Tuesday, December 27, 2011

No Place Like Home for the Holidays


It was so good to be home for Christmas this year. It truly was such a wonderful Christmas. I may have had to work all day on Christmas Eve and was unable to help in all the food preparation and such that I was so looking forward to, but it was okay. I really do enjoy my job, and there was still food to make when i got home.

After two years of being gone on Christmas and just having a short time to talk to my family on the phone it was really nice to be with them and celebrate with them. We had our usual Christmas Eve program and the 4 of us kids slept on the floor under the tree. It was the worst night's sleep I've had in a long time. I was so uncomfortable. And it was...different. I remember every year before my mission the anticipation of the next morning and Christmas. This year as I went to sleep, my thoughts were on the Savior and the true meaning of Christmas. I was so grateful that we had church on Sunday that we were able to go and celebrate His birth in the morning. Kesha and I were asked to sing in a small group for one of the musical numbers. That was nice.

I really enjoyed being able to keep my mind more focused on the Savior throughout the day. And I really enjoyed being with my family. It has been a good break at home, regardless of working pretty much every day. And there's only a couple more days of that, because I move to Utah on Saturday!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Home for the Holidays

"I'll be home for Christmas, you can count on me. Please have snow, and mistletoe, and presents 'neath the tree."

Well, it's Christmas time. There's presents under the tree. The mistletoe didn't get put up this year...but it's fake anyway so that's okay. And besides...I don't have anyone to kiss under the mistletoe anyway. And...there's no snow. I keep hoping, but the forecast isn't looking promising. I haven't had snow for 2 Christmases in a year already...but the past 2 years were understandable. I'm in IDAHO this year, for crying out loud! There should be snow! And I am most definitely home for Christmas. I loved Christmas in the mission. It was probably one of my favorite times (or two of my favorite times because I was one of the "lucky" sisters to have 2 Christmases in the mission field). And I will miss Christmas in the mission. But it is good being back with the family. It's good participating in all of the traditions we have as a family for Christmas. I mean...really, who knows where I'll be a year from now. So I'm really soaking it in as much as possible.

But it is different being home. I have said "goodbye" to Rexburg. That's weird. I've always gone back to Rexburg after Christmas break. This year I'm moving to Utah right after Christmas. That's kind of scary. I am excited, but it will have its challenges, I'm sure. Packing up Friday afternoon was really emotional for me. I had a hard time keeping back the tears. There were times that I just broke down. We went to Carlee's graduation party that her parents threw for her and I totally lost it there as her guys sang a song they wrote for her. Boy, oh boy. I tried real hard to hold back the tears, but it just didn't work. I got a little choked up as I drove out of Rexburg for the last time Friday night. I think the anticipation of being able to spend a Christmas home with my family for the first time in a few years helped me hold it together. We'll see how things continue to go. At least I haven't graduated...that would have totally torn me apart, I think. I'm not ready to be done yet, even though I pretty much am done. It just hasn't hit me yet.

Anyway, I'm excited to be able to spend this Christmas with my family. I'll be busy the whole break before i move working and organizing my stuff and trying to figure out where to put it, now that I don't have a room at home. Well, I do. It's just the smallest room in the house. Kesha basically kicked me out of the room. But I'm really okay with that because now, after 23 years, I finally have my own room. And I'm not going to be here much. I'll just use Kesha's room as a storage room for my stuff that I don't need down in Utah. I've already said that I'm not going to move home again. It's time that I get my own space.

But for now, I'm just going to enjoy the time I have to spend with my family. I'm not going to take it for granted. And I'm super excited for the Christmas program in Sacrament Meeting next Sunday. It will help keep us focused on the real reason of the season. Kesha and I are going to sing with the ward choir. The choir director wants us to do a duet, so we're going to do that. One of the songs we're singing is "For Unto Us a Child is Born" from Handel's Messiah. I'm singing soprano for the choir...something I've never really done before. I kinda struggled with that song because I've sung it before, and was one of the strong altos in the choir. But I'll get it. I brought the music home and will practice this week.

I'm looking forward to this week, and being home for the holidays :0)

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Packing up the Memories...

Five and a half years ago I think I knew that this day would come, but I don't think I realized how quickly it would come. And then a little over 2 1/2 years ago when I packed up to leave Rexburg for a couple years while I went on my mission...I think that gave me a little taste of what it would be like when the time came for me to leave forever. But now as I sit in my room surrounded with the mess that comes along with packing, with some of my stuff loaded in the car and some more of my stuff already hauled home...I don't know how I feel. I have so many memories made as I have been here in Rexburg for the 8 semesters of my college career. My time here in Rexburg has helped to shape me into the person I am today. I have met people who have changed me; changed me for the better. I have had so many great opportunities here. I've broken out of my shyness bubble. I have discovered my crazy side. Really...I think that I have truly become the person I always knew I was deep down inside. Now that I am getting ready to leave Rexburg for good tomorrow and am reflecting on the things I have learned, I am thinking about the things that I can apply into my life and carry over into my time down in Utah. I know that I'll meet new people, make new friends. I know that my life will continue to be shaped. But it is weird leaving the place that has become home to me and all the people who have become more than just friends. I will always remember Rexburg as the place that helped shape my life.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Remembering...



We had our roommate Christmas tonight. This is really the last time that the 5 of us will be together...and that just breaks my heart. We've had so many good times this year. I've had several good apartments. This year has definitely been a good way for me to go out, a good way for me to end my time here at BYU-Idaho. Kesha wrote a song for us about all of the good times that we've had this year. She had me in tears. I have loved being here. But I do feel that it is time for me to move on...

The Last Days

I am just a few short days from the end of my time here at BYU-Idaho. It is a bitter-sweet feeling. Really, I don't know exactly how I feel about this. Yesterday was my last day of church here. I did okay...probably mostly due to the fact that I haven't gotten super attached to many people in the ward. I was really attached to the Bishopric, but I got those tears out last week when they were released. It hit me that this is the end at ward prayer. I started bawling. I tried to hide it...but don't know how good of a job I did.

Tonight, we had our last FHE. I've loved my FHE sisters, and really didn't want to say goodbye to them tonight. Who knows when I'll see them again. Sure, Rexburg and IF aren't that far apart anymore, but it's not going to be the same. And one of them leaves on her mission in 3 weeks. We decorated Christmas cookies and took them around to a few apartments in our ward. It was fun to talk and laugh with them. After we were done with that, we took one more DQ run. That was our last roommate outing. Gosh...we've had some good times. I could have made an entire facebook album on our DQ runs alone! Yeah...we tend to get a little bit crazy. And never go without a camera. That would be purely ridiculous with the way that we are when we get a little bit of a Blizzard into our systems.

Last night, I went to Spanish Stadium Singing one last time. I hadn't been much this semester because we've always been doing things on Sunday nights. But this time I couldn't miss it...it was my last chance. I FROZE!! I had my PJs on under my jeans, 2 pair of socks, 2 pair of gloves (which, btw, makes turning pages a tad difficult...), a hoodie and a coat, and my earmuffs...and was still frozen solid by the end of the 1/2 hour. It was worth it though.

Wednesday night I went country dancing one last time. It was actually not a bad night. I danced several times, and just overall had a good time. I'll miss it, but I'm sure that I'll find other places to go dancing when I get down to Utah.

I'm pretty much done with my classes now. I really just have one more day of classes. Actually, tomorrow...er...today, I don't really have anything to do. Hence the reason I'm not in bed yet. Well, that and I didn't get this week's episode of Hawaii 5-O watched A) because we were at DQ and B) because our TV isn't hooked up to cable. So I'm catching it online. I'll be honest though, I'm ready to be done with my classes. I gave the final presentation for my Linguistics class on Friday. I just have to show up to listen to all of the other presentations now. I took the final for my Assessments class this morning. I had the Exit Interview for my Practicum this afternoon. The only test I have left is my Prep for Eternal Marriage class. Other than that, it's just a matter of packing up and heading home.

That's all I have left of my time in Rexburg. And, I do say, it's been good.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

A Time of Change

Well, here I sit at the end of another semester at BYU-Idaho. But not only that, with the end of this semester comes the end of another chapter in my life. In less than two weeks I will be packing up and moving out of Rexburg for the last time. I can't believe how quickly the past five years have gone, or how much has changed in my life in those five years. My eight semesters here at BYU-Idaho have been a wonderful experience. I have learned so much, and grown in ways that I never would have dreamed of. I have met so many wonderful people. I have seen two bishoprics who I have come to love dearly be released (the second of those happening just this morning). I have sat through countless hours of class and learned hundreds of new things. I have met many wonderful people. I've seen many changes take place on campus, and just around town in general. And I kind of feel like I've been here forever. So I guess it really is time for a change, in that respect.

At the end of this month, I will be moving to Utah. Utah...where all my friends are, but where I will be in a place where I won't know anyone. At least not at first. That thought kind of made me nervous when I realized it. But then again, I thought, that it could actually be a good thing for the very fact that I won't know anyone. Now is my chance to take that leap out of my comfort zone and be outgoing and make new friends and be the person that I've always wanted to be. Not that I'm unhappy with who I am, because I'm not. I've just always wished I could be a little more outgoing, and now's my chance to make that happen. And I may or may not be (meaning I am) looking for a new hairstyle to go along with the change of location and outgoing-ness. Any suggestions?

My next semester living in Utah is going to be a time of a lot of new experiences. I got my student teaching placement this week, and it makes me a little nervous. I will be in a 6th grade classroom. I will be teaching 32 students. Half of them are learning English as their Second Language. A couple of them just got to the states and don't speak any English--or any language even remotely similar to English. This may be my endorsement, but I am super nervous to be in charge of the education of these children. I realize that it will be a good learning experience for me, but that doesn't make it any easier to jump right into it.

I am excited for this new time of change though. I realize that it will be good for me. It will help me grow. It will stretch me to do things I didn't realize were possible. And it will allow me to meet new people who will be able to influence my life, and hopefully who I will be able to influence.

Just in closing, I want to share a thought that President Mendenhall, our Stake President shared with us today as they released Bishop Rossiter and his counselors, Brother Burton and Brother Larsen. "Change is good, eventhough it sometimes brings pain and discouragement." This is something I want to remember, especially as I go through this season of change in my life.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

A Season of Gratitude


This week was Thanksgiving. I have so much to be grateful for. I haven’t logged onto my blog at all this week since I’ve been home. It was so good to be home with them this year. On Tuesday, every time I thought about being home for the holiday I teared up. I was so excited to be going home with my family. On my way home from the school Tuesday afternoon the song “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” came on the radio and I outright cried. I was so ready to go home!

Spending time with my family was amazing. It was so good to just be with them. We just watched movies and played games. We did go to the museum one day, and mom took Kesha and me shopping so we could give her ideas of clothes that we like for Christmas. And I ended up spending close to $200 on new outfits for student teaching. I didn’t want to leave them there because I could wear them now in the school, but this way I’ve got a bunch of new clothes when I get down to Utah. It will be worth it.

Anyway, I have so much that I have to be grateful for. A few months ago I started keeping a “tender mercies” journal. It has been a blessing for me to keep track of the blessings I see in my life each day. That has especially helped me on the days that have been especially rotten. I have been able to see that the Lord really does bless my life each and every day.
  •   Family
  •   Good friends
  •  Amazing roommates
  •  The opportunity I had to serve a mission
  •  The people I met on the mission
  •  The Gospel
  •  A testimony of the Gospel
  •  Modern Day Prophets
  •  Scriptures to study
  •  Parents who raised me well and taught me to follow what I know is right
  •  A love of children
  •   A wonderful education program at BYU-Idaho
  •   Amazing professors who have passed on their love of educating children
  •   The sacrifice my Savior made so I will be able to return and live with my family for eternity
  •   A merciful Father in Heaven
  •   A free country where I have been able grow up with many rights that other people only dream of
  •   A warm house to live in
  •   A comfortable bed to sleep in
  •   Food to eat
  •   A place to live while I student teach
  •   Legs so I can walk
  •   Eyes so I can see
  •   Ears so I can hear
  •   A nose so I can smell
  •   Laughter
  •   Children, and the funny things they say
  •   Happy memories
  •   A good job
  •   A boss who is willing to work around my schedule
  •   Fun people to work with
  •   Family vacations and the memories we’ve made
  •   Spanish—it’s a beautiful language
  •   Customers who speak Spanish at work and the ability I have to help them
  •   Technology that allows me to keep in touch with people I met on my mission
  •   The Atonement that has given me strength to overcome challenges in my life
  •   A sense of humor
  •   A temple close enough that I can walk
  •   Blessings of the temple
  •   Peace that is felt in the temple, and being able to leave everything outside
  •   Green leaves and flowers in the spring
  •   Beautiful, white snow at Christmas time
  •   Music
  •   Newfound musical talents
  •   My calling and the many people who support me
  •   Peaceful Sunday afternoons
  •   Service
  •   People who love me
  •   People for me to love
  •   Prayer and the way it allows me to communicate with my Father in Heaven
  •   Life in general
This list is just a short sample of all of the many things I am grateful for. My heart has been so full of gratitude. I am so blessed! I will never cease to be grateful for all I have!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

I Love My Calling!

This semester, I am the Ward Choir Director. I absolutely love this calling! We have had a really good turnout at all, well, most of our practices. We sang in Sacrament Meeting today. Because Thanksgiving is this week, I wanted to do a song that relates to Thanksgiving, so I chose to sing "Because I Have Been Given Much." I personally have been reflecting on all of the blessings that I have in my life. And they really are so numerous. And this calling is one of them. I have learned so much about my musical abilities. In fact, without this calling I never would have discovered that I have the ability to arrange music. After choir practice tonight, one of the girls came over to me with our Christmas song in her hand and said, "I didn't realize that you arranged this! This is amazing!" She wanted to know if it was my major...and was completely shocked when she learned that it was the first song I've ever arranged. She said that she absolutely loves it. I really can't wait to share it with the ward in a few weeks. That song really is my testimony of Christmas put to music. It is incredible! I am so blessed!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Ready for a Change

Yes, it's time. I've been in Rexburg for what seems like ages. And when you look at it, I kinda have been. I am over halfway through my 8th semester here, but because of serving a mission have been here longer than pretty much everyone I know. I was thinking about it today, and I need a change of scenery, a change of pace. Don't get me wrong, I love Rexburg. I love BYU-Idaho. But I can only handle so much of "BYU-I-do." That's right. I'm sick of dating here...or rather, NOT dating. I've actually talked with several returned sister missionaries (both in Rexburg and Provo) and we all agree that the dating life of an RM sister who is close to graduation...um, to put it nicely...isn't so hot. In fact, it's quite non-existent. We've come to the conclusion that it is because they are intimidated by us. Not to be "better than thou" but let's be honest...by the mere fact that we're RMs says that we've accomplished a lot. And being within weeks of graduating from college doesn't help that either.

All of the guys around here are so interested in asking out the freshman girls...girls who, for the most part, don't want to get married yet. They just want to play. And then...there's people like me. I don't want to play. I want to settle down and have a family. I love teaching, but I'd be 100% okay if I never got to teach in a classroom of my own because I had a family. Anyway, back to my rant...

I am so tired of seeing all of the guys who I'd be remotely interested in with a freshman clinging to their arm with what seems like a death grip. (I may be a little biased in saying this, but I really do feel bad for girls who get married young, because I have had so many wonderful experiences that I know I wouldn't have been able to have if I was married already). But in saying that, it doesn't mean that I don't want to date and work toward getting married. Because I do. I'm trying to be patient in dating opportunities. But I'm kind of getting fed up with the fact that I never go on dates. Ever. I can count on one hand the number of dates I've been asked on, ever...and I don't even need a whole hand. Like I only need 1/5 of a hand. Which, when you think about it, is really pathetic because it has been "legal" for me to date for 6 years (if you take out the time I was on the mission, anyway. Add that on and it's been 7 1/2 years).

I know that my roommates are getting sick of hearing me complaining about my (lack of) dating life. And I really am trying hard to be positive. But I'm ready for a change. I'm ready to head down to Utah and have the chance to get to know a whole new side of men that I don't get here in Rexburg. At least that's what I'm hoping. I guess I'll find out in 7 weeks when I move down there.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Mission Coming-homes

It was a great weekend. After 2 all-nighters in a row last week, I was able to sleep well Friday night and get up early for my Praxis test Saturday morning. Then I headed down to Utah. The first sister I solo-trained got home from her mission last week, and gave her homecoming talk today! I have been so excited to see her. I don't know what it was, but I felt a special connection to her. Maybe it's because of all the hard times we went through together. I don't know. But I have been so flipping excited to see her! I prayed like crazy that the weather would be good this weekend, because it wasn't looking good at all. But the roads were fine. Tender mercy? I think so.

Anyway, Lindsay gave a wonderful talk this morning. She made me cry. She reminded me so much of me when I got home. It was unreal! I got to see a few other missionaries I served with too. It was good to see everyone...but mostly her. She rode with me back to her house. She wanted to back me up...but I wouldn't let her. We've got to break her out of the missionary bubble sometime! And she's got a couple of great friends who did a great job making her feel super awkward with a Lindsay-sandwich.

Driving home tonight I was able to reflect on the mission and all of the good times that we had together. I love Lindsay so much! I can't wait to get down to Utah so we can see each other more often!

Friday, November 11, 2011

A Family is Forever

Today I had the opportunity to go to the temple sealing of one of my friends. She was actually my counselor last semester in the Relief Society Presidency. I hadn't ever been to a sealing, so I was kind of excited.

One thing that I love about Rexburg is that the temple is so conveniently placed to campus. I was able to walk up to the temple from class in about 20 minutes, and that was going at a nice pace (I probably could have made it in about 7 minutes if I'd needed to). It is so amazing to walk up the hill and think of everything that beautiful, white building symbolizes.

A few months ago, I went to a civil marriage. The "happy" couple didn't look so happy. But Lydia and Matt...they were happy! The feeling of a temple sealing is completely different than a civil marriage. No, I don't want anything else in my life. The Spirit that I felt inside the sealing room is something I can't even begin to explain. It was unlike any Spirit I'd ever felt before. It was amazing!

Another difference in today's wedding was the talk of eternity. There was nothing about "'til death do you part." They will have each other FOREVER. They will have their parents FOREVER. They will have their children FOREVER. Who doesn't want that? What a blessing!

I know that someday I'll have the opportunity to be sealed to a wonderful man for time and all eternity. But until that time comes, I'll keep preparing myself to be the best wife and mother I can be.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Just my luck

Yes, I went country dancing tonight. And yes, Mr. Amazing from last week was there alright. And we even danced...once. And we talked for a few minutes after the song ended. And that was that. For the rest of the night, he had another girl practically hanging on his arm. And I wasn't asked to dance again. Good thing I've been able to get rid of my bubble and ask guys to dance or it would have been a miserable evening. (I told myself that I had to dance so I wouldn't stand there feeling sorry for myself, so I kind of had to ask the guys to dance or I would have been miserable. So I actually danced more tonight than I have yet this semester.)

Anyway, I started the semester with high hopes for dating, after all, I am over the awkwardness of being an RM. And I am adjusted back into life as a student. But the further into the semester we get, the more pessimistic I start to feel once again. I swear, there is something in the water here. Oh well. I only have 5 1/2 more weeks left of life in Rexburg, then I'll be on to new places. Places where I won't know anyone and no one else will know me either. I think that will be good. I think that will be needed. If I can only survive these next 5 1/2 weeks and not be totally and completely miserable, I'll be fine.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

But of course this would happen...

So I went country dancing tonight, as per my Wednesday-night ritual. And ya know, it was a great night! I danced...kind of a lot. I was just getting ready to ask one guy to dance, but he beat me to the punch and asked me instead! He came over and was like "Do you know how to do this? Will you teach me?" So I proceeded to teach him the basics. Which, I'll be honest...isn't the easiest thing for me, because I just follow. But, we worked it out and I was able to teach him a few things. After that song, we walked off the dance floor, but kept talking. So he asked me again. And we danced 2 more songs. Then we went our separate ways. But later, he came over and asked me to dance again, and we danced a song, walked off the floor talking and danced again. Yep, you counted right. 5 songs. With the same guy. After the 5th song, I told myself that next time I saw him I'd invite him to a game night at our apartment that we'd have this weekend. But he completely disappeared after that, so I didn't get the chance to ask him. Of course. Oh well. Whatever. He may have been attractive, and quick at learning (and told me that he does other types of dance), and heck, he's even in the "zone" set by mom! If I'm supposed to see him again, I will. But now I've got to wait a whole nother week. But! If I see him next week, I'm making it up that the roomies and I are having a game night on Friday and inviting him. I'm not gonna make that mistake again!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

What's in a Name (Tag)?


So all semester long my roommates have asked me on Tuesdays and Thursdays why I don't take off my teacher name tag when I get home from my practicum. And all semester long I've told them that it's just easier to not take it off. But really, how hard is it to take off a magnet and set it on your dresser? Yeah...not hard at all. Anyway, I was thinking earlier this week when I happened to look over and see my missionary name tag hanging from my lamp and then looked down and saw my teacher name tag on my blouse. It's funny how connected you get to something and not even realize it. I realized this week that the reason I don't take off my teacher name tag is because I miss having that missionary name tag in place. Like really though...it's been over 9 months since I had to take off my missionary tag, and for 9 months I have longed to be able to put it back on. Being back in the classroom helps, at least a little bit, to fill that void that I have felt. And putting on my teacher name tag is like a burst of fresh air. It helps to fill that little hole where my missionary name tag once sat. Granted, nothing will ever be able to fully replace my missionary name tag and the calling it represented, but for now as I am moving on with my life, putting on my teacher name tag and going into the classroom to teach helps me remember my purpose and what my goals are.





Sunday, October 23, 2011

I Believe in Christ!

Today was a good day. No...let me rephrase that. Today was a GREAT day! But before I tell you about today, I'm going to back up and tell you about the past few weeks.  I'm the Ward Choir Director this semester, so within the first few weeks of the semester, I had to go to a stake-wide training for music people. While there, we practiced the song that the stake choir was going to sing in Stake Conference. We practiced with the piano...and then they asked the girl who played the piano if she knows how to play the organ. Well, she didn't and so they asked for a volunteer. Before it registered in my head what I was doing, my hand was in the air volunteering to play the song in Stake Conference. On the organ. LaKesha turned to me and was like "You don't play the organ." To which I replied, "Well I guess I do now." Over the past 3 weeks I have spent countless hours practicing the organ. We sang Mack Wilberg's arrangement of "I Believe in Christ." (Click on title to see the MoTab perform the very song that I had to learn.) The words "arranged by Mack Wilberg" are kind of scary...it means that the song is gonna be intense. And it was. I practiced, and I practiced, and I practiced. I made special trips to IF just so I could practice the organ. I didn't know why I volunteered...because I didn't know how to play the organ. At the first choir practice, I just played on the piano because there was no organ. That was okay. I could handle that...after 2 weeks of constant practice. It was by no means perfect...and didn't have my feet playing their part either. But I knew that I had two more weeks to be able to get it down. I had one of my FHE brothers give me a blessing

Last Sunday, we had another choir practice. This time with the organ. To say that I screwed up is an understatement. I slaughtered the song. Absolutely slaughtered it. I fought back tears. After the choir practice, one of the sisters in the stake who's over the music asked me if I was sure I would be able to get it by today. Ouch.  I came home and sobbed. I didn't know if I would be able to do it. On Monday, I had Dad give me a blessing, and that helped to calm my fears, and gave me the confidence I needed to be able to play it in Conference today. I spent hours practicing. Hours and hours and hours.

Last night, we had practice after the evening meeting. As I sat at the organ and perfectly played the part that I've screwed up every other time that I've played that song, I had to fight back my tears. I couldn't believe it...I'd done it! I had learned that song! But not only that, I had proven to myself that I really can play the organ. I was on cloud 9. Skip, the choir director, looked at me amazed. I can only imagine the look of shock that I had on my face. That was the first time I'd actually been able to play that song without mistakes. He told me that he didn't envy me at all...while everyone would see him, they would HEAR me. "No pressure or anything," he told me.

Well, last night I prayed hard. This morning I prayed hard. During practice, I prayed hard. And while we performed the song, well, I prayed hard. And I felt others praying for me as well. I messed up a couple of times...but I think that I'm probably the only person who knew it. In four weeks, I went from not being able to play the organ at all, but not only that--telling myself that I couldn't play the organ...or the piano for that matter--to being able to play the organ. Four weeks ago, the only way I could play that song was with the bass coupler and using my hands for as many of the foot notes that I could. Today, I'm pleased to announce that every single note that is supposed to be played with the feet, was played with my feet. I have proved to myself that I can play the organ. Okay, and I admit...four weeks ago, I wouldn't have even attempted a song like that on the piano. Let alone the organ.

I have such a strong testimony of my Savior and everything that He has done for me. I know without a doubt that He was there helping me today. Four weeks ago when I volunteered to play the organ, I didn't know why I did. I just knew that I did. And i had a feeling that there was a reason. Today, I have a much clearer picture of what that reason is. I have been able to gain the confidence in myself to play the piano. To play the organ. And to arrange songs (but that is another story for another day.) Todays' message is that I believe in Christ! I know that He is my Savior. I know that He loves me. And I know that He is with me every step of the way, guiding my path.


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

I Love My Roommates!

I can't say it enough! I just love my roommates! Sure, we've had our rocky points...but in the long run it is the rocky points that give us the opportunity to grow closer together. I truly have some of the best roommates, and feel so blessed to be in this apartment this semester. At the end of last semester, I felt the Holy Ghost's sweet confirmation that this set of roommates that I was going to have this semester was for a reason. We got a rocky start...and it's partly my fault. But tonight, we were able to open up and the Spirit is definitely here in my apartment. And i am getting a better idea of why we are all together now.

This is my last semester at BYU-Idaho. It's the same for my roommate Carlee. We're both freaking out because we're not ready to grow up yet! We're not ready to graduate. We're not ready to leave BYU-Idaho...but let's be honest...I'm 99% positive that both of us are more than ready to not have to go through another Rexburg winter. Come on. Anyway, we both wanted to go out on a good note. And were really looking forward to our roommates and the whole set of memories that we still have to make before we leave Rexburg. We just want what is best for all involved. And I think that I speak for both of us when I say that, because of increased communication, we truly have the best apartment of roommates in all of Rexburg. Because it's true.

The other 4 roommates, Kesha, Kelsey, Caitlin, and Mary all still have lots of time here at BYU-Idaho. Quite frankly, I'm jealous of them because they have so much time left here. My advice to them: Treasure it, because it will go all too fast. If you don't believe me, wait a few years until you're on the doorstep of graduation and look back on today. It will seem like just yesterday that you started college. But that's not the point. The point is that we all wanted a good apartment...and we've got it. We must be doing something right...because I sure don't deserve the roommates that I've got.

This is a tribute to you girls! And it's because I love you! We are all so different, and yet so alike. Isn't it great? We all have something to contribute to the others and something to learn from the others in our apartment. What a blessing we have to be right here, right now.

Carlee, when we moved in last semester, about the only thing we had in common was...well...the fact that we were both close to graduation. And the minor detail that we're old. (At least compared to the other ladies who we get to rub shoulders with every day.) But the more time we've spent together, the more I have come to realize that we really do have in common. We both love to have fun. We love to laugh. When our sleep gets interrupted, we tend to get...a little testy (is that a good way to put it?) We love being with people. And we're ready to be done with school (but so not at the same time, and the real-life looming in the near future scares the crap out of us).

Kels, I knew you were crazy from the moment I met you. And I liked it! You're a country girl. I may not have grown up in the country, but I'm an Idaho girl, and I'm not ashamed at the fact that I grew up with a potato field less than a football field's distance from my house! Like me, you're trying to juggle school and work and still find time to squeeze in a social life and fun every once in a while. It's not easy...and sometimes that social-ness requires that we lose a bit of sleep...but we always laugh about it for days after.

Cait, I've learned more about you this week than I ever imagined I would ('nuff said. If you live here, you know what I'm talking about. If you don't...get over it). You are hilarious! And I love it! All it took was a little bit of time to get you to warm up to us and a couple of late nights. And you probably hate us, because 9 times out of 10 you are the one we jump out at in the bathroom as you're trying to unwind for the day. But look at the memories we've created.

Kesha, You're my sister. I have to like living with you. ...but really...I do. It's been so much fun, and I am so grateful for this time to be able to spend just us. It's been a lot of fun, and the friendship we already had has grown so much stronger. Forever. For always. No matter what. Because we're sisters!

And last, but certainly not least...Mary. You are amazing. I loved seeing you last semester, because you never didn't have a smile on your face (...er...if that double-negative made sense...Basically...I love the fact that you're always smiling!) It always makes the day go better when one smiles. And smiles are contagious! I was excited to be able to get to know you better this semester, and am so grateful that we still have 8 more weeks to be able to do so. I'm here for ya! I want what's best for you. And any time you need to talk, you know where to find me.

Basically, I just have to express to the world how blessed I am. I could go into so much more detail...but let's be honest. No one wants to read my ramblings anyway. I just want y'all to know that I love your guts!

PS~ Roomies...we have no pictures of all of us together. We need to change that, ASAP!!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

The Diary of a Pair of Shoes


Okay...to preface this, about 2 months ago, I was randomly contacted by a woman who is an artist. She was wanting to do a painting of missionary shoes, and wanted to use my shoes for her project. I sent them to her, along with this story that I wrote. It's a little long, but so perfectly emphasizes how I feel about my mission. It's been almost 3 years since I decided to go, 2 1/2 years (tomorrow) since I got my call, just over 27 months since I left, and in one week it will be 10 months since I got home. I think of the mission every day, and miss it dearly. I just got her e-mail with copies of the finished product, which I am including, along with my shoes' story.

 
There we were, one spring day sitting all nice and comfortable in our box. We still smelled like new leather and were perfectly content. Then, without warning, our box was opened and a young woman took us out and put us on. She kind of stuck her nose up when she saw us on her feet, because she was used to the cute flats and heels that she always wore. “But,” she said, “I’m going to need a pair of comfortable shoes so I can go out and do my best work.” “Perfect,” we thought, “We’re going to be used as work shoes. That is our worst nightmare!”

The young woman took us home, and started wearing us wherever she went. She said it was because she didn’t want to get blisters when she got on her mission. But what did that mean? What is a mission? We were soon going to find out. She also took great care to polish us, and condition the leather so we would always look our very best. We could tell that, even though she didn’t particularly care for the way we looked, she loved us and would always care for us.

Well, the day finally came when we would learn what a mission was. Early one July morning, long before the sun rose, the young woman arose and reverently slipped us on as she walked out the door. This was the day when she would leave everything behind for a time to go be a missionary. A few hours later, the young woman tearfully said goodbye to her family. She stepped out of the car and gave them all a hug, and then, we were all alone. Everyone started calling the young woman who wore us “Hermana.” What did that mean? We later learned that it meant that she was a missionary.

For two months, she walked around a campus with us on her feet. She sat in a classroom where the teachers would say things that Hermana didn’t always understand. As soon as she got back to her room at night, Hermana would kick us off of her feet…not because she didn’t love us, but because she was tired and ready to go to bed. But regularly, Hermana would take care to polish us and always make sure that we looked our very best. Finally, one night, Hermana pulled out our polish and made us shine! As she talked with the others, who were also called Hermana, we found out that we would soon be leaving this place for “the field.” Where was this field?

Early the next morning, Hermana quietly slipped us onto her feet and walked out into the dark and walked across the campus one last time. She climbed onto a bus with many other people, all of whom seemed nervous, and a little excited. A few hours later, we were stepping off of an airplane (we learned that Hermana didn’t much care for airplanes) into a strange place. We found out that this place was New Mexico, and where we would be spending the next while. It was hot! Hermana had some meetings, then we went outside and visited several people. Lots of them didn’t seem very happy to see Hermana and the others she was with. It made us sad, yet she still seemed to be happy, even though it was so hot outside

We soon learned that this is what missionary work was. Hermana did lots of walking in the hot sun, down dusty roads. We got very dirty. It was nothing like our nice, comfortable box that had long since been left behind. But, every night, before she went to bed, Hermana made sure that she at least dusted us off so that we looked clean, and she polished us before she went to church each Sunday so we would look our very best.

We had a lot of adventures with Hermana. She spent her days walking along the streets of various towns. Areas, we think she called them. She spent different amounts of time in each area; some long periods of time and others short periods of time. But Hermana always seemed happy.

Hermana did something really silly one morning. It was a day that they went to church. Hermana and her companion were running a bit late, so she hurriedly grabbed 2 shoes out of the closet and ran to the car. When she got out of the car, she looked down and realized that she only had one of us on. On her other foot she had one of our friends, but that friend was a brown shoe. Hermana was mortified that she had to go all day wearing two different colored shoes. But we thought it was funny.

Another day, we walked to a woman’s house to go visit her. It wasn’t a very long walk, but it was down a dirt road. Hermana and her companions had a nice visit with the woman, and when they got ready to leave, the nice woman asked Hermana and her companions if they would like a bottle of water for the walk. They asked her how she knew that they were walking. She told them it was because their shoes were filthy!  We already knew that we were dirty, but Hermana and her companions were kind of embarrassed that someone had noticed their dirty shoes. If we remember correctly, we got a nice polishing that night…

We still remember one night that was kind of scary. It was late at night, and kind of cold. Hermana had thought about wearing her boots that morning, but decided that it would be more comfortable to put us on instead. We wish she had put on her boots because of what happened. Hermana and her companions were going to visit a family. They didn’t usually go to this house after dark, because they had a big, scary dog. But, Hermana called the family and asked them to make sure the dog was locked up so they could go in. When the family told them the dog was locked up, Hermana’s companions walked in the gate and up the stairs. Hermana was last, so she shut the gate. As she was walking up the stairs, something so scary happened! The dog somehow got out and started running toward Hermana. Being nothing more than a pair of shoes, we couldn’t warn her, and the dog jumped on her and bit her leg! Hermana was so brave! It must have hurt when that big dog bit her and ripped a piece out of her leg, but all that Hermana said was that she would have been really mad if the dog had ripped her skirt. She was so forgiving to that dog!

Shortly after that event, Hermana told her companions about something that her family does for Christmas each year. Each year they take a picture of their shoes under the Christmas tree so they can see how much each person has grown each year. Hermana thought that would be fun to do to see how her shoes look with her companions’ shoes each year, so we took a picture. We looked so pretty underneath the tree, freshly polished, with Hermana’s name tag lying on top of us. One Sunday morning, Hermana and her companions woke up super excited. We weren’t quite sure why, but we could tell it was going to be an extra-special day. They went to church, but it wasn’t where they usually had church. And there were a lot more people in that meeting than were usually at church. When we got to the meeting, we found out that it was because a new branch was going to be created. We had learned that a branch is an organization of the church in the geographical area. But this branch was special, because it was the first one for people who speak Spanish in that area. There were a lot of people who were so happy and who felt that this was such a special blessing.

Not very long after that special day, Hermana received a call that she was going to be transferred to a new area. She seemed sad to be leaving. We had been here in the same place for a long time, and she loved so many of the people. The days before she left were spent saying goodbye. It was hard for her to make those visits and say goodbye. But, she did seem excited for her next adventure. We could tell that she felt at peace with this transfer. On the day that she was transferred, she drove to Colorado. Hermana said that it reminded her  a lot of home, because there were lots of farms and mountains. She was happy to be there and to meet new people.

In this area, Hermana did lots of walking in trailer parks. She seemed to enjoy that. She always had a smile on her face as she talked to these people who she said were so sweet. Of course, walking in the trailer parks that just had dirt roads, we got really dirty, but we didn’t mind anymore. We had learned that missionary work is so important to Hermana, so we are more than happy to help. After Hermana was in Colorado, she went to Santa Fe. It was really pretty and green in Santa Fe. Just a few days after we got there it was Hermana’s birthday. Her mom sent her a pretty new skirt. There was a special meeting for the missionaries that day. Hermana played the piano for that meeting and it sounded so pretty. After the meeting, Hermana and her companion walked and visited more people to share the special message that they have about Christ. It was sad that more people didn’t want to listen.

Hermana didn’t stay in Santa Fe for very long—only one transfer. She got a phone call early one Saturday morning telling her that she would be leaving the following Tuesday to go to El Paso and train a new missionary who was coming. We remember that she was very scared. And she was sad. All day long people kept asking her if she was okay because she looked sad, but she couldn’t tell anyone that she was leaving yet. That night, Hermana and her companion went to a baptism of some people they taught. Hermana played the piano, and it was hard for her to not cry. But she didn’t want the people to know there was anything wrong when she gave the talk that the sisters being baptized asked her to give.

Hermana was scared to go to El Paso. It wasn’t because of the location, but rather the fact that she didn’t know anything about the area and that she would have a brand new missionary to teach. But she decided that she was going to be happy and go out and work as always. The first day that Hermana and her new companion went out to talk to people it was so hot! And there weren’t very many people at home. Hermana and her new companion were a little down, but they soon found lots of people to teach and lots of work to do.

There were lots of cockroaches in the apartment where Hermana lived in El Paso. She and her companions just laughed at that…after they got used to the idea that there were cockroaches. They kept a can of Raid close so they could kill the cockroaches. One day, Hermana opened a door and one fell on her head. It startled her, but it made her laugh. That was another experience that they were able to add to their list of “cockroach encounters.”

Hermana really loved her time in El Paso. She was able to train another missionary during that time. This new missionary had so much energy. Hermana kept saying that it was a good thing, because her time as a missionary was growing short and it kept her feeling young. Hermana and this new missionary were able to visit and help lots of people learn about the Savior. It made her so happy to be able to share that message with people.

When the call came with news of where the missionaries would be for Hermana’s last transfer, she and her companion were surprised to learn that they would have a third companion. Hermana was excited! This would mean three missionaries at Christmas again, and three pair of shoes in front of the Christmas tree. Speaking of shoes in front of the Christmas tree…Hermana didn’t realize until she placed us underneath the tree next to the shoes of her companions how beat up we were starting to look. During her mission, she tried really hard to take good care of us. But when you’re out working as hard as she was, you can’t expect shoes to stay looking new. And you know, we couldn’t be happier to have had this opportunity to help her with her work, even if it does mean that we don’t look very pretty anymore.

Right after New Years, all of the sister missionaries went to Albuquerque for a special conference. Hermana was so excited to go and be able to see her missionary friends before she went home. She was able to take pictures with all of them and remember some good times they all had. But Hermana was sad. It was the last time she would see most of them as a missionary. And she was asked to share her departing testimony with the other sisters. That made her cry as she remembered all of the wonderful experiences that she had while she was on her mission.

The next night, Hermana got a letter from the mission office. As soon as she saw what it was she started to cry. It was what she called her “trunky papers.” Her flight plans and instructions for going home were in the envelope. She said that it really hit her that the end was near when she opened that envelope. Her companions both took her in their arms and hugged her. Hermana was really grateful for them and their love.

The next week, just one week before Hermana was supposed to go home, she and her companions were at the church one night when their phone rang. It was the mission president. He told Hermana that another sister had been attacked by a dog, and that he wanted her to leave her area a week early and go help that sister’s companion work again. Hermana was shocked. She hurried to say goodbye to a few people before they had to be in for the night. When she got home, Hermana started to pack. She was very sad. And scared. But she said that she felt peace.

On the last Saturday of Hermana’s mission, she went out with the sister she was with and had one last day of walking and knocking on doors. Hermana said that she felt like she had to talk to as many people as she could and share the message because she didn’t have much time left as a missionary. That made her really sad. The night before she left to return to Albuquerque, the other missionaries let her share the last message. It meant a lot to her to be able to share that message—one last message as a missionary. She had tears in her eyes, but a smile on her face as she shared her testimony of the Savior.

Finally, the day that Hermana thought would never come came. It was the day that she would go home. She was sad to be leaving the mission, that she wasn’t going to be a missionary any more. But she was so excited to see her family again. 18 months is a very long time to not see your family. As she said goodbye to her mission president, she turned around with a smile on her face knowing that she did all that she could. And she got on the airplane with the other missionaries. They all were so excited, looking out the windows. Hermana had a huge smile on her face. When they got to Salt Lake, Hermana said goodbye to all of the missionaries. Some of them were done with their trip, others had different flights to catch. But Hermana was all alone for the first time in 18 months. She tried to smile, but it was hard. It was really weird to be completely alone. When she got to where she was going to wait for her plane, she turned around and saw the familiar face of her Stake President from home. She was so happy to see him and to not be alone. That made her feel more comfortable. She talked to him until it was time to get on her plane to go home.

We will never forget that last flight. Hermana was so excited that her legs were bouncing up and down the whole way. That made us feel  kind of dizzy. As they got closer to home, Hermana leaned toward the window and looked out at the things that were so familiar to her. She whispered over and over to herself, “I’m home!” The plane couldn’t land fast enough for Hermana. As soon as she could stand up, she grabbed her coat and her bag, and silently pleaded for the other people to move faster. Finally, she was able to get off of the plane. She walked as fast as she could to the escalators. She took a deep breath, and looked down. At the bottom of the escalator and through a glass door was her family waiting. Hermana started to cry. It was so good for her to see them again. As she got to the bottom of the escalator, Hermana started to run. She was pulling a suitcase behind her, and it wobbled and thumped down the last few steps. But Hermana didn’t care. As soon as she got to her mother, she dropped her suitcase and hugged her, and held on tight. And held on tight to her dad, each of her siblings, and her grandparents as well. She was so happy to be home.

That night, Hermana reported her mission to the Stake High Council. And she was released. As she walked out of that room, she tearfully pulled the name tag from her coat and stumbled through her tears. She was so sad to not be a missionary anymore.

Hermana worked hard as a missionary. And she says that every time she looks at us with our scuffs and worn-down soles that she remembers the many wonderful experiences that she had as a missionary. And we are so grateful to have been able to be a part of her mission.

                            Souls of Service, by Megan Schaugaard

Friday, October 7, 2011

Tender Mercies

Yesterday was kind of a rough day...but today I feel so much peace. I spent a good chunk of time in the temple, and came out knowing that everything would be okay. I couldn't be much happier right now. I love the Gospel of Jesus Christ! I am so grateful for temples! And without a loving Heavenly Father, I don't know where I would be. Life is so much better with the Gospel!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

A Rock and a Hard Place

Sometimes I feel like I'm stuck somewhere between a rock and a hard place. Like right now. It's my last semester at BYU-Idaho (as much as I don't want to admit that...). I've got another roommate who's graduating this semester as well. We were both super excited, looking forward to the semester and going out with a bang. Neither of us...well...none of my roommates...were expecting that drama would ensue. And it's hurting the whole apartment. We've got one roommate who struggles with the curfew that we have here. She doesn't take it seriously. We've brought it up, in as loving a way as she lets us get out, and have tried to help her see that there really are serious consequences that come from not following the Honor Code. Things have only spiraled downward the past few days, to the point that the five of us who are super close have no idea how to help our roommate. We all felt that she needed to live with us. Now, we're trying to see why. We know there is a reason. And we want to help her. We're just tired of being shut down...and having her lie to our faces. It hurts. A lot. Actually, there's not much that hurts more than having your trust betrayed by someone. And, quite frankly, there's not many things that are harder to get back than trust when it has been lost. We are all praying to know how we can help her...but if anyone has any suggestions, they would be greatly appreciated.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

October?!

This can't be possible! Seriously...where have the past 10 months gone??  Looking back in my calendar...10 months ago today was Fast Sunday in January...my last as a missionary.  That is so crazy to believe.  In just a couple of weeks, I'll hit 10 months of being home.  Has it really been that long?  It doesn't seem like it at all.  What's even crazier is that 6 weeks from today I'll see the first sister I trained down in El Paso.  That's right...Hermana Jardine is coming home.  I'm excited to see her again, but my heart is breaking at the thought of her leaving the mission.  She's been such an amazing missionary, and I look up to her so much!  She hasn't had it easy, but she's stayed positive through it all.  It will be good to be able to talk to her again.  Her birthday's this week...she's in my thoughts :)

I've got so much going on right now with school and work and everything.  My life is crazy...be glad it's not yours.  Don't get me wrong...I'm grateful for every single experience I'm having.  But it's nuts!  Yesterday at work, one of the guys I work with (but haven't worked with all summer long) asked me what I've been up to.  I responded with something along the lines of "my life is super crazy right now and getting crazier."  To which he said, "What's his name?"  When I told him that I don't have a boyfriend, he felt super awkward.  I thought it was funny.  Ha!  I don't even have time to sleep right now...who has time for a boy?  Not me!

We just came out of an amazing Conference Weekend.  I always love General Conference.  I come out of it feeling so uplifted and happy about everything.  I have a few new goals for the next six months that will help me along in my life.

Have a wonderful October, everyone!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Off My Rocker...

So I got my calling today. Ward Choir Director. And Assistant Humanitarian Service Leader in Relief Society. But this post totally has to do with the choir. I went to the stake training this evening. While there, Sisters Webster and Mendenhall introduced the song that the stake choir is going to sing in Stake Conference in like 3 weeks. It's a beautiful arrangement of "I Believe in Christ." We sang through it, and it's pretty easy. I was totally ready to participate in the choir. My arm, however, obviously thinks that I'm more ready than I really am. You see, after we sang it, Sister Webster asked the girl who sight-read the accompaniment if she could play the organ. She can't. So Sister Webster turned to the rest of us and asked if there was anyone who would be willing to play the organ. My hand shot into the air. Me? WHY??? I haven't TOUCHED an organ since the Christmas Zone Conference...9 months ago. And playing anything with the foot pedals? YEARS! I can handle the first 8 pages (on the piano anyway, without the foot pedals) no problem. Then 2 extra sharps and lots of notes are thrown into the mix. That's where it starts getting complicated. BUT. I'm going to practice...and practice and practice and practice and practice and practice some more...and I'm going to get this down! I'll get blessings for helping out. And it will do me good to get back on the piano again. You see...I say that I can't really play the piano anymore, outside of hymns anyway. But I sat down and sight-read the song, and, while it wasn't perfect, for sight-reading a song that difficult I didn't do half bad. Obviously, I proved myself wrong...but I still have a long way to go. The organ isn't exactly the piano...and I have to use the foot pedals with this song. Yeah...haven't touched those since, oh, HIGH SCHOOL. Oh well. I'm going to grin and go forth with faith and conquer. And let the entire Rexburg YSA 7th Stake know that I play the organ...something that not even my roommates knew about me until, oh, 5 hours ago? Let's just say that this is one of those talents that I have kind of kept hidden under a bushel...But not for long. Wish me luck!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Missing it...

I don't know why it hit me all of a sudden tonight. But as I was sitting in the General Relief Society Meeting tonight, I all of a sudden missed the mission a ton. We sang "Hark, All Ye Nations," and I started crying as I was taken back to the best 18 months of my life. I thought about the experiences I had sharing the message of the Gospel. I thought about the companions I had, and how much I love each one of them. I thought about Sisters Jardine and Batchkoff, both of whom I trained and are now serving together, and how they would be getting transfer calls tonight...the last time for Jardine before she comes home. My heart ached for the mission and to be able to have that Spirit with me all the time again. Like I said, I don't know why I missed it today, but I did. I am really enjoying where I am right now in my life, but if I could I would go back in a heartbeat.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Third Grade

When I got home from my mission (8 months ago yesterday), I never thought I'd get to this point. I never thought that I'd finally be able to leave college and go to THIRD GRADE! Yahoo! Okay...so I knew that I'd eventually leave college, but I don't think I realized that it would hit this soon. And okay...so it's not even that soon. I feel like I've been home forever!

Anyway, today was the first day of my Senior Practicum...in other words, the LAST step I have to take before student teaching. I was scared out of my mind, but after experiencing my first day, I realize that it's going to be pretty chill. I'm in a third grade class of 24 students. I don't remember many of their names, but I already love them! They are all so sweet! And Mrs. Ashmore (my cooperating teacher) is bomb!

I was able to start teaching today. Just a mini-lesson on multiplication by 10, but I did it off-the-cuff. That was pretty cool. Thursday I get to teach a lesson with some sort of activity about Photosynthesis. Thanks to Google, I don't think that will be too hard either. I'm so excited, and can't wait to get into a classroom full-time, rather than just 3 days a week!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

9-11


Today is 9-11. Up until ten years ago, September 11 was just another day. But for the past 10 years, it has become something so much more. Ten years ago today, the life of every American changed. I remember exactly what I was doing. I was in the first few weeks of my 8th grade year. That morning, I was getting ready for school. As usual, I had the radio on. That’s when I heard the news. At the time, I didn’t know what the World Trade Center was. I went into the other room, and turned on the TV. I watched the second plane hit. At school they had the news on, and I watched the towers fall. I remember the emotions I felt: the great sadness, the horror, the gratitude that I had for my life and that of my family.

Yes, I was scared. I was terrified. What was going to happen? Was this going to start a third world war? What was happening? Why would anyone do this? Many questions ran through my 13 year-old mind. And I still don’t have all of the answers. But one thing I know for certain is that my Heavenly Father loves me.

Today I have paused to reflect on that day. I have watched news clips on youtube. I have watched documentaries on TV. And my heart has been full. That day changed my life. There were some people whose testimonies wavered that day. Mine was strengthened. To me, this was just another of the signs of the times in which we live, a sign that the second coming of our Savior is ever growing closer.

That day is one that I never want to relive. Just seeing the news from that day is hard enough for me. Those images are forever burned into my mind as I think of the thousands of people who were injured or killed that day.

Today, my prayers are with the families and friends of those who were killed on that terrible day. May they feel the love of their Father in Heaven in their hearts and be able to come to the knowledge of the great Plan of our Heavenly Father.