Thursday, December 25, 2008

And then the snow came down...

My favorite present today arrived at a little after 8am--that's when the phone rang. Ikey! Yeah, the holidays are crazy (so is working on Christmas Eve, dear golly!), but it all turns out to be worth it when you watch your little brother and sister rip open present after present on Christmas morning. The bonus was talking to Elder Livingston on the phone for a while and hearing about Hamilton, Ohio. Yay for missionaries! Ellie sure was eager to get her hands on some goods, though. Mom and dad had to tell her more than once to slow down or she'd be out of presents soon, and we all know what that means. Her reaction: "But I don't wanna be done! I'm not done! I have more presents! I want more!" By that time her "tower of greed" was leaning a bit... I don't remember being quite like that but I know that I have learned to slow things down on Christmas morning so I can soak it all in. It's been snowing all day and since it's Christmas I'm trying to think about how pretty it is and not how I'm going to have to dig my car out of it tomorrow. :-) MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Lessons Learned at a Nursing Home

  • The first man we went to visit this past Sunday's name was Del. He was pretty talkative and liked telling us stories about his mission. After we sang him a few Christmas hymns, he pointed a trembling finger at me and said, "You remind me of my mother. She was a tiny lady." Then, as I shook his hand and said goodbye, he held onto it and said, "If I call you Mama, don't be alarmed." HA!
  • Next we visited a woman named Helen who was thoroughly engrossed in an NFL game when we entered her room. She muted it and immediately started asking us each where we were from and what our names were. She knew where everyone's hometown was except for me... figures. Then we asked her which song she wanted us to sing and she said, "Oh, any song, any song! I have two loves in life: milk and music." (Courtney prodded me in the back when she said that and mouthed, "That's you!") Then she warned us not to sing "Silent Night" because every time she hears that one she cries. Let me just say that I got more laughs from this woman in fifteen minutes than I can get out of a whole day with...ahem...myself.
  • Last we visited a woman whose husband was visiting her. She was in a hospital bed and he was standing very close by, watching over her. A girl in our group told him that he had a very beautiful wife, to which he replied with a smile, "Oh, I know that." Then his wife said, "She doesn't feel very beautiful right now," so he reached over and grabbed her hand. We sang "Joy to the World" to them, which we were told "would make the wife happy." I just love old couples...they really are golden!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The Runaway iPod+Music Fast=Answer to Prayers

Yesterday was one of those days that are just "days," when you wake up feeling awesome (like I did) and go home with your head hanging low (like I did). I had dutifully packed my workout clothes to take to class so that I could exercise's one of my new goals to work out every day. Well at the end of Spanish 102 I, for some reason, took my iPod out of my backpack and set it on my desk, not even thinking about it as I left the classroom. About 20 minutes later I realized what I had done, but since there was a class going on I couldn't retrieve it until 5:30. I decided to go work out anyway and then swing by the Smith building on the way home. It was really dark out and raining by the time I was done, which wasn't adding much to the mood I was in. When I got to room 431 I searched everywhere but the little music box was nowhere to be found. At first I was distraught because I thought someone might have stolen it; then I had this comforting feeling that I would find it eventually. Heavenly Father is always finding new ways to try me, which I thanked him for and then asked if He would please help me find the iPod. I told him I knew that we should "lay up for ourselves treasures in heaven," but that I would feel really bad if I lost this iPod. This morning I went to the gym again and tried to put myself into a good mood. In my morning prayers I asked Heavenly Father to help me focus outside of myself and forget about my problems. It turned out to be one of the best days of the whole semester; on the way to my classes I smiled at everyone, I tried to compliment all my friends, and I let the Spirit just soak into me. I was fully attentive in all of my classes today (which was also an answer to prayer) and feel like I learned so much. When I made my way to Spanish after another amazing devotional, I kept getting the impression that I would find my iPod and I didn't need to worry anymore. Actually I'd known that all day long but I had decided from the beginning that I was going to have a positive attitude no matter what happened. I walked into my class, sat down in my seat, and lo and behold, a note on the board (from my Creative Writing teacher...coincidence? I think not!) said that if anyone left their iPod in the room the day before to talk to one of the adjunct professors. A few minutes later my Spanish teacher walked in holding the little black thing which could have made my day (and others around me) worse; instead it turned today into one of the best. The ironic thing is that, for my music class, we had to go without music for 24 hours. My fast was going on from the time I lost my iPod to the time when I got it back, and they were some of the happiest I've had on this earth. It's funny how the Lord uses our weakesses to teach us lessons and to help us grow. That's what attending the Disciple Preparation Center (D.P.C. ak.a. BYU-Id) is all about! At least, that's what I hear... :-)

Thursday, November 6, 2008

A Dozen Prayers in 60 Minutes, and Other Tales

Tuesdays at BYU-I mean one thing: D-Day, a.k.a "devo," (the latest abbreviation of a four-syllable word), or for everyone else not acquainted with these terms, devotional. The whole weekend it rained that good, clean rain I've been waiting for, and on Tuesday that rain had evaporated into not-so-good, bitter wind. This means that all us girls who wear skirts on Tuesdays for devotional get all of our leg hairs either frozen off or frozen stiff. On the way back from what was a stupendous devotional ( you can find the talks at this website if you so desire:, my roommate Chelsea and I were walking across the street from the Hart to our (what we hoped was on fire) apartment when a gust of wind blew our skirts sky high. The wind was so unforgiving that we just started laughing deliriously between words like "this," "is," and "cold." That night, after tithing settlement, we all watched the Election results anxiously. As snow began dumping itself all over the parking lot and our rooftop, we said a prayer between every commercial break. We all knew what the outcome would be, so we just prayed for the country in general. After Obama swept the Electoral votes, we began to pray that Prop 8 would pass. We all rotated, so I'm not exactly sure how many prayers we each said in that hour, but I know it was at least 12. I remember my roommate Sarah telling Heavenly Father that she knew He was still a God of Miracles. When it was Christina's (another roomie) turn to pray, she asked for McCain to win, for the country to go in the right direction, and then she asked us all in the circle if she needed to pray for anything else. It was pretty funny at the time, but now when I think about it, I know that there's a lot I don't ask Heavenly Father for becaus I think it's mundane or unimportant. Heavenly Father wants us to have all things which we have need for; He wants us to ask. The next morning, when Prop 8 barely passed, we got down on our knees once more and said a gratitude prayer. I know that when the Prince of Peace comes, wars and contentions will cease, but until He does, I just have to have faith. P.S. There's still at least an inch of snow on my little car. It's defrost season again!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Da Party in the Crib (601)

So my parents have been complaining that I haven't been taking any pictures...and they're right. Oops. But my roommates sure have! So I think I have rights to this photo, even though I don't know whose camera it came from. This was taken a week ago today at Niki's birthday party (she's the one in the green stripes). As you can see, we college students know exactly how to throw a fact, we've left all the decorations up and they will probably stay where they are for the whole semester. Sarah (the one who's pulling a vampire face in my direction) re-curled the ribbons the other day while the rest of us were in class (she's off-track right now). So we pretty much think our apartment is the coolest one in the whole complex now because we have decor. I'll post some more embarrassing photos of me later on. Teaser: one involves a hillbilly face, which I know is your favorite, mom :-)

Friday, October 24, 2008

Currently Homesick For:

  • Portland Temple
  • The McKenzie River
  • Early-morning seminary
  • Masterpiece Theater on Sundays
  • Nintendo 64 with Ike
  • Goshen Grange in Winter
  • Camp Alpine
  • Christmas-tree hunting in Oregon
  • 567 Archie, 1338 Andersen, 311 Mint
  • Schultz Cabin
  • Oregon Coast
  • Mercer Lake
  • Griffey
  • Liz's House
  • Liz's Room
  • Liz
  • Pistachios
  • Alpine Loop in Autumn
  • Last Chance Trail (Sundance)
  • Cocoa and toast
  • River Bike Path (Eugene)
  • Neptune Beach
  • Heceta Head Lighthouse
  • A good clean rain
  • Homemade bread
  • AF Fitness Center
  • Dad's old movie collection
  • TiVo, and by extension, Eli Stone, The Office, and Pushing Daisies
  • Caleb's smile
  • Caleb's frown
  • Ellie's mischief
  • Isaac's kindness
  • Mama's advice
  • Dad's understanding
  • A quiet bedroom
  • Mucho Gusto
  • Pioneer Used Bookstore
  • Church History Museum
  • Frozen Yogurt Junction
  • River Road Park
  • Petersen Barn Park
  • WinCo
  • Free laundry

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Saturday is a Special Day Because...

...It's the day we finally got to do baptisms for the dead in the Rexburg Temple. It only took three tries before we made it to the chapel early enough; if you arrive at or after 11 am, the line to get in the chapel stretches to 5 pm. My rommates and I felt bittersweet about the whole thing. On one hand, a lot of spirits were being baptized into the church and the Lord's work was moving forward like it always is. On the other, we couldn't participate in the work because we just weren't early enough. Yesterday morning Courtney burst in the bedroom from the living room (where she fell asleep the night before) and woke me from my long-awaited weekend slumber. It was past time for us to be at our home teacher's apartment (they were making us breakfast), and we still had to get the bacon!! Blasted meat-loving males.... Anywho, after downing some crepes, Niki, Courtney, Christina and I rushed home to get dressed and to the temple. I said a little prayer beforehand that we would get in. "Please" was the only part I really remember about the prayer. :-) We made it to the doors at precisely 10:50, and I was dreading having to poke my head around the corner and look down the hall at yet another long line. Who says prayers aren't answered? I looked for that line and there wasn't one. We went right inside the chapel and sat down, watching reverently through the glass as another child of God entered into His gospel. As we made our way down the bench (they have a system of rotating people throug the locker rooms because it's so busy), waiting to get our clothes, I started to think about Grandma Great. I am positive now that this was not a random thought concocted by me, because number one, I was in the temple, and number two, I was preparing to do work for the dead. I went back in my memory to the day of her funeral, and I replayed everything that was said that day and all of the silent prayers I felt. I remembered how many of the speakers talked about Grandma's testimony and how she wanted all of her family to have a testimony of the gospel too. That's when I felt her there with me, at that moment, and she let me know that I was where she wanted me to be. I am so grateful that once again, I live very close to a temple, and that I was worthy to enter therein. The Lord loves us so much--if you're not sure of this, just look at the temples. He wants us to be together for the eternities. This is why I love Saturdays.

Monday, October 13, 2008

October on Wings of Ice

It was only a few days ago that I was sweating all the unnecessary water out of my body as I traversed to the Hinckley Building... and now as I look out my bedroom's window I can see little ice droplets hanging from the leaves on the tree out there. So where on earth did autumn go? I'm guessing it's still hanging around in every other city but good ol' Rexburg, Idaho, where snow came down like Frosted Flakes (yeah, I'm talking about the cereal) all weekend. After church yesterday I went to my Relief Society Board Meeting (that's what you get when you're the R.S. pianist) and then to finally get set apart... Sidenote: It was a really cool blessing. Anyway, then my roommates Courtney, Christina, and I all waited for our lovely Relief Society prez Sarah (who also happens to be our roommate) to get out of her meetings so she could drive us home. Home, by the way, is a mere ten minutes from the Smith Building, where our ward meets. All I can say is that this winter will not make a wimp out of me! Oh wait...maybe it already has. And the snow hasn't even stuck yet! We barely squished into Sarah's little red car and then coasted down the hill in neutral because she was practically out of gas. Part of the reason she gave us all a ride, she said, was so we could get out and push in case the car stalled. Relief Society presidents are so compassionate! I just realized that I haven't blogged about Mother's Weekend one bit, even though I'm sure my mom will take care of some of the details. All I can say is thanks, madre, for forsaking the warm Utah weather just to be with your crazy brownish-redheaded (that's right, Jenny, I have red in my hair! and photographic proof!) kiddo. I have plenty more stories to tell, but right now I've got to bundle up for class (ahem...only 5 minutes away).

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

If I Had Enough Pennies, I'd Ask for the Thoughts of the World

...But since I am currently without sufficent moolah to hand out Abraham Lincoln's face to 6.5 billion people, I will simply have to ask you out of the love of your hearts. I have 8 to 18 pages of writing due for my Creative Writing class on Tuesday, and so far I have a couple of poems....and part of a short story. For those of us who aren't math whizzes (like me), that sure ain't enough to grant me an A I know I deserve, by golly! All I need from whoever reads this is nouns, verbs, places, colors, rhyme schemes, etc., and my writer's block will be cured. This would also help with my "Poem-A-Day" scheme, which I'm a bit behind on. The idea is to have written 365 poems by the end of the year; maybe a third of those being genuinely good poems. Anywho, the point is to let your mind wander--none of your suggestions have to be related. For example, some things I jotted down for a writing exercise last week (which eventually turned into a poem) were: seafoam (a favorite color), pitbull (a noun), fire hydrant (another noun), quixotic (adjective), hibernate (verb which a bear, a train, or a politician can do), awaken (opposite of the last verb), etc. I hope you're understanding this, because once you read it, it is your mission. If you don't accept, you might be thinking about it as much as me, which is definitley not a good thing. I'm the student, remember? You are now acting as my muse.... ready, set, IMAGINE!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Stranger At the Door

I was up in a tree not long ago, from here it was almost cloudy
Perfectly, perfectly, whispering against the windows
But nothing's ever as important as a phone call,
A voice along the gutter lines, pressing too hard leaves marks
This ink might fall away without the words inside
Just like your older mailbox, it never held the truth
Until autumn, sprung its golden threads on our knobs
To trick and turn in the mornings
A Tuesday left me in almost-tears, I couldn't wash
Not enough coins to shatter this windshield
From somewhere beneath a struggling
Came, and that's when
The sidewalk broke apart and gave me
My first real cry in years
She's really letting it go now, as the turn signal repeats
On, off, inhale, exhale
Crossing the paths we never thought we would
In the 5am woods, closer than ever
To the sea, will it ever weep for me?

For Daddy, Happy Birthday
You've always supported me in my writing....this one's for you

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Stadium Singing and All That Follows

Every Sunday night here BYU-I, singers and tone-deaf alike gather beneath the stadium across the street from my apartment and sing hymns for half an hour. I'm lucky enough to have friends who can do all of the complicated alto, descant, and soprano parts. Tonight we sang "A Child's Prayer" right when all of the lights went out. At first I thought they had done it on purpose for effect, but later I realized it was just one of those "coincidences" that make life beautiful. Of course I thought of Elder Livingston, who is now asleep in some room in Ohio with his companion, while the Spirit works on him so he can preach the truth. Once again at a fireside tonight I heard the phrase "It is not by accident that you are here on this campus right now." That's probably the fifth or sixth time I've heard those words uttered since I stepped foot on the campus. But lately it's been ringing in my ears... After we finished "A Child's Prayer" we went back to the Hymns, which tonight all had a melancholy tone to them, even the joyful ones like "Redeemer of Israel" and "Dearest Children God is Near You." The lights were still out until we sang the EFY Medley, which is a pairing of "As Sisters in Zion" and "We'll Bring the World His Truth." I have never heard or sang the song quite like I did tonight, with all of the different voices surrounding me and echoing up and out, hopefully loud enough for all of Rexburg to hear. As we got louder and louder, and the Spirit began to fill the atmosphere even more, slowly the lights began to turn back on. Coincidence? I think not.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

...And There Goes that Mistake

Last night my roommates and I decided to go to a "non-school-sponsored" bonfire at the dunes, which by the way are incredibly far out of the realm of civilization (yes, that includes Rexburg, the city with two main streets: the one with Wal-Mart on it and the one to get out of here!). The signal on my cell phone kept drifting in and out, and finally it was lost completely. I felt totally cut off from the world, which is oftentimes not such a bad thing. I decided to take in the simplicity and look out my window at the fields glowing in the light of the moon; they seemed to ask some kind of question which I didn't know the answer to. All they did was dance silently in the autumn breeze, which gets colder every day. Perhaps they were pointing my eyes in the direction of the sky, and that's when it hit me: I haven't truly looked at the stars since we went to Union this past summer for Grandma Great's funeral. Why do the simplest and most beautiful things always slip thru my fingers? We always focus all of our desires and hopes into the biggest and temporal things, not thinking about life in an eternal perspective. Right then I got this whispery, happy feeling and I knew I could move here permanently, even though it'll be snowing buckets eventually. I knew that our Heavenly Father is always leading us along where we're supposed to be, and He's led me, a stubborn redheaded girl who always wants to stay in her comfortable bubble of a life, four hours away from my family and riding in the backseat of a green Honda on a road thru a starry-lit field. Whew, typing that sentence was a workout for my phalanges!! I get to use words like "phalanges" now, and I get to make shrimp fettucine for dinner on weekdays, and I even go to class early just to think about life, just because I'm in college. In other words, I'm exactly where I'm supposed to be.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


I decided that the Snow Building is going to be my resident "home away from home" this semester. It's the Fine Arts and Humanities building, and all the hallways are dimly lit like you're walking around in a concert hall. There's a statue of Christ right as you walk in that looks similar to the one at Temple Square (yay, a piece of home!). My first class on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays is in this building, and it's called Music 101, or Music Appreciation. Today in class our teacher cranked up the speakers built into the walls and played something which I hope we will be able to listen to after we become resurrected. It was from "The Mission." If you've never heard the music, you'll need to look it up before you die. The piece we listened to was Yo-Yo Ma on the cello, playing Ennio Morricone (dad, if you're reading this, please confirm that we do indeed own that CD!). I was letting myself drift into oblivious peace when I realized that most music we get pumped into our brains these days usually has catchy lyrics, a fast beat, or is made to be played at a high volume. Our teacher, Sister Mecham, gave us a little lecture (however, when it's coming from her I think of it as "motherly advice") about staying connected with people and not to technology all the time. I felt pretty guilty about this because, it's true, I'm often hooked up to my iPod. She reminded us that our cell phones, computers, etc., shouldn't control our lives. "You control them," she said. I felt like saying "Amen!" Then again, I say it every day after someone gives the opening prayer. Next time: Digressions on La Clase de Espanol

The Mantis that Preys...

Last night my roommate Courtney and I returned from Wal-Mart at a really late hour (okay not so late, were were just tired....) and were walking half-awake up the stairs to our apartment. We...or should I say I, observed a rather large praying mantis resting its gangly legs on the wall outside. Once I pointed out my little "observation," it became a threat to Courtney's life. She flipped out and understandingly ran for the door, looking behind her to make sure that the praying mantis wasn't waddling after her with its arms reached out for a hug. Okay, so maybe it wasn't that dramatic. But the reaction was a bit wilder than anticipated. I did somersaults all the way to the door in order to protect myself (it works for all the secret agents--somehow they never get hit by the showering of bullets around them), then slammed the door least, I thought I did. Before I knew it, a friend of ours named Tanna came in for a visit. She must've let in our other friend we had tried to avoid moments earlier. All Courtney got out once she saw it was "Mantis. On. Wall." Then we all went berserk... I covered myself efficiently with the rolled up mattress pad I had just purchased (that was dumb of me--what bug wouldn't like a soft place to rest?!) Tanna attempted to get the mantis off the wall and back into the currents leading out the door...with a pillow. He didn't like that. In response to the bludgeoning of our pillows, he jetted into the air towards our faces, arms still facing out. Needless to say, none of us was in a hugging mood. Christina, our other brave (with a capital B!) roommate, tried to catch him with a paper bowl...but when I told her she had to slip a paper underneath the bowl to get him outside, she looked at me like I had asked her to eat the thing! By this time we were going to go for the "damsels in distress" approach, which happens to work especially well when you have a balcony. Tanna discreetly shouted out into the void, "We need a maaaannnn! We've got a mantis in here!!!" So was that "we need a mantis, we've got a man in here," or the other way around? We may never know who heard the call, because no one ever answered. Finally our fierce pillows seemed to scare the once-loving insect out the door and into the night. I shall never leave the house without a matress-pad-shield again.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Starving Student on the Loose!

Make a note of this for future reference: my first blog is all about food. Perhaps in the future I'll deviate from this course, but for now I am typing to the rhythm of my growling stomach. These past few days have become a giant blur which I have crumpled up into a ball and stuffed into my pockets for later. At every orientation activity up here in Rexburg, we have been given lunch. The first day we had hot dogs...or should I say, my dad and two younger siblings had hot dogs. I ate a few Fritos and suddenly craved an Italian Ice (remember those?!). The next feast (I measure time now by meals) was a Parent/Student luau at the MC, and it was actually pretty scrumptious. The only problem was that my body wanted bread, pasta, Ritz crackers, raw ramen, and ridiculous amounts of granola. Too bad Hawaiians don't eat bread without pineapple bits in it! So once again I had to pass up on the carbs (whoever the Atkins guy is, I hope you're reading this!!!!). The next day I had a bran muffin for breakfast, and after I ate mine my mom made a face as she finished hers. "What?!" I asked. "Is something wrong with it?" Had I become immune to the possible bits of pineapple, raisin, or other mystery hunks in my bread?! Day two of college and it had already come to that.... For lunch we had burgers on buns which had been frozen and then defrosted in the Idaho sun. In other words, they were as soggy as snowmen on the first day of summer. By now I was starting to think that bread was something "discouraged against" like girls wearing flip-flops or guys wearing "non-masculine pants" (you've seen 'em, you've feared 'em, you should never attempt to wear them). Dinner that night was something I scared up myself, called a Ta-qui-to. It's a Mexican Specialty....commonly found in the freezer aisle. Let's just say it made my day and give my parents a big round of applause for getting those (AND shrimp! yaya!). I woke up a bit late this morning and only had a few bites of Golden Grahams before jetting off (haha I can use the word "jetting" now because I is a college stooodent!), so the rest went down the disposal. Lunch was a mix of granola bars, frozen yogurt, and Ritz crackers. Let's just say tomorrow when I go over to Audrey's apartment for a "break the fast" I'll be loading up on the rolls. For now the Chronicles of Wonder Bread are closing another chapter....