Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Christmas 2009

Christmas this year has been wonderful. I still have a couple days of the 60 degree San Diego winter and adventures with the family, but I wanted to share my favorite moments so far.

Ushering for the Grinch

Walking in the Canyon

Visiting with the Mitchell Kids

Sitting in the sunshine reading a book and listening to 8 kids in the backyard being kings, queens, knights, prisoners, and "establishers of justice"

Muggle Jammies

Waiting for Santa

James being sick on Christmas eve night (not really one of my favorite things but this picture cracks me up)

Getting a Snuggie from Santa!

My sister's silliness

Seeing my cousins

Martha Stewart Crafts

Shopping with my Mom

Living the cozy life

Hope you all had a Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Home for Christmas

I've been home in San Diego since Saturday and oh how lovely it has been! I am so grateful that my family lives in Southern California where the winters are 60 degrees. It has been so fun to see all the wonderful people here that I love, to sing in the ward Christmas program, to laugh with my family, to do last minute Christmas shopping, to stay up late talking to my mom, to enjoy all of the things I love most in life and not have to worry about schoolwork!

I think one of my favorite things so far in the trip has been the hike we went on this afternoon with the Mitchell kids in the canyon. It was a beautiful windy, cloudy day and I got some pretty pictures.

Fun weather! I felt like I was in a Maynard Dixon painting.

What could be better for two little boys?

Monday, December 14, 2009

Fall on Your Knees: Looking at Christmas Music

We had an amazing musical program at church on Sunday. We have several girls in Concert Choir, a classical guitar major, and other wonderful musicians. Our Relief Society President is in Concert Choir and is an English major, so she gave a powerful lesson on a literary analysis of Christmas music.

We first looked at a phrase from "What Child is This?" The phrase that had really struck her was "Good Christians fear; for sinners here the silent Word is pleading." The semicolon means that these are two different statements connected by an overarching theme. They could be two separate sentences. Why are the good Christians counseled to fear? I think it's out of humility, that if they are self-righteous, thinking themselves "good Christians" rather than sinners, they may not receive salvation. Christ came to save sinners.

I also love the phrase "silent Word." Word is capitalized, referring to Christ Himself (such as in John chapter 1). I also love that it is the "silent Word." What good is a word that is silent, not heard? And yet Christ is silent so many times, waiting for us to be humble enough to come unto Him. He does not compromise our agency or impose upon us. He is silent. He waits.

I also love the meaning of the word "pleading." It's heartfelt and sincere asking, similar to begging but without the connotation of inferiority. I think pleading represents asking with our whole hearts, doing all we can do to invite and persuade someone. That's what Christ does for us. He is continually pleading, asking us with all the energy and love He possesses, to come unto Him and find eternal life. If He is asking with His whole soul, should we not respond with the wholeness of our souls?

Another great phrase in "What Child is This?" is "Come Peasant Kings to own Him." I love the concept of the peasant kings; each of us, now matter how lowly in the eyes of the world, can become a king or queen through the Atonement of Jesus the Christ. But we need to "own Him." I believe that in coming to know Christ and forming our own relationship with Him, we, in a sense, own part of Him. He becomes real to us. We access His grace and are made perfect through His Atonement.

One of the phrases I love from Christmas music is from "O Holy Night." The admonition to "Fall on your knees" reminds me of how much I owe my Savior, how sometimes I need to stop everything I am doing and commune with Him. It reminds me that without His help, I cannot stand. It reminds me that I need to be more humble and make more room for Him in my life, to let go of the things of the world and surrender all to Him.

I think my favorite Christmas song, however, is "Silent Night." I love it because of the story of how it came about.

In 1818, a roving band of actors was performing in towns throughout the Austrian Alps. On December 23 they arrived at Oberndorf, a village near Salzburg where they were to perform the story of Christ's birth in the small Church of St. Nicholas.
Unfortunately, the St. Nicholas' church organ wasn't working and would not be repaired before Christmas. Because the church organ was out of commission, the actors presented their Christmas drama in a private home. Even so, that Christmas presentation put assistant pastor Josef Mohr in a meditative mood. Instead of walking straight to his house that night, Mohr took a longer way home. The longer path took him up over a hill overlooking the village.
From that hilltop, Mohr looked down on the peaceful snow-covered village. Reveling in majestic silence of the wintry night, Mohr gazed down at the glowing scene. His thoughts about the Christmas play suddenly made him to remember a poem he had written a couple of years before. It was a poem about the night when angels announced the birth of the long-awaited Messiah to shepherds on a hillside.
Mohr decided those words would make a good carol for his congregation the following evening at their Christmas eve service. However, he didn't have any music to which that poem could be sung. So, the next day Mohr went to see the church organist, Franz Xaver Gruber. Gruber only had a few hours to come up with a melody which could be sung with a guitar. However, by that evening, Gruber had managed to compose a musical setting for the poem. It no longer mattered that their church organ was broken. They now had a Christmas carol they could sing without it.
On Christmas Eve, the little Oberndorf congregation heard Gruber and Mohr sing their new composition to the accompaniment of Gruber's guitar.
Weeks later, well-known organ builder Karl Mauracher arrived to fix the St. Nicholas church organ. When he finished, Mauracher stepped back to let Gruber test the instrument. When Gruber sat down, his fingers began playing the simple melody he had written for Mohr's Christmas poem. Deeply impressed, Mauracher took the music and words of "Silent Night" back to his own Alpine village, Kapfing. There, two well-known families of singers -- the Rainers and the Strassers -- heard it. Captivated by "Silent Night," both groups put the new song into their Christmas season repertoire.

The Strasser sisters spread the carol throughout northern Europe. In 1834, after they had performed "Silent Night" for King Frederick William IV of Prussia, that king ordered his cathedral choir to sing it every Christmas eve.
The Rainers brought the song to the United States in 1839, singing it (in German) at the Alexander Hamilton Monument located outside New York City's Trinity Church.
In 1863, nearly fifty years after being first sung in German, "Silent Night" was translated into English (by either Jane Campbell or John Young). In 1871 the English version was published in an American hymnal: Charles Hutchins' Sunday School Hymnal.

I love this story because Mohr and Gruber were just trying to have a nice Christmas service for their congregation. They wrote the song to truly testify of Christ, and had no idea that their humble project would become one of the most beloved Christmas carols of all time. It reminds me that my humble works can be great in the eyes of God. I love the song itself because it is slow, peaceful, and simple. It brings the Spirit and helps Christ to make my soul still. It helps me to trust Him and find peace in Him.

I love this time of year and the opportunity to testify of Christ and become more like Him. I love being able to listen to these songs and learn a little more about Him every year. I am grateful for His Atonement that helps me become a little better every day. I am grateful for His patience with me. I am grateful for the fullness of His gospel. I am grateful for every single thing He has put into my life and what I learn from them. I am grateful that I can have a relationship with Him. I am so grateful that He is my best friend who walks with me every step of the way.

Fall on your knees.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

My Eternal Family

My little brother had an assignment which consisted of finishing sentences. They were pretty awesome, such as:

I wish I could change...the end of Harry Potter.
When I'm alone, I...sing songs of Michael Jackson.
When I'm going to bed I think about...Harry Potter.
The worst thing that has ever happened to me was...all my friends and family moved away. But not on the same day.
Three things people describe me as awesome dude, rad, and Christlike.

But here's the best one.
The best day of my life was...when I learned that my family is eternal.

Not going to Disneyland or Christmas or a birthday, but when he learned that his family can be together forever. He is the most amazing little boy that I know. He teaches me so much. I love him with all my heart.

But this is the part that made me cry.

After this assignment, my mom asked my brother where he learned this beautiful truth. And he said that he learned it from me. One day he was crying because he didn't want me go away to school. To help him feel better, I told him that because Mom and Dad were sealed in the temple, our family can be together forever. If we try our very best to be good, we can someday all be together and never have to miss anyone. We can have a fullness of joy.

I didn't know if he understood that abstract concept, or if it would be able to comfort him. But know I know that it has.

Some days it gets really hard, and I want to run home to be encircled by the arms that always love me, to see this sweet little face.

But I know that my place is here in snowy Utah, to learn "big girl things" and to grow up.

But I also know that my family can be together forever.
Oh, how grateful I am for that!

And this is what we'll be doing for eternity.

Compliments from Strangers

I've gotten a couple odd compliments this weekend.

Customer at Jamba Juice: You have a great wrist motion there. (I was pouring the smoothie into the cup and tapping the heel of my hand on the blender to get it all out)

Guy in my ward: You look very nice from the back. And from the front too.

Not the most desired or impressive compliments, but hey, I'll take it.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Just Blessed.

Today wasn't extraordinary, but it was happy. I was able to get things done and prepare for my finals. (Another tender mercy - I survived my big projects last week and feel that I did well on them! yay!) But the best was at an open house that my Stake President hosted.

As I stood around the piano singing Christmas carols, I felt full of happiness and gratitude. I am grateful for my wonderful family and the love we share, even though we are far apart. I am grateful for my best friend who is faithfully serving the Lord. I am grateful for my sweet roommates who always stand by my side and help me through my struggles. I am grateful for the new friends I made that night. I am grateful for my Savior and the opportunities I have to serve Him. I am grateful for every single thing God has placed in my life, and especially how He has helped me to find joy in my journey.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

First Snow

Though some people complain about the snow, I truly believe that it is a tender mercy from the Lord. Maybe it's just because I'm from So Cal and I don't have to go tracting in it all day, but I think snow is beautiful and magical. It seems to make this dirty, dusty, ordinary world beautiful and majestic. It kinda makes the earth more like a temple, covering everything in white. Also, people feel sorry for missionaries when they are out in the cold and are more willing to let them in the door! Most of all, it finally feels like Christmas. And no time of the year is better than Christmas.

Have a Happy Winter, everyone!

Saturday, December 5, 2009


I have learned a lot this last semester. I have really been struggling with a certain person and felt a lot of anger towards them. (Well, a lot of anger for me. You probably know that I'm a lot like my father and Giselle in Enchanted, and therefore anger is a relatively new concept for me. haha.)I usually keep my mouth shut and leave the situation so people can see of little of my anger as possible. But a few weeks ago I was listening to a BYU forum by Arun Gandhi, Mahatma Gandhi's grandson. He said that the method I use is not the best way to handle anger, because it does not solve the problem; when the issue resurfaces there is even more anger and hurt because it has not been dealt with. This was a new revelation for me! I am not great at it yet, but I have been working on trying to handle my anger in a positive.

Then this morning I was reading Elder Kent D. Watson's talk "Being Temperate in All Things" which was even more of a revelation to me! (Such perfect timing too- definitely a tender mercy.) Here is what Elder Watson said:

"When others are unkind, Jesus taught that 'my kindness shall not depart from thee.' When we are confronted with affliction, He said: 'Be patient in afflictions, revile not against those that revile. Govern your house in meekness, and be steadfast.'When we are oppressed, we can be comforted in knowing 'he was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth.' 'Surely he has borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows.'

"When Jesus Christ, the greatest of all, suffered for us to the extent that He bled from every pore, He did not express anger or revile in suffering. With unsurpassed self-restraint, or temperance, His thoughts were not of Himself but of you and of me. And then, in humility and full of love, He said, 'Nevertheless, glory be to the Father, and I partook and finished my preparations unto the children of men.'"

Did you catch that? Christ did not EXPRESS his anger, but I'm sure He felt it, since He felt all of the pain and hurt that each of us has experienced. And this means that it is not a sin to feel angry! It is ok for us to feel our feelings, and as I've learned to accept that, it has brought so much peace and confidence into my life. But anyway, Christ did not express His anger in this situationHe did express anger earlier when people were defiling the temple, because it was constructive. In that situation He had the power to stand up for what is right, to teach, to make a change. But in the situation of His crucifixion, He knew that He was surrounded by deaf ears and His words would do no good, so He remained silent. He is the perfect example to us - sometimes it is good to express our anger in a positive way, but sometimes it is best to say nothing.

As one who needs to stand up for myself more, I think it's time to express my anger in a positive way that will bring the needed change and address the issues I face so this hurt and pain will stop building up. It's time to say what I need to say.

Friday, December 4, 2009


This morning I was freaking out with the ridiculous amount of things I need to do in a ridiculously short amount of time. Fortunately, God is kind to me. I got two missionary letters (one from Bry and one from another sweet friend) which helped me get my peace back. I made myself some cocoa and put on my favorite comfy, ugly man moccasins from Wal Mart. And as if that wasn't enough, then I saw an eccentric guy dancing to his iPod's music with reckless abandon. Thank you, crazy iPod guy, for being yourself. It made my day.

Thursday, December 3, 2009


Peace is such a beautiful, mysterious tender mercy. I am so at peace in my life right now, surprisingly right in the midst of finals! I have finally learned to love the person I have been struggling with the most without letting them pull me down. This has been my greatest challenge this semester, but I finally feel that I am mastering this. Recognizing this person's weaknesses and trials has helped me to understand why they have done the things that have hurt me and to forgive them. My anger has been replaced with love and peace. This has come through the enabling power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. How grateful I am for my Savior and how He transforms me!

"Then sing, beloved ones, reach o're the summer sea.
Pour forth thy boundless love for us living!
Sweep into every soul, make music of our tears,
turn all our songs to joy and thanksgiving!
And when we silent pass, from far across the sea
let praises ring for life's wondrous blessing."
-David Warner, "Let Peace then Still the Strife"

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

A Lady

"You laugh at me when I say I want to be a lady, but I mean a true gentlewoman in mind and manners, and I try to do it as far as I know how. I can't explain exactly, but I want to be above the little meannesses and follies and faults that spoil so many women. I'm far from it now, but I do my best, and hope in time to be what Mother is." -Amy, Little Women

Don't Blame it on the sunshine

Today when I was walking home from school, "Blame it on the Boogie" came on my iPod. I couldn't stop smiling.


Today I got 2 letters from my sweet missionary! He is so loving and encouraging.

"Now if you asked me if I would rather marry a top women's chorus professional folk dancer or a woman who has the natural ability to humbly and selflessly love her fellow man I would choose the latter. Why? Because those qualities are more eternal....Your ability to make people feel loved and happy is a trait you inherited from your Father in Heaven and is is the trait that has always attracted me to you."

"Sometimes I worry that my words do more harm than good but then I remember that you are my best friend in the whole worlds and so of course you understand me."

I don't know what I did to deserve this blessing.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Disappointments and Tender Mercies

What a crazy day it has been! I flew home today from my Thanksgiving visit with my family, and had many complications with the lovely air travel systems. I ended up missing my connecting flight from Vegas to Salt Lake and was stuck in the Vegas airport for a couple hours. Being surrounded by slot machines and overly well dressed people was not exactly my favorite way to spend a Sunday afternoon. But I was able to find the Lord's hand in all of this, and learned a valuable lesson from the experience.

First of all, it cost much less to get another flight than I had expected. Second of all, I was able to get a ride home from a good friend rather than having to pay for the shuttle. And on top of that, on the drive home she and I had a really good talk, one that we have needed to have for quite some time. I don't think we would have had that if I hadn't had been late for my flight and had her pick me up. It was worth the $20 extra dollars I had to pay.

And when we touched down in Salt Lake, I looked out the window and got to see my beloved Wasatch Mountains. In the midst of a crazy, stressful day, the Lord still showed me that He cares about me. He helped me to find beauty in the midst of an ugly situation. He truly does know what is best for me, even when it is rather messy.

"For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the Lord that hath mercy on thee."
Isaiah 54:10

Monday, November 23, 2009


This year, I am grateful for my trials, for they are truly opportunities to become like Christ, and through them I have come to have His strength more powerfully in my life.

I am also grateful to go home to these wonderful people TOMORROW!

What are you grateful for?

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The blessing of work

Today I realized that going to my job is basically a party. I work with wonderful, loving people who make our labor enjoyable and satisfying. We talk, we laugh, we play, but we get the job done and create a place that is joyful for both customers and employees. How grateful I am for a workplace and coworkers that are so lovely!

"The promise of living with hope and thanksgiving is born of our loving our friends and our labor." -Horace Everett

How has work blessed your life?

Let it out

Today, I had a good talk with a friend. She allowed me to share my struggles, glory in my growth, and just feel. She encouraged me to stay with my feelings, as painful as some of them are, and work through them. Most people think I should suppress my feelings and that will make them magically go away, but this friend has taught me that in allowing myself to feel I work through them and am empowered by them. I am grateful for what this friend has taught me and how she has helped me to discover new things about myself.

How have your friends helped you?

Fall is here

Yesterday I wore a sweater and cute scarf, and I had chicken noodle soup for dinner. I felt that the world is truly beautiful.

What do you love about fall?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

"Who does she think she is?"

Today for my art theory class we watched a beautiful documentary titled "Who Does She Think She Is?" about artists who are mothers and their struggle to balance those two passions when society condemns it. At first I was nervous (again) because I strongly believe that the most important thing for a mother to do is to take care of her family, but again I learned that that there is a place for creation in motherhood.

One of the women was LDS and a BYU grad, and I think she was able to explain it all very well. She said that she had tried to live without making art, and she had gone crazy. She needed to create. And she said that making art was good for her family and her husband. I think that as these women express themselves - and take care of themselves - through art, it helps them to be better mothers. Of course, there needs to be balance in all things and priority given to what matters most, but creativity is necessary and good. Elder Uchtdorf taught us this truth in the 2008 Relief Society broadcast.

I am grateful for a church that understands this need to create! Of all the women in the documentary, the LDS one was the only one who had a husband that valued her artistic endeavors and stayed by her. I'm glad that there are others in the world who recognize the beauty and need for art in our world.

"I think our society today tends to qualify success as financial success, but...the biggest success is to have inner happiness with what you're doing and the people around you and that certainly happens when I create, whether it's been my kids or relationships in my family or int the studio, I think it's core. That's success - it's being happy with what you're doing." - Maya Torres

"But then I began to understand the power of living on purpose." - Angela Williams

Even though I am not an artist or a particularly creative person, these women left me feeling empowered. I feel that I have my own opportunities to create, which I will discover in time. I am going to live on purpose.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


Today in my art theory class we talked about feminism. I had been afraid of discussing this topic because I have always had a negative prejudice towards it - angry women complaining about oppression and doing nothing other than being angry. The blessing of attending BYU is that after yesterday's discussion I have been able to reconcile feminism with teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. While there are, of course, extremes in feminism, I feel that there is a place for feminism and I am now able to understand that.

God sees men and women as different, yes. We have divinely appointed in specific roles. However, this doesn't make one gender superior to another; men and women are equal partners in this great journey of life. We both need each others' skills, perceptions and strengths to help us in our own weaknesses. As my Doctrine and Covenants teacher Brother Perkins explained, husbands preside in the priesthood with their wives as counselors. Wives preside in parenthood with their husbands as counselors. In both of these divine offices, both men and women have the opportunity to do the work of Jesus Christ, to better ourselves as we stand in His stead.

And so, what feminism means to me is to advocate a perception of women based on how God perceives us. Women have been, are now, and will be a powerful force for good in the world. Men need us, and we need men. We have been divinely appointed to teach and nurture, which is not an oppressive role, but a glorifying and exalting one! There is great satisfaction and joy in doing the work to which God has appointed us. Women are worth great thought and study.

One of my professors asked on her blog for readers to describe their favorite "femocentric" art work and explain why. Here is mine - the statue of Joseph and Emma Smith on Temple Square. (Unfortunately I do not know the name or sculptor.)

I'll admit that I am a bit biased in this because I absolutely love Emma Smith; she is my hero. But I love this work because it represents the perspective on women that I have just shared. This statue depicts Joseph giving Emma a coin as a symbol of how she is to direct the Relief Society in caring for the poor. In this way, it shows the power of good women. Her face is resolute, determined and eager to do the work God has asked of her. Both her husband and her God trust her to do great things, and she did do them. I feel that this work portrays both the equal importance and different roles of men and women in God's eyes. Here's another angle.

I just love it. How grateful I am for the gospel of Jesus Christ which opens my eyes and helps me to see.

Monday, November 2, 2009

A Long Pull

"But you see, Jo wasn't a heroine, she was only a struggling human girl like hundreds of others...It's highly virtuous to say we'll be good, but we can't do it all at once, and it takes a long pull, a strong pull..." - Louisa May Alcott

Sometimes I feel like I am battling all these little monsters inside of me. But the harder I fight, the better I get at it. These experiences are difficult, but I am truly grateful for them because they are opportunities to practice a Christlike attitude and love. I am so grateful for this gospel of transformation that changes my heart a little more each day. It is so wonderful to feel myself being changed by Him! I am so grateful that my Savior considered me worth Atoning for, even though I still have so much to learn and work on. I am grateful for opportunities each day to stretch a little taller and come a little closer to Christ. He is truly my friend.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Fame and Fortune

OK I don't really have either...but I did get my 15 minutes of fame in the BYU world yesterday.

Divine Comedy is a comedy sketch group at BYU that is really funny. I went to their show a couple weeks ago and they issued the "Toboggan Challenge." The first person to get a letter to the editor printed in the Daily Universe, our school newspaper, containing the word "toboggan" would win free tickets to their show in December. I took the challenge and I won! Here is the link to their website, which has a picture of me and a link to my article.

Yeah, it was pretty exciting. Now back to my homework.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Sacrifice Brings Forth the Blessings of Heaven

"I gave my best to the [God] I love...Why should I complain, when we both have merely done our duty and will surely be happier for it in the end? If I don't seem to need help, it is because I have a better comfort and sustain me. My child, the troubles and temptations of your life are beginning and may be many, but you can overcome and outlive them all if you learn to feel the strength and tenderness of your Heavenly Father as you do that of your earthly one. The more you love and trust Him, the nearer you will feel to Him, and the less you will depend on human power and wisdom. His love and care never tire or change, can never be taken from you, but may become the source of lifelong peace, happiness, and strength. Believe this heartily, and go to God with all your little cares, and hopes, and sins, and sorrows, as freely and confidingly as you come to your mother." -Louisa May Alcott, Little Women page 82.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Art I love: A Growing List

*Michelangelo's "David"
*Jan van Eyck
*Leonardo da Vinci
*Jan Vermeer
*Marc Chagall
*Van Gogh
*William-Adolphe Bouguereau's "The Young Shepherdess"
*Byzantine mosaics
*Giotto's "Lamentation"
*Jackson Pollock
*Mark Rothko
*Ansel Adams
*Dorthea Lange
*Jacob Riis
*"Man Proposes, God Disposes" by Sir Edwin Landseer
*"The Babylonian Marriage Market" by Edwin Longsden Long
*Maggie Michael
*Greg Olsen
*Minerva Teichert
*Edward Hopper
*Dan Steinhilber
*Dr. Brainwash

And people expect me to pick a favorite artist? Goodness sakes.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Art and the Gospel

"God’s purpose for the artist is to inspire, to give us visions of ourselves that we might not otherwise see, to make us better than we would have been. The world is better for the arts and righteous artists in it. In the quest to achieve greatness in artistic pursuits—whether in painting, dance, music, drama, film, sculpture, or the written word—we should always seek first to achieve God’s purposes. 'All great art is the expression of man’s delight in God’s work, not his own,' said John Ruskin, the great nineteenth-century English art critic.

"We call upon all members, those in the arts and those seeking to appreciate the message of good art, to expand their vision of what can be done. If we are going to fill the world with goodness and truth, then we must be worthy to receive inspiration so we can bless the lives of our Heavenly Father’s children."

-M. Russell Ballard

Sunday, October 4, 2009

I love my mother

I just got off the phone after an hour long phone call with my mom. I laughed really hard, I teared up a little, I felt the Spirit and was inspired to be a little better. Fortunately for me, this is a normal occurrence in my life. I am so blessed to be able to say that my mom is truly my best friend.

She knows all my secrets and inside jokes, my strengths and my weaknesses. She loves me without restraint and encourages me in all that I do. She recognizes the best in me and chooses to overlook my many flaws. She could have done anything with her life, yet she chose to stay home and make sure I was raised in a home that was full of love.

She is remarkably strong and never fails to stand up for what is right, even when it is not convenient. She has a burning testimony of the Savior Jesus Christ and the Book of Mormon. She deals with many trials, yet bears them with little complaint. She lifts up my knees when they hang down. Even though my problems are probably so insignificant compared to hers, she listens, cares, encourages, and advises. She is one of the hardest and most selfless workers I know. She is a woman of many talents, and yet she has the humility to recognize that they are only to be used in the service of the Lord.

My mother makes life magical. Being with her is a pleasure because she helps create adventures, hilarious moments, spiritual experiences, and a home full of love and peace.

She never wavers in her honor and respect for my father and the other priesthood leaders of the Church. She recognizes and embraces her special role as a woman. She has taught me to be obedient with exactness, to love without restraint, to find joy in the simple things of life.

I hope these feeble words can describe some measure the love and gratitude I have for this remarkable woman. I am so grateful to have her as my mother and my best friend. I could not get by even one day without her.

Proverbs 31:10
"Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies."

I can find a virtuous woman; she is my mother.

Thanks for everything, Mom. I love you.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Interpretive Dancing Pirates?

Today I ran across this fact: "Maps with x's to mark the spot are a creation of the movies, pirates would simply memorize where they left their treasure and communicate it to others through dance." Movies pirates are now lame compared to interpretive-dancing pirates. MLIA.

Friday, October 2, 2009

My life is average

I discovered the coolest website today, (also known as MLIA). Basically anyone can go on and post funny, random, happy things that happened to them during the day. Here are a few of my favorites:

Today, I felt something small and cold fall directly onto my head. I reached up and discovered that a penny had fallen into my hair. I was inside and no one was standing near me. I still have no idea how this happened, but I plan on keeping this Magic Penny forever. MLIA

Today, in my college physical science class, my professor said "this part of the lesson is really boring, so I am going to put on my mullet wig." He then proceeded to pull one of out his bag, place it on his bald head, and teach with a straight face. Never have I enjoyed physical science class so much. MLIA.

Today, a kid in my class told the teacher that his dog ate his homework. The teacher laughed, until the kid silently pulled out a clear ziplock bag with an obviously chewed piece of paper in it. We all applauded. MLIA

Today I was calling for my cat who was outside, her name is Pancake, after calling for a third time my neighbor shouts out his window, "I've got the syrup." He's 90 years old and now I remember why I've always thought he was cool.

Today, I watched Bear in the Big Blue House for the first time since I as 7. I'm 18 now and the first thing Bear said when he opened the door was 'My, how you've grown!'It made me feel good to know he remembers me. MLIA

Today, I gave my spanish 2 class an exam which consisted of pictures of household items and the question "What is this used for?", asking them to respond in Spanish. #3 was an armoire. I gave full credit to 75 students, including the 18 who said "to find Narnia" and the 2 who said "to hold boggarts" MLIA

And my favorite...

Today, I was sitting in my room and heard a little boy outside sneeze. I said bless you, and five seconds later, I heard a very hesitant...."God??." MLIA

This website gives me hope in humanity and helps me to appreciate the little things in my day. Enjoy!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Funny moments in Art History

Madonna (with a long neck), Parmigianino, 1540.

This painting is creepy on so many levels. First off, look at Mary's fingers! They are ridiculously long! And her neck is really long too (obviously, from the title of the piece). She must be trying to get a kink out of it or something. The Christ child looks more like a toddler, and this pose echoes the pieta, which is definitely not a happy subject. Then we notice some really weird things with the space. Why is it that, on the left side, there are room for 5 heads but only one body? Where are the rest of those bodies? And why don't they move to the right side of the painting where there is an incredibly deep view? But the right side is creepy as well. There is a tiny bald prophet way back there, which is really weird because all the depictions of prophets in these days showed them with hair! The only bald prophet I can think of is Dallin H. Oaks. And then there is the column - at the bottom there are about 10 bases, but at the top it looks like just one column. And what is it doing there, anyway? Isn't there a building it belongs to? This picture looks like the inspiration for Salvador Dali, if you ask me.

I hope you found that as funny as I did. Mark Magelby is a wonderful teacher and really makes this subject entertaining!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

CES Fireside

Sister Elaine S. Dalton spoke at the CES fireside tonight, and it was incredibly moving. She spoke of the power of virtue and the need we have for a return to virtue in our world today. Sister Dalton proclaimed that the core of virtue is chastity and we can't be honest or have integrity without living a chaste life. I had never thought about that before, but it is so true. I can't think of any unchaste person who is honest and full of integrity! We are the ones to lead the world in its return to virtue - for if not us, then who will do so?

Sister Dalton also reminded us that "The temple is the reason we do everything in the church," and that we cannot get distracted from making it there! We must be virtuous in order to do this.

A wonderful choir performed this gorgeous song that I had never heard before. It's called "I Marvel at the Miracle" with lyrics by John V. Pearson. They are as moving as the lyrics. I have a link the full set, but here is my favorite part:

I pled with God to shed his grace
And take away my sin.
He did and, yet, I turned away
And stumbled once again.
At last I knelt before His throne
And offered Him my soul.
He wept, then gave it back to me
Renewed, and washed, and whole.

I wonder at the grace divine
And power to redeem;
That Christ alone could overcome
And change eternity.
My thanks cannot sufficient be.
My praise is incomplete.
For all I pay, my debt remains
For God's great gift to me.

How grateful I am to have living prophets and the Atonement of Christ in my life! I pray that I may find ways to use my tremendous blessings with my fellow brothers and sisters.

Thursday, September 10, 2009


Which Betsy-Tacy character are you?
Your Result: Tacy Kelly

Tacy, though bashful with people she doesn't know well, can be just as merry as Betsy and the others in the Crowd. Remember the Irish Colleen and the brogue accent? Tacy is a true friend who both sympathizes with and understands Betsy whether she is sad, happy, obsessed with a certain boy, etc. Although Tacy doesn't lose her heart easily, when she does it's for keeps (Harry Kerr!)

Julia Ray
Betsy Ray
Emily Webster
Irma Biscay
Tib Muller
Carney Sibley
Winona Root
Which Betsy-Tacy character are you?
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz

Monday, September 7, 2009

Ways to Find Contentment

A friend shared this list with me, which I think is pretty wonderful.

Be still.
Know God.
Make your bed every day.
Pray. Pray always. This is the mastery of thoughts.
Be kind to everyone. Especially yourself.
Study and ponder the scriptures first thing in the morning.
Find ways to talk about and live what you study each day.
Respond quickly to promptings.
Say I love you as often as possible and really mean it.
Look people in the eyes when they're talking to you.
Treat the one you are with as if they are the most important person in the world. In that moment, they are!
Take a good long look in the mirror every day. Be sure to make eye contact with yourself. AND don't pass judgment.
Look for hints of greatness in yourself and others. Vocalize it.
Eat healthy.
Exercise daily.
Feel the sun shine on your face for at least 10 minutes a day.
Never give up chocolate. Ever!
Try to listen more than you talk.
Remember that someone always has it worse than you. Get over yourself.
Laugh every single day. The harder the better.
Read a conference talk or Ensign article every day.
Never hold back a positive comment, compliment or thought. BUILD! BUILD! BUILD!
Trust that life is divinely guided and is happening exactly as it should be.
Say thank you.

Any other ideas to add?

Friday, September 4, 2009

Back to School

"Don't you just love...fall? It makes me want to shop for back to school supplies. I would send you a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils if I knew your name and address."

Well, it may still be summer in California, but school is up and running here in Provo. I am taking German 102, Doctrine and Covenants Part II, Art History 202 (Part II of the Western art overview), Art History 300 (the Theory and Historiography of Art History), and Clogging. It is fun! I have great teachers and very interesting subject matter, but lots of reading! That's good though; I will be nice and busy!

I am living with my summer 2008 roommate, Rachel, and our friend from that term, Cristina. They are great girls. I love them so much! They make me laugh, put up with my messes, drive me to the grocery store, and just love me. I am blessed to have them in my life.

I've had some disappointment this past week. Last Friday I auditioned for Women's Chorus, and didn't make it in (they said I didn't have enough experience). Wednesday night I auditioned for the Folk Dance Teams, got a callback, but didn't make it, also because of a lack of experience. I'll be honest; it's been tough. With two rejections so close to each other, I felt for a while like these events were reflective of my self worth. I used to think that I was pretty good at singing and dancing, but after this I felt like I wasn't really good at anything. I really wanted to go home.

Fortunately, I have good and parents roommates who took good care of me, and even better I have a Heavenly Father who takes really good care of me. That night I ran into Doctrine and Covenants, Section 24 verses 8-9

Be patient in afflictions, for thou shalt have many; but endure them, for, lo, I am with thee, even unto the end of thy days.
And in temporal labors thou shalt not have strength, for this is not thy calling. Attend to thy calling and thou shalt have wherewith to magnify thine office...

I don't think the Lord created me to be exceptionally good in "temporal things." Some people here have extraordinary gifts in music, dance, languages, academics, and all kinds of other things, but I don't. But the Lord has given me another calling...and that's ok with me. :]

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Arsenic and Old Lace

No one is in town so we had nothing to do last my temporary roommate Katherine and i watched "Arsenic and Old Lace." Such a funny movie!

The two old ladies, the Brewster Sisters, are the sweetest people ever, and part of their charitable work includes poisoning lonely old men and burying them in their cellar, so the men can finally have peace. Sounds bizarre, but somehow they make it an act of love. Throw a newlywed theater critic, a wanna-be Teddy Roosevelt, a psycho murder and his Asian accomplice, a frustrated bride, and 3 clueless policemen in the mix, and it's a hilarious time!

I promise they all end up happily ever after. Except for the psycho murderer. But everyone else is happy.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

I heart Provo

I have heard so many people say that they can't stand Utah and they just can't wait to get out of there...but I don't get it.

I was really sad to leave home, but returning to BYU campus made it all better. I love the fresh green grass and beautiful flowers, I love the security of being nestled beside the mountains. I love the peace and solitude of campus when no one is around.I love the library and the overwhelming access to knowledge it contains. I love seeing all my old friends at Jamba Juice. I love being surrounded by so much talent. I love hearing teenagers walking across campus singing hymns. I love having memories around every corner along with anticipation of what is to come.

I love my life.

Friday, July 31, 2009


So the coolest thing just happened! I have felt this really strong desire to audition for the Nauvoo Performing Mission for next summer. A couple weeks ago, I felt prompted to register for a clogging class for this next fall because they need cloggers and that would help my audition. I checked online then, but there were no openings. I checked back a couple more times, but still no openings. About ten minutes ago, I felt prompted to check online again, and lo and behold there were 2 openings! Even more remarkable, it was right at the same time as the dance class I had already signed up for, so I just dropped my first dance class and am now in clogging! What a tender mercy. I have no doubt that the Lord wants me to be in this class!

I am going to be a clogger - and hopefully a Nauvoo performing missionary.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Thursday, July 16, 2009

I survived being a First Years' Tent Mom

Yes, last week I went to Girls' Camp as a tent mom for the first years. It was a wonderful experience and I hope to do it again!

Going to camp as a tent mom is so much different than going as a YCL (youth camp leader). When I was a YCL, I wanted to serve the girls, but of course I was also there for myself. But as a tent mom, my entire focus was on them. I may have already told you this, but I decided before camp that the most important thing I could teach them and do for them was to love them the way the Savior does, because who knows where else in their lives they can feel that. Of my 13 first years (12 year olds), most of them came from broken homes and divorced families. There were only 4 that I knew of that had solid families with parents actively serving in the church and teaching the gospel at home. One little black girl is the only "member" in her family and goes to church with the neighbors, yet she has read the Book of Mormon 3 times and shared her testimony that she knows the Church is true. I am amazed by the valiance and strength of these young girls.

Brother Mitchell called our campground "The Taj Mahal of camping," and I have to agree. Our cabin had a gorgeous arched window, 2 bathrooms inside, a big living room with couches, and 4 bedrooms. It was kind of ridiculous! And every day the girls could swim in the pool, do crafts, and learn rock climbing and archery. They had a blast. Also, for the first time we didn't have to cook our own meals! They had a kitchen staff that cooked for us, so that was kinda cool.

The first night we were there, they came to the leaders' room at 4 in the morning screaming that they had woken up to bugs crawling all over them. So in the middle of the night they moved all their stuff out into the living room and no one else slept in that room for the rest of camp. Some of them didn't go back to bed after that, so they were dead tired the next day.

On Wednesday, the second day, we had the opportunity to go on a three mile hike. Along the way, we stopped and read Moses chapter 2 about the Creation and discussed it. It was a really neat experience to read about the creation in the beautiful mountains. With the soft breeze and the blue sky, I felt the peace and confirmation of the Spirit, and I hope the girls did too.

It was a little weird at first to be called Sister Hinton, because that sounds like my mom, but after 5 days I got used to it. Some people said it would be preparing for when I serve a mission and have my own black nametag. I look forward to that day!

One of my favorite experiences at girls' camp was when I wrote little notes to each of the girls about their good qualities and why I appreciated them. It was only a couple sentences, but it had a huge impact on them. (I saw one of the girls had taped it into her cute!) But three of the girls were thoughtful enough to write notes back to me! I never expected that. I'll quote what they wrote word for word so you can get the full effect.

"To Tasha, I think you are so nice. When I talk you always listen you don't just fake like the other people. It was so fun when we went on the hike together even thought I was sweaty and hot. I really like you because you are respectful and you are nicer to everyone even if they're not nice to you. You are a really good friend. Thanks for being a friend, Helena."

"Dear Tasha, I just want to thank you for being so nice and respectful also very understanding to all of us girls and also teaching me stuff I never would have wanted to learn. Thank you! Sincerely, Shay PS - I think you are sweet, helpful, understanding and outgoing also very smart. Thanks again I will always remember you and you're my hero!"

"Dear Sister Tasha, Thank you soooo much for all your help! You are my favorite camp leader. And thanks for the wonderful notes on our doors, like I said you are the best camp leader ever! Love, Kali PS - Go Utes" (Her Uncle is the U of U head football coach)

That made me indescribably happy because it means I'm doing my job - helping them feel the Savior's love for them and helping camp to be a good experience.

A few of the other highlights of camp:
*becoming closer with Lizzy Mitchell. She's so comfortable in her own skin and not worldly, which is probably why I feel like I can really connect with her. She's so funny.
*one of the girls singing "once an ostrich went yodeling" instead of "once and Austrian went yodeling"
*one of my first years making an effort to learn sign language and be friends with an older girl at camp who is deaf
*one of the YCLs telling me that I should be a yodeler
*all the games we've played: signs, psychiatrist, telephone, telephone charades, telephone pictionary, kai
*the beautiful journal I made at craft time! The cover paper is from a Monet painting so I'm gonna use it for my art history notes next semester
*Megan's silliness which made all my first years fascinated with her. On her bio sheet under something no one knows about you she wrote "I have 4 belly buttons" and a few of the girls came up to be asking if that was true! haha

Friday during scripture study with the girls I had a really good experience too. We combined with the 2nd years (who my grandma was over so she came too) and read out of Alma 36 the story of Alma the Younger's repentance. I checked in periodically to make sure that they understood what was going on. The best was at the end of the discussion when I got to bear my testimony of the Savior and repentance. One of the girls said, "I've noticed in the Book of Mormon it says to keep the commandments or you'll be punished, but what if you mess up?" Then I explained how the Savior's Atonement allows for repentance and eternal progression even until we are perfect. It was absolutely beautiful and everyone was so focused on learning the gospel. I am so grateful that I got to be prepared, worthy, and present to teach in the right moment when that girl was ready to learn that truth. If I had supported the snipe hunt, who knows if I would have been able to have that experience.

Also, Jalissa (the girl who goes to church with the neighbors) came up to me and said she's read the BoM 3 times but doesn't understand a lot of it and has no one to talk to about it since her family doesn't go to church. My heart absolutely melted. I told her that when I study the scriptures I pray and ask Heavenly Father for understanding, and that always helps me. I also gave her my email address and told her that if she ever has a question I am more than happy to help her. I am amazed by her faith to continue reading even when she doesn't understand, and I hope she will find the answers she is looking for.

My testimony grew so much at camp from the Spirit and their good examples. I learned about who I am and the mission the Lord has for me in this life. I think it was my favorite year at camp ever, and I look forward to returning soon!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Isaiah 3:9 "The Shew of their Countenance Doth Witness Against Them."

"Every man and every person who lives in this world wields an influence, whether for good or for evil. It is not what he says alone, it is not alone what he does. It is what he is. Every man, every person radiates what he or she really is....It is what we are and what we radiate that affects the people around us.
"As individuals, we must think nobler thoughts. We must not encourage vile thoughts or low aspirations. We shall radiate them if we do. If we think noble aspirations, there will be that radiation when we meet people, especially when we associate with them."
- President David O. McKay

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Well I suppose I should post an update...

1. I survived babysitting the Moores for a week...and I loved it! Logan and Gavin are such sweet kids and I miss them and their little mannerisms. I miss Logan telling me how he's trying to decide between a career as a garbage man or construction worker, and I miss Logan saying, "go go car waaash?" and yelling "strike!!!" when playing wii bowling (even though it usually wasn't a strike.) Such cute kids and a blessing of an opportunity.

2. My best friend Brian entered the MTC two weeks ago today. He says the MTC is intense but he loves it and his (yes two!) companions. I miss him a lot and it's hard to not be able to help him in person as I'm used to, but I can already see the blessings of this sacrifice. He has special gifts that the people of Ukraine need and I can see that he is growing as well. It is definitely worth it.

3. I am working at the San Diego County Fair! I work in the Home and Hobby Department, so before the fair I helped set up exhibits and take in entries, and during the fair I walk around the floor and answer people's questions. There are a lot of great people there and I am enjoying it. It has been a blessing to be able to earn money with this job and still have time left in my summer to relax and be with my family.

4. I am nineteen years old as of yesterday! To celebrate I went to Sea World with my friends Hillary, Kat, and Ashlee on Monday, and yesterday I went to see "Up" with my mom and siblings. The movie was SO GOOD! I think everyone should definitely see it. The message is that the greatest joys and adventures in life are just doing simple things with your friends and family. The Pixar short before the movie was sweet too. Bring lots of tissue, because we cried a lot! But definitely in a good way :]

Thursday, May 28, 2009

The Fire of the Covenant

I just finished rereading "The Fire of the Covenant" by Gerald N. Lund. It is a very moving book that I would recommend to everyone. It tells the story of the pioneers who emigrated from Europe with the Willie and Martin Handcart Companies in 1856. As most of you know, these two companies were very late in the season and were caught in very severe snowstorms with barely any food or clothing. About 1/5 of the people in these two companies did not survive. I have ancestors that were in the Martin company, and as I read of the hardships they endured, I marveled at their great faith.

To leave their homes and families behind and never see them again,
To use up all their savings praying that the Lord would provide a way for them to make a new life in Utah,
To sail across the Atlantic Ocean to a foreign country, and then travel in overcrowded trains to the very edge of that country,
To be insulted and persecuted by the Americans as they passed through Iowa,
To limit their earthly possessions to 17 pounds,
To pull a handcart through 1300 miles of scorching sun and freezing snow,
The constant anxiety about when and if the supplies from Salt Lake would reach them,
To see men, women, and children suffer these things and die when they were so close to Valley,
To endure all this, and be able to sincerely sing "All is Well" at the end of the day -

That is incredible faith.

Brigham Young once counseled the Saints, "Now is the time for our labor. Let the fire of the covenant, which you made in the house of the Lord, burn in your heart like flame unquenchable!"

I truly believe that those faithful Saints not only survived but grew from it because of the "fire of the covenant" that roared in their hearts. I honor them and love them for their trust in the Lord and willingness to suffer all of these hardships without doubting. I am truly grateful for the example these Saints have set for me, and the strength that example is to me.

Their example gives me greater faith to endure the challenges I am pioneering through -

Choosing to stand apart from the world to be closer to my God,
Being persecuted for what I believe in,
Overcoming the subtle evil of accepting mediocrity,
Living in a world where lust is taught to be love,
Worrying about how to teach my children to be meek and Christlike in a society where vulgarity is the norm,
Learning to get outside of myself and serve,
Shunning the evils of pornography like the plague,
Fighting to not become addicted to electronics and entertainment,
Worrying about the world's economic and political state,
Trying to keep the Spirit while dealing with screaming toddlers,
Learning to let go of my blessings and give of my wealth to those who need it so much more,
and most of all,
letting my best friend and hero go to serve a mission for two whole years.

But I know that just as my Father sustained those remarkable pioneer Saints, He will sustain me. Nothing can stop me from fulfilling the mission the Lord has for me, because I too have "the fire of the covenant" burning inside of me.

Some try to blame Brigham Young or the other church leaders of the day for the tragic suffering that the Willie and Martin Handcart companies endured. But I know that this was part of Heavenly Father's plan. He could have altered the circumstances - but He did not. Maybe it was so that those Saints could learn something about faith.

Maybe it was also so that a lowly 19 year old girl 200 years later could learn something about faith.

Let us here observe, that a religion that does not require the sacrifice of all things never has the power sufficient to produce the faith necessary unto lie and salvation....When a man has offered in sacrifice all that he has for the truth's sake, not even withholding his life, and believing before God that he has been called to make this sacrifice because he seeks to do his will, he does know, most assuredly, that God does and will accept his sacrifice and offering, and that he has not, nor will not seek his face in vain. Under these circumstances, then, he can obtain the faith necessary for him to lay hold on eternal life. - Joseph Smith, Lectures of Faith, December 1834

Thank you, my pioneer fore bearers, for exhibiting this kind of faith and inspiring me to do the same. I am eternally grateful. Maybe now you can understand why the Lord let you have this experience.

Monday, May 4, 2009


So I was talking to my mom this morning about how much I love art history (nothing new, of course) and she mentioned that I should think about going on a tour to Europe next summer. She went on one when she was in college because she liked art history too, and she really loved it and said she found a good price with other LDS people. So now I'm looking into it, but there are so many decisions to make. Most of the LDS tours are to Central America or Church History sites, not Europe. Also, I would love to go to Germany because I am learning that language, but also to Italy, France, and England for the art - but the tours that include all those destinations are pricey. I really want this LDS tour that includes Rome, Florence, Venice, Innsbruck, Lucerne, Paris, and London for $1,909, but it's scheduled for 2009 and that's a little soon! I'll see if I can find it for next summer. If anyone has ideas, suggestions, or other websites I haven't looked at, I would love to hear your advice!