Monday, December 10, 2012

Ordinary Miracles

"Spectrum magic will forever have a new meaning." (source)






(photos all from various news/Facebook pages - not mine)

You guys, this boy is incredible. 

A mere four days ago (well five now. I started this Saturday night), Danny's heart stopped. He stopped breathing and in all manner of speaking, died for a few seconds. 

By the quick thinking and incredible talent of our training staff, the team manager and the doctors at both Logan Regional Hospital and Intermountain Medical Center, he is alive and well. 

Four days ago, this boy was lying in a bed in the ICU. 
Tonight, he was at a basketball game. 
It will take time, but he will play again. 
He was told that of anyone involved with the team, he is the least likely to have heart problems again.

Four. Days. You guys. 

The moment Danny walked through the tunnel at the Spectrum was a moment I will never forget. 
As he stood on the floor, the entire stadium stood in applause. 
While we clapped, I cried. 
As I write, I cry. 


This week was a very long one for all of us involved. 
It was exhausting and completely draining, both physically and emotionally. 

It was a week that absolutely changed my life. 

As our entire community, plus others, came together in support of this kid. 
Prayers were said, letters were sent, friends were there. 
I've never seen or been a part of something so incredible. 

There's no doubt about it, this recovery was a miracle. 
Prayers were answered. 
It's real. 

These are never things I doubted, but to have it all confirmed through a situation like this is incredible. 

Four. Days. 
To have that kind of turnaround still completely blows my mind.
And completely builds my faith and testimony. 

ps, if you haven't read THIS article, drop everything and do it right now. 


Tuesday, December 4, 2012

#PrayForDanny

This morning I promised myself a few things.
I was going to leave work right at 5.
I was going to go to two gym classes.
I was going to make and eat a good dinner.

Instead, I left work at 7:15.
I'm sitting here going to town on a pint of Ben & Jerry's.
And I'm a crying, unproductive mess.

Sometimes your day doesn't go as planned.

DESERET NEWS
(link from Kraig)

SAGEBRUSH SPOT
(link from Matt)

I'm grateful that I am a part of a community that comes together in times of trial.
I'm grateful for my testimony of prayer.
I'm grateful for trained professionals who are able to jump into action when needed.
I'm grateful for the cooperation of BYU (and you won't hear me say that often) and their willingness to postpone tomorrow's game.
I'm grateful everyone is realizing this is more than basketball.
I'm grateful to be one in a large Aggie family.

Tonight, Danny is stable, but there's still a lot of unknowns.
I don't do this often, but I ask you to keep Danny in your prayers.
Pray for a quick recovery.
For the doctors working with him.
For his family.
For our team and coaches.

We love you Danny, we're here for you.

#PrayersForDanny





Monday, November 26, 2012

Then & Now

The last few nights, my sleep has been filled with flashback-like dreams.

One night was devoted to the days of working at the Marana Texas Roadhouse.
I wasn't necessarily re-living it, just continuing.
All the same people were back and working.
It was like nothing had changed.

There were two different nights of my high school life.
One of soccer.
Another of my choir and drama groups.

There were appearances by people I haven't seen or talked to in years.

It was all very strange.
And it got me thinking.

As a whole person, I wouldn't say I'm much different than I was in high school.
Physically and otherwise, I feel pretty much the same...


I mean, I've cut back a bit on the eye makeup, but other than that... I even still wear these clothes! 
For your entertainment(?) here are the rest of the senior pics... 

But as I thought about it, I'm really such a different person now than I was then. 
I'm doing things and going in a direction I never imagined. 

For one, my career path is completely different.
As a senior in high school I was still set on the whole medical field idea. 
I played soccer, but that's about it as far my sports involvement was concerned. 

Now? That's all my life revolves around. 
I work in sports.
I watch sports.
I choose to listen to sports radio.
Say what??
I never would have thought. 

Like any typical teenage girl, I was sure I'd be at a different stage in my life than I actually am. 
We grow up thinking, surely, I'll go to school, get a couple years in, find that special someone and live happily ever after. 
Well, here I am, 4 1/2 years later, and I'm happy and working toward that ever after, just on my own so far. 
And that's completely ok. 
Sure, the list of "People I Never Thought Would Get Married Before Me" is always growing, but it's cool. 
Just means my guy is going to be that much more awesome. 

As a senior, I thought Marana would always be home. 
That's where I would return to for holidays. 
That's where my parents would always live and familiarity would always be. 
So much for that. 
Now my parents live in a small town. They are the only people I know. 
When I go 'home' it's to be with my family and that's it. 
It has it's pros and cons, for sure, but there's nothing I can do about it. 

****

While not much of anything has gone as I expected, I'm grateful for it. 
The experiences I've had and the decisions I've made have made me who I am. 
And guess what?
I kind of like her. 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Monday, November 12, 2012

Imperfections

I overthink
Over-analyze
And overreact.

I forget that I can't make other people's decisions for them.

I am sarcastic and snarky,
Often at inappropriate times.

I tend to speak before I think.

I'm not good at expressing my negative emotions.
I keep them bottled up and put on a happy face.
Then I act crazy and blame things on others, when really no one knows what's going on.

I struggle to find the line between being humble and being gracious.
Sincere compliments are hard for me to accept.

I am impatient.
I am selfish.

I'm scared to grow up.

But this is me.
I'm flawed.
I'm far from perfect.
I strive to be better, but can't do it on my own.

But you, my someone (wherever and whoever you are), this is where you come in.
You love me anyway.
In fact, you love me because of it.
Not in spite of it.
Together, we work. We will become better with each other.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Monday, November 5, 2012

Aggie Spirit

You guys. I love my school.
So, so much. 

This was a crazy week in the world of Aggie athletics. 
We hosted the WAC soccer tournament. 
There was a home football game as well as basketball games for both teams. 
Volleyball was also playing on the road. 

It meant a lot of work hours. 
A lot of caffeine and not a lot of sleep. 

But let me tell you, there's something special about this place. 

It was just the second basketball game (and an exhibition at that) and already, the magic of the Spectrum is back. 
As I sold programs I talked to the regulars. 
The man who helped build the Spectrum and has sat in the same seat at every game for 47 years. 
The man who always reminds me to smile. 
The one always asking if I have a boyfriend yet. 
The kids who are there for their first time. 
The feeling in the air of the new season. 

To be there, having come straight from a football game where we destroyed yet another opponent was great. 
The fact that it's November, the sun was still shining, and our team was still winning was a whole series of miracles regarding Aggie football. 
For the first time since 1978, Utah State has won 8 football games. 
We are well on our way to one of the most successful seasons ever. 

The Utah State soccer team are the WAC CHAMPS!
This afternoon they defeated No. 19 Denver to claim the title and an automatic NCAA Tournament bid. 
Those girls have worked so hard and deserve this.
They have an incredible program. 


With a win over New Mexico State yesterday, the volleyball team has at least a share of the WAC title. 
They have just two matches left, and unless something goes terribly wrong, the title is theirs. 

When you have this much success in just a four-day stretch, it makes the long days worth it. 
While people were tired, everything went smoothly and no one was stressed. 
We enjoyed our work. 

As the soccer team celebrated their win today, and had so many fans celebrate with them, I couldn't help but get a little emotional. 
The support for these athletic programs, regardless of their success, is amazing to watch. 


(photo credit: Amber Rae Childers... who doesn't know I borrowed this)

I love Utah State. 
My time here has been incredible and something I would be perfectly happy to never see end. 


Friday, November 2, 2012

November

As much as I adore the month of October, I'm always glad to see the first day of November. 
Once my birthday happens, I'm ready to move on. 
Most people know this about me, but I really don't like Halloween.
Like, at all.

As I went through high school and college, the whole day just became more and more about how slutty and misbehaving as you can be. 
I went to the Howl last year, but solely for the concert. 
I came, I saw, I got the heck out of there. 

It's just not my thing. 
It's fine if it's your thing, though. 

Some day, I'll have babies of my own who I'll be able to dress up and put in adorable costumes. 
I'll take them trick-or-treating and it will be lovely. 
They'll be precious and they'll be mine. 

Then I'll enjoy Halloween. 

The actual day was great.
Did the whole work thing all day, all in anticipation for the evening. 

Hit up the gym and Walmart (which were both DEAD, so that was beautiful). 
Spent some time handing out candy and stuff at Shelby's mom's house, then it was on to the best part of the day. 
The night so many of us have been waiting for for so long... 

OPENING NIGHT! 

Of the Jazz regular season that is. 
The game was great.
I'm in love with our new team and the system. 
Should be an excellent season. 

And now we're on to November. 
While it's not as beautiful and glamorous as October, it's still pretty great. 

-This freakin' election will finally be over in just a few days. 
- It's No-Shave November! I love the first couple weeks of this month because I love the scruffy early days of the facial hair. 
- Now I can listen to Christmas music even more and with fewer people judging me. 

All good things!
Bring on November.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Wednesday Wisdom


It's what you
learn
after you
know it all

that counts.
- John Wooden


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Sleigh Bells Ring...


click play first!

Here's the thing.
I absolutely ADORE Christmas.
Like, a lot.

I love the music.
I love the snow.
I love the decorations.
I love the sparkle.
I love the family.
I love the tradition.
I love the Spirit.

I love it all.
So, so much.

I generally try to wait until the day after my birthday to start listening to Christmas music,.
It was getting difficult this year, because there are so many great new albums out. I've had my Spotify playlist under construction for a whole week!
Then this morning, I woke up to an inch of snow on the ground. My birthday isn't til Thursday, so I wasn't quite ok with it.
(speaking of birthdays... 23!? Where did you come from!?)
Anyway.
To combat the feelings of sadness the snow was giving me, I turned on the Christmas music.
Instantly, the snow went from wet and cold and ugly to soft and cold and beautiful.

I always get some flack for my early celebration, but guess what?
I don't even care.
Mock all you want, but I can guarantee that I will be so much happier than you these next few weeks because of it.

There are so many songs (and arrangements of songs) and so little time if you wait til after Thanksgiving.
Why wait?

So, I'm going back to my Christmas Pinterest-ing and Christmas singing.
And I'm going to love every second of it.


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Wednesday Wisdom


I happened upon this gem the other night.
In a time when so many of us are looking for love (in all the wrong places?), this hit me. 
So many types of love. 
So many definitions. 
Ryan O'Connell hit it right on the spot. 


The People You Will Fall In Love With In Your Twenties
- Ryan O'Connell -  

You will fall in love with someone who annoys you, whose face looks and feels pathetic. Despite all of this, there’s something keeping you drawn to them, something that makes you want to protect them from the harsh world. What you fail to realize, however, is that you are the harsh world. You aren’t their noble protector — you are someone to be protected from but it takes a lot of dates, a lot of nights where you question whether or not you are actually a good person, for this to ever resonate with you. When it’s over and whatever love is left is put back in the fridge like a sad plate of leftovers, you will finally understand that you have the power to hurt someone. You can either hurt them or love them and it’s up to you to decide what kind of role you would like to take on in future relationships. What feels more comfortable — being the one who loves more or being the one who’s loved less?

You will fall in love with someone who’s cold and always seemingly pushing you away. When all is said and done, they will be forever known as the one person you couldn’t get to love you. Unfortunately, it will hurt and sting worse than the good ones, the ones that chopped up your meat for you and picked out an eyelash from your eye and were nice to your mother, because love often feels like a game we need to win. And when we lose, when we realize we couldn’t get what we ultimately desired from a person, it makes us feel like a failure and erases all the memories of those who loved us in the past. It’s a permanent smudge on your love resume.

You will fall in love with someone for one night and one night only. They’ll come to you when you need them and be gone in the morning when you don’t. At first, this will make you feel empty and you’ll try to convince yourself that you could’ve loved this person for longer than a night, but you can’t. Some people are just meant to make cameo appearances, some are destined to be a pithy footnote. That’s okay though. Not every person we love has to stick around. Sometimes it’s better to leave while you’re still ahead. Sometimes it’s better to leave before you get unloved.

You will fall in love with the old couple down the street because to you they represent the impossible: a stable, long-lasting love. You’re trying to get someone to like you for more than ten minutes. A monogamous “never get sick of ya” love seems unfathomable. “What’s your secret, sir? Do you just say yes a lot?”

You will fall in love with smells, the good and the bad kind. You will want to wear your lovers shirt because it makes you feel close to them and you’re okay with being that PSYCHO who is legitimately sniffing their shirt in public. You will fall in love with sweat, certain perfumes, the smell of the season in which you fell in love. This particular love smells like fall. It smells like Halloween and a roaring fire and leaves and fog and mist and candy and food and family and whiskey and sex and the lint that collects on sweaters. When it ends, if it ends, you will never experience another fall without thinking of him, her, it. The memories will stick to the ground like a mound of leaves and will only dissipate when the weather drops.

You will fall in love with your friends. Deep, passionate love. You will create a second family with them, a kind of tribe that makes you feel less vulnerable. Sometimes our families can’t love us all the time. Sometimes we’re born into families who don’t know how to love us properly. They do as much as they can but the rest is up to our friends. They can love you all the time, without judgement. At least the good ones can.

This is where I’m supposed to tell you that you will fall in love with The One, a person who isn’t too cold or too nice. Their “O” face is perfectly fine and they’re not afraid to show how much they love you. This person is supposed to wait for us at the end of the twenty-something road as some kind of reward for all the heartache and loneliness. We deserve them. We’ve earned this kind of love.

So fine. You’re going to fall in love with The One. You’re going to fall in love with someone who will make sense beyond college or a job or a particular season. They’ll make sense forever and won’t ever want to leave you behind. I’m telling you this not because it’s true but because it NEEDS to be true. Everyone is entitled to this kind of love, so why not? Have it. It’s yours. Blow out the candles on your 30th birthday, holding their hand, and let out an exhale that’s been waiting for ten years. Do it. Now.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Wednesday Wisdom

We're mixing things up today.
Rather than just a picture of a quote, you get a video!
Aren't you so happy?




The part I always focus on starts right around 1:16.
I've blogged about the memorable line before, but it is just so great.
And so huge for me to remember. 

Who knew Winnie-the-Pooh could get you through so much in life?

Sunday, October 7, 2012

General Conference

This is one of the two best weekends of the year.
General Conference is absolutely incredible.
I wish I could go back to slap 12-year-old me and get her to pay more attention.

I can't wait to have a family of my own with our special Conference traditions.
Breakfast and snacks, attention-keeping activities for the kiddos.
(ok, let's be real I just can't wait to have that family of my own for all the time)
We'll sing the intermediate hymns together in our living room.
If we live in Utah, I want to spend at least one session on Temple Square - whether inside the Conference Center, the Tabernacle, or just listening outside.
(Husband, if you're reading this, hope you're cool with all that)


(taken by my iPhone after the Saturday session)

Technology is incredible.
Not even 10 minutes after the morning session ended today, the entire thing was up online, ready to watch again. 
I love the ever-growing group of people who sit and tweet through the entire thing, sharing their thoughts and insights of the talks and music.
It is through these means my testimony has been strengthened and I have made great friends, though I've never met most of them in real life.
I never thought I would be saying I have a testimony of social media, but it's a really great thing.
Today we had topics and speakers trending worldwide. People everywhere could see what was going on as well as have the resources to join in themselves.

There were so many great talks this time around.
I particularly loved Elder Marcus B. Nash's talk on faith and Elder David A. Bednar's talk on testimony and conversion this afternoon. Elder Neil L. Andersen's talk yesterday was also really really great.
Sister Ann M. Dibb had a great talk yesterday morning.
(and with that, opened a whole new world for Relief Society craft night)
"I am a Mormon. Know it. Live it. Love it."

Add to that the announcement of a temple in my hometown. This is something everyone there has been waiting so anxiously for. Such a blessing!
And the change of age rules for missionaries!
Shows just how ready the world is for what we have to teach.
I can't find a video to just embed here, but watch the announcements HERE. SO great. I cried. A whole lot. And again every time I thought about it.

It's sad to me we only get this opportunity every six months.
But at the same time, we probably wouldn't appreciate it as much...?
I can't wait to take the things I learned this weekend and put them into practice over the next few months.

The Church is true. The Gospel is great. That's all I need to know.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

October Love


Crisp air & crunchy leaves
Salted caramel hot chocolate
BIRTHDAY! 
(because you’re never too old for birthdays - 
it's on the 25th, in case you were wondering ;)
Apples – in any form
Soup
pumpkin & cinnamon & spice
Yellow & orange & red
Baseball playoffs
The start of basketball season
The prime of football season
Cardigans
Boots
Tights
Sweats
Fall TV
The start of the 'holidays'
Pumpkins & corn stalks & hay bales

Wednesday Wisdom

DO
MORE OF
WHAT
MAKES YOU

HAPPY


Oh how true this is.

This week I changed my 'major' (are they still called that in grad school?) for the... fifth(?) time.
As we (the two guys I work with, etc.) started our old program, we were absolutely miserable.
It wasn't entirely what we expected, and definitely not what we loved.
We didn't fit in.
People didn't understand what we did or what we want to do.
We dealt with a lot of blank stares and silent judgement.
We weren't HAPPY.

As we toyed with the possibility of changing the plan, we were reminded that happiness is the biggest factor.
By just its name, maybe this new program won't seem as "legit," but it's us. It's a better fit.

We were lucky enough that they let us switch over mid-semester - classes and everything.
As we walked into the new class Monday night, it was an immediate confirmation of making the right decision.
People were excited to see us. They were people we already knew.
I took more notes in the first 45 minutes of that class than I had in 4 weeks of one of the old ones.
I had forgotten what it was like to actually enjoy being in school.

I am back to doing what makes me HAPPY.
Best feeling ever.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Wednesday Wisdom (Thursday Edition)

It's one of those days weeks, so this just really felt appropriate.
Sums up the way I've had to be in various situations this week.
(sorry Mom!)



That is all.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Wednesday Wisdom


In a talk at church on Sunday, a girl read the words to this song. 
Since then, I have not been able to get it out of my head. 
Each time I listen to it and/or read the lyrics, I cry. 
It was an answer to a prayer I didn't know I had. 

There have been times in my life that I have felt like something is wrong with me.
I've never really struggled with major temptations. 
Sure, there are the little things, but I've never had to worry about any of the BIG sins. 

As I've gone through college, I've seen how common issues like that are.
I've seen the Atonement in action in their lives as they work to fix their mistakes and come back to Christ. 

While it is an incredible thing to see, I have sometimes felt... jealous in a way. 
They experience the difference of the Spirit and the lack thereof. 
They come to truly appreciate the feeling. 

And then I realize that that's a stupid way to feel. 
Just because I haven't needed the redeeming powers of the Atonement like others may have doesn't mean Jesus Christ doesn't love me the same way. 
I can use the Atonement in other ways. 

I may not be one of the lost lambs, but that doesn't matter to Him. 

I am still one of His. 

And now I can't see anymore because I'm crying again, so just listen to it and read the words.
The parts in purple are my favorite parts.




I am one of the ninety and nine
I’m not perfect but basically I’m doing fine
I have not lost my way, I have not gone astray
I’m just one of the ninety and nine
I am here in the heart of the fold
I’m not mindless but I try to do as I’m told
I’m not tempted to run and become the lost one
I am here in the heart of the fold

So why is my shepherd coming this way toward me
He’s holding his arms out and he’s calling my name
Yes he’s calling my name! But how, how can this be?

I’m just one of the ninety and nine
I have stumbled and fallen, but I’ve kept in line
I’m not one he must seek; I’m not all that unique
I’m just one of the ninety and nine

So why is my shepherd treating me like a lost lamb?
He’s searching to find me
And he’s holding me now, yes, he’s holding me now
And teaching me who I am

So why am I feeling like I’m the only one here
It’s like I’m his favorite
And he takes me aside, and he sweetly confides
These remarkable words in my ear

You are one of the ninety and nine
Have you any idea how brightly you shine?
You are safe in this fold, and it’s time you are told
That I know where you’ve been so I know where you’ll be
Because all of your life you’ve been following me
You are more than just one of the sands of the sea
Or just one of the ninety and nine

You are mine, you are mine, you are mine
You are mine

I am one of the ninety and nine.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Fall in Logan


First things first, push play. Then continue scrolling.



Did you push play? 

Ok. Go.


For the beauty of the earth,
For the beauty of the skies.


For the love which from our birth
Over and around us lies.


Lord of all to thee we raise,
This our hymn of grateful praise.



For the beauty of each hour,
Of the day and of the night.



Hill and vale and tree and flower,
Sun and moon and stars of light.


Lord of all to thee we raise,
This our hymn of grateful praise.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Wednesday Wisdom

Now, obviously my choice isn't going to be a margarita, but I just like the logic of this.

You don't have to do everything.
Slow down.
Take a break.
Sometimes it's worth getting behind.

Sit down.
Drink a beverage of your choice.
Watch an episode (or whole disc) of your favorite tv show.
Get a good night's sleep.

And THEN get up and get things done.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Friday, August 31, 2012

Growing Up

Growing up is a funny thing.

The first week of school is always a huge party.
There are events every day and night, encouraging students to get out and get involved from the beginning.
In past years, I wouldn't have missed any of these things.
For the first three years of college I was in the middle of it all, planning and executing the events.

This week, I was so busy with work and you know, starting grad school, that I didn't go to a single thing.
A younger version of me would have panicked.
This version?
Didn't even notice.

I spent the week at work.
I came home each night just wanting to be done with people.
Tonight?
Earlybird dinner with my grandparents and a Meg Ryan/Tom Hanks marathon by myself.
Best kind of night.


Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Wednesday Wisdom

Since I missed last week I was planning to double up today, but then I just couldn't make up my mind.
I promise this series won't always be church-y things, but today it was necessary.

Tonight I'm going to the open house for the new Brigham City Temple.
(if you want to know more about temples and why we have them, go HERE)

Anyway. I absolutely love the temple.
So here are some bits of wisdom from church leaders about the beauty of these sacred buildings.
All the photos are mine (thank you, iPhone).




"I know your lives are busy. I know that you have much to do. 
But I make you a promise that if you will go to the house of the Lord, 
you will be blessed; life will be better for you."

—Gordon B. Hinckley 





"You are never lost when you can see the temple. 
The temple will provide direction for you 
and your family in a world filled with chaos.
 It is an eternal guidepost which will help you from 
getting lost in the 'mist of darkness.'"

—Gary E. Stevenson






"As we touch the temple and love the temple, our lives will reflect our faith.
As we go to the holy house, as we remember the covenants we make therein,
we will be able to bear every trial and overcome each temptation."

—Thomas S. Monson





“I plead with you to be worthy, to be steadfast, 
and to look forward with great anticipation to the day 
you will receive the ordinances and blessings of the temple."

—David A. Bednar 



"Everything that occurs in the temple is uplifting and ennobling. 
It speaks of life here and life beyond the grave. 
It speaks of the importance of the individual as a child of God. 
It speaks of the importance of the family and 
the eternity of the marriage relationship."


—Gordon B. Hinckley





"Prepare now for the temple, the mountain of the Lord. 
Never allow the goal of the temple to be out of your sight. 
Walk into His presence in purity and virtue, and receive His blessings.'"

—Elaine S. Dalton


Tuesday, August 14, 2012

On Being Me

I've never been one to really struggle with image issues.
Or at least I didn't think so.
But over the last few days, I've realized just how happy I am with myself.

This year I've put a lot of effort into me.
I work out consistently.
I eat out less.
I sleep more.
I put more effort into getting ready.

This summer, I can honestly say I walk out the door feeling pretty each morning.
Tonight as I put gas in my car, I caught a glimpse of myself in the window.
Even in an old tank top and short, hair not done after a shower and all, I was HAPPY with what I saw.

Like I said, these are things I didn't know I was missing.
And now that they're there, I like it.

I'm more confident.
I just. feel. good.

I'm in a great place right now.
I have great friends.
I absolutely LOVE my job.
I've got a lot coming up, and I can't wait to see what this year holds.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

.....
I can't sleep.
I have an early day ahead and I can't fall asleep.
My mind is spinning, yet blank. All at the same time.

Almost a year ago, I received a terrible phone call. A phone call that caused me to think about things and deal with emotions I never imagined having to deal with at that point in my life.

The death of a friend.

Today, the situation was all too familiar.
A familiarity I wasn't fond of.

As I scrolled through Facebook as I left work, I came across an awful sentence informing me that this sweet, talented, kind-hearted boy had left this Earth.

I didn't know details at that point, but in that instant, so many emotions came flooding back.

Denial. Surely this was a mistake.
Anger. Of all people, not him.
Sadness. Instant tears as I climbed into my car.

I didn't know Kris extremely well. But I loved him. He was always quick to greet you with a warm, genuine smile. He wanted to know about your life. He cared completely.

The last time I saw Kris was a couple weeks ago while I was at dinner with my grandparents. He was working at Golden Corral that night, and just so happened to be our server. We chatted, I introduced him to my grandparents, we had a good time. Each time he walked away after filling out drinks or taking an empty plate, my grandma would say something kind about him. How great she could tell he was in just that minor interaction.

I never imagined that would be the last conversation I would have with him.

.....

In times like these though, I realize how grateful I am for the things I know.
The things about life.
The things about death.
The things about forever.

You will be missed Kris.
You touched countless people.
Our campus, our world, our lives won't be the same without you.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Wednesday Wisdom

My sweet friend Clarissa has a weekly blog feature that she calls Wednesday Wisdom.
I find myself looking forward to Wednesdays to see what sort of advice she has to share.
Today I decided that I'm going to (attempt to) do the same thing.

In honor of the Olympics going on, I figured we'd start with this one.



"The most important thing in the Olympic Games 
is not winning but taking part; 
the essential thing in life 
is not conquering but fighting well."

- Pierre de Coubertin (founder of modern Olympic Games)

Monday, July 30, 2012

Find Your Greatness

So here's the thing. I love the Olympics.
Anyone who knows me probably knows that.
I love everything about the whole two weeks.
One of my very favorite parts is the emotion and heart that goes into all of it.
I love how much the world just stops and revolves around the athletes and the games.

This year, there are a significantly high number of commercials and stuff that hit me HARD.
Like, I start crying more than is probably normal.
Here are a few of my favorites.


Ok, I'll stop now. 
Somewhat related... Someday, I hope to make it through a medal ceremony without becoming a hot-mess of tears. I just love it. It doesn't even matter what country it is, or who's winning said medal.
But when they hug the people next to them. 
They look up at their parents and coaches in the stands who have helped them through so much. 
They get the medal placed around their neck. 
Their national anthem starts to play and they follow their flag as it raises to the ceiling. 
They start to sing along. 
They cry.
They realize just what this moment really means.
I love it. 
So so so much.

Here's to another 15 days of runny mascara and perma-headaches. 

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Missionary Letters

So my little brother is currently serving a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I set up a blog specifically for posting his emails, letters, address, etc. but I decided that sometimes I'll share them here too.

Today is his first day in the mission field after being in the MTC for two and a half weeks.
He's serving in Rochester, New York which encompasses a huge part of the important sites in church history. He's only been there for 48 hours and has already had some incredible experiences being in places that got the church going (the Smith farm, the Sacred Grove, etc.). Reading this email made me so incredibly jealous! These are places that are high on my list of places to go in life.

Anyway, here's the link to the post on that blog, http://brackenallen.blogspot.com/2012/07/july-25-letter.html. Check it out and follow along for the next two years!

Here are some of the highlights though:

"We went to the Whitmer farm and a few other random places, eventually ending at the Smith farm. After walking around and listening to the history behind everything, we went up to the second floor bedroom of the Smith house, the same room where the Angel Moroni visited Joseph! It's funny, because in the paintings of this scene, Joseph always seems to be in solitude, but yet all of his brothers actually slept in that same tiny room with him. Just before we left, we had a testimony meeting with the six new elders, two new sisters, and President Christianson and his wife and grandson. How many people get to start their missions with a testimony meeting where Joseph Smith first heard of the Book of Mormon?"

"The next stop was the Sacred Grove. We walked in and learned about a lot of the area. It's cool, because there is a section of the grove that went through multiple families after the Smith's sold it, but none of them ever felt comfortable altering it for farming. There are actually some trees that are 240 years old, which President Christianson calls "Witness Trees." Eventually, President Christianson had all of us split up and go to our own parts of the grove where we had 20 minutes on our own to do whatever we felt we should. What an incredible experience! Each year, we'll also have a zone conference in the grove. Who can claim that one??"

"200 years ago, a fourteen year old boy was confused about which church to join. Even his parents had different beliefs as far as which church was the truth. One day, while reading the Bible, he found in James a call to pray about any concern we may have. He followed up on this invitation and went into a solitary place. As he prayed, our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ appeared to him, in person, and instructed him to not join any of the churches, that they were all confused, and that Joseph needed to help Jesus Christ bring back the gospel He established when He was on Earth. This gospel is based on faith, repentance, baptism by immersion, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end. All of this was only possible because of Christ's Atonement. Finally, the ability for us to take full advantage of the Atonement through all the principles and ordinances of His gospel were again on Earth! Finally, we could live with our Father in Heaven, again! I can hardly imagine the joy our Savior must have felt to know that the same suffering He, himself, was nervous about undertaking (Luke 22:42) was going to be used again. His Father's "work and His glory" would again be possible. I'm so happy to play my part in letting my Father's "mission statement" (Moses 1:39) be possible."

You guys. All this from a 19-year-old kid. Who'd have thought!?