Wednesday, December 26, 2012

thirteenth day of Christmas

"Because it's Christmas, I've been thinking more than usual about what you taught me,
about how God sent His Son to be born in a manger, to live, to teach, to die, and to be born again, resurrected, for us
I know that's true.

I've been thinking about how I used to count down to the big day. 
We would try so hard to think of Jesus, but we knew the traps
We knew the meaning of Christmas had become lost in the ripped wrapping paper on the floor. 

So we try to remember Him
On Christmas Eve, Dad would read His story from Luke in the New Testament. 
We felt good about ourselves that we'd worked so hard to remember that Christmas is about the birth of Jesus.

Then what?

On December 26th we return the clothes that didn't fit, and we begin to put Christmas 
back in the box.
In the basement. 
Or by the curb. 
We mark the day off the calendar and prepare for the next holiday and the chance to ring in the new year. 

What a shame that the day after Christmas 
just might be the least memorable day of the year.

I've learned that it doesn't matter 
how I'm living my life today, or tomorrow, or on Christmas Day, 
or how much I remember Him and His birth, 
if I don't wake up a different man on December 26.

Isn't that what He wants?

Not to simply celebrate Jesus' birth on one day, 
but to celebrate His life by living like Him the other 364?

Do we workshop the infant for a day, but not the man and His teachings all year long?
Do we put Him away with the decorations?

Or do we try to be more like Him?

That's my Christmas gift to you. I hope you get this by Christmas, but if you don't, think of me on the day after.
Now that I've reread this letter, I'd say December 26 might be my new favorite day of the year. 
I guess you could call that the 13th Day of Christmas.

Please enjoy my gift. It's the most valuable thing I have: 
December 26th."

"The 13th Day of Christmas" by Jason F. Wright, pages 235-236.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012


in case you missed it...

I LOVE Christmas.
And today was even better than I expected.

Woke up early, played with the family, and stayed in pajamas. All day long.
Home videos of Christmas past.
Eating lots of food. and cookies. and candy. and food. and treats.
Laughs from past memories and [now] some new ones. Items involved: bathrobe, puzzles, baby dolls, and picture books.
The beautiful joy of giving to others.

I just love this day of the year.

AND we had a white Christmas!!! It snowed about an inch last week, but it's been so cold it never melted.
Thankful for the subzero temperatures of Chicago for once.

Most importantly, remembering the gift of our Savior, Jesus Christ. For with Him, nothing will ever be impossible. And that is a simply beautiful truth.

I wish you all a very Merry Christmas. Enjoy the time with your friends and loved ones. 

Saturday, December 22, 2012

happy heart day

[day twenty-six]
my heart

If you're reading this blog, you probably know by now that I have had a heart transplant.
Three, actually.
Today marks five years since my third heart transplant.

To celebrate, I went grocery shopping with Hayley and John, watched a movie, and talked to a few friends. I spent most of the day in an introspective mood, looking at some old blog posts, studying my scriptures, and reading my journal a bit.

I cannot fully express my gratitude to the donor family. I would not be here today if it weren't for their gift of a brand new heart. I am so grateful for the life I have been able to live because of this selfless gift. I hope to someday meet these people and their families so I can attempt to express my love and gratitude for them. 

Given the fact that I was way more adorable after my first heart transplant, enjoy this picture. It's one of my favorites; I'm 18 months old.
For all the horrifying photographs documenting the awkward stages of my life [aka after the third transplant], please click here

Thank you to every single one of you as well. I know that it is also because of your faith, prayers, and fasting that I am here today. I am so grateful for the support each of you have given me over the past nineteen years of my life.

And now for one little request:
Find out if you're an organ donor. If you're not, find out why. Some basic Google searches will show you plenty of research and fact sheets about being an organ donor. 

Become an organ donor if you can. 
You can even show it on your Facebook timeline:

You could end up saving someone's life.
Like mine.

I am so grateful for the modern miracles of medicine. I am grateful to have a body that functions [for the most part] normally. 

But most of all, I am thankful for the beating of my heart throughout each minute of every day.
It's a wonderful feeling.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

one more week

[day twenty-five]
I absolutely love my bishopric

Bishop Murdock is sincerely interested in each one of our lives; the joys, the challenges, and the menial day-to-day tasks. He takes the time to talk to me, something I greatly appreciate. Fun fact: apparently he's my aunt's dentist.
Brother Johnson is about the happiest man alive. He always wears the biggest smile. Once you get him started, he will talk your ear off about his grandkids. 
Brother Rosenthal knows every single person, and he seems to know every little thing about them. While he's a little more quiet and reserved, he has the best sense of humor. 

All three of them are at nearly every single activity, as well as their wives. I have grown to love these three men who lead our ward; they truly are inspired, and I know they will drop everything to help me. 

Today was a little crazy. Figuirng out that church started at 10 am instead of 11:15 was a bit of a shocker and made for a little bit of a rushed morning. We had a combined stake meeting since there weren't very many people back from Thanksgiving break. The lessons were wonderful, and it was nice to have sacrament meeting first for once.

In our Relief Society lesson, we talked about the Footprints in the Sand poem [read it here. such an amazing story!]. I came home and was doing some research on the story, and came across this song. I fell in love with the lyrics. Enjoy.
"Footprints in the Sand"
by Leona Lewis

Hayley got her mission call in the mail on Friday, and she finally opened it today!!!! Even though I will miss her next semester, I am so excited for my roommate to serve the people of Brazil. She is going to be such an incredible missionary!

I cannot believe how fast this year has flown by. There is only one more week left of school. And then it's finals and back home for the holidays. Craziness.

back home in provo

[day twenty-four]
aerospace engineering

When I was a kid, I never thought flying could lose it's excitement.
Turns out I was wrong.

Being a college student, without a car, living 1400 miles away from home, I get a lot of air miles in.
I always end up next to the most interesting people: a couple with a cat, a seven year old wanting to know every detail about my life and the plane, and the person who snored the entire flight home. Flying is always an entertaining, but mostly stressful, experience.

Regardless. It's a whole lot less stressful than the twenty-three-and-a-half-hour drive through the thrilling states of Wyoming, Nebraska, and Iowa.

So thank you to the Wright brothers and all others who made my air travel possible.

Not gonna lie, I'm pretty excited to see the mountains again.

Monday, December 17, 2012

family photos and decorations

[day twenty-three]
my parents

My mom and dad are just about the best parents I could have asked for. They have supported me unconditionally through all my challenges. They push me to be my best self. They have taught me the importance of being an example to my younger [but bigger] siblings. They continue to teach me about the gospel and how to strengthen my own testimony.
Mom and Dad are also pretty great at expressing their creativity in gifts. They have a fantastic sense of humor, particularly past nine o'clock at night. They are my greatest examples of how to stay smiling and laughing even through the darkest times.
And they are the most adorable couple on the planet.

I love them to death.

So it's the day after Thanksgiving. aka the official start of the Christmas season.
aka Black Friday, but we don't participate in those shopping activities.

We spent most of our day putting up Christmas decorations. Namely, our snow village set, the fake Christmas tree in the family room [complete with lights and ornaments], and finishing the outside lights.

And then we took family photos. Enjoy a few of the bloopers.

PS: Christmas music is officially legal! Which means Christmas music 24-7 in our apartment.

Did I mention I LOVE Christmas?

didn't I tell you - most adorable couple right there.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

happy turkey day y'all

[day twenty-two]
the holiday season

I absolutely LOVE this time of the year.
I love the lights, the music, the wintry snow, the decorations, the cheer, the spirit of giving.
But mostly, I love the time I get to spend with my family.

Thanksgiving day was spent making food and playing games with my siblings and parents. Ticket to Ride is among my favorites. The food was fantastic, as always. Gotta love home-cooking.

Happy Thanksgiving to you all!!
And a very merry welcome to the Christmas season!

thanksgiving eve

[day twenty-one]
[sort of]

I can't count how many basketball games I have been to in my life. And most nearly all of them were for my siblings. Namely, Megan.

Megan made the high school varsity team as a sophomore this year. Going back home for Thanksgiving, I was able to go to three of her games. I guess being away from home has made me appreciate watching her play a little more.

Anyway. The point is, I am slowly gaining more of an appreciation for basketball than I really ever thought was possible. Particularly as I understand what is actually going on in the game.

So yes, today I am grateful for one of the very few sports I [am starting to] truly enjoy watching; basketball.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

well hello there

I have not completely disappeared.
And I do have my 30 days of Thanksgiving posts finished.

Blogger says that I have apparently reached my free photo limit... whatever that means.
So I'm in the middle of trying to figure out how to get all my photos up before I publish those Thanksgiving posts.

In the meantime, I am working towards finals and moving out of my apartment all before next Saturday. It's a little crazy. So I apologize for neglecting the blog, but other things are taking higher priority.

Good luck with finals to all of you in school!
To the rest of you... good luck as well.

In honor of the wonderful Christmas season, here is the newest song released by the Piano Guys.

"O Come, Emmanuel"
The Piano Guys

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!