Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year!



"So, as a new year starts and we try to benefit from a proper view of what has gone before, I plead with you not to dwell on days now gone, nor to yearn vainly for yesterday however good those yesterdays may have been. The past is to be learned from but not lived in. We look back to claim the embers from glowing experiences but not the ashes. And when we have learned what we need to learn and have brought with us the best that we experienced, then we look ahead, we remember that faith is always pointed toward the future."

-Jeffrey R. Holland, Remember Lot's Wife

Friday, December 30, 2011

A Favorite Christmas Tradition

We started it when we were little. The whole family would head off to the 1$ Store and buy each member of the family a little gift. The trick of it was that you had to be inventive in how you hid your purchases since the whole family was walking around the store. I'm sure when we were little we thought it was awesome to have gifts that were secrets from our parents, and now it is still awesome because we usually try to come up with he most funny/random/creative crap.

Once home safely unseen by the others the gifts are wrapped and placed in our GIANT family stocking where they remain until we open them Christmas night.

Some of the best gifts this year: carpet cleaner for the dog, hand sanitizer, no rip toilet paper, and a FBI badge.


*It should be noted that we buy each other thoughtful, useful Christmas gifts too :)

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Happy Christmas

Last December I spent a Sunday morning wandering through a beautiful art gallery. It is not my usual Sunday morning activity, but as I wandered through this famous, usually packed space the quiet, and emptiness spoke to me. I had a spiritual experience as I came upon a painting of the Christ child, being looked upon and adored by his mother.

I think I've seen every nativity ever made before (and half of them are in our living room), however this particular representation of a mother adoring her child, and her savior spoke to me in a way none other had before. It showed a mother overjoyed at having a child, and in awe of who her child was, and what he would do.

Before I'd never really thought at the joy Mary must have felt when she became a mother. Everyone mentions how intimidating, hard, or overwhelming it would be to realize you are the mother of Christ. However, there must also have been great joy. She had our Heavenly Father on her side, like no other mother before or since. She had a knowledge of what was to come. She knew that there was great reason to rejoice in the birth of this son, because of who he was, and what he would do for the world.
About the hope he would bring to it.

I've been thinking a lot about hope the past weeks. About what it really means and about the role it plays in my own life. I think President Uchtdorf spoke of hope best when he spoke in General Conference a few years back:

"Hope has the power to fill our lives with happiness"

"Hope is a gift of the Spirit. It is a hope that through the Atonement of Jesus Christ and the power of His Resurrection we shall be raised unto life eternal and this because of the faith in our Savior."

"(Hope) is believing and expecting that our prayers will be answered. It is manifest in confidence, optimism, enthusiasm, and patient perseverance."

"There may be times when we must make a courageous decision to hope even when everything around us contradicts this hope... Hope teaches that there is reason to rejoice even when all seems dark around us."

And I think that this hope, bringing happiness and rejoicing, is really what Christmas is all about.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Finals

Two more.
Then on to more important things.
Better things.
Happier things.
Here is to the weeks ahead which hopefully will be full of sleep, family time, TV, movies, friends, treats and laughter.

Two more...

Friday, December 9, 2011

Happy December

"December come to me I hope you can see you're not just in dreams"
Norah Jone's December

It is officially my favorite month of the year! And this particular year I'm trying something a little bit exciting. I've decided to create an advent in which each day has something Christmas-esque to do up until the big day. I want to be sure to take the time to enjoy all of my favorite things about this season and not get too overwhelmed with the stress that comes.

It's nothing fancy, but combined with the icicle lights it makes my day every time I see it:






The fancy cute numbering came from this happy place.

*disclaimer my walls look like some awful green color here but in actuality they are a light grey.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Thanksgiving 2011: California


Last Thanksgiving I spent my break in Ireland. I had a burger, fries and a shake at the Hard Rock for my dinner, and as I ate with some of the greatest girls I know. We all spoke of what we were thankful for-and we each, obviously, mentioned our families. We were especially thankful for them as we sat 1,000s of miles away from home.
This Thanksgiving I spent my break in California. We had a turkey dinner at the Carnation Cafe in Disneyland, but the real meal of the day was the breakfast buffet at the Disneyland hotel! As I sat around the table with my favorite people in the world I was especially grateful for them, and the opportunity we had to spend the week together in the happiest place on earth.

Boots and beach




Infamous corn dogs

World of color



I couldn't believe how pretty the park was decorated for the holidays



There was even fake snow



That one time I almost beat dad at Midway Mania

The dessert portion of my... breakfast. Yep it was one of those days. Don't worry I didn't eat all the "cuties" in one sitting.

Favorite picture from the entire trip. But really.

Other highlights: getting soaked on splash mountain and having our saint of  a dad buy us all sweatpants to change into; or car rides home at night-us girls laughing hysterically while Megan kept saying "What?" and Dad looking straight faced ahead... he was a little exhausted of it; being accused of only caring about "snoozing and treats, treats and snoozing" which somehow turned into sneats and treason and then finally sneezing, spending time with the family. 

We had a blast together! Thanks for taking us parents. I loved it!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Ten Things I'm Terribly Thannkful For: 1

1
The Gospel of Jesus Christ


I could write 1,000s of words about why I am thankful for the gospel. I could write about the atonement, the plan of salvation, temples, prophets and covenants.

But I'm not going to. Their is beauty in simplicity.

And simply put I'm thankful for the gospel because without it I wouldn't have the life I do, or be the person I am. The gospel has given me all the great things I've previously mentioned that I am thankful for. It has given me the great life I have. It has made me the woman I am, and it gives me the tools, peace, hope and joy to continue on to be the woman I am suppose to be.

It gives me everything.



Happy Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

10 Things I'm Terribly Thankful For: 3, 2

I'm in Disneyland!

3
Mom
I have so much to be thankful about when it comes to my mom. She does so much for me-drives down to visit, talks on the phone, cooks/takes me to get food, buys me things, teaches me, shares her testimony and expresses her love. When it comes to my mom though I can honestly say that I'm most thankful for the little things:  hugs, kisses, hair caresses, and her smile, especially when it is directed at me, her laugh, her friendliness towards everyone, her excitement for life, her example, her love.


2
Dad
Dad does, and always has, way too much for me. I'm overwhelmed with gratitude for his willingness to work so hard to provide for our family, his willingness to serve in the church providing me a great example, and his kindness to all people. However important these big things are though-the little things are what I am most important for: his hugs, that he is proud of me, his laughter when he finds something really funny, his love for all, especially the YSA, his excitement for doing things as a family, his advise and his unconditional love.


---------------------------------------------------------------

Dear Mom and Dad,

Thanks for never letting me move away without a way back home (car, plane ticket). Thanks for telling me that I can do whatever I set my mind to. Thanks for all the advise, even if I didn't always take it. Thanks for letting me go on adventures and explore the world. Thanks for letting me make my own mistakes. Thanks for not killing me the night I wrecked both the Honda and the durango. Thanks for coming to my games, concerts, recitals, assemblies, etc. Thanks for helping me move soooo many times. Thanks for helping me out when I need it. Thanks for reminding me to be more gentle with myself. Thanks for encouraging me. Thanks for laughing and crying with me. Thanks for teaching me. Thanks for loving me.

I am thankful for you.


And thanks for bringing us to Disneyland!!

Monday, November 21, 2011

10 Things I'm Terribly Thankful For: 7, 6, 5, 4

Ok, I was kind of dumb thinking that I'd blog everyday given that I don't have a functioning computer these days... So here are a whole bunch to get me caught up!

7
Laughter

Does this seem trivial after such hefty things as "Education" and "My Job".

It's not. I'm more grateful for laughter than any of those things I've already mentioned. I learned from a very young age that life is better when you find joy in the journey. Even when you would rather "grimace" in pain.

Just laugh instead.

Whats been making me laugh lately:
Marcel
Sneaky moms
Modern Family

6
Friends
I can't think of words to describe how awesome my friends are, and how blessed I feel to have them in my life.

Really. I keep trying to find words and I can't. (rare I know)

So let this do for now:

I am thankful for you. So so indescribably thankful to have you in my life.



5
Abbie
She is brave in all the ways I wish I was.
Hilarious. Absolutely hilarious.
A hard worker.
The most beautiful blue eyes.
Tough, but also very tender hearted.
A great person to dance with in the car.
She is growing up, in all the right ways.
One of my very best friends.


4
Megan
She is the kindest person I know.
Most considerate of others.
Accepting.
Stunning big brown eyes.
Always willing to help others.
The best person to watch tv and laugh with.
She is becoming the woman she was born to be.
My other very best friend.

In all honesty my sisters really are my very best friends, and everyday I'm so thankful for them in my life. They are always there to encourage, love, care, and make fun of me. We've traveled, laughed, cried, and done nothing at all together. They help me see who I really am, and all that I can be. I couldn't be more proud of these two girls.

Proud of, and thankful for.


Thursday, November 17, 2011

10 Things I'm Terribly Thankful For: 8

8
Education
Let me preface this by saying that it's been an easy week school wise-so being thankful for it has been pretty easy this week.
I always wanted to go to BYU. People often ask me, given the fact that I am a Utah fan, why I go to BYU. I honestly have no answer to give them other than the fact that I always wanted to go here.
Always.
So I worked hard. I studied hard. I took the ACT multiple times, I got involved in extra curricular activities and then one magical day my Mom and Dad were leaving early for something but they came into my room with a paper my dad had printed from the BYU website-it had a list of application statuses:
BYU-I: Accepted
BYU-Provo: Accepted
There was such a relief in knowing that my hard work had paid off in the way I wanted it to. The official letter came about a week later.
-------------------------------------
A few weeks ago I was talking to a friend about BYU, and getting into BYU. We both mentioned how it was each of our first choices. And it hit me...
I got into my first choice. I go to college at my first choice.
I wondered how few people could say that. And instead of feeling cocky, or thinking this was all my own genius (ha) I felt extremely grateful. My father had given me what I'd pleaded for, what I'd desired.
I'm not one to say that BYU is better than anywhere else, I promise. Education is personal and unique for everyone. However, BYU is exactly where I needed to be. I'm gaining the education that I need, in a way that I need for a life that is being inspired by the things I'm learning here.
Today, that increase in knowledge, that opportunity that has been granted me, and the possibility of achieving my wildest dreams because of this opportunity is what I am terribly thankful for.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011