Saturday, December 29, 2007

Festivities

Oh how I love this time of year!

Just a few of the festivities....


I've always wanted to string popcorn and cranberries... and now I have!


Sledding with the cousins.


He doesn't look big, but he was like 8 feet tall!! I had to hire the neighbor boys to lift the pieces on top of each other!

It was Taylor's first kiss... can you tell?!

And a fun recipe from Mitch!

The Anatomy of PEACE: Resolving the Heart of Conflict

A friend suggested the book “The Anatomy of Peace” by the Arbinger Institute to me. It was incredible. It was all about how we see and treat other people. It gave me some questions to ask every time I meet someone. Such as:

*What are this person's or people's challenges, trials, burdens, and pains?

*How am I, or some group of which I am a part, adding to these challenges, trials, burdens, and pains?

*In what other ways have I or my group neglected or mistreated this person or group?

*In what ways are my better-than, I-deserve, worse-than, and must-be-seen-as boxes obscuring the truth about others and myself and interfering with potential solutions?

*What am I feeling I should do for this person or group? What could I do to help?


Every time we have a prompting to do something we can either betray or honor the sense. I hope to become better at honoring the sense so that I don't have to rationalize my actions.

I highly suggest this book... it is full of goodness!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Temple Square Lovin'

…Long lay the world in sin and error pining,
Till He appeared and the soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.
Fall on your knees! Oh hear the angel voices!
Oh night divine, oh night when Christ was born…



…The King of Kings lay thus in lowly manger;
In all our trials born to be our friend.
He knows our need, to our weakness is no stranger,
Behold your King! Before Him lowly bend!...


…Truly He taught us to love one another;
His law is love and His gospel is peace.
Chains shall He break for the slave is our brother;
And in His name all oppression shall cease.
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we,
Let all us within us praise His holy name.
Christ is the Lord! O praise His name forever,
His power and glory evermore proclaim!



Thursday, December 13, 2007

Babysitting

A night ago I was asked to tend some neighbor kids. My sister was originally supposed to do it, but something came up so she asked me to go over. I was greeted with disappointment. In fact when I asked the 5-year-old if he would like some more dinner, he said, “No. I want Jenny.” Ouch. :) At that point I made it a goal to win their hearts over by the end of the night. :) Chloe (3) finished dinner and hid from me in her parent’s bed and fell asleep so that left the two boys (7 and 5). They ignored me for an hour or so and then I convinced them that we should draw pictures and by the time we had finished drawing kissing reindeer, macho elves, and Santa as a rat they were laffing their heads off! After that we read for a bit and then I put them to bed. All was quiet for about 10 minutes and then I heard Chloe crying. I went and picked her up and immediately felt what was wrong… she had wet their bed! So I cleaned her up and put her in her bed and then the boys jumped out of bed and chased each other around the house for like 30 minutes until I finally got them back in bed. No worries though, when the parents got home, I appeared completely calm and collected and all three were asleep!

Words can’t even describe how much I want the insanity of children in my life! You would think that experiences like this would make me glad that they could be years away, but instead it makes me want them more. Kids are so awesome!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Joy to the World!

While I’m at it, I might as well post my favorites from the First Presidency Devotional too. :)

Chose to feel the light and love of the Savior. –Eyring

True happiness is found only in making others happy. –Monson

Lighten the burdens of others. We need to increase our love and let it permeate our lives. -Hinckley

Lucky

Some of you know that I hostess at the Joseph Smith Memorial Building. Technically it’s a church service mission for the Public Affairs and Hosting Department of the church. Last Friday, as a special devotional, Elders M. Russell Ballard and Quentin L. Cook were invited to speak to us! (It makes sense because they are in charge of the Public Affairs for the church…) It was such a treat to be 100 feet away from them and hear them speak. Here are some of my favorite highlights...

Cook:
* If Christ came tonight, to whom would He come?
* Our purpose is to help the spiritual condition of each person we meet.
* “If you have not chosen the Kingdom of God first, it will in the end make no difference what you have chosen instead.” –William Law
* “There is an answer to the passionate longings of the heart for fullness… live in all things outside yourself by love, and you will have joy. That is the life of God; it ought to be our life.” –Robert Browning

Ballard:
* Instead of worrying so much about getting the perfect gifts, give gifts that will leave memories.
* Never underestimate the power you have to cause someone to feel the power of the restoration.
* Reach out and touch others through your testimony and quiet acts of service.
* The star of Bethlehem is the only way to find happiness. Keep your eye on the star.


I really do love this gospel... there is only good in it!

And I'm so excited for this holiday season!

*s*n*o*w*

LOVE it!
A good time is coming, I wish it were here,
The very best time in the whole of the year;
I'm counting each day on my fingers and thumbs--
The weeks that must pass before Santa Claus comes.
-unknown-



One of my all time favorite sounds is that of falling snow.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

The Living Christ

Last week, Susan Tanner, the Young Women’s General President, came and spoke at Young Women in Excellence. It was an incredible experience to listen to her live and in such a small setting. All of us had been challenged to memorize the document, The Living Christ, to recite and have as the topic of the meeting. I didn’t think I’d be able to do it, but miracles never cease and I did! It has honestly changed me.

First—a couple of things from the meeting:
*Christ’s gospel was a message of peace and goodwill. If those two words were all we knew of the gospel, do we act that way?
*What if we saw each other as nothing but good?
*Be worthy of having the Lord send His tender mercies to you
*”Prove me now herewith”

I wanted to do some sort of Thanksgiving post, but decided to just focus on Him—the Living Christ. He is the reason I have everything that I do anyway—family, friends, a home, a car, a job, and my life.

My favorite line from the document is, “He is the light, the life, and the hope of the world. His path is the path that leads to happiness in this life and eternal life in the world to come.” I know He lives. I know He died for all of us and was resurrected and lives today. He is the Messiah, the Jehovah, the Healer, the Teacher, the Only Begotten, the Redeemer, the Cornerstone, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, the Judge, and the Immortal Son of God. I know that I am happiest when I follow His teachings. I am so grateful for The Living Christ; He has blessed me so much.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Roadtrip!

This past weekend was an IDAHO roadtrip! Three words: I love roadtrips!

I met Wes while in Nauvoo two and a half years ago and we became the best of friends. Yes, he did break my heart a couple times, but at the same time, has been there through the hardest times in my life. He has been the best guy friend I’ve had thus far in my life. And now he’s married so we can’t be friends anymore. :)

We (Aaron, Nina, and I—all Nauvooites) started our trek on Saturday. We drove up to Rexburg and met Kristen (another Nauvooite) and her hubby Jared and then all went to Newdale for the reception. I must put my respects in for Newdale here. That town of 358 people is the most amazing town in all of Idaho. I LOVE it. Respects paid. :) We had a great time at the reception, went and saw the house he is going to live in (I helped him rip down walls in it a couple years ago, so he told me to go see it finished!), and then came back and helped to trash his car. I was nice and only tied cans to the back, but somehow a live rooster ended up in the back of his car! We went back to see them off and I met this adorable little girl who thought that bubbles were the best thing ever. Every time I would blow them, she would open her mouth like in the picture and let out this huge grin. This entertained her for at least fifteen minutes. :) After seeing them off, we headed back to Rexburg and enjoyed fondue at Kristen’s while talking until really late. Then we girls spent the next three or four hours chatting like the old times back as roommates. I’m pretty sure I didn’t sleep that night!, but it was SO much fun!

Sunday morning we got up, snarfed the most amazing cake that Jared made, and then headed off to find a church. We tried to find a regular ward, but after the three tries and finding Stake Conference each time, we just stayed for it! We ended up in a couple’s ward and I have never seen so many kids in my life!! It was actually really funny to watch a screaming child be taken out at least every five seconds! It was actually a really good conference that focused on making time to go to the temple because we aren’t going enough. While waiting for the traffic to clear out, we walked around the new Rexburg Temple. It’s SO beautiful.


And then we headed for home. I guess the lack of sleep caught up to Nina and Aaron…

But I was just fine as long as I had my Skittles to eat! (check out my stash in my skirt?!)






In the middle of Nowhere, Idaho we saw a dead car on the side of the road and then a mile later two guys walking. I pulled over and we asked if we could help and they informed us their car had run out of gas and they were walking to McCammon (six miles down!) to get some. We asked if they would like a ride and they thanked us immensely. They got their gas and we drove them back. Thank goodness Aaron was there because the one dude had quite the hard time getting the gas can to work! And the other guy just sat in the car the whole time! These guys were complete punks, studded earrings and punk clothes, smelled like drugs, and talked about weird things, but were REALLY nice to us. We were proud to do be able to do our good turn for the day!

It was such a great trip. I loved catching up with my Nauvoo peeps and seeing Wes and his family. I love roadtrips! And although it was dang cold, I love Idaho!

Friday, November 9, 2007

Tagged

This “tagged” forward that is going around kind of makes me laff… email forwards have been a menace for years, but now blog forwards?! :) Anyway, I was tagged by a friend to list 7 random facts about myself and considering that I love random things, I’ll participate in this one.

Here goes:
1. I severely dislike cops. I honestly get sick to my stomach every time I see one.
2. I love holidays! I love to decorate for them and soaking up the uniqueness each one brings. And I really love seeing what awesome stuff I can get at the after-holiday sales!
3. I love and need to be outside. I would prefer to be outside almost any day compared to being cooped up inside. In fact, I slept in my backyard all summer a couple years ago. (I still would, but my neighborhood got scary!)
4. I am obsessed with learning. I want to know everything and I want people to share their knowledge with me.
5. I pretty much never watch TV. My favorite show is probably the news... :)
6. The chunks in yogurt make me gag. I suck the yogurt off the fruit chunk and then spit the chunk into a napkin. This doesn’t make much sense to me because I LOVE fruit. (And sorry if that one made any of you gag!)
7. I don’t think my body produces much heat. I’m pretty much always cold. And as awkward as this is, my stomach shivers. Dead serious.

Well now you all know how truly weird I am. :) And that’s only 7 things!

Now I'm supposed to tag some of you to now "be it". I think I’ll let you use your free agency and chose if you want to do it yourself!

Monday, November 5, 2007

For Sale

I was in Provo this weekend and was driving in a residential neighborhood. As I turned a corner, I saw two little girls jump up from where they had been sitting on the sidewalk and frantically begin waving an 8.5" x 11" paper sign at me. My first thought was "Lemonade in November!?", but as I slowed down and read the sign I laffed out loud. "PAINTED ROCKS, 50 CENTS." I stopped at the curb, looked at the selection of painted rocks lined up on the sidewalk, decided I really didn't have a preference for painted rocks, and told them to pick me the prettiest one. They picked me a really ugly one so I looked and said, "OOOOhhhh! How about that pretty pink one on the end?!" They picked it up, let me admire it for a moment and I told them that was the one I wanted. They said together, very professionally, "That will be 50 cents, please." I'm not going to lie--I showed off that rock for the rest of the evening bragging about my incredible purchase of the day! I'm seriously considering stealing their idea and selling painted rocks myself... it sounds like a booming business! :)

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Happy Halloween!

Monday night I carved pumpkins with a few of my siblings.


As you can tell, my family is incredibly photogenic. :)
(Please note that those three didn't have school that day which is why they look like trash!)
I'd like you to know that this was one of the first times I think I've attempted something other than triangle eyes and a toothy grin and I don't think it turned out too terrible.

I did the sweet witch, Jenny carved all four sides of hers, Brad did the wolf, and Daniel carved the Jordan School District logo hoping to cause some controversy about an issue on the ballot next week of WJ becoming it's own school district! Afterwards, we were looking through the costume box and probably enjoyed ourselves too much...


As for the wonderful tradition of dressing up, I decided to be an Arab! (said A-Rab, like in 'Huck Finn') :) After the most amazing trip to Egypt and Israel this summer, I had to show off a few of my purchases! I got the headress for "one dallah" at the pyramids of Giza and the sequined yellow shirt from the Suez Canal and I had on my Jerusalem Cruiser sandals. I've worn the yellow shirt a couple times and gotten everything from 'that's awesome' to 'that's retarded'. (I regret to say that I haven't worn the headress in public much...) :) And, of course, I went trick-or-treating. (You're only young once, but you can be immature forever!) I had five houses on my list and made it to four and had some great chats with some neighborhood friends. Then I waited in my sincere pumpkin patch for the Great Pumpkin to show up. :) "Three things you don't bring up in polite conversations: religion, politics, and the Great Pumpkin."

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

My Bee-jives

I get to spend one night a week at a thing called "mutual". (By the way, why the heck is it called that?) I am a Beehive Advisor. Mainly I advise the bees as to the best way they should produce their honey...ha ha! Actually, Beehives are 12-13 year-old girls who live in my neighborhood. Oh, I forgot to add a word before the word girls in that last sentence... please add the word insane. :) Last week I was on my own with all of them (YIKES!) and, of course, all seven of them showed up for the first time ever! They have been begging to go mini-golfing for months so we found a place for 2 bucks and I took them. Some of them refused to wait for everyone and were finished in about 15 minutes and then complained the rest of time that they were bored... they can be such gems at times... (I pray that I wasn't this annoying when I was that age!) And here they are:


Misty, Aubree, Jameela, Shelby, Morgan, Katie, and Crystal

Can you tell that they have QUITE the range of personalities? :)

Mr. Dragon was a little hungry and ate a couple of the balls.

For the most part they can be dears, but there are other times when they are punks... like when I am trying to teach the lessons! I am grateful that I've had the opportunity to work with them because I've learned so much. Especially patience. :) I love them though; it's been a great calling!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Spiritually Fed

When is the last time President Hinckley and President Packer showed up to your Stake Conference? For me it was this last weekend! Okay so it was a region-wide broadcast and 107 stakes had the same experience, but it was still awesome!

Saturday night was the adult meeting with our local leaders and all the talks were on adversity. Some things that touched me:
*if there was no night, there would be no day, nor would we ever see the stars and the moon
*even some of the Savior's prayers were not answered, but He always responded with "Not My will, but Thine"
*"when upon life's billows you are tempest-tossed, when you are discouraged, thinking all is lost, count your many blessings, name them one by one"
*take your trials to the scriptures and when you've finished reading, they'll be a little lighter
*bear other's burdens while you are suffering and stay anxiously engaged in a good cause
*in the end, really ALL IS WELL
I have had a rough few weeks, but especially had a rough morning so it was definitely what I needed to hear.

Sunday was great too, it was like General Conference all over again!
Neil L. Anderson-Jesus says, 'SLOW DOWN', we need to seek quiet and meaningful experiences that feed our souls, slow down by 1. treating our Sabbath more like the Sabbath and 2. replace some leisure activities with temple worship.
Cheryl Lant-align your priorities with the Lord's and take His side on every issue, a testimony of Christ is the only thing that will help us win the battle
Boyd K. Packer-do not fear because fear is the opposite of faith, the work is not finished and we can expect full and righteous lives ahead, "The Lord doesn't balance His books in October"-the small things required of us may seem less productive immediately but as time goes on, you will realize they are the eternal things
Gordon B. Hinckley-work on companionships of love and trust, make our homes better by 1. having mutual respect for each other, stop looking for faults and start looking for virtues, 2. having a soft answer, work on disciplining yourself, 3. having financial honesty, and 4. having family prayer

The closing song was one of my all-time favorites--"with Faith in Every Footstep we follow Christ our Lord." If I increase my faith, the other things I want to work on will come quickly and more naturally....what an incredible blessing. I guess that's why faith is the first principle of the gospel, huh!?

Friday, October 19, 2007

Li'l Brudder

So my little brother Brad (or Tina as I call him, for no real reason) had his first choir concert this week! Let it be known that I don't think he really likes singing, nor has he ever been in a choir class before, but a girl convinced him that he should do it for his senior year....so he did. (Gotta love the influence of a girl!) Anyway, he made Concert Choir and was able to strut his stuff in his tux on Tuesday night. I really enjoyed the concert for many reasons--I love music, I love supporting my family, and it was fun for me to remember being in that same choir years ago. The song that touched me the most was the concluding "And Wherever You Go."

Wherever you go...
...may a bright sun follow you
...may your cares be few
...may you be at peace
...may your joys increase
...may you know true happiness
...may you meet a friend
...may you find a loving heart waiting for you
...may the soft winds carry you through the clouds and rain for the rest of your life.

I've thought about these words for the past couple of days and realized that really these all have to do with attitude. The gifts mentioned rarely come to us out of the blue; we must be willing to work for them and believe that they will happen to us and we CAN have these blessings 'wherever we go'.


Wednesday, October 17, 2007

What's in a Name?

So I figured I'd explain why my blog is named dontblink18. I can't lie, naming the blog was the hardest part of the whole process! I wanted it to be something that I really liked. I'm not sure that I love the name I've got, but it will do!
First off, the 18 is just because it's my favorite number and I had to add a number on or it wouldn't let me use dontblink!
And as for dontblink....
For years, I've loved the analogy of the jar to the time in your life. You can put golf balls in and fill it up (the essential things), but then you can add small rocks and have it full again (other stuff you have to do), but then you can put sand in and still fill it up again (other things we fill our lives with), but even then you can still add a cup or two of hot chocolate showing that no matter how full your life is, it's never too full to have a cup or two of hot chocolate with a friend. A little tacky? Maybe! But the meaning behind it means the world to me. I never want to get to the point in my life where I focus too much on stuff and not enough time on people. We don't take stuff with us, but relationships will go on forever.
So, "don't blink" represents that for me. Kenny Chesney recently wrote a song with the same title (sorry for being totally cliche and stealing the title...) where he asks a 102-year-old man what the secret to life is. The man tells him not to blink because 100 years goes faster than you'd think. The lines in the song that hit me are "start putting first things first," "when the hourglass runs out of sand, you can't flip it over and start again," "take every breath God gives you for what it's worth," "slow it down and take it in," and "it's a here today, gone tomorrow world we're living in." And that's how I want to live my life! I already feel life flying by and wonder if I'm doing enough.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Fall Amazingness


I made sure to make time this weekend to check out some fall colors. I couldn't get anyone to come with me so I went by my lonesomes, but I had a great time. Of course it was raining pretty hard and I was soaked to the bone and freezing by the time I finally left (thank goodness for the car heater!), but it was such a great time. I'm afraid we get too caught up in the menial things in life that we forget to spend time soaking up nature and feeling the Spirit away from 'the world'.