Thursday, December 29, 2011

Christmas Brilliance...

May I start by sincerely thanking all those from whom I received gifts, cards, and well wishes for Christmas. I was so very grateful for everything I received, and so grateful for this time of year because it keeps us all in touch. Yay! However, those who know me will understand the sheer joy behind this post...

Every year, my family draws names for Christmas. It's a lovely tradition, and we have a great time swapping gifts. This year was no different. I love love love giving gifts, but when my sister L gave me my present to unwrap, the excitement in the room reached palpable...(apparently I was the only clueless one...)...(pardon the nasty cell phone pics, but that's all I got...)

My Awesome Blanket
But, wait! What's that peeking around the corner?

My Awesome Blanket--take 2!!!

Oh the joy... Sometimes I get a little nervous when the kids are so excited about something I'm clueless about (not sure why), but this was so freakin great! I love love love LOVE LOVE it! My sisters said they had so much fun figuring it out/making it that they wanted to make more...but, alas, I'm the only nutcase they know that loves both teams equally. Ha!

And, in other related awesomeness, I got home for Christmas to the room I stay in and found this jewel o' brilliance on the dresser (in my pink room with brown accents)! My mother knows me WELL, and I'm so loved. Need I say more?
I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas!!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Funnier than the author could ever have imagined...

"To all the girls who are in a hurry to have a boyfriend or get married, a piece of Biblical advice: Ruth patiently waited for her mate Boaz. While you are waiting on YOUR Boaz, don’t settle for any of his relatives: Broke-az, Po-az, Lyin-az, Cheatin-az, Dumb-az, Drunk-az, Cheap-az, Lockedup-az, Goodfornothing-az, Lazy-az, and especially his third cousin Beatinyo-az. Wait on your Boaz and make sure he respects Yo-az."

I know, it has nothing to do with Christmas or anything, but it's still hilarious. HI-larious. On so many levels...

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Ok, I've watched this so many times...

I figure if I watch it upwards of possible-to-count times, I should probably share it. Don't get me wrong, I love VP. I do. (see two posts down) But these guys...amazing. I love this.

If you know the two songs, this is un-freakin-believable. Good gracious. One person on Youtube tried to describe the transitions: "A..B..ABABABBABBABBBABABA"...SO TRUE. It is seriously one song. It's amazing...I'm so glad they won. They were definitely the best.

I heart Pentatonix. That is all. That break-down by Kevin and Avi...holy...

And I just absolutely love their techno sound...even at the end...they totally sound like they're in a studio!? Bah.

Buying. Song. Now.

Two days later:

Nope. I had to add this one too. Holy crap. I don't even know this song, and I LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE it.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Woo Hoo!!!!!!!!

Remember how I wanted more nieces?!?! Well...

It's a GIRL!!!!!!!!!!!!

My brother and sister-in-law are having another baby girl!!! Sucks that she's all the way over in VA, but hey, I'll take what I can get!! Now B will have a little sister to grow up with. Yay!!!

(Bah! And they're gonna name her Clara....after my G-ma and my sister-in-law's Great G-ma. Is that not the cutest thing you've ever heard?!)

Thursday, November 17, 2011

VP...I heart you guys.

Love these guys. Love that I happened to go to the Bookstore on the perfect night...(I don't normally like to post heinous pics of me, but come on...ya gotta take advantage of an opportunity, no?)Yup. That's me, with Vocal Point. I'm so proud of them, I almost can't stand it. Such great people. Back row L to R: Tanner, Robert, me, and Ross. Front row L to R: Tyler, Jake, Ben, and Mike. I actually got to chat with them for a bit about lots of hilarious stuff. They're so much fun.
K: "Ok, so who got married since the show?" ...."Me." "Me." "I'm engaged now." "So am I." HAHAHAHAH! I did actually laugh out loud at them.
K: "Who's your favorite other group still remaining?" All eyes avert...I laughed again. "I don't want you to tell me who is in the finale, I just want to know who your favorite is?" One of them: "That'd have to be Pentatonix." "Me too. Sweet."

So proud, gentlemen. So proud.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Cleaning out storage can be good...

...when it leads to lost gems like this: the founding rationale for this here blog. FAIR WARNING: This sucker is long, but worth it. Hunker down with some hot cocoa if needed. Also, DISCLAIMER: I truly hope all readers will hear me speaking in their mind, thereby correctly discerning the mounds of sarcasm where expected. Onward...

Journal entry originally written many years ago (like 5 or 6?) before I was endowed...obviously:

As I rounded down the stairs to the baptistry on Friday, my hopes of beating the 5 pm rush were dashed. An entrance way CRAMMED with young men and young women greeted me. Oh great. I listened carefully to the plans their leaders were making, and decided to be a bit brash. “Could I just squeeze in front of your group? I’m here by myself.” They gladly moved aside to let me brush past. Whew! My plans for the evening hadn’t been crushed after all! I could get in and out of the temple quickly, but with NO intention to rush the Lord’s work, and then be off to the gym, home to shower, and still on time to the ward opening social I’d been looking forward to all week.

I walked past even more people whom, I assumed, were with the load of youngsters in the hall, and asked for my loaner-whites. I proceeded to the dressing room and, quick as a flash, I changed, came back out with lesson manual in tow, and had already been confirmed before the huge group even entered the waiting area. Rock on. Then I joined the double-bench cue for baptisms. This could be my demise…but I still had "faith". I opened my teaching manual and began to read the lesson I’m supposed to give on Sunday. We wound our way around until I was finally on the front row…about 12 people from being baptized.

“Ok, we’ll take four more girls, and then, I have to warn the rest of you…then we’re going to start the ward that has an appointment.” DRAT! Foiled again! What in the world could He have wanted me to come to the temple TODAY for!? He knew very well that I didn’t have this much time! I sat there, stewing in my own feigned Spirit-seeking righteousness… There was no way I could sit there that long and finish everything I had to do today. What a frustrating day.

But, I had just devised a plan! A plan that surely had to work…I would forego baptisms today, graciously redress myself and then ask the head temple worker, ever-so sweetly, “How would one go about making an appointment for just one? You see, I’m not upset or anything, it’s just that I would like to be better prepared for my next visit to the House of the Lord.” Seriously. I was going to do it! After all, I’m a nice girl, and I’m sure, after the rage of the audacity and unfairness of being bumped to the back of a VERY long line subsided, I really might have said this sentence to the very same person! (Right…) As the muscles in my legs tightened to stand me up…SHE entered the room.

I quickly resituated myself on the pew so I could nonchalantly STARE at her from the corner of my eye. Marty is her name. With a short brown tuft of unkempt hair on her head, she half-limped, half-shuffled in slightly quietly, holding tightly to the beautiful young girl who was leading her. I tried to refocus on my lesson again, so as not to appear rude for staring while the two girls went to change. Back out they came and were taken to the confirmation line. A few people had noticed Marty by now, and since most of them were under 17, they had no qualms about staring. She stood as reverently as possible, occasionally overtaken by the urge to giggle a bit. As she waited for her turn, she bent over and stared at her friend’s folded arms from about 2 inches away. Then, with all the muscle control she could muster, she very carefully, with lip-biting accuracy, tied her arms into a knot that almost resembled her friend’s. Pop! Her arms burst out from her body and flailed neatly to her sides. Giggling ensued again. The temple worker guiding the confirmation line caught Marty’s eye and gently pressed one finger against his own pursed lips. She watched carefully, and then repeated precisely what he had done. This was obviously familiar to her, because she accompanied her version with a lovely, but unsubtle, “SSSHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!” right back at him, and then turned to tell everyone in the room the same. In her round of shh-ing, she spun around to the wall, where a beautiful large painting of Alma baptizing hundreds at the Waters of Mormon hangs. Her admonition for everyone died off as she carefully approached the painting, eyes wide, mouth hanging open as only a Down ’s syndrome mouth does. One centimeter away from the canvas she glided back and forth until she’d reached her tippy toes trying to see it… “BOO-TIFUL,” she said in amazement. I sucked back a tear. At that point, she had everyone in the room’s FULL attention. Her friend then took her arm and guided her in to do confirmations, and then into the dressing room.

I sat there torn between my cunning plan and my almost untamable desire to stay and see if Marty would be baptized too. I sat, transfixed to the spot on my pew, left foot tingling with an unmistakable need for a blood rush. If I stay, I’ll watch her like a hawk through the glass partition, and she’s not on display! That wouldn’t be nice…but I wanted this feeling to continue. Just then, the door between the girl’s dressing room and the font cracked open.

Anything that even resembled a whisper in the waiting area vanished instantly. Everyone was watching Marty and her friend—who caught my attention because she took no notice of the nearly 50 people staring at her…she was simply there for Marty. They took their place in line and found a seat. Marty sat so carefully, crossing her legs like the rest of the girls in the room, having watched each of them for at least 30 seconds each. After she’d surveyed the room’s inhabitants properly, she began looking around at what looked to me (and everyone else) like thin air. She turned her head slowly from side to side…most definitely looking at certain somethings I couldn’t see.

It was her friend’s turn first. At the sight of her friend entering the water, Marty was OVERJOYED! She resisted a humungous urge to clap and settled for a toothy grin from ear to ear and rocking back and forth on her chair. Everyone else within sight’s smile broke out as well…including mine. This infectious joy was nothing compared to what was next. Her friend was done now…and Marty knew: it was her turn to enter the water.

She carefully placed her feet where they needed to be for her to stand, and with her friend’s help, she gained enough control to walk to it on her own. The room waited with baited breath as she started down those slippery stairs. Every priesthood holder in the font room was on his feet ready for anything. Focusing with utmost caution, she climbed down into the font. She was greeted by two baptizers who carefully shook her nervous hands. Continually glancing to her friend for looks of reassurance, she found her place standing in front of the screen with the names. She was ready.

The prayer was given, and although I couldn’t hear it, I could tell “amen” had been said. She tightened every finger on the first baptizer’s arms as he slowly began immersing her. The second baptizer mercifully plugged her nose and under she went, bringing the witnesses to their feet. Up she came, water spilling off her head, gasping for air and wiping frantically at her face. She blinked a bit, and then realized she’d done it. Her triumphant giggles were so loud, even we could hear them through the thick glass partition. Tears slid past smiles on every face in the room. She clapped and clapped, bouncing up and down on her heels, a new-found sense of balance in the water that helped to support her body. Ready for the second go-round, she calmed back down, grabbed the baptizer’s hands and stuck her nose out to the side for the other baptizer to hold onto. Down and up she went, each time grinning from ear to ear, wiping the water away, and then carefully repositioning herself for dunking and nose-holding.

With tears streaming down my face, I realized why I was supposed to be in the temple that day. No, I didn’t do baptisms myself (I couldn’t compose myself enough to even try)…but I learned a deep and meaningful lesson from Marty. Just like all those with disabilities, I believe Marty is special in many ways. I don’t believe Marty will be held accountable the same way we will. She is obviously a special enough child of our Heavenly Father that He saw fit to bless her with a mind and a body that Satan could not attack in any way. Marty has it made…yet, she understands the importance of the Lord’s work. Her challenges lie in physical obstacles that keep her from going to the temple...obstacles far more valid than those I sometimes catch myself trying to claim as another month slips by. Yet, she knows how many of her brothers and sisters are on the other side waiting for us to get the urge to go to the temple. She is a supreme example of selflessness to me.


I waited nervously trying to compose myself in the dressing room. All thoughts of my self-consuming, stupid plan had vanished. I just couldn’t let myself walk away without thanking them. Unusual as it seemed, I stopped them coming out of the shower area (both were clad in large fluffy white robes). I couldn’t even speak. Her friend simply smiled at me as I mouthed the words, “thank you” to her and Marty. “Marty, I think she needs a hug, is that ok?” “WHY?” “Because…she knows you’re special.”

I could have filled the font with my tear ducts for the next hour. I’m so grateful the Lord brought me to the temple today. I’m even more grateful that Marty and her friend were willing to come to the temple to teach me.

Thursday, November 3, 2011 I come...

(WARNING:!! There are roughly 80 billion pics here.
Enter at your own risk.

This birthday has been quite the roller-coaster. For starters, I had a mid-life meltdown the week before. Sudden-onset, debilitating OLDNESS totally blindsided me! Sheesh. It was NOT fun. But...with the help of some seriously awesome people, I got over it...

Oct 22nd--Surprise! Jason Aldean concert tix!!!
I know, right?!! How awesome is that?! I love love loved it. It was so spectacular. I totally got my country groove on. Even more awesome: the entire concert was fabulous! Thompson Square was adorable (didn't know they're married), and Chris Young...oh CY... I heart these ladies so much. Thank you, a billion times over!!!
The Awesomes who supplied my ticket: Shan and Carissa

Chris Young is such a lovely individual. I thoroughly enjoyed it. That is all I will say. ;-) Seriously. Google his name for images....

The man himself...good GRACIOUS I enjoy his music. It's like country/rock. In fact, it turned into serious rock before the night was over. Oh yes, I head-banged with the best of them. So. Much. Fun.
I also heart his duet with Kelly Clarkson. I don't usually like duets in concert that aren't really duets...but this one they did WAY better than I've ever seen. Truly enjoyed it.

I'd say "by the end of the night, we were insane"...but this was actually the first pic we snapped. :) Thank you for the day starting with kick-boxing and Kneaders french toast, for the delicious Pei Wei dinner, and a GREAT night of jigging. I love you ladies!!!!
Oct 29th--the day
It started with a fabulous lie-in until 10 am. Best thing about having a birthday on a Saturday. :) My roommies decked out my house with birthday festivities whilst I was sleeping (kinda). So sweet. Then, my momma came down and took me to PF Chang's for a fantastic lunch. Oh my. I so heart the PF. And my momma. And the most thoughtful gifts from everyone. Thank you so much.

Then later on, some friends got together for a lax, divine indulgence in some Goodwood BBQ amazingness. *ssiiiiigggghhhhhh* So much good food. And SO MANY great friends. Funny note: oddball/hilarious waiter actually messed up my I got birthday dinner for free! Ha! Thank you SOSOSO much to all of you wonderful people who care to make me feel special!!

I have such beautiful does that happen??

Leanne, Kailee, and Christina (and creepy background Danny)

Krystel, Angie, and Kathryn

Krista, Carissa, Shan, and I

Me, Melissa, and Brian

My GBBs. Oh how I love them. Not sure who they are? Read this...but scroll to the bottom. Danny, stranger, and Dave. Love em. And love that they love me so much they brought some random guy to my party.

Oct 30th--the cake
You can see a bit o the decor here. My roommates were sweet and changed their plans at the last minute for me. (I actually ended up with "plans" that night to a good start, 32...) So, we had Carissa's delicious swirl cake on Sunday night. Such sweet friends to come back the next night and continue the celebration...
Check out my awesome planter from R on the table. Oh ya, it WAS full to the brim with Kit Kats and Snickers...mmmmmmmmmmm.....

Matt and Rachel

Krista and Joni

Jaynann and Carissa

Sara and Dan would probably both kill me if they knew I was putting this pic out there. Funny story: I downloaded these pics today in the middle of my class while sitting right next to Dan. Pretty hilarious reaction from other people when suddenly a massive picture of Dan popped up on my entire screen in the middle of a lecture. Hee hee! (Poor Dan. He's suddenly found himself as the resident of way to many of my life bubbles...)

If I didn't love Shan so much, I'd probably hate her. Look at her...she's so gorgeous. And SOOOOO awesome.

Me and Leanne. I just love her. Thanks to the Jimmer for bringing us together during last year's basketball greatness. Leanne...I just love you. For some reason, I always take a picture like this when Kailee's got the camera...

So much fun. Thank you so much to everyone who has been so thoughtful with cards, gifts, phone calls, emails, and dinners. I'm so loved! Keep it comin'... ;-)

Friday, October 28, 2011

Need more nieces...

Don't you agree!??! GAH! She's so stinkin' cute!!! Yup, strawberry-blond...jealous? I am.

B as Cindy Lou Who for Halloween

Why? Because her off-the-charts precocious big brother is going as the Grinch. In all seriousness, I'm pretty sure it might be the cutest thing ever. :) My brother sent me these pics this morning, and I nearly danced with delight. I love her SOOO much! Too bad she lives in VA. I wish I could see her in person to get the whole package. Her little voice is totally naturally raspy. Like, raspy as in they took her to the doctor to make sure her vocal chords were alright. She's fine; she just gets to sound adorably raspy her whole life. AND a lisp. So cute. Add that to this fabulous idea...costume. contest. winner. Done.

B honing them pumpkin skillz at pre-school

Love you, baby girl!

Thursday, October 27, 2011


"Oh my holy freakin' gracious cow!!!"

That's right. I said that. Out loud. Just now. The whole string. Are you proud?

I am (for a host of reasons). And so is my really REALLY ouch-y thumb.

That is all.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

I violet?

Welcome, friends. 'Tis well known that I have university allegiance issues. One large chunk of my closet plays host to a myriad of t-shirts, hoodies, and fleeces. Even now, I'm sitting in my office on the Y's campus with a red UofU candy jar on my desk, a Y golf towel on the wall, and my oh-so-warm navy USU fleece jacket on my coat-hanger-dealy-whopper. Aggies, Utes, Cougars...I love them all. Back off, I have my reasons (12 years of college earns you that right).

(Rach and Heid, keep reading all they way through...
you'll like it.)

Once upon a time (7 freaking years ago), when I ever-so reluctantly moved down here, I got an earful of crap about this being "the lord's university" (purposefully uncapitalized). Back then, I used to stun Utah County smack-talkers/make them fiercely angry by saying, "No matter how deeply you cut a cougar, they still bleed red." (OH man. Don't ever say that to a Y fan unless you're willing to deal with the's not really worth it, actually.) Please, people. Brigham Young, himself, actually founded the U, not the Y. And, BYU's president graduated from the U, and (at the time I moved down here) the U's from the Y.

What the?! Hang on for a second while I climb down from this soapbox....ok...moving on...

BUT. That said, reasons like this most awesome one below currently have the color of my blood leaning toward the blue side more than ever before. Even Y-haters like my sister R can't argue with this stroke of Bronco's brilliance. I don't even know if people outside of avid BYUTV watchers know about Thursday's Heroes, but they should. This is good stuff. Maybe if every college football team had something like this to play for...

Thursday's Hero--Brigham Larkin

My fave part is the look on Coach's face when he gives away his hat. With a wink and a trigger, you. are. awesome.

Go on. Grab a Kleenex and watch another. Each one is as splendidly, awe-inspiringly awesome as the next.

High fives, Bronco. Well done.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Playing dress-up...

So, once upon a time, I used to be a die-hard costumer...though, I think that had more to do with the three ladies in our town who generously gave out home-made glazed doughnuts on Halloween than anything else, let's be honest. However, with age came waning interest, a lack of homemade glazed goodness, and increased laziness in the dress-up venue. Another contributing factor to consider: I hate dressing up for parties on/near my birthday! Nobody else is expected to do that when their birthday is, say, March 19th or August 27th, right? (Except you, Wend. Duly noted, my fine Hallow's Eve friend.)

However, on random occasion, I have been persuaded to revisit my stubbornness. A few years ago, my roomies really REALLY wanted me to dress up for Halloween. I told them the only way I would even consider it, was if they came up with an uncannily awesome idea, a crowd-wower, one for the ages...

Boy, did they deliver:
The S'more

I do have a picture of us just standing together, but 1) I'm too lazy to scan it and 2) this is SO much better. C and I are the graham crackers--the huge fridge boxes we had were spray-painted to look somewhat like graham and then taped to us. S is the chocolate--again with the spray-paint and tape. And M is the marshmallow, replete with an Ella-original white spandex suit stuffed to the hilt with white balloons. (We also all had our piece of the goodness face-painted on our cheeks.)

Seriously? It was awesome just when we were standing...or trying to walk/dance (ward party) because the boxes hit about mid-calf, and poor M could barely move (have you ever seen a 5' tall marshmallow try to boogie?...funny stuff). However, we decided to up the ante: each time anyone asked any of us what we were... "SSSSMMMOOORRREEEEE!!!!", and then we'd all run to the center of the room...and dogpile.


(Ok, really though...SERIOUSLY painful. I do not recommend an evening full of dead-man falls without the ability to catch/protect yourself. If it hadn't been so dang funny, we never would have done it.)

Monday, October 3, 2011

Awesomest of awesomeness. Truly...

If you know me, you know I have the coolest nieces and nephews. In the world. Seriously. They're all devastatingly handsome/drop-dead gorgeous and absolute rock stars. So, when R unearthed this timeless beauty, it HAD to be shared. I mean HAD to...

Once upon a time, the theme for Trenton's 24th was, "We're from the country and we like it that way." Well, duh. Obviously the float should emanate the essence of Tracy Byrd, right?The costumes, the scenery, it all dictated itself straight out of the song.But what are those crazy kids doing? Waving? Switching sides?? No, my friends. Those geniuses are DANCING. That's right. Homemade line-dance + adorable children = AWESOME.

This. Video. Slayed. Me.

Some referents to this year's float for your enjoyment (seriously, use the link so you can see the's awesome):
  • The kiddo in the back who knows his stuff is now the handsome FBI agent/starting senior center on his football team (holy crap they grow so fast)
  • Pinky is now the blond bombshell in the Incredibles costume
  • Hips on the left with the great bangs is now actress extraordinaire starring as Edna with the fabulous sleeves
  • The little ropin' cowboy in the orange t-shirt is now Syndrome...and no, his giggle has not changed in this many years
  • Though we missed them this year, shiny gold shorts is now a junior, a lady-killer, and a soccer star and the child prodigy 3-year-old in white is now 11 and just getting ready to start breakin' hearts all over, just like his daddy did (and he's actually a very talented dancer...he got this one down after about 10 minutes, almost better than the rest of them)
  • Ignore the psycho teacher who walks through randomly...I have no idea who that is...

Btw, this all started because my sister sent me the coolest thing. Apparently now you can "scrapbook" videos?! (Hence, today's hilariousness rediscovered.) Check this out:

Pretty friggin cool, huh?! If you want to learn how to do it, she'll show you how on her blog tomorrow morning. It looks freakin' awesome to me!!

Monday, September 26, 2011

I don't know about y'all, but...

These mean SO much more to me now than the simple beauty of God's creations... each petal holds important admonitions just for me.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Dear Rachie My Kay...

Thank you for...oh so much...
  • waking me up every day on the bus.
  • making up songs, playing bouncy house, and sleeping over on the trampoline.
  • sharing my vision of a huge fort (instead of a pathetic 8" tall oval trail of leaves), a phone (instead of tree branches), and endless hours of Mario Bros and junk food.
  • giving me something to celebrate after the worst display of football suckiness I've ever seen.
But most of all, for being my best friend for more than 30 years. You're such a great example of all things wonderful.

You rock.

Love you!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Let's focus on this instead, shall we?

So, you know me. You know I love sports. THAT is not a shock. However...I'm tired of hearing about the crap collegiate athletes pull lately. I know, I know. They're just the ones on the news (and yes, I mean ESPNews), but whatev.

"Lllllaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa" (angels singing)...enter awesome people.

Can we...for a moment...focus on stories/peeps like the following? Cause, they rock. Do it. Click on it. You know you want to...

Meet The Griffon Safeties and Blake McJunkin.

Monday, August 29, 2011

A lesson from my homeboi, Pahoran...

Once upon a time, Elder Bednar gave a particularly poignant address that stuck with me like that goobery stuff they use to mount random advertisement magnets on the cover of the phone book. I mean it really stuck!! So much so that when I went to peruse for the talk, I was FLOORED to find that it was in 200-freaking-6! Are you kidding? I was guessing 2010 at least. I can't believe it's been 5 years. Nevertheless, this always-vital principle came blaring out of the pages of my BoM tonight whilst trudging through the end of the war chapters...

"When we believe or say we have been offended, we usually mean we feel insulted, mistreated, snubbed, or disrespected. And certainly clumsy, embarrassing, unprincipled, and mean-spirited things do occur in our interactions with other people that would allow us to take offense. However, it ultimately is impossible for another person to offend you or to offend me. Indeed, believing that another person offended us is fundamentally false. To be offended is a choice we make; it is not a condition inflicted or imposed upon us by someone or something else." --Bednar

In chapter 60 of the seemingly ever-dragging Book of Alma, Moroni lays the smizz-ack dizz-own in his epistle to his friend:
  • Verse 7: "Can you think to sit upon your thrones in a state of thoughtless stupor..."
  • Verse 11: "Behold, could ye suppose that ye could sit upon your thrones, and because of the exceeding goodness of God ye could do nothing and he would deliver you?"
  • Verse 23: "Do ye suppose that God will look upon you as guiltless while ye sit still and behold these things?"
  • Verse 33: "We know that ye do transgress the laws of God."
Yowza. Them's fightin words, yo. I actually read 60 last night without much thought except an "ouch" after I'd finished and begun making my way onto my knees. But tonight, Pahoran's so-out-of-our-society's-norm response really stood out to me. After calmly explaining his unenviable plight to Moroni, he simply states:

"And now, in your epistle you have censured me (understatement), but it mattereth not; I am not angry, but do rejoice in the greatness of your heart." (61:9)


It has been, and continues to be, a life-long pursuit of mine to understand where others are coming from before reacting and to try to implement that understanding in my daily dealings with others. It's fascinating to me how much this has impacted my ability to not be entangled in and ensnared by offense. Some days I'm better at it than others, but this small but intense lesson from Pahoran should be my mantra, as well as for all striving saints. Don't ya think? I mean seriously, go read 60, and then 61 right after. Pahoran's a rock star at not becoming offended.

Turns out Bednar actually uses this example in his address. Ha! I didn't remember that part before tonight, but I do remember the following like it was YESTERDAY. Here's hoping I can continue to do's certainly made my life better:

"In some way and at some time, someone in this Church will do or say something that could be considered offensive. Such an event will surely happen to each and every one of us—and it certainly will occur more than once. Though people may not intend to injure or offend us, they nonetheless can be inconsiderate and tactless. You and I cannot control the intentions or behavior of other people. However, we do determine how we will act. Please remember that you and I are agents endowed with moral agency, and we can choose not to be offended." --Bednar

Completely, totally, 100% agreed.

(Why do I get such a kick out of mixing Gospel with inner-city vernacular? I do not know. I guess cause Jesus said, "Love everyone," right? Ha!)

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Ode to Gm'a G

*Disclaimer: my grandmother was one of the sweetest, good-natured/well-mannered women to ever roam the earth. There. Now...*

Rest in peace, Grandma. It was a hard fought fight. We all love you so much, and we know you're happier where you are now.

My grandmother was a kind, caring woman who put up with a lot in life. She graciously allowed us to make a mess of her upstairs every Sunday evening with our "haunted houses" that we never cleaned up. We also had a heyday in the Fuller Brush room constantly, which I'm sure she wasn't a fan of. But, she loved us, and we knew it. I still remember her coming to pick me up at dancing sometimes. That said, this woman had the best one-liners. Ever. They simply cannot go unshared. Why? Because I cherish them. That's why. And so, sweet Grandmother, without further ado, here's the side of you I think I inherited a bit more of than most...
  • "Looks like Big Chief $h*#-in-bush from the Toilet Paper Tribe..."
  • "Quit jumpin around like a fart in a skillet!"
  • "Couldn't poor p@*$ out of a boot with the instructions written on the heel..."
  • "You don't know $h!# from Blue Vitriol."
And most recently, another hilariousness from her that spurred a post of its own back in the day. I had only written something about G'ma making us laugh til we cried, so my cousin inquired about the details...

"AHAHAHAHAH. oh my gosh. seriously. So, i believe we were reminiscing about choir with grandpa and how it was hilarious because he would just make up his own words to the songs (usually with swear words in them) during practices. So, Kenneth leans over to Grandma (over me) and says, "Couldn't you keep him under control?" WITHOUT missing a beat, she says, "Well, I have 9 kids...what do you think?!" O M H. WE LAUGHED SO HARD. Seriously, i believe i nearly had water out the nostrils. or spit food. or something. all of us were SLAYED. Kenneth's eyes about popped out of his head. it was UNBELIEVABLY hilarious. and the best part was, bless her, she's so far gone that about 2 minutes later she asked me why everyone was laughing so hard. I nearly lost it again."

Dear Grandma,

I know you're in a better place. Enjoy watching the rest of us try to figure this thing out for ourselves. It's got to be entertaining. Can't wait to see you again someday.

Love you,

Monday, August 15, 2011

In the words of the fortune cookie...

Confession: sometimes the fortune cookie gods scare me.

Simply put, I swear they're WATCHING me. Bah! No, I'm not crazy. But seriously, I'm quite certain that the percentage of freakishly applicable fortunes I open is WAAAYYY higher than normal. (I know. My hypothesis is flawed given that my sample size is probably larger than most people too...I do love Chinese food a lot...and...I'm a nerd.) Don't get me wrong. I'm not one of those astrological nutcases that reads my horoscope and twists my reality to make it make sense. It's not every single time, but after the first double-take-requiring fortune, you kinda blink. After the second, you kinda glance over your shoulder. When the track record reaches "ritual", you get a little shifty! I started keeping them. They're actually taped to my desk at work so I can remember them. They're shocking! I feel I can only do them justice by including the ACTUAL circumstance surrounding some doozies.

Por ejemplo:
  • (no foreshadowing context, but still...) "Be careful. You are easily tempted." Who me?
  • In the midst of whining about battling to be healthy: "If you want something, earn it." Bite me, fortune cookie gods.
  • During a particularly difficult time dealing with loneliness: "You are admired by many." Ok...I take it back...
  • Feeling drained after trying to help some friends through some tough times: "You are realistic and others can relate to you." Thanks. I needed that.
  • While successfully procrastinating work for my thesis (back in the day): "It's time to gather info for the project that you've delayed." Whoa...are you kidding me? Are you watching me?
  • The NIGHT I got the message about the Rome Italy Temple Visitors' Center: "You have the urge and the ability for major accomplishments." This is getting ridiculous...
Which brings me to the most recent addition:
  • "You have a charming way with words and should write a book."
Oi yoi yoi...

Monday, August 1, 2011

Float Making 101...R...

Let's be honest. My sister(s) and I could totally teach Float Making 639! But, for the sake for those who don't have the luxury of kickin' it at Trenton's rockin' 24th celebration each year...we'll keep it simple. Why 101R? Well, because I'm a nerd stuck in the realm of higher ed, and the "R" means the class is repeatable. And we DEFINITELY repeat Float Making...every year...

This year's model was hesitant to show its potential early on. After D spouted the perfect saying to link a float to the day's chosen theme, we went to work. K and I were nervous, but optimistic. Then suddenly, about two weeks before D-day, it all came flooding in. Each time we'd brainstorm on the phone, the details seemed to flow with ease. We knew if we could pull it off, it would be AWESOME! We moved into production mode with these little mock-ups (thank you, Paint), a shared vision of the monster coming out of the wall, and an expandable plan for costumes just in case more grandkids jumped on the bandwagon. (Oh ya. We were SO prepared...)

Someday I will have even more pics to share, but I couldn't wait when I got the following from R today. Basically, K deserves all the credit. We went into it thinking the monster was going to be the kicker...and, while it was awesome, the random detailing in her costumes KILLED IT. See for yourself:

Trenton: A Town of Incredible Character
Gotta love those costumes! Don't they all look great!? M was strapped to the trike as the kid that yells, "That was totally wicked!!"

D makes a great "FBI agent", doesn't he? And L's random decision to bleach his hair orange a few weeks before seriously helped him pull off "Syndrome" too, I think.

Check out that monster!! K and her paper mache skillz were only one-uped by...

Her MAD DUCT TAPE SKILLZ!!! L totally rocked "Edna" with those fantastic sleeves. And, check out J's "JackJack" hair in the background.

And we can't forget the "Incredibles family" costumes. Special thanks to N and Kx4 for sporting the all-important, recognizable spandex.

Yup. It. Was. Awesome. (I was gonna say "incredible", but I couldn't bring myself to do it...) My official title was "Sounding Board", really. K did all the hard stuff. I was simply support staff in P-town. Oh...and the nutcase that came up with the solo-cup/ping pong ball legs for the monster. Hee hee! We're nuts. But we're awesome.

(Thanks to Disney for making such a fun movie and for putting the great score on iTunes so we could blare it out the truck speakers along the parade route and watch the smiles appear. Good times.)

Thursday, July 28, 2011

A Wordsy Bugger (Firecats Story)

Once upon a time (quite a few years ago), L coached her kids' soccer team. My mom, a RS teacher at the time, asked her to recount it and then me to write it. After L read my version, they deemed me, "a wordsy bugger"...
**The town names have not been changed...please use discretion, k?
Protect the innocent, and all...thanks.**

Ever witnessed a "baby soccer" game? Blue and yellow socks stretched up over tiny knees? Whole teeny shins kicking the ball with all their might? Course you have...

The last soccer game for the Trenton Firecats also happened to be the very last game of the season for the whole town. The bright blue sky was electric with excitement, and quite the crowd of "pickle" parents had gathered to cheer, as well as grandparents who had traveled long distances to delight in their star players' achievements.

With a 10-2 record in tow, Trenton's players were pumped. In stark contrast, Benson's extremely little team had yet to score in a game. As the game began, it became obvious that this would not only be a shutout victory for Trenton, but another humiliation for Benson. Trenton's virtual giants were dribbling circles around Benson's little ones, but size had no impact on their determination. The game clock continued to count down, but they never gave up.

Trenton's coach had a problem. How do you teach the kids good sportsmanship without disappointing the grandparents due to a lack of playing time for their star? Finally, every Trenton player had enjoyed some time in the spotlight. Even the Trenton players who didn't usually score had watched their kick push the ball across the goal line. As the whistle signaled the beginning of the final quarter, the parents across the field watched with despair. Still, the little team kept trying, but to no avail.

Filled with sympathy for the tiny team, Trenton's coach developed a plan. Thus, the most memorable game of the season began to unfold. First she swapped the defenders and the forwards. The questioning looks on Trenton's faces were soon squelched by the smile of their trusted coach, but the little legs of the Benson players still couldn't keep up. Then, she completely sidelined the defenders, leaving only the goalie--who had never played goalie before--to guard the net. When the game paused for another scored goal, one young Benson player needed serious "tissue" help, but it was Trenton's coach who ran out to him with the Kleenex. The Benson parents were dumbfounded.

The electricity in the air was almost tangible as both sides waited with baited breath for Benson to score. A girl on Trenton's team was instructed to "throw the ball in" to a Benson player. Her quizzical look vanished as she and the rest of her team began to understand. She quickly smiled and obeyed. Time was running short, so Trenton's coach called time out. After explaining the situation to the ref, she requested that he not call the game until Benson scored.

As one young Benson player dribbled the soccer ball down the field, Trenton's coach yelled for the goalie to get completely off the field. As he started for the sideline, excitement overwhelmed the little Benson players who believed they had somehow made it passed the goalie! The Benson parents were cheering in amazement and anticipation as they watched the last kick toward the goal. When it crossed the line, the eruption from the crowd was euphoric. The game had ended, but the score didn't matter. Cheers mixed with tears on all sides of the field.

Amid all the chaos, one of the Benson grandparents came to the Trenton coach. With tear stained cheeks she explained that Benson's coach had known from the start that they were too small to ever hope for a win. His goal for the team was simply to score one goal for the year. Here, at the last game of the season, they had finally achieved their goal.

Pardon if you've heard it before, but this story resides close to my heart (therefore worthy of a spot on this blog). Mostly because I see it as a portal to my Savior. Pretty sure there have been plenty of times where I'm flailing toward a goal line, naive to the beautiful orchestration of my Father in Heaven making me feel successful and my path seem plausible. And, although I know it is impossible to succeed on my own, He knows the effort it takes for me to continue dribbling...

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Giving credit where credit is due...

Heavens yes, Wend! You get ALL the credit for me knowing Harry Potter. ALL OF IT. Actually, I tell people all the time about how you read the first three books to me because I was too stubborn to succumb to the "fad". HA! Shows how much I know. Just the other day (Friday) I was discussing the last movie in depth with the students at work--one who had seen it at midnight and the other who had gone at 3 am!! One of them began recounting how her mother had read them all a chapter each night before they went to bed when she was younger. I started to laugh out loud and explained that I'd had a similar experience...but it was my roommate who loved me enough to read it to night...before I went to bed. Man, you were patient! You will be happy to know that I own all 7 books in hard back, jackets still in tact, and have re-read them so many times I can't even count. When people ask me what I like to read I say, "I don't read. I read the Book of Mormon and Harry Potter. That's it."

And all because of you. :)

Thursday, July 14, 2011


That. Was. Awesome.... If you like Harry Potter at should TOTALLY TOTALLY TOTALLY go. AAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHH. SOSOSOOSOSOSOOSSOOSSOOSO good. Cried, laughed, jumped out of my skin. Coiled behind my roommate. Clapped and cheered along with everyone else.

Wanted to see it again the MOMENT it was over. Seriously, if it were Friday, I would have bought a ticket for the midnight showing and the 3 am one right after that.

Yes. It's that good. Oh, my gosh.

I'm gonna go try to sleep now...

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

HP7pt2. Here I come.

I can't believe it's here. BAH! We find out TODAY if my roommate has free tickets for an early showing tomorrow night. When I get home this evening, if the answer is yes....I have NO idea how I'm going to make it through work tomorrow....

Oh. My. Gosh.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Choreography Brilliance

DREAM. COME. TRUE. Favorite dancers + favorite choreographers = FREAKIN AWESOME dance. Here's why I love "Nap y Tabs" (Napolean and it): they don't choreograph to the beat. They choreograph the rhythm. Their dances breathe with the music and it's freakin amazing. Pretty sure I've watched this at LEAST 25 times already.

(You can watch the judges if you want (after the dance), but they get a little out of hand...a lot out of hand. And don't ask me what in the free world they made her wear.)

.........nope. It won't let me embed...pssh.

Here's the link to another fantasticism: AMAZING.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Holy freakin-oly.

It is S-U-M-M-E-R again. Hallelujah.

And yes. She is my favorite, by far.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Pilat-ease? Puh-lease.

Let me lead off by declaring a sad fact: 12 years of college (with a brief interlude) has had one particularly repugnant repercussion...Student Karen is a veritable master-mind when it comes to skipping class. Seriously, FAR too polished in this venue. Sluffer extraordinaire. The ditching queen. We're talking 9-peat All-time Hookie Pro-bowler, peeps. It ain't healthy, fo sho. The sad part is, with the slick gift o' BSing (I am the shiznit...truly), nobody even really notices the absences...which leads to more honing of said skill. As stated before, no bueno.


This brings us to the most recent expedition to a new class, ne'er before tested in the waters o' Karen.........Pilates. Oh. Oh my. Oh, dear heaven above. Turns out, there is a REASON Gym Karen has valiantly dodged such a class for so long, by jingo. (ala TMMillie...y'all are doin the Tapioca now aren't ya?) In ever-so sharp contrast to the above scenario, EVERYONE in that class was ENTIRELY aware of my presence (ugh)...and wholeheartedly entertained as well.

A brief foray for you...

Characters: teacher (totally ripped, -1 to 0% body fat, roughly the size of Karen's thigh); otra classmates (various shapes and sizes, but all more skilled than Karen); Exercise Karen (half-dead, utterly befuddled, and sophisticatedly disheveled) (ya like that?)

Scene: quarantined room in the gym, lights out (thankfully); Exercise Karen is situated in the FRONT of the classroom, at the behest of the teacher, she being certain that all others would be too focused on their own workout to watch me. (Liar.)

Annnnnnnndddd ACTION...

As the class progresses, all are supposed to be roughly somewhere in the middle of Point A and Point B below... (which is a blankity-blankin-lot harder than it looks)

Exercise Karen has already successfully achieved "pile o' goo" muscle-status, but in an effort not to give away her record-breaking wussiness, she prolongs the farce and proceeds from A on her way to B... Precisely (whatever) 10 degrees into the motion, catastrophic failure occurs, thereby disengaging all leg muscles in use. The only working force left in the universe takes over: gravity.

Yup. Right there, in the front of the class, my legs flail outward (odd), while the ball does what? BOUNCES RIGHT ONTO MY FACE! Oh ya. OOOOHHHHH ya. Have you seen Kung Fu Panda?!? You know at the end when the Panda and the Leopard-thing are bouncing down the stairs and they slow-mo the panda's keister on the leopard's face? THAT was me. I think I may have even let out some kind of unearthly noise to boot. To be honest, I laughed right along with the others as I trotted across the room to retrieve my rogue ball. It had to be pretty dang funny.

Awesome. Sheer awesomeness. It was like...the epitome of "B-awesome"ness. I swear. Oh holy moly.

--End scene--

And thus we see (hee hee) that Gym Karen MUST exercise (no pun intended...liar) mucho more caution when picking which gym class to attend...either that or start charging Gold's an entertainer's fee. Oooooh... I wonder if they have a green room...

(We'd like to thank our sponsors: Thoroughly Modern Millie, Kung Fu Panda, and Bolt...oh, and the lovely people who put such applicable photos on the web.)

Friday, May 13, 2011

He knows.

Once upon a time I promised this blog would include everything from the entertaining to the intriguing...CHECK! But I also considered making it a journal of sorts, a way to immortalize Ella's stories for the ages. I have done just that with the GYM and the DATE, but something has kept me from doing it with one of the best stories to date. Well, no more...

Yes, my path has changed a smidge since then, but this story has a lesson I still need and still want to remember. Every day. And it seems even more applicable now...(the italicized line floored me as I reread this today)

Originally written 10/22/09 (to friends on missions at the time):

Now for the best story of all. Ward temple night. So many times I go to the temple and I think I'm there for someone else, but then I always end up focusing on my own issues...during the time I'm awake, that is,......THAT is less effective temple attendance. Tuesday night was the MOST amazing night because my Father in Heaven helped me do it right, for the first time in a long time.

It started out as any other temple night. The ratio of girls to guys in my ward is about 8:1 and temple night is no different. As I sat in the room full of girls with only 4 guys there, not sitting by any of them (which is a rarity actually...I usually sit by the guys), I started to dwell on what I don't have. The problem was only exacerbated by the aforementioned arrival of ___ & ___...salt in the wound...thanks. I then forced my thoughts onto ___...yes, HF, I'd take him. That'd be good....I could work with that. I stared blankly at my name slip for Mary Poe. Welcome Mary. This is going to be a great night for you, I thought with little conviction...and then I let her slip out of my mind again as we climbed the stairs of the Provo Temple.

Luckily, Heavenly Father made my statement come true. This was no ordinary night. Mary Poe and I had an AMAZING night. Even now, I cry when I tell the story. As we made our way up to the endowment room and entered, things were a bit different. Usually everyone files in perfectly taking every seat in front from the first row on back. This time, however, we have like 4 newly endowed girls who don't' really know the "rules", and they'd filled the first row and the third row, leaving the second one almost empty. There, at the very end of the second row, sat an extremely old little woman with her sitting-walker perched beside her, and 5 empty seats awaiting. I filed into the seat next to her, not thinking much of it. Oh how wrong I was...thankfully. She was so sweet. I love her. The only thing I can guess is that she has something like muscular dystrophy. She was completely lucid, but VERY very physically handicapped. I love her. As we sat waiting for the rest of the session to fill, she tried desperately to get her appendages to do what she wanted, but her muscles had other intentions. She rocked and rocked, almost occasionally spilling out of her seat. I thought I was going to have to hold her in, but she always managed to catch herself and reposition herself upright for the next 20 seconds until her body started again. Did I mention I love her?

The session started and I had a grin all the way across my face. I wasn't tired at all, and neither was Mary Poe. I watched very minute of that video, except for the ones where I glanced down to check on my friend. When it came time to put on something for the first time, I leaned over and said, "I'd love to help you, if you need it." She shook her head no, to my astonishment, and then painstakingly put it on herself. Tears filled my eyes as I watched her hands struggle...they so resembled Marky's to me. From that moment forward, tears occasionally leaked out of my eyes and down my grinning face. The Spirit was so strong. For the first time, I did not think about myself ONE TIME throughout the entire session. I loved it. Any time she had to do anything with her hands, she tried and tried to get them to hold still, but again, her muscles wouldn't listen that well. More than once, I got smacked in the face and just smiled even harder. I love her.

It then came time to really dress. I looked at her and she said, "Yes, I need help this time." YAY! My spirit was bursting with the need to show her, and Heavenly Father, how much I cared about her, even only knowing about her existence for about 20 minutes. She carefully did her best to grasp the back of the seat in front of her with fingers that couldn't bend and hoisted herself up. However, her feet were still perched on her slippers and she started sliding down quickly. The Spirit has reflexes, that's all I can say. I caught her, full-body dead-weight, before she hit the ground. I don't think I grunted, but I certainly may have. I caught her though, and stood her back worn out muscles suddenly full of strength. I took her packet and carefully pulled everything out. We worked as a team to get it all on right. I'd hold it out and she would do her best to aim the flailing arm into the armhole and then grab on for dear life again as I held her up. We finally got everything on, with some help from others. I sat her down and she went back to rocking. I looked around for my stuff, and the girls in my ward surrounding me had it all out and ready. They came at me and I was dressed in about 2 seconds. Tears were everywhere. On a silly note, I have no pockets in my temple dress. Therefore, EVERYTHING resides in my packet. In their haste to help, my stuff went EVERYWHERE. 10 minutes later, my RS pres (directly behind me) tapped me on the shoulder and handed me my locker key. 15 minutes later she handed me a cough drop. HILARIOUSLY BEAUTIFUL.

We continued on and then it came time to change again. I wasn't taking any chances at this point, so I helped her stand and we switched her around in record time. Even she was smiling at this point. I sat her back down and then began switching myself around. As I tried to tie mine as tightly as possible, she tapped me on the hip, as that was as far up as she could reach. I bent over double to hear her, "Your skirt is falling off on this side." I about giggled out loud. "I know, thank you. See, I've recently lost 20 pounds, and I forgot about my temple dress. I'm barely keeping it up, but thank you!" She giggled. I love her. It's true. I almost lost my skirt about 4 times while I was focused on her. I got completely situated and sat back down. Once my face was covered, I didn't hold back. I cried and cried, thanking my Heavenly Father for loving me enough to let me be a part of such a glorious opportunity to serve. At that moment, I knew. I knew that He knows what I want. He knows I'd rather be a wife and mother more than anything else in the world. But He also let me know that there are so many important things for me to do. It was as though someone said it aloud. This dear, sweet little old lady was His way of showing me that there are so many more people out there that I'm supposed to help before I devote my time to a husband and family for eternity. If I can just stay focused, He will put me to work doing amazing things...starting with this ASL MTC project that has now become a dissertation, btw. I'm doing the research for the Masters, and after graduating in August 2010 with that, I will continue on to a PhD for the curriculum development portion. It's big, I know. But, after that night, there was no denying that it is to be done. He reminded me of all the wondrous miracles that have paved the way...Wednesday afternoon was no different. I met with MTC again to ask permission to drag it out into a dissertation , and they agreed again. So lucky. So spoiled. So blessed. So loved.

When it came time to proceed to the V, I asked, "Do you walk with it or sit on it." "Both." Uh, ok. I reluctantly began to stand up with her and her walker (I didn't want to draw unwanted attention to her, as we were now the only ones standing in the room). The Spirit will kick you out of your seat if He must. As I stood she fell again, and I happened to be there to catch her and stand her up again. She carefully walked, but I wasn't about to not follow her. As we approached the front of the room I could feel every eye on us, but I didn't care. For the first time, I truly knew what it meant to be there FOR SOMEONE ELSE. She began to swing her walker around to the back to sit on it, but her clothes got caught on it. I untangled her and sat her down, and then turned to gather my composure before they called me up. Too late. As my row stood, I caught a glimpse of the room I saw tears everywhere. (I also finally found my Carmex underneath the seat next to mine...I'd finally retrieved everything from my packet...whew.)

When I got through to the C Room, there were many people there, ready to give me kudos...whatever, I didn't want to hear it. That was so much more for me than for that lady. I needed that. I needed her. She came through a few minutes later and I approached her again. I gave her a huge hug and thanked her again for letting me be there with her that day. She smiled and thanked me and then said, "Hey, keep going on the weight. You look great!" SWEET SWEET WOMAN. I love her and always will.

There's my story. I told you I saved the best for last. I love the temple. It means so much to me. The president that came to speak to us beforehand testified to us of the truth in it being HIS HOUSE, and that He is there often. I know that to be so true. He's so happy when we come to visit Him, and we are so lucky to have that possibility at our fingertips (ok, maybe not RIGHT now for you..but in general). I learned so much about myself that night, and He reminded me of so many important things that the world seems to drive out. Please know that I have such a testimony of it all. He loves us each so much, and, though it surpasses our current understanding, He is there at any instant for every single one of us. He knows every thought, every desire, every hardship, every inner success. He knows.