Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Giving Thanks Day 30: A Plan

Well, here it is. The last day of November. I honestly can't believe that tomorrow is December and that the year is almost over. It has gone by so quickly. It's crazy how fast time flies when you get out of college and are no longer living your life in four-month increments.

November has been an insane month. So many things happened, both good and bad. It has been a month of learning and growth and a little bit of pain. But it has also been a month of triumph and of truly recognizing how many wonderful blessings I have been given. I feel like a good portion of my posts this month have had something to do with the Gospel, and I love that, because despite the hard things this month, it has also been a wonderfully spiritual month for me. I have felt so close to the Lord and so aware of all that I have been given.

So on this the last day of November, I am thankful for my knowledge of my Savior. I am thankful that He is aware of me and of my trials. He knows what I am going through, and best of all, He knows what I need. He has a plan for me, and that plan is better for than anything I could come up with myself. I feel like the main lesson I need to learn in my life (at least at this point in my life) is that I must have faith in my Heavenly Father's plan for me. When I get frustrated because something I want to do isn't working out, I just have to sit back and have faith that the Lord is putting me in a position where I can fully claim all the blessings he has for me. I have a Savior. I have a Heavenly Father. And they care about me and want what's best for me. If I just have faith in their wisdom, life will work out for me, and I will be happy.

I am so thankful for the Gospel and for the guiding influence it is in my life. I am so thankful for the knowledge I have of my Savior and of all that He has sacrificed for me. The Book of Mormon is the word of God, and Thomas S. Monson is a latter-day prophet who guides us in these days. I am a daughter of a Heavenly Father who loves me and is watching over me. I am so thankful for that knowledge. I don't know where I would be without the Gospel in my life.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Giving Thanks Day 29: Courage

To kind of piggyback on yesterday's post, this morning I woke up to find a card that had been pushed under my door. It was from Brittany. She told me she thought I was making an impact with my actions and encouraged me to follow through with a decision I made last night while we were talking. That card helped me set a deadline to do what I said I would do.

Part of me doesn't really want to get too detailed with this story simply because I don't know who'll read it and figure out the people involved. The other part of me doesn't give a crap about who knows what. I'm giving in to the latter part, though I am going to omit names. I don't want to make this too obvious. (And I apologize if this post gets lengthy—I will attempt to be as concise as possible.)

To preface, I have had a rough couple of weeks. I've been stressed and anxious and sleep deprived, which only enhances the stress and anxiety. In the midst of all my venting to Brittany last night, I mentioned that I kind of wanted to ask a certain guy in our ward if I could just talk to him. I wanted to talk to someone who was outside of the situation and who I didn't already talk to every day. Not to mention that I've been pretty interested in this guy for a while now. Brittany fully supported this idea and told me to ask him to get hot cocoa.

So today, I actually did it. I texted him. I put myself out there. And it was really difficult for me, mostly because I just don't ever do that. I hate looking needy or vulnerable because it opens me up to heartache. It's so much easier to just kind of shut myself off and convince myself that if a guy doesn't see past my walls on his own, he's not worth my time. However, I have come to the conclusion recently that this is a stupid way to live my life. So I took steps to change it. I texted this guy (who I will from now on refer to as Der Junge ["the boy" in German] because it's easier than "this guy") and told him that I needed to talk to someone. I asked if he had time to get hot cocoa sometime, and he responded, "Yeah for sure." Score one point for Lindy.

We set a time to go tonight, and I was super proud of myself for about five minutes until reality set in. I had just told Der Junge that I needed to talk to him, and he said sure. That meant that I would actually have to talk to him. That he would ask me what was going on. That I would have to open up. Yikes. But I couldn't back out, and I didn't really want to back out. I wanted to do this—that's the whole reason I sent the dang text to begin with.

So at 6:30, I headed over to Der Junge's apartment, and we drove over to the Cocoa Bean. Der Junge paid for my pumpkin steamer (score one point for Der Junge), and then we stole a couple of comfy armchairs. And we talked. And talked. And talked. For three and a half hours. Without a pause. Without a hint of awkwardness. It was comfortable and it was natural. We talked about everything from dating to books to gay people. (Yes, gay people.) We had meaningful conversations, we were open with each other, and we got along so much better than I could have ever anticipated. I didn't worry about how he was viewing me our how my words were being perceived. We just kind of seemed to understand each other.

When Der Junge finally decided it was time to leave, he was surprised to find that it was 10:00. He thought it was 8:30 at the latest. He blew off a friend he was supposed to work out with at 9:00 because he just lost track of the time. That has to be a good sign, right? I sure like to think so. Another good sign is that we've been texting since we got back to the complex. I'm a bit of a happy girl tonight.

So today, I am thankful that I had courage and that I did something that was scary. I pushed myself out of my comfort zone. I broke out of my shell a bit. And while it could have easily blown up in my face and made me feel like the biggest idiot in the entire world, it didn't. In fact, it was the complete opposite. The whole evening was a smashing success, and it all came about because I had the courage to do something different. I don't know if this will lead to anything. It may, or it may not. But even if nothing comes of tonight, I am still thankful I did it. Because I grew from it and I learned from it, which is what this life is all about.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Giving Thanks Day 28: Roommates

Tonight was not a good night for me. Nothing bad really happened, but I was incredibly discouraged. I simply felt that nothing I did was good enough. I felt wholly inadequate in everything I was trying to do. Over the last couple of weeks, I have given a dear friend scadwads of advice, and I didn't feel like any of it had done any good. I think the discouragement there was fueled by the fact that I knew it was time to back off. I can't make decisions for people, and I know that.

I was also discouraged because I felt like nothing I was doing on the boy front was helping me either. I have been more social this semester than I ever have been before. I have a lot of really good friends in my ward, and I try to spend as much time as I can with them. I have even created a bit of a reputation for myself because I always invite a bunch of people over to watch BYU basketball and football. I know of one person in the ward who views my apartment in conjunction with Kira and Heather's apartment as the "social hub" of the ward (whatever that means, exactly). Basically, I am so involved in this ward that I know a vast majority of the people in it and they know me. So why in the world are no guys asking me out?! It's not like they don't know who I am.

So...yeah. I am a very frustrated and discouraged Lindy tonight. But one good thing about it is that I have plenty of people I can talk to, three of whom are easily accessible, mostly because they live with me. I am so incredibly thankful that I have such fabulous roommates. I honestly don't know how I lucked out so thoroughly. Alison, Brittany, Cora, and I get along swimmingly, and even the addition of Alison's boyfriend Russ hasn't messed anything up. (He's a quite entertaining guy to talk to, actually.) I mostly talked to Brittany tonight, and she was so good about just listening and doing what she could to make me feel better. After talking to her, I actually made some decisions about things, which made me feel better about life in general. I'm so thankful that I'm lucky enough to live with these girls because they are incredible.

Cora looking fabulous, as always. 

Alison doing service (with a couple of other really awesome girls). 

Brittany fishing like a pro.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Giving Thanks Day 27: My Calling

Last night was a bit of an interesting night. I rolled back into Provo at around nine and then went to visit a couple of friends. After chatting and watching a movie, I went back to my apartment at around midnight. I talked to Brittany for a while, and then Cora came home, and Cora and I ended up talking until probably about 1:30.

Now, none of that in and of itself is out of the ordinary. In fact, that's become a fairly normal night for me, especially on the weekends. Here was the problem: We have 8:30 church. At 1:30, I had yet to put any of my stuff away from my trip to my parents. My bed was a shambles and without sheets. And as if that wasn't bad enough, I still had to plan my lesson for Relief Society the next day. Awesome.

I think it was a little after 2:00 when I finally started planning my lesson. Don't get me wrong—I knew what my lesson was on and I had listened to the conference talk already. I had been thinking about it for weeks. But I had yet to sit down and actually plan out how I wanted my lesson to go. And 2:00 in the morning isn't really ideal thinking time for Lindy.

I have to say that I was pretty worried about my lesson that day. I was running on roughly four and a half hours of sleep, which is ridiculous. But when I got up to teach, I was wide awake. I didn't feel lethargic at all. I tried my best to follow what the Spirit prompted, and I hope that came across. It doesn't matter how many times I teach—I never know how well I've done unless someone tells me. I can never gauge it myself. But I did get a few very nice comments from sisters, so I think it went well overall.

I am so thankful for this calling. I absolutely love teaching Relief Society. It's so nice that I don't have to do something every week, and I get such fulfillment out of teaching a good lesson. And because I teach on the fourth Sunday, I get to delve into conference talks that I may not have thoroughly studied otherwise. I am so thankful for the things I have learned with my calling and for the blessings the Lord has given me through it. So many things have been clarified in my mind as I have taught lessons. I feel like every talk I am supposed to teach is meant for me, and it is such a wonderful feeling to know that my Heavenly Father is aware of and watching out for me.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Giving Thanks Day 26: Christmas

In my parents' house, the weekend after Thanksgiving is always full of Christmas decorating. My dad pulls the seemingly countless bins of decorations from the basement while my mom sorts through what she has to figure out what she's going to put where (and to remember all the decorations she bought dirt cheap after Christmas the year before). Christmas music fills the house as mom replaces pictures and sets up nativity scenes. Dad goes outside to put the lights up on the house. I help with whatever I'm called to help with, whether it be putting up the tree or giving Dad an opinion on something outside.

I love how much my family gets into Christmas. There has never been a year that I can remember when Dad didn't put lights up outside or when the house wasn't bursting with nativities and Santas and snowmen. My future husband better be ready—I'm going to make him put lights up on the house and help me decorate the rest of the house. There is no negotiating. I will have lots of Christmas decorations.

The whole reason I love decorating so much is that it helps bring the spirit of Christmas into my life. I love Christmastime. I love Christmas music and Christmas trees and Christmas lights. I even love snow for Christmas, though after Christmas it could all just go away and I'd be happy. Most of all, I love how most people, regardless of religious beliefs, seem to embrace the spirit of Christmas. For the month of December, no one complains when they hear songs like "Silent Night," "The First Noel," or "O Holy Night." During Christmas, fewer people seem to balk at the mention of Christ. And I love that. It brings such a feeling of togetherness. For one month of the year, people make a concerted effort to forget their differences and be generous and kind to those around them.

I'm so thankful for this time of year when the Spirit of Christ strikes more deeply into the hearts of men. I'm thankful for the chance to remember Christ and His birth all month long. I'm thankful that I know the true meaning of Christmas and the true reason behind the magic of this time of year. And most of all, I'm thankful for Christ, without whom we all would be lost.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Giving Thanks Day 25: Sleeping In

This weekend, I only had one thing in mind (besides celebrating Thanksgiving, of course): getting as much sleep as possible. The previous week and a half or two weeks I had averaged probably six hours of sleep a night. Anyone who knows me well knows that I don't function well if I don't get a decent amount of sleep every night (decent being about eight hours). I become ornery and generally unpleasant to be around.

So today I slept for a very long time. I slept until nearly one, I believe. Super late, I know, but let me tell you—it felt AWESOME. Oh my gosh, so awesome. It was definitely worth the ridicule I got from my dad. And I get to sleep in again tomorrow. I am so thankful for three days straight of sleeping for as long as I want. It's exactly what I need right now.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Giving Thanks Day 24: Mom

First of all, happy Thanksgiving, everyone! I hope you are all having a wonderful holiday with people you love. And speaking of people I love, my mom is the greatest. I woke up this morning to a house smelling of all the Thanksgiving smells you could think of: ham, turkey, stuffing, rolls, pie....It's amazing how so many different smells can coalesce into one (still good) aroma that brings so many memories and feelings.

All of this food was prepared by my mom. The entire meal, barring a couple of sides and pies. I have no idea what time she got up to get everything done, but she let me sleep until noon. She didn't roust me out of bed to help like she could have. And even after I got up, she let me lounge around in my pajamas for a good couple of hours before I finally decided to be a human being and look decent.

I have such a good mom. She has always, always been there for me whenever I need it. I can talk to her about anything. Even as a teenager when I did things I knew I shouldn't have done, I could talk to Mom about it. Even though I knew I would get in trouble, I also knew that Mom would be supportive and that she wouldn't fly off the handle. I don't think I took advantage of that blessing enough when I was younger. I know so many people that have a hard time talking to their moms about issues, and all I can ever think is how grateful I am for a mom I can confide in.

I am just now coming to realize a portion of what my mom went through when I was a teenager. I honestly have no idea how she dealt with some of the stupid things I did, especially when I wouldn't listen to any of her advice. She must have been stressed out of her head for me, and I didn't even know it.

My mom has also been an incredible example to me of how to live faithfully in the Church. She has never really doubted the truthfulness of the Gospel, and that has been such a strength to me and for my own growing testimony as I grew up. I am so thankful for a loving mom who is always there when I need her. I am so thankful that she and my dad have such a strong relationship and that I had the incredible blessing of growing up in a stable home environment. I love my mom so much, and I can't say how thankful I am for all the countless things she has done for me.

After the braces came off. She doesn't look excited at all, does she?

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Giving Thanks Day 23: Long Weekends

I am currently at home in Magna, sitting in my parents' living room watching random HGTV shows with my mom. It's officially the weekend, for four days. That's three straight days of sleeping in (since 8:30 church on Sunday is obviously not sleeping in), which sounds FABULOUS right now. I honestly don't even know why I'm still awake. I'm exhausted.

I love the holidays—especially when I get them off with pay. That's honestly the best part of having a full-time job, I think. And I'm so thankful for this holiday in particular. I love Thanksgiving, and I desperately need this break right now.

I'm so thankful for the holidays and the time I get to spend with my family and to remember those things that are the most important in life.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Giving Thanks Day 22: Cora

So I know this really cool girl. She's freaking adorable (unfairly so), and she has the sharpest wit of almost anyone I know. She is kind and loving and legitimately cares about people. She comes off as shy and unassuming, and then she'll come out with the funniest thing you've ever heard seemingly out of the blue. She is clever and charming and everyone who knows her loves her. She has dealt with a lot in her life, which makes her seem much older than her 21 years. She is an amazing friend who will do anything to help those she loves.

This girl's name is Cora. Cora is my roommate. She's my best friend. She's my cousin. She's my pseudo-sister.

I am the youngest in my family, so I never grew up with that innate desire to protect a younger sibling. But in the year and a half that I have lived with Cora, I have come to know what it's like to be protective of someone. To want to make everything bad go away. To want to beat the crap out of anyone that treats that person unfairly.

I love Cora more than I can possibly say. I have grown almost as close to her as I am to my own sister. Cora and I have countless inside jokes, and we frequently have conversations that make no sense to anyone else in the room. Someone will say something that triggers a funny memory, and all Cora and I have to do is look at each other before we're rolling on the floor laughing. We play off each other. We have fake arguments. We get annoyed with each other, stop talking for a night, then apologize the next day and things go back to normal.

Cora deals with me barging into her room to ask her how my outfit looks or to whine to her about something that's been bugging me. She endures my frequent complaints about boys. She goes with me to random things (like work parties) simply because I don't want to go alone.

I am so thankful that I have been able to live with Cora the past couple of years. I am so thankful that she came out to Provo for school so that I could have the opportunity to grow so close to her. I am so thankful that she enjoys spending time with me just as much as I enjoy spending time with her. I don't know what I would do without her. I love her so much and I can't adequately express how thankful I am that she is in my life.

This is kind of an old picture, but it's still one of my very favorites

Monday, November 21, 2011

Giving Thanks Day 21: Free Food

This is probably going to be a very simple and short post. But that's okay, because I feel like my thankful posts this year have been so much longer than my thankful posts from the past two years. I must just be feeling overly verbose lately.

Anyway, tonight was a ward activity, where we had a Thanksgiving meal (of course). It was good. And because I haven't gone grocery shopping in a couple of weeks, it was great to get a full meal. I am super thankful for free food. I mean, really, who isn't?

I am also thankful that I got to watch my fellow ward members do ridiculous things during the Minute to Win It relay. Jon sure knows how to shake his booty. And I'm seriously surprised Jeff and Adam didn't puke after speed eating three Little Debbie pies. Sheesh.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Giving Thanks Day 20: Friends Part 2

I feel like I've talked over and over about friends and guys and my ward on this blog, but the past couple of weeks have been such a huge example of the importance of good friends. They have all been such a strength to me the past little while.

I always think about the people in my ward on Sundays because in a singles ward, Sunday is one of the most social days of the week, if not the most social. Not only do I see my friends at church, but I see them at choir, at break the fast, at ward prayer, at firesides, and at each other's apartments. I always have something going on, and it's awesome.

I've said this before, but I'm going to repeat myself. I tried very hard to find an opportunity to get out of Provo this past summer. I was frustrated and fed up. I only knew a few people in my ward, and I didn't feel like I knew any of them well enough to call on them if I needed something or even if I was just bored. Boys weren't asking me out. I just didn't like how things were going.

But all of my efforts were in vain, and I ended up staying at Carriage Cove for another year. I figured that at the very least, I would have Cora to hang out with and we would make our own fun (which we are pretty good at, by the way). Instead, Cora and I decided to make an effort, starting with our BYU football party. Brittany and Alison became our new roommates and jumped right in, helping us make food and decorate. Ever since then, things have taken a 180-degree turn. (Well, boys still aren't asking me out, but that is another blog post for another day.)

Basically what I'm saying is that I am so incredibly thankful that the Lord had other plans for me. I am so thankful that I couldn't make moving out of Provo work when I wanted it to. I'm still not 100 percent sure why I was supposed to stay in Carriage Cove, but I know that meeting all these amazing people has to be part of it.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Giving Thanks Day 19: Dad

Today was gameday, yet again. The last home football game of the season. It was a freaking 8:15 start time, which was abysmal. Seriously. And it was FREEZING COLD. I felt really bad for not caring more about the final home game, but BYU was playing New Mexico State. They won 42–7. It wasn't very exciting. So I went home after the first three quarters. Because my toes were about to fall off, I swear it.

Despite the game being marginally miserable, gameday meant that I got to spend some time with my dad. You could argue that your dad is the best until you're blue in the face, but I will never waver that I am the one with the best dad in the world. Which is probably the way it should be. But for reals, my dad blows everyone else's dad out of the water.

It is thanks to my dad that I am such an avid sports fan. Growing up, I would watch sports with him and ask him question after question until I understood the rules. I still remember watching Jazz games with him when I was little and whispering, "Yes!" when something good would happen because I was too embarrassed to react out loud. (That has since changed, as anyone who has watched sports with me knows.) I remember watching football with him and, getting exasperated, blurting, "Dad, what is going on? Explain this to me!" He always knew everything. He knew all the rules and was patient in explaining them to me so I would understand. I'm pretty sure he just enjoyed having a daughter who wanted to understand and enjoy sports with him.

My dad is also an incredible example of service. He is currently serving as bishop for the second time. He only had a three-year break between callings. But he is such a good bishop. He does all that he can for the members in his ward, and it is so apparent that he cares about them and wants to do what is best for them.

I am so thankful for my dad and for everything he does for me. He has given me countless father's blessings throughout my life, and I have been so incredibly blessed by his worthiness to hold the priesthood. I am also so thankful that I know my dad loves my mom. I have never once questioned his love and loyalty to her, and it has shown me the kinds of things I should look for in my own future spouse.

Basically, my dad is the best ever. I love him so much. I don't know what I would do without him.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Giving Thanks Day 18: Personal Revelation

Today I went to the temple. It was quite possibly the first time I had ever gone twice in one month. I've always struggled a little bit with temple attendance. I had a whole bucketload of things on my mind, and while I didn't get a specific answer necessarily for any one thing, I came out feeling like everything would work out. I was comforted to know that I was doing everything I could do in the things I was going through and that it was mostly just time for me to have faith and to trust that the Lord knows what He's doing.

I am so thankful that I have a knowledge of my Heavenly Father. I'm thankful that I can go to Him whenever I need help and that He will always, always be there to listen to me and answer my prayers. I'm so thankful for personal revelation and for the chance to be guided in my everyday life. Even though sometimes I may feel like I am praying for silly things, I know the Lord wants me to go to Him with everything. Even if the answer is, "It's up to you," I know that my Heavenly Father is listening to me and pointing me in the direction I need to go.

I really like this painting. It very much illustrates how I feel when my eyes are opened and I receive answers to my prayers.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Giving Thanks Day 17: Sleep

I am absolutely exhausted today. On Tuesday night, I managed to get myself into bed before midnight. It was awesome. The eight hours of sleep was just what I needed. That was the first time in I don't know how long that I had actually gotten to sleep before midnight. I thought I would continue it last night, but alas, I didn't get to bed until 1:30. Yeah, I'd say that's a little after midnight.

After all the stress of things both personal and work related this week, today was a rough day. My brain was mush. I had to read everything four times before the words on the screen finally had some semblance of meaning. My tired brain and my tired eyes conspired against me. You know it's especially bad when co-workers are asking you if you're okay.

You know how you never fully appreciate something until it's gone? Well, for that reason, today I appreciate sleep. I have had far less of it than I should have had lately, and I'm thankful that I am not doing anything else tonight, which means that if I'm smart, I will get to bed at a decent time. And if I can do that, I know I'll be doubly thankful tomorrow morning for the sleep I get tonight.

This is what I wanted to be doing at work today.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Giving Thanks Day 16: Laughter

Tonight I went out to Zupas with Cora, Kira, and Heather. I think it was a much-needed release of some pent-up emotions (at least for me and Cora) because we basically just laughed at everything, all night long. And it felt SO GOOD. It felt like it had been ages since I had laughed that hard. It was fabulous. The laughter continued when we watched Meet the Robinsons and then went over to Zach and Jon's apartment to watch Psych. I don't really watch Psych, and I honestly didn't pay too much attention to it, but Zach and Jon make me laugh all the time, which is why I like hanging out with them so much.

I'm so thankful for laughter. I know that sounds a little odd, but what kind of life would it be if there weren't things to be laughed at? I get so much enjoyment out of laughing, and I always feel so fulfilled after I've had a good guffaw. I love having to catch my breath after laughing so hard it hurts. It's such a release. I always feel infinitely better after I've had a good laugh.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Giving Thanks Day 15: Music

First of all, I should say that things are looking up today. I think the crisis has been averted, for the most part, and I am simply praying that things can go back to normal fairly soon. I am absolutely exhausted, though. I don't remember the last time I went to bed before 1:00 a.m., and there have been many nights lately when I haven't slept well. And the fact that I ended up working for 10 hours today (until 7:00 p.m.) really didn't help. But things are looking better, and it's looking like I should get to bed before midnight tonight, which will be fantastic.

One thing that made my extra long workday better was Spotify and all my awesome music. I am so thankful for good music. Music is such a calming influence for me, and listening to certain music (and singing at the top of my lungs) can be super cathartic. I feel like music can express my feelings so much more powerfully than any words ever could, and I'm so thankful for the artists that seem to capture exactly what I'm feeling.

To make this thankful post a little more exciting, I'm going to include another list of some of my current favorite songs. I don't know why I love these lists so much, but I do.

  1. "I've Got This Friend" by The Civil Wars, Barton Hollow (Okay, we all know I'm obsessed with this band, and since I already shared "Poison & Wine" and "Barton Hollow," I figured I'd choose a different song of theirs. But seriously, just go listen to this entire album. It's freaking amazing.)
  2. "Lily's Theme" by Alexandre Desplat, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (I really love both Deathly Hallows soundtracks.)
  3. "Couer d'Alene" by The Head and the Heart, The Head and the Heart 
  4. "Awake My Soul" by Mumford & Sons, Sigh No More
  5. "Pumped Up Kicks" by Foster the People, Torches (I know this song is about a kid who wants to shoot up his school, but it's so dang catchy!)
  6. "If It Kills Me" by Jason Mraz, We Sing. We Dance. We Steal Things.
  7. "Broken Open" by Cold War Kids, Mine Is Yours
  8. "Lionel and Bertie" by Alexandre Desplat, The King's Speech (This soundtrack is as good as the movie. I love it so.)
  9. "You Really Got a Hold on Me" by She & Him, Volume One (Thank you Spotify for helping me discover new artists.)
  10. "Need You Now" by Lady Antebellum, Need You Now
  11. "Misery" by Maroon 5, Hands All Over
  12. "Arms" by Christina Perri, lovestrong.
  13. "Inevitable" by Anberlin, Cities
  14. "Someone Like You" by Adele, 21 (I can't believe it took me 14 songs to remember Adele. This is the best sing-at-the-top-of-your-lungs music. Ever.)
  15. "Rhapsody in Blue" by The 5 Browns, No Boundaries
  16. "Hell No" by Sondre Lerche and Regina Spektor, Dan in Real Life
  17. "Crossfire" by Brandon Flowers, Flamingo
  18. "Marry Me" by Train, Save Me San Francisco (This song is kind of adorable.)
  19. "Learn to Live With What You Are" by Ben Folds, Supersunnyspeedgraphic
  20. "Noah Visits" by James Newton Howard, The Village

Monday, November 14, 2011

Giving Thanks Day 14: The Priesthood

That issue I mentioned yesterday hasn't gone away. And it probably isn't going to go away for a little while yet. Tonight I became extremely concerned for the well being of a couple of people. (I'm sorry if this starts sounding super cryptic. It's not intended—it's just not a situation that everyone needs to know about.) I was very stressed, and there was nothing I could do to fix that, so all I wanted to do was get out of my apartment. Throughout FHE, my friend Jordan simply noticed that I was having a rough time. After FHE, he said, "I'm going to go get a Mountain Dew. You wanna come?" I said yes gladly. Any excuse to get out was a good excuse.

I had a good chat with Jordan, and as I was coming home, Kira, Heather, Alison, and Kira's friend Clint were leaving my apartment to get some food. Kira invited me to go with, and I, again, gladly accepted. We drove around for half an hour, just talking. Then I went to Kira and Heather's and talked some more. I was so anxious about things that I was freaking out a little bit.

While it would have been just fine if Kira and Heather had simply talked to me and let me air out my feelings, they did so much more than that. Kira called people who needed to know what was going on so that something could actually be done about the situation. Then Heather asked me if I needed a blessing. I wasn't sure if I did or not, but Kira basically said, "It can't hurt," and called my friend Adam to come over.

This was the first time I had ever gotten a blessing from someone other than my dad or my brothers. Since I live so close to home, I've never really called on the elders in my wards to help me out when I've been in trouble. The truth is, I've never been entirely comfortable with that. But after Adam came over, talked to me about the issue, gave me a priesthood blessing, and gave me a hug, I knew that everything was going to be okay. My panic abated and I could feel the Spirit comforting me.

I am so incredibly thankful for the power of the priesthood and for the men who are worthy to hold that power. I am so thankful that there are such amazing men in my ward that I can call on in times of need. The best part about tonight was that I knew Adam wasn't the only one on the list of brethren who would have come over to give me a blessing. I can think of seven or eight other guys that would have helped me out. The priesthood is such an amazing blessing in my life, and I'm so thankful that I have such easy access to its power anytime I need it.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Giving Thanks Day 13: Tender Mercies

Late last night, some crap hit the fan. I'm not going to go into detail, but a couple of us in our apartment (and one of us in particular [not me]) went into crisis mode. It was (is) a very scary and difficult situation. And while it wasn't my personal problem, it was a problem for someone I loved, so I was stressing about someone who was stressing about someone else.

All day today at church, I was a little preoccupied because I wasn't sure what was going on. I didn't know how things were going to shake out. But throughout the day, I noticed small things that helped me recognize that I am still loved despite what was going on around me. At break the fast, a friend asked me how I was doing. When I responded, "I've been better," he didn't ask me what was going on. He simply gave me a hug and told me to let him know if I needed anything.

Later tonight, I was watching a show with some friends, and they just let me talk to them about what was going on. They were simply there for me and for my roommates and also offered their services in case we needed anything.

Then I went to ward prayer, where I had a good friend sit me down and ask me sincerely how I was doing. He truly wanted to know, which was so nice and so needed. It was comforting to know that someone was paying enough attention to go out of his way to make sure I was okay.

This doesn't even count the numerous random compliments that I got from multiple people today. I'm nearly positive that none of those people had any idea how much I needed their kind words, but they were said at just the time that I needed to hear them.

I'm so thankful for those tender mercies from the Lord. Even when I am going through something very difficult, I am reminded of the amazing people in my life and of the many incredible blessings that I do have.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Giving Thanks Day 12: Brothers

Today was gameday. BYU played Idaho at LaVell Edwards Stadium, which means I saw my brothers and my dad. Football is a bit of a family affair for us. The four of us get our season tickets together. Dad drives over to Ben's house, then they both drive to Matt's. Then Matt drives them down to Provo to pick me up. If it's an early game, we grab food afterward. If it's a late game (like it was yesterday), we grab dinner before. It's just the way things work.

When my brothers and I get together, we suddenly regress 20 years. I'm suddenly the 4-year-old again, while Matt is 9 and Ben is 13. Dad mostly just rolls his eyes as our stadium seats become weapons and insults are thrown back and forth.

Despite the verbal (and sometimes physical) abuse, I'm thankful for my brothers. They're both pretty awesome guys who do their best to do what's right by their families. It's been pretty cool to watch them figure out how to be dads. I love watching them play with their kids because their love for their children is so apparent.

As much as we might argue and tease, I know that my brothers love me, and I love them. They would do anything for me and can be very protective at times. I'm so thankful to have such a good relationship with my brothers. I'm also thankful to know that I have a brother on the other side of the veil who's cheering me on and watching over me. I may not have had the chance to know Bobby in this life, but I know his love for me is just as real as my living brothers'. I can't wait for the day when I will get to have all three of my brothers in the next life.

Ben and his littlest. 

Matt and his two rugrats. 

My big brother Bobby.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Giving Thanks Day 11: Good Entertainment

I love entertaiment. That sounds like kind of a weird statement (I mean, who doesn't), but I really love books and movies and plays and concerts and sporting events. I love talking about them and enjoying them with my friends. I watch a lot of movies and a lot of TV (though I have been quite busy lately and I have been watching less), and I have seen a lot of things that I probably shouldn't have subjected myself to. There is so much filth in the entertainment industry these days, so when I see something really good, I get really excited.

Tonight I went with some friends to see a movie called Warrior at the dollar theater. I had never heard of this movie and all I knew was that it was about MMA fighting. But we looked it up on Rotten Tomatoes, and it had 93% from the audience, so I figured I could risk $2 on it. And I am so glad I did. It may have helped that I went in with absolutely no expectations, but it was so good. There were good messages, and though I don't really like MMA fighting, I'm a total sucker for inspirational sports movies, and this one was no exception. I'll be buying Warrior when it comes out on DVD, that's for sure.

I know this may be a little random, but I really am thankful for the good entertainmnet that exists in this world. There are so many bad things that sometimes we get lost in them and forget to look for the good. The entertainment industry is so far reaching and has so much capacity to spread a good word and tell a good story about perseverance or good conquering evil or simply alerting the public to something that needs attention, so I am thankful when filmmakers and musicians take advantage without being preachy or overbearing. Those are the movies or TV shows or the songs that I like the most.

It also never hurts when there are reeeeeaaallly attractive men in said movie.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Giving Thanks Day 10: Morality

Okay, so I know that title is a little weird, but I promise it will make sense once I'm done with this post.

So. I'm a college sports fan. We should all know this by now. No surprise. And my favorite team is BYU. Again, no surprise. In the past little while, there have been all sorts of scandals involving college athletics, and especially football. Ohio State, Miami, UCF, Oregon, and USC have all been involved in various illegal activities that have brought sanctions from the NCAA. But the worst sports scandal of all time broke this week at Penn State. I don't want to get into details because they are awful and sordid and make me ill. You can go look them up yourselves if you don't know them already. Basically, there was a sick, sick man who coached the football team and whose alleged crimes were seemingly covered up by the athletics department. Two people have stepped down, two have been fired, and one has been placed on administrative leave because they all failed (in the hugest way possible) to make the right decision in a moral situation when children's welfare was at stake.

Now to what I'm thankful for today. I am thankful that I attended a university that stands for something more than athletics. I am thankful that while the athletics department isn't perfect (men's volleyball has had some issues), it at least knows that it isn't the be-all and end-all and doesn't take precedence over human life. After this Penn State scandal, BYU is now the only Division I football program to have won a national championship without a major NCAA violation, and I am proud of that.

With so much moral ambiguity in the world, I am so thankful that I have a good moral basis. I belong to a church that espouses moral excellence and teaches its members to strive to do good in all things. Because of that foundation, I have an automatic answer in many situations that would confuse and conflict others. I know that there is a right and a wrong choice, and I know that I have the ability and the knowledge to choose the right. That is such a blessing in my life.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Giving Thanks Day 9: Modern Medicine

Today has not been a great day. I slept terribly last night, and I was in pain most of the day at work. I was exhausted and miserable, but I made it through the day. When I got home, all I wanted to do was take a nap, but I didn't get a chance, and now it's too late. So I'm going to do my best to get to bed at a decent time. Decent being, like, ten. I am so tired.

All of that combined meant that I was having a really hard time thinking of something to be thankful for. When I'm tired and ornery, all I can ever think of is my misery. So I thought of one thing that helped lessen my misery: ibuprofen. If not for ibuprofen, I wouldn't have made it through work today, and I probably wouldn't have gotten the sleep I did get. It makes me thankful that I live in a time when I have access to modern medicine. Modern healthcare is amazing in how many illnesses we no longer have to worry about. If you think about it, it's kind of amazing that I can go to the store and spend $5 on these tiny little pellets that will make my pain go away.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Giving Thanks Day 8: Groceries

For the last three weeks, I have been eating out for lunch just about every day. Don't ask me what I've eaten for dinner because I most likely couldn't tell you. If I wasn't buying something, I was probably eating a string cheese or an apple or Halloween candy or something ridiculous like that. It had been so long since I had been grocery shopping that my cupboards were pretty bare. I was living on toast and apples.

Today I finally bit the bullet and went grocery shopping. I got everything that I needed and didn't even get many snacks, which is always a win for me. And now I won't have to spend all my money on fast food, thank goodness. I am so thankful for a fridge and a pantry that are now fully stocked. I'm actually really looking forward to eating sandwiches for lunch again.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Giving Thanks Day 7: This Beautiful World

I work in a corner office with three other people. We have windows on two walls, which means we have a pretty good view from the third floor. As I was getting ready to leave at about five, it was snowing, when suddenly there was a break in the clouds right where the sun was setting. Everything turned orange, and the snow was glowing as it fell. It was beautiful.

As I was walking to my car, I simply marvelled at this beautiful world that we live in. I know a lot of people who complain about Utah weather, but I love that we get to experience four separate seasons. It is so beautiful here with the snow on the mountains or the flaming red and orange leaves or the pinks of blooming blossoms. There is so much beauty in this world, and I am so thankful that I get to experience it every day. I simply don't understand how anyone could gaze upon the beauty of the world around them and not submit that there is a God.

This picture doesn't do even the slightest justice to how gorgeous the sunset was tonight.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Giving Thanks Day 6: My Ward

Today was a good Sunday. Which is to be expected because every Sunday is good. However, it could have been a better Sunday, and I'll tell you why. We had stake conference today, which was a great meeting, but it wasn't the same as going to my own ward. Even though I sat by a bunch of people from my ward and hung out with multiple friends tonight, it just wasn't the same as going to church with my own ward.

There have been multiple times in my time in Provo when I have gone home as often as I could because I didn't like my ward. Usually it was because I was too shy or too afraid to get to know people, so I never felt fully comfortable or welcome. I've never liked the feeling of being alone, so I would go to my home ward with my parents where I knew people.

There have also been times where I haven't wanted to go home because I've felt so comfortable with and so involved in my singles ward, and this is one of those times. I was sad that we had stake conference today because I wanted to go to my ward where I knew everyone and felt completely at home. When I could have skipped ward prayer, I made an effort to go because I wanted to see my friends.

I'm so thankful that I belong to a church where I can always be a part of something. I know that when I don't feel like I belong in my ward it is often my own doing. I've made an effort lately, and it has paid off in a big way. If I ever need anything, I have a whole list of people I know I can contact who would be more than willing to come help me with whatever I need. I belong in this ward and I feel like I belong. I'm happy here and I don't want to go anywhere else. This is my ward and my home, and I'm so thankful for the opportunities I've had and the people I've met here.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Giving Thanks Day 5: Sisters

Today was a wonderful day. Cora and I drove up to Salt Lake to meet up with my mom, my sister, and my sisters-in-law to eat lunch at Zupas (always and forever a good choice) and get pedicures. OMGosh, I love pedicures. It doesn't matter that it's getting cold and that no one will see my toes for months. I like knowing that my toes are pretty. And I'll take a foot massage any chance I get.

It was so nice to spend an afternoon with the girls. I spend a whole lot of time with the boys in my family during the fall because I go to football games with them, so it's nice to set aside some girly time too. I'm so grateful for my sisters. My sisters-in-law are so much a part of the family that I don't even think to differentiate sometimes, which is such a blessing. Cora might as well be my sister with how close we are.

Chelly, my true full-blooded sister, is simply amazing. Sometimes I forget how much I enjoy talking to her. She's always been my staunchest advocate. She thinks I'm awesome, and I know this because she tells me frequently. She tells me often that she wishes I lived closer so I could see her and my two freaking adorable nieces more often. Growing up, I learned so much from Chelly. I remember her teaching me the importance of the Sacrament. I also learned the blessings of scripture study through her example and testimony.

Chelly also taught me how to do makeup and my hair and took me shopping all the time (even though I usually hated it). She invited me to hang out with her friends, even though I was five years younger than everyone else. I remember being 14 and hanging out with a bunch of Chelly's college friends. Nobody thought it was weird because I was invited—I was never the annoying little sister who was shooed away. As jealous as I was of Chelly's looks (because she's absolutely gorgeous), she never made me feel inferior in any way. In fact, she was usually the best at building me up. She always made sure to let me know just how beautiful she thought I was and how much she loved me.

All of my sisters are incredible people, and I'm so incredibly thankful for the sister I got to grow up with. I have the best sister in the entire world, no battle.

Those glasses are the best. 

Friday, November 4, 2011

Giving Thanks Day 4: Work & Money

Today was the day I look forward to every two weeks: pay day. I am so thankful that I have a job that gives me a consistent pay check. I know that every two weeks, my bank account will be replenished. I don't have to worry about where I will get the money to pay rent or utilities or my car payment. My job can be frustrating, and I don't think I make nearly as much as I should, but at least I have a job. I am so fortunate to have what I have. There are so many people out there who aren't quite as fortunate.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Giving Thanks Day 3: Makeup

Yes, that title does say makeup. Odd as it sounds, I am very thankful for makeup. I'm thankful that I can use makeup to cover up blemishes when I break out. I'm thankful that I can use makeup to even out my skin tone when my skin is being weird (which happens frequently, unfortunately). I'm thankful that I know how to apply makeup to bring out my best facial features, and I'm also thankful that I think applying makeup is fun. I really, really like makeup. As is evidenced by the $94 package I got in the mail today. (I needed that boxed set of 11 mascaras. I really and truly did. And that new eye makeup palette. And the blush brush. These are legitimate needs, people!)

I have to say, though, that I am not thankful for how much makeup costs. My bank account will forever rue the day I discovered Sephora and Bare Escentuals. I have experienced the joy of high-quality makeup and what it does for my skin, and I don't know that I can ever go back. I know, my life is so hard.

I should do my makeup like this from now on. That would be sweet.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Giving Thanks Day 2: The Temple

For the past couple of months, I've been feeling like I need to go to the temple. As time passed and I continued to not go, that feeling just got stronger and stronger. I knew I needed to go, but I always managed to find some excuse to stay home or do something else. Then last month my home teachers asked me to set a goal for the next month, and without hesitation, I said, "Temple attendance." I knew it was what I needed. Yet weeks still went by without accomplishing that goal.

But tonight I finally changed that. Brittany, Alison, and I went to the Provo Temple to do some baptisms. It was crazy busy. We were there for two hours to be confirmed twice and baptized once. There were some super giggly girls that couldn't seem to stop talking. We could hear the 12-year-olds in the dressing room. But despite all of that, it was still the temple. It was still the House of the Lord. I could still feel the Spirit more strongly than I can feel it anywhere else.

I went in with specific issues to pray for. I've been frustrated about some things lately and I needed some extra guidance. I didn't get a lightning-bolt answer tonight, but despite that, I feel calmer now. I know that the Lord is watching over me and that if I just listen, he will prompt me when I need to do something. I simply feel more content that things will work out and that I will be able to make the right decisions when I am in certain situations.

I am so incredibly grateful for the temple and for how accessible it is, especially here in Provo. It is a five-minute drive at most, and while it may take me two hours to go through the baptistry, it's a small price to pay for the peace and comfort I feel when I leave. I am so thankful that the Lord loves us enough to give us temples and to give us the opportunity to visit His House. I am determined to go much more often than I have been lately. I love how serene I feel, and serenity is definitely something I could use more of.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Giving Thanks Day 1: Friends

Hello, friends! It's that time of year again. November is here, which means another 30 days of thankful posts. I've loved doing this the past couple of years, so I want to continue it. Besides, I don't think it's possible to be too thankful for the good things in my life.

Today was Cora's birthday. To celebrate, we threw Cora a surprise party. It was kind of awesome. There were quite a few people hanging out in my apartment, and as usual, I thoroughly enjoyed the company. So my first thankful post is a little general, but I am really grateful for the amazing people I've met in this ward. I have made some wonderful friends and have been incredibly busy doing fun things, which has been fantastic. I'm so grateful to have such amazing people in my life right now. It's been just what I've needed.

These are just a few of the awesome people in my life. I love these girls so much. If I had more pictures of the guys, I would post those too, but maybe I'll take some pictures later and they'll make their way into another post this month.