Friday, January 30, 2009

Friday Finds: A Link Round-up

Something to Think About, Modern Molly Mormon.  An interesting poem about pride.  I think I'm going to print it out and put it on my fridge or something.

Free Mineral Makeup!, Blissfully Domestic.  Free makeup?!  What more could a girl ask for!!! :D

Poems Reduce Toilet Paper Waste, Japan Probe.  Funny, funny poems!

13 Ingredient Substitutions, Lamp Unto My Feet.   I have a really bad habit of not checking to see if I have all the ingredients needed for a recipe before I start to make it.  So I'm always looking for a handy substitution.  These are great!

And finally, from Cute Overload

Thursday, January 29, 2009

A-Z all about Me!

Found this cool thing on another blog.  You can do it too if you want!

A - Amiable
B - Baking
C - Crazy about Derek
D - Daughter
E -  Eternal Marriage
F - Fun loving
G - Geography
H - History
I - Improving (trying to)
J - Julia Styles (my look-alike)
K - Kittens!
L - Learning
M - Making (messes, projects, food, etc.)
N - Nay, my maiden name
O - Optimistic
P - Planning
Q - Quotes (from movies, tv, and books)
R - Reading
S - Scrapbooking (digitally, PSE is my best friend)
T - Teacher
U - Unique
V - Valient
W - Wii fiend
X -Xnay on the upidstay (Did I spell that right?  I'm not 100% fluent in pig latin.)
Y - Yoga
Z - Zany

Thankful Thursday

I know there are so many things in my life that I take for granted.  I probably don't even realize half of them.  I guess that's what "take for granted" means. 

Sometimes when I sit down and try to write about what I'm thankful for, my mind goes blank.  I really am appreciative and grateful for what I have.  I try to say thanks for the things I receive, and I try to remember what I'm especially thankful for in my prayers.

But still, sometimes my mind runs blank when I write. It's sort of why I chose to devote a day on my blog for thanks.  I'm hoping that I can work through my semi-selective writer's block.

So hmm, what am I especially thankful for today?  Probably clean underwear... and for a husband who was willing to put a load in the washer and then dryer last night.  At 11pm...  Thank you Derek!  Last night, as I realized that I had put on the last clean pair that morning, I was really, really dreading getting up early to try to get a load done before work, or worse...  Well, we won't go there! 

I really did try to remember to do laundry yesterday evening, but somehow I forgot again.  I think it's the story of my life!  I am just not a laundry person.  But who is really?!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Way Back When Wednesday - My super secret identity

I'm totally stealing this idea from my blogger friend, Lara, at Overstuffed.  Today she wrote about her super secret identity, lalakme, which is her internet moniker.  Her post inspired me to write about mine.  And since I've been using the same moniker for years now (I think I made it up when I was 12), it qualifies as a Way Back Wednesday story

My super secret identity is shmurkle.  Do not ask me where that name came from.  When I was about 12 years old, I was standing in the computer room with my dad, and he asked me what I'd like my shiny, new AIM username to be.  Somewhere out of the dark corners of my mind came the word shmurkle, and it's been with me ever since.  It sort of sounds like the word "smurf," but I've never been all that crazy about those little blue guys.  They're cute and all, but I'm not that into them... 

It's come in quite handy, being so unique.  Sometime in highschool, or maybe even middle school, I used shmurkle for a yahoo mail account.  The only problem I came across using shmurkle in my everyday, internet life is that it was a little confusing.  When someone would ask me my AIM name or e-mail, I'd answer, and they'd give me that "I don't know what the heck you just said" look.  And I'd have to spell it, and then explain where it came from.

So now days, I use my shmurkle e-mail address as my junk e-mail (You know, when some company asks you for your e-mail as you buy something from them?) and use a different, slightly less confusing e-mail for regular use.  And I use shmurkle for a username for those silly, worthless internet things that need a username.  Like IQ quizzes and the like...

What are your super secret identities?

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Newsworthy Tuesday

Well, I've got nothing today!  Nothing newsworthy going on in my life, or anything worth writing about in the news.  Everything's so negative!  I'm sure there's good things happening out there, I just haven't found them yet.

So, what have you been up to lately?  Anything newsworthy?  I'd love to hear about it!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Book of Mormon Mondays - Murmuring

I'm sure you've noticed a lot of people murmuring in the Book of Mormon.  The two that stick out to me the most are Laman and Lemuel.  It seems like they are always murmuring!

1 Ne 2:11 Now this he spake because of the stiffneckedness of Laman and Lemuel; for behold they did murmur in many things against their father, because he was a visionary man, and had led them out of the land of Jerusalem, to leave the land of their inheritance, and their gold, and their silver, and their precious things, to perish in the wilderness. And this they said he had done because of the foolish imaginations of his heart.

1 Ne 3:31 And after the angel had departed, Laman and Lemuel again began to murmur, saying: How is it possible that the Lord will deliver Laban into our hands? Behold, he is a mighty man, and he can command fifty, yea, even he can slay fifty; then why not us?

1 Ne 17:49 And it came to pass that I, Nephi, said unto them that they should murmur no more against their father; neither should they withhold their labor from me, for God had commanded me that I should build a ship

Yesterday, in Relief Society, the teacher mentioned something about murmuring.  I'm not exactly sure what she said, partly because as soon as she said it I started another train of thought, and partly because I was just struggling to pay attention all day yesterday.  Bad, I know... but it was just one of those days!

As soon as she mentioned murmuring, I remembered a thought that I had a few months back.  I was thinking about the members of the church during the time of Christ.  Many times they seemed to have little faith, or little understanding of His teachings.  And then I was struck with the realization that I can not judge those people's actions.  It was probably just as hard, or harder to have faith when Christ was on the earth as it is now when we're waiting for him to return. 

So as an extension of that thought, I realized that I couldn't judge Laman, Lemuel, or anyone else who murmured in the scriptures.  I wasn't there.  I don't know the whole story.  But what I do know was that they had it TOUGH!  Lehi's family had to leave almost everything behind and travel through the desert for several years.  The Arabian Desert.  Not a fun desert. 

Now, I'm not trying to make excuses for Laman and Lemuel's actions.  They definitely could have done better.  Lehi's whole family was dealt the same hand and many chose to be postive and full of faith.

But I did stop and think that maybe I should be a little less critical of the "bad guys" of the scriptures.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Friday Finds - A Link Round-up

Don't Let the American Bedbugs Bite, Ask a Korean. Having lived in Korea, this brings back some fun memories.

A Lovely Scented Home, The Fascinating Woman.  Great tips for keeping your house smelling clean and wonderful!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Thankful Thursday

This week, and especially the last couple of days, I've been really thankful for my good friend, Kristi.  She is awesome!  She is also one of my visiting teachers.  Lucky me!!!

It was so great to see her again at Enrichment meeting!  She had been in California helping take care of her mom so I hadn't had my Kristi fix in quite some time!  The speaker at Enrichment gave us all a love language quiz.  Kristi's numbers and my numbers matched almost perfectly.  I think we were only one number off on a couple of them!  We must be MFEO.  :)

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

January's all about Africa!

One of my goals for this year is to read a book from or about another region of the world each month.  I picked Africa for January.  Then I thought oh great, I don't know anything about Africa, and I don't know where to start selecting a book (I'm a little picky about books)!  But then I remembered hearing about a book titled, A Long Way Gone by Ishmael Beah.  It's a true story of a boy soldier in Sierra Leone.  After reading the book, I think I've fallen in love with yet another country!

The story isn't a very happy one.  At least until the end.  Sierra Leone had a horrible civil war from 1991-2000.  Near the beginning of the war, Ishmael was separated from his family who were all eventually killed.  He wandered the countryside for a few months until he was forced to be a child soldier.  And as a child soldier, he was forced to do many violent and cruel things.

Some of the saddest parts of his story for me was how quickly things changed from good to bad.  Ishmael and his friends were only gone overnight before the bad guys came to his town and ruined... well, everything!  There were no warning signs.  One day they were carefree children.  The next, they were orphans.

Honestly, I skipped over a lot of the first half of the book.  Most of the beginning was violent.  The author did a great job of writing about his experiences without making it rated R, but it still made me a bit uncomfortable.  The second half was much better.  It was his account of rehabilitation, reunion with his relatives (an uncle he didn't really know, but had heard about), and escape to the US.

I loved the last half of the book.  Ishmael's recovery, rehabilitation, and relocation to the US was amazing and inspirational to read.  In a way, it reinforced the principles of the atonement to me.  Especially the part about children being innocent.  Ishmael was a bit older than eight, but none the less, wasn't fully responsible for his actions as a boy soldier.  It took him a while to realize that, but eventually he did.

He said,
"If I choose to feel guilty for what I have done, I will want to be dead myself," Beah said. "I live knowing that I have been given a second life, and I just try to have fun, and be happy and live it the best I can." (Alissa Swango, NYC24, the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, A Child Soldier Grows Up, 2006. Retrieved February 15, 2007.
Read Alissa Swango's article, it's great!

The book ended a little abruptly and with a memory of a story from his young childhood, but I enjoyed the rest of the book enough to overlook a strange ending.  I'd recommend this book to anyone who can handle a little war violence with a happy ending.  I feel like I learned a lot and gained a little more world perspective by reading it.

I'm excited to read the other books about Africa that I found at the library!

Way Back When Wednesday - My first crush

Do you remember your first crush?  If you're a woman, I'm sure you remember it very clearly.  Men might also, but I'm not male, so I can't say for sure.

Anyways, I sure remember my first crush clearly.  It was in 3rd grade, and it started at our ward Christmas party.  I wasn't all that interested in boys, at least not in a romantic way before that point.  I'd always had guy friends but they were just friends.  (PS: This story might not be interesting to anyone but me.  I couldn't think of anything else to write about... sorry!)

So we (my family and I) pulled into the church parking lot, got out, started walking inside, and there he was walking in with his family.  I immediately recognized him as a boy from school, and ran up to say hello.  And some switch flipped in my brain.  The entire night all I could think about was him, and I probably went over to his table and waved or said hello 100 times.  And not normal hellos.  Oh no, these were the giggley, shy, coy waves hellos that are anything but inconspicuous.  I'm sure everyone in the room, or at least at his table knew I had a thing for him.

It took him a while for him to return my affections.  About a week or so later, in Social Studies, as we were putting our bags away, he came up to me and said, "My friend told me that you told people I like you.  Well, I DON'T!"  I was a little hurt (partly because that was mean, and partly because it wasn't true!), but I played it off like it wasn't a big deal in that meh-who-cares sort of way, or at least it seemed to me like I did.  But in another couple of weeks he came around.  I think he must have just been being a typical elementary school boy with a crush on a girl.

We even exchanged love notes; silly 3rd grade love notes, and my mom always had to proof read them.  "To make sure they weren't too romantic," she said.  And on Valentine's Day, he gave me a silk rose delivered by his sisters.  I remember being incredibly embarrassed because I answered the door wearing my pajamas.  White thermals with pastel hearts on them.  I wanted to give him something too, so one time while we were at the grocery store, I saw a notepad and pen with his name on them.  I asked my dad if he would buy it for me to give to my boyfriend.  Amazingly, he agreed to and even delivered it for me while he was delivering something else to his family.  I waited in the car and waved.

Since we were in the same ward, we went to primary together.  One time, we sang a song called, "We are Different."  In it, it says I (verb) you, and you (verb) me multiple times in each verse.  I remember pointing to each other during those parts, especially the last verse where the verb is love. He he, we were silly!

We even ended up being dance partners in our school's music program.  I think the song title was "Baby Face."  Part of the lyrics say, "I didn't need a shove, 'cause I just fell in love with your pretty little baby face!"  On the word "shove" the girls were supposed to fake push their partner down, and the boys were supposed to fall and act all in love.  It worked out pretty well for us.

But the love didn't last long.  Over the summer, we didn't see each other as much without school, and by the first week of the next school year, my friend who was in his class told me that he said he had a girlfriend, in their class.  Awkward for me because I still had a little crush, but we moved in November of that year, so it was easy to move on! :)

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Newsworthy Tuesday - We have a new President

The Official Text of President Barak Obama's Inagural Address, The Christian Science Monitor.

I'm not really sure what to write.  I didn't vote for Obama.  He's a bit too liberal for me.  I agreed with his zeal for change.  Things need to change, but I didn't agree with his methods and solutions.

But now he is our President.  So I probably should quit referring to him as "Obama."  I should probably say "President Obama."  He won a tough battle and now has the toughest job I can think of.  I don't evny him one bit.  He needs our prayers.

And I'm hoping that as I respect the office he holds, he'll prove himself to be an excellent president and I will come to respect him as the president.

How are you feeling about our new President?

Monday, January 19, 2009

Book of Mormon Mondays - Keeping the Commandments

Alma 36:1, 30
1 My son, give ear to my words; for I swear unto you, that inasmuch as ye shall keep the commandments of God ye shall prosper in the land.

30 But behold, my son, this is not all; for ye ought to know as I do know, that inasmuch as ye shall keep the commandments of God ye shall prosper in the land; and ye ought to know also, that inasmuch as ye will not keep the commandments of God ye shall be cut off from his presence. Now this is according to his word.

Alma 37:13
13 O remember, remember, my son Helaman, how strict are the commandments of God. And he said: If ye will keep my commandments ye shall prosper in the land—but if ye keep not his commandments ye shall be cut off from his presence.

Alma 38:1
1 My son, give ear to my words, for I say unto you, even as I said unto Helaman, that inasmuch as ye shall keep the commandments of God ye shall prosper in the land; and inasmuch as ye will not keep the commandments of God ye shall be cut off from his presence.

In each of these chapters, Alma is teaching his sons Helaman and Shiblon, and he says almost the exact same thing each time.  I guess he's a normal parent!

And I thought the wording was interesting.  He says when you keep the commandments you will "prosper in the land," a definite temporal benefit.  Then he says when you don't keep the commandments you will be "cut off from His presence."  Saying if you keep the commandments, you can be in his presence.  A definite spiritual benefit. 

What thoughts have you had as you've read the scritpures?

Friday, January 16, 2009

I Am Resolved!

It's taken me a while, but I think I'm finally ready to finalize what my goals for the year 2009 will be.  Making New Year's resolutions doesn't really work for me.  I'm all about starting new for a new year, but I feel like making resolutions just sets me up for failure.  I've tried in the past, and I didn't do half bad, but it felt a little forced because I felt like I had to make the resolution on January 1st and that I had to keep it, or I'd be a loser! ;)

So this year, I'm doing it a little different.  Who says you have to start at the very beginning anyways?  Finalizing my plans at the end of the January has given me time to really think about stuff.  I don't really have time to think about anything from approximately December 24th-January 11th because of Christmas, three birthdays and a wedding (this year)!  And I'm not making any specific promises to myself that I have to keep the entire year.  Most of my goals are very general, but will inspire me to make good choices to better myself.

And here they are (not in any particular order)...

1. Become a photographer:  This doesn't mean that I have to get a job taking photos, or that I have to spend money to take a class.  All it means is that I'm going to make it a priority in my life to spend some time getting to know my camera and learn to take better pictures.  And I'm going to be my only judge.  Well, I'll let my husband have a say... but ultimately, if I'm happy with it then it's good!  I'm excited to take my new camera on it's first scenic road trip to some national parks soon!

2. Take better care of my body:  Now I'm not saying that I abuse my body in any way.  I'm pretty careful about most of the Word of Wisdom stuff.  I've never smoked, drank (coffee, tea or alcohol), or done drugs.  But I don't exercise all that much.  Actually I exercise none.  And I don't always eat very well.  Not too long ago, I heard someone say that we would all be held accountable for how we took care of our bodies.  And that worried me.  The scriptures teach us that our bodies are a temple and that they are a gift from God.  I'm not abusing mine, but I could definitely show more appreciation for the amazing gift I received from my Heavenly Father.  I'm going to make it a priority to show appreciation in any of the following ways, getting more exercise--getting off my lazy butt and walking to my parents' house, stretching in the mornings, doing aerobics while watching tv (well... maybe not the last one. It sounds too dorky)--choosing fewer and healthier snacks, and going to bed earlier!

3.  Increase my gospel knowledge:  I've always had a hard time with scripture study.  For some reason it's been laborious and painful, and I never got much out of it.  And these feelings transferred to any other religious book.  But then I actually began to read a religious book.  You know, the kind where the author quotes a scripture selection every other paragraph, and I realized that that was the kind of scripture study that I could get into!  I like to go and look up the quoted scriptures and read around the verses included in the book.  It's a lot more fun for me, and I get a lot more out of it.  Right now I'm reading The Infinite AtonementIt's slow going because there's lots to digest, but I'm really loving it!

Another thing that I already started doing that I think will benefit me is my "Book of Mormon Mondays."  This forces--or rather, inspires--me to read out of the Book of Mormon more often (lately it's been daily with my husband) so that I can have something prepared to blog about each week.  Sort of a lame reason to read, but hey, whatever works, right?  And it's fun!  I really enjoy it!  So I'm going to make it a priority in my life to find more of these enjoyable ways for me to learn more about the amazing gospel of Jesus Christ!

4.  Improve my relationship with my husband:  Now again, I'm not saying that I have a bad relationship with Derek.  It's actually really good, and has improved drastically!  But, as my dad always says, there's always room for improvement!  Most of my troubles come from control issues.  I'm a bit of a control freak and a worrier, and that's a toxic combination.  Lately, I've been trying harder to really think about whether I'm "nagging" him about something rather than "discussing" it with him.  And if what I think is important to talk about really is all that important to talk about.  I think it's been working better because both he and I seem happier.  I'm also trying to speak his love language more fluently and not be so bossy!

5.  Become a historian:  I'm a geographer, and a big part of geography is history!  For this one, I'm going to try to make a specific goal.  Each month, I want to become a (well rounded) historian by reading one historical book each month.  It could be a biography, memoir, a novel based on an actual event, a textbook type of book--believe it or not, I actually enjoy reading history textbooks--or even a book written by someone during that time period (think Chaucer or Uncle Tom's Cabin).  I'm not that particular on the where the history took place.  I love it all!  And I guess if I run short on time, I could watch a good, historical movie about a real event in history.  But that's risky.  I'll have to be picky with that because some could call the movie Titanic historical.  Barf.

Here's my "syllabus."  And I'm not planning on sticking to it religiously.  It's just a possible outline for my course of study.
  • January - Africa
  • February - The Middle East (not including Israel and Palestine)
  • March - Russia
  • April - China
  • May - Japan
  • June - Korea
  • July - South East Asia
  • August - Polynesia
  • September - North or South Pole
  • October - Israel and Palestine
  • November - Central/South America
  • December - Europe

Friday Finds - A Link Round-up

Lies About Womanhood, The Fascinating Woman. This is a great quote by Sherri Dew on women. This has been on my mind quite a bit lately.

Enjoying the Life You Design, Blissfully Domestic. Have I mentioned that I LOVE Blissfully Domestic?  They always have a great variety of stuff everyday!  This post has a lot of great tips on how to maximize your enjoyment of life.

Most Romantic Songs, Scribbit.  I love lists of songs.  Those Time Life infomercials?  Um, yeah, I watch them from start to finish if I catch them.  I recognized a bunch of songs in Scribbit's list, and I'll be looking up the ones that aren't familiar to me on iTunes.

Saving Money Through Online Swapping, Blissfully Domestic.  I have heard of these types of sites, but have never actually seen them!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

I won an award!

Hooray!  Rachel over at Green-Eyed Girl awarded this fabulous award (Sorry, Rachel the wrestler woman grossed me out, so I found the original award)!

So the rules for this award are to list my 5 fabulous addictions,
  1. Blogging
  2. Photoshop/Photography/Digital Scrapbooking
  3. Alias (For right now, before it was X-Files. Next who knows what it will be!)
  4. Learning new things (last year it was becoming a better writer, this year a better photographer)
  5. Piano
award the prize to 5 of my favorite bloggers,

  1. Hannah, at The Hamilton Family
  2. Caroline, at Our Ridiculously Interesting Lives...No, Seriously!
  3. Jodi, at Reeve Chronicles
  4. Lara, at Overstuffed
  5. Kristi, at Jeff Kristi & Gunnar

and include the rules and regulations!
  1. Pass it on to 5 other fabulous blogs in a post.
  2. List 5 of your fabulous addictions in the post.
  3. Copy and paste the rules and the instructions below in the post.
Rules and Instructions:
Upon receipt of this award, make sure you include the person that gave you the award and link it back to them. When you post your five winners, make sure you link them as well. To add the award to your post, simply right-click, save image, then "add image" it in your post as a picture so your winners can save it as well. To add it to your sidebar, add the "picture" gadget. Also, don't forget to let your winners know they won an award from you by emailing them or leaving a comment on their blog. So there you go!
There are so many great bloggers that I read!  It was so hard to choose just five!  Sorry to anyone else who feels slighted.

Thankful Thursday - Kind Customer Support

I've had some trouble getting my health insurance swapped.  Our insurance guy found us a less expensive quote, but wasn't able to cancel my first insurance policy through another company.  I didn't realize this until it was too late to cancel the first one, so now I have two policies covering me.  If anything should happen to me, it should happen now! :)

But having two policies is expensive $150+--we'll call them Policy #1 and Policy #2--so I've been trying to work out a solution.  When I called Policy #1, they said because the automatic withdraw thing had started, all I could do was a stop payment through my bank, a $25 fee.  Not too bad, $25 is better than $109.91!  So I did.  But when I checked my 'recent activity,' both the stop payment fee and the insurance charge had gone through.  I called the bank and they were so nice and friendly, but unable to help me other than to refund my $25!  Better than nothing.

So then I called Policy #2 to see if they could delay depositing my first month's check until February 1 and starting my coverage then.  They said they could do that, but would check to make sure everything would work out.  The nice, friendly woman came back and told me she would be happy to do that for me, but my premium would increase because rates will increase in February.  The total cost would be $15 more.  $15 X 11 months is $165.  Not worth saving the $109.91 this month.

She also suggested to check with Policy #1 to see if they had a loop hole for me in which if I proved I had other coverage (with Policy #2), Policy #1 could refund the overlapping month's premium.  I tried, but it didn't work.

Confusing much?  About half-way through, I was in tears because of frustration.  We don't have an extra $100!  But I made it through partly because of the people being friendly and kind. 

So there we are.  Nothing's any better than before--other than the bank refunding the useless stop payment fee--but I'm ok.  Things will all work out!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Wednesday Funnies

Just a couple of funny things this afternoon...

From a Craigslist ad:
"Seven tropical fish, one allergy eater and one goldfish; also includes tap water conditioner, fish net,fish tank cleaner and fish food. 40 Gallon tank, with cabnet stand,to good of a deal to pass up. This is a low price that you wont find in a store."

After a pause in a conversation between my mom and Derek about Japan:
"Okay Derek, go back to Japan."

Way Back Wednesday - The Kiss that Was a Bummer

This story isn't as way back as most of my others.  This one only happened about a week ago, but with as many things as have happened lately, it feels like quite a while ago! :)

So, the kiss that was a bummer...

We were driving back from my brother's wedding in Utah, about 6 hours plus a few stops.  Derek and I drove my dad's truck following my parents in their van.  We were having TONS of fun, listening to music, singing, talking, etc.  We had lots of snacks that my dad shared with us.  My favorite was the Hershey's Kisses.  See where this is going yet?

Well, we got home, and I put on my coat to go from the car to the house to start unloading things.  When I came back out to the truck, Derek had this weird look on his face and said, "Um, you might want to check your butt.  There's a ton of brown stuff on your seat..."  For a split second, I panicked.  I didn't think I had that sort of problem.  And I really didn't remember making a mess of any type on my seat!

Since I couldn't see my own butt very well, I walked over to the passenger seat and sure enough, there was a ton of brown stuff... with a foil wrapper in it.  I guess I had sat on at least one Hershey's Kiss.  Then I walked back around the truck and asked Derek to check and see how bad it was on my pants.  I turned around, bent over, and lifted my coat.  He immediately laughed and said, "Ew! There are clumps in it!"

We ran inside to get a wet rag to clean off the seat (thank goodness there were leather seat covers on them) and then clean me up.  I couldn't really see it on myself, so I asked Derek to help.  I grabbed a couple wipies, handed them to Derek, and then bent over. 

It was one of the most awkward situations I have ever been in.  Way to realistic for comfort! Derek kept saying, "I didn't think I'd have to do this for years!"  But it was hilarious!  We were laughing so hard!  I think we must have added at least 10 years to our lives.

And it was a good thing that I had packed two pairs of pants for the trip!  I changed and washed the chocolately pants while we ate dinner with my parents.  And my family teased me for the rest of the evening. 

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Newsworthy Tuesday - a Birthday and a Wedding Reception

It has been quite a weekend/week/month! We've seriously been going non-stop since just before Christmas! But I think we'll finally get back to normal now that everything's done!

This weekend was my husband's birthday and my brother's wedding reception. And in honor of those two occasions, our friends Yi (pronounced like the letter E) and Sarah came to visit. Such a fun visit! We're so glad they came!

We had a great time chatting, shopping, getting set up for PJ's reception and playing Wii!  I think that our cat has found a new best friend.  Yi is always a magnet for our pets!

The reception went great.  Tons of people came from our ward, and nearly all of our family living in the area came too!  I was impressed.  And Kristi, the popcorn was a hit!  Thanks again for the recipe.  And for anyone who would like a copy, ask Kristi or me.

After the reception, Yi, Sarah, Derek and I went back to our place and played games.  At 1:30AM, we realized that it was Derek's birthday and let him open a couple of presents, his tripod flashlight and his Batmobile Tumbler!  He's had a jones for that model for forever and was so excited to get it, he almost knocked me over and strangled me with a hug!  Suffice it to say he was excited!

Sunday was pretty normal other than we all skipped the second and third hours of church.  My mom wasn't feeling well, and we needed to see Yi and Sarah off with a good lunch.  Derek requested my spicy soup and a double batch of biscuits.  Since it was his birthday, I couldn't say no!  He opened more presents, played cards, and I think he had a pretty good birthday!  Thanks everyone for the gifts!

Sarah, Yi and Derek waiting for the reception to start.

My new sis-in-law.  Isn't she pretty!

PJ and Rachel.

My parents posing next to the artwork I made.

Rachel and her mom. 

PJ and Rachel opening gifts.

PJ and Rachel opening our gift to them, an Inkubook of PJ's baby pictures.

All of us playing cards Sunday afternoon.  I think this was the only birthday picture of Derek! :(

A Derek birthday funny:
On Monday morning after he dropped me off at my parents' house, we were doing our usual goodbye routine which consists of me doing weird, cutesy, lovey things and Derek patienly playing along (in a very manly way of course).  That day it was each of us making the I love you ASL sign and touching our fingertips together.  He did it with me, and then turned to me and said with a smile, "You know I'm 28 now.  I can't keep doing all these silly things!"  Ha!  Like he'll ever grow out of doing silly things! :D

Monday, January 12, 2009

Book of Mormon Mondays - Emphasis

I was struck with how much more meaning this verse had to me when I added a little ownership emphasis on some pronouns and verbs.

Alma 32:23
23 And now, my brethren, I desire that ye shall aplant this word in your hearts, and as it beginneth to swell even so nourish it by your faith. And behold, it will become a tree, bspringing up in you unto ceverlasting life. And then may God grant unto you that your dburdens may be light, through the joy of his Son. And even all this can ye do if ye ewill. Amen.
Alma is teaching the poor Zoramites who thought that they couldn't pray because they weren't allowed to pray in the churches they helped to build.  This is last verse in the chapter and he is summing up his main point to his sermon.

First he tells them that he desires that they plant the word in their hearts.  He's not going to force them to do or believe anything.  He wants them to have the blessings of the gospel.  To me, when the word desires is used correctly, it is a kind and gentle word.

Second, I put some emphasis on "ye shall plant..." and "by your faith."  For me that reinforced that we have to plant the seed ourselves.  No one else can do it, and you can't live on anyone else's testimony.  We can't be lazy.

And finally the emphasis on "And even all this can ye do if ye will."  I read this in two ways.  First, "will" meaning if we will actually do it.  Things don't happen if we just sit around and wait.  We have to make the effort.  We're told that sometimes, all we have to do is ask righteously!  And second, "will" meaning if we want to choose this course of action (and then actually acting on our desires).  No one is forcing us.  It's our choice.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Trying Something New

So what do you think?  I was getting a little tired of the jeans look even though I couldn't find anything I liked better!  I really do like it, but I'm ready for a darker text on a light background rather than vice-versa.  This one's called "Notepad Chaos Blog."

What do you think of this layout?  I'm a fan, but there are a few little weird things.  Like the tabs at the top.  They don't do anything, and I can't figure out how to alter them.  Anyone know?  I'd be really happy if you could help me out!!!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Friday Finds - A Link Round-up

I found a great man blog this week.  I regularly read his wife's blog and she mentioned his.  It's all about being a good husband.  And it's interesting to read about marriage from a man's point of view.  Check him out!

A Good Husband

Thankful Thursday

I know, it's not really Thursday.  "Thankful Thursday" has come and gone and I didn't even notice!    We've been so busy and pre-occupied with PJ's wedding, reception on Saturday, Derek's birthday on Sunday, and my mom's new MS related symptom!  Things are getting interesting around here!

But I don't want to dwell on that.  Let's talk about what I'm thankful for. 

I'm grateful that my brother got married in the temple. 

Ever since my brother and my now sister-in-law got engaged, there's been a lot of talk about the whole young love situation.  We were all pretty surprised that they got engaged so young and frankly, were a little disappointed that my brother didn't go on a mission first.  He would have been an excellent one!

So I'm afraid that our qualms about their engagement and future kind of put a damper on the build up to their wedding day.  I remember how excited life seemed when I was engaged, and it seemed like everyone around me was as well.  I'm sorry to say that it didn't feel quite the same for my brother.  But then again, maybe it was just me.

About a month or two before the wedding, our Gospel Principles teacher taught me quite a lesson (I doubt that it was directed specifically at me.  We were having a class discussion.)  Basically he suggested that we as a Mormon culture put too much importance on our young men going on a mission and not enough on getting married in the temple.  To the point it feeling like a mission is necessary for salvation!  When really when given the two choices, going on a mission and not getting married in the temple, or not going on a mission and getting married in the temple, the latter is clearly better!  It was a personal revelation, ah-ha moment for me!

So I am truly grateful that my brother and his wife were both worthy and willing to get married in the temple!  It's really been a great blessing in my life and I'm glad that it will be in their's too!

PS:  And in no way am I saying that a mission isn't important and that boys should start deciding that they don't want to go so they can get married sooner.  I'm not saying that at all.  Missions are important.  Most boys need them.  And it's great for girls too!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

It's here!!!!

I ordered my book on the 5th, and it came today, the 8th!  I LOVE IT!


Wednesday, January 7, 2009

We are dorks

It's official.  Derek and I are dorks.  We watched most of a documentary on type fonts.  And enjoyed it.  Now we know the history of helvetica.

Way Back When Wednesday - I am finally finished

I am finally finished with my Chronicles of My Family book that I started WAY BACK WHEN in July!  Hooray!  I ordered one copy of the book and will be proofing it.  Once I've decided that it's good to go, I'll put it in the blurb bookstore for my family to purchase.


But this doesn't mean that I'm finished with this project for good.  It's been so much fun going through all the family stories that I've decided to keep going!  As soon as I get another 200 stories entered in the family blog, I'll be doing this again.  And I'll know all the little tricks and quirks.

Sorry there's no witty or funny story from way back when.  I'm taking a little break.  More great stories coming in weeks to come.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Newsworthy Tuesday - My Brother's Wedding

My goodness!  Slacking off over the Christmas/Birthdays/New Years/Wedding break has thrown me off!  I should have posted this hours ago!  I promise I'll start doing better!

Anyways, on to my brother's wedding.  We've been preping for his wedding for weeks now.  It's quite an ordeal for my Mom to go anywhere, even just to a doctors appointment or church, so driving 6 hours, and then being away from home for a couple of nights made us a little nervous.  But she did great!  Hardly any problems at all.  We were really blessed!

The four of us took off Friday morning.  Derek and I drove behind my parents' van in their pickup. 4-wheel drive in case of snow.  There wasn't any thank goodness.  Again, we were blessed!  We took a few breaks throughout the trip which was nice.  And Derek even found a memory foam seat cushion to sit on!

We arrived in Alpine around 3-4pm.  I immediately called Sam Hawk (our favorite Korean restaurant) in Provo to order take-out.  My Dad is in love with their bulgogi and talked about getting some while we were in Utah.  I ordered it giving Derek and I enough time to drop our stuff off at the Cheney's house and visit for a few minutes.  Didn't want to drop and run! :)

It was nice to see Derek's parents again.  We had a quick visit with them and finalized our plans for the next day.  They were able to spend a lot of time with us through out all the wedding madnes, which was great!  We were afraid that we would only see them in passing!

After that visit we ran over to Sam Hawks and picked up our HUGE box of food.  As I was ordering it, I didn't realize how much I had really ordered!  But it was all so good, and we had left overs to share later!

Then Derek and I went over to my great aunt and uncle's house to see them and my grandparents.  I was hoping that I could show them my progress on my family history storybook, but (as I later found out) the editing program wasn't working because I wasn't connected to the internet.  We had a fun visit anyway!  I was especially glad we visited because my great aunt and uncle weren't able to attend the wedding, luncheon, or reception.  She had just had toe surgery!  Ouch!

After that visit, we went back to the Cheney's house to get some sleep.  Saturday was going to be a big day, and we needed to be up early.  We needed to be at the temple at 9:30.  Well, early for us.  Plus, we were afraid there was going to be a lot of snow--which there was--and that it would be dangerous to drive--which it wasn't.

So we got to the temple super early, but it was nice to sit and wait and get into the spirit of the day.  Plus, I was able to greet a lot of our family friends who we hadn't seen in years!  Derek was outside helping my parents get into the temple.

The wedding ceremony was wonderful!  So beautiful!  I think that we all (our side and her side of the family) had been feeling a little stress about them getting married.  We love them and want them to be happy and make their own choices, but were afraid they were too young and not ready.  But as I sat there in the temple listening to the sealer (the man who performs the ceremony), I felt an overwhelming sense of peace, calm and happiness.  It felt amazing!  I hoped that everyone else in the room felt the same way too!

And speaking of everyone else in the room!  Some rows of people had to do the tabernacle squeeze.  I don't think that PJ and Rachel were expecting that many people to come to the ceremony.  I think they reserved a smaller sized room.  It was so neat to see how many people were there to show their love and support for my brother and my family!

Before and after the ceremony, everyone kept asking Derek and I where and when the luncheon would be.  I really felt pretty uninformed (Which is really uncomfortable for me.  I like to know what's going on!  But I've learned to go with the flow.  A little).  I kept telling everyone the same thing, "I seem like someone who should know these things, but I'm not!  Just think of me as another guest!"

We eventually figured out the luncheon would be at the same place as the reception.  Which was nice because then we all only had to figure out where one place was instead of two!  So after pictures SO FREEZING COLD, and a slight directional delay, Derek and I arrived at the luncheon.  The food was amazing and simple, bread bowl soup!  So perfect for a cold, windy day!

Daryn and Becca, Derek's brother and sister-in-law who live in the area, had hinted that they wanted to see us while we were in Utah, but our schedules conflicted a bit, and as I said earlier, I had no idea about any plans for Saturday.  But thankfully, we had a few hours inbetween the luncheon and the reception so we headed over to their house.

So much fun!  They're always fun to visit with and they have a Wii and a Wii Fit!  Their kids showed us how the Wii Fit worked--so cool--and Daryn and Derek even showed us their hula-hoop skills!  :)  I'm seeing a Wii Fit in our future!

At 5:30 we headed over to the reception for more pictures.  The photographer was really nice and even took pictures with my camera for me when we did the family shots!  And she was very kind to ask us who we would like her to photograph because she didn't know our family.  I also ran around taking pictures of friends and family (Sorry Uncle Paul, Mom's orders!).  So many of our friends from our time (meaning my childhood) in Utah, and so many of our Utah relatives came! 

The reception was a lot of fun!  Since my parents were in the reception line, Derek and I kind of felt responsible for visiting the guests who came to see my family.  We both came away from the reception feeling really popular! :)

And I can't forget to mention that they had a CHOCOLATE FOUNTAIN!  Chocolate fountains gives any reception an A++ in my book!  I think I would consider crashing weddings if they were all guaranteed to have a chocolate fountain! I piled a plate high with chocolate covered strawberries, cinnamon bears, rice crispy treats, Oreos, and marshmallows that I was going to "share" with Derek.  Really I only wanted the strawberries.  I have a weakness for chocolate and berries.

After the reception, Derek and I went back to the Cheney's house.  We visited and ate delicious Korean food as I tried to get my book editing program to work.  Grr, it was so frustrating!  Thank you Mom and Dad for trying to help me!  It really was just the internet, but I wasn't able to get the PC to hook up to their internet for some reason.  After a couple of hours, we all decided that it was time for sleep and went to bed.  Another early morning and a full day of traveling.

The trip home was just as smooth as the trip up.  No snow!  My dad did a lot of preparing, but thankfully we didn't need all the snow gear!  My mom was and is worn out from the trip.  I think it will take her a couple of days to get rested up again but she'll be fine!

It was a great trip and I'm so glad that PJ and Rachel--yes, there will be two Rachels--got married!  I'm so excited to have a sister-in-law on my side of the family!

PS:  More pictures to come later

Monday, January 5, 2009

Book of Mormon Mondays - Being Humbled

I'm not one of those people who really plans ahead for the worst things that could happen.  Well, let me amend that.  I am a plan-ner (making it two syllables makes it sound emphasized to me).  But if I have to spend money to be prepared or I have no inklings of anything negative happening, I tend to procrastinate that kind of preparation.

And I've always felt really guilty about it.  Until I read these scriptures.

Alma 32
13 And now, because ye are compelled to be humble blessed are ye; for a man sometimes, if he is compelled to be humble, seeketh repentance; and now surely, whosoever repenteth shall find mercy; and he that findeth mercy and endureth to the end the same shall be saved.

14 And now, as I said unto you, that because ye were compelled to be humble ye were blessed, do ye not suppose that they are more blessed who truly humble themselves because of the word?

15 Yea, he that truly humbleth himself, and repenteth of his sins, and endureth to the end, the same shall be blessed—yea, much more blessed than they who are compelled to be humble because of their exceeding poverty.
16 Therefore, blessed are they who humble themselves without being compelled to be humble; or rather, in other words, blessed is he that believeth in the word of God, and is baptized without stubbornness of heart, yea, without being brought to know the word, or even compelled to know, before they will believe. 

Now I'm not saying that it's better to be "compelled to be humble" than it is to become humble "because of the word,"  but to me it says better late than never.  I can still be blessed through repentance. 

Obviously it's easier to be humble from the beginning.  But being human and therefore prideful in various degrees, it's not always what happens.

For instance, this weekend I went down to my brother's wedding in Alpine, UT.  I knew I would be seeing my grandparents there, so I thought I would bring my parents' PC laptop with the family history book I've been compiling on it.  I was really excited about showing them my progress, but when I tried to open the program, nothing happened.  Actually something happened, just not what I wanted.  The program sort of half opened, twitched and died. 

I was shocked and really, really nervous.  What if somehow the file for my book was ruined along with the program (which at that point, I thought it was)!  I hadn't backed it up since I moved it from my computer to my parents'!

And that was the first thing my Dad asked me.  My husband and I had worked for HOURS and HOURS on this "little" project.  It's 312 pages!  How sad would it be for us to have to start over again!

And here I was again eating humble pie.  COMPELLED to eat humble pie.  My dad suggested that we try to connect the laptop to the internet and see if that helped.  I tried that at my in-laws house (PS:  They were so great and helpful trying to get us on their network!  We all tried multiple different things, but something on the laptop was preventing us from connecting properly...  Thank you anyway though!)

So I worried about it all the way home (6 hours in the car, and I'm a worrier!).  As it turns out, everything was fine.  My Dad was right, I needed to be connected to the internet for the program to work.  Crisis narrowly missed. 

And can you guess what I did first?  That's right, backed up my file.  Or at least tried, I'm not sure if it really worked. 

I know I'm bound to repeat this same pattern again.  Hopefully less frequently in the future.  I'm trying to improve.  At least now I am comforted to know that I am still blessed by being "compelled to be humble" while knowing that I'll be even more blessed if I was just more humble to begin with.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Friday, January 2, 2009

Friday FindsFr

Whole Wheat Bread, Food Storage Made Easy.  Anybody who's interested in making their own wheat bread should read this post!