Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Summer Scripture Schedule

On Sunday, I felt like I should read the Book of Mormon before summer term ends, so here goes.  Today's study was AWESOME.  The following chart is from ldssscripturetools.com 

Your Goal: Read 1 Nephi 1 - Moroni 10 by August 9, 2011

You need to read 3.4 chapters/day or 7.5 pages/day to finish the Book of Mormon by August 9, 2011.

X Date Read Through
    May 31  1 Nephi 4 
    Jun 1  1 Nephi 8 
    Jun 2  1 Nephi 13 
    Jun 3  1 Nephi 15 
    Jun 4  1 Nephi 17 
    Jun 5  1 Nephi 19 
    Jun 6  2 Nephi 1 
    Jun 7  2 Nephi 3 
    Jun 8  2 Nephi 6 
    Jun 9  2 Nephi 9 
    Jun 10  2 Nephi 14 
    Jun 11  2 Nephi 20 
    Jun 12  2 Nephi 25 
    Jun 13  2 Nephi 27 
    Jun 14  2 Nephi 31 
    Jun 15  Jacob 2 
    Jun 16  Jacob 5 
    Jun 17  Jacob 7 
    Jun 18  Words of Mormon 1 
    Jun 19  Mosiah 2 
    Jun 20  Mosiah 5 
    Jun 21  Mosiah 9 
    Jun 22  Mosiah 13 
    Jun 23  Mosiah 18 
X Date Read Through
    Jun 24  Mosiah 21 
    Jun 25  Mosiah 25 
    Jun 26  Mosiah 28 
    Jun 27  Alma 2 
    Jun 28  Alma 5 
    Jun 29  Alma 7 
    Jun 30  Alma 10 
    Jul 1  Alma 12 
    Jul 2  Alma 15 
    Jul 3  Alma 18 
    Jul 4  Alma 21 
    Jul 5  Alma 24 
    Jul 6  Alma 27 
    Jul 7  Alma 31 
    Jul 8  Alma 33 
    Jul 9  Alma 37 
    Jul 10  Alma 40 
    Jul 11  Alma 43 
    Jul 12  Alma 46 
    Jul 13  Alma 49 
    Jul 14  Alma 51 
    Jul 15  Alma 55 
    Jul 16  Alma 57 
    Jul 17  Alma 60 
X Date Read Through
    Jul 18  Alma 63 
    Jul 19  Helaman 3 
    Jul 20  Helaman 6 
    Jul 21  Helaman 9 
    Jul 22  Helaman 13 
    Jul 23  Helaman 16 
    Jul 24  3 Nephi 3 
    Jul 25  3 Nephi 6 
    Jul 26  3 Nephi 11 
    Jul 27  3 Nephi 13 
    Jul 28  3 Nephi 18 
    Jul 29  3 Nephi 20 
    Jul 30  3 Nephi 26 
    Jul 31  3 Nephi 30 
    Aug 1  Mormon 3 
    Aug 2  Mormon 6 
    Aug 3  Ether 1 
    Aug 4  Ether 4 
    Aug 5  Ether 9 
    Aug 6  Ether 12 
    Aug 7  Ether 15 
    Aug 8  Moroni 7 
    Aug 9  Moroni 10 

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Inspiring Quotes

So, for work we had to read a couple of talks for a training project we are working on.  They were awesome and I wanted to share some of the awesome quotes that I wrote down.  They can get pretty long, and I would suggest that you read them.

The first speech was from President Gordon B. Hinckley (I love this man) in 1990 entitled: "Out of Your Experience Here"

"I deplore the terrible waste of the intellectual resources of so many people of this nation who devote countless hours watching mindless drivel.  What a wonderful thing it is, on the other hand, to be found submersed, as you are, in a world of books wherein you can walk with the great minds of all time."

As I was thinking about this quote, I was thinking why people even watch the filth on the TV or play video games instead of reading a book...and then I realized: it is easier!  Think about it.  While you are reading a book, you have to comprehend what the reader is saying and apply it to your life.  Then, you also must stretch your imagination to include whatever the writer is including in the story.  It may not be a fantasy tale, but your mind must still create the situations in your mind to give you the most real experience possible.  Then, you must interact with the story.  You will be evaluating the book and all of its ideas and propositions constantly.  Every author includes his or her world perspective in their stories and you will be thinking of them and accepting or refuting them and then continue to sculpt your own beliefs about the world.  That's a lot of work for just one book.

Now think of a video game.  They create the world for you.  They show you who the evil person is, they show you who the good person is, and they give you the moral system for that plot.  Everything goes so fast you can't argue with it.  You accept it and you watch it.  This goes for movies and TV.  It is easy.  You just sit there and vegetate.  There is no increase in morals, intellectual ideas, or testimony (or rarely there is).  With reading you increase your vocabulary, your sense of self and a sense of the world. It is awesome!

"How richly blessed is that young man or woman who knows that he or she can approach the Almighty in quiet and humble prayer."

That us a powerful concept.  Think of it.  The most powerful Being in the universe, and He cares enough about us to listen to our prayers...yet, so few of us talk to Him.  It is like having all of the power in this world and we don't take the time to work for it...why?  Because it is easier not to.  Really, prayer can be a lot of work, believe me.  Everyone who has worked to gain a testimony of Jesus Christ knows that.  However, the blessings of having a close relationship with God are innumerable. 

"The strength of our position as we understand it will become clearer and more precious as we allow others the same privilege of conscience that we so highly prize.  We must learn to accord appreciation and respect for others who are as sincere in their beliefs and practices as are we."

Thank you!  I love this.  People never think about how they treat and talk about other religions.  I admit, I need to work on this too.  However, there are so many people that I've talked to who debase other religions just because they are so true that ours is infallible.  Of course, I agree that the LDS church is the church of God, but that doesn't mean that the evangelical in Bolivia isn't just as sure that his church is the church of God.  Why criticize and mock his beliefs when we ask for acceptance from other people.  Shouldn't we give want we ourselves want.  This is also prophetically mandated that we treat other religions with respect.  They really believe just as we really believe.  Just as you feel insulted when people mock you, so do they.

The next talk was from Elder Richard G. Scott in this year's (2011) commencement at BYU called "To Live Well"

"Your continuing exercise of faith will forge strength of character available to you in times of critical need.  Such character is not developed in moments of great challenge or temptation.  That is when it is used."

I loved this concept.  A lot of people say that they appreciate challenges because then they grow.  While this is true, I think it leads a lot of people to become complacent when trials are not present.  They think that those are the times when they can relax and take a break.  Instead, we should be actively bettering ourselves while it is easy going and then we will be better prepared to meet the challenges that lie ahead.  Never get lazy.  That's when you create your own problems and add on to the trials.  If you are always proactive in your eternal progression, you will not have to worry about anything except the trials that God has allowed to be placed in front of you that will be necessary for your learning and experience.  Why increase those troubles?

"God uses your faith to mold your character.  Character is woven patiently from threads of doctrine, principle, and obedience.  Character is the manifestation of what you are becoming.  Your character will be the yardstick that God will use to determine how well you have used your mortal life.  Strong moral character results from consistent correct choices in the trials and testing of life."

I think that one is self explanatory.  What kind of person do you want to be?  If you want to be one that resembles our Savior Jesus Christ, you will have to learn His doctrines and principles and then obey His commandments to your knowledge.  You must search for all of His truth and be willing to follow Him.  As you do so, your character will be molded into one worthy of returning to your Father in Heaven.

"As an exceptional son or daughter of God, you are sorely needed. There is an urgent need for more men and women like you who will stand for principles against the growing pressures to compromise those very principles.  Men and women are needed who will act nobly and courageously for what the Lord has defined as right - not for what is politically correct or socially acceptable." 

I found this as a battle cry or a modern day call to arms.  It may not be a battle for land, but it is a battle for morals.  It is a harder battle, especially in such a degraded state in which we find our society.  It is up to those of us who can stand for right to give the example for others to follow.  I was reflecting on this and as I did so I was rather overwhelmed by the thought of so many people in this world.  There are a bunch!!! Seriously, it was almost discouraging to think of everyone that needs help or just an encouraging world.  But then, I had the most inspiring thought ever.  I imagined beacons of light in every city that people were attracted to.  Each of these beacons were normal citizens who were outstanding in their faith and testimony of Christ.  Together, each of these people changed communities and soon the world was overcome with the light of our Savior.  It was heartening to imagine that such a simple person such as myself can take part in such a great work and make a difference.  However, this will only work if those of us who recognize who we are can take the stand.  We need all of you!  Don't let your fellow citizens down.  You never know who you might help next.

Last quote, which is also one of my favorite:

"True, lasting happiness, the kind that is felt in the early hours of the morning when you are truly honest with yourself, is won only by obedience to the teachings of God."

I love how Elder Scott makes a point that true happiness is felt when you are truly honest with yourself .  Isn't it true though?  During the day, we have so many things going on, it is hard to truly sit down and actually be at peace.  If we are deceiving ourselves and we are not in tune with the Spirit, then that lingering and disturbing feeling will influence our life.  It will be unnoticeable for a while until things get really bad, but it will be there.  We will not be happy with ourselves or others.  However, if we can get up, truly happy and confident that we are doing what the Lord would have us do, then there will be times during the day when we do have a second and we will get a little warm feeling saying: "Good work today, I'm with you" and you will remember that the Savior is always with us.  That to me would be true happiness: having that true relationship with God and Christ and feeling their presence often.

Well, thanks for "listening" to my thoughts as I've been reading these talks.  I loved every moment of it.  I know that Christ is my Savior and I'm grateful for the opportunity to go to a school that endorses these values and for a job that really helps me internalize these values.  I love this Gospel.  May the Lord help all of us to be able to better ourselves, develop our character and stand for the principles that bring true happiness to all.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


Do I have OCD?  I dunno...I've talked to people with real OCD, and I'm not that extreme, but I do some really weird things.  I was talking to a friend about, and I'm strange...

For example, I have this problem.  You know the superstition, "step on a crack, break your mother's back"?  I don't believe in it, but I seriously cannot step on cracks. Ever.  Unless it is a ridiculously small tile floor, I am never able to let myself step on one.  It's like an obsession.
I also count my steps between every crack and I while I'm walking I'll calculate my average number of steps on every stone everywhere I go.  I'm not even joking.  That's just what I do...especially if I'm late or have to run somewhere.  It gets my mind off of me hurrying and onto something so ridiculous and mundane it distracts me...

I also can't stand germs.  I don't know if it was my dad who is obsessed with germ-X almost to the point where we eat it as a side dish for dinner (just kidding), but there are some little eccentricities that I have in this regards.  For example, I hate sponges.  Gross.  I especially hate it when someone cleans the dishes with one sponge, and then uses that SAME SPONGE for wiping off tables or cleaning the toilet! Gross!!!  It is the same for rags and other cleaning items.  Please do not cross them into other places.  I do not want a toilet sponge washing my dishes.  I don't care what you say about soap, don't do it.

My last obsession that I'm going to write about, which I think is probably the most peculiar - however, if you know me, it makes sense just because of who I am - is that I am a habitual grade checker.  You are probably confused at what this means.  This means that since middle school, I would ask my teachers for progress reports every week just to check on my grades.  When I got to high school, on addition to that, I also checked my transcripts every month just to make sure everything was correct.  I was so anal about it that it seriously took over my life. 

So, now all the grades are mainly online and even when I know nothing has been graded for a week, the first button I push is "View Grades."  It's really sad and kind of disturbing how obsessed I am with these grades.  PS, these grades shown are NOT mine...Anyways, I realized that even when I log on to download an assignment, I still instinctively check the grades.  Almost every time I log on to the internet I check my grades.

It's pretty weird, but those are 3 of my OCD tendencies.   I know I should probably try and cut down on them.  I did try and not count my steps as I'm walking, but it didn't work.  I don't know why.  I hate it.  Oh well....any suggestions?

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Scripture Sunday

Hmm, well, since it is Sunday, and I have a bunch of time before my church starts at 1:30p every week, I figured I'd do a Sunday Scripture blog post with one of my favorite scriptures and the thoughts on it.  For my first one, I pulled out my scriptures thinking of what I should write about, and I decided on a scripture that means a lot to me because it was essential in my gaining a testimony of the Gospel.  I had probably read it a thousand times, but I first really read it during the MTC.  Here it is:

Alma 5:14, 26
And now behold, I ask of you, my brethren of the church, have ye spiritually been born of God? Have ye received his image in your countenances?  Have ye experienced this mighty change in your hearts?
And now behold, I say unto you my brethren, if ye have experienced a change of heart and if ye have felt to sing the song of redeeming love, I would ask, can ye feel so now?

I love this chapter because Alma puts forth all these rhetorical questions for us to ask ourselves.  I think if every week we honestly went through this checklist and pondered on the answers, we would become better people just thinking about it.  Then, how much better would we be if we actually acted on it?

Well, I love this scripture because it talks to me as a brethren of the church.  A lot of people, myself included, when they read scriptures that are calling people to repentance or chastising them think that it is referring to those outside the church.  However, this one clearly says, my brethren of the church.  This is not asking for a self-evaluation of those outside of the faith, but for those followers of Christ who are already baptized and seeking salvation.  That is me.  This is directly at me.  It also means that even though we are baptized, we are not necessarily born of God.  The act of being born of God has a lot more to it than a physical action of baptism.  Like it says in verse 14, it is a mighty change of heart.

That concept takes a lot of time to explore, that I do not have for this blog.  But let me just say that it takes quite a bit to experience this form of change.  In the scriptures, the heart is referred to multiple times symbolically for your soul: your very essence of being.  If you are not able to change that completely to fit the will of God, can you ever be truly "born of God?"  We must work on changing ourselves.  It is difficult and it will probably take most of us most of our lives, but the great thing about this Gospel is: it is possible.

Many of us have felt the Holy Ghost in our lives.  We have experienced a change of heart, even if we have not completed the change.  Alma asks in verse 26, can ye feel so now?  That is one of my favorite lines of scripture.  Can I feel the Spirit now?  Am I living in a way pleasing to the Lord now?  Am I coming closer to Him now?  If the answer to any of those questions are no, then we must change.  If we are not currently on the path, Christ sends out this invitation to us all (verses 33-34)":

Behold, [Christ] sendeth an invitation unto all men, for the arms of mercy are extended towards them, and he saith: Repent, and I will receive you.  

Yea, He saith: Come unto me and ye shall partake of the fruit of the tree of life; yea, ye shall eat and drink of the bread and the waters of life freely...

This invitation Christ makes to all of us, no matter the circumstances in which we find ourselves.  No matter what we have done in the past, Christ's Atonement is there for us, and this I have a strong belief in.  It doesn't matter what my mistakes are, Christ has the key to help me return to the presence of my Father in Heaven.  I am so grateful for that gift, and may every moment of my life might I say, yes, I feel to sing the song of redeeming love.

My Saturday

was completely awesome...albeit extremely tiring and somewhat painful :)

We woke up to Cy getting a call from our Elder's Quorum President asking for help in setting up the EQ breakfast that was supposed to start in .... 5 minutes.  Turned out that we volunteered our help and supplies (including most of our pans, skillet, and table) for the whole shin-dig, but it was awesome and delicious.  Then, after eating pancakes with chocolate and whipped cream, bacon, hash-browns, and cheesy scrambled eggs (made by yours truly), we went to play soccer.  Yes!

It was a day pretty much like this: warm sun beating down on us, lots of people in the park playing sports and having fun, people reading in the shade, parents with their children playing in the grass, and just a good ol' fashioned Saturday afternoon.  We ended up playing soccer for around 3 hours....wow.  It was pretty epically fun.  However, on the ride home most of us realized how badly burned we are from 3 hours in the sun...without sunscreen.  Oops.  It's my second burn of the year, but I'm ok with it.  The next two days in Provo, it is going to rain, so it isn't like I'm going to get a worse burn.

What was worse than the burn was the injuries sustained in the course of playing soccer.  I got stepped on numerous times, and its funny how they always know to step on the same bone in my right foot...without fail, I mean, really?  Choose somewhere else please.  Then one of the girls kicked me in my calf...yes, I am bruising and my calf is swelling as if I had some cancerous growth on it.  Today, it is a little better, but again, why do we have to kick at my calf?  It had nothing to do with the fact that I stole the ball.  :) 

However, while I was at the park, a member from Italy called me and we got to talk for like 45 minutes about anything....in Italian...with a real Italiana.  It was awesome!  She is so great and we had a lot of great laughs.  I also heard news that one of the ladies that I taught is now an amazing ward missionary and is doing great!  It is hard to express the joy one feels for news like that.

So, Cy and I get home and we are just dead....deader than dead, but we decide to walk to the dollar store to pick up some cheap stuff (and cheap stuff we did find).  It was rather saddening that we actually had to stop by the first-aid isle and realize that we might need to pick up some stuff there.  We don't heal like we used to...we are broken.  :(  we had a couple laughs and then we returned home and made lunch. A great friend called me and we got to talk for almost 20 minutes.  Great times....

After lunch I went over to my old ward to hang out and get some work done that I needed to do for my job.  Well, as we are playing around, some other peeps came in and said we are celebrating two of my friends's birthdays at Red Robin. 


So we went.  It was a lot of fun.  I got a wonderfully delicious bruschetta chicken sandwich (and just so you all know, it is pronounced brew-skeht-tah).   You also can't go to Red Robin without getting one of their bottomless lemonades.  So, I got a new one called the Very Berry something limeade.  It was delicious.  Needless to say, they cost 2.79$ for bottomless refills and I had to get my money's worth:

 Yes, I drank 5 of them, but they were delicious, so leave me alone.  Plus, then you could say that I only paid about .60 cents for each one!

Here we are at the end of the meal:

Anyways, I look ridiculous in that photo, so I am sorry.  But, that's me :)  But, can I just say I have pretty much the most awesome friends in the world?  Cause I totally do.

After that, we went back to the Hood and played some epic games of N64's Super Smash and Mario Kart.  Seriously, they are the best games .... ever.  Don't even try to disagree with me.  

That was my Saturday folks.  Pretty awesome, if I do say so myself.  And I do say so.  Peace y'all.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Happy I am...

Today was a good day.  Period.  I loved it.  It started with the great midnight showing of Pirates of the Caribbean with a fun group of people.  It was a decent movie that I enjoyed, but for me it wasn't enough to do a midnight showing.  It was enough to pay full price and not wait for the dollar theater, but not enough to lose sleep over.  Fo sho.  But everyone should go see it.  I rank it 2nd in all of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies behind the first one.  Johnny Depp does phenomenally as Sparrow (as always) and the movie has quite a good number of funny lines and the sword-fighting scenes for me were the best of all the movies so far.  They also did a good job at making you hate Blackbeard, 'cause I really didn't like him during the movie. 

Then, I woke up for school and (for the sake of not using names) Jackie and I sat for another exciting Biology lecture (and yes I was being facetious).  Thankfully he let us out way early and Jackie and I sat around and talked before I went in to talk to an adviser about the rest of my college career.  PS - Jackie is the most hilarious person ever.  Anyways, my adviser and I sorted through everything and college is going to turn out alright.  I'm excited.  The decision?  I know you are all anxious....

Major:  Sociology
Minor: International Development
with an Italian Language Proficiency Certificate

Cool huh?  I'm excited.  Career goals?  Human relations for businesses that hire and work overseas.  I may just end up in HR, but I really like the whole international idea. Also, I hope to do an internship in Italy soon.  That would just be AWESOME!  Yeeah.  The picture is of horse racing (an event called a Palio that takes place in Siena, Italia and is a pretty big deal).  Anyways, so I'm excited about this whole sociology thing and getting everything squared away.

Then I had my dance test, which didn't go as well as I had hoped, especially since I like the waltz, but I was super tired.  By the time I got to practice for the test I had only eaten a brownie and snickers bar.  Yum?  I was seriously devoid of all energy, but thankfully one of my partners gave me a winterfresh lifesaver.  I wonder if that was because of my bad breath?  Anyways, during the tests, I got so tired because I'm still not in shape, and dancing the waltz for 9 minutes may not seem like a lot, but it is....for me at least.  I was sweating and dying.  I just wanted to come home and eat!  A lot! So I did.  Sure it was leftovers, but it was leftovers Italian pasta and chicken made by yours truly and it was simply DIVINE!  Let me tell you.  

Well, then in between that and a great night with Jackie, there was some conflict resolution with the Villa (where I'm living) and a kickball game, which was fun and it was good to get some sports-type exercise in.  We lost big time, but I'm not too bummed about it.  We didn't have a lot of our people, so it was to be expected.  One of our guys showed up late, but when he did he totally wowed the other team big time!  He did this sweet bicycle thing from past the infield line to home plate to stop this guy from scoring a run.  It was Suh-Wheat!!! But seriously, you've got to see this kid in action. All you girls will be in love.  No joke.  

So, after kickball, I went to Jackie's place for a "pick-me-up."  I don't even remember why we decided to have a pick-me-up, but we did, and so we went there to make cookies and we decided on snickerdoodles (because they are my absolute favorite).  Next time we will make her favorite: double chocolate.  Anyways, so we get everything and we make the dough...but it is so not even close to right.  It is all weird and not sticky but clumpy.  It is really hard to explain.  Anyways, so we started experimenting with water and oil to give it some consistency.  We finally got it to something desirable and started the baking.  The first batch came out like little dumplings, the second batch like real snickerdoodles.  Then, we decided to throw in chocolate chips and make an uber cookie, which was awesome and delicious. 

Then we decided to keep experimenting and we put in oats and (beans and barley grow...actually not really) peanut butter and more chocolate chips and more cinnamon, and it was just all a very good idea.  We proceeded then to eat the uber cookie while sitting on the ground by the warm oven.  It was awesome.  I felt like a kid again.  :)  I love times like that.  Anyways, Jackie and I had a great time (at least I hope she did too) and we stayed up talking for another hour and a half or so.  It was a lot of fun. 

Although now, I am really really tired and so I am going to gather up the strength to turn off my blog and facebook and get some sleep.  Tomorrow?  Free Elder's Quorum Breakfast at 9am.  Yes sir. 

Minus the decorations and the coffee...

Monday, May 16, 2011

Trip to Seattle

I love life right now.  Seriously, besides some little frustrating things, which I'm learning to just accept, seriously, life is good.

So, as an update:

Last Friday-Saturday Charlie and I drove up to Seattle and back for our friend Justin's wedding. It was an awesome wedding and we had a great time with his family.  (They are seriously hilarious).  The driving, let's just say it was awful...especially for some people during the construction...hahaha.  Anyways, we got to Seattle at about 9pm on Friday night and we just sat around with Justin and his family getting ready for the big day!

Saturday was the best.  In the morning as we were going to the temple for the endowment session, Justin's family's GPS got them completely in the wrong place, so we started following Charlie's i-phone map app which took us a different way than what the temple workers told us.  So, needless to say, we successfully raised Justin's blood pressure and stress levels to a dangerous level.  However, we got to the temple with time to spare:

It's a beautiful temple and I really enjoyed it.  I loved the grounds and the atmosphere.  Right after we got out of the sealing the sun came out just for us.  It was wonderful.  I wish I could live around temples all the time because they seriously just exude the Spirit.  Seriously, you can start to feel it on the way there.  Love it.

Anyways, after all the morning marriage stuff, Charlie and I met up with Katie to go do some extreme lunching at this strip-mall...I don't remember the name, or really where it is, but it was fun.  Before Katie got there and while Charlie was using the restroom, I decided to go into this place for runners and check out their shoes, because I was in a dire need for some more.  So, I walk in, and this lady greets me and asks if I've been there before.  When I told her that I was from out of town, she says, "Ok, take your shoes and socks off and get on the treadmill."


Um, what?


Yes, they had me run barefoot on a treadmill and they videotaped it...

P.S. - This is a disclaimer: these are not my feet.
Then she and her co-worker proceeded to diagnosis my running style and how I ran off my toes and the positioning of my ankles and the width of my feet relative to the position, etc.  Weird it was.  Anyways, I was getting a little freaked because I just wanted to look at shoes.  So, while they are talking about me, i started looking at all the shoes....and the prices.  The cheapest in that store was ... 90$. Oh my freak, what did I get myself into?  So, they all of the sudden just leave.  I'm sitting there by myself, and then they come back with boxes saying these are the shoes for me.  I'm like, say what?  I haven't even tried them on yet.  But, they were so right.  The shoes felt like heaven.

And they only cost 140$ so I definitely was not going for that...so instead, I told them ... "Hey, my friends are waiting for me, we are going to lunch, and I'll come back and check out the shoes...Thanks!"  And I run out of the store.

I'm never going back there again.  Weird.  But cool shoes.  :)

So, the three of us go to lunch at one of my favorite places ever:

It's like the cafe feel of Starbucks gone Soup and Sandwich.  Seriously, I love this place.  It somewhat reminds me of the cafes in Europe, with the smaller portions of food and the pastries and the overall goodness.  I love it....

Anyways, we ate there and then we decided to go on a tour of Seattle.  Well, we didn't have a guide, or any knowledge of anything cool except for the space needle, so we set Charlie's i-phone map to take us to that and then we explored.

Sweet Museum
Seattle is Green!

I don't know what this is, but I got inside

Charlie and I

They didn't get the memo about the extinction


Me at the bottom of the Space Needle

Black Lightning and Seattle Space Needle

World Fountain
Anyways, we got to the space needle, parked, and started taking pictures.  Well, that's a lie.  I started taking pictures on Charlie's i-phone while we were driving because everything was JUST SO AWESOME.  These pictures are just from my phone.  Once he finishes uploading the rest you can get a more complete picture of our amazing trip!
He's a Native
This is just the cutest thing ever: The dad was coming home from the military

Well, we only had an hour before we had to get back, buy the gift bag for the reception, change, and then get to the reception, so we pretty much were just running around for an hour taking pictures as we ran.  It was awesome.  We took a couple of videos and seriously had the best hour ever.  It's nice to be able to do stuff like that and act crazy in a place where you know that those people are never going to see you again...so who cares?  It was awesome.

 Well, our hour was coming to an end, and we realized how much we actually had to get done before we got to the reception.  We had to get there on time because The bride and groom wanted to do a flash dance during their "first dance" and we were a part of it.  Unfortunately, the map was telling us that the route home was going to take FOREVER!!!  And so we started to go, but we got lost and just started driving and figuring out our own way.  Well, it turns out that our way skipped about 30 minutes of terrible traffic. It was awesome. 

So, we decided that we were pretty much natives because we already mastered downtown Seattle's traffic.  We felt really legit.  Well, we got the bag for our present (which was awesome by the way).  And then we ran home, got dressed, and then ran back to the reception. By "run" I meant drive at a quick speed that was neither dangerous nor time-wasting.  Charlie is very good at that :)

The reception was great, except everyone was trying to get us (we were labeled as "oh, you are the missionaries" or "oh, justin's companions") to dance with the bride's sister....no.  That's just a little weird.  I'm fine thank you (and so was Charlie).  The flash dance was fun and everyone had a good time.  That night, however, we had nothing to do.  Seriously.  We were stuck in the house we were staying at and we had nothing to do.

It was weird because the house was gigantic.  The people who live there (they were out of town) obviously were loaded because they had stuff from all over the world where they had visited.  Well, anyways, they were wealthy, but guess what?  They didn't have one single book, no musical instruments.  Only a pool table and an xbox.  Well, charlie and I were really bored.  How can you have no piano when you have that much money?  No books? No music?  What do you do all day????

So, to pass the time Charlie and I started to make a video of us giving a tour of such a big house.  It was awesome.  Well, as we were going, Justin walks in and we realized that we had left all the lights on, and so we ran past him and quickly turned off all the lights and ran back to our room laughing.  He came in and was like, "Umm...are you guys ok??"  It was awesome. 

The next morning, we headed out...stopped by the shoshone falls and came home with another 13 hour drive.  (Ouch).  The whole way back we listened to a book on tape called City of Bones which was recommended to me by a great friend and it seriously is an awesome book.  I recommend it.  To everyone.

So, there you are. I got back, found an amazing ward, and I'm just having the greatest time ever.

Peace out y'all

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Ding Dong Bin Laden's Dead

I would say that every American owes God a prayer of thanks tonight, for one of the greatest terrorist mastermind's has finally been subdued.  Yes, it took a while, and yes, there will be others, but this is how the fight for our freedom will probably go until the end.  We will take them out one by one until they finally figure out: you can't beat us.  Like Obama said, "It is because of who we are."  It is not just because we are wealthy or because of our living standards, but it is because Americans are "One nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."


Thank you to all those who have fought for this, all you soldiers who were out in the middle east fighting the current war for freedom, despite the lack of support on all fronts.  I appreciate your dedication and desire to save our country and to fight for my liberty.  I honor all those who have, are serving and will serve in the US military, whatever the branch.  I know my thanks will never be enough to repay you for the countless years of service and for the countless aid you give to neighboring countries, but alas, it is all I can give.  May God bless you in your sacrifice for the millions of your countrymen.  I stand behind you...always.

  I'd especially like to extend my gratitude for those involved in the recent killing of Osama bin laden.   I agree with many in saying that you deserve a great honor in what you did in the name of our great country.  I don't know the events to a great detail, but even if it turned out to be a relatively simple ordeal, the enormity of your success is one to sure produce the greatest honors.  Thank you.

I'd like to thank the previous President Bush for his outstanding courage to go to war, not against a country, but against the idea of terrorism.  That is significantly harder than any war that we have ever gone against in the past, and President Bush did it without the backing of the American people.  I am sorry to see the millions who still criticize his decisions.  How would you react when someone attacks the people that you have sworn under oath to sustain, lead, and protect.  I am grateful for his bravery and courage to do what he believed right for his country despite the popularity contests.  I will always hold in high regard this President of the United States.  Even if he is Texan.
I'm grateful for our current Commander in Chief, despite our differences.  I rarely agree with his policies, but he is my president and someone in that position deserves respect.  The fact that he is still leading this war on in such a way that is producing results is something marvelous.  I would not dare to take away any of the credit from President Bush or the soldiers, and Obama may just be in the right place at the right time, but he still is doing his best as well.  I commend him for his fortitude, despite the fact that his political ideals would keep him out of war, he continued to pursue the terrorism that has frightened the American people.  I am grateful for him.
I'm grateful for my Heavenly Father and the protection and guidance with which He has graced this country.  Time and time again, He proves to be in charge and I am grateful that He continues to lead us and help this great country in its time of need.  We need Him now more than ever, and He has never let our country down, so long as we believe in Him.  I'm grateful that President Obama acknowledged the Lord's presence in the dealings of this country.  As God will never turn His back on any nation that follows Him, let us never turn our back on our Heavenly Father who loves us so.

So, the man who has terrified the world over has died.  Osama bin Laden was recently killed by American troops.  I hope that everyone in this nation appreciates what they have just witnessed.  It has been 20 years of devastation that this man has created, including more than 3,000 murders during the World Trade Center and Pentagon terrorist attacks.  Never before has this country been so united.  I remember turning on the news that morning and watching the second plane hit.  I remember telling my mother that some planes just ran into a building and I remember watching the tragedy take place in her.  I was young and did not fully understand the implications of the event, but she immediately began to realize the terrible terrorism that had just taken place.  The US was not as protected as we had hoped.  I remember beginning to feel a great sorrow for all those who were affected.  I longed to be able to do something.  It pained me to see the suffering of so many people.

Today, may we rejoice.  Many of us were blessed to see such history.   We saw the tragedy of the injustice of terrorism, but we saw liberty come back and win an important victory.  I hope that we realize the enormity of what happened today.  I am so grateful to have been able to watch the story unfold and come out and see the President's speech and watch first hand, with the ability to understand the enormity of the situation at hand.  Justice prevailed today, but the fight will continue on.  God bless America. 

I pledge allegiance, to the falg,
of the United States of America
and to the Republic, for which it stands
One Nation
Under God
With liberty and Justice for all.

Here is a link for the story.  You can read it and watch President Obama's address: