Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Giggle Monster

I have been super giggly lately and I can't really figure out why. My hometeacher actually called me "Laughy-Pants" last month. People have told me that they love being around me because I laugh at all their jokes. I can't tell if I am just insane or if circumstances are just funnier now than previously. Here's a list of a few things that have set me off laughing recently. You can be the judge of whether I'm crazy or not.
  • My friend Cora walked into the room for FHE last Monday. My friend Matt started singing Rebecca Black's "Friday" except he substituted Cora's name in for the word Friday. The song went something like this: "Cora, Cora, gotta get down on...Oh! Nevermind!" I was dying.
  • My roommate Heidi was eating a chocolate chip cookie. I don't really know what happened next other than she somehow lost control of the cookie and half of it went hurtling to her left. She put her arm out to catch it, missed, and I watched as the cookie hit the dishwasher, broke, and fell to the floor. I just sat at the kitchen table and laughed.
  • I came across this video randomly on youtube again. It's a parody of Inception that some of my friends in my ward made for a Home Evening activity. Watch it, especially 3:04 to 3:06, and tell me that that doesn't make you laugh.
  • At ward choir practice, the pianist wanted the piano turned around so she could see the choir director. Almost immediately, all of the boys in the room had scrambled over and around tables to get to the piano. Imitating the boys, my friend Leslie ran frantically to the nearest table, pushed it around a few times and knocked everything off of it before running to the piano.
Maybe I am just insane but I thought things were a little bit giggle-worthy.

Monday, December 5, 2011

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

"I am sure I have always thought of Christmas time, when it has come round--apart from the veneration due to its sacred name and origin, if anything belonging to it can be apart from that--as a good time: a kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time; the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow-passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys. And therefore, uncle, though it has never put a scrap of gold or silver in my pocket, I believe it has done me good, and will do me good; and I say, God bless it!"
- Charles Dickens in A Christmas Carol

Saturday, December 3, 2011

My Life in Pictures

Lately, I've been posting a lot about what I've been thinking but not much about what I've been doing. The reason for this is that there's really not that much going on as I am unemployed and all of my friends are in school. But here are a few of the things I have participated in this fall in visual form.

At Tucanos in September with some friends for my roommate Heidi's birthday.

The beautiful fall colors in Provo Canyon.

Hanging out with Brigitte and her kids. This is Erica at Olive Garden last month.

Bridal Showers for all my engaged friends. This was my old roommate Rhiannon's.

Christmas decorations in our living room. I made the red and cream paper mache lanterns you see in the window.

Working on crafts. I can't wait to get home and finish this!

If this covered everything that I've been doing for the last few months, there would be pictures of job listings on, all the movies I've watched on Netflix, a picture of my GRE study book, and a few scattered social events I didn't get my camera out for. But that's basically what has been going on.

Monday, November 14, 2011

The Pollyanna Project

I have been getting down on myself lately. Things have not been working out the way I want them to (economically, socially, personally) and I start to question my abilities and wonder if I am good enough. We had a Stake Relief Society fireside last night entitled, "Hope in Challenging Times." Sister Peterson talked about how women today are bombarded with messages that make them have negative thoughts about themselves. She quoted a sister in the church who said if she were Satan trying to stir up trouble for God's kingdom, she would launch a full-scale assault on women. The Lord needs strong women who know their worth, and Satan is trying very hard to make women feel like they are nothing. All of us have fallen victim to this attack at some point or another. We feel like we aren't pretty enough or smart enough or funny enough. We sometimes feel like we aren't worthy of God's love and divine help. But all of these thoughts and feelings are false.

My Relief Society President texted me this morning with a message from a talk she had recently read. It said, "As we remember Him and trust in His power, we receive strength through His atonement. It is the means whereby we can be forgiven and healed from the pain of our sins. It is the means whereby we can receive the faith and strength to endure all things." I have found this to be true. Even when I am going through rough times, I can still be happy if I let the healing power of the atonement come into my life. Sister Peterson also talked about how we should recognize the tender mercies in our everyday life. They are there even in times of trial. We just have to look for them.

So I have decided to start what I call "The Pollyanna Project." As you recall, Pollyanna, in the movie Pollyanna, says that no matter what is going on in your life "there is always something to be glad about." For the next few weeks, I will be picking out the little accomplishments and miracles that happen each and every day of my life.

Here are the things that I have picked out so far:
  • November 13: I received a priesthood blessing that reminded me that my Heavenly Father is aware of my struggles and that He wants me to succeed.
  • November 14: I took out my scriptures for my daily scripture study and found a package of Smarties that I had forgotten about. I ate them with great satisfaction :)
If you look for the good, you will surely find it.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Elinor Dashwood

In my opinion, Jane Austen is one of the best authors of all time. I know every girl who has read Pride and Prejudice has expressed that same belief at some point in their lives but it's really true. Any male reading this blog post is probably groaning right now and perhaps thinking about moving on to something more interesting to peruse but before you do, let me explain myself. Jane Austen not only developed beautifully written love stories; she aptly expressed the female human experience. The reason her novels seem timeless is because she created characters that women of all generations can relate to. Like Emma Woodhouse, we think of ourselves as excellent matchmakers for everyone else around us but are somewhat inept and clueless when trying to find a match for ourselves. Who has not been annoyed by all the Lydia Bennetts in the world? Like Anne Elliot, many of us have felt like we've lost all chances at happiness because of a mistake we made long ago. Who has not felt the same sting that Fanny Price felt when the man she loved fell for someone else? Like Catherine Morland, many of us get lost in the plots of thrilling novels and wish that our lives were just as exciting as the lives of those who inhabit the page.

Like many other girls out there who have found kindred spirits among Jane Austen's heroines, I feel particularly drawn to a certain one. If I were a character in a Jane Austen novel, I would be Elinor Dashwood of Sense and Sensibility.

Elinor Dashwood

Jane Austen describes Elinor as one who "had an excellent heart; her disposition was affectionate." Though I do not pretend to have an excellent heart, I do feel that I am a quietly affectionate person. I have a habit of sacrificing my own comfort and wishes so as not to inconvenience others. I do genuinely care about people and am concerned about their well-being. I hate being inconsiderate.

Jane Austen also said of Elinor that "her feelings were strong: but she knew how to govern them." I have always been rather reserved to the point that some think I do not feel the average range of emotions. For example, after arriving home from a date with a guy whose company I thoroughly enjoyed, my roommates peppered me with questions about how the date went. I calmly told them what happened and then proceeded to prepare for bed. Exasperated with my lack of emotion, one of my roommates exclaimed, "Celia! What the heck! Can you show a little bit of excitement, please?" Behind the facade of sense and practicality, however, there is a fountain of sensibility that often overflows. I may not express my feelings outwardly all the time but, believe me, I feel it inwardly :)

Like Elinor, I have a strong sense of propriety. If there are rules set, I generally try to follow them. I become uncomfortable around those who disobey laws of custom. For example, when someone I hardly know starts telling me their dirty little secrets or tries to delve into my personal life, I quickly try to change the subject to a lighter topic that is more suitable to a first encounter. I am also uncomfortable around those who are overly dramatic. Life gets boring without some degree of drama but those people who, like Elinor's sister Marianne, can not contain themselves, whose sorrows and joys "could have no moderation," are people I sometimes have difficulty being around for too long. I'll admit that I am disapproving of those who, in my eyes, "set propriety at naught."

Marianne Dashwood
As in every Jane Austen novel, there is a man. Not only do Elinor and I have the same kind of personal attributes, we also have the same taste in men. Edward Ferrars is her type of guy guessed it! He's mine too.

Edward Ferrars

I have always had a weakness for guys who are similar to myself. They are generally fairly reserved, kind, and quietly opinionated. They seem kind of shy until you get to know them and find that they have a great sense of humor and perhaps don't take things as seriously as you thought they had. As you can imagine, though, this personality combination does not make for productive and fast-paced courtship. I am the type of person who, in Marianne's words, "hides my regard" so as not to seem too forward. The guessing-game that develops usually results in a conviction that he "felt only friendship for me." Wonderful, right? It's in cases like these where I wish I could be like Marianne who wears her heart out on her sleeve and is able to express exactly how she feels.

There you have it. Seriously men. If you want to understand girls, read some Jane Austen. If you're incredibly annoyed by the time you've finished one of her novels, at least you will have gotten some new-found knowledge and enlightenment out of the ordeal. :)

Monday, October 10, 2011

Time to Read

With my parents' recent move, I have been entrusted with much of my family's book collection. At least 100 books made the trip from Concord, California to reside with me here in Provo, Utah. At first, I didn't know what to do with all of them. But with my current state of unemployment, I have found that I do have something to do with them: I HAVE TIME TO READ THEM!

So far this fall, I have read:
- The Help by Katheryn Stockett
- The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

I am currently reading:
- Our First Revolution: The Remarkable British Upheaval That Inspired America's Founding Fathers by Michael Barone
- The Last of the Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper
- Dragonsinger by Anne McCaffrey
- Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins (Brigitte is delivering it to me tonight and I am delving into it as soon as it comes.)
- God Wants a Powerful People by Sheri Dew
- Out of the Shadows by Sarah Singleton

I still need to read:
- Friends of Liberty: Thomas Jefferson, Tadeusz Kosciuszko, and Agrippa Hull by Nash and Hodges
- General George Washington: A Military Life by Edward G. Lengel
- John Paul Jones: Sailor, Hero, Father of the American Navy by Evan Thomas
- Freedom's Prophet: Bishop Richard Allen, the AME Church, and the Black Founding Fathers by Richard S. Newman
- America's Constitution: A Biography by Akhil Reed Amar
- Hard Times by Charles Dickens
- A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
- Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
- Just So Stories & The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling
- The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis
- The Thief Lord by Cornelia Funke

I also want to re-read some other books. I want to read the whole Harry Potter series again, The Count of Monte Cristo, Ella Enchanted, A Series of Unfortunate Events, all of the Jane Austen books...Obviously, this list is going to take me a while but if you have any more suggestions of good books to read, let me know. I'm always up for a good book :)

Thursday, September 22, 2011

A Tribute to My Family

I know everybody says this about their own family but I really do have the best family in the world.

Dad: One of the greatest memories I have with my Dad was when I was five or six. Since Dad had to work a lot during my childhood years, each of us kids had our own night of the week where we got to hang out with Dad one on one. When it was my day, Dad and I usually chose to take walks around the neighborhood or walk down to Party Time to get some cute stickers. But I remember one nightly stroll particularly well. We were walking down the street next to ours when we spotted a large insect among the leaves of our neighbor's rose bush. I had a slight fascination with bugs at the time (a fascination that did not continue for long, I might add) so Dad proceeded to tell me all he knew about this cool-looking insect (which turned out to be a praying mantis). I think we spent a good ten minutes peering at that bug until my curiosity was satisfied. It was a small thing but for some reason that's a memory I've always kept with me. No matter how busy or tired he was, he always took the time to be My Dad. If I ever had a question about anything, Dad would pull a file out of his brain, which held a seemingly unlimited amount of knowledge, and tell me how things worked (except for when he didn't know the answer, in which case he would have me go research the topic and get back to him when I found out). He always helped me with my homework, forcing himself to stay awake into the wee hours of the night to help me finish a project or to edit one of my many papers. If I ever had a health problem or just needed comfort, he would give me a priesthood blessing. I'm grateful for his example, for his commitment to the gospel, and for the love and support he continues to give to each of us. I love you, Dad!

Mom: I do not think there is a more hard-working mother out there than my mom, a trait she tried on numerous occasions to pass on to her children. For as long as I can remember, my mom had us kids out in the yard every Saturday pulling weeds and picking up the apples that had fallen from our apple tree. We each had a part of the house to vacuum and dust. Mom also passed on her love of music to each of us, signing us up for musical numbers in church and attending all of our band/orchestra concerts growing up. Mom showed us she loved us in various ways. She was stubborn and unyielding when she had to be but she was also very kind and compassionate. I remember one particular occasion when I was in sixth grade. I went to Foothill Middle School rather than El Dorado Middle School where all my elementary school friends had gone. I had a hard time with it for a while and my mom would sit on my bed and stroke my hair while I cried and tell me things were going to get better. That's one of the many lessons I've learned from my Mom, to stay optimistic even through hard times. My patriarchal blessing tells me to pattern my home after that of my parents' and I think that counsel is due in large part to my Mom's commitment to the gospel, her willingness to serve, and her knowledge of the eternal importance of family. I love you, Mom!

Lisa: I can't even count the number of people who have said "I LOVE LISA!" to me in my lifetime. And really...what's not to love? She's the biggest BYU sports fan of all time. Like me, her antics during games are often more interesting to watch than the actual sports programs. She's the maker of many tasty goodies and delectable dishes and finds enjoyment in making them for others. She runs in races, plays sports like volleyball, basketball, and powder-puff football, and is not afraid to get in the thick of things while playing them. She can basically quote all of the dialogue from the movie The Emperor's New Groove. She's a fellow History major and can tell you just about anything about the Civil War as well as many other topics. She's very hardworking and has stretched herself and expanded her abilities through education and career choices. As my oldest sibling, I often call her for advice on different things and she's always more than willing to help me out. She is incredibly generous with her time, means, and talents. Most importantly, Lisa is what I would call a spiritual giant. She's devoted to serving those around her and accepts and fulfills difficult, draining, and time-consuming church callings. She's a great example to me. I love you, Lisa!

Shelley: I don't think many people can say that they have an older sibling who pretty much documented their childhood for them but I can. I got a journal for my sixth birthday and, for whatever reason, Shelley took it upon herself to make sure that the events of my six-year-old day-to-day life were recorded. I would talk about all the seemingly important events that occurred throughout the day and she would write them down in the journal. How many fourteen-year-old girls do that for their little sisters? Shelley is also the reason why I have so many pictures from my childhood to put in my scrapbook. Besides my parents, Shelley is probably my most attentive family member. If she doesn't know how I'm doing or she feels like we haven't talked in a while, she will call me up and we'll chat on a variety of topics for thirty minutes to an hour. Having earned a degree in Geography from BYU, she is a fantastic resource for directions if you are lost on the road somewhere. She is married to my hard-working, service-oriented brother-in-law, Steve, and is a great mother to her two (soon to be three) adorable children. Caring, strong, and faithful, she is a great example of one who lives what she believes. I love you, Shelley!

Kiel: I grew up thinking my brother was just about the coolest person in the world. Maybe it's because he saved me from drowning in our neighbor's pool when I was little. Perhaps it's because he is hilariously sarcastic. Maybe it's because he always seemed to have a lot of friends both inside and outside the Church. Maybe it's just because he is my one and only brother but, whatever the reason, being with Kiel is always a fun experience. He's always up for a good laugh and his sarcasm and movie-quoting abilities bring smiles to our faces. Even though he's a tough California Highway Patrolman, he has a big heart. He's always been a good example to his friends who, perhaps, weren't as strong. He's always the first one to say "I love you" at the end of a phone call. He cries during tender moments in movies and always sheds a few tears while bearing his testimony in Sacrament Meeting :) He's a great father to his two incredibly cute kids, Bruce and Rhyan, and he loves his beautiful and witty wife, Melissa. I have always looked up to him for his strength and courage in living life and the gospel. I love you, Kiel!

Brittany: I have probably laughed my head off more with Brittany than with anybody else in the family, which is saying something since we all laugh ALL THE TIME! From the time she called me a "snarfblat" to the time we had a back-and-forth Facebook conversation using only Mr. Palmer's lines from the movie Sense and Sensibility, we have shared countless moments of fun and laughter. Brittany is an amazing artist, creating great works of art ranging from beautiful landscapes on canvas to intricately painted wood figurines. She would often share her expertise with me while I was working on my own craft projects until I (somewhat) got the hang of doing things myself. Brittany is also very gifted in the kitchen, tweaking recipes to make them both healthy and delicious. She has a beautiful soprano voice and I have enjoyed adding my alto voice to hers for the innumerable amount of musical numbers we have participated in throughout the years. She is married to my well-read, articulate, peacemaking brother-in-law Gabe, and is a great mother to her darling daughter Sydney (and I am sure she will be just as capable with Sophie who is due in December!). She is very strong in her convictions and never shirks away from defending her beliefs and the gospel. I am very grateful for the friendship she has given me throughout my life despite my annoying little-sister antics. I love you, Brittany!

Brigitte: One of the things I love about the times I spend with Brigitte is the ridiculous amount of giggling that tends to occur. It doesn't take much more than a weird noise or a well-placed movie line in the middle of a conversation to set us off on a laughing rampage. The greatest thing about mine and Brigitte's relationship is that it hasn't changed much since we were kids. From the times Brittany, Brigitte, and I would play with dolls in our room to more recent times when Brigitte comes out to Provo to visit me, there has always been something to laugh at. But besides her amazing ability to look like Madame Mim from The Sword and the Stone when she flares her nose and her excellent imitation of an old lady's singing voice, I also consider her to be a very deep thinker. I've had some of the most thought-provoking conversations of my life with Brigitte. Cranking out Halloween costumes and home decor without any specific pattern to follow, her creativity with a sewing machine and a paintbrush never ceases to amaze me. She is raising her two very sweet and beautiful children, Logan and Erica, with her astute and accommodating husband, Tyler. Brigitte always seeks to make those around her as happy and as comfortable as possible. She focuses on the fundamentals of life, finding comfort and peace in doing what is right, and never forgets the things that are truly important. I love you, Brigitte!

Each individual member of my family is awesome but, as the lyrics of a Jack Johnson song say, "it's always better when we're together." We laugh together, we sing together, we play instruments together, we cry together, we quote movies together. But, most of all, we help and support each other. I am grateful for parents who made our home a safe-haven in the middle of a troubled world and for my siblings who are my best friends. No, not everything is perfect and I would be lying if I said we did not have our share of disagreements. But I can say that Heavenly Father knew what he was doing when He sent us down here to be members of families. I love mine and I could not have asked for a better one!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

When Life Hands You Lemons

Sometimes life hands you lemons and when that happens you're supposed to make lemonade, so they say. In other words, you're supposed to take a bad situation and turn it into a good one by either learning to overcome it or changing your attitude about it. Well, I'm here to say that making lemonade can be hard. Sometimes you get a lemon that is so sour that no matter how much sugar you add to the mix, the lemonade still leaves a bad taste in your mouth.

This past month has been a difficult one. I've become painfully acquainted with my inadequacies and shortcomings more than ever before. I've realized that I am afraid of growing up and entering the real world. I feel like I am just wandering around aimlessly, unsure of myself and those around me.

But times of trial can often be great times of learning and growth and this particular time of trial has been no exception.
  • For one thing, I have learned that no matter how much I am going through, there is someone out there who is going through something worse. Rather than wallowing in self-pity, I've learned that the advice Gordon B. Hinckley received from his father while he was discouraged on his mission, "Forget yourself and go to work," is a much better and more rewarding option. I've been called as the Humanitarian Service Chair in my ward and I'm beginning to realize what a blessing that has been recently. As I've tried to help those around me who are struggling much more than I am, my own problems seem to dissipate and I am much happier. The problems haven't gone away but I see them in a different light and with new perspective.
  • I've also learned that even when you don't see immediate results stem from a choice you have made that that doesn't mean that the decision was wrong. For example, I bought a contract at an apartment complex across campus a few months back. I never really felt good about the decision; in fact, I had a hard time falling asleep each night because I was so worried about it. It wasn't until I decided to buy a contract within the ward I was already in and sell the contract across campus that the worrying finally stopped. It felt like a huge burden had been lifted from my shoulders and I knew I had made the right decision. But over the past few weeks, the reasons why that decision to stay in the ward (and in Provo, for that matter) was the right one, have not been made apparent. I haven't found a job yet to help pay the bills. The man of my dreams hasn't come along to get down on one knee and pop the question. Despite that, I still feel like I made the right choice to stay here, no matter how illogical or imprudent it may seem to others.
  • I've also learned the value of friendship. I've come to know who my true friends are in the last few weeks and I've also learned who is not. I'm grateful for all those who have tried to help me overcome my fears and my feelings of inadequacy, who have pointed out my good qualities when I could only see the bad. Because of them, I have learned that I can do great things despite my flaws, that I do have great potential even though I make mistakes sometimes.
  • The most important thing I have learned in the last few weeks is that I don't have to bear this alone. Even when it feels like the whole world is ignoring me and nobody cares, I know that there are always people out there I can go to for help and support. My family is always there for me but, most importantly, my Savior is there for me. He knows exactly how I feel because He's gone through it all before and has experienced and overcome trials that are far greater than my own. He comprehends and can offer comfort and encouragement and can lift me from my pains and sorrows if I let Him. I'm grateful that even when I can't turn my sour lemons into delicious and refreshing lemonade, He can. Just remember that life is good and there is always hope.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

The Start of Something New

Events that have happened in the last couple of months:
  • I defied death while hiking Bridal Veil Falls. (Seriously though. Bridal Veil Falls is considered a nice leisurely hike...if you go the right way. We ended up rock climbing our way up and down the mountain. My roommate Alex slipped and nearly fell off a cliff. We had to make our way down a steep area of loose rock. I'm happy to say, however, that we all survived.)
  • I finished my Capstone class! I wrote a 23 page paper and got an A- on it. Happiness!
  • I graduated from BYU! When I walked across the stage they announced that I graduated in Political Science but oh well! My diploma will say that I earned a Bachelor's Degree in History.
  • I took a trip to California after graduation! Lisa was an excellent hostess down in San Diego and also took me to California Adventure and Disneyland. It was a blast!
  • I went back home and spent some time with my family. I also got new contacts! After wearing glasses for three months, I'm so happy to be wearing contacts again.
  • I got back to Provo and moved into my new apartment. I have my own room and I love it!
  • I went kayaking down the Provo River this past Saturday. I wish I could have gotten some pictures but I didn't want to risk having a phone or a camera with me on the kayak. It was a lot of fun, so much so that the fact that my legs got fried doesn't really seem to matter.
  • Now that I'm graduated, the job search begins. I don't know exactly what I want to do with my life yet so I'll hopefully be getting a job that will hold me over until I do figure that out.
That's my life right now.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

1 Nephi 13

16 And it came to pass that I, Nephi, beheld that the Gentiles who had gone forth out of captivity did humble themselves before the Lord; and the power of the Lord was with them.
17 And I beheld that their mother Gentiles were gathered together upon the waters, and upon the land also, to battle against them.
18 And I beheld that the power of God was with them, and also that the wrath of God was upon all those that were gathered together against them to battle.
19 And I, Nephi, beheld that the Gentiles that had gone out of captivity were delivered by the power of God out of the hands of all other nations.
35 For, behold saith the Lamb: I will manifest myself unto they seed, that they shall write many things which I shall minister unto them, which shall be plain and precious; and after thy seed shall be destroyed, and dwindle in unbelief, and also the seed of thy brethren, behold, these things shall be hid up, to come forth unto the Gentiles, by the gift and power of the Lamb.
40 And the angel spake unto me, saying: These last records, which thou hast seen among the Gentiles, shall establish the truth of the first, which are of the twelve apostles of the Lamb, and shall make known the plain and precious things which have been taken away from them; and shall make known to all kindreds, tongues, and people, that the Lamb of God is the Son of the Eternal Father, and the Savior of the world; and that all men must come unto him, or they cannot be saved.

I'm sitting here in my room listening to the people camped out all along University Avenue for the Fourth of July parade tomorrow. I've been reflecting on the American Revolution a great deal lately, not just because it's my favorite thing to study and not even because of all the celebrating that I hear going on outside. In my major, I have the privilege of studying our nation's history in great depth and it has been moving and inspiring to me to read the words of many of the great men and women who have sacrificed so much so that we can have what we have today. The Founding Fathers were inspired men. Just as the scriptures say, "the power of the Lord was with them" and they were able to accomplish the seemingly impossible task of bringing colonists from thirteen very different colonies together to defeat the most powerful nation in the world at that time. Because of the determination and diligence of those men and women during the Revolutionary War, we truly live in a "land of promise," a land full of great abundance and beauty.
But even more important than the acquisition of beautiful and productive land was the establishment of an American ideology. I think a speech given in the movie Gettysburg by Colonel Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain expresses it best: "No man should bow, no man born to royalty. Here we judge you by what you do, not by who your father was. Here you can be something. Here is the place to build a home. But it's not the land. There's always more land. It's the idea that we all have value, you and me." America was established to honor the value of the individual, to give its citizens the freedoms they believed God would want them to have. Because of this, we have freedom of religion, freedom of speech, etc. It was this freedom established in the United States that allowed for one of the most important events in the world to occur: the restoration of the gospel. Without freedom of religion, the religious revivals that prompted Joseph Smith to ask what church to join would never have existed and we would not have the Church and the doctrines taught there in our lives today. The American Revolution was an absolutely vital step in bringing about God's plan for His children.

I liked a quote I heard today that stated that Satan knows how destructive a weak America would be to God's plan and to the building up of God's kingdom. As Americans, we have a responsibility to build this nation up to its greatest potential, to never lose sight of what is truly important, and to honor the sacrifices of those that have come before us by staying true to our core principles and values. In the midst of all the fireworks, barbecues, and celebrations this Fourth of July, remember the real significance of the holiday and give thanks for all the freedoms we enjoy that so many others do not.

Monday, June 6, 2011


Hello again! When I called home today, Dad mentioned that I hadn't updated my blog recently and, sure enough, it has been over two months since I posted last. So...I guess I'll update you on what has been going on in the last two months.
  • I moved into a new apartment within the same apartment complex. They are renovating the W building so I switched to the next building over. This is the first time since Freshmen year that I've had completely random roommates (although, I knew four of them before because they were in my ward last semester) and it has worked out just fine. It's a fun apartment of girls.
  • I got my first B in a History class. (Dagnabbit!) Winter Semester 2011 = hardest semester of all time.
  • I turned 22. For some reason, being 22 feels like it's so much older than being 21. The guys my age are back from their missions and the guys that are a year younger than me are coming back now. I'm one of the oldest girls in my Relief Society. I'm feeling old again (I know my older siblings are groaning as they read this but I feel that way anyway).
Other than that, nothing really momentous has happened. I'm taking a Utah History class right now and trying to finish up my U.S. History since 1877 independent study class. I'm really enjoying Spring Term! I haven't had this many friends since my freshmen year of college. But there are a lot of uncertainties in my life at the moment, too. I don't really know what I want to do after college. I know I'll be working but I don't know where yet (somewhere in Provo as I've already bought a contract for the fall here.) It's exciting to be almost done (I graduate in August!) but a little scary at the same time. Life is tough but good.

That's my update! Hopefully, it won't be two months before I write again.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Thank you, Armed Forces!

From the very beginnings of this country, there have been men and women willing to put their lives on the line so the rest of us could have free and safe lives. I just wanted to pay a small tribute to those fighting overseas, those who protect our borders, and those who fight crime within the United States so that we don't have to confront it everyday of our lives. Patriotism lives on! Thank you!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

I'm a Californian

BYU is an interesting place in that there are people from all over the country (all over the world for that matter) that attend here. However, with all this "diversity" some tensions tend to arise as people criticize where others are from or impose stereotypes on people based on where they are from. As a Californian at BYU, I experience this all the time. Over the past four years, I have heard so many jabs about California and Californians that are somewhat true but mostly they are just plain ridiculous and mean-spirited. I'll admit that I used to have some preconceived notions of people based on where they are from, but I have been around long enough to know that most people don't fit into stereotypes and, therefore, should not be judged based on the state in which they grew up.

Some, however, have yet to figure this out. Just today, I heard a guy in my ward say that he hates Californians and that we are all a bunch of liberal, materialistic, Communist beach bums who don't have a clue. Of course, my California pride came out and I had to say something. The conversation went something like this:

(Let me preface this by saying that I have known many Idahoans and they are all great people. My grandparents are from there. My dad was born there. I've had four amazing roommates who are from there. Idaho just happened to be where this boy was from.)

Me: Now, where are you from again?
Him: Idaho.
Me: Ah, so do you want me to judge you by the Idaho stereotype just like you are judging me by the California stereotype?
Him: What's the Idaho stereotype?
Me: Self-righteous, potato-farming bigots. I guess you're lucky I don't buy into stereotypes.

Maybe that was a little harsh but I felt he needed to come to grips with something. You can't judge an entire group of people based on a very vocal minority within that group. You can't judge an entire state by the actions of one or two cities within that state. You can't impose stereotypes on any group because most people don't fit within those parameters. And how would you feel if someone criticized the place you grew up all the time?

Why does this bug me so much? Well, I pretty much defy every stereotype about California known to man. I've never bleached my hair (I haven't even dyed my hair for that matter). I don't hang out at the beach all day. I am very conservative politically. I do not worship or really seek after material items. I really don't like shopping all that much (although I enjoy a new shirt, new jeans, a comfortable bed, and hard-back books as much as the next person). I think Communism is a REALLY BAD idea. I am the biggest fan of America's Founding Fathers and the Constitution you will ever meet.

Yes, there are crazy people in California but there are crazy people everywhere. Earthquakes occur often in California but natural disasters and man-made disasters happen everywhere. There are advantages and disadvantages no matter where you live.

I was born and raised in California in a suburb of San Francisco. No, it's not perfect by any means and I can't say that I enjoyed being with everyone I came in contact with. But I am a Californian and I am proud of it.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Recent Happenings

A lot of fun things have happened in the last week. My roommate Jennifer decided that we all needed a break from Provo for a night so she suggested that a group of us go up to Park City during the Sundance Film Festival. Six of us girls squeezed into a car and drove up to Park City to spot some celebrities. We didn't end up seeing anyone but it was still a lot of fun.

Jen and I before we left.

There was a really interesting cowboy shop that had tons of cowboy boots for sale. Each pair cost $2500. No one made any purchases there :)

We stopped into Mary Janes and Hannah found a pair of baby shoes that brought back memories of a nickname people used to call me. I don't think I'll ever live that one down.

We ate dinner at a pizza place and then headed back up the street to head home. However, we spotted a store that we all had to go into. It had some really cute clothes. If it hadn't been so expensive I probably would have three new shirts and a couple of cute new coats.

The next day, my brother Kiel was in town so he and his friend picked me up and we headed to Saratoga Springs to see my newest niece! Erica Allison Brown is absolutely adorable! She was four days old when this picture was taken.

Yesterday, February 4th, was my roommate Jennifer's birthday (and my sister, Shelley's!). We all went to Olive Garden and had a wonderful time chatting and eating delicious morsels of pasta and breadsticks. We then came back to our appointment and lots of people came over for cake and ice cream. Jen felt very loved :)

These are some of the girls that came to Olive Garden with us. A few more showed up a little later.

My roommate, Rhiannon, and I.

These three amazing girls, Rachel, Jennifer (the birthday girl), and Kristin, are also my roommates.

Our waiters were very kind to us so we decided to take a picture with them after we ate our meal.

Despite the tremendous work load that school inevitably brings, it has been a really fun week and hopefully I can continue to do well in school and have fun at the same time. It's a difficult but possible balance.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


  • Things don't always turn out the way you plan.
  • Some things take much longer to occur than you want them to.
  • If you want something to happen, effort is required.
  • If you find yourself getting prideful, something will happen that will make you humble again.
  • You can't control your circumstances but you can control your reactions to your circumstances.
  • No matter how much you want things to stay the same, things will change. No matter how much you want things to change, things will stay the same.

The month of January has been a month of realization for me. Deep down I always knew these things were true but I guess I've never had them verified as much as I have this month. Life has its positives and negatives but the one thing that positives and negatives have in common is that they are designed to make you stronger. You learn to overcome the bad and you learn to appreciate the good. I don't know what the future holds but I do know that I can choose to follow Elder Wirthlin's counsel: "Come what may and love it."

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Christmas in Cali

After finals were over, I flew home to California for Christmas. I was able to spend about two and a half weeks at home. It was great to spend time with my family before plunging into another hard semester. Mom, Dad, Lisa, Kiel, Melissa, Bruce, Grandma, and I enjoyed a great Christmas morning together. I received many awesome gifts, including a new camera (my old one was nine years old and didn't even have a zoom feature on it) and a Payless gift card which I promptly utilized.

Bruce was super cute and gracefully let us poke, squeeze, kiss, and go nuts over how adorable he is.

After everyone left, I used my free time to do some arts and crafts. I started making vintage-looking advertisements as wall decorations this past summer and I decided to do a few more while I was home. This is one of the four I completed.

All in all, I had a great Christmas break. I truly saw the spirit of Christmas at work this year and I am grateful to all those who sacrificed for others and for me. Happy New Year!