Chocolate and treats surround
Oh what fun it is when peppermint bark can be found

A day or two ago, I thought I'd watch a Christmas flick
But I was too busy addressing cards, mom pulled quite the trick
Then today it was the target parking lot that got the best of me
Tomorrow I'll wrap presents for underneath the tree.

Christmas time, Christmas time
Busy yet so nice
Oh what fun it is! I've already slept in twice.

Christmas time, Christmas time
Homes the place I love to be
Oh what fun it is to have my family all around me

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

My Answered Prayers

One year ago from today, the 16th of December prayers were answered. I've never been so hurt by a prayer I had answered the way I wanted, but then again I've never prayed for anything so passionately before. It was something that hurt me to pray for, something I never wanted to have to pray for, but as hard as it was we had to. We owed it to him, I owed it to him. After all he had done for me it was the least I could do to ask Heavenly Father to give him what he felt was right, what he needed. The prayers had started months earlier, and as the days got colder and shorter the prayers grew longer and more frequent, despite how hard it was. My Pops taught me many things through the years, from how to ride the bus to the meaning of unconditional love. I believe the most important things he taught me though were the lessons I learned as he was leaving this life. In his final months he demonstrated to me the necessity of following personal revelation, even if others don't agree. He showed me that success is not found in the size of house, or money you had but the legacy you left behind, and all the love you gave and received. Probably the greatest lesson learned though was complete reliance on the Lord. This was demonstrated faithfully by him, and was taught to each of us in a different way. I learned to demonstrate my reliance through prayer. I prayed, and prayed, and prayed for my Pops, that he wouldn't be in pain, that he would be able to see his parents, that he would we be able to pass to the peace that follows this life in a way that filled him with joy my mind can't even imagine. As I prayed for these things, I put eternal desires above earthly ones. I so wanted my pops to live, to be with me, but that desire was mortal. I had to put the eternal things before them. I had to rely on my Father in Heaven to give me the strength, faith, courage and love to put the eternal before my selfish wants. Pops taught me how to do this, and I don't think he even knew. So today, a year later I say thank you to him for teaching me this, and I give a prayer of gratitude to my Heavenly Father for answering my prayers, for eternal families, and for giving me the strength I needed, and still need.

My prayers are different now. I pray to remember all my experiences with Pops. I pray to feel him near me, to have watch and care for me when I especially need it. I pray with gratitude. It's been a hard year, Pops. I've missed you a lot. I've cried a lot, I know you wouldn't want me to, but sometimes I can't help it. Everyday I think of you, and how much I love you. And today I write this for you, that you may know the impact you've had on the woman I've become. I love you so much.

PS-I had some croutons today, just for you.

Monday, December 14, 2009

On my mind

I gotta type fast today... I have to study for my Organic Chem final and take my Saints in Wartime final. On top of that daunting task-I have a sore throat. No bueno. Especially the week of finals. But, when finals are over(not until Friday this year-don't get me started on that) I will get to go home and just relax. I CAN'T wait. But I have to. Anyways believe it or not I did not start to blog today to complain about my finals situation. I came to say a few other things. But I gotta be quick so I'm not going to elaborate. Just a sentence for each. Just some things that have been floating through my mind...

-Remember those kids, the ones who were different, or didn't have friends. They feel and hurt just like us, and their mothers love them just as much. Random I know, but it had me tears thinking about one of these poor kids I know the other day. Be nice to everyone, but especially to those who don't have anyone.

Shoot that was 4 sentences... I gotta be quicker

-I ate a sugar cookie that I decorated myself at our Ward Activities Committee meeting last night and because of the blue icing I put on it my mouth turned a wretched color of blue-I brushed my teeth 4 times after. Why does icing betray us like so?

-If I could leave right now for months where I was in a different country each day having adventures all by myself-I wouldn't go. What makes me happy? He asked me that I didn't know what to say, but after thinking I realized it-the relationships I have with those I love. I would love to travel the world but with people I love. Hmm....

I'm getting faster....now....

-I love my sisters a whole lot. Just wanted to throw that out there :)

I did it quick, now on to the studying...

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Tears I Cried.....

Today I cried. More than once, but I'm just going to focus on the one right now. Don't worry, it's not discouraging, in fact if I do a good job expressing what happened well it may be inspirational.
For the past four months Valerie Hudson my brilliant International Relations professor has been teaching me. She has taught me the location of every country in the world, who the five permanent seats on the UN Security council are, the power of women in the world, the problems China is now facing as a result of the one child policy, why lesser developed nations are poor, and even the joys that come from living in a small house. It was the lesson taught to me today that will stay with me the most though.
It's easy to get discouraged when you learn so much about the world. There is so much corruption, inequality, violence, economic woe, environmental problems, disease, nuclear weapons, fear and death. Some may question how God, who loves his children equally, could allow such problems to exist and why he doesn't just fix them.
"The Lord works from the inside out. The world works from the outside in. The world would take people out of the slums. Christ would take the slums out of people, and then they would take themselves out of the slums. The world would mold men by changing their environment. Christ changes men, who then change their environment. The world would shape human behavior, but Christ can change human nature." -Ezra Taft Benson
God's plan is good. He changes something inside of us that nothing else can. Jesus did this in his time here on earth. When he taught the multitude he fed them loaves and fishes until they were full, and then he could teach, and they would listen. He loved them and because of that they listened, learned and were changed. Our lives work the same way. We cannot teach others of Christ unless we love them first. Unless we serve them.
Professor Hudson says she imagines us all up in heaven before anyone came down to Earth. Heavenly Father explained how horrible the challenges and problems we face here would be. He gave us full warning that some would starve, others never know how to read, some would be sick, some would be alone and some more would hurt. He explained that he loved us but that suffering would be had by all. He told us that some of us would be born into homes with money enough that we would never go to bed hungry, that we would have a bed to sleep in every night, that we would grow up learning and knowing of him being taught by parents who are kind, and that when the time came we would be able to obtain all the knowledge we desired to. With this position though came a huge responsibility, that of giving, sharing, teaching, and loving those who would not have those things. We understood the responsibility that would come with this life, and knew that carrying it out would be harder than we understood. We rose our hands and promised to the Father that we would do all in our power to make the world better, through the gospel of Christ, and the knowledge we gain.
Thats how Professor Hudson sees it, and I believe the same.
I think I rose my hand and told my Father in Heaven that I would do everything in my power to make the world a better place. That I would take the blessings that were mine and use them to make me a better tool in his hands. And he chose me to come to the situation I did for a reason. Do you know the percentage of LDS college age students? It's a small number when played out on the world stage. Yet here I am, one of the fortunate few. Going to school, reading, researching, learning; all to better myself so that I can give back to God's children. And whether I make it to Africa to volunteer as a nurse helping those with AIDS, or do an elderly ladies hair at the Memory Care center everyday; whether the only children of God I help save be the ones he blesses me with to raise or if I save the lives of thousands of sick children I will make a difference because I once promised I would.
It starts now though, here in my home. I can't ever expect to help communities in Rwanda if I don't know how to serve my roommate, or my sister. Now, when I become discouraged with myself, or my life all I have to do is remember a promise I feel strongly that I made, to do all in my power to better lives, to be a tool in his hand. Heavenly Father knew I could handle what he needs me for, and now I'm doing all in my power to make sure that is the case.
Thanks for helping me see the power for good I can be, with his help, in this world Professor Hudson. It brings tears to my eyes, knowing that I, an imperfect 19-year old can make this world a better place. And so you know, I plan on doing just that.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Just a Tuesday night...

I should be reading my Stoessinger book right now. I'm in a chapter all about the Serbs and Croatia. All about war. Very fitting with the season right? NOT. Another thing that is not very fitting with the season is finals. Who came up with the idea that finals should be the week before Christmas? It limits the time to partake in full Christmas spirit. I want to have a snowball fight/war, and make snow angels. I want to have a fire. I wish I had a fireplace. My friend has one in her apartment a block down, and I bet it feels very Christmasy right now. I did my laundry today and one load didn't dry at all. I wonder if someone took my clothes out, put theres in and then put mine back in because they couldn't pay the $.50 to dry their clothes. I wonder this because I've seen Blind Side. If that is the case they probably shouldn't be living at Liberty Square, heck I can afford my laundry and I probably shouldn't be paying this much for rent. I should be studying. I wonder if next semester will be better. As I wonder this I realize I've wondered this all along. I really do like school. It is very hard at times, but I do love it. I like being a grown-up, being on my own, and being in control. I guess we're never completely in control though huh? Maybe that is what makes life so exciting. I do enjoy learning though. My apartment is very quiet. One roommate is taking a 5 hour final. Its a mock UN session. I would die. I can hardly stand spending 2 hours on finals. I should work out more. I should study more. I should wake up earlier to get all this done. I should not stay up so late playing Phase 10 with my roommates. If I didn't stay up late playing Phase 10 though I wouldn't learn that R has strategies for it though, that G gets sad when she loses, that M gets vindictive when skipped and that I really love these girls. I love that they make me laugh when I don't feel like it, and that they believe in me when I don't believe in myself. It would be hard to be so far from home like them. They are strong, stronger than I am. They make me better. Make new friends and keep the old one is silver and the other is gold. I never really liked that saying. I believe in making friends, and keeping those you've loved for a long time but isn't gold better than silver? Thats why it's the 'gold medal' and second place is the 'silver'. I don't believe old or new friends are better. They are different. I looked in the mirror today and wondered what others see when they look at me. The very long curly hair? The shortness? They plumpness that has crept up this semester? Oh man I need to hit the gym. The smile? The one tooth that is darker than the others because of the time I ran into a door while chasing friends at Gary's house Junior year of high school? The purple finger nails I painted on Saturday? The freckle under my eye? These are the things I see. But I am always my harshest critic. And for the record I love the freckle under my eye. When I look at people I care about I don't ever really see the bad. I mean if I was looking for it I'm sure I could find it, but I see the things I love about them. I like it that way-that I see the good. But what about people I don't know? Or who don't know me. I wonder what the rest of the world sees when looking at me. This post is making me smile. Its randomness reminds me of a certain monologue. I'm pretty proud of the writer of it. She is hilarious. It's loosly based on someone she knows. Which makes it more funny. Her sister is just as funny, in a different way. I'd do anything for those two. If they asked me to fly to the moon for them I'd do it. I'd probably like to fly to the moon anyway-that was just an example. Obviously I have a lot running through my mind. Now do you see why it's so difficult to read Stoessinger right now? I guess I should give it another shot though. Wish me luck.

No regrets.

Every time I write in my journal I end with 'No Regrets'. I decided that I wanted that to be the motto for my life, and so I've always written it. So to whoever took the time to read this whole thing I feel like I should give you something out of it, so here is wisdom. No Regrets. Don't regret a thing. Live, love, laugh and if it doesn't turn out like you hoped, if you find yourself in tears don't regret it. Learn from it and keep on living.

The end. For real now.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Missing Him...

The Mariah Carey Christmas album is a long standing tradition in the London home. Ever since I was a child I knew these songs by heart. I always thought of this song as a tragic romantic love song. But when listening to it again the other day I realized that it may not be just romantic... it can be about anyone you love. And so, this year it's taken on a whole other meaning.

"The fire is burning
The room's all aglow
Outside the December wind blows
Away in the distance the carolers sing in the snow
Everybody's laughing
The world is celebrating
And everyone's so happy
Except for me tonight

Because I miss you
Most at Christmas time
And I can't get you
Get you off my mind
Every other season comes along
And I'm all right
But then I miss you, most at Christmas time

I gaze out the window
This cold winter's night
At all of the twinkling lights
Alone in the darkness
Remembering when you were mine
Everybody's smiling
The whole world is rejoicing
And everyone's embracing
Except for you and I

Baby I miss you
Most at Christmas time
And I can't get you
Get you off my mind
Every other season comes along
And I'm all right
But then I miss you, most at Christmas time

In the springtime those memories start to fade
With the April rain
Through the summer days
Till autumn's leaves are gone
I get by without you
Till the snow begins to fall

And then I miss you
Most at Christmas time
And I can't get you
Get you off my mind
Every other season comes along
And I'm all right...
But then I miss you, most at Christmas time"
I can't believe it's been nearly a year. Sometimes it seems so long and others it seems like the hours of uncertainty were just yesterday. Either way, I miss him. And I think I'll always miss him, and my other dear angels the very most at Christmas time.

Friday, December 4, 2009

My Future Small Home

Today, as I am every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, I was inspired by Valerie Hudson. This woman and her lectures on the world always leave me with a lot to think about, and today was no exception. We were discussing poverty again, and that the idea that poverty in many countries may not be related to population as much as it to over consumption and spending by others. Looking around at the many people in the world who have much more than necessary I believe that those who support this theory are on to something. While discussing this in class a kid in the back rose his hand and said that we can't change Americans views though, we're all still going to want big houses. Silence fell over the room as Professor Hudson stopped and looked down, choosing her words very carefully. With power yet kindness she spoke in a hushed voice and said "All I've ever wanted is a small house to raise kids in, for my kids to be healthy, and to have lots of love." She explained that she was in no way perfect, but that she had gotten to a point in her life where the rest of it didn't seem to matter. She didn't need a big house.

All my life I've loved looking at houses. I've gone to home shows with my mom and admired the bay windows, wood floors, vaulted ceilings, in home theaters or exercise rooms, the pools, the stainless steal appliances and the abundance of bathrooms. I've dreamed of a big house with fancy things. I dreamed of myself in my fancy jeans, an anthropology top and heels pulling cookies out of the oven for my kids. After thinking a lot about it today though I see things a little bit differently. Today I decided that is not really what I want. I want an average home, full of above average amounts of love and laughter and the rest, the material things in said home, just don't matter.

I've been so blessed to always have that in my home growing up. I'm so glad that is exactly what I had. And someday I can't wait to give that to my own family. In our small home.