Sometimes I'm the Only One Laughing

I really enjoy awkwardness...

You know the kind.

Friend: "I just love it when I'm free on Saturday"
Me: "Story. of. my. life."
Some Random Dude: "Looks like you should call up *catherine under the hazelnut tree*" (get's two likes from other random dudes)
Me: "Well look at the little matchmaker. What do you think, bud? For old times sake? A cross country trip may do me a little good."

Friend proceeds to delete post.


And let me tell you. I was rolling this morning.

In laughter, mind you.

Anyways. I tried my hand at vlogging today. Check out take two.

Oh, don't you just love my face?

Never mind. Don't answer that.


Classic: Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope that your day has been wonderful! I know that mine has!

This morning started off with a small breakfast, and then the work commenced! Baking and cooking. Cooking and cleaning. Cleaning and baking and cooking some more!

Then, after the cooking was finished, we sat down and had a wonderful feast.

Family time is always good, ya know? Especially holiday family time!

Now, to list the things that I am thankful for to complete this classic thanksgiving post!

  1. I am thankful that I live on the east coast. It is so beautiful here!
  2. I am thankful for my parents. They're awesome! And they do so much for me!
  3. I am thankful for my siblings. They are so fun. And annoying. And obnoxious. But mostly fun!
  4. I am thankful for my friends. I love talking to them and writing letters to them and finding ways to hang out with them!
  5. I am thankful for my computer. Sometimes it's slow. It's hard to charge. But I have one that my parent's bought me. I'm one fortunate college student!
  6. I am thankful for food!
  7. I am thankful for my job!
  8. I am thankful for this free country and the people who fight to defend it, past and present.
  9. I am thankful for all of the things that I have been through. The good, and the bad. I am grateful for the happy moments and the moments where I thought my heart would break. I am grateful for the laughs and the tears. All of these things have brought me to be the person that I am today!
  10. I am thankful for our house.
  11. And our furniture.
  12. I am thankful for cable TV and the internet.
  13. I am thankful for cell phones. 
  14. I am thankful for all of the social connections that we have today! (Facebook, twitter, et cetera)
  15. I am grateful for my church and the gospel of Jesus Christ! 
  16. I am grateful for my church leaders- there is a prophet and apostles who lead and guide us today!
  17. I am grateful for my political leaders. I may not always agree with them. I may not always like them. But ultimately I believe that they are doing the best that they can. And I'm really appreciative of that!
  18. I am thankful for my bed. It is big and wonderful. And my feet, for the first time in years, don't hang off the edge.
  19. I am also thankful that I'm not 6'0 and over. Those who are...their feet must always be off the edge of the bed. Terrible...
  20. I am thankful that I was able to go on my mission this past summer! And for the people that I met there! They were so incredible! I love and miss each and every one of them!
  21. I am grateful for the temple. I love it there so much!!!!!
  22. I am grateful for this blog. And my new start. Life is beautiful!
  23. I am grateful for Pinterest. So many good ideas!
  24. I am thankful for electricity. Oh yes. It is a wonderful thing!
  25. And flushing toilets too! Oh, sweet modern technology.
  26. I am grateful for institute! It is my mid week spiritual picker upper!
  27. I am grateful for my school! It's a great place to be! The people are great, the teachers are great, IT is great! And inexpensive! Hooray!
  28. I am thankful for the doors that have opened because I've paid my tithing!
  29. I am grateful for the scriptures.
  30. Most of all, I am thankful for Jesus Christ! He died for us, and he LIVES for us! He, who is perfect, has done everything so that we, who are imperfect, can return to live with our Heavenly Father again!
That, in no way, covers everything. It's interesting how incredibly fortunate we find ourselves when we take the time to have an attitude of gratitude.

The happiest people I know are the ones who are most grateful for all that they have!

My goal is to be more grateful for all that I have!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Question of the day: "What if...when you woke up in the morning, all you had we're the things you thanked God for the night before?"


Day 11- Writing Missionaries

When I was in Nauvoo I thrived off of the letters that my family sent me every week. I didn't receive any letters from anyone outside my family, but that was ok. I was still getting letters from THEM. They were the people that I wanted most to hear from.

I have a bunch of friends out on their missions right now. I have one in the Missionary Training Center (MTC) who is going to California soon. One who is already in South Carolina. One who is in the MTC in Chile. One who is in the Philippines. And another one who is leaving tomorrow to go to the MTC and later to California. And so I figured that I would start writing them, because letters are so important.

One of the things that really strikes me about these missionaries is how they change in the field. A mom of one of the above noted missionaries keeps us very updated with how her son is doing. She posts pictures and letters from him. It makes me so happy to see how happy he is. And I mean, who wouldn't be happy serving the Lord 24/7?

Anyways, writing all of these letters makes me super excited to go on another mission. And anxious to get my call. I was thinking about where I might end up, and the thought that I might be called to serve in Idaho crossed my mind. I may have hyperventilated there for a moment. But I know that I'll go where I need to go. And I'm working on not getting my hopes up for a call to Australia or Brazil. Hardest thing ever.

And besides....I can turn my papers in any day now! Hooray!

For your enjoyment and spiritual uplift here is a video from the life of Jesus Christ, put out by His Church!

Powerful stuff, eh?


Day 10- Meanie.

I can be so mean to people sometimes.

Not intentionally.

Well. Yes. Intentionally. But also sub-consciously. Like, I know I'm doing it, but I can't really stop myself.

I learned tonight about one of the "meanie" habits that I developed. Here's what it is...

I talk about other guys in front of guys I dig. Not just that, but I do it to test the waters. To see how far they will go, or to see if they back off instead. And then, when they back off I'm disappointed. They don't know that, obviously. They're just being nice and gentlemanly.

I'm being a meanie.

Unfortunately, this is also a scare tactic that I use when guys that I don't like flirt with me. I pull out the "there was one guy that I dated that..." Sure-fire turnoff. I guess I didn't realize I was turning off the guys that I did like too by doing the exact same thing. Bum diggity.

From this point on, I will try to no longer claim the title of "meanie". I swear to be fair and kind.

That is all.

Day 9- Crazy Mormon Dances

I went to a crazy Mormon dance tonight! Oh, how I love them!

The theme of the dance tonight was 90's Grunge. The turnout was (unsurprisingly) incredible!

Definitely the best dance I've been to. Ever. And that's saying something.

I've been going to dances since I turned 14 years old. It's a thing that Mormon's do to have fun in an uplifting environment. We can let loose without the influence of alcohol or poor decisions or low standards.'s late. I should get to bed.

For your enjoyment, here is a small sample of the craziness I saw tonight:

Day 8- Institute

I. love. institute. Plain and simple.

Let me paint the picture for you.

Today I worked from 11-4. I got off work, and attempted to take some things to my grandparent's house. When I finally got there I realized that they either weren't there or they were asleep. Either way, I couldn't give them what I needed to.

So I went home, ate dinner, and left...again.

Forty minutes on the road is nice, especially when I'm by myself. I used to use that time to listen to music that's on the radio, but of late I've just been thinking. And singing. Just essentially getting spiritually ready to learn.

And learn I do! One of the things that we talked about this week is how exercise provides us a balance in life. We used scriptures to back it up.

A little fact about me. I love exercising. I like running. I love walking. I enjoy biking (now-I am finally over my fear- I was in a pretty bad bike accident about three years ago). I like yoga. Step is dangerous, but I do that too. And 'em. I'm not especially good at any of the above, but that's the great thing about exercise. You don't have to be.

Of late I've had a hard time striking a balance in my life. It feels like all I do is sleep, school, work, school, sleep. Everyday. The only exception is institute, and dances now and then. I have had very little exercise of late. Very little. And I've been stress eating for the last couple of weeks or so. That's no good. I've been trying to get a grip on that for the last few days. It makes me feel sick...all the time. Which just adds to my stress.

Anyways, tonight at institute was a great reminder to me that, in order to strike a true balance that will work, I need to focus on all four aspects of life. Education (work and school), health (eating right and exercising), my relationship with other people (dating, hanging out with my family, spending time with friends), and my relationship with God (scripture study, prayers).

I am so grateful for those little reminders that come. Heavenly Father truly looks out for us and helps us along the way.


Day 7- Sleep

It is something that is extremely important to me of late.

Probably because I haven't been getting much of it.

Earlier today I slept a lot. Mostly because yesterday was so hectic. I was exhausted all of today! This morning I had to take my sisters to seminary, and I slept right through my alarm! They eventually came and woke me up, but still! By the time I went to work at 3 PM I was still super tired, even though I had a nap in between.

And now I'm probably rambling on.

Time for a music moment. Enjoy. This song helps me get to sleep!

Day 6- Nervous

It's hearing that President Obama is likely to win the election. That's what makes me nervous.

It also makes me angry. It makes me want to run to all my liberal friends and family and shake them until they  understand what they voted for, not just who.

It makes me sad. Sad for all of those beautiful and innocent children who will never get to live in a free land like America because they were aborted. They were robbed. Sad for all of those future women leaders of America who will live with the guilt and shame of murdering a baby before it was born, not knowing what it was she was doing. Sad, for other reasons too, but mostly for America- a nation once founded on the principles of divine righteousness which is now being replaced by worldly understandings.

But mostly it makes me nervous.

It's time to get ready for the fire. History is beginning to repeat itself.


Day 5- He's Our Protector Too

A friend of mine is serving a mission in Panama. We were both in the low brass section at school, and I thought she was just so sweet and kind.

I got an update today. She was in a horrible car accident this morning. She and 11 other missionaries were on a bus- the back tire went out, and the bus flipped several times.

The miracle was that they were all able to walk away from that accident without any more than a few bruises. It was a perfect miracle.

Truly, the Lord protects his servants.

Not only that, but he is our protector too.

It reminds me of a song that I used to listen to all the time when I was 15.

This song got me through a lot. I had a lot of struggles that I dealt with that year. I had a run with depression. I was lost. But through Christ I was found. I was healed. I was protected.

If you don't know this already, then let me be the first to tell you- Christ loves you with an infinite love. Go here to learn more.

This next week is going to be an exciting one. I had a day off today, but tomorrow I will be working the polls in the morning, and closing up at my work place- a total of 12 hours or so.

This should be exciting. I'll have to tell you how it goes!

Day 4- In Retrospect: Simple Things Tend to Mean the Most

I like looking back over my life. Looking back over events and dates and times. Looking at how different I am now than I was then.

The past few days have been a simple reminder to me of where I've been, where I'm at, and where I'm going.

After my friend M and I got home this afternoon, my mom told me to spill. And spill I did. Most fine details were covered. All big events were shared. I love talking to my mom and my sisters. They're like my best friends, or something. It must come with the "family" package....

And then, after sharing most everything, Mom asked me what my favorite part of the weekend was.

I paused for a moment, thinking.

I could have easily said zip lining or the dance. Those were the most obvious.

Or maybe the fact that I actually got plenty of attention from a few guys- something that rarely occurs.

Or, perhaps, getting reacquainted with one of my friends from the past.

But instead, I answered with something small and kind and loving that I witnessed throughout the weekend.

There were two brothers at the conference. I only saw them, really, from a distance. One, who we'll call Jon, looked like he had some physical disabilities and seemed very sweet and gentle. The other one, who we'll call Rob, was cute and friendly and, the majority of the time, hung out with a friend of mine.

For most of the weekend, Jon and Rob did their own thing. Of course they did things together, but they did things separately too.

At one point in the conference, Jon wanted to sit in a seat that happened to be right beside me. To sit there, he had to step over the bench. Rob helped him as he did so. The way he did it was so gentle and compassionate, so kind and caring.

From that point on I observed these two brothers. They seemed really close. If Rob decided to pick up a broom and sweep, then Jon was behind him with a dust pan. If Rob was getting food for them, then Jon was there with the utensils for them to use.

There were other things, too, that I noticed. Like when Jon was playing a game, and Rob frequently checked on him.

It was so different from anything that I had ever seen. So often in today's world I see the drop and run act. I see haste and frustration. I see selfishness and pride. It was so refreshing to see something so extraordinary.

Christlike love.

Watching them made me want to be a better person, a better sister, a better daughter. It made me want to serve. It reminded me of the promise that I made to myself on my mission- to love all like Christ loves.

Whilst in Nauvoo, I met a man who was in his 60's. He was very sweet, and very mentally handicapped. He came to several of our concerts with his caretakers. Every time we finished a song, he clapped loudly. Every time we bore our testimony, he vocally said "I AGREE!"

I had the chance to talk to this sweet man after a performance later in the day. In talking with him, I fell in love with his fun personality. I had a very, very strong sense that Heavenly Father loved this son immensely.

Shortly after I finished talking with him, I spoke with his caretakers. They said that they had been blessed to spend the last 40 years with this man, after an auto accident had taken away his ability to be independent. They told us that music always put him in a great mood, and explained to us how much he loved it. They bore a loving testimony to me, a missionary, of his divine worth. It added to my own testimony.

About two weeks later we got word that this beautiful spirit son of God had left the world to return to his heavenly home. Even now my heart is touched by the example he was to me of the love that our Heavenly Father has for his children.

I love this song- this rendition is especially touching.

"Know my child. My kindness shall not depart from thee."


Day 3 - Ponder and Sing

Oh boy, today was packed full of some fun and exciting stuff.

This morning we ate breakfast and then had several classes.

The first class that I went to was on education and success in life. It's been an interesting couple of months. I've been trying to piece my life back together after pulling the puzzle apart and deciding to start from a different angle. From this class I was blessed with the assurance that I am on the right track.

That's always a good thing to know.

The second class was on family history. It made me really excited to get back into my family history and doing research and such.

The third class was a cooking class. Gross. I never want to be in the food industry. Ever.

Then afterwards we cleaned up and got ready for lunch. I didn't mind that part at all!

After lunch we listened to a keynote speaker.

Then we split up and did different activities. I carved a pumpkin with a friend and then went zip lining. It was so much fun!

Afterwards was dinner and the dance.

The dance was so crazy and so fun! I loved watching everyone dancing. I loved the line dances and the opportunities I had to party (in the most "Mormon" sense of the word) with my good friends and my new friends.

I think my favorite part of the evening may have been after the dance. The hall that we did everything in was pretty messy, so I decided it might be a good idea to clean up a bit for the Sabbath.

It gave me a great opportunity to ponder and also to sing.

I love music. It communicates so much more than I can. I have never been able to adequately describe what I feel without music.

It made me feel at peace. A feeling that I haven't really had for a while now.

I am so blessed.

Question: What is your favorite song and why?

Day 2- Chivalry Isn't Dead

*Written on November 2, 2012

Every year, the Young Single Adult program of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in my area holds a special conference. Being in the middle of nowhere with 100 other single adults is so much fun!

We sleep in cabins and have bonfires.

We hang out with our old friends, and make some new ones.

We party till midnight and beyond.

We get warm by the camp fire.

It's a blast.

I went last year and it was SO much fun. I decided that I wanted to come again. And I did. And it's turning out to be just as fun this year as it was last year.

Tonight I had an interesting experience. It reminded me of something.

There's this epic and crazy game called Quelf. My relationship with that game is love/hate. I didn't even play it the whole way through- just near the very end.

Anyways, the game takes forever. Think about Monopoly and multiply by four.

(Yeah, that's me with the sour face...)

We probably started that darn game around 7:30 PM, and finished at around 2:30 AM. Crazy. Long. Game.

And then the two guys that were with us walked us back to our cabin before going to theirs. It was very sweet and kind of them.

It brought me back to my mission days. I remember writing in my journal about how all the elders were so very kind and charitable. All the time. And how they always did little things to help us sisters out.

Like one elder ran after a truck to grab my camera, which I had accidentally left on the bandwagon.

Another elder used to hold the door open until all of the sisters had made it through the door.

The elders always waited for the sister to get their lunch before they got theirs.

At one point, even, all of the elders made the sisters their favorite dinner- sweet pork enchiladas from Cafe Rio. And holy cow...they were awesome cooks.

It surprised me how often these simple things were done for us. It was so foreign to me. I thought that chivalry had died in the 60's (or so).

Of course, I had seen the occasional exception. Like my father, and my grandfather, and a few other guys here and there at school, but I thought they were just that- occasional exceptions. A few random survivors of the feminist and SWAG era.

But then, suddenly there were 16 guys, all about my age, who exhibited those super awesome and super incredible traits. It was almost like a revelation...there are men out there that KNOW. They're out there!

I saw two more of them tonight.

It makes me smile.

Question: What are some simple acts of service that you have found to fit into the "chivalrous" category?


Day One- True Joy is Found in the Journey

I live in a place that is incredibly beautiful in the fall. The tree's change into different colors, and the Appalachian mountains provide the perfect backdrop for this perfect scenery.

Six months ago, I wouldn't have noticed the beauty all around me. I was too busy focusing on the future. I hurried past these beautiful scenes, getting from point A to point B as quickly as I possibly could.

And then I went to the most beautiful place on earth. I was awe struck by the magnificence of God's creations. I was deeply touched by the unconditional love that was woven throughout the gorgeous scenery. I remember, after one particularly difficult rehearsal day, I walked outside and beheld the most beautiful sunset you could ever imagine. It was in that moment that I realized that there is joy in the journey.

This was tested when the most beautiful place on earth was struck by drought. The grass, once plentiful and green, turned brown. Almost to dust. The trees started shedding their leaves, not because it was winter time, but because they were dying. Thirsting to death. Even still, I found joy in the beautiful creations all around me. And then there was rain, and I saw beauty in that too.

True joy, I learned from my experiences, is not getting from point A to point B as quickly as you can. It's not staying at point A, enjoying the moment for as long as you can before regretfully jumping to point B. It's enjoying life and the freedom of choice! It's finding joy in the transitions! It's finding beauty in the good and bad!

It's moving on.

And carrying on.

And endearing, not simply enduring, to the end.

Now, check out this awesome video. Have I mentioned how much I love Sam Tsui? A lot, in case I haven't.

Question of the day: Do YOU find joy in the journey?


NaBloPoMo; Oh, the Places We'll Go!

Happy November, everyone!

After surviving a hurricane with little more than a day without power...I'm back!

And just in time for National Blog Posting Month! Hooray!

So here's how we do it- one blog post, one picture, everyday.

Ready. Set. GO!

Happy blog posting everyone!

Question: Anyone else up for the challenge?