Friday, December 23, 2011

Mission Thoughts

Today marks the day I came home from my mission.  Sometimes it feels like just yesterday.  I am so grateful I had the opportunity to serve in the Tulsa, Oklahoma mission.  I met many people I love and learned lessons that could not have been learned any other way. 
I don't have too many pictures of my mission on my new computer so here is just a few.
MTC-my twin sister Carissa and I entered the same day. 


Kevin Bailey from Henryetta, OK and his family and my companion Sis Olave


Amy Duree in Springfield, MO and my companion Sis Laird


Neil Perkins (in blue) and my companion Sis Laird



Sis Olave and some members at a fair in  Okmulgee, OK

This pictures is actually from after the mission.  Jessica Bentz Spicer is a girl I taught in Fayetteville, AR and she came out to UT for an internship one Summer after the mission and we went to visit Temple Square.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Lauren

Lauren is my cousin Billy's daughter and she's been in my gymnastics class for over two years now!  In October she was baptized and I promised to take her out for dessert to celebrate.  Lauren chose Cold Stone and then we went and shopped around at the mall.  It was fun since Lauren took me into stores I never would normally go into like Build-a Bear and The Children's Place.  She's a great girl and fun to be around.  I hope she'll let  me do it again sometime.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Temple Square

My friend Katie invited me and some girls to go to Temple Square to see the lights and then to go iceskating.  It was a fun evening and helped to put me in the mood for Christmas.




Sunday, December 11, 2011

Christmas Program


      I was asked to give a talk at the chuch I attend for the Christmas program (check out mormon.org) and decided to post it here in case anyone wants to read it. 

         Today I was asked to speak on the Savior’s birth and divinity.  Christmas is a time filled with anticipation— anticipation of presents, good food, and celebrations. Sometimes it seems that the first 24 days in December are just too long to wait. Imagine if you had to wait for 1,000 years! The first Christmas—the Savior’s divine birth—had been prophesied for years, from Isaiah in the Old Testament to Samuel the Lamanite in the Book of Mormon. Isaiah prophesied the birth of the Messiah: “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace”  Some six hundred years before Jesus was born, Nephi had a vision. He saw Mary and described her as “a virgin, most beautiful and fair above all other virgins.” He then saw her “carried away in the Spirit; … for the space of a time.” When she returned she was bearing a child in her arms, “even the son of the Eternal Father!” God was His Father, Mary, his mortal mother. He is the only person born who rightfully deserves the title “the Only Begotten Son of God”.                    
             For believers, Christ’s birth and death, are the two greatest events in the history of the earth or, for that matter, eternity. In the unknown years the universe has existed, its two greatest events occurred within a 33-year span. Elder Tadd R Callister explained “ That night, the Savior traded his heavenly home with all his celestial adornments for a mortal abode with all its primitive trappings. He, the king of heaven, the Lord Omnipotent, who reigenth left a throne to inherit a manger. He exchanged the wealth, power, dominion, and fullness of his glory for what? For taunting, mocking, humiliation and subjection. It was a trade of unparallel dimension, a condescension of incredible proportions, a descent of incalculable depth. And so, the great Jehovah, creator of worlds without number, infinite in virtue and power, made his entry intro this world in swaddling clothes and a manger”.
          The gift of His great atoning sacrifice marks another sign of his divinity. Christmas means giving. The Father gave his Son, and the Son gave His life. Without giving there is no true Christmas.  If sacrifice for others is the highest manifestation of love, then the Atonement of Jesus Christ is the greatest demonstration of love this world has ever known. Emerson helps put in perspective the value of this gift: “The only gift is a portion of thyself”. In this spirit, the Savior’s sacrifice was the noblest gift of all because he who possessed all gave all.
Through the atonement, we have been given the gift of repentence.  Elder Holland has taught that “We thank our Father in Heaven we are allowed to change, we thank Jesus we can change, and ultimately we do so only with Their divine assistance. Certainly not everything we struggle with is a result of our actions. Often it is the result of the actions of others or just the mortal events of life. But anything we can change we should change, and we must forgive the rest. In this way our access to the Savior’s Atonement becomes as unimpeded as we, with our imperfections, can make it. He will take it from there.”
When we comtemplate the Savior’s birth and Atonement, it inspires in us a generous heart. This can come as we feel the needs of others more than our own and when we sense how generous God has been to us.  President Eyring states that--It helps to see the kindness of others at Christmastime. How many times have you gone to leave a gift on a doorstep, hoping not to be noticed, only to find more than one unmarked gift already there? Have you felt, as I have, the impression to help someone only to find that what you were inspired to give was exactly what someone needed at that very moment? That is a wonderful assurance that God knows all of our needs and counts on us to fill the needs of others around us.  God sends those messages to us with more confidence at Christmastime, knowing that we will respond because our hearts are more sensitive to the Savior’s example and to the words of His servants.

         There are many things we can do to remember the Savior’s birth and serve others. Here are some suggestions ( ideas taken from this website).

1) Give God one very special gift just from you to him:

Let this gift be something personal that no one else needs to know about, and let it be a sacrifice. David said in 2 Samuel 24 that he would not offer a sacrifice to God that cost him nothing. Maybe your gift to God will be to forgive someone you've needed to forgive for a long time. You may discover that you've given a gift back to yourself. Corrie Ten Boom, a Christian who survived extreme brutality in a German concentration camp after rescuing many Jews from certain death during the Nazi Holocaust, was later able to say, "Forgiveness is to set a prisoner free, and to realize the prisoner was you." Perhaps your gift will be to commit to spending time with God daily. Or maybe there is something God has asked you to give up. Make this your most important gift of the season.

2) Set aside a special time to read the Christmas story in Luke 2.

3) Set up a Nativity scene in your home.

4) Plan a project of good will this Christmas.

5) Take a group Christmas caroling in a nursing home, children’s hospital, or just to a neighborhood.  For instance, here is a story of four young missionaries.  “It was our first Christmas away from home. Elders Heemeyer, Bright, Kehoe, Schulze, Westover, and I had all gathered in one apartment to share Christmas Eve. We hoped that spending the evening together as a missionary district might make it easier to be away from home.  It was about 5:30 in the afternoon, and we were all a little discouraged. Setting up appointments with investigators and finding new people to teach had been difficult recently. “Come back after Christmas,” everyone said. After talking for a few minutes, Elder Schulze suggested we go caroling to the homes of our investigators and some of the members. We all thought it was a great idea, and we planned a short program. We would start with two hymns and a spiritual thought. Then we would conclude with another hymn and a prayer. The whole program would be only 20 minutes long, but we all felt pleased with it. Before we left, we knelt to pray. Then we set out into the cold night on the south side of Chicago. Our first stop was the apartment of a member whose daughter and two grandchildren were investigating the Church. We certainly weren’t the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, but for six elders we sounded pretty good. After we shared our program, the family told us our “gift” was the best they had ever received. Soon we were at a different apartment presenting our program to another family. At every stop, our enthusiasm and joy grew. We kept hearing the same response: “This is the best gift ever. You really brought the Christmas spirit.” That night I came to better understand the true meaning of Christmas—that sharing and serving others are what Jesus Christ’s ministry is all about. And while we were busy in the service of others and of the Savior, home didn’t really seem so far away.

6) Give a surprise gift of service to each member of your family:.

7) Set aside a time of family devotions on Christmas Eve or Christmas morning.

8) If you are alone this Christmas or don't have family living near you, invite a friend or a neighbor to join you at church. Even if you aren’t alone, you can still do this.

9) Send Christmas cards that convey a spiritual message:

10) Write a Christmas letter to a missionary:

 I believe that the true meaning of Christmas is spending the Christmas season with family and friends, remembering the birth of Christ, reliving old traditions, or giving service to those in need. I am thankful for the Savior’s birth.  I know He lived a perfect life.  I pray that we may remember Him and His love for us always, not just at Christmastime. 



Saturday, December 3, 2011

BYU Basketball

My roommie Gracie invite me and my friend Ashley to go the BYU basketball game against Oregon at the Energy Solutions Arena.  It was a fun game- my Cougars won.  I missed having Jimmer on the team.  Salt Lake looked pretty with its Christmas lights.



Pinterest

I have recently joined pinterest and these are my first two craft projects.
The ornaments were very simple to make.  They look a little unproportional on my mini tree and can't hang very well but they are still cute and fun to make.  I might just take them off and hang them from the ceiling or a mobile thingy for them to dangle on.  Not sure yet.
                        

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Ward Film Festival

My ward had a film festival this Monday.  It was fun and it was nice to have an excuse to dress up.  There was a photobooth there and my friend Ashley and I took some pictures.  Those booths are dangerous...



Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Late post-California Trip

Went on a somewhat spontaneous trip to California a couple months ago.  I only told my mom that I was coming so the first thing I did was surprise my Dad.
video

So then I surprised my Grandparents.  I haven't seen them in at least a year and a half, maybe longer.  I love surprises!

video
We also went to the Jelly Belly Factory, China Town in San Fransisco and Pier 39, hung out with family and friends, etc.  It was a short but fun trip!





Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Ssss...

Last night, we had a work BBQ\swim party.  I made a a new friend!

Monday, April 25, 2011

St George Trip

My cousin Billy and his wife Sarah invited me to go to St. George with them and their kids over Spring Break.  We hiked at Zion's, went to the outlets, visited Brigham Young's Winter home, stopped by the St. George Temple, celebrated my birthday, played card games and had a blast!  I love this cute family!


 



Sunday, April 24, 2011

The Melting Pot!

My sister told me a while ago that she had a surprise for my birthday.   She had it all planned out but she needed to involve my friend Laura to help since Carissa lives all the way out in Alabama and couldn't be there.  I was told to dress nice and to meet my friend in Salt Lake City.  I didn't know where we were going until we pulled up to the place and it turns out we were going to The Melting Pot!  Anyone who knows me, knows that I love fondue.  I have always wanted to go to The Melting pot but have never been there yet!  We got the spinach and artichoke cheese fondue and the Yin Yang chocolate fondue.  Thanks Carissa and Laura for spoiling me!






Sunday, April 17, 2011

Familia Graphic T-shirts!

For Christmas last year, my mom gave my dad a silk screen printer as a gift. My dad owns a graphic design/print shop called Familia Graphics in my hometown and I remember growing up we had a Tshirt with the Familia Graphics logo on it.  I loved it and wore it all the time until it got too old to wear anymore.  One of the first projects my dad did with his new silk screen printer was to make Familia Graphics shirts for his family. He also made some for my cousin Billy and his family.  The shirts turned out fantastic!  Thanks Dad!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Canadian Tenors +Celine Dion



A little eye candy for you + one of my favorite singers, Celine Dion!  Just a little background, they were performing at the Oprah Show and have always admired Celine Dion and were not expecting a surprise visit from her during their performance!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Last night I went to the BYU Women's Gymnastics Meet!  My work provided tickets for all The Little Gym families to go and watch.  There was a good group of us.  This picture is with some of my staff members Amanda, Chelsey and Michelle.  The meet was fun.  It was against the U of U.  I've been to this same meet three years in a row and this is the closest its been- only a .9 win by U of U.  BYU's team was a lot more impressive this year which was fun to see. 

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Christmas Vacation in Florida!

I know, I'm nearly three months behind but better late than never, right?  It was nice to be with my family at Christmastime especially my adorable niece  who I don't get to see nearly often enough.  This year my parents rented a beach house in Florida and I was able to be with my family for almost two weeks.  
 Here are some pictures of the trip!