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, 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!?

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

My Kind of Research

I love my fountain Diet Cokes. No secret there.
The hard part is deciding where to go for it every day.
This morning as I filled up a cup, I decided it was time to figure this all out.

I will take each convenience store I frequent and score it in a variety of categories and see who the winner really is.

12th East and 14th North
Proximity: 9
On my way to work if I choose to go that way. I have to go up to that street anyway, so I generally do it earlier rather than later to stop by here.
Quality: 8
Sometimes the soda is a little flat...
Straws/Cups: 7
The long straws are wide enough, but I hate long straws. The short ones are too thin though. The cups have been... inconsistent. A lot of the time they are really thin and flimsy so don't last very long to be used for refills.
Price: 9
Just $1.06 for a 44 oz!
Customer service: 7
Seems to depend on what time I'm there. The one guy is not the happiest camper, but one of the other employees is a lot more pleasant.
Total: 40

Aggie Station
8th East and 14th North
Proximity: 10
Always on my way to work.
Quality: 7
It tends to be a little too light on the syrup and sometimes overly carbonated
Straws/Cups: 7
Price: 6
It's like $1.40-something for a 44 oz. and refills cost almost as much as a new one at other places.
Customer service: 5
The lady who works mornings is kind of a snot. She's very abrupt and coarse.
Total: 35 

4th North and Main Street
Proximity: 6
Definitely the furthest away of all the places I tend to go.
Quality: 9
They got new machines a few weeks ago, and with that came the increase in awesomeness.
Straws/Cups: 9
For one, you get the choice between a paper or plastic cup and the straws have the perfect height and width ratio.
Price: 8
$1.20ish for a 44 oz., but they do monthly deals so sometimes certain sizes/cups are cheaper.
Customer service: 9
Everyone I've encountered is very friendly and seems to enjoy being there. They remember their regulars.
Bonus points: Fresh limes, attractive male cashiers and a drive-through!
Total: 44

7th North and Main Street
Proximity: 7
Quality: 10
Seriously, you can't beat McDonald's Diet Coke.
Straws/Cups: 8
If it were just the straws, this section would get a full 10. The downfall comes from the fact that the biggest you can go is a 32 oz.
Price: 10
$1 baby! You can't beat that.
Customer service: 6
It's McDonald's. Let's be real. It's full of teenage kids and other people who really have no desire to be there. However, because of that, you're through the line real quick
Total: 41

Proximity: 10
Right on campus
Quality: 6
Always flat and sometimes too syrup-y
Straws/Cups: 7
They only have paper cups, so they aren't as durable. The straws are the perfect height, but too narrow.
Price: 7
$1.35 for a new 44 oz., but refills are 90 cents, and on Friday, new ones are just 60 cents.
Customer service: 8
I'm friends with a lot of the people who work there, and they get to know their regular customers. However, there have been times I feel like I've had to wait an unnecessarily long time to check out. 
Total: 38

And there you have it. Cold, hard facts. You can't argue with this kind of science.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Life Lately

It's been awhile, eh?
Hello old friends. (whoever of you read this...)

A lot has happened lately, but at the same time I feel like nothing is going on.
My day-to-day life is boring and uneventful.
I go to work. And then the gym. And then home. And stay there.
Then do it all again the next day.
So hey, if you do fun things, invite me! :)

The biggest thing these last couple of weeks is that Little Brother (no, not the dog from Mulan...) is on his mission!! (click HERE if you don't know what that means)

It was such a surreal experience to drop him off...
We went to lunch, then over to the temple to say all the goodbyes and stuff. 
It was raining and cold. Which was kind of convenient, because then you couldn't tell what were tears and what were raindrops on everyone's faces. 
In some ways, it hasn't actually set in yet that he's gone. 
There are moments I go to text him little things and remember I can't. 
But that's about it so far. 
He's doing the right thing, and that's all that matters. 

He's been great about writing so far (you know, that whole week and a half he's been gone), and I post things he writes on his blog. 
If you want to keep tabs on him, follow me there too! 

That's basically it. 
An update of sorts, right? 
One of these days I'll get back to being good at the blogging game.