Sunday, September 30, 2012

when september ends

it's the last day of September.
where has the time gone?!

well this weekend has been a little crazy. Friday I had labs drawn in the morning (everything looks perfect by the way) and Hayley dropped me off at Target to pick up a few things. Where my aunt Carly then picked me up and I got to spend a few hours at her house practicing piano, eating homemade food, looking at pictures from Alaska, and just talking with her and my uncle. I got to see my adorable little cousin, Sammy, come home from school, too!
me and Sammy!!
After that it was back home to unpack and be productive until later that evening when my friends picked me up for Hattie's birthday! We grabbed some Tillamook ice cream from the store and went back to her apartment to build the birthday cake. It was such a blast to see some friends from freshman year! 
freshman year reunion: Eden, Micah, Drew, Chris, (in back) Hattie, and Hannah
Harrison joined us later. I took the picture. 
assembling the cake. quite possibly the strangest cake I've ever helped make in my life. but it was still delicious.
a little blurry. oh well.
I honestly love this girl. I am so glad to have met her during freshman year!! Hattie birthday happy :)
Saturday (yesterday) was the General Relief Society Meeting, and Hayley and I were able to attend! We drove up to Salt Lake, grabbed some delicious snacks at the Chocolate Factory, and headed over to the Conference Center. Afterwards, we wandered around Temple Square for a bit, then visited Hayley's grandparents before heading back down to Provo.
chocolate. girl's best friend.
some lady was handing out tissues. which is pretty brilliant for a women's conference.
turns out they had anti-Mormon literature. so we had to throw them away.  oh well. 

her heel got stuck in the grate. Wedding Planner moment? YES.
our future husbands do this really cute thing where they don't exist...
with the invisible future husband
gosh I love this girl.
a great night in Salt Lake with one of my best friends. love you Hayley!
[and now for the thoughtful part]
I love this gospel. I cannot imagine my life without the Church. The Relief Society meeting was absolutely beautiful [take the time to watch it if you haven't already seen it]. I know beyond a doubt that this is the true Church of Jesus Christ. I am so grateful to be a member of the Church, and I desperately want to share the message of the gospel with others. I love the missionaries; they are such amazing examples to me of diligence in living the gospel. I love the temple and peaceful spirit I feel there.

President Thomas S. Monson is our living prophet on earth today. The words he speaks are exactly what our Heavenly Father needs us to hear. I cannot wait for General Conference this weekend; to listen to the prophet and apostles speak to us is such an incredible experience. It's going to be amazing!

I'm excited to see what adventures October has in store.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

the changing season

this is what I saw as I walked home from class today. it literally took my breath away.
sunset. fall colors. mountains. and a rainbow. absolutely gorgeous.
gosh I love Utah. 
you really should click on the picture to see it full-size. just saying.
also my little blog hit a big milestone with this: one hundred postsI was excited, ok.

this song has been stuck in my head for the last week or so.
"Summer is Over" by Jon McLaughlin and Sara Bareilles

Be happy. Life is beautiful if you just look at the little things around you.
Have a lovely day. 

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

colder weather and happiness

fall. is. the. best

hot chocolate. curling up in a blanket. tomato soup and grilled cheese.
sweatshirts. boots. long sleeves. warm coats.
fire-colored leaves. gorgeous mountains. bonfires in the canyon.
chilly mornings. overcast sky. an occasional rain storm. crisp, clean air.
people tend to wear a smile.
basically it's perfect.
I still haven't taken my camera up to campus. So I don't have any pictures of the mountains on fire as of yet. soon though. I need to find a way up into those mountains before the leaves turn brown. gosh I love the mountains.

I'm that person who would move to Alaska for the summer. I just love the colder weather.
Apparently it snowed today in Park City. AHH!!

this weekend was really low key. homework and reading. my Friday night consisted of a long Skype session with my wonderful siblings... and Hayley joined in. good times.

wait a second...
I've been at college for a whole year. When did this happen?! I can't believe I am already a quarter of the way done with college (theoretically speaking). Time just flies when you're having fun I guess.

I love missionaries
Mondays are the best. I open my email to this flood of missionary emails. They all have such different experiences and things to say in their letters. It's so much fun to read about all that they do. On Sunday I was able to spend several hours just writing letters. I am so grateful for their examples and everything they are doing to share the gospel and serve others!

Devotional just made today even better on top of the perfect weather. An accounting professor spoke about being happy! He gave five suggestions on how to stay positive in a negative world.
  1. Righteousness does not mean perfection.
  2. Keep trying even if you know you'll fall down again.
  3. Keep your eyes focused on Heavenly Father.
  4. Remember: Heavenly Father's approval is the only one that matters.
  5. Look for and remember the times of true joy in your life.
His last piece of advice came from President Eyring:
Keep a daily journal (even if it's just a few lines) and ask yourself:
"How have I seen the hand of God reach out to touch me today?"

Doctrine & Covenants 123:17
"Therefore, dearly beloved brethren, let us cheerfully do all things that lie in our power; and then may we stand still, with the utmost assurance, to see the salvation of God, and for his arm to be revealed."

I love this gospel of good news. I love this university where these lessons are part of my everyday experiences. I love being happy and helping others feel that happiness.

Life is good.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

the protecting friend

My dear friends Chloe and Kara invited me to go to the temple with them early yesterday morning.
It was absolutely perfect.

The sunrise was beautiful. The mountains seem to be on fire as fall comes sweeping in. The flowers up by the temple entrance are vibrant and cheerful. The morning was chilly which meant I finally got to wear one of my cozy sweaters. I love spending time in the temple. I love listening to the organ, reading a few scriptures, and pondering on those things that are on my mind. The quiet peace was exactly what I needed.

Later that day, I met up with Brooke to visit the Beauty and Belief exhibit in the Museum of Art here at BYU. this exhibit is absolutely incredible. it leaves next week so if you're in the area, just take an hour or so to go explore.

Islamic language attributes ninety-nine names to their God, or Allah. In my favorite part of the exhibit, there is a wall with screens flashing the various names and the beautiful calligraphy of the language.
Some of the names that caught my eye: Inspirer of Faith, Source of Peace, Preventer of Harm, Rewarder of Thankfulness, Guide to Repentance, Responder to Prayer

my personal favorite: The Protecting Friend
how beautifully perfect is that?
"Be Not Afraid" by Greg Olsen
I cannot count the times when I have literally felt as though my Savior had taken my hand and hugged me tight in times of trials. In the past year or so since coming out to college, I have developed some of the closest friendships I have ever had. I truly love these people; I cannot even begin to fathom just how great love our Heavenly Father feels for each of them. With all the turmoil in the world right now, and even just in our immediate lives, I find such great comfort in the knowledge of Christ's love for me. I know that He knows exactly what I have been, and will, go through. I know that my Heavenly Father loves me personally and He will take care of me. And that is all that really matters.

Those are my thoughts for now. Among others. There's just something about taking the time to ponder, to look around at the world around you, to discover new appreciations for other people and cultures, to spend time with great friends that just seems to lift the huge pressures away for a short while. Despite everything that seemed to go wrong yesterday, life was just beautiful and nothing could wipe that smile off my face.

My heart is full of gratitude on this lovely day. To close, here's a short Arabic saying that I just love.

God is beautiful and loves beauty.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

rise and shout the cougars are out

after a crazy past few weeks, I think it's about time I posted some [of my roommate's] pictures from our typical life of fall semester.

things I've done since coming back to Provo:
moved into a new apartment
the breezeway. see those stairs on the right? I live just down them.
it doesn't look like this anymore. promise.
hung out with my roommate, Hayley
story time: our moms grew up down the street from each other, so Hayley and I have basically known each other since... well, long before birth. basically she's awesome and we know just about every embarrassing thing about each other. so it works really well.
ZUPAS. deliciousness.
we went [meaning Hayley dragged me along] on a man-hunt. pretty epic.
which just ended up with us at a meant-for-freshmen dance party. so we came back and had a movie night instead.
also we are getting really good at self-timer pictures. Hayley's basically a pro.
had a roommate council. where we decided on collaborative meals. brilliant.

said goodbye to my good friend, Alec, who is heading to Oregon on his mission
found this in Oregon and couldn't resist.
but seriously I am so excited for him. he's going to be awesome.
at his farewell barbecue with friends from the ward
back: Will, Alec, Erica, Annie, Lindee
front: Brooke, me, Ailyn, Kaley, and Francis
hung out with my friends, John and Tanner, from back home who just got back from their missions
at the first devotional of the year.
John, Tanner, me, and Hayley
also I apologize for the red eye. but it looks weirder when I try to fix it. promise.
cleaned and organized my room
I'll have more pictures for an "apartment tour" post soon. once I clean my room again.
started fall classes [no pictures]

worked in the Center for Service and Learning [still no pictures]

cooked dinner a few times
taco night. also this is our kitchen. 
BLT's made by Hayley. that's our other roommate Caitlin. she's pretty awesome. and this is our weird table thing.
watched "The Singles Ward" for the first time [not gonna lie it was kind of horrible]

watched "Tangled" for about the hundredth time [still one of the best movies. ever.]
Caitlin, Hayley, Tanner, and me
met people in my ward
first Sunday at church with the roommates
photo credit: Hayley. well, whoever took the picture with her camera.
went to a football game
baby Jackson, me, Aunt Jen, Uncle Greg, and Aunt Wendy
side note: is it bad that I don't know all the lyrics to my school's fight song yet?
good thing I have the rest of football season to learn it.

done homework. like lots of homework. I also speak Spanish with Hayley which is actually a blast. [I don't take pictures of homework]

made Oreo-tation Tri Pie.
Hayley and I invented this at approximately age ten. yes it's as delicious as it sounds. and looks.

listened to a fabulous fireside by Elder Jeffery R. Holland. what an incredible man.
listen to it here if you get the chance!

attended the Brigham City Temple Open House.
stunning. beautiful. such an amazing experience.
me and my favorite Australian, Annie!

and there was a gorgeous sunset on the way home. so I had to include a picture of course.
gone to the hospital. a lot[but you've already seen those pictures]

went to the Y-Serve retreat up Hobble Creek Canyon
Spring Haven Lodge. this amazing place we stayed for the retreat that was donated to BYU. I think. anyways it was completely gorgeous and perfect to get away from the world for a little while and just talk about service.  
the pond. there were swans. the leaves are changing colors. perfect.
met up with old friends on campus, at their apartments, and everywhere else. I miss all those incredible people from my freshman ward.
speaking of which.... I saw my old Bishop last week! that was a great day.

had a regional Stake Conference broadcast where Elder Dallin H. Oaks spoke!
Thought: what if someone who had never been to Provo before had come into the Marriott Center today or seen the thousands of people walking up there. so cool. absolutely crazy.
also: leaving Stake Conference there was this group of about eight guys in suits on their little motorcycles who tore out of the parking lot. pretty hilarious.

and basically it's just a party all the time down here in Provo.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

have a laugh

when you're on meds as nasty as prednisone, sometimes you just need a little laugh. here are a few things that have made me laugh or just smile over the past few days. enjoy.

the reason this is so hilarious is because I am currently suffering from the horrific side effect of insomnia. but seriously. if that's true, who is keeping me awake at night. I need my sleep every now and then, ok?

"The man worthwhile is the one who will smile
when everything goes dead wrong." Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Now get out there and make the world a beautiful smiling place!