Monday, January 30, 2012

The Mason's Temple

The final piece of the Robert Burns Night 2012: The Mason's temple in Salt Lake and assorted tidbits!

One of the Association members is a member of the Mason's so he was able to give us a full tour of temple - which was incredible! There are so many architectural styles showcased beautifully throughout the temple. My favorite room was probably the Auditorium which has amazing acoustics and a gorgeous night sky complete with working lighted constellations in the dome (please note that this building was built in the 1920's so the fact that you can stand anywhere in the auditorium and be heard because of the original acoustics...that's pretty freaking awesome!). But it's hard to pick a favorite with so many amazing rooms to choose from! It was by far the highlight of the evening!

After the tour, we had a delicious dinner of perfectly normal food (including strawberry short-carbs...we couldn't decide on strawberry shortcake or shortbread...so we just stuck with what we knew...carbs. :) ). I did not eat any Haggis - even though they claimed it was the best Haggis in all of Utah. After dinner we enjoyed a fantastic evening of Robert Burns poems, songs and prose. And we ended with the traditional singing of Auld Lange Syne. It was a great night and I am so glad that Mandy invited me to come with her! It is a tradition for sure!

Oh, and I won 56.37 lbs of Chicken in the silent auction. Can you say 'Chicken themed' dinners for a very long time? Tamales, Tinga, barbecued chicken, fried chicken, grilled chicken, chicken nuggets...I wonder how many chicken nuggets you can make with 56.37 lbs of chicken? Guess we'll find out!!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Got Haggis?

On the 21st I had the awesome opportunity to go with my wonderful friend Mandy to the Utah Scottish Associations annual Robert Burns Supper. I have a few stories...so I think I'm going to break it out into a couple of posts. Hope you don't mind. Not like you really have a choice. :)

Mandy asked if I would be willing to bring the Haggis up from BYU. Yes, the Haggis. If you don't know what Haggis is...don't ask me. Google it. Or click on this handy link but try not to lose your lunch. Now we went to our first ever Robert Burns Supper up at Utah State last year - where I tried Haggis for the first (and last) time. It actually wasn't too bad - but after you read the link above, you might understand why Haggis and I are not exactly friends.

So when Mandy asked me if I could bring up the Haggis...I stemmed the instinctual urge to vomit and said yes. Why? Because I love Mandy. Here are a few of my thoughts about the warm-reekin entrails as I drove to Salt Lake with a backseat full of them in a snow storm:

- BYU has the BEST transportation containers ever! Thick plastic and sealed completely - no smell, no nausea.
- Haggis doesn't sing along to the radio very well.
- It would be highly entertaining to get pulled over with Haggis in the car - inducing vomiting in the police officer would likely get you out of a ticket.
- Driving solo is always a good idea with Haggis in the car. How do you explain to your date that the backseat is occupied by ... guts?
- And finally, getting in an accident with Haggis in the car would definitely end badly. How would they know if those were your guts strewn all over the road or the main course of your dinner? That's a distinction no one should ever have to make.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Working Ouch...I Mean Out

So I'm pretty sure it's a good thing I'm going into Occupational Therapy. Too bad I won't be done with school this week though - I'm going to need some serious rehab just to be able to get dressed after working out with Melanie at the gym this week. She is kicking my trash!!
(P.S. Melanie is my personal trainer. She is REALLY good at her job...which is painful.)

Monday, January 23, 2012

Road Trip! - The Temple Part

My Mom wanted to go to the Idaho Falls temple while we were there last weekend. So, we got up early and headed over there while we left the gaggle of cousin's getting ready. Just as a side note - Idaho is COLD! Walking up to the temple I lost all feeling from my toes to my nose. And I am pretty sure my brain froze. I told my Mom that just because there was no snow and the roads were safe didn't mean we were supposed to come visit Idaho in the winter. BRR!

But what better contrast to the frozen outside than the warmth and Spirit of the House of The Lord. And what better refuge is there than the temple when visiting family we adore but who don't live The Gospel. It was a really neat experience. We did Initiatories and, among many other thoughts and impressions, I was again reminded of the amazing love our Heavenly Father has for each of us and His willingness to forgive us as often as we seek that forgiveness. I am grateful for the temple and for the promised blessings we find within it's walls. And I am grateful for a Mom who always leads out in living the Gospel and helps me to be where The Spirit is so that I can be taught and uplifted. She is truly my inspiration and my greatest friend!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Road Trip! - The Not Piper Part

You gotta love Idaho Falls. And my family. My cousin, K had a date on Friday night. They went to Jaliscos for dinner. She left at 7:00 and we showed up at the house a few minutes later. We all decided to go out to eat too - all 7 of us crazy, loud family members. Guess where we went for dinner? Jaliscos. Guess where we sat - close enough to spy on them on their date. And we interrupted them to make her give us a hug since we hadn't seen her in ages. Yeah, we're just cool like that.

Oh, and my cousin's are blond to the core. During dinner, my cousin H told us her woes about going on vacation to the Dominican Republic next week. She has to buy a suitcase. But she just can't bring herself to 'commit' to a suitcase. Note: H lives with her boyfriend. Living with a boyfriend is acceptable commitment. Buying a suitcase - inconceivable. And I thought I had commitment issues.

Then she told us about her sister, D, who is going on vacation with her. D was putting in for days off of work and kept trying to take an extra 4 days off before they left. Apparently it takes 4 days to pack for vacation. And apparently not having a paycheck for an entire month is not enough motivation to pack the day you leave.

On Saturday, D came home in the middle of the afternoon. She was standing in her room with her purse on her arm, her waterbottle in one hand and her phone in the other and eating a cookie. Her sister said, 'What are you doing? Are you going somewhere?'. To which she responded, 'I was going to take a shower - but then I found a cookie.'

Sometimes I just roll my eyes at them. I love them dearly, but sometimes....

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Road Trip! - The Piper Part

This past weekend my Mom and I took Piper on her very first road trip. We went to Idaho Falls to visit my aunt and cousins. This dog LOVES car rides - so I didn't think it would be too bad. And really it wasn't.

On the way there, she sat on my lap the whole time. She stared out the window and wagged her tail for seriously the entire four hours! My Mom was super sweet and set up the back seat like the doggy Hilton. There was a tarp on the floor so Piper could have her food, water and litter box down there - just in case she needed them (and my Mother says she hates this dog. Right. I'm so not buying that!). The first time I put her back there, she got in her litter box and then jumped right back out and gave me this look like, "Are you kidding me!? How the heck am I supposed to use that when the whole freaking car is moving!?!" Then she proceeded to scratch at the back of the seat and cry because she was too little to jump back into the front seat. As pitiful as it was - it was pretty funny.

She did great at my Aunt's house - she didn't get eaten by the cat, freeze in the Idaho cold during the night, or attack their lab. In fact, she and the lab were buddies and got along great! And she was in love with all the new people who were more than willing to scratch her and let her give them kisses. I swear - that dog thinks she is a people. And that the world revolves around her. Sadly, it might.

The ride home was much more exciting. She must have worn herself out cuz she passed out before we were even out of my cousin's cul-de-sac. And she stayed passed out all the way to Brigham City! Sleepy puppy. In Brigham my Mom and I switched and I drove the rest of the way home. Mom wasn't such a huge fan of me trying to juggle the dog, who was now wide awake, and drive at the same time. So she made Piper come sit with her. That was a success - NOT! Piper is just a little bit attached to me and her place in the car is on MY lap. And she just.can't.handle.it when she's not on my lap. So for the next hour, she and my Mom were locked in an epic battle of wits - Piper trying desperately to outsmart my Mom to get back to my lap and Mom trying to keep her restrained on that side of the car. And dang that dog is smart. She would sit there all nice and quiet, she would even look out the window on my Mom's side and pretend she was perfectly content to sit with Mom. Then, as soon as my Mom let go of her she would turn lightening quick and bolt for my lap. Mom would catch her and sit her back down and it would start again. At one point my Mom had her hand on Piper's chest and Piper stuck her nose between Mom's hand and her chest and pushed - like she was pushing my Mom's hand away. It was hilarious. And finally when she couldn't win, she would lay her head on my Mom's arm, look at me and sigh. Yep - my dog is a drama queen. But all in all, I would call her first road trip a smashing success!

Monday, January 16, 2012

A Serious New Year Post

I had the opportunity to give a talk in my ward on New Year's Day. That was an awesome experience. Really. The topic was, want to guess? Resolutions. From my previous posts...it might be obvious that I struggle in the application of the principles learned from preparing my talk. But, there were a couple of points that I came across that I absolutely loved and wanted to share.

Resolutions, goals and covenants are not so very different from each other. They are all commitments and they all require action on our part. Preach My Gospel has some amazing quotes on goals: “I am so thoroughly convinced that if we don’t set goals in our life and learn how to master the techniques of living to reach our goals, we can reach a ripe old age and look back on our life only to see that we reached but a small part of our full potential. When one learns to master the principles of setting a goal, he will then be able to make a great difference in the results he attains in this life” (Elder Ballard, quoted in PMG, pg. 146).
“Goals reflect the desires of our hearts and our vision of what we can accomplish…Goal setting and planning are acts of faith” (PMG, pg. 146).

Goals are awesome! And so are covenants! But making them, though it is an act of faith, is the easy part. It's keeping them that is the hard part (especially keeping them longer than January 31st....unless you're cool like me and don't even bother making them at all! Please, no comments on my obvious lack of faith.)
 
As I started thinking about keeping our covenants and being 'covenant-keepers', I naturally thought about The Savior and His Atonement. In the Council in Heaven, The Savior entered into a covenant with our Heavenly Father to come to earth and complete The Atonement in our behalf (see Moses 4). And we have His testimony about fulfilling that covenant: "For behold, I, God, have suffered these things for all, that they might not suffer if they would repent; But if they would not repent they must suffer even as I; Which suffering caused myself, even God, the greatest of all, to tremble because of pain, and to bleed at every pore, and to suffer both body and spirit—and would that I might not drink the bitter cup, and shrink—"
 
And here is perhaps my favorite verse in all canonized scripture: "Nevertheless, glory be to the Father, and I partook and finished my preparations unto the children of men" (D&C 19:16-19).
 
I am forever grateful that The Savior was a 'covenant-keeper'!

Friday, January 13, 2012

New Year's Resolution

My New Year's resolution for 2012 is to make New Year's resolutions next year.

Aim low & you reach your goals.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The First Cut

So, I know that the rest of the world doesn't really care. But today I made the first cut. Yep. That's right. I got an official invitation from the University of Utah to come on February 10th for an interview day.

That means I have to manage to not say something stupid, act stupid or trip on anything in front of the people I am trying to impress - each of which is a monumental feat in and of itself...so I'm not sure how I'm going to pull off all three in one day and for an entire day. But, if I do manage to somehow pull it off - I might actually make it in. But, at this point, I think that is actually more terrifying than not getting in!

(P.S. Inspite of my sarcasm and boasting...I just have to put a plug in here that I fully acknowledge that getting in to grad school - even making it this far - doesn't happen unless it is supposed to. The Lord is in the details. And He is guiding my life as He always does. He is opening doors that otherwise would remain shut indefinitely. I am profoundly grateful for that. And incredibly humbled...yes, humbled...by the responsibility that brings. I just hope I can rise to the challenge.)

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Reliving the Mission

I was talking with my Mom (who shall remain nameless) the other night and she was reminiscing about her mission and the film strips they used as missionaries. Then she said, quoting the introduction to Man's Search for Happiness: "Like sands through the hourglass, so are the days of our lives." Need I say more? Best laugh ever.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

The Obligatory New Year Post

So I think 2011 can be summed up best by Chris Cagle: "Scars heal, glory fades and all we're left with are the memories made. Pain hurts, but only for a minute. Life is short so go on and live it." We'll stop there because 2011 certainly wasn't lived because 'the chicks dig it'...that would be awkward.

But this year definitely taught me that scars, both external and internal, do heal; that the glory of this life will fade - but the glory of a righteous life will live forever in the hearts of those you touch. It taught me that memories made and relationships cultivated with good friends and family members are some of the greatest privileges and joys of this life. 2011 brought a share of pain - but it really does only hurt for a minute if we turn to The Savior. This year, perhaps more than any other, I have become keenly aware of the frailty of life. But I have also found courage in that awareness - courage to take a chance, to live life a little more fully and to take the first step into the darkness of the unknown, trusting that The Lord to guide one step at a time.

So here's to a great 2012 - let's hope it will be even better than 2011. And thanks to 2011 for all the great lessons, awesome adventures and wonderful friends!