Friday, April 29, 2011

The Wind Outside

I've spent a lot of my day looking at images and videos from the tornadoes that hit too close to my home in Ohio, and other areas near family members, and way too close to the homes that were destroyed by those monsters, so it seems silly to mention something so insignificant...

...But, there is a storm rolling in (I'm told there will be snow) and the wind is blowing hard. I don't have any music going and the only sounds besides the clacking of keys on my keyboard and the hum of my computer's fan, is the rush of the wind and whatever is getting blown around. It seems to be made of plastic. There is also a metal hinge out there, and I'm > this close < to going outside to make sure that our basketball hoop hasn't toppled over.

At least I know that it didn't hit a car - that would have made a much larger noise.

I love going to sleep when there is a storm rolling in, it's soothing somehow. Or, it is living in Utah where the chances of tornadoes are slim. Regardless, I know that they will probably visit my dreams tonight.

My heart and prayers goes out to those affected by the tornadoes and massive flooding. From what I understand, most people had only 10 minutes or so to find shelter/cover before the tornadoes were directly on top of them. I've been in tornado watches (or warnings? I can never remember...) but they were never really that scary.

How very quickly our lives can change.

I'm going to bed, leaving the mess - caused by the wind blowing so hard through the windows - from my blinds toppling over my cute pottery dish and piggy bank. The pig survived. The dish did not. I haven't inspected too closely the damage to know if the shards can be glued together.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Administrative Professional's Day

I read a webpage somewhere that recommended a boss celebrate Administrative Professional's Day because his admin/secretary/assistant looks forward to it as much as an anniversary or birthday.

I kind of laughed at that, because the majority of us know that as an admin, the day probably wouldn't be celebrated without a little bit of probing and subtle (or not-so-subtle) reminders. Or maybe it is just like that in my office where I am mostly the only girl at work.

Regardless, I was surprised when Peggy waltzed in with a little gift. She got me something last year, too, but this year I wasn't as pushy about the reminders and the office is almost empty today. So I didn't expect anything.

The vase is beautiful! And I love tulips (there are a few in the arrangement). I hate having to draw attention to this day and say "GIVE ME PRESENTS!" But... I love presents! And it is nice to feel like an appreciated member of the team. I am really grateful for my job and where I have been working for the last year and a half.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Graduation Regrets

A lot of my friends, and some of my facebook friends (which is sad that they are categorized differently) graduated this spring. That means that a lot of pictures of graduation have popped up and I have clicked through everyone with their family and friends as they proudly display their cap and gown and tassel.

In August, I graduated and I chose not to walk. I still don't regret not sitting through commencement and listening to long speeches about things that probably don't apply to me...

But I do regret not having those pictures.

Of course, after a minute of feeling bad because I don't have the pictures, I realize that 1) I didn't have any friends that graduated with me. Because I didn't have any friends in my program. It took way too long for me to graduate, and by the time I was done, the few friends that I had made along the way had either graduated already or they were on a mission. And 2) I don't know who of my family would have been around to proudly stand next to the newest college grad. My parents definitely wouldn't have been there, not my siblings, and how can I ask aunts and uncles and grandparents to sit through a long ceremony? I couldn't get up the excitement to do it for myself.

Anyway, I do regret not having the pictures. I do not regret not going. I went to my high school graduation, and after my "best" friend had bailed on me, I sat next to a girl that I didn't know well, and had a perfectly miserable time. I didn't have a lot of pictures taken then, either. I didn't want to repeat the whole process. The big difference was, I did have grandparents and parents and siblings who came to support me.

So that isn't really even the major graduation regret that I have. I look at my friend Colin, who really did the whole college experience the right way. I mean, he did the resume-padding, internships, work-on-campus, have relationships with your professors, volunteer work, etc. etc.

I did none of that.

That's probably the huge difference and the reason why he has gotten a job in Arizona, in his field, no less, and I am still in Provo... not even close to geography.

As much as I love geography - and I really, really REALLY love geography - sometimes, I think how much better it would have been if I had thought to be an English major, or stayed in graphic design, or actually worked towards the teaching program.

I should have done a great many of things when I was at BYU, and I definitely have regrets about it. I guess it makes sense that those would last up until the very end.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Chicken Chicken

I didn't do anything, really, that I was planning to do today.

I was going to wake up early and get to work on time. I put set my alarm clock close to my head and turned the volume up really loud, and checked and double checked the volume, station and location to make sure that nothing would foil my plans.

Turns out, the closer the alarm is to you, the closer the snooze button is.

I did go to lunch with the FTC. We tried a new restaurant in Orem. I was going to order the honey shrimp salad and like it. Instead, I got the seafood tacos and was super disappointed. Milagros is not a restaurant I would recommend. They claim to be Mexican, but there is nothing really Mexican about the food. It is baja at best, and just gross at worst. The salsa is "meh" and they are really, really expensive for a lunch.

I was going to clean my room (Yes, I did put it off from yesterday when I also said I was going to clean... I got half my room cleaned yesterday and gave up because I had an FHE meeting).

I was going to get my oil changed in my car.

I was going to take plans/specs to FedEx to be mailed.

I did take the stamp that I ruined last week to be replaced. And I did, eventually, finish the proposal I have been sort of working on all week long.

But I was also going to pack for my trip to Idaho this weekend. Stop by the library and get a book on tape.

But I didn't do any of that. I did experience what Wes calls "Chicken Chicken". Or, what I just call, being slap-happy or drunken tiredness. You know the feeling when you are so tired/exhausted that everything is funny, you can't process file folders on the computer or think rationally... Or, for example, you are dumbfounded by your coworker when he hands you the jump drive to save a file on it and you stare at the keychain, confused as to how and where the USB port actually is.

For the record, the USB connect is not on the keychain at all, it is the jump drive attached to the keychain and dangling by your hand.

I wonder if the cover we designed will look as good in the morning as we thought it did at 11:30 p.m. tonight? I hope so. I hope that I gave grumpy-guy the right directions on how to put the proposals together. I don't think I was too Chicken Chicken to have messed it up - but, I was really thrown off by how negative and mean the guy was being to me when I dropped it off!

Yes, it is almost midnight! Yes, I want these to be done before I wake up in the morning! And NO! I don't care if you have a hundred other projects going on. Why does he have to be so negative about it? I know that he can get it done in time. Why doesn't he think he can? I really, really hope that they don't mess it up.

Why don't people understand that they cater to my whims?

Anyway, it is late now and I am feeling a little wired. Something about the cold night air woke me up. I wish they had a 24-hour oil changing place...

Someone remind me that I have stamps at Staples to pick up in the morning... as well as the proposals at Kinkos, hopefully.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Ambition: Dead

Every once in a while I get this great spurt of ambition. I want to change everything about my life. Move somewhere exotic (like, Texas, or something), change jobs, buy a house, go back to school, pay off all my credit cards, travel, take up furniture building, painting, upholstery, quilting and clothes designing, on top of joining a gym/hiring a personal trainer, etc. etc. etc.

And then I get smacked in the face by reality (read: my bank account) and I realize that I will probably be treading water for some time before anything really amazing can happen. Because all of that takes money.

That's the thing about making money and then paying bills. It leaves absolutely nothing to be saved, and what extra pennies I do scrape by with, it will take years and years to actually pay for any of that. Because a bunch of saved pennies is not even enough to buy a bolt of fabric in order to do upholstery or quilting.

And then I get all restless and claustrophobic.... and end up sulking in my house.

At least tonight when I sulk, I'll be cleaning too.

At least? Yeah, cleaning is some sort of magic consolation prize. Woot.

Is anybody else thinking it's funny that I had this burst of ambition today, on 4/20? Seems ironic, some how.


For one of my fine arts credits at Edison, I took pottery.  Ceramics I and Ceramics II: Hand-building and The Wheel. I think they were both half semester classes that lasted two or three hours long.

It was one of the greatest college courses I have ever taken. There is something so therapeutic about throwing clay around and kneading out all the air. I can remember almost every project I made in that class. Some were a bit better than others. I still have the pinch pot I made... it was one of the firsts, and would have looked significantly better if I had learned some of the techniques I learned just a few projects later.

My favorite was my teapot. I have no idea where it is. Probably crushed somewhere in storage.

I took the class with my friend Sabrina and another kid from my high school. Our teacher was Jim Wanzel, local ceramics pro and genuine hippie. He told us the craziest stories about stabbing people with pencils and how he was sure the neighbors were abusing their dogs. I'm pretty sure he had been arrested more than once, and maybe in prison a time or two... I can't remember for sure. He was a very easy going teacher, though, and I enjoyed his methods of teaching. I think we only had to write one two-page paper, and there was never any homework assignments, except maybe one vocabulary sheet, and the lectures were always spent in front of the clay.

I think our projects were our finals. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.

I liked that Sabrina and I could go in and change the 80s boombox stereo he had sitting in the other room to whatever station we chose. Well, Sabrina was particularly adamant that we choose 103.9 (I think) the... (what kind of music is it...) hard rock, screaming-type music. Of course, it was where I was introduced to Seven Nation Army, by the White Stripes, which is still a favorite for me today. We turned it up as loud as we wanted and no one in our class and certainly not Jim, ever told us to turn it down or try another station. 

We were allowed to do a few free-thought projects, where we could do whatever we wanted. Now I spent my time creating the cutest little turkey (recently shattered turkey... so sad) for Thanksgiving. After all, there are not nearly enough Thanksgiving decorations in the world.

While I was working on my turkey, other members of our class were working on much more interesting projects. One lady was making ceramic pieces that each had a hole at the top, where they could be strung up into a mobile. The pieces were in the shapes of a joint, a pot leaf and various other drug paraphernalia. Another person, I'm pretty sure, was creating a ceramic bong. I could be wrong... after all, this was some eight years ago, and I'm pretty positive that Sabrina, the other guy and myself were the most talented in the class. I don't know if there was anyone really skilled enough, besides Jim, that could pull it off.
But this I do know: I learned about the very special (and very superfluous) holiday of 4.20. Jim didn't seem to mind what his students were creating.

I wouldn't be surprised to learn that he had mastered the ceramic drug paraphernalia long ago...although he doesn't have anything advertised on his website (that I just found). Even more, I wouldn't be surprised to learn that he and these particular students did a little "pot throwing" after hours.

I really do miss ceramics, though and I would love to get back behind the wheel and try my hand at creating another mug or bowl or something. I wasn't particularly talented at it, but 16 weeks isn't really enough time to really develop a skill.... sigh. I don't know when I will ever have access to a kiln again in my life.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Just... the best day!

Yesterday it rained practically the whole day. The street outside my office was flooding! Usually when it is so dreary, I do not like to be at work. I prefer to be tucked in my bed sleeping or reading a book. But yesterday, it was fine.

It probably helped that my dad called with some news. I knew that he knew I was at work, so I figured he wasn't calling to just waste time, even if it was around his lunch hour. He told me that I had some mail, and he wasn't sure what it was - though it was probably junk mail. I told him to open it, and immediately he started reading this:

When I received the news (over the phone) that I was accepted in to BYU, I cried. When my dad read me this, I was practically jumping out of my chair! I had submitted a story to Women's World, knowing that it was a long shot.

According to the magazine, and several blogs dedicated to romance writers wanting to make a little money on the side, millions of submissions go through Bauer Publishing every year. But I submitted, knowing that I was only putting out a few stamps worth of effort, and then almost forgot about it.

Occasionally, I would think about how I hadn't heard from them. I figured that they probably didn't like it. The story is a little different than most of the stories I have read in the magazine, and they probably didn't want to publish it in their magazine. I submitted in December (on my mom's birthday) and only heard back yesterday! But it was so worth the wait!

The best part, for me - besides the fact that I just made a little extra money and can now be considered a real published author (maybe) - is the little handwritten note at the bottom telling me that the story is "unusual and authentic".

I don't know for sure if they will publish the story, but they are buying it from me so they can publish it whenever they want. They can also edit it as they want.... I'll be interested to see what they do to it. I hope that this is just the beginning of my writing.... and that there will be plenty of stories that get accepted by Woman's World, and maybe a successful novel or two. It might be too much to ask, but while I'm riding this high, I'm going to go with the idea that it is a definite possibility!

I was giddy with the news - I told everyone. Or, I tried to tell everyone... When I told my boss that I had good news, he jumped the gun, asked if I was engaged and then told me he would be sad if my engagement took me away from the office. Once I explained that I was not, in fact, engaged, he got distracted...Oh, well.

I was overwhelmed with the congratulations that I got (even if it was a bit solicited) and so thankful that everyone is as excited for me as I am for myself! It's so nice, so THANK YOU, everyone! This is also probably a good time to mention my gratitude to Suesan and Meghan, who helped edit the story before I submitted it. (You two are the best!)

After work, the rain had stopped and Meghan and I drove up to Salt Lake for dinner and a movie. On the way up, we saw a rainbow, which just added to the magic of the day. The food at La Hacienda is really, really good. And we watched the new version of Jane Eyre at this little Indie theater. I am still not sure how I felt about it.... if anyone wants to watch Jane Eyre, I will recommend the Masterpiece Theater version. It is much better.

From everything else that is going on, it sounds like several of my friends received good news yesterday, too. So it was just such a great day!

Addendum No. 1 - Trying to be Obedient

Item No. 1 - As a matter of clarification, the idea of giving away baked goods as a means of "flirting" or "meeting someone" deserves to be mocked. Melissa and I were mocking - in every sense of the word - on our Sunday activity previously reported.

Item No. 2 - Not only did we go in to this project knowing that it was silly and would definitely be unsuccessful, but we glammed it up, jazzed it out and made it so incredible that even had the boys opened the doors to us, they would have found us either hilarious (because we are) or ridiculous (because they don't understand us). If I had had my way, Melissa and I would have put our hair in pigtails and ribbons and smacked our bubblegum as we talked to anyone we ran in to.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Take the Hint

Dear Annoying Subcontractor:

You have called nearly everyday for going on two weeks. I'm sorry that he hasn't called you back, but asking me if he's received your daily messages is insulting.

I've done my job. He knows that you've called numerous times. Even though I don't want to, I've written down your name, number and vague message every day you call. It's getting harder and harder not to mention your message without a roll of the eyes and a little disdain in my voice. You're lucky he's gotten your messages! He's been out of the office almost every day for as long as you've been calling.

We approved your product. We don't need to hear about how great it is. Get over yourself, and don't call again. PLEASE!

Obviously my boss is just not that into you, or he would have called you back after the first message.


Office Manager (not your personal secretary)

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Trying to be Obedient

Over the last few months, our ward (now the Provo Utah Young Single Adult Ward #142... I think), has been talking about dating and marriage. I have been rather critical of some of the advice that we have been given... mostly because I don't consider those that are delivering the advice as being credible sources for dating tips.

(Sorry, anyone who met their significant other in junior high or high school did not have the same experience that a ward with an average age of 25-26 is currently experiencing in dating. In fact, I would venture to say that they really have no clue as to what we are going through.)

Anyway, one of the things that we were told in the dating panel - and subsequently since then - is that we should make cookes or baked goods to the guys that we like!

Melissa and I had a hard time figuring out what guys we actually wanted to deliver our baked goods to, but once we decided we set off. We walked because it was SUCH a beautiful day today. We walked and walked and realized that being on foot is a much different perspective than being in the car, so we turned around (because we had missed the street we needed by two blocks) and headed to the house we wanted.

We could see one of the guys laying on the couch. We could also hear him: snoring. He didn't seem to hear our knock. There was rustling in the bushes, and we were worried about leaving treats on the doorstep to the critters, but we wanted to leave it behind, so we left it on the window sill and headed home. We had struck out.

I wish we could have seen their faces. The cards that we had made were gems. GEMS, I TELL YOU! Fluorescent paper, stick people with torn paper pants... and a lovely little note. I ended up leaving a Facebook note to one of the guys to let him know where to find the treats, and then...that was the end.

We tried to deliver the other plate to another apartment, but no one answered. We tried again a few hours later, and no one answered. We tried a third time to text and see if they were home: no one answered.

So.... we struck out again.

I guess delivering baked goods is harder to do than I thought. Maybe the ultimate goal only comes if you are successful in delivering it and adding a little flirty banter to the delivery; but, this time I highly doubt that anything will come out of delivering baked goods to boys.

Probably because it only works in high school.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Seven Peeps

Welcome to Seven Peeps! The most popular water park in town for the most righteous Peeps out there!

Boasting a wicked water slide and awesome pool - it is bound to attract all sorts of chicks and fowl!


Every Peep will agree, the water slide is a MUST DO before you get old and stale!

Everyone deserves a little time to relax!
Created by these guys.

Peep slayer.

Chez Peep

Entering Chez Peep
" Écouter Welcome to Chez Peep, the finest restaurant for the most fashionable Peeps this season."
I am Rene Petit, and will be your waiter this evening.
We are delighted to offer several specials this evening. Master Phillipe has already decided. Unfortunately, his wife Marguerite is quite indecisive.
Indecisive she may be, but she is certainly one of the most fashionable ladies here this evening. You would do well to introduce yourself to her before you leave.
Marguerite's brother-in-law, Monsieur Laroche has also joined us this evening. He is very well-liked, and I think that you will agree, has the finest taste out of everyone here - whether it be food or style, he is someone to be emulated. 
His wife, on the other hand, wouldn't know style if it clipped her wings. That purple pom-pom on her head is so last season! If only she had followed Mademoiselle Aimee, and worn the pom-poms around her waist, she would be more in style. Honestly, I don't know how Mr. Laroche puts up with the vulgarity. I might add, Phillipe is looking rather dashing. (I hear that Madam Laroche has been trying to get her beak in to Phillipe for some time, but he is absolutely enamored with his own wife, that he has not noticed. It is really, rather sweet. But as I've already mentioned - once his mind is made up, it is made up!
Of course, Monsieur Laroche is well-aware of his wife's attempt at betrayal. Do not fear, he has her well under control. After all, he is the one that knows her favorite dish at Chez Peep!
Mademoiselle Cherie is a favorite, obviously, as she is the daughter of the owner. Her favorite dish is what you see before you. It is a pasta... well, needless to say, something worth trying. But!...
...You shouldn't stand here all day. Please let me escort you to your table.
Au revoir! Please come again!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Sugar Ray

If you remember this video, this song or more importantly, this band, then you will understand why Becca and I were so excited to catch them in concert - for free.

Sugar Ray was at the Riverwoods on Saturday night. I was late, of course, and so I missed a lot of the show. I pulled up and parked and When Its Over was playing, I heard some girl say that "some weird Sugar Ray karaoke" was going on. I wonder if she ever figured out that, No, that really was Mark McGrath.

I think I missed most of their original songs. They played a few songs that weren't theirs. And then they did a lot of weird clips (Mark McGrath is a HUGE Will Ferrell fan, to the point where he played a whole song in cow bell) and even longer thank you speeches. He invited two kids up on stage and made them dance around and sing... which was annoying, because they weren't good and they weren't cool.

I'm positive he was on something.

It was pretty cold... but after a while of jumping around in the crowd, and singing and shouting to our heart's content we warmed up.

Sugar Ray planned their exit rather perfectly. They saved Fly for the last song, and then at the very end, a firework show started behind the crowd. There was no time to demand an encore, and they disappeared from stage.

Of course, the whole firework thing was ruined by them playing Katy Perry... I hate her. The concert took a turn into a Mob Dance Party, and that was pretty awesome.

I love 90s music.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

You know that feeling?

You know that feeling when someone walks in to the building and his presence just seems to loom over you, even when he is in a completely different room - but definitely, when he is standing right over your shoulder?

You know that feeling that starts in your guts - it feels like your stomach is plummeting over and over and over again, as if there were depths in there that you had no idea existed, but it isn't really an uncomfortable feeling... in fact, even coupled with a slightly accelerated - or racing, whatever - heart, it's not altogether a bad feeling at all.

You know that feeling of quiet, unadulterated shock that sends a pool of blood straight to your cheeks when someone says something you weren't ever expecting?

Oh! I wish I could have turned that shock into something witty and great, but I never can. I just sit there and grin like an idiot - no responses, no quips... no looks. I don't know how to respond to this kind of teasing.

Especially when it is in front of my boss.

But even after the embarrassment, the nervousness and intimidation, I can't help but smile. Because, after all, it's that feeling. The one that suggests something could happen if you let it. The one that places all your fears at the edge of the cliff, waiting for you to just push them out of the way.

And it's been a while since I felt it.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

General Conference - Sunday Session

If anybody wondered why I had notes from Saturday and not Sunday (I'm sure you didn't, really) never fear! I have Sunday notes, I just didn't take them on the computer. Which, of course, means that I was more selective about what I wrote down. I can't write as fast as I type, so I missed a lot of really, really good lessons and inspiring messages.

Plus, I'm not too ashamed to admit that I was mildly distracted by one of the cutest babies of my acquaintance. 

Owen Cook - 1 year old (tomorrow!)

I guess it is lucky that we will be studying these things in church for the next six months and have access to them online and in the Ensign.

Morning Session

Dieter F. Uchtdorf
Testimony isn't what it used to be (like the experiences recorded in the scriptures). If we are waiting on the road to Damascus - if we are looking for the Heavens to open - then we will be detained in gaining our own testimony. We need to move forward with faith. The Spirit speaks in ways that we can only hear in our hearts.

If we are only thinking of ourselves, we may miss the most powerful spiritual experiences. We may miss some of the most profound revelations.

He entrusts the truth with those who would share it. "Preach the gospel at all times, and on occasion - use words."

Paul V. Johnson
Earth life is the perfect place to experience and pass the tests of life. Personal growth is the intent of trials.

Being "good" is not enough. We want to become like the Savior - who was perfect.

The darkest, most dangerous, events bring breathtaking and marvelous blessings.

David A. Bednar
The Spirit of Revelation is likened unto a sunrise, the gradual process of the sin rising. There is evidence hours before the sun actually begins to rise. It is not always like going in and turning on the light in a dark room - where the second you flip the switch, you have instant light.

Some underestimate their spiritual capacity because they don't experience frequent, powerful revelations and marvelous manifestations.

President Thomas S. Monson
Temples are more than stone and mortar.

We must always have the temple in our sights, and do nothing that will bar us from its doors.

Afternoon Session

Richard G. Scott
A woman grows and is greatly influenced by expressions of love.

"Marriage provides a setting where you can overcome selfishness."

You will receive every promised blessing you are worthy to receive.

D. Todd Christofferson
God has high expectations for us. He wants us to experience ultimate joy. His role does not include being a butler - where we can summon and command at our will. He is not only a therapist, to go to and sit back and only listen.

God chastens the ones He loves; and if we willingly accept or seek correction, we may become perfect. God considers us worth the time and effort to correct.

Carl B. Pratt
The Lord remembers His promises when we pay our tithing. We should know the commandments, liken them unto us - and live them.

Lynn G. Robbins
To be and to do. If we do without being, we are hypocrites. If we are being without doing, it is a shortcoming.

"To Dos" are something that can be done and checked off; but "To Bes" are lists that are never done. We must continue to work on them.

C. Scott Grow
When we sin, Satan tells us we are lost. But we have the Atonement of Jesus Christ, to bring us back. He is never so far away that we cannot return to Him.

Jeffrey R. Holland
Conference brings mortal messengers with angelic messages - to "comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable." (Harold B. Lee, I think)

It's Easter! Time for a new blog!

I had my St. Patrick's Day blog up for too long, so I've spent the evening trying to get this together.
I love this new blog design! The pictures of Christ, the colors... it's all fantastic.
If it ever stops snowing, spring will be in full bloom... and spring in Utah is really pretty. I love when the mountains are still capped with pure, white snow, the skies are usually blue with white clouds and the part that isn't covered in snow, is green. I love the colors together! Then you add the tree buds and the flowers... I just love it. I can't wait until we get warmer weather.

I also love that Easter is at the end of the month this year. It will be perfect.

Now where's the paint thinner?

Most people probably don't get off work just before 8 p.m. and decide that they want to take on a full-on craft project.

This girl, pictured above, did just that.

After making a stop at D.I. where I picked up several picture frames, and then a trip to WalMart to get some shampoo and spray paint, I headed back home.

Because I had just gotten off work, I didn't realize how late it was, really, except for the fact that it was dark. Which totally foiled my plans for spray painting the frames .Only, not really, because I moved the project inside.

I know that spray painting in the house is probably not the best idea, but as I said, it was already dark and it was starting to rain! There was no way I was going to get anything done if I tried to stay outside.

So now it is 3 a.m., and I am finished with the project. It did not go as planned. Some of the frames had stains or paints already on them, which reacted badly to the spray paint. We also don't seem to have a lot of pictures to put inside of frames, so I had to get creative with that.

Over all, though, I think I like it.

**Dad - you're just going to have to show me how to patch nail holes when you come to visit me in a couple of months!

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Saturday Afternoon Session of Conference

Statistical Report
2896 stakes
340 mission
28660 wards/branches
14,131,467 members
2000+ converts
52,000+ missionaries
134 temples in operation

Boyd K. Packer
400 years since the publication of the King James Bible.
Scriptures include the Bible, the Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ, the Doctrine and Covenants and the Pearl of Great Price.
"How be it my church if it be not in my name?... If it is called in my name, than it be my church."

The world will refer to us as they will, but we need to declare boldly and proudly that we belong to the Church of Jesus Christ.

The work of the church is performed by ordinary men and women. It is by the gift of the Holy Ghost and revelation we can be guided to carry out God's will. Others may not accept that, but they must know that WE DO accept it.

We are to be tested in this life, but we must - and we can - resist the temptations.

The husband is the head of the home, and the wife is the heart of the home and they work together in an equal partnership. The man should revere the woman, the woman sustain the man, and both should work together to teach and bring up the children.

Leave it alone. How can we be expected to leave it alone whenever a terrible wrong has been committed? We can ruin our lives and the lives of others if we hold on to our grief, pain, resentment, etc. If you leave it alone, you allow for the Spirit to enter your lives and help heal.

Some take offense from the history of the church and its leaders. They do not leave it alone, and they fall away and into inactivity. If you are offended, forgive and forget: and leave it alone. Condemn not the things of God...

A Latter-day Saint is quite an ordinary person. We live in the world. We are part of families and communities. We are positive and happy and not afraid of life. We live this ordinary life, but should be extraordinary in our commitment to the gospel of Jesus Christ.

It is not easy to be a Latter-day Saint, but in the end, it is the only course.

Russel M. Nelson
We live to die; we die to live again.
Our faith now becomes our posterity's faith in the future.
We live in a world of competing ideologies, of strife. Of wars and rumors of wars. Of tsunamis and earthquakes and other natural disasters.

We should not let our fear replace our faith.

Cafeteria Obedience: Picking and choosing which commandments to obey. This will not work. To prepare to meet God, one keeps ALL of His commandments, which will strengthen faith and protect us.

Obedience lets blessings to flow without constraint. He will bless us with more light.

God's angels are ever on-call to help us.

D&C 98

Difficult days are ahead. Rarely will it be easy or popular to be a Latter-day Saint. The persecution can either crush us, or propel us to be stronger and a better example. We should work to make our faith resilient. Unfailing faith is fortified by humble and heartfelt prayer.

The greatest of all the priesthood blessings are bestowed in the temple.

Our life's battles are not meant to be fought alone.

Fear not, be of good cheer! The future is as bright as your faith. - President Monson

Richard Maynes
Truth seeking investigators are drawn to the doctrine of eternal families. Eternal families is an essential element to the gospel.

The adversary wants to defeat God's plan, and is leading an unprecedented attack on the family. Using selfishness, greed and pornography, he demeans the family and tries to deprive us of family relationships that have eternal potential.

There is great power and protection in establishing Celestial practices and traditions in the home. It creates a culture where the Spirit can teach. Celestial practices will help ward off the practices that go against a Christ-centered home.

"Twas a sheep, not a lamp, that strayed..." It is the responsibility of the parents to teach by example. When the parents fall away, it won't be long before their children follow.

Twas a sheep not a lamb that strayed away
In the parable Jesus told,
A grown-up sheep that strayed away
From the ninety and nine in the fold.

And why for the sheep should we seek
And earnestly hope and pray?
Because there is danger when sheep go wrong;
They lead the lambs astray.

Lambs will follow the sheep, you know,
Wherever the sheep may stray.
When sheep go wrong, it won’t take long
Til the lambs are as wrong as they.

And so with the sheep we earnestly plead
For the sake of the lambs today,
For when sheep are lost, what a terrible cost
The lambs will have to pay!

-C. C. Miller

Cecil O. Samuelson
Questions are usually the result of honest inquiry.

Gaining and retaining a testimony of the gospel is something that everyone can do.

Who's entitled to have a testimony? Everyone who is willing to pay the price - or keep the commandments - may have a testimony.

How does one obtain the necessary revelation? The promise found in the Book of Mormon - ask God the Eternal Father. Pray thoughtfully, specifically, etc. and He will manifest the truth by the Power of the Holy Ghost.

A testimony is similar to a living organism. It needs constant attention, nourishment in order to thrive and grow. Neglect will cause it to diminish.

Everyone has worth because we are all children of God. He loves us, knows us and wants us to return to Him. We need to have faith in his timing.

Testimonies come in response to specific experiences, questions and takes a gradual process.

We must trust in the things we [already] believe in and know, in order to sustain us during trying times.

Teaching someone else will strengthen and increase our testimony.

We must do the basics: prayer, scripture study and attending church. When we neglect these things, we put our testimony in jeopardy.

We must not have higher standards for others than for ourselves. Others' deficiencies do not make up for what we lack.

Dallin H. Oaks - Desire
Desires dictate priorities.  Priorities shape our choices. Choices shape actions, which affect changing, becoming, and achieving.

We have a basic need for food, but it can be over-ridden by a desire to fast.
We have a need for shelter, but it can be over-ridden by those who camp.
We need sleep, but it can be temporarily over-ridden by greater desires.

"I will grant unto thee thy desires because of thy faith," the Lord to Enos.
Desire, labor and faith are the key ingredients to fulfilling our desires. But faith precedes this fulfillment.

God does judge according to our works - to the desires of our hearts. Are we prepared to have the Eternal Judge attach this enormous significance the things we truly desire?

It is not always easy to set our desires into appropriate priorities.

All of us face potential traps that will prevent progress to our eternal destinies. If our righteous desires - which must be heartfelt, unwavering - are set as priorities, then they will cut and carve and sever ourselves from sins and addictions. What we consistently desire over time will be what we become and what we receive in eternity.

All should desire and work to secure an eternal marriage. We should exert priority methods to attain it.

It is our actions and desires that allow us to become something.

M. Russell Ballard
By small and simple things, are great things brought to pass. And by very small things, the Lord brings about the salvation of souls.

The gospel is simple, despite us trying to make it complicated. Patient accumulation of precious "flecks of gold" bring what will inevitably bring us the wealth that we desire.

Acts of service, charity. When we act with charity, we act in the way Christ would act. The love that the Savior spoke of, is an active love: simple.
Charity begins at home by using the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

Serve in church, and still apply the Golden Rule. Be sensitive to others' needs, which will create unity. Where charity exists, there is no room for gossip or unkind words. Through love and service, these acts of service create loving ties and bonds to the helpers and the helpees.

Serve in our communities. As a pure expression of love and concern for others, we can improve our communities. There are countless ways to serve, and friendships can be developed.

"Kindess is an essence of greatness. It is a passport that opens doors..." - Joseph B. Worthlin

Such a WONDERFUL session! I am excited to read Elder Oaks and President Samuelson's talks. So far, they are my favorite. I can't wait until Elder Holland speaks tomorrow!

Saturday Morning Session - 181st General Conference

President Thomas S. Monson
-3 New Temples- (I love when they announce new temples!)
Ft. Collins, CO; Meridian, ID; Winnepeg, Canada
MERIDIAN! That's awesome, I bet my Uncle Allen is thrilled!

L. Tom Perry
The Old Testament is a focus on prophets and people.
The New Testament focuses on the life of Jesus Christ.

Timothy 4: "These things command and teach, be thou an example of the believers in word, in charity, it spirit, in faith and purity."

We can be an example of the believers by our observance of the Sabbath day. The pattern of the seventh day observance must include worship.

1. Keep ourselves unspotted. - Sunday best has not gone out of style.
2. Go to the house of prayer and offer up our sacraments. - We all make mistakes and must forsake our sins. We offer up our sacraments, confess our sins before the Lord. The sacrament table is a place for self-investigation where we can bring ourselves in harmony with the Church, and with God. We covenant to take the Savior's name upon us, and receive His Spirit to be with us.
3. Rest from our labors. - Labor includes the everyday work of our lives. Trifle not with sacred things. The Sacrament was made for men, not men for the sacrament.

The adversary gains advantage when we relax in our commitments to the Lord.
The greatest joy we receive in this life is by following the Savior.

Kent F. Richards
None of us is immune to pain, but we all cope with it differently. Pain is a gauge of the healing process. Pain brings you to a humility that allows you to ponder. Everyone deals with it differently. We can either turn to or from our Savior.

Much of our suffering is not our fault. Some comes through life experience, some from the choices and actions at others.

The Savior is not a silent observer during our pain. There is a physician. The Atonement of Jesus Christ covers all this pain.

Other pain can come from our own sins and lack of repentance. The consequences of our choices can bring about pain.

During His mortal life, Christ chose to experience pain and afflictions in order to understand us. We should strive to understand the depths of mortality and eternity in order to understand Him. He chose to learn through personal experience. He heals all that come to Him. Sometimes healing includes the lift of the burden, but sometimes it is through the strength to continue forward. Either way, we can find rest in Him, His peace and His healing balm.

"Ye are little children, and ye cannot bear all."

Quentin L. Cook
"Their women were incredible." - Critic of the Church
Women were given qualities of divine strength.

Elizabeth Jackson, Martin Hancock Company, "My suffering will be sanctified unto me for my good." Hoped that posterity would suffer and sacrifice for the Kingdom of God.

LDS have the strongest attachment to our faith.

Our women are not incredible because they avoid the difficulty of life. They are incredible because of the way they handle the disappointments that come in this life.

In the world, marriage and family has become a menu choice. Women have many choices and options available to them that they should prayerfully take to the Lord. People should not be judgmental to those who choose to work outside the home (I know that this is something that happens, but why? Of course there should be no judgment to those who work.)

Errand of angels is given to women - it is to do the direct and immediate bidding of God.

Henry B. Eyring - The Church Welfare Program
Consecrate time, means and selves to help those in need.
We are invited and commanded to help others. We make those covenants in baptism. We should renew our commitment to act.

The Lord regularly sends wake-up calls, through pangs of sympathy. Turn your feelings of sympathy in a commitment - seize the opportunity - to act.

The church is celebrating the 75th year of the Church Welfare Program. It was started during the Great Depression for those that had lost jobs and were struggling to support themselves and their families.

Self-reliance is the goal. Everyone is happier and feels more self-respect when they can provide for themselves and their families and then reach out and help others with any surplus they may have. A person cannot give a crust to the Lord, without receiving a loaf in return. When we are generous to others, the Lord is generous to us.

When we join hands to serve those in need, the Lord unites our hearts. That giving brings a feeling of common brotherhood. That brotherhood is true for both the receiver and the givers.

Draw your family in the work with you, so they learn to care for their family as they work together to serve others.

"Seek out the poor" - it is the duty of the bishop to find and provide help for those that still need assistance after they have done all that they can do. The RS president is also able to be directed to those in need.

Day of Service
1. Prepare yourself spiritually. Only hearts softened by the Atonement will help you see clearly the goals of the project.
2. Choose as recipients of your service within the kingdom and the world, whose needs will touch those that are serving them.
3. Draw on the power of bonds of families and organizations, in the community. Those bonds will last far longer than the amount of time given in this one area of service.

You can be purified and strengthened by serving God and His children.

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