Jan 26, 2013

When life gives you ice, make some hot chocolate. And a fort.

Since the entire world turned into an ice rink yesterday, when I say "entire world" I mean my world which currently revolves around BYU campus and the streets of Provo, I decided to take the day off and have a little fun. I dutifully went to my 8 o'clock class, but when 9:30 class came around, was I in my seat ready to learn and be attentive? Nope :) I reeeeeeeally don't love that class. It's boring, and the professor puts way to many words on his slides. So I didn't go. I put my life in danger and made the trek to my car. HA. I only fell 3 times, and made it out with my life in tact. On the down side, my right hip took quite a beating, so I am accepting donations for a hip replacement.

Safe at #14 I grabbed all my dirty laundry, plus any food/entertainment supplies I could possibly need for the day, and headed up to the condo. I made a quick pit stop at the grocery store with the intention of grabbing bread and hot chocolate to go with the PB&J, Cocomotion machine, and Law and Order mug I had packed. Shout out to Lou for getting the mug for me in NYC! She knows me too well...hot chocolate and crime shows are my thing. I ended up leaving with a loaf of bread (check), 2 boxes of hot chocolate mix (double check?), a string cheese, a bottle of strawberry milk, a bag of crunchy Cheetos...Lou introduced me to them last semester. I don't know if I should love her or hate her for it. My quality of life has substantially increased since their introduction, but so has the amount of time I am required to spend at the gym. Hm...To top off my list of purchased items, I HAD to buy a bag of Bugles. Really, I had to. They basically jumped into my arms screaming "EAT ME NOW!" Maybe I felt guilty for neglecting them. I mean, who has actually eaten Bugles in the past 5 years...? They are totally a food from my elementary school days. But since a childlike theme had seemingly established itself (strawberry milk, string cheese, PB&J) I gave in without a fight.

I made myself an exquisite lunch that any 3rd grader would fight me for...

Straaaaange store brand bread. Not my fav.

I did my laundry...

...Yes I took a picture. I documented my whole day okay?!
 I did my nails...a lot more fun than laundry :)
Hannah gave me glitter for Christmas...like, a LOT of glitter. 30 little bottles to be exact. I never thought I would be the recipient of such a girly? superficial? useless? present haha but I've got to say, BEST CHRISTMAS PRESENT EVER. The Michael Kors bag I got last year is an exact tie, but I feel like the bold emphasis was necessary, even if not exactly true...Even my mom was skeptical when Hannah said that she wanted to get me glitter, but for the first and probably only time in her life, her mother's intuition was wrong! I LOVE my glitter. I kept it on my desk at home and kept opening it so I could admire all the pretty colors. Lovelovelove. Hannah got me the glitter so I could do glitter nails on myself instead of having to pay like $30 bucks each time I had a hankering for them down at #1 Nails-The Sandorf family nail salon of choice. Who knows. Maybe I'll get crafty one day and actually use the glitter for its intended purpose. There is sure enough of it! 

And then....

I built a fort! A HUGE FORT!

Yes I'm 21, and yesI was doing all of this by myself, but we don't need to talk about that haha my fort is seriously incredible. It is spacious, sturdy, and it's really a master piece if we are being honest.

You can't tell exactly how roomy that thing is, but it could fit a family of 5, a small African tribe, or all my Romanian babies inside. Lauren and Daniel can both vouch for the legitimacy of this statement; they saw it up close and personal! If any of you want a tour just let me know, and I'll hook you up :) I couldn't bring myself to tear it down, so it's still standing. I spent my afternoon in there rea...

********OH MY GOSH. Everyone just give me a second to freak out. My heart is going a million miles a minute. I am just hangin out in my room...typing this...and someone just threw a snowball at my window at it scared me SOOOOO bad. Holy. Cow. Yikes...Deep breaths.*********

Aaaaaaanyway. Moving on. I spent my afternoon in the fort reading Heaven is Here by Stephanie Nielson.

IT IS A MUST READ. Seriously people, it is amazing. I was reading it during the football team's study hall on Wednesday, but I had to stop because I was causing a scene haha I was getting pretty emotional and sniffley, and one running back in particular kept turning around to look at me. Yea...after that and a couple of sideways glances from other players, I put it away and pulled out my infant development textbook instead. Soooo not as good.

I finished the day off by making Rice Krispie treats with Dan (no pictures were taken due to sticky marshmallow fingers) and sleeping in my fort. Dan was surprised I had never slept in a fort before, but hey...I grew up with one sister. We were too busy playing made up games like "Pig-Latin", "Barometer-The Persian White", and "Chocolate Milk Cows". There was no time to sleep in a fort when our imaginations were running wild. 

Oh to be a kid again... 

***It was Lauren who threw the snowball at my window! Never a dull moment with that girl around***

Jan 22, 2013

Little Discoveries.

What I am about to say may offend some of you. So, if you are easily offended by talk of bodily functions, I suggest you stop reading. HERE.

Now...for those of you who are STILL reading, consider that your only warning. I have no intention of being crude, gross, or immature even though it might come off that way. 

What I am about to tell you comes from the most naive, innocent, childlike and uneducated corner of my soul...

On Sunday I learned something that completely altered the way I look at men.

I learned that they can pee...SITTING DOWN.

GUUUUUUYS. I had NO idea. How on earth did I make it through 21 years of life with out knowing something so basic?! The guys that filled me in on this little tidbit were pretty amused. And confused. How it's possible that this thought had never crossed my mind I really don't know....I blame my complete lack of knowledge on the fact that I don't have any brothers. And I wasn't on spying on guys in the high school locker room. Ew. I have a zillion guy friends, but that obviously didn't help educate me. About male peeing habits anyway...All the pee jokes that are ever made have to do with how guys can stand up to pee, but girls have to sit down. Not ONCE did I hear about guys sitting on the porcelain throne unless it was to take a dump. And let me tell you. I have heard more than my fair share of poop jokes...

Buuuuut now I know. Men can sit and pee! It makes sense...it really does. I'm still slightly embarrassed to admit I could have been so oblivious to the species that I am surrounded by on a daily basis (BYU Football study-hall anyone...?) Looking back, my logic was VERYVERYVERYVERYVERY flawed. Josh, Matt and Brett made this painfully obvious when I tried to explain to them what I had been thinking, and all they could do was laugh. HA. HA. 

It is kind of funny though...I'm not sure what cracks me up more. The flawed logic inspired by my inadequate knowledge of the average penis size and testicular behavior, or the fact that I thought I knew everything there was to know about the male anatomy only to have a bomb like this dropped on me. Maybe it's not so funny...actually, nooooo. Not funny at all. That is terrifying. I don't want to know what kind of earth shattering gems marriage holds in store. 

So...we'll leave it at that. No need to go in to too much detail right? After all, ALL of you are much more informed than I am. Ughhh. 

In other news...

I was late to church on Sunday because my apartment was 51 degrees when I woke up. That is an in humane temperature that no one should have to experience. EVER. I'm pretty sure that is colder than we keep our condo...THAT NO ONE LIVES IN. I was literally too cold to function, and waaaaay too cold to sleep so I cranked the heat up, added 3 blankets to my bed and sat there shivering for another half hour until the apartment reached a balmy 64 degrees. Please note the oozing sarcasm. That night in my prayers I thanked Heavenly Father for not sending me to this earth as a pioneer. As silly as it may sound it was one of the most sincere prayers I have offered in a while. Several mornings this winter when I have spanned the frigid tundra from the Marriot Center parking lot to the JKB I have thought about the pioneers crossing the plains-flashes from the movie 17 Miracles in my mind, and all the sacrifices they made. I have expensive coats and boots that are insulated against the snow and cold. They had shawls and thin leather shoes...if they were lucky. Thinking about the conditions that they faced and how miserable that must have been was enough to literally bring me to tears one day. I could NOT have done it. I would have been one of the ones to sit down giving up all hope to freeze to death. This winter I am thankful for a cold apartment that CAN be heated no matter how temperamental the thermostat can be, blankets, and warm clothing that I can layer on until I look like the Michelin Man. 

I loooooooove juicing. I got a juicer for Christmas, and to say I am obsessed is an understatement. It is so quick and easy, and so far there has been only 1 juicy concoction that was hard to get down. The rest have been amazing! I made "Blushing Carrot" juice this morning and daaaaaaaaaaang. It takes the number one slot. Hands down!! A lot of people have asked me if I am doing an all juice diet or cleanse, and the answer is NO. The mom of one of my best friends in high school was a juicer, and that is how I got introduced to the concept. I remember one day she gave us fresh apple juice and I thought it was amazingly delicious. It was so fresh, and it was obvious there weren't any preservatives or other artificial things in it. It's not that I hate eating vegetables, I just don't exactly like it. Or do it. Ever. I try, but I'm very picky when it comes to how a lot of them are prepared, and lezbi honest (Pitch Perfect reference anyone!?) ; When I'm starving after class I'm going straight for the PB&J. NOT a stalk of celery. But, I am happy to announce, I am a changed woman! Or...a changing woman haha ever since I got my juicer I'm downing vegetables like it is nobody's business, and I can tell the difference in my body! I usually drink 2 or 3 glasses of juice a day, plus my regular pathetic meals. They're not lying when they say vegetables are good for you! Great things are happening over here :)

Lastly, I have been called as a gospel doctrine teacher. PLEASE send all your prayers and good vibes my way! I don't know what it is, but me and public speaking just don't go well together. Remember that time that I completely froze while giving my oral presentation in MCOM...? Yeaa. Me too. It's another one of life's unanswered questions.  I am super sociable and outgoing, but the thought of teaching petrifies me. I went to teacher training this past Sunday and I was a hot mess...I had butterflies, I was shaking, and I was even slightly nauseous just thinking about teaching. I'm all for reading scriptures, quotes...even sharing personal experiences...but when it's my turn to take the reigns, uhhuh. No can do. There is a reason I haven't given a talk in sacrament meeting since I was 13, almost 14 ;) For all you kids out there who don't want to do the math, that's almost 8 years. EIGHT! On the off chance you sit in on one of my lessons, I'll offer you one piece of advice if you do me a solid. Don't sit in the splash zone-the first couple rows may fall victim to my tears or vomit. Not entirely sure which yet. Aaaaaand PLEASEPLEASEPLEASE make some nice comments. I'll love you forever and always!

You know how a man kissed me in front of 200 people? I SWEAR that story is coming. It's just a lot less fun to write about than it is to tell real time.

Jan 17, 2013

The end of the world

As most of you know, whether it be through Facebook, Instagram, or real life social interactions (do those even exist these days...?) I just finished applying for grad school!


It's grad school. I knew I was going to have to sacrifice my blood, sweat, and social life in order to complete my applications, but no one EVER warned me that I would be required to surrender every ounce of sanity I possess. Some would argue it wasn't much to begin with. 

Want to know why it was such an ordeal? Great. Let me tell you all about it.

So...last semester I was in a political science class. Halfway through the semester my professor found out that he was being fired. For what reason? No clue. It's a lot easier to put the pieces together now though...anyway, I felt like he stopped caring. He went on a gazillion more tangents than usual (that is REALLY saying something if you know this professor) and he wasn't entirely motivated to grade our work. Thank goodness for a wonderful TA! We had an 8 page paper due at the end of the semester, and we also had an essay, plus 2 shorter essays as part of our final. In Layman's terms...there was a lot of reading that needed to be done before grades to be submitted. He told us that our grades wouldn't be finalized before Christmas, but that they should show up around New Years. I knew that I needed to send my transcripts in sooner rather than later, so I shot him an e-mail that essentially said, "Hey, I'm applying for graduate school...I need to send my transcripts in...can you take care of my grade before you dive into the rest of them?" He replied right away and said that he would take care of it the next day, so I never gave it a second thought. 

Always- ALWAYS give things a second thought.

New Years rolls around, I check my grades, AND I HAVE AN "F." (Technically I have an "E" but it's the equivalent of an "F" in BYU terms.)
DO YOU KNOW WHAT THAT "F" DID TO MY GPA?! IT KILLED IT. Destroyed. Dead. Shot. Kaput. Goooooone. 

I found this out about...a week and a half before my applications needed to be turned in? I sent him an e-mail asking if he took care of the grade, and it just hadn't shown up on the official records yet, or what was going on. Wanna know what was awesome. He never said anything back! I sent him one more e-mail a couple days later, and when I still didn't get a reply I called my mom officially freaking out. She suggested that I call the Academic Vice President and 6 phone calls later, I was finally talking to the right person-not the Academic VP if you were wondering. As luck would have it; my ONLY stroke of luck last week, the person I ended up talking to just happened to be one of my professors who is also the Assistant Dean in the College of Life Sciences. She was an absolute doll, and did everything she could to reassure me that things would be worked out. Apparently I sounded pretty distraught over the phone. She told me that a stack of grade requests had been taken to the registrars office that day, but there was really no way of knowing if mine was one of the ones that was in the stack. She said if it was my grade would show up on Monday, but until then I would just have to cross my fingers, pray a LOT, and hope for the best. In the mean time she said she would begin composing a memo for the Social Work admissions committee explaining the situation.  

I was pretty convinced that my transcript situation wouldn't get fixed in time and that the admissions committee would think I was a terrible student with no chance at a masters degree, instead of a decent student with half a chance at a masters degree.     

It would be pretty fitting to say my stress levels were through the roof. And I DON'T get stressed. I'm the cool and collected type remember? I was the most frustrated that the situation could have been completely avoided. I knew that I needed my grade to be turned in, I tried to take care of it, but the cards just weren't playing out right. I called my dad to complain....yeah. That didn't help me. At all. The most helpful things he said during our whole conversation- very sarcastically mind you- was, "Ooooh. Sounds like you need to get a stiff drink and relax." Thanks dad. Thanks. 

Monday rolled around, I checked my grade, and what do you know, nothing was there but that big fat F. I called my professor back to find out what the plan of attack was going to be, and guess what? No answer! At that point, all the panic, frustration, stress and annoyance completely left me. I felt beaten. I had done all I could, and it just wasn't enough. I began to question the choice I had made to even apply for grad school. I thought I had made the right decision, but what if somewhere down the line I had ignored a prompting, or misinterpreted a feeling I had. I WANT to further my education. I WANT to make a difference in people's lives, but it obviously wasn't worth it....all the time spent writing essays, filling out paper work, requesting letters of recommendation, it was all for nothing. I didn't feel like pulling my hair out and screaming. I just felt like slowly sliding down the wall and crying. It was a hard time for me. 

My professor called me back eventually and asked me to come to her office at noon on Tuesday-the day applications were due. I had NO clue what to expect. Honestly, I wasn't hopeful or expecting a lot. I had come to terms with the fact that although I was graduating, this year would not be the year I applied for grad school. My professor sat me down and explained everything.

That lady went to bat for me. Holy smokes.

When she wasn't calling me back, she was busy writing the memo to the admissions committee. This memo needed to include what my grade should have been, as well as my adjusted GPA. Whelp, thanks to a wonderful law called FERPA, my professor wasn't legally allowed to tell her. I don't know what kind of magic she worked, and frankly I don't care, but she somehow convinced him that my world was ending and that he NEEDED to tell her what my grade was. And he did. Who needs laws and privacy policies right...? When she finally extracted that information from him, she called the academic advisement center and explained to the head lady what was going on, and asked her to recalculate my GPA. 

Here's where the silver lining begins to shine.

Not only did the academic advisement lady figure out what my GPA should have been, but she took it a step further. She told my professor that she had a meeting at 3 o'clock that afternoon and the head of the registrars office would be there. For all you people (like me before this whole experience) who don't know what the registrars office is, or what they do. THEY ARE THE PEOPLE IN CHARGE OF GRADES. This saint of an academic adviser said that after her meeting, she would take my information directly to the head of the registrars office and ask him to personally submit the information. Now, get this. While all of that was going on, my professor would also have a meeting with non other than....wait for it...the head of admissions for the MSW program. WHAT?! Unreal. She talked to the very lady that will be reviewing my application and explained the craziness that was going on, as well as put in a good word for me ;)

It was noon when I found all this out. I still technically didn't have a grade, but things were looking up. At 5 o'clock, 5 hours before my applications needed to be in, my grade appeared. The stars had aligned, my prayers had been answered, and things managed to work themselves out. 

I got an A- in the class. Not an F. Not even a B which is the grade I was expecting.

So...all's well that ends well. 

I signed my electronic signature (I've never really understood that), I paid my 50 dollars, and I saw the beautiful words "Thank you for submitting your application to the BYU School of Social Work. Your application has been received." It was DONE. Finally.  

After only one major melt down, and of course a few minor ones...I finally have that weight off my shoulders. Lauren and I celebrated by getting shakes and onion rings at JCW's-our fat food of choice. If you are a lover of all things onion rings, you NEED to get them. 

Now...the waiting game begins.
Stay tuned. April 1st.

If you are wondering what happened to the professor who made this whole ordeal possible, he is in BIG trouble. Other students applying for grad school fell into my same position and had to jump through hoops, students who normally qualify for financial aide or scholarships couldn't get the money because according to records, they got an F and as we all know, F's don't get scholarships, and worst of all, some students were not able to graduate. When December graduation rolled around, their transcripts still showed an F with no credit received for the class. I am thanking my lucky stars I didn't fall into that category. 

PS: Today I delivered a Thank You card and German Chocolate fudge to the wonderful professor that took it upon herself to make sure my transcripts were submitted with the right grade on them. I owe her my life. Or my future education. Whatever. 

PPS: For those of you who had to put up with my melt downs, or saw dramatic self pitying posts on Facebook, sorry bout that. I've reached my quota for the year. 

Dec 20, 2012

What do we do with the bodies?

I have a bad habit of watching Criminal Minds right before I go to bed. I'm obsessed with crime shows, especially that one, and there is just something about watching it in the darkness of my room that makes it that much more exciting. Well, last week I was settled into my bed, all cuddled up in my blankets, starting an episode when I got a very strange text. Now for those of you who aren't crime show junkies, get on the band wagon, aaaaaaand just know that the first couple minutes are usually the most intense. People get killed. Now as I'm sitting there watching a girl get murdered with some creepy cerimonial knife I get this text...

"So...what should we do with the bodies?"

I freeeeeaked out. More out of how ironic the timing of this text from a mysterious sender was, but it was slightly creepy too. Did they know I was watching people die....? Could they see me right that moment?! I HAD to text back to find out who it was, and the following is our conversation. Probably the most entertaining I have had in a while. 

***Please note: No bodies were actually in our possession or needing to be disposed of***
Mystery Man: So what should we do with the bodies?

Me: Dude...you can't just say those things. The police can track us! I thought we were just going to dump them. Did you forget the shovel?

Mystery Man: All I had was one of those toy shovels! Can't do much with one of those...unless you wanna just dump them in the lake, ya know, tie down the limbs with cement blocks.

Me: You are so imcompetent. A toy shovel? Really? Did I find you at Toys-R-Us or something...? You do pose a good point though. Not a lot of swimmer in December, buuuuuuuut the freezing water will just preserve the bodies....

Mystery Man: Shucks! Well, unless you wanna put them through a wood chipper... I mean, it's a messy job to clean up, but...no traces, no evidence, no problem...aside from the crazy amount of blood and bone particles. And flesh.

***2 minutes later***

Mystery Man: Or barrels of acid like Jeffry Dahmer.

Me: Do you have any connections at the zoo? I feel like the bloody body chips could be slipped into the lion food and no one would ever know the difference! I don't know where we would get mass amounts of acid...barrels even. That's a ton!

Mystery Man: Well if some low life Wisconsinite can get a few barrels of acid, psh, I dunno why we couldn't! Unless we just get...better shovels?

Me: Shovels. Hands down. Much easier to get a hold of, and if worst comes to worst they're a lot easier to frame other people with. I can't imagine trying to talk myself out of acid possession.  

Mystery Man: Wait, frame? How could we pull that off??

Me: Mm...I'm not exactly sure. I'm kinda new to the heinous crime scene! Anyone you're particularly mad at?

Mystery Man: Todd Parker?

Me: Who is Todd Parker?

Mystery Man: The guy we can put the blame on of course!

Me: For all I know Todd Parker could be a hunk of man! There aren't a lot of those in the world...it would be a same to see one go to waste!

Mystery Man: Well it is better for one to parish than an entire nation.......right?

Me: Oooo....way to whip that doctrine out! I guess he probably deserves it. Where do we find him? 

Mystery Man: At his home! Wait...we can place the dirty shovel in his hands while he's fast asleep! Yes...yes....a narcoleptic sleep walker, burying victims he had killed in his sleep...mm...it's almost too perfect

And then I fell asleep. Such a shame too. Our conversation was going so well ;) The next day I found out who it was and gave him props for his very sneaky and slightly creepy conversation starter. So there's that haha

In other news...I was talking to a friend of mine about what movie we should go see, and he asked what the movie Lincoln was about. I quickly responded, "The Prophet!!" Uh...everyone please take a moment to mourn over that tragic mistake. Totes didn't mean prophet. Honest Abe was definitely president of the United States. #mormonproblems. I'm convinced that is a mistake no other culture or religion could make. I told my mom and she about busted a gut. I was laying on her bed in distress that such words were uttered from my mouth and all she could do was laugh. I mean....they drill the prophet song into your head starting day one of primary.

"Latter day prophets are number one-Joseph Smith, then Brigham Young..." 

You know the one, I know the one, so I'm really not sure what I was thinking.

Nov 22, 2012

Refections on ROMANIA!

This year, the thing I am most grateful for is the opportunity I had to live in Romania during the summer. Words cannot express how incredibly blessed and thankful I feel for having been able to participate in such an adventure. In just three months I learned more about myself, and gained a better understanding of the atonement of Jesus Christ than I could have imagined. 

I have only one regret, and that is that I could not have every one of you alongside me to witness the miracles that surrounded the sweet spirits of the kids I worked with on a daily basis. Those children are the most innocent and pure spirits I have ever come in contact with, and there is no denying that our Heavenly Father is very aware of their circumstances and is keeping a close eye on them. After I got home, I made the joke that I'll never be able to fall in love because my heart was captured and divided into 19 equal pieces that I left in Romania. I still believe it. When my three months was up and it was time to say goodbye, I was devastated. I had come to love every single one of those kids in a way that I hadn't loved anyone before; a way that I didn't know I could love! 

When people learn that I spent my summer living and working in Romania and ask what I did there, I tell them "I loved babies." They kind of laugh and continue on to ask if I enjoyed my experiences there and what my favorite things were, and I'll tell them, but I wish they could understand how truly incredible it was. The things that make our life experiences so memorable aren't the individual experiences themselves, but the feelings that we have during those experiences. On paper, my duties in Romania consisted of changing countless diapers, changing sheets and clothes crusted with the remnants of rancid feeding tubes, wiping throw up, snot, urine and many other fluids off of the kids and coercing a few of them to eat a foul smelling mush that they were fed for lunch everyday, but it was so so SOOOOOOO much for than that.

The things that can't be written down are the things I loved the most about working in the orphanage. Seeing Baby Girl's face light up in recognition when I walked into the Isolation room in the morning. Hearing Mega Mind's laugh and seeing his mischievous smile as I placed my hand on his chest; not even tickling. The physical touch alone making him burst at the seams! The quiet moments sat rocking a sick baby to sleep and having them stare straight into my eyes and reach up to gently touch my face. The hilarious reaction on my Princess as she went outside for the first time in her three years of life and felt the wind on her face. The heartbreak I felt and the tears I couldn't stop from flowing when a two year old no longer recognized or responded to her own father as he called to her. The panic you feel when you see the crib of a sick child empty and bare, or even holding a dying child in your arms. Being the one to witness a child's first steps and screaming out of excitement. It is these moments, the almost trivial moments, that I hold the closest to my heart. I could spend my whole life describing a single instance in tremendous detail trying to re-create the situation, but it would never be the same. 

The fact is, interns have been there before, and interns quickly followed after I left. But somehow, I was the only one to witness those special moments and milestones in these kids lives and care for them in the way I did. No one can replicate the experiences I had and the feelings I felt, and that is part of why this experience is so near and dear to my heart. I left knowing I had an impact for good.

I wish I could share pictures of my babies with you...like, A LOT. You would fall in love in an instant. 


My experiences in Romania would not have been the same without these girls by my side.
(Notice how I'm about to compensate for an overabundance of words with an extreme overabundance of pictures...)

Ropes course in Brasov

Random gingerbread house in the mall :)


We LOVED the rain!

More rain..

On our way to Marmurres

Aimee and I slept like this the whole night. I had been put in a different train compartment and couldn't stand to be separated. R.A.D. anyone?

Branch activity at the lake

We're the annoying ones who have a photo shoot anywhere we have a camera...

Helping break world records at the lantern festival :)


The opened a new mall that could eat City Creek alive. Fountains and all.

Constanta! Swimmin in the Black Sea!

Like I said, we're obsessed.
 So there ya have it. A lot of pictures of the same girls over and over and that's not even close to half of it. I am SO honored to have met these girls and to have become such great friends with them. As far as roommates in a foreign country go, they are as good as they come :) The thing I am most grateful to them for is the example they set in their scripture study. Before I left the United States, I read my scriptures and prayed, but I wasn't diligent by any means. Every morning in Romania I would wake up and see Aimee and Kelsey reading their scriptures and then kneeling down to pray as I was getting ready. For some reason I was extra impressed by the fact that they knelt down...it was something I had never really done before. Before I knew it I had fallen into the same pattern of reading my scriptures right when I woke up, and kneeling on our hard dirty floor to pray. My roommates and I began reminding each other to pray before leaving for the orphanage each morning and I am so glad we did. I cannot imagine going through each day on the continual emotional roller coaster that it was without having an added measure of the spirit to bring comfort, and put little thoughts into my head to make it that much easier. 


I'm thankful for good music. Hymns and primary songs in particular. Because I worked with the lil' babies, I couldn't do a lot of playing, so I spent my days singing, rocking, and bouncing. One of the first songs that came to mind the first day I worked in Iso was I am a Child of God. The first time I tried to sing it I was holding a smiling baby with humongous brown eyes....

I am a child of God,
And He has sent me here.
Has given me an earthly home,
With....parents kind and dear....

I couldn't do it. I started crying. It just wasn't fair. Here was this perfect child (she was one of the few in my room who did not have a disability) who had been given a body and was sent down to earth to learn, yet she wasn't being given a chance. She DIDN'T have parents kind and dear. She didn't have ANYONE kind and dear. The orphanage workers didn't exactly care, and I was only a temporary solution to a long term problem. All she could do is sit in her crib and rock herself for stimulation. I didn't get it. How could anyone have a baby and not love it. How could someone just abandon such a helpless tiny thing, and not give her a second thought. How could any parents do that do any of those kids?! Especially the ones with disabilities. I refused to sing that song for a solid week as thoughts of confusion tumbled around my brain, but as I quickly sang through my limited repertoire, the words of I am a Child of God would begin to slip out. 

 I am a child of God,

And He has sent me here.
Has given me an earthly home,
With angels always near. 
Lead me, guide me, walk beside me,
Help me find the way.
Teach me all that I must do,
To live with Him someday.

I did it. I changed the words to a classic primary favorite. As I sang my rendition of this song, I was filled with so much peace, and I knew the words that I was singing were true. These children who appeared neglected and unwanted were indeed wanted, and were NOT neglected. They were cared for by a Heavenly Father who provided them with all the love and support they were in need of which was more than I could ever offer. I have no doubt that those children are surrounded by angles, who will one day lift them up to finally meet their Father. 

The second song I became attached to near the end of my internship was God Be With You Till We Meet Again. My roommates hated me for it. I remember Kelsey telling me to turn it off because it was depressing, and I said no. She sulked off to her room, and I kept listening. It was the only way for me to cope. I LOVED my kids. The thought of leaving them literally made me sick...I was terrified of what would happen to them after we left. It wasn't at all like it was when I said goodbye to my family. With my family, I knew I would see them again in three short months. These kids...I knew I would probably never see them again, and the only parts of them I could take with me were my memories. It was destroying me. As I sang this song to my kids, I sang it with a prayer in my heart.
Please Heavenly Father, PLEASE stay with them.
My song was also my promise. I was promising my babies that I would see them again. I would not forget about them. That God would be with them, protecting them under his wings from the cruel world that they were being subjected to. Till we would meet once again at Jesus' feet. 
The day I hugged my kids goodbye marks the day for the hardest I have ever cried in my life. The moment I got home from the orphanage I dropped to my knees and prayed. Prayed and cried, prayed and cried...for a long time. Then I listened to this song and miraculously felt at peace once again...

In the movie The Other Side of Heaven, there is a scene where this song is played. A few weeks ago I watched this movie with some boys in my ward, aaaaaaaand I lost it. As I heard those words for the first time since being home, I couldn't help but reflect on the the sweet spirits I had the privlidge to come in contact with, and the many spiritual experiences that I had. Luckily the song hit a sweet spot with one of my friends who had been reflecting on his own mission, so I wasn't the only one who was teary eyed.

I am grateful for the opportunity that I had to interact so closely with the missionaries while living in Romania. I have always appreciated how hard missionaries work, and the sacrifices that they make to do the Lord's errand, but it wasn't until I saw this missionary work in action that I came to fully understand it's significance. The church really is true. There is no way that so many miracles could happen, and that a church that is spread all over the world could continue to function if it wasn't.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING! What are YOU grateful for?!

Sorry for the not so eloquent ending, but mom says I've got rolls to make...

Aug 17, 2012

Friends for Forever

You know those friends that you can never seem to get rid of?
Yeah, I have one of those. 
I would never want to get rid of her though...
She is one of my best friends!
She has seen me at my best, and unfortunately my worst.
We've laughed together, 
cried together,
ditched class together,
and done other extremely stupid stuff together...
I guess you could say we are kindred spirits. 
9th grade will do some SCARY things to ya...I will always cherish this picture haha
"Swimming" in a lake of mud at the B. My poor car was trashed!
We're nerds at heart <3

ALWAYS partners in crime.

Back in the glory days haha

We did everything together!

...even take pictures in the bathroom mirror...


Now she is married.
And pregnant.
And living in Canada...
I made her wedding display! Proud moment.

Carry, Hannah, me...duh.


I just couldn't give her up...

Sensual wedding stuff...

I helped decorate their truck

She was finally gone...forever...

A souvenir. Or two.

The last time I saw her it had been a while, and we both spontaneously burst into tears.
I'm pretty sure Cary (her husband to be at that point) thought we were psycho.
Who knew there was synchronized sobbing...? 

She's a preeeety lady :)


Today our reunion was a little less watery :)

I am currently on vacation with my family in Seattle. 
We took the opportunity to cross the Canadian border and spend some time with Hannah in the Vancouver area.
She took us to Stanly Park where we rode bikes along the sea wall and got a great view of the ocean AND the city. 
I would definitely recommend it. 
If you can ride a bike.

The fam

The friend

Gotta go tandem :)

Pappa bear

Lionsgate Bridge

Canadian Inukshuk

love, Love, LOVE

The baby FINALLY made it :) What a trooper

Afterwords we headed to Granville Island where we explored the market, ate some delicious treats, and looked at shops with trinkets I wanted to blow my money on...

I'm obsessed with their fruit selection. It reminded me of Romania, and looked delicious.


Dole Whip time!

Welcome to the Real Housewives of Vancouver! ;) Inside joke...sorry...

I tasted some exotic honey. Quite frankly, they all tasted the same to me!

I love this woman!
Throughout the day we talked about how we are growing up.
She is having a baby,
I'm graduating college.
I think it's fair to say that we were both slightly envious of each other. 
Even though life has kind of taken us away from each other for right now, I know that we will always be friends. 
Like...she'll be at the top of my Christmas card list or something ;)

Hannah is gonna be one great mamma.
Thinking of all the stuff she helped me through during high school,
she's got this whole "nurturing" thing down!
Hannah and Cary have the perfect name picked out.
It fits their personalities, style, and even their looks!
Baby girl is so blessed already.
She is going to be born into a family filled with so much love she won't know what to do with herself! 
 (Obviously I have dubbed myself the on call long distance babysitter. I love her so much already too! I kept putting my hand on Hannah's stomach throughout the day. I just couldn't believe she was in there!)

Thanks Han for showing us around your stomping grounds today, and for being the best friend I ever could have asked for!!