Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Things I Gleam From Stake Conference

This morning our church had Stake Conference.  For those of you whom are unfamiliar.  The ward we meet with every Sunday is made up of a congregation of members in the area.  The stake is made up of wards in the area, so a stake covers a larger area.  In any case, members from the whole stake are invited to Stake Conference, and today was an extremely special Stake Conference.  Why?  Because, we had the opportunity to hear from an apostle of the Lord.  Elder Robert D. Hales spoke at our meeting.

Every speaker today was excellent, and the whole room was filled with a warm spirit.  Elder Worthen of the Quorum of the Seventy instructed the congregation to listen to the Lord with the intent to repent, then go and do.  He also said that sometimes when we commit sin, we are afraid to turn to God, which is ironic because He is the very being who will help us.  I thought those were good thoughts.

Elder Hales touched upon some really great points.  One of my favorite things he said was, "I am who I am because of who the Lord gave me."  He was speaking about his wife.  I really liked this, and I know both of my parents would say the same thing about each other.  It just really helps me realized how blessed I am, and how much I want the same thing.  He also said of marriage, that we need to say to our spouse, "Thee lift me, and I will lift thee, and we will ascend together."  This means, "We will grow together."  He also instructed the congregation to not compare yourself with others, and to give thanks and gratitude for all that you have.  He closed his talk by stating that the Prophet, President Thomas S. Monson, woke up in the middle of the night this past Wednesday, October 27th.  He said that he laid in bed and thought about the singles of the church.  Elder Hales stated that he has never heard President Monson say this before, even though he knows he loves us.  It makes me feel good that my church, and the people in my church love me.  It was a very successful and fantastic Stake Conference.
And, now that we are getting into the holiday season, it is very important give thanks and recognize our blessings.  I have the intention of posting every day something I am grateful for, even though I know I will get wrapped up with "life," so I will post something I am thankful for in each post.

Today: We will start with...I am thankful for my religion.  Being a Mormon has had the greatest influence on my life.  I would most definitely not have the standards or be the person I am today without the influence my faith has on me.  I am incredibly imperfect, but being a Mormon gives me the desire to do and be better.

Oh...And Happy Halloween!  Here are pictures of friends and I from the "Thriller" performance last night.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

My Halloween Weekend (Thus Far)

I had hoped my last post would hold you over for a bit, because I knew last week would be so incredibly busy.  Next week is yet another busy week for me, but hopefully I'll be able to update more regularly.

Last night started my Halloween weekend.  I dressed up for work.  I wore a purple shirt with a big silver quesetion mark (?) on it made out of duct tape.  I was pretty proud of my creation.  One of my students gave me the idea.  See if you can figure it out.
If you need help: Some of my students call me Mister E.  If you say it out loud it sounds like, "Mystery."  So I wore a question mark.  How appropriate.  It was fun trying to see my students figure it out.

My best friend slash co-worker Justine was Miss "Bee" because her last name begins with a "B."  We are just so clever like that.

After work, Justine and I worked the high school football game, then I went ice skating in my costume with some friends (Jane, Mark, Emerson, Lisa, and Devan.  It was so fun just to skate around with friends and feel the crispy air.
Then, I met up with Crystal, Lindsey, and Adam to head over to a little Halloween Dance Party.  FunFunFun.
Now, I am leaving for a dance company performance.  It's called "Thriller."  Apparently it's supposed to be really good.  All of my friends have heard and know about it, but I haven't.  Maybe I'm just out-of-the-loop.  I'm sure it will be great.

And here's a nice little moment I had today.  I went grocery shopping with my friend Erin, and there was a beggar outside.  Erin handed me a couple of bucks and told me to give it to him.  He was so happy and thankful.  It's starting to be that season where we think about giving back (although we really should be charitable at all times), but it just really made me happy that I have such great friends.


Sunday, October 24, 2010

Update: Flying Here, Flying There

The past couple of weeks have been pretty crazy.  I jetsetted back to my dear home of Princeton, New Jersey October 13-18.  And, this past weekend (October 22-24) I flew on over to Los Angeles, California (but mainly stayed in Newport slash Laguna Beach).

I had such a fantastic time on both trips.  And, I am updating this blog right now as I sit at Long Beach Airport in Los Angeles.  I guess my flight being delayed is good for blog updates.

Let's start with New Jersey.

Wednesday, October 13th: Flew in.

Thursday, October 14th: I went back to my former place of work to visit friends and the kiddies.  Going back is always my favorite part of being home.  I have SO much love for those co-workers and students of mine.  They are the BEST.

That evening I drove down to South Jersey to visit two of my very best friends, Carina, and Jess, who had JUST returned from her LDS mission in Argentina not even a week ago!  Jess and I met back in 2006 through Olive Garden (I used to hang out with the OG Crew my whole Freshman year at college). Jess and I became instant friends, and have been so close ever since.  She is such an inspiration to me.  I love her.  She was still the same Jess, and we had such a fun time catching up at our old stomping grounds of Friendly's in Pitman.  She really misses Argentina, but I am so happy to have her back!

Friday, October 15th: My Mom and I took the New Jersey Transit train into New York City.  It was a Mother-Son Day, and I had so much fun.  Spending all day with my Mom New York City was just what I needed.  I LOVE MY MAHM!  :)  We walked from Penn Station all the way up to the Upper West Side to go to the Manhattan LDS Temple.  After that, we ate lunch at Europan (just next door to the temple) which is my favorite NYC deli.  I was so happy to get some fresh, delicious Gazpacho.  Did some shopping at H&M on 5th Ave., then dinner at my favorite Times Square burger joint, HB Burger where Mom and I got yummy Sashimi Tuna Burgers.  Can you tell I love food?  It was a perfect day with the perfect company.

Grandma and Grandpa flew in from Logandale slash Las Vegas, Nevada this night as well.

Saturday, October 16th: Just had a chill day with the family and Grandma and Grandpa in Princeton.  We watched the BYU vs. TCU Football Game.  It was disappointing.  I cooked Balsamic-Glazed Salmon for my family...Grandma and Grandpa loved it.

Sunday, October 17th: Now for the real reason I flew home on such short notice.  My Dad got called to be Bishop of my home ward.  This was a pretty momentous occasion, and really special for my family and I.  It was a very spiritual weekend for everyone, and I know my testimony has been strengthened because of it.  My parents are so in tune with the Spirit...It really is quite incredible.  I really admire and look up to them.  My favorite part was Sacrament meeting where my Mom and Dad got to get up in front of the congregation and bear their testimonies.  My Mom shared a story about a paper I wrote in college.  The topic was to choose someone in the New Testament who I would want to meet (aside from Jesus).  I don't even remember writing this paper, but the person I chose to meet was the Prodigal Son's Father from the Parable of the Prodigal Son.  I wanted to meet the Prodigal Son's Father because his son ran away, spent his inheritance, and his father wasn't even mad.  He took him back in with open arms, and forgave him totally.  This made me think of my own Father who doesn't look at my faults, but focuses more on trying to make me a better person.

Monday, October 18th: I flew back.

...And that was my impromptu trip back to Princeton in a nutshell.
...Now for my past weekend in California.

Friday, October 22nd: I flew out to California for one of my best friend's (Kate's) wedding.  I met Kate in 2008 (that rhymes if you say it out loud).  She was in my major at Brigham Young University.  We went through the whole program together, had every class together, and graduated together.  Kate, Elyse, and I sat next to each other the very FIRST day in the program.  We sat next to each other EVERY CLASS until graduation.  We became best friends, and did every project and assignment together.  So, of course I had to fly out for her wedding.

When I arrived, Elyse wasn't able to pick me up at the airport as planned, so I rented a nice little 2010 Jetta, which actually was very nice.  I had never driven a Jetta before, and I liked it a lot.  Anyway, I drove from Long Beach Airport in Los Angeles to Laguna Hills in Orange County for the rehearsal dinner.  Right when I arrived, I ran to Kate.  It was so great seeing her so happy.  I met her fiance (now husband) Tucker at the rehearsal dinner for the first time.  Tucker is my age, and SUCH a great guy!  So personable, so friendly, so happy, and SO perfect for Kate.

Saturday, October 23rd: WEDDING DAY!  Things were so crazy and hectic for Kate and her family, so Elyse and I did all we could to help by taking care of Kate's niece and nephews.  After getting ready, we drove to the Newport Beach LDS Temple to see Kate and Tucker walk out.  Kate looked so beautiful in her wedding dress.  We took maybe a million pictures.  The rehearsal dinner started at 5pm, and so we headed over there to eat and mingle.

After the reception, I drove up to the northern Los Angeles area (Camarillo) to stay the night and visit with my friends Allie and Tom and their beautiful baby girl.  It was so fun to visit them, and play with the little peanut.  She was so fun, smiley, and happy, which was so nice because Kate's baby nephew I had been watching earlier in the day cried and hated me.  It was great to visit Allie and Tom, and I could just tell that they are living to right, because I could totally fill the Spirit in their home.

Sunday, October 24th: I woke up and went into the heart of Los Angeles to the Santa Monica area.  I went to the LDS Los Angeles Temple Visitor's Center because I heard a rumor that my picture was up in it.  Well, I went and found both my Dad and my picture displayed.  That was fun to see.  I also spoke a long time with one of the sister missionaries there because she knew my good friend Matt really well who is serving his mission right now in Los Angeles.  It turns out that Matt is actually her District Leader.  Pretty cool!  I stayed for a while and walked around the temple grounds.  It was a nice Sunday activity to do before having to head to the airport...Which is where I am now...Because my flight is delayed indefinitely (or so it seems...).

Until next time...Remember, you are loved.