Sunday, December 4, 2011

Boston: Un po' di nostalgia


I’m not sure exactly what brought on this memoir.  A week or so ago, I just happened to be wearing my MIT sweatshirt when a patient asked why I had it.  When I stated that I used to live near campus, he asked where, since he went to school at MIT.  When I gave him the corner I lived on, it thrilled me to know he knew exactly where I was talking about (I didn’t ask, but it might have been due to the “famous” karaoke bar right under my apartment).  Remembering Boston gave me a smile.
A few days ago another patient overheard a comment I made, which of course now I can’t remember, but I remember his reaction to the comment.  He said:  “Hey look, Boston wasn’t all bad!  That’s the only positive thing I’ve ever heard you say about Boston, but at least there was something!”  That comment shocked me, because even though yes, there were a million reasons to hate my experience at Boston, there were also  millions of reasons why I loved it.  And so today, for no real reason whatsoever, I started thinking of all the things I missed so very much about Boston.  And now no one can ever doubt how I really feel.  In the great words of Jack’s Mannequin, “I’ve said it now and there’s no turning back.”  


I miss my 2 favorite gelaterias.  I especially miss that I could make it from my apartment to either of these abodes of heaven in Little Italy within 10 minutes.

I also miss eating panini with real prosciutto.

I miss my favorite walk along the Charles.  I would walk from my apartment, meander through MIT, stroll along the Charles, cross the bridge and finally end up at BU.

I miss the T.  I miss decent public transportation.  I miss that sense of freedom, the ability to go almost anywhere you could want.  For whatever reason, I often feel the need to run away, and running away is never so cathartic as when it is done on a train, last stop Wonderland.

I miss the crazies (and the students) that would perform in the T stations.  Especially the random unkempt Russian dude that played Mormon hymns on his guitar.

I miss the history.  Growing up in Oregon, there isn’t anything older than 100 years, except for the trees.  Boston helped me understand what it was all about, and why it was worth fighting for.

I miss the fact that since so many people are college students, you can get away with (and purposefully enjoy) dumb things.  I can’t even count the extreme amount of ridiculous things I did chasing rock stars.  And I don’t regret a minute of it.

I miss the cute little houses in Charlestown.  Partly because they were so quaint, but mostly because if I was walking next to these cute little houses it meant I was only a couple blocks away from some serious fun.

I miss all of my friends.  There are too many to count.

I miss the clam chowder at Legal Sea Food.  I don’t even think other clam chowder should even be allowed to carry the same name. 

I miss the MIT hacks.

I miss living only a couple blocks from the mall.  So many great retail therapy trips happened there.  My wallet, on the other hand, doesn’t miss that.

I miss the hole in the wall places to eat. 

I miss the little librarian lady who knew me by name.  Probably because I was the only patron who wore a hideous neck brace, but still…

I miss the genius that resulted in being too brain-damaged to pay attention in class.  For example, my creative exploration in Italian poetry which produced, in my humble opinion, quite a masterpiece:  Forse

I miss the Museum of Science.

I miss things being wicked.

I miss the 4th of July.  No other city can even compare.

I miss the awe of Harvard.  16-freakin’-36!

I miss Newbury comics.

I miss the Red Sox.  I miss the Green Monster.  I miss hating the Yankees.  I miss Sweet Caroline.  I miss Fenway.  I miss heaven.

I miss the Boston temple.  I know all temples are houses of God and are equally important, but this temple is where I first realized just how important they really are.


It’s true.  My year in Boston was without a doubt the hardest, most miserable, worst year of my life.  But it was also the most sacred.  I have never felt so much pain as when I have lived in Boston.  But it is also where I have felt most the great love Heavenly Father has for me.  Because of Boston, I know without a shadow of a doubt that my life is in God’s hands, and he is enriching my life with so many indescribable blessings.  As President Uchtdorf so recently discussed, this is where I learned “compared to God, man is nothing; yet we are everything to God”. 

No. No, I don’t hate Boston.  In fact, I don’t think I could ever imagine my life without it.  I will never be the same.  I will forever be better. 

Thursday, November 24, 2011

I actually made this!!

This week I made an uber fancy cake for the first time ever....and it was delicious!!  It looked super cool too!  Behold, my masterful creation the Dark Forest Cake:





Sunday, October 2, 2011

And now I understand why I will never understand....

All my life I've been confused by politics. Granted, a good portion of that time I probably could have easily sat down and read the newspaper every now and then and that might have solved the issue, but let's be honest. Unless someone actually takes time to sit me down and explain things to me using little words, my attention has already wondered off. For example: "Problems in Greece...big words used that I don't really understand...something about Italy too...man, I miss Italy...O paradiso, come mi manchi!...what I would give for some good gelato right now....I wonder if I'll get out of work in time to go to the gym....did I remember to put the new Mumford & Sons songs on my iPod?...Why am I looking at an article about Greece again?" But, good news! This past week someone actually did sit down with me and explain things to me in small, simple words, and now I finally understand why my brain has been so confused by politics this entire time!
For so long I felt like politics was pointless to talk about because I could never fine anyone I agreed with. Some people seemed to be on my side for some issues, but then they'd side with certain issues that I very strongly disagreed with. In all honesty, I've never liked any political party and spent any rare conversation I had about politics complaining about why people didn't just compromise. I think the problems lies with the fact that I spent a good chunk of my time growing up in Oregon, one of the most liberal states in the Union, and also a good chunk of time in Utah, one of the most conservative states in the Union.
As I was talking with my friend this week, I realized that I was very strongly conservative on some issues, but then on other issues I was very liberal. When I expressed this lament, he replied that there were other people with that problem, and gave the example of many Californians who were liberal in social issues and conservative in economic issues. When I interrupted to correct him though, and explain that actually, I'm very conservative in social issues and liberal in economic issues, he just came back with "Oh, well, you're all on your own with that one then...." Drat. Apparently there was some big word that starts with an "O" that describes my unfortunate predicament, but I don't remember what that was anymore. Note to self: remember that word next time....
On the plus side, now I know why I just get frustrated when politics enter the conversation. And maybe now that I know the source of all my confusion, I won't shy away from conversations or articles in the news about the happenings of the world. Maybe it won't make the problem of never liking any option of who to vote for go away, but at least now I know why that discontent always comes to me while others march proudly around with their "I Voted" stickers. I've decided to put more effort into becoming aware. I'm going to try and understand all the different issues that are a big deal in the country right now and figure out where I stand. Maybe I never will find anyone else who ever agrees with me, but at least I won't be ignorant any more.
**Warning: Just because I'm leaving the "ignorance is bliss" path, doesn't give anyone permission to argue with me. That's another thing I always hated about politics, I always just associated it with people who fight all the time, and I hate arguing. Partly, perhaps, because I never win. But mostly because I hate watching other people argue. I welcome people to share their views and inform me on issues which I know nothing about (which, as it turns out, is everything). But no arguing.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Song for Sienna

I was listening to Pandora the other day when this song popped up. The title was instantly intriguing to me, since I spent a few months for an internship in the city of Siena, Italy. Granted, this particular song was written for some girl named Sienna, not the Italian city Siena, however the emotions in this song somehow magically portray the exact emotions that I felt in my time in paradise. So clearly, I have fallen in love with this song, and decided to share. Maybe if you close your eyes while you listen to it and think of gelato, you'll feel as if you sort of lived this experience with me.... Song for Sienna

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Ode to Joy, a.k.a. Dave's Killer Bread

I received the best news ever this week. Dave's Killer Bread is coming to California!!!!! My life will now be complete. For those of you poor unfortunate souls who have no idea what Dave's Killer Bread is, I'm sorry. It is literally the ambrosia of bread. Once you try this bread, you will never buy another brand of bread for the rest of your life. When September 15th hits, I'm heading straight for Safeway and not coming out 'til I have loaves and loaves of this joy. And if you're the type that is a sucker for inspirational stories, you should definitely read up on the Dave of said Killer Bread and learn about his great story! For more info on the amazing bread, you can go to the website here: http://www.daveskillerbread.com/

Sunday, August 28, 2011

I think I'm turning Japanese, I really think so



This blog post is dedicated to Taylor. Mainly because the thought contained in this blog was originally from him. He shared this idea with the rest of the family a couple weeks ago and I loved it so much I had to share it with more people. He said he was pondering a BYU Devotional by Brad Wilcox called "His Grace is Sufficient" when he came up with this fantastic thought.
Before my brother left for Japan, he spent all of his time learning about Japan. He took classes on the language, he learned about the culture and the people. So when he actually got to Japan, he wanted to put into practice everything that he had studied. In his own words, he said he wanted to become "as Japanese-y as possible". He then compared that experience to our lives here on earth. Before we came to this earth, we lived in heaven with our Eternal Father, who is God. He came up with a plan that we might become more like him, but to do so we had to come to earth to gain a body and to have experiences that would teach us how to refine our characters and become like God. So in order to help us develop these God-like attributes, God has given us commandments. If we want to become like God, we must live as God lives, and he shows us how He lives through these commandments.
Here is an excellent quote by Elder D. Todd Christofferson in a talk he gave last April that goes along with what my brother was talking about. He said: "Our Heavenly Father is a God of high expectations. His expectations for us are expressed by His Son, Jesus Christ, in these words: “I would that ye should be perfect even as I, or your Father who is in heaven is perfect” (3 Nephi 12:48). He proposes to make us holy so that we may “abide a celestial glory” (D&C 88:22) and “dwell in his presence” (Moses 6:57). He knows what is required, and so, to make our transformation possible, He provides His commandments and covenants, the gift of the Holy Ghost, and most important, the Atonement and Resurrection of His Beloved Son."
I think so often people don't see the big picture, or the eternal plan. They see commandments as limitations, or things that deny freedom. But in reality, these commandments are teaching us how to be like the Creator of all heaven and earth, the Lord Omnipotent, God our Heavenly Father. What could be more powerful than that? I am so grateful for the commandments in my life, that have taught me more about the character of God and have taught me more about my potential and what God has in store for me. I am so eternally grateful for the Atonement of Jesus Christ, and that through His Atonement we can be forgiven of our sins and made clean again as we continually repent. I am so grateful for God's plan, and that He truly is our loving Father in Heaven.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Just Say No To Brain Damage

I had a dream a few days ago where a friend of mine got a concussion, and for whatever reason I was put in charge of making sure this friend stayed in the room we were in and didn't do anything to aggravate his concussion. He was very disobedient and it was very frustrating for me. I kept trying to tell him what was good for him, but he didn't understand. He just thought I was being mean. I eventually called the police to stop him from playing sports (random dream, I know). When I woke up though, I realized that this was a lesson I needed to apply to myself. While I was home this weekend, I had the chance to talk with a great family friend who has spent the last year or so studying Traumatic Brain Injury. It was a fabulous talk and it helped me to realize that I needed more patience with myself. I am very much still in the process of healing. In fact, I am way ahead of schedule as far as the healing process goes, apparently, so therefore I cannot let myself get upset when I don't feel 100%. We talked a lot about how extra tired I am all the time, and how I need to learn to say "No" and to be okay with taking a break so that I can heal. A part of me feels guilty. There are so many good things out there that I could be doing, and that so many other people around me are doing all the time, but I need to realize that I am healing and often I will have to say "No". I've been studying a lot lately the talk "Good, Better, Best" by Elder Dallin Oaks, and it has been helping me a lot. The choices that I have in life are not between good and evil, but among many very good things. I need to learn to distinguish between these things so at this time in my life while I am still healing and don't have the energy to do many extra-curricular activities, I can know which are the best things in my life, and let go of the good and better. And I need to stop feeling like I'm not good enough when I don't do what most other people are doing. I need to be okay taking it easy, and just saying "No".

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Honor


The dictionary defines "honor" in the following ways:
1. honesty, fairness, or integrity in one's beliefs and actions: a man of honor.
2. high respect, as for worth, merit, or rank: to be held in honor.
3. high public esteem; fame; glory: He has earned his position of honor.

When ever I am going through a particularly hard time in life, I always think of my favorite cartoon character of all time, Prince Zuko, from Avatar: The Last Airbender. He begins the TV series as the main bad guy, hunting down the Avatar to restore his honor and regain his rightful place as heir to the throne of the Fire Nation. Throughout the entire 3 seasons of the show Prince Zuko is obsessed with his honor. He is most particularly concerned with the third definition of honor, high public esteem. All he really wants is for his father, the emperor, to think well of him. He wants to earn his place as the heir to the throne. But as the story progresses, life only gets more difficult for this banished prince. He faces trial after trial after trial, and nothing ever goes right for him. But somewhere on this journey, he starts to realize the difference between right and wrong and he sees that by regaining his "honor" in his father's eyes would be going against everything that is right. And when he is on the verge of regaining the honor which was everything he spent the entire story searching for, he gives it all up to go against his father and to do what is right. And, interestingly enough, it is just when he gives up this definition of honor that he does in fact find honor, like the honor listed in the first definition found in the dictionary: integrity in one's beliefs and actions: a man of honor.

In my life, I have seen how "seeking after the honors of men" or making choices based on selfish or prideful reasons instead of choosing God's will always leads to frustration and unhappiness. I have come to learn that when we are humble and obedient, then that is when we start to become the people that we are always meant to be. That isn't to say, however, that we will always be spared trials if we always choose the right. Sometimes trials are the greatest teacher in life, and help us become the person that God desires us to become. Such was the case for Prince Zuko. In the start of the series he was immature, arrogant and selfish. Through his endless amounts of trials he learned humility and most importantly the difference between right and wrong. We live in a fallen world, and we cannot escape affliction, but if we put our trust in God he can make these experiences beneficial for us and help us develop characteristics that make us more like our Heavenly Father and our Savior Jesus Christ.

President Uchtdorf gave an absolutely wonderful talk about this subject a few conferences ago, in his talk "Your Happily Ever After." He states: "Has there ever been a person who did not have to go through his or her own dark valley of temptation, trial, and sorrow? Sandwiched between their “once upon a time” and “happily ever after,” they all had to experience great adversity...The scriptures tell us there must be opposition in all things, for without it we could not discern the sweet from the bitter...In stories, as in life, adversity teaches us things we cannot learn otherwise. Adversity helps to develop a depth of character that comes in no other way. Our loving Heavenly Father has set us in a world filled with challenges and trials so that we, through opposition, can learn wisdom, become stronger, and experience joy...It is your reaction to adversity, not the adversity itself, that determines how your life’s story will develop."

Like Prince Zuko, we too are heirs, for "The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us." (Romans 8:16-18) God knows the big picture, He has a plan. He know what is best for us and He know what He wants us to become. He knows how to change us, for He says "behold, I have refined thee, I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction." (1 Nephi 20:10) And He tells us, like Uncle Iroh tells his nephew Zuko, "You are going through a metamorphosis, my nephew. It will not be a pleasant experience but when you come out of it. You will be the beautiful prince you were always meant to be."

And so as I go through hard times, I remember this. I am searching for honor. Not the honor and glories of men, but I am striving to honor my God, to choose the right in the face of adversity, to bear my trials with humility and patience and to let God change me into the person that He always meant for me to become.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Here's to you, Roberto Alomar. Thank you for baseball.

It started one spring day in 1992. I was eight years old. My younger brother had just turned 5, which my father felt was a good age to pass on the great American father-son tradition of baseball. My first reaction to this was, as any older sibling would react, jealousy of all the extra time my dad was spending with my brother. I was the oldest, and therefore clearly the better child in my 8 year old mind, so if my brother could do this baseball thing, then so could I. I informed my father that I had suddenly become a baseball fan, thank you very much, would he please pass me the newspaper so I could choose a favorite baseball team? At this point in my childhood my family were all Atlanta Braves fans, and we were living in Oregon so technically the hometown team was the Seattle Mariners, so my dad tried to push me in one of these two directions, but I took one look at all the team names and with no doubt or hesitation in my voice I declared myself to be a Toronto Blue Jays fan through and through. They did, after all, have the prettiest mascot of all the teams in either league. A few days later there was a game on TV with the Blue Jays, and though I can't remember the exact reason why, there was one player that caught my eye more than any other. Perhaps he hit a homerun that day. Or perhaps he made a diving catch that took my breath away. But whatever the reason, the result was the same. I declared that day that Roberto Alomar would then become and forever be my all time favorite baseball player. And here I am, 20 years later, never regretting a single moment.

It was too incredible to be coincidence, it could only have been fate, that in 1992 the Toronto Blue Jays would go on to win the World Series. Against the Atlanta Braves, no less. My family still laughs over the memories of that series spent huddled on my parents bed, eyes glued to the TV, the entire rest of the family jumping up and down on the bed cheering loudly when the Braves would score a run, while I would sit pointedly ignoring them, knowing they were being foolish for of course my Blue Jays would overcome in the end. And how was I to have known, months earlier, that my very own favorite player would become on of the key figures in that series? My joy and obsession would only increase the next year as the Blue Jays and Roberto Alomar won the World Series again. By this point my entire bedroom was covered in baseball posters and I had a baseball card collection to rival any other 9 year old. I probably had more Blue Jays hats and posters and figurines and shirts than any other person on the West Coast. I had officially become hooked.

I think the highlight of my baseball career must have been the Cleveland Indian years. Before Roberto Alomar was traded to the Indians I was already well aware of his superior fielding super powers at second base, but when his mastery of the infield was combined with the skill of Omar Vizquel at shortstop, baseball ceased to be a sport for me and became a heavenly art. The finesse. The grace. The intuition. The elegance. The acrobatics. Never has this world seen before nor will it ever see again anything so beautiful and so glorious at a 4-6-3 or a 6-4-3 turn by those two infielding gods.

Even in the beginning of high school when I was introduced to the thrill of the Red Sox, the Curse of the Bambino and Yankee-hating at its best, Roberto Alomar was still the key to baseball for me. The Red Sox may have become my favorite team, but none of their players, not even the extremely talented and attractive Nomar Garciaparra, could over take my devotion to skill of the best second baseman to ever play the game. The Gold Gloves, the stolen bases. That is what a true baseball player for me is. In high school I played 2nd base on my softball team, just to be like Robbie. I soaked up everything my Spanish class could throw at me, just because Robbie spoke Spanish too (as a side not this also started my obsession with all languages, and now 4 1/2-ish languages later I still can't get enough of them). I even decided to become a Certified Athletic Trainer when I grew up, so I could spend the rest of my days reveling in the joys of life that only baseball could bring. To anyone who knew me in high school, I was the girl obsessed with baseball, who thought of nothing else. Baseball, indeed, was my childhood.

In 2005, Roberto Alomar retired. I was serving a mission for my church in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and had not been involved at all in the 2005 series. In fact, when I got home near the end of the 2006 season, it was like coming home to a stranger. Baseball had changed. Roberto Alomar was no longer there. Even Nomar, no longer a Red Sox, would only hold on for a few seasons longer before retiring himself. I still knew many players, but I had lost the vital element of my baseball fandom. Even still today when I watch a Red Sox game, there is something missing. I root for Jacoby Ellsbury, not so much for his great talent as much as for the fact that he grew up in the same middle of nowhere farm town in Oregon, and for the fact that while he probably hasn't been to church in years, I think members of his family still go to my church, and for the fact that I used to watch him play in high school now and again when his team would play against my brother's team. But when all is said and done, it almost doesn't even matter to me anymore. The soul of the game is gone for me.

I will, of course, enjoy baseball for the rest of my life. But it will never be the same. There will never be another Roberto Alomar. Years from now, when I have children of my own, they will ask what life was like for me when I was a kid. And I will pull down the boxes that I have treasured away. And next to the box of snow leopard stuffed animals and Winnie-the-Pooh figurines, I'll pull down my box of baseball cards and reverently hand them to my kids. This. This was my childhood.

Here's to you, Roberto Alomar. Thank you for baseball. Though this is the year you first became a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, you have long since been in my Baseball Hall of Fame. Congratulations, for what ever my opinion may be worth, to the best second baseman in the history of baseball.

























Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The Story of the Cracked Pot

A water bearer in India had two large pots, each hung on each end of a pole which he carried across his neck. One of the pots had a crack in it, and while the other pot was perfect and always delivered a full portion of water at the end of the long walk from the stream to the master's house, the cracked pot arrived only half full. For a full two years this went on daily, with the bearer delivering only one and a half pots full of water in his master's house. Of course, the perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments. But the poor cracked pot was ashamed of its own imperfections, and miserable that it was able to accomplish only half of what it had been made to do. After two years of what it perceived to be a bitter failure, it spoke to the water bearer one day by the stream. "I am ashamed of myself, and I want to apologize to you." "Why?" asked the bearer. "What are you ashamed of?" I have been able, for these past two years, to deliver only half my load because this crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way back to your master's house. Because of my flaws, you have to do all of this work and you don't get full value for your efforts," the pot said. The water bearer felt sorry for the old cracked pot and in his compassion he said, "As we return to the master's house I want you to notice the beautiful flowers along the path." Indeed, as they went up the hill, the old cracked pot took notice of the sun warming the beautiful wild flowers on the side of the path, and this cheered it some. But at the end of the trail, it still felt bad because it had leaked out half its load, and so again it apologized to the bearer for its failure. The bearer said to the pot, "Did you notice that there were flowers only on your side of the path but not on the other pot's side? That's because I have always known about your flaw, and I took advantage of it. I planted flower seeds on your side of the path, and every day while we walk back from the stream, you've watered them. For two years I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate my master's table. Without you being just the way you are, he would not have this beauty to grace his house." Each of us has our own unique flaws. We're all cracked pots. But if we will allow it, the Lord will use our flaws to grace His Father's table. In God's great economy, nothing goes to waste. So as we seek ways to minister together and as God calls you to the tasks He has appointed for you, don't be afraid of your flaws. Acknowledge them and allow Him to take advantage of them, and you, too, can be the cause of beauty in His pathway.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

The Gift of Tongues

I have always been in love with learning languages. I started Spanish in high school and college, and was lucky enough to serve a mission for my church in Buenos Aries, Argentina for a year and a half and became fluent in Spanish through that (though I must add that Argentine Spanish has a very different accent than the rest of the Spanish accents, and so it can still be hard for me to talk to many people from other countries!) When I was at BYU I decided to take a random Italian class for fun and couldn't stop with just one class, and ended up minoring in Italian and even completing an internship in Siena, Italy for a couple months. At various points throughout my life I have also studied some German, though it has been a lot harder to learn since I haven't taken any formal classes, or had anyone to practice with really, and since it isn't a romance language the grammar is a lot more difficult for me. My latest language obsession has become Romanian, which in the week since I started studying has come very easily. Part of the reason of course is that it is another romance language, and after having Italian and Spanish under my belt so many parts of the language make so much sense and are so very familiar to me. But I also think a big part of why it is coming so fast is the gift of tongues. We are told that we all have been given gifts of the spirit, and that we should take time to learn what they are and then use them to help our brothers and sisters hear on this Earth. Learning languages has always been easy for me, and I really feel that this is a gift that I have been blessed with. I hope that I will have the opportunity to not only learn these languages, but use this knowledge to help other people as well. I never want there to be a moment in my life when I am not learning a language or improving the languages that I have already learned. When I was younger, I made the goal to learn 7 languages. I really do hope I achieve that goal with the help of the Holy Ghost. Our Heavenly Father really is the source of all knowledge, and if we involve Him in our process of studying, no matter what it is that we are studying, He will help us learn and grow and give us the gifts we need to achieve these goals. I am so grateful for the gift of tongues in my life, and I am so very grateful for the many other gifts which God has given me that have both blessed my life greatly and have helped me to bless the lives of others.

Friday, June 10, 2011

The Parable of the Computer Virus

My problems in life can be likened unto a computer virus.....seriously though, I just got a computer virus this last week (Taylor if you read this, it's because I tried finding that anime TV show you told me I NEEDED to watch and was all online. I never found the episodes, but oh buddy, did I find a computer virus....) Anyway, so in the aftermath of the anger and frustration and the "porque Rosa porque?????", I pondered what lesson Heavenly Father would have me learn from this. (And NO, Shannon, I'm NOT buying your version of the "practical joke" God was playing on me). What I did realize was actually quite profound.
First let me explain a bit about the virus. It was disguised as an anti-spyware program, and it looked exactly like it was part of Windows 7 so it made it seem like a program that had already been on your computer from the beginning of time. All of the sudden it pops up with warnings that the computer has been infected and runs a "scan", which reveals lots of virus's that can only be removed by upgrading the "regular" virus protection to get the version with anti-spyware.
So, I kid you not, my initial reaction was: WHAT. THE. HECK. Stupid virus, stupid computer. I knew that this program was probably the virus itself. But then something tricksy happened. The virus had somehow blocked all of my other programs from me, so I couldn't open the internet, or anything else. All that popped up was more messages from the anti-spyware virus, more diverse and more urgent, telling me I needed to get this upgrade before my computer was destroyed. I suddenly remembered that while I did have a good anti-virus program on my computer, I didn't have any anti-spyware or malware program. And even though at first I KNEW this was a fake, I slowly let my defenses down. I begin to question, "what if?" What if I do have these virus the "scan" was showing me? What if this really is a part of Windows 7? What if there is no other way to get this off my computer? And the messages kept coming and coming, and for what ever lame reason, I couldn't figure out a way around it, except by getting the upgrade offered, which though at first seemed like the worst idea on the face of the planet, now suddenly seemed like the only way to save my computer. And so I caved. Right after I put in all my info and clicked "Buy", I knew without doubt what had just happened and how I fell for the lamest trick in the book, and now in addition to still having a stupid virus, I had to cancel my credit card.
I feel like this was a big reflection of my life lately. There have been a lot of things that Satan has been whispering to me over and over again. Things like "you're not good enough", "you'll never accomplish any of your goals", "your past is too messed up to ever have the future you once dreamed of having", etc., etc. When I first heard these thoughts, I rejected them right away, for clearly they were from the adversary. But one things about Satan, he never gives up. The messages keep coming, each time a little different, each time a little more urgent. And he tries to block the good things from you too. Soon your resistance starts to wear away, and you begin to question, "what if?" And soon you start believing the messages, and thinking that they really are true.
Luckily though, I did recognize the virus, and I was able to get my sister to help me find the program to get rid of the virus. It didn't completely get rid of the virus though, the virus was tricksy and found ways to get around the clean-up. But luckily one of the people in my FHE group works with computers, and he was able to go through my computer and completely fix everything.
And so it is with our lives too. We can do a lot in our lives to get rid of Satan and his influence. But we aren't enough by ourselves, we'll never be able to completely overcome him on our own. But luckily we have an older brother who has all the knowledge and all the power to eradicate the wrongs in our life. Our Savior can do what we cannot, he can fix us and make us clean again, and give us the extra power and strength we need to resist Satan in the future. I'm so grateful for the Atonement of Jesus Christ in my life, and for all that He did for me, and that because of Him, I can be clean again. I can find strength through Him to overcome the temptations of Satan, and He will help me accomplish the goals I have and live a full and happy life. So even though these "virus's" will give us pain and trouble, we have the cure. We have the real "Anti-Virus" who will always protect us from harm if we turn to Him and keep Him in our lives.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Cortez

This story starts a couple weeks ago when I needed new shoes. I wasn’t in the mood for long hours of shopping, so I went into the first store I found, saw a pair of black shoes (the color I needed), appreciated the fact that they happened to be Nikes and thus would help resolve the foot pain I’d developed by buying brands that disagreed with my feet, tried them on, and bought them. End of story. Or so I thought. When I wore them to work the next week, one of my co-workers exclaimed “Cortez Kennedys! That’s SO gangsta!” I had no idea at first that he was even talking about my shoes, and was pretty much uber confused, since nothing I have really ever done in life could really be described as “gangsta”. Later, one of the physical therapists I work with saw my shoes and said “Hey! Cortez Kennedys! That takes me back to my break dancing days! That’s so cool!” It was then I fully realized my new shoes have a reputation. I tried to google them to find out more about the new found reputation, but it didn’t get me very far. Apparently there’s a football player named Cortez Kennedy. And apparently there’s a rap song about the shoes. But that’s all I’ve got so far. But if I start turning out more gangsta by wearing these shoes, I’ll let you know.

Deepest Desire

I’m going to let you in on a secret. It’s my deepest most secretest desire in the whole entire world. The thing that I would love to do most in life is be an author. I want to spend my days writing novels. That’s what I want most out of life. And oh buddy, do I have a bazillion novel ideas. And they are FANTASTIC. Unfortunately, while I seem to have an extreme gift for coming up with brilliant plots and/or characters, my greatest weakness is actually sitting down and putting the whole thing on paper. At best I have a random collection of scattered scenes, nowhere near enough for a publish-worthy book. A few days ago my brother told me I didn’t need to keep coming up with more ideas, since I have so much work to do already with the ideas I have. But after pondering, I decided I disagree. I can’t help when genius strikes, so I might as well jot it down while I can. And many of these story ideas have a special meaning, associated with a certain event or certain emotion that if I don’t write down now, I might never be able to recreate again. Hopefully one day I’ll actually be able to do something with all of my ideas, but if not, at least I have a few blurbs that will entertain my posterity.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Family

I have been really really really wanting a pet lately. A snow leopard is always preferable, but in this case I've been wanting a dog. I realized that part of my wanting a pet comes from the fact that I want to have a family member here with me, and since my brother and sister and parents have their own lives to lead, the only option left would be to get a dog. Growing up, our dogs were always like members of the family. The best part is that they always love you. When I was in the middle of failing out of school and crying on the phone to my mom, she made the comment "Why can't everyone be like Nora? (my little sister's dog) She has unconditional love. She is always there waiting at the door for you to come home, and she's always so excited to see you. Why can't people be like that?" At first I was confused at what this had to do with being kicked out of physical therapy school, but as I ponder it now I realize that it is true. Why can't we be more loving of each other? That really is all that people need. They need people who are always excited to see them when the walk in the door, people who have been waiting for them all day. People who love you no matter what. In short, we all need more family members in our life. We need to treat others like our family, because in reality, we all are members of the same family. We are all brothers and sisters, and children of our Heavenly Father. And we probably all need pets in our life too. If only I lead a stable lifestyle and could get a dog!





Tuesday, May 24, 2011

A Time to Heal

I want to take some time and document my current brain function, status post traumatic brain injury 2 years ago. I had an epiphany a couple days ago. I had been slightly frustrated with the fact that these days I seem to always be tired, and I hate adding on any activity to my day. This puzzled me, because I used to live a very busy life, and I never felt excessively tired to the point where I didn't want to do anything ever. For example, the fall semester of my senior year at BYU, I got up at 4am every morning, left the apartment by 4:30am to get to my part-time job as a custodian, then had classes from 8am-12pm, then went to my athletic training internship with the football team from 12pm-6:30pm (where, mind you, I was running around with an awkwardly full fanny pack dragging a 10 gallon cooler of water on wheels around), then ate dinner, did a couple hours of homework, then was in bed by 10pm. In addition to the hectic schedule, I was also applying to PT school and finalizing things for my internship in Italy. So needless to say, I was booked out to the max. Yet I wasn't super tired. Sure I took naps, who wouldn't? But I was never scared or anxious if some other activity came up, like hanging out with friends or some church activity. But now, all I do is work an 8 hour day, and attempt to go to the gym for a measly 30 min workout (which I dread every day, despite being an avid gym goer for years). If anyone even suggests adding in some extra event, I freak out and think of a million excuses not to go, because I don't have any extra energy to spare, and my only priority in life is getting to bed on time.

Having said that, I was pondering such unusual circumstance when I realized something. My brain still hasn't completely healed. It's still in the process. And healing takes energy. So of course I'll be extra tired. It's okay. It's normal. And it won't last forever. I need to be okay with not being perfect at this time, with being a little weak. I need to let my body heal.

It's only just recently I've been able to understand most of the ways my brain is different after the accident. Maybe I always knew the differences, but it's only just now that I am beginning to accept them. I definitely have lost my ability to focus as well as I did before. I get distracted a lot more easily. I used to have a photographic short term memory, and I've realized I've lost it. Not because I can't memorize, but because I can't focus enough to let my brain imprint the information. When I really want it, I can still memorize quickly like no other, but if even one little distraction comes up it becomes impossible. It takes me a lot longer to process complex information and make sense of what people are saying (but my processing speed for simple tasks is 99% better than the rest of the nation without brain damage, says my post injury neuropysch assessment). I can’t visualize abstract concepts as well (though my own imagination of tangible things is still working off-the-charts-amazing). My taste buds are finally healing, which has been a joyous discovery. And my sleeping patterns are getting better, and I’m mostly not having disturbing dreams anymore.

Sometimes I still feel though that things are a little foggy, kind of like trying to walk through sand. It’s hard to explain to people, because I don’t have any loss of function, and there is nothing obvious that is wrong, but it just doesn’t fell right. Though I’ve definitely come to accept any weaknesses I have now, and I am not bothered by it in and of itself, I still can’t escape the feeling that so much in life is a competition, and that other people will only like me or accept me if I’m the best at everything. And since I can’t explain that things aren’t quite right, I feel like everyone just assumes I’m not good enough and that’s that. It’s especially hard in the atmosphere of Palo Alto and Stanford sometimes. People here compete just to get their kids in the best preschools, and it’s a pretty cutthroat competition. So of course the rest of their lives seemed to be focused on being the best. Even though most of the people I know well aren’t from this area, I still feel like it rubs off on people sometimes. Everyone is always concerned with success.

Recently I’ve become addicted to the TV show “Community”. I love it because it is a bunch of failures who go to school at a community college. Despite all of their ridiculous problems and the lack of a stellar future, they are happy anyway. I wish people in general were more like that. Brain damage isn’t so daunting when I’m not expected to be “perfect”, a feat I couldn’t have accomplished sans brain damage anyway. I guess I just need to learn better how to rid the sense of competition from my life.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Stress

An interesting story I read that is making me re-think how I handle stress:

A young lady confidently walked around the room while leading and explaining stress management to an audience with a raised glass of water. Everyone knew she was going to ask the ultimate question, 'half empty or half full?'...
She fooled them all ... "How heavy is this glass of water?" she inquired with a smile.
Answers called out ranged from 8 oz. To 20 oz.

She replied, "The absolute weight doesn't matter.
It depends on how long I hold it.
If I hold it for a minute, that's not a problem.
If I hold it for an hour, I'll have an ache in my right arm.
If I hold it for a day, you'll have to call an ambulance.
In each case it's the same weight, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it becomes." She continued, "and that's the way it is with stress.
If we carry our burdens all the time, sooner or later, as the burden becomes increasingly heavy, we won't be able to carry on."
"As with the glass of water, you have to put it down for a while and rest before holding it again. When we're refreshed, we can carry on with the burden - holding stress longer and better each time practiced."

Monday, May 16, 2011

Oracle Betrayed



I read this book the other day and it sparked some great pondering on my part. The premise of the book, more or less, is that there is one person in the city that is declared "Speaker", who is able to hear the god's voice and tell the rest of the people. In the book, the girl who has the title has become corrupt and no longer hears the voice but declares her own will, so the god chooses another girl and of course drama ensues.
What I loved most about this book was the dialogue between the god and the girl he chose as his own speaker. It reminded me how we all should be in our communications with our Heavenly Father. We always need to be open to receiving His voice and trust that He is God and He has a bigger plan and He knows what He is doing. He will always take care of us if we listen to Him. God is always there listening to what we say. He is very aware of everything that is going on in our lives at all times. If we take time to listen, He will guide us in the direction that we need to go, even if it seems like the answer doesn't make sense. He truly knows what is best for all of His children, for He loves them dearly and wants them back with Him. We must always communicate with God. We must pray, read the scriptures, and listen to the guidance of the Holy Ghost, and we must do these things constantly. We should never be apart from God, at any second of any day. He is always there for us, are we there for Him?

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Queen To Be

So probably due to the recent royal wedding, I was reminiscing about how in middle school one of my friends was obsessed with Prince William. She was so obsessed that she even made her email address to "queen2be", clearly certain that she would one day marry the prince and therefore eventually become queen. While, unfortunately for this friend, her dream didn't come true (it turns out I wasn't BFFs with Kate Middleton when I was little), I have been pondering lately about royalty, and how in reality, we all are of noble birth. We are all children of God, beloved sons and daughters to the Most High. He has promised us, if we are faithful, that we will inherit all that He has. We are not just royal, we are divine. I don't think we can quite grasp our full potential here on earth, and all that we are destined to become, but I happened to read a few scriptures this morning that reminded me of my own nobility:

Moses 7:56 "...and the saints arose, and were crowned at the right hand of the Son of Man, with crowns of glory;"

Moses 7:59 "...thou hast made me, and given unto me a right to thy throne, and not of myself, but through thine own grace;..."

Romans 8:16-18 "The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us."

Isaiah 62:3 "Thou shalt also be a crown of glory in the hand of the Lord, and a royal diadem in the hand of thy God."

1 Peter 2:9 "But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people..."

Doctrine & Covenants 72:4
"For he who is faithful and wise in time is accounted worthy to inherit the mansions prepared for him of my Father."

3 Nephi 11:33 "And whoso believeth in me, and is baptized, the same shall be saved; and they are they who shall inherit the kingdom of God."

Do we remember who we are? Are we living up to our destiny? Here is a fantastic story that we can remember as we go about our daily lives, bombarded by evil, weakness, discouragement and disappointment at every turn. REMEMBER WHO YOU ARE.

"King Louis the Sixteenth of France had been taken from his throne and imprisoned. His young son the prince, had been taken by those who dethroned the king. They thought that inasmuch as the king's son was heir to the throne, if they could destroy him morally he would never realize the great and grand destiny that life had bestowed upon him. They took him to a community far away, and there exposed the lad to every filthy and vile thing that life could offer. They exposed him to foods the richness of which would quickly make him a slave to appetite.
They used vile language around him constantly. They exposed him to lewd and lusting women. They exposed him to dishonor and distrust. The young Prince was surrounded twenty-fours a day by everything that could drag the soul of a man as low as one could slip.
For over six months he had this treatment but not once did the young lad buckle under pressure. Finally, after intensive temptation, the captors questioned him. Why had he not submitted himself to these things? Why had he not partaken? All of the things that were offered provided pleasure. Things that would satisfy one's lusts and things that were desireable to everyone else. And all of them were offered to him! Why wouldn't he partake of them?
The boy said, 'I cannot do what you ask for I was born to be king'."

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

My New Obsession

I have recently become obsessed with National Geographic. I subscribed to the magazine and devour each issue when it comes. But even more enthralling for me is going to the website and collecting cool pictures. I save them in a folder that I keep as my screen saver, and so often when my computer goes to the screen saver, I will just sit there and watch all the cool pictures that I've found. They are so amazing!! I can't believe how fantastic this world is that we live in. It is so remarkable beautiful! I am so grateful to God for having created such a wonderful masterpiece!


Friday, April 29, 2011

The Royal Wedding


I admit, one of the first things that I did this morning was look at the footage from Prince William and Kate Middleton's wedding. And you know what? It was adorable. I don't care that so many people are complaining how big of a deal that people are making about this wedding, or how much money was spent. As I was watching all the footage, it was obvious how in love this couple is, and I think that today in a society where there is so much wrong and so much to be sad about, we need to spend a little more time celebrating the good and the things that make us happy. I don't care that Prince William and Kate will never be my future King and Queen, they are nice people anyway and I am glad that they had such a wonderful wedding. And I, for one, am glad that fairy tales do still exist.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

What I Learned

So now that I have a job again, I've decided to document the various things I learned while unemployed, so that I can always remember them and thus never have to go through that again to re-learn those same lessons.

1. I learned (finally) how to save money while grocery shopping, which has always been my biggest weakness when it comes to budgeting.

2. I learned how to improve my personal scripture study in the morning and make it more meaningful to what is going on in my life.

3. I learned how much I missed the temple and renewed my commitment to go more frequently.

4. I grew a lot closer to my dad through this trial.

5. I learned the importance of constantly having the Spirit with you, especially when times are tough and Satan is trying his hardest to make you doubt and have fear. The Spirit will help dispel those "Satan Thoughts" and help you to see the truth of your situation.

6. I learned sunshine makes me super happy.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Race

The Race
"Quit, give up, you're beaten"
They shout at you and plead
"There's just too much against you
This time you can't succeed".

And as I start to hang my head
In front of failures face
My downward fall is broken by
The memory of a race

And hope refills my weakened will
As I recall that scene
Or just the thought of that short race
Rejuvenates my being

Childrens race, young boys
Young men, how I remember well
Excitement sure, but also fear
It wasn't hard to tell

They all lined up so full of hope
Each thought to win that race
Or tie for first, or if not that
At least take second place

The fathers watched from off the side
Each cheering for his son
And each boy hoped to show his dad
That he could be the one

The whistle blew and off they went
Young hearts and hopes afire
To win and be the hero there
Was each young boys desire

And one boy in particular
Whose dad was in the crowd
Was running near the lead and thought
"My dad will be so proud"

But as they speeded down the field
Across a shallow dip
The little boy who thought to win
Lost his step and slipped

Trying hard to catch himself
With hands flew out to brace
And amid the laughter of the crowd
He fell flat on his face

But as he fell his dad stood up
And showed his anxious face
Which to the boy so clearly said
"Get up and win the race"

He quickly rose, no damage done
Behind a bit that's all
And ran with all his night and mind
To make up for the fall

So anxious to restore himself
To catch up and to win
His mind went faster than his legs
He slipped and fell again

He wised then that he had quit before
With only one disgrace
"I'm hopeless as a runner now
I shouldn't try to race"

But in the laughing crowd he searched
And found his fathers face
That steady look which said again
"Get up and win the race"

So up he jumped to try again
Ten yards behind the last
If I'm going to gain those yards he though
I've got to move real fast

Exerting everything he had
He regained eight or ten
But trying hard to catch the lead
He slipped and fell again

Defeat, he lay there silently
A tear dropped from his eye
There's no sense running anymore
Three strikes, I'm out, why try?

The will to rise had disappeared
All hope had fled away
So far behind so error prone
A loser all the way

"I've lost, so what", he thought
I'll live with my disgrace
But then he thought about his dad
Whom soon he'd have to face

"Get up" the echo sounded low
"Get up" and take your place
You were not meant for failure here
"Get up", and win the race

With borrowed will "Get up" it said
"You haven't lost at all"
For winning is no more than this
To rise each time you fall

So up he rose to run once more
And with a new commit
He resolved, that win or lose
At least he shouldn't quit

So far behind the others now
The most he'd ever been
Still he'd give it all he had
And run as though to win

Three times he'd fallen, stumbling
Three times he'd rose again
Too far behind to hope to win
He still ran to the end

They cheered the winning runner
As he crossed the line first place
Head high and proud and happy
No falling, no disgrace

But when the fallen youngster
Crossed the line, last place
The crowd gave him the greater cheer
For finishing the race

And even though he came in last
With head bent low, unproud
You would have thought he'd won the race
To listen to the crowd

And to his dad he sadly said
"I didn't do too well"
"To me you won", his father said
"You rose each time you fell"

by D. H. Groberg

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Keep Playing

I found this story in a fabulous talk by President Faust, and I thought it was the most adorable thing ever, and I especially appreciated President Faust's commentary after the story:

"Here is a story of a young piano student. His mother, wishing to encourage him, bought tickets for a performance of the great Polish pianist, Paderewski. The night of the concert arrived and the mother and son found their seats near the front of the concert hall. While the mother visited with friends, the boy slipped quietly away.
"Suddenly, it was time for the performance to begin and a single spotlight cut through the darkness of the concert hall to illuminate the grand piano on stage. Only then did the audience notice the little boy on the bench, innocently picking out ‘Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.’
"His mother gasped, but before she could move, Paderewski appeared on stage and quickly moved to the keyboard. He whispered to the boy, ‘Don’t quit. Keep playing.’ And then, leaning over, the master reached down with his left hand and began filling in the bass part. Soon his right arm reached around the other side, encircling the child, to add a running obbligato. Together, the old master and the young novice held the crowd mesmerized."

"In our lives, unpolished though we may be, it is the Master who surrounds us and whispers in our ear, time and time again, ‘Don’t quit. Keep playing.’ And as we do, He augments and supplements until a work of amazing beauty is created. He is right there with all of us, telling us over and over, ‘Keep playing.’" (President Faust, What it Means to be a Daughter of God, October 1999)

I am so grateful for a loving Heavenly Father who is always right there with us, making our feeble attempts masterpieces. :)

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Answer

The other day I was having a "woe is me" kind of moment. In that moment I said a prayer, wishing that someone would somehow reach out to me, in a email or message or phone call. I didn't think though that it would happen, because I had just talked to my mom, brother and sister the day before on the phone, so I doubted that anyone would call. Shortly after my prayer however, my phone started to ring. It was my Dad. This was a miraculous answer to a prayer. We just had a short conversation, nothing epic was said, but my dad did let me know that he prayed often for me. That really meant a lot to me, because I knew that it was true. I don't know how involved my dad still is in the gospel, but I do know that he still has a testimony. He doesn't go to church, he doesn't keep a number of the commandments, and I'm not sure if he ever reads the scriptures. But I do know that he is praying, and that he does know that God exists. Though it wasn't the answer that I thought I wanted at first, I am so grateful that it was my dad who was sensitive enough to the spirit to know that I needed a phone call at that moment.

Friday, February 25, 2011

The Parable of the Burnt Garlic Bread

Let me start out by saying I don't necessarily have a testimony that "men are that they might have joy." Let me rephrase that. Clearly it is scripture, and therefore without a shadow of a doubt true, but whenever I read that particular passage I think I inadvertently read "other men are that they might have joy." For whatever reason, the principles of the scripture have always seemed to allude my grasp. Now, before you get all freaked out and call a suicide hotline or anything, don't worry, I'm definitely not depressed or emo in anyway. However, I think my life can be likened unto a piece of garlic bread.
When I was home this last Christmas, there was a loaf of garlic bread in the freezer. I love garlic bread. I was looking forward to eating it all break. When the big day came to finally eat it, it was unfortunately burnt in the oven. Some of it was salvageable, but I'm not going to lie, I was pretty disappointed. And thus is my life. Now don't get me wrong, I have plenty of fabulous blessing and tons of wonderful things that have happened to me. I mean heck, I still was able to eat some good garlic bread, but things just never seem to happen just right the first time. Sure, I imagine someday (hopefully) I'll graduate from PT school. Just not the first time around. At first it seemed like I got a fabulous job right when I moved out to Palo Alto, but then I happened to be the victim of some budget cuts a few months later. Or right after I got laid off and found the most perfect job opening EVER, and even though they loved me and really really wanted to hire me, went with someone else instead. And don't even let me get started on never getting asked out on a date ever, despite the reassurances of "don't worry, Prince Charming is out there somewhere!" (doubtful), or on the whole family issue. Despite all of these catastrophes however, there are delicious pieces of garlic bread that I have been blessed with. (You can see my previous "Grateful Tree" posts for a few of these fantastic examples).
So, the purpose of this blog, despite all appearances, was not to just whine and complain. The purpose was really for me to call myself to repentance. I read a really great article yesterday from Forbes magazine about Clayton Christensen, a Harvard Business professor and wonderful member of the church in Boston. This past year has also been kind of a rough one for him. Just one piece of background information: when he was a lot younger, like 30 years ago, he was diagnosed with Diabetes. So fast forward to 2009. Within the span of one year, this faithful brother had a heart attack, was diagnosed with cancer, and then suffered a stroke. And this is a man who leads a very healthy lifestyle, there was no reason he really should have suffered any of these things. And yet, despite all of the bad things that he has gone through, he still has a wonderful attitude and his testimony of the gospel grows stronger. So what right do I have to complain? Who cares if I get burnt garlic bread? There is still a lot of good bread that goes with it.
So I have decided that my daily morning studies are going to focus on joy. I'm going to read all the scriptures and talks that I can about joy until I do gain a testimony that "men are that the might have joy," and that I am actually a part of that scripture too, not just everyone else.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Grateful Tree Episode 4

1. I am grateful for birds. The cute little ones that have sing-song voices.

2. I am grateful for scones. And a lovely cup of herbal tea to go with them on a cold morning. Best. Breakfast. Ever.

3. I am grateful for opera. Don't judge. It makes me happy :) I'm also grateful that I get to see Turandot tonight, which is the last opera I have left on my opera bucket list!

4. I am grateful for Italian.

5. I am grateful for the new online journal/study notebook I discovered on lds.org For some reason I've become obsessed with it, it makes my daily scripture study so much more fun.

6. I am grateful for the book Jesus the Christ. I'm starting to read it again, since I have the time, and I love it. It always helps to strengthen my testimony of the Savior and all that He has done for us.

7. I am so grateful for the Atonement of Jesus Christ, and that because of what He suffered, we can return to live with Him and our Heavenly Father again. I am grateful that the Atonement can heal us, can cleanse us, and can make right all that is wrong or unfair in our lives. Christ is literally the Prince of Peace and only through Him can we find salvation, peace and all the happiness there is to be had.

8. I am grateful for board games and for friends who also like board games.

9. I am grateful for my mommy, who is always there to chat with, even when I don't need anything special.

10. I am grateful that I was able to go to the dentist before my insurance coverage ended, and that I didn't have any cavities! Unfortunately, I still have to go in for 2 fillings, since the new dentist didn't like the way the old dentist did them, and I suppose I should be grateful for that because it will prevent future cavities....

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Grateful Tree Episode 3

1. I am so grateful for the Oakland Temple! It is such a special place and I am so grateful for the peace and happiness I feel when I go there. It is literally the house of God!

2. I am grateful for all of the really really really old people that go to the temple, because they are ADORABLE!!! And it shows their love and devotion to the Lord that even when they are so old they can hardly move more than a little shuffle at a time, they are still so overjoyed to be at the temple.

3. I am grateful for flowers. Especially the great variety of flowers that exist on the earth, in all of their shapes and colors.

4. I am grateful for all food that is not grapefruit jelly.

5. I am grateful for the job interview that I had this week and that it went really well!

6. I am grateful that I found a fun book in my bookshelf that I had bought a year ago and had never gotten around to reading, and now I actually have time to dive into it!

7. I am grateful for fun letters/packages that arrive in the mail! :)

8. I am grateful I got my taxes done.

9. I am grateful for the random airport worker in Texas that picked up my hitchhiking brother and didn't kill him.

10. I am grateful for Mario Kart.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Grateful Tree Episode 2

1. Once again I am grateful for President Eyring and a fantastic talk that he gave. This one is from last General Conference and is called Serve with the Spirit. There is one part in particular where he shares a great story about when his dad was in the hospital and President Kimball, who was then the prophet, came to visit him. It was a fabulous story and if you haven't read it I'm not going to tell you what happens so that you are forced to read it for yourself ;) I also decided to experiment and tried the same thing this week with a few co-workers, and had some wonderful, sweet spiritual experiences.

2. Which brings me to #2, because I am SO SO SO grateful for the gift of the Holy Ghost in my life. (For those of you not familiar with what this is, here is a link that will explain what the Gift of the Holy Ghost is: Bible Dictionary--Holy Ghost). I am so grateful for the peace and comfort that comes from the Holy Ghost. I am grateful for it's guidance in my life. It is honestly the best gift that my Father in Heaven has given me!

3. I am grateful for my brother Taylor and all of the amazingly wonderful things he is doing with his life right now! He literally is one of my biggest heroes!

4. I am grateful for my wonderful home and visiting teachers who all responded immediately as soon as they heard I lost my job. They are so amazing and I'm so grateful for how willing they are to help with anything!

5. I am also so grateful for all of my wonderful friends, no matter what part of the country (or world) that they might be in right now.

6. I am grateful for gelato, especially the mixture of bacio and pistachio. Yuuuuummmmm!!

7. I am grateful for the latest Chuck episode, and that the evil Russian mafia bad guy was finally taken care of and that Casey was in fact not killed by suffocation or Morgan killed by deadly lasers and I am very very happy that Chuck and Sarah are FINALLY officially engaged! And I am grateful for Jeffster and all of their amazing awkwardness....oh Jeffster...

8. I am grateful for the sun, and how happy it makes me feel. I am especially grateful for how vibrant all the colors are under the sun, like how green the grass is, or how blue the sky is.

9. I am grateful for the BEAUTIFUL sunrise I got to see twice on my drive to work this last week. It almost made getting up at 5:30am work it!

10. I am so extremely grateful for the knowledge that I have that God is in charge, and that even when I can't see His big plan, I know that He has one and that he will take care of me and keep me in His hands through all of my trials. I'm so grateful that I know with every single fiber of my being that I am a child of God and that He knows me personally and loves me so very much!

Monday, January 31, 2011

Grateful Tree Episode 1

So recently I made a goal to be more grateful in my life, and this goal reminded me of some friends who used to have a "Grateful Tree". They made it out of construction paper and hung it on their wall, and every time they found something to be grateful for they would trace their hand on paper and write what they were grateful for and taped it to the tree on the wall. So, I'm not going to tape a big tree to my wall, but I decided that once a week I would write down 10ish things that I was grateful for in that week. So here goes:

1. I am EXTREMELY grateful for a living prophet of God on the Earth today. My ward had stake conference today, and we had a live broadcast from Salt Lake City, and President Eyring spoke about the importance of following the prophet, and it made me so grateful to realize the great blessing of having a living prophet on Earth. I am SO grateful for our prophet, Thomas Monson.

2. I am grateful that my mom and sister were able to come visit me for a few days! I love my family so so so so very much!!!

3. I am grateful for my fun co-workers which make going to work bearable :)

4. I am grateful for the rain today. Even though I love the sun, rain is so dramatic and mysterious and it is exciting to have once in a while.

5. I am grateful for my space heater, which makes my room so nice and toasty on said rainy day, making it the perfect place to snuggle up in a blanket with a delightful book.

6. I am grateful that I was able to finally make progress on my new year's resolution of getting back to my pre-car accident workout at the gym. Not quite there yet, but getting better!

7. I am grateful for the Psych preview, which is all I have to tide me over until summer.

8. I am grateful for General Conference talks, which is what I have been using lately in my morning studies. Again, hooray for the words of a living prophet and apostles!

9. I am grateful for Downton Abbey, a new British TV show I just discovered that is fantastic.

10. I am grateful for ginger snaps. Yum :)