Thursday, December 16, 2010

Good Times For A Change

It's 1:17 AM on a school night. What better to do than blog? Let me explain! I took a three hour nap earlier today, tomorrow is the last day of school before Christmas break and there are only approximately 10 days left before I'll be in my Homeland once again. If you were me, you wouldn't be asleep either.

I'm SO incredibly excited for this trip to Tijuana. One of my best friends (the one I went to Promontory Point with for UEA, see the post entitled 'Drive Friendly) is coming with us. I don't know if she'll have the same experience or if she'll even like it. But I know I will be in good company in my favorite place on earth. Some people in my ward have given me things to take down to the orphanage. I CANNOT WAIT TO CROSS THE BORDER!!!

Most people look at me like i have a mental disorder when I say that Tijuana Mexico is where I'm most at home. But if they could see the look in the eyes of the kids at the orphanage just to have someone to play with and give them attention. If they could serve people they had never met before with their own two hands and look at those strangers and see nothing but love and gratitude coming from them. If they could see the caliber of joy in the lives of the people living in the humblest of circumstances, I think they'd change their minds.

Today I had a Mexican coke. I've been counting down the days starting when there were 56 left. I went to a Spanish branch last week with my Hermana. I've worn something from Mexico every Wednesday this year (besides the Wednesday's in December because I've worn a Christmas sweater everyday so far). I think it's safe to say that I'm a little excited for December 26-January 2nd :)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

I'm Dreaming Of A White Christmas

Bing Crosby style, if you please.

 Today Logan is supposed to be hit by a giant blizzard at about 3:00. We even had a pre-planned half day of school because it is expected to make driving nearly impossible. Well, in case we are snowed in for the rest our lives, I thought i'd make one last post. PS it's kinda creepy outside right now, DEFINITE calm before the storm kinda thing.

Fun things that have happened lately:

  • Went to the high school's production of White Christmas. T'was quite good :)
  • Saw Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows! Can't wait for the second part.
  • Rented and watched the Bing Crosby version of White Christmas, incidentally i've fallen in love with his voice and can't stop listening to Christmas music. I know its before Thanksgiving, sue me :)
  • Went with the whole family to the Heber Creeper train ride for a trip to the "North Pole". Think Polar Express, but without copyright issues.
  • Got accepted to the University of Iowa, the Honors program, and the School of Nursing. And offered a $17000 scholarship over 4 years.

I've had a really great attitude today. I don't know why exactly, but i've just been in a good mood. I think it's partially because I know Christmas is coming soon, and that means my next trip to Tijuana is coming soon. I am dying to go back! I'm having a hard time waiting. I started counting down in October. 

On the off-chance that we DON'T all freeze to death today, I wish everyone a Happy Anorexia Prevention Day!!!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Another Reason Not To Fear The Sky

Its days like yesterday that remind me why i've decided not to play basketball this year.

  • I was up til midnight studying for the PFP 1050 quiz and FCHD 1500 test the night before. 
  • Woke up late and rushed out the door to pick up the girls I give rides to.
  • Trudged through AP Stats & took a reading quiz in AP English Lit
  • Took the PFP 1050 quiz
  • Took the FCHD 1500 quiz
  • Left FCHD early to take pictures for Senior Superlatives and place an order for graduation announcements
  • Was late to Medical Anatomy because I only had 7 minutes to eat lunch once the pictures for Superlatives were done.
  • Pulled my hair out in Medical Anatomy while we tried to use microscopes to identify and draw epithelial and cartilage cells.
  • Went to the Multi-Cultural Club meeting after school.
  • Went home for about 40 minutes and read part of the assignment for AP English
  • Went to get picture taken at City Hall with the Mayor and get sworn in for LYCC
  • Went home and read a little more for about 20 minutes
  • Went to Young Women's to practice for YW in Excellence, stayed after for 20 minutes practicing the song with the piano for the first time, stayed after waiting for soup to warm up that never actually warmed up
  • Got home around 9:00, had family prayers & personal scripture study
  • Finally finished the reading, did the review worksheet for an AP Stats test coming up this week, started the make-up work for seminary since I will be at Distinguished Scholars Day on Friday
  • Last but not least, finished 3 essays for Sterling Scholar that were due this morning at 12:49 AM
To top it all off, we had a Sterling Scholar meeting before school today. Quitting basketball was probably the hardest decision i've ever had to make. But if I had to try and fit it in somewhere, I think my mind and planner would explode. I'm extremely grateful for the talk that Bro Uchtdorf gave in General Conference this year because that was what made me make the decision. Here is a link for the talk. If you haven't read/seen it, i'd strongly recommend it. It was in the Saturday Morning session, entitled Of The Things That Matter Most.,5239,23-1-1298,00.html

"To love and be loved is to feel the sun from both sides."

Thursday, October 21, 2010

It'll Take More Than Just A Breeze To Make Me Fall Overboard

Song: Overboard by Ingrid Michaelson

Once upon a time there was a girl. This girl never really liked Math. And usually she tried to be open to things and give them a second chance. But it seemed as though Math had taken it too far. For one, Math is the only subject she ever got an A- in during high school. And that was not a pleasant experience. Second, there is Math homework almost every night except the days that you take tests, and those always seem to be rough days even without the homework. The list of reasons for this girl's distaste could go on and on. But i'll narrate one specific bad experience and two good. Saving the good for last :)

This girl had always done well in school. She wasn't one of those super geniuses who you KNOW have computers for brains. She had to work really, really hardat it. But she was determined and gave the full effort and the results made it worth it. Anyways, this girl kept up a 4.0 until the 2nd quarter of her junior year. She was taking concurrent enrollment Math 1050, which is the equivalent of Pre-Calc A. Throughout the whole semester, she had done extremely well. She turned in all of her assignments on time, paid attention in class, and even did the review assignments now and then before chapter tests. This class seemed to go as all her other past classes had gone. Until November came.

Weird things started to happen when teacher began talking about preparing for the Final Exam that would be given right after Christmas Break. Thegirl thought that it would be no big deal, just like the trillions of tests she had taken before. But then the teacher started talking about how it was worth 30% of the final grade and how it would be on your permanent college transcript and something new happened to the girl. She got nervous. And the nerves wouldn't go away. The exam was a month and half away and she already had a bad feeling about it. Well the nerves started to creep into other things. Shots wouldn't fall during Basketball practice. She got bad quiz scores in other classes. Heck, she even tanked a chapter test in Math that she had done extra studying for. These things were definitely out of the ordinary for this girl. So right before Christmas Break she talked to her teacher and he gave the girl a few extra practice exams to get her more prepared. Unlike most kids, she didn't throw her backpack into a dark corner to rot until January 2nd when school started again. She poured her little brains out onto those practice tests. And even when she was working on roofs in Mexico for the last week of the break she was constantly thinking about math problems and wondering if she was really prepared for the exam or not.

During one of the many truck rides while she was in Mexico, a thought came to her. Would it really matter if she did poorly on the test? That meant a bad grade in the class. Did it really matter if she got a bad grade in that class? That would mean the end of her 4.0 GPA that she had worked so hard for. Did it really matter if she didn't have a 4.0? It meant...what did it really mean? She realized that she was afraid that it would mean she wasn't perfect. And once she thought of it like that, she realized something else. She already knew she wasn't perfect. She already knew that there were more important things than being the best at everything. She realized that success doesn't come from always being at the top of the list. It came from trying. And remembering what things actually mattered. Like focusing on the people that she was serving down in TJ. Or making memories with her family and new friends while they were together. Or just plain trying to be a good person.

Because of all these realizations, she knew that she needed to stop worrying because things would work out how they were supposed to work out whether she was losing sleep over it or not. So for the rest of the week, she just relaxed. And when she got back to school, she honestly knew in her heart that the past week had taught her more than all the math classes she had ever taken. And even though colleges like to focus more on GPA's and ACT's than life changing thought processes and experiences, she was certain that she would rather have the knowledge gained during that week than all the semesters of college that a 4.0 GPA could buy.

So she went into the test knowing that the result of the letters circled and the numbers scribbled in the answer box really weren't that important. Not to say she didn't try her hardest, because she really truly did. Just because it wasn't the most important thing to her anymore didn't mean that keeping a 4.0 wouldn't be nice. Nevertheless, she bombed it. Not just didn't-get-an-A-like-normal. Serious bombage up in there. Like a D+ or something like that. And that was enough to drop her grade from an A to an A-, effectively ending her 4.0 streak. And it was hard on her. She still was more than a little sad to see it go. Even now when she is looking at Index Score matrices as she is applying to college, she still feels a little pang when her finger has to go down the 3.9 column. (Luckily, it still gets to meet up with the 30 ACT row). But she was able to get over it. And it was a learning experience from which she became better, not bitter. And without the experience in Mexico, she wouldn't be able to say that.

Well, that was a lot longer than I meant it to be, so i'll try to sum up the next one for her. That whole experience was with Math 1050. Next semester brought Math 1060 AKA Trigonometry. Armed with her new attitude towards school, the Force chapters covered in her Physics class and the fact that Softball was a lot less pressure than Basketball, the girl did extremely well in 1060. So well that she felt confident enough to make a deal with her mom. If the girl got an A on the Final for 1060, the mom had to take the girl out for Sushi :) Well...

That was a good day :)

And today wasn't half bad either. Even though it wasn't a final exam, it still felt really good when she looked at her AP Statistics grade online and saw that she got 84 out of 80 on the last test she took. It was probably only the second time in her life that something math-related made her smile.

Well, I guess that wasn't all about Math. But you get the point. There are some valuable lessons to be learned from Math class. Its just that they rarely come from the textbook :)

"I don't think much of a man who is not wiser today than he was yesterday."

Friday, October 15, 2010

"Drive Friendly."

Well. UEA was yesterday and today. So far today I woke up at Katie's, had some Honey Nut Scooters, sat on her couch for two hours while we talked about everything under the sun and then went home. For now i'm waiting for Mother Dearest to come pick me up for our camping trip we were supposed to be on since about noon. So I figured now is a great time to blog. Not like I have anything else to do, like filling out college applications, studying for a Medical Anatomy & Physiology test, doing a test review for FCHD 1500, finishing the guided reading packet for AP English, or doing 3 assignments for AP Statistics. No, this is a great use of my time. Anywho, today has not been the most eventful. Yesterday, however, was quite the opposite. Here's how it went down.

For the last week, my good friend Katie and I have been trying to decide what kind of nonsense we would engage in for UEA. Amongst the list of possibilities were a road trip to Oregon, a road trip (of sorts) to Paraguay, camping somewhere, sleeping in a car on the side of the road somewhere, and visiting all the LDS temples in Utah.

Nevertheless, we came to an entirely unrelated decision.
Promontory Point, AKA the site of the Golden Spike National Historic Site.

For those of you unfamiliar with this incredibly exciting, promising and overall wondrous historic bit of history, let me give ya a little rundown. In 1863 the first transcontinental railroad was started. One side started near Omaha, NE and the other side began near Sacramento, CA. Many immigrant laborers, railroad ties, iron rails and skipped details later, the two ends met in a little old place we like to call Promontory on May 10, 1869. Apparently, this was a big deal. Anyways, we journeyed on out and had a grand ol' time. We stopped to take pictures and play on freakin' sweet playgrounds along the way. It was nice to have a day without time constraints or responsibilities. Plus, my outfit for the day was pretty exquisite.

If it looks like i'm wearing overalls, its because I am. And if you were wondering, I was NOT wearing the mask all day. Disappointing, I know.

"Use what talents you possess; The woods would be very silent if no birds sang there except those that sang best."

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Get Up, Get Out, Get Away From These Liars

Song: Open Your Eyes
Artist: Snow Patrol

This post is something new for me. A poem. Since I was selected as English Sterling Scholar, I figure its time to write more. So here you go, big bad blogosphere. Tell me what you think ;)


First it’s the swing from the tree in your yard
After the lemonade stand where no one pays with a card
When the sun is high and your spirits even higher
And even if you did eat the cookie, your brother’s still a liar

Then comes the sunday night swing with your pals
You act like you’re old, but it’s still you and the gals
The worries will fade as soon as you choose
As long as the wood chips don’t get in your shoes

Now it’s the swings at the park with a guy
The only light coming from the starry black sky
He speaks of the future, the present, and past
But all you know is you hope this feeling will last

So while the trees may be trimmed and your friends may move on
Your brain seems to tell you these memories are sure to last long
Though it’s bitter that you must sit in stationary chairs today
It’s still sweet to remember when you could swing life away

Monday, September 13, 2010

Don't Give Away The End, The One Thing That Stays Right

My life in picture form (for the last few days)

Friday (Sterling Scholars announced)

Saturday (Bear Lake for a wicked b-day party)

Sunday (Paint The Street!)

Monday (The first day of Homecoming)

Sometimes having friends as SBO's can be a real perk.
(It says Homecoming is not as cool as Missy Homer)

"Triumph is just try with a little umph."

Friday, September 10, 2010


I have some really exciting news. Sadly, I can't share it here yet because I promised myself I'd tell Courtney first. :)

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

I Think I Like Today. I Think It's Good. It's Something I Can't Get My Head Around.

Let it be known:
I, Merissa Linn Homer, have finished for the first time the Book of Mormon on September 1, 2010. And it feels great :) I started in January, kicked it into high gear in July and now it's done. I just wish that there wasn't school tomorrow so I could start again right now and just read and read and read. For those of you have been concerned about my vital status because of my lack of Facebooking, you will be glad to know that my self-grounding is officially over. The post title is from the song "Good Day" by Angels & Airwaves. Today truly was a good day :)

Oh, and the book is true. All of it. The whole thing. 100%.

"For with God, nothing shall be impossible."

Monday, August 23, 2010

So Long, Sweet Summer

Age Six Racer by Dashboard Confessional. Possibly the greatest summer song of all time.

Fictionist, Making April, Third Eye Blind, Sherwood, Steel Train, Priscilla Ahn, Allred, Vedera, Neon Trees, Relient K, Nick Hexum of 311, and last but not least, Chris Carrabba of Dashboard Confessional.

What do all these fabulous bands have in common? I was graced by their presence this past Saturday Aug 21st at the Candlelight Serenade Acoustic Festival in Lehi. It was an all day event and I LOVED it. The tickets were a little pricey but it was for a really good cause. It was a benefit concert for Child Rescue, which is an organization dedicated to combating child sex slavery and exploitation in North America. I didn't realize this was such a big issue in the US. You can check out or for more details.

The concert was the bomb. I'd seen Relient K before in May when they came to SLC with Paramore, but I can never get enough of Matt Theissen and his beautiful voice and mad piano skills. All the artists had acoustic sets and it was so neat to hear some of my favorite songs played a little more mellow and in person. When he played Therapy, it was a totally different feel from the album version, but in a good way. SO MUCH TALENT! Anyways, sorry for the sketch picture quality, an iPhone can only do so much from so far away.

It was a different experience for me to see Third Eye Blind. I feel like their music has just been around forever. They have some really excellent songs and the singer was a pretty good entertainer. They played Motorcycle Driveby and I pretty much died from happiness. That song kills me just listening to it normally, much less live, 30 feet away from the band. And of course Semi-Charmed Life was a crowd favorite :)

Christopher Ender Carabba. What a beautiful man. What beautiful music. What beautiful talent. I had tickets to see Dashboard Confessional last November, but the show was cancelled the day before the performance because of some family issues or something. Dashboard is on my top 10 list of favorite bands ever. Possibly top 5. I have every song they've ever released, including EP's. It has taken me forever to get around to going to one of their concerts, but man oh man it was SO worth it. By the time his set came around, it was too dark to get any real pictures, but here goes nothing.

In other news, the 'New Spice' guy from the 'BYU Study Like A Scholar' YouTube video was one of the announcer dudes and I got my picture taken with him! Nice guy and SUPER funny. He said he felt weird that everyone knew who he was, so he was acting like I was the famous one.

In OTHER other news, I got a game-worn BYU football jersey signed by the kicker, Mitch Payne! You guys are probably like, woopdy-doo, a kicker signed a shirt. But this guy was in my brother's ward when my brother went to BYU and Mitch was a really nice, down to earth guy and i've always kind of respected that about him. Not all college football players are like that.

In OTHER OTHER other news, I got to see an old friend, Zack Konecki from my California days. His mom and my mom were in the Stake YW's Presidency together back in the day. We were good pals then, but I haven't seen him in literally a decade. My how things have changed. He has already graduated from high school and is enrolled in classes at a local college, and will have completed his bachelor's degree at BYU Hawaii before he even goes on his mission. What a stud! He's the one that's not a girl. And his mom's the one that's not my mom.

PS here's the New Spice video :)
"It's not about how full of days your life is, but rather how full of life your days are."

Saturday, August 21, 2010

To my fellow 2011 seniors...

I guess we made it
Or at least we made it this far
And it all looks smooth from here

Oh and in a future day
There may be waves
But I must say
The skies have never looked so clear

So I guess we made it
Cuz it ain't far to go from here

Sunday, August 8, 2010

My Darling, Believe Your Voice Can Mean Something

Title from the song Futures by Jimmy Eat World. I've been on a Jimmy kick lately. I'd recommend it to anyone :)

Things that have been chopped:

1- Rain Forests

2-The arms of the dudes at the Waters of Sebus after Ammon was done with them.

3-My Hair :)

Thursday, August 5, 2010

It's Like Walking In Sunlight

I have a new found respect for those who do manual labor. Here's why.

I posted about how we are going to Tijuana in December. Well, that takes money. And we get to earn it. One of the ways to earn it is to rip out these huge railroad ties in our backyard that have been there since the dinosaurs roamed around. I never knew how much effort it took to remove ancient pieces of wood. One of the pictures are of the ties loaded into the trailer to be taken away forever. I don't know if i've ever had dirt in so many places where i've never wanted to have dirt. The worst part is hauling them up the stairs to load them into the trailer. I'm not positive, but i'd guess that each one is between 50-100 lbs. Not so much fun.

This one is what they looked like before. Nicely placed and oh so patterned. Seems nice right? And they look pretty old. How hard could it be to dig out some old, half rotting pieces of lumber? I'd try to explain it, but you can just ask the shovel in the next picture.

That is metal. Not just some cheap wooden play thing. And the only thing down there is wood and dirt! Those railroad ties are determined to stay put. Thankfully, we had another trusty shovel just waiting to be abused. So I used it. The square head was okay but its not as easy to wedge it into some places. Anyways, I went back to work and sweated some more. Wiped some more dirt onto my face trying to remove said perspiration. You get the picture. Oh and those gloves have got to be about the nastiest, dirtiest things i've ever put on my hands. I'm not sure if they keep the dirt out or just trap it in there. They seem to be preventing blisters though, so that's a positive.

It's kinda hard to see, but the ties are dug down into the ground quite a bit. I tried to use the shovel as a sort of a scale but i'm not the best at setting up picture things.

Those are the ones that I ripped out today. My forearms have never been so sore. I won't lie, it kind of feels nice to be this utterly exhausted. It's a bone tired that reminds me of TJ :)

This is what happens when you try to drop things off of your shoulder onto the ground and there are many sharp nails sticking out. You have to sew your sleeve. And if you are Merissa, you pick the randomest thread and do the ugliest patch up possible. It makes it look like a more legit work shirt. The hand is there to show you how big the rip was. And i'm not the best at formatting pictures into the blog post, so here is the part where I ramble about absolutely nothing so that the pictures will kinda fit right. I still don't have enough words on this picture so i'll keep telling you about how much fun it is to hang out with dirt and shovels for the last few weeks of summer. Let me tell ya...doesn't get much better than this.

This is an example of what caused the aforementioned rip. If you can't tell, those are nails. Lots of them.

"Opportunity is missed by most because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work."

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

I'm Living Again, Awake & Alive

Title from: Learning To Breathe by Switchfoot. See previous post for link.

I found out last night that my family will be going to Tijuana Mexico once again in December :) I'm stoked out of my freaking mind! We will be going with the Charity Anywhere Foundation. This will be my third time in a 12 month span. I'm sure this will be another week I'll never forget ;) Also, I have a slideshow of the first time we went down that is on my facebook page if you were curious.

I don't think it's truly possible to explain the caliber of joy I find in doing service in The Homeland. It is honestly where I feel the closest to my Savior. That may change once I'm able to go through the temple. But for now, TJ is my Home away from home. I can't find the words to describe how it feels to see the way that the people live their lives on what the world would consider as almost nothing, and are still some of the most willing, loving and grateful folks I've ever had the honor to meet.

I believe that Gabriel Valenzuela is one of the most inspirational and down right faithful people I've ever known. I feel blessed to have had the opportunity to meet and serve him. If you've ever heard me talk about the Obispo, this is the guy. The first time we went down, my family got to replace his roof. The second time, my crew (including Brent) had the chance to build him a Hamburger Stand outside his house so his family could have another source of income. He is an artist by trade, the early morning seminary teacher and has been a member of the church for about 10 years (7 as Bishop). Mostly, he's one of my biggest heroes.

I could tell a million different stories about my love for TJ. One of the things I love most about these trips is the people we go down with. Some of the greatest examples I have in my life are those that I've served side by side and ridden in cars for 15 straight hours with.
I don't know anyone more crafty than Mi Hermana Holly. She can bedazzle a fanny pack in less time than it takes her to run the hurdles. She is really neat :) Our other hermana, Lexie was an inspiration to give my friend a BOM. And their man, Hector will teach them to be amazing dancers someday. Cami and Courtney...are there really words? I can't describe them apart from each other. It would be like a Mexican cola without a glass bottle. Okay but seriously, these two are definitely in top five most dynamic duos of all time. Special asterisk by their name for most hilarious. And without good old E-Flems, I'd have nothing to do on a college student's spring break. And no one to blog-stalk, which would really be a shame. Jason and Kaden are like my brothers. Seriously, I see them just as often as my real family if not more. I already knew Madi Dodd, but that doesn't make her any less amazingly freaking adorable with those orphan kids. Cortney, Isaiah, Jess, Mary, Stephanie, Amandrew, Bethany, Ise, Tink etc...the list goes on and on. Amazing, every single one of them.

Approximately 3 months and counting... :D

"You can stand tall without standing on someone. You can be a victor without having victims."

Sunday, August 1, 2010

The Amount Of You That I Reflect

The title is from Relient K's song "Forget & Not Slow Down". The previous line is... I'll watch the glint in my eye shine off the spring in my step, And it could be blinding depending on the amount of you that I reflect.

Call me crazy, but I like to think of this line as if i'm talking to Christ. I talked to Laycee about it this week while we were at EFY. We talked a lot about the light in your eyes. And I definitely believe that Christ is the source of that 'glint in my eye' and the 'spring in my step'. I don't think i'm too far off base seeing as how Relient K is a Christian group. But even if that's not what was meant by it, I don't think it hurts anyone for me to think of it that way :)

I could talk about EFY for a month and not have done everything justice. There were so many little testimony building moments. I loved the theme this year, Courage To Stand Strong. It comes from Joshua 1:9. One of my favorite moments was when singing the theme song so I guess i'll write about that one.

So we sang the theme song before most of the morningside devotionals. While singing on the last day, Lyska (a girl in my company) turned to me and said that she felt like we should be standing to sing it. And I got a little smile and told her i'd stand if she would. So we did. And a good 3 or 4 lines went by with us 2 being the only ones standing in a huge room filled with people. But then the people in our row stood up. And then the rest of our company. And then the people behind us. Then the whole back of the room. Then on the line of the song where it says "It takes courage to lead, and sometimes it takes faith to follow", the rest of the room stood up. And if that wasn't one of the most amazing feelings ever, I don't know what is. It was just beautiful to see the principle in action. I'll tell ya, it's hard to stand with one other person for a whole verse in a room full of peers. But when the whole room stood's hard to describe. It felt like a little bit of heaven.

There were a trillion things I could write about. But I am superbly tired and haven't slept in my bed in way too long. So, if you want to hear more of these experiences, feel free to ask.

"Mistakes of the past don't define you, they refine you."

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Isn't it nice to know that the lining is silver?

I've felt especially blessed to have three things in my life lately. The Book of Mormon, my brother Brent, and music. Here's why...

BOM: I've never loved a book so much. Alma is filled with exactly what I've been needing to hear. It amazes me how subtly the Lord works. I am just eating it up. And I don't think I've ever comprehended anything like this before. I am seeing why this book has changed the world because it's changing my life. For good.

Brent: I don't know if I've ever met anyone like him before. He is probably my best friend in the entire world. I really don't know what I'd do without him. We have our differences. But learning how to get over those differences and just love the other person has taught us some incredibly valuable lessons. Who else do you know that would take a $400 class and drive back and forth an hour and a half both ways every night for two weeks just to be nice? He is an amazing example. I love this guy a whole lot and if you don't know him, you're missing out.

Music: I have no musical abilities. I don't play any instruments. Heck, I can't even read music. But I love it. I love it more than most. I love it in a different way than most. I'm really not sure I can describe it in words. The way the lyrics and music and the singers voice just run through my veins, it's like nothing else I've experienced. I really don't know how to describe it, I just know I love it and feel blessed to have it in my life.

The title is from a song by Relient K. "The Lining Is Silver". I cant find a link cuz it's on the B sides album. But it's good nonetheless.

"God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference."

Friday, July 9, 2010

I Walk Down The Road And I'm Alone Again But I Will Sing A Song As I Go

I realized that my posts are super long. And most people don't want to take tons of time out of their day to read eight bazillion paragraphs. So i'll try to keep this one a little bit shorter. PS The title is the same song as the name of my blog, and I already posted the link in an earlier post :)

BYU Basketball camp. Approximately 8 hours of basketball a day for 4 days. Tired at the end? Try exhausted. BUT, it was worth it :) I had a lot of fun and so did Bezait. Congrats to her and her team (Compton Criminals, don't look at me, they picked their own name) on winning the 5v5 championship!

Every women's basketball fan should be familiar with the name Abbey Wilson (top row, second from right), she'll be on your Wheaties box before you know it. Same with Carly Stratton. Those girls know how to play some serious basketball. I met a lot of neat people and made some odd friendships. Sad thing is, I just restricted myself from FB and now I can't add them as friends! Oh well, more fuel to the flame of finishing the BOM! I've made quite a bit of progress actually, but the lack of facebook is harder than I thought.

Anyways, it was cool to get to meet some of the players and see the real side of college athletics. Big shout out to Coriann Wood (soon to be Fraughton) who was an awesome coach and one of the friendliest persons i've ever met. Congrats on getting engaged, Tucker is a lucky guy. Keep an eye out for #23, she's bound for greatness!

Okay besides the awesome friends and good basketball times, highlight of my week has to be having a wicked flashback of two years ago when I went to the same camp. I was sitting in the chairs waiting for camp to start on the first day as the "coaches" started to trickle in. The coaches were some womens bball players, some random dudes who had connections with the team, and some Cougar alum. I swore I recognized one of the huge polynesian guys shooting baskets but I couldn't quite put my finger on it. And then I saw another huge polynesian dude, even bigger than the first. And then it hit me. I was witnessing Harvey Unga and Fui Vakapuna in the flesh. If you don't know BYU football, that probably means nothing to you. But if you DO know BYU football, then you can probably imagine how incredibly excited I was to be seeing these guys in real life. And not just at a football game. Just shootin' hoops in bball clothes. They were real life human beings! For the uneducated folk, those two were some of the most amazing athletes and funnest to watch players to ever grace the field at LaVell Edwards stadium. At the time, Harvey had just broken the school record for most rushing yards by a freshman running back. I worked up the nerve to ask to get my picture taken with them, but by some dastardly turn of fate, I can't find the disposable camera that holds the proof.

Well, fast forward to this year, about 5 days ago. This time, there is this black guy that looks super familiar. But he looks too short to be a basketball player. And then I thought about the John Beck era of Cougar football and how short his running back looked from the stands. And I thought to myself, there is no freaking way that Curtis Brown came back to BYU for a girls basketball camp. He was a freaking stud when it came to football and he had graduated years ago. Why would one of the greatest running backs in BYU's history (he held the school record for rushing yards until Harvey came along and broke that record too) come to a fundamentals camp for high school girls for a sport that he didn't even play? Well I'm not really sure if that question ever got answered, but sure enough, it was the one and only Curtis Brown. This time, there was no messing with disposable cameras. I had my iPhone out and ready before they even introduced him.

It was a good learning experience and I got my fill of Cannon Center food and most importantly, the best fountain Red Cream Soda known to man. If I end up at BYU, Barq's RCS could be a large reason why. I did one of the scariest things i've ever done. I gave my friend a Book of Mormon with my testimony written in it. I had asked some of the other girls from our basketball team to put their testimonies in it too and i'm very grateful to them for being so willing. I can't really say much about the experience because I have no idea if she'll end up reading it or use it as a paperweight. But I know it's been a long time since i've been that nervous. It really was hard to share something so close to my heart and put it out there, vulnerable and open to rejection. But if there is any chance that she actually does read it and something clicks for her, it is worth all the nervousness in the world. I am looking forward to sleeping in my own bed for approximately the 7th time in the past 6 weeks. Gotta love summer eah?
PS Congrats to my good friend Tori Nye on getting engaged this week as well, I wish the best to you and Ryan!
PSS Here are some other pictures of me and my team (Y-Factor all the way! Its like the x-factor, BYU style) and others of me and some friends.
PSSS Don't mind how fabulous I look in these pictures. Basketball all day minus any makeup or hairstyling effort equals pure beauty, obviously.

Left to right...kind of...
Shell-butt, Daylene (yellow), Me, T-Payne, K-Dub, Soper (green), Cori, Tiff, Mel, Boozer, Whitters

L to R
E-money, Daylene, Me, Tiff, Cori, Soper, Rissa, Boozer, T-Payne, Shell-butt, Whitters, K-Dub

Sha-NayNay, me, the aforementioned C-Stratt

Sopes! n' Me
I still don't remember what her first name is, but with a last name like Soper, who needs a first name? She was probably one of my favorite people that I met here. She goes to Manti and guess what their mascot is. The Templars. Looks exceedingly similar to TEMPLES if you ask me...

"It is hard to fail, but worse to have never tried to succeed."

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Just Watch The Fireworks

The title of this post is the name of a song by Jimmy Eat World. Not just what every five year old kid has heard a bazillion times this weekend. I don't think I can really explain this one, it just means a lot of things in a lot of different ways. If you are really intrigued, you can ask me later. On to the actual post! But first, the link :)

Today I decided to ground myself from Facebook. As soon as everybody picks their jaws up off the floor, I'll continue...Okay, okay I guess I should explain. I've been trying to read the Book Of Mormon the whole way through. And i've made more progress than I originally thought I would. But i'm still less than half way through Alma and it's been many months since I began. So I decided to ground myself from Facebook because of a few different inspirations, until I have finished reading the BOM.

Inspiration #1: Tonya Shay Anderson. What a great girl, eah? If you don't know her, you are seriously missing out. I had a really amazing talk with her last Friday after a little meeting that i'm sure i'll be writing about later. It was one of those talks that I always seem to have with her. It was a lot about the gospel and LTC and life in general I guess. I realized after this talk that I needed to re-prioritize and kind of fix the things that have been needing fixing for a long time.

Inspiration #2: "Where The Heart Is" as in the movie, not the location. Most people know it as The Wal-Mart Baby. For those who haven't seen the movie, the main character (Novalee) is a 17 yr old pregnant girl whose boyfriend abandons her at a Wal-Mart. After the baby is born and many details skipped later, Novalee takes in her best friend and 5 kids. The friend's ex-boyfriend had severely beaten her and two of her kids when she took them in. Novalee has a heart to heart with the friend who asks her what she is supposed to tell her kids when they ask why this had to happen to them. And I LOVED what Novalee responds with. This is it, with a lil editing on my part.

"You tell them that our--
our lives can change with every breath we take.
We both know that.

And you tell them to let go of what's gone.
'Cause men like Roger Brisco never win.

And tell them to hold on
like HECK to what they've got--
each other and a mother
who would die for them...
and almost did.

You tell them
we've all got meanness in us.

But we've got good in us too.

And the only thing
worth livin' for is the good.

And that is why we've got
to make sure to pass it on."

Most probably don't see how this has to do anything with reading the BOM or FB. But to me, it was something that told me to pass on the good. And the greatest good I know is the gospel of Jesus Christ. How am I supoosed to pass it on when I haven't even read the most important book all the way through? Well, that's about to change.

Inspiration #3: LTC & the friends I made there. The more I think about the experiences from that week, the more I realize just how big of an impact they have already had on my life and the way that I desire to live it. It sort of reminded me of EFY at first. Super spiritual week where you love every minute and just want to soak it all up. But I think my favorite difference between EFY and LTC is that the friends you make and the bonds between you can last beyond the week. I know there are special cases of people who make life long friendships from EFY and I think those people are so lucky and I'm so happy for them. But I think it would be hard
NOT to keep the friendships you make at LTC. I've had experiences and talks with some of the girls from up there that I wouldn't trade for anything in this world. [Including sleep :)]

In the midst of those talks, I stumbled upon something I did not know of before and I probably still wouldn't if it weren't for those talks. I had a burning desire to finish the Book of Mormon. I also realized something extremely sad. I have been letting idle and unimportant worldly things get in the way of that goal. I'm not condemning Facebook or trying to say that it is evil. But for me, it has stood in the way long enough and I will not be logging on until I have eaten up every last page of that blue book. It is time for me to do the things that I know need to be done and that I WANT to do.

I'm going to a BYU basketball camp next week with a good friend of mine and I am totally psyched! I'll write about it when I can. Hope everyone has had a fantastic Fourth of July, especially my friend Michelle Althouse who turned 18 today. Hope you have had a super Happy Birthday my dear friend, you deserve it! You are the only person i've ever had a 14 hour non-stop conversation with :)

"Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear."

Sunday, June 27, 2010

De La Souls

First of all, let me just say Happy late Birthday to my good friend E-Flems! Considering you are probably one of the only ones reading this, if you read it at all, I thought i'd give you an extra special shout-out. Farewell from your teenage glory days, and I sure hope Saturday was the best 20th birthday you'll ever have. I'm still slightly ticked that I haven't met Troy yet.

I realized that I didn't post anything about Girls Camp. And that probably isn't fair because I had a really good time. And I learned a lot. But this is more about LTC because it was just a totally different level of learning and spirituality.

Real quick, Girls Camp was full of adventure. I went on my first overnight hike, built a tent using mismatched poles, duct tape, and a pocket knife. I had a good time getting to know the girls in my ward a little better. It was fun to see them out of their natural environment. Most of them are Hi-Lo's (the dance team for LHS) and thus were a little uncomfortable camping in the wild :) They really are cool girls though and i'm a little disappointed in myself that it took me this long to give them a chance and see past the dancer stereotype. Of course, me and some of my good friends were able to make some good memories. What else do you do when you have 17 year old girls without technology with a tent in the woods? Make memories :D

On to LTC, the real deal. For those who aren't hip with the lingo these days, it stands for Laurel Training Camp. It's not a church-wide program, but it is a church camp. The girls who just graduated and the girls my age, who will be seniors next year, go camping for a week. During that week, we get split into the different value groups, ( faith, divine nature, individual worth, knowledge, choice and accountability, good works, integrity, and virtue) and attend different lessons and lectures with our groups. We got to have lessons from the 3 stake presidents on some awesome subjects and I know that I learned a lot for sure. Because of the sacred nature of the camp and the lessons learned there, i'll be using some discretion on how much I do or do not say on this post. Just know that it was a very spiritually enlightening time.

The groups get assigned after much prayer and consideration by the Presidency and I believe the Youth Presidency. Because of this, you don't necessarily get grouped with all of your best pals. In fact, I wasn't all that close with any of the girls in my group before this week. I won't lie, I was a little disappointed at first. If you know me at all, i'm not super comfortable around tons of people, especially those who I don't know very well. Luckily, that discomfort didn't last long. We jumped right into deep conversation the very first day. And i'm so grateful to whoever invented the whole LTC idea because I think bringing those walls down right at the beginning helped facilitate the growth that occurred in all of us. Now I can't say that a miracle happened and now the girls from my group are all my new best friends. But I can say that I got to see them in a new light and I learned to be less judgmental. I suppose you could say I have a better appreciation for them now. I never knew their stories before and I probably wouldn't have if it wasn't for this. And i still am not an expert on any of their lives, but sometimes a glimpse is enough to help build a friendship that has some solid foundation. OH! By the way, we were the Integrity group.

Our group had a pretty neat experience with prayer. One of the girls wasn't able to be there the whole time, for ease of reference, her name was Michelle. She had to come late and leave early and miss a day. Sadly, she wasn't able to be there for much of the group bonding. Well, she had work Thursday morning and Friday morning. So Wednesday night she was talking about how she might just stay in town and not come back at all since she would only be able to come Thursday night for a few hours. Thursday night is the key night! It's testimony meeting, the big dutch oven dinner, and the night when the most bonding occurs. Honestly, I don't blame her for wanting to just stay in town. But I kept getting this feeling that she needed to be at testimony meeting. I don't know why, but the feeling was there and it was strong. So I kept trying to convince her of how much fun Thursday would be and how good the food would be and anything else I could think of. Yet, when she left that night she still seemed very unsure and I got the feeling that she wasn't coming back. So I talked to one of her good friends in the other group and they said they didn't think she was coming back either. "How could this be?" I thought. I tried my hardest to persuade her and I was trying to follow the promptings I felt. But it hadn't worked. So I decided to turn to the thing that has never failed me. Prayer. But not just mine alone. I knew it would require something bigger. So I talked to my group at our evening devotional and we all decided to keep her in our prayers that night. The next day, I could hardly focus. I couldn't wait to see if she would change her mind and come back. Around lunch time, after some really good lessons from the VGP's, I realized that I had done what I could. I prayed and now it was in the Lord's hands and I needed to just trust him. So I tried to just put it out of my mind and focus on the lessons and experiences at hand. Well, fast-forward to dinner time. A few of us were done eating and I had just thrown my plate in the garbage and was getting some dessert when I looked at the bridge to see none other than Michelle! I ran over and gave her a huge hug and she looked at me like...umm, okay? I guess it was a little odd from her side. She didn't know how long I, along with my group, had been waiting to see if she would come back or not. And now she was actually there! It was just one of those moments for me when I stop and think, Hey, He really is listening to us. I don't know her end of the story. If she felt something that brought her back to camp or what. But I know it definitely helped strengthen my testimony of prayer. I don't know if i've ever been more excited to see someone. And as far as her needing to be at testimony meeting, I don't know if she got anything out of it or not. She's not real talkative when it comes to spiritual matters and I wasn't sitting in a spot where I could see if anything that was said affected her. But I know for sure that the spirit was super strong there and it would have been pretty hard to ignore it.

Testimony meeting was awesome, but one of those experiences of a sensitive nature that's not to be regurgitated online. I can say that I was very impressed by a lot of those girls and my love for them grew immensely. I loved the opportunity to share what I had learned. I don't know if anyone else really feels like I do, but I see testimony meetings sort of as an opportunity to show my gratitude to Him by sharing what i've been taught and declaring it to my peers. As awesome as the meeting was its self, I almost loved the post meeting "hug time" as they called it even more. There were so many girls that i've always wanted to get to know in school and that but i've never really had the opportunity until now. And to see them on such a deep level! If you know me at all, i'm not much of a crier. I have nothing against crying, i don't try to be 'strong' and not cry. It's just not usually how I show my emotions. For much of the meeting, I had a huge grin on my face while everyone around me was blowing noses and wiping eyes. I guess it just excites me to see other people learn of the Love that i've been feeling a lot lately from Him. Nevertheless, I cried like I haven't cried in a while during Hug Time. I look up to them so much and it was a lovely opportunity to see the real person inside and then to be able to tell them how much they mean and what a great example they are and to say thank you for that. As a very wise friend of mine once said, "Life is about people." And I know that is super simple, but I love it. I believe it and I love being able to express myself to people. I think we live in a world where we base too much of our self esteem on recognition. And that's sad because it means that we all forget sometimes just how great we really are. Thus, i LOVE an opportunity to remind people sincerely.

One more thought from LTC that I loved is the idea of Dippers and Buckets. Each person has a bucket. And they are fairly responsible to fill that bucket personally. We can also help fill each others buckets. When a person has a full bucket they feel loved, confident and more willing to help fill others' buckets. Unfortunately, we each have a dipper as well. And when we stick our dippers in others buckets, it doesn't help fill ours, it only spills theirs. And when someone has a lot of dippers in their bucket or if someone dips in too frequently, the person may feel inclined to put a lid on their bucket. And then no one can help fill it and they can't fill it themselves either. If you notice someones dipper in your bucket, gently remind them to take it out. If we can keep our dippers out of others buckets and focus only on filling them, we will all be a lot happier. So when you wake up tomorrow, are you going to be a Dipper or a Filler? Only you can decide.

Anyways, I wish I could just capture experiences and tap into them at will. Kinda like the 'pensieve' idea in Harry Potter. Just bottle up a memory and then relive it whenever I feel like at it. Until then, we'll all keep blogging and journaling I guess. I love all of my Girls Camp and LTC girls and it has been great to feel their love the last few weeks. I hope to become a permanent Filler because I sure appreciate all those who have helped fill mine. Lately it feels like its overflowing. And it sure is nice to feel overflowing rather than overwhelmed once in a while. Hope everyone is having a great day! (Ha, Like anyone actually reads this!)

ps the title is a song by POS. POS is an artist, not just an acronym for an inappropriate saying.

"All the adversity I've had in my life, all my troubles and obstacles, have strengthened me... You may not realize it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you."

Monday, June 21, 2010

Maybe Then We'd Remember To Slow Down At All Of Our Favorite Parts

"I am going away for a while
But i'll be back don't try and follow me
Cuz i'll return as soon as possible
You see i'm trying to find my place
But it might not be here where I feel safe
We all learn to make mistakes"
~Misguided Ghosts by Paramore

I LOVE that song. Ever since I got their newest CD (Brand New Eyes) I can't stop listening to that song. It just clicks for me I guess. Anyways, that has nothing to do with this post. So...moving forward!

Brent has started up Quotation Creations again. To refresh some memories, my dad used to run that business before he started roofing in Logan. Once Homer Roofing started up, Quotation Creations pretty much died. It changed hands a few times but no one really did much with it til now. Brent has had a booth at Richmond Black & White days and Logan Summerfest this last weekend. I don't know much about business, but it seems like it did okay. For those who don't have a clue what QC is, let me give you a quick run down. The product is framed and matted quotes featuring a picture of either the person who said the quote or a picture that correlates. ex) temples, Christ etc...

The reason i'm bringing all this up is that i've started working for Brent. I helped take orders in the booth for a good portion of friday and all day saturday. And today I put together the 6 pieces that were custom ordered and finished most of a 20 piece order that had nothing to do with Summerfest. Let's just say it's been a long day. (Literally, it was the longest day of the year. Happy Summer Solstice everybody!)

I got to Brent's at 8 AM and left at about 10:45 PM. He trained me for about a half hour then let me loose. I spent a good chunk of time at the storage unit trying to find the right mattes, frames pictures, glass etc for the custom orders. Then it was time to get started, right? Well it would help if the keyboard worked on the computer so that I could actually type up the quotes. It would seem that all hope is lost, but have no fear. My ingenuity kicked in. The 20 piece order called for all cherry frame 7x16's, 10 of a temple quote, 10 of Hinckley's '' it isn't as bad..". Well we had a few of the right quotes already matted but in the wrong frame. So i disassembled them, put them in the right frame, stapled the cardboard, rolled out the paper backing, put on the protective dots and the company sticker, and nailed the hooks in until Brent came home for lunch to problem solve. I was able to rummage through some of the old pre-typed papers and find a quote or two for the custom orders. And we had a few of the correct pictures at the house. But none of them had all the necessary elements. So Brent brought home a keyboard, found the huge temple picture we needed in a mysterious box, and went in search for a Thomas S. Monson photo. When the company was started, Gordon B. Hinckley was the prophet, so we have TONS of pictures of just him and absolutely zero of just Monson. Sadly, I ended up having to cut up a picture of the old First Presidency. Brent brought me a pita for lunch, which was delish, but he had to go back to did I.

I ended up formatting all the custom order quotes, which is a pain in the rear when you are as brain dead when it comes to Word Processing programs as I am. Then came the fun part. Assembling the product from start to finish! The process goes as follows.
1) Find proper frame thats not chipped or scratched and matte that is the correct color with the corrrect size opening and in good condition.
2) Center picture in matte opening and tape down using the most difficult two-sided tape gun ever invented.
3) Center paper w/ quote in the other matte opening and tape down using aforementioned tape gun.
4) Go outside to avoid suffocating/getting high from spray adhesive and stick the matte to the cardboard backing.
5) Find a pane of glass that's not scratched and Windex the crap out of both sides.
6) Look for dust particles between the glass and the matte and shoot them with the compressed air can thing. Do this about 7 million times as needed.
7) Insert matte/cardboard combo into the frame with glass in front and use the crazy black 'framers point' gun to sorta staple the cardboard into the frame.
8) Measure and cut the brown paper backing and use that darned tape gun again.
9) Place protective felt dots and company sticker on the bottom.
10) Nail in the hook using the most ridiculously small nails you can possibly imagine. Place tape over hook to avoid scratching other things.
Repeat approximately 26 times and you have my day today. That doesn't include printing/formatting/cutting the paper or searching through the slightly unorganized boxes for the proper picture. Much less the most difficult task i've ever faced, which is the main reason it took me til almost 11 PM to finish. That blasted tape gun!

Okay so it's really not that hard to use. Maybe a little annoying at times, but I can handle that. When it comes time to refill the dang thing? That's another story. It probably took me a good century and a half to figure out how to wrap the freakin thing around all the little wheels and crap in the right order. The diagram on the little thing is about as useful as an umbrella in a tsunami. After literally a half hour of trying to understand the arrows, i decided it was time to whip out the iPhone. It's a sad day for humanity when a girl has to look up a YouTube video to figure out how to refill a tape gun. It took me another 20 minutes to even understand that because they were using a different model of the gun in the video. I'm still not really sure how it happened, but I closed the plastic cover and said a little prayer and it worked. Don't ask me to do it again because i'll just have to pull out the phone. By the time I conquered Mt. Requires-A-Degree-In-Engineering-To-Refill-This-Thing, it was too late to hammer the hooks into the last of the 20 piece order unless I wanted the neighbors downstairs to set Brent's house on fire. So I did as much as I could without creating a ruckus.

Long story short, I never knew framing and matting could be so exhausting. But I am totally pooped. Good news is I still get to do the dishes (even though I literally have been home for a total of 15 minutes i'm not sure how that translates into me getting the wonderful opportunity to do everyone else's dishes...?) pack for LTC, and shower between now and 8 AM. As much as i didn't enjoy getting a large slash in my thumb from the framers points, spending all day listening to the neighbors quarrel, and spend one of my precious few free days of summer in a house by myself, I really did learn a lot from all those quotes. Most of them were from Prophets and Apostles who are probably the most wise persons on this earth. I think my favorite was one by Thomas S. Monson.

"Courage becomes a living and attractive virtue when it is regarded not as a willingness to die manfully, but the determination to live decently."

There were a few others that were pretty good, but I like them better in Spanish and I don't see the point in writing in a language that no one (who reads this) would understand. I'm grateful that we have been given such wise leaders in a time and place such as this. I'm also amazed at the way things have worked out for me with this job. With my crazy busy summer, i can't get a normal summer job because of how many sporadic weeks I will be gone. I needed a job with VERY flexible hours and Brent needed someone who could spend bursts of time to fill orders. It probably couldn't get more perfect for either of us. I'm getting paid piece rate so I can take my time and do things right like I like to, and Brent doesn't get screwed over for his employee taking an hour to fill a tape gun. It just goes to show how if we put our trust in His hands, He will take care of us. The only thing that matches my complete and total exhaustion from today is the amount of inspiration i've witnessed through reading the words of His servants. It feels good to feel good :)

"We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give."

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Learning To Breathe

"So, this is my life. And I want you to know that I am both happy and sad and I'm still trying to figure out how that could be."
I think that quote pretty much sums things up.

We had Stake Conference at 10. You would think we could get there on time considering how reasonable of an hour 10 o'clock is, but no. We are the Homers. Good news is, once we got there things were okay. One of the general authorities said a few things about my old Young Womens leader who is the current Stake President's wife. I've always really liked her and thought she was just a flat out good person. It was nice to hear such good things said about her from someone with such prestige. I've been really interested in temples lately since I got to go do Baptisms in the Nauvoo Illinois temple. That was a neat experience in its own right, but not a story for right now. Anyways, i was reading about temples on my iPhone and learned some very interesting facts. I got these off of the official church website, not just some random guy making things up.

1) The Logan temple is the second oldest temple still in operation, with St. George being the oldest.
2) The Manti temple is built on land that the BOM prophet Moroni dedicated as a future temple site.
3) The Vernal temple is built from bricks that were donated from a local homeowner who was planning on razing his house.
4) The Nauvoo temple is one of the only temples that faces west and has a westward facing angel Moroni. (It faces the Mississippi River)
5) Something I probably already knew but never put together is that all 3 BYU campuses (Provo, Rexburg, Hawaii) have adjacent temples.

If you don't trust me, check out the site below. You can click on the name of the temple to find out more fun facts.
Anyways, I enjoyed getting to know more about a few of the temples. And the Conference talks were good too.

When we got home, it was time for me to take a nap. I've been incredibly tired lately. I slept through lunch at girls camp and a devotional or two. It was only early afternoon when i fell dead asleep on the couch. Anyways, I woke up a few hours later to my entire immediate family minus Brent, who was on his way over. I realized today how blessed I am to have all my sisters still live so close, and of course Brent. It's great to be able to see them weekly and of course I love seeing Kaden & Avery (nephew and niece) grow up little by little. We spent some time in the front yard checking out new cars and eating some crazy good apple dip stuff that Kristi made. Then we went into the living room and had all the Dads open up their Father's Day gifts and shared some memories. It was funny to see full grown men shoot foam balls at each other from plastic guns.

Next was the famous family fire. It seems like we always put one of these things together whenever the family is over. We have a fire pit in the backyard and we gather round for flame roasted tri-tip probably at least monthly. There really is something great about a fire. Once I had my fill of meat, someone started singing the song "All Star" by Smash Mouth. Slightly ghetto, I know. So I pulled out my iPhone because I have an App that has the top 100 songs of the last 50 or so years. Whaddya know? It was the #15 song of 1999. Naturally, we had to listen to quite a few other memorable songs. And that inspired Brittny to pull out her iPhone and look up one of those "You know you're a 90's kid if..." lists. I never realized how much I still remember from the California days, which is weird considering I was only 7 when we moved here. It really was fun to sit with my siblings and just reminisce around the fire about our childhood. It's those kinds of moments that make all the fights, tantrums, misunderstandings, short comings and generally negative points of family life worth it.

I really do love my family. And I hope they all know that. Because I would never ask for a different one. We ARE weird. We sing broadway musicals at random times, we quote movies and tv shows as part of normal conversation, we buy and sell cars from each other, live in each others houses, more than half of us share an employer. We can NEVER arrive on time to ANYTHING, no matter how much notice we have. We even sing 90's songs at the top of our lungs in the backyard for father's day. But we are a family. I'm part of it. They're a part of it. I'm theirs and they are mine. We certainly aren't perfect and imperfect people can't make up a perfect family. But we ARE a family. And to me, some part of that seems perfect. To keep with the theme of quoting my second favorite book, I think this is pretty accurate. Especially today.
"As much as I don't understand my mom and dad and as much as I feel sorry for both of them sometimes, i can't help but love them very much."

As for the title of this post, it's the title of a song by Switchfoot. As my previous post mentioned, i've grown a lot lately. And growing pains come with growth, go figure eh? I've found my coping mechanism to be music. Not playing it or writing it. I have about negative zero musical talent. But when it comes to listening to it and really feeling it. Well I could do that for the rest of my life. I've found that song to be one of my favorites and the lyrics really hit home for me. The title of my blog comes from the song by Pearl And The Beard by the same title. I don't know why I seem to be able to find comfort in music when I really know nothing about it. But it works for me. If i mention a song in my posts, i'll try to include a link to a video or the lyrics so maybe it can work for you as well.

In conclusion, I love my family. I might not always like what each person does, but i'll always love who they are. They are mine. Not perfect, but i don't need perfect. Just them. I hope everyone has had a good Father's Day in one way or another. I know there a few friends of mine lacking a father figure who have been on my mind today and I hope today hasn't been too rough on them. Luckily, I know that they know of the Father who really counts. And as much as I love Keith Clark Homer and as much as i believe he loves me, I'm glad to know that there is a Father whose love for me is as endless and unconditional as that great Mississippi which the Nauvoo temple faces :) See what I did there? I tied two parts of the post together! But really, my Heavenly Father has been on my mind a lot today and I am so incredibly grateful for the outpouring of love I feel from him each and every day.
First one is for Switchfoot, second for Pearl & The Beard

"Always do right; this will gratify some and astonish the rest."

Rooftops and Invitations

So I just realized that I haven't posted for like 6 months. And I don't really feel too bad about that because I never planned on becoming a steady blogger. But it's 1:30 in the AM and i just got back from girls camp yesterday, worked Summerfest all day today and leave for LTC in 2 days. It finally feels like summer :)

There is no possible way to catch up on all the things that have been going on. I can barely believe how much I've changed this past year, especially the last 6 months or so. I discovered my Homeland and was lucky enough to be able to go back again. I've made friends with some of the most incredible people I've ever had the honor to meet. I've learned a lot about Friendships and what a real friend is and how to be one. I've learned what an incredibly blessed life I have and not to take it for granted. I've learned that as my knowledge and understanding of how much my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ cares for me increases, my capacity to love increases exponentially. I've learned what it's like to bomb a math test and how sweet it is to ace the next one. I've learned just how many doors the number 30 can open up. I visited a school I never seriously considered and now it makes the most educational sense. I've learned what pain is and that it's okay to feel. I've learned what it is to feel loved. I've learned to be able to accept people for who they are and not need to change them or myself. I've seen God's green earth in it's natural beauty. I've learned that some songs can make me ok. They don't change the situation, just how I feel about it. I've learned that my Heavenly Father truly is looking out for me and that the sooner I trust that fact, the sooner I breathe again. I know I'm only 17 and I don't claim to have life figured out. But I feel like this last year has taught me a lot. I guess you could say...I've learned how to learn.

"Things turn out best for those who make the best of the way things turn out."