Monday, February 29, 2016

The Sacredness Of This Land, And the Importance of Memorizing Scripture

Each week I have a goal of memorizing a scripture.  Scripture mastery hasn't been one of my strong suits, and I wish I was a better scriptorian.  I'm a woman of great faith.  I have a strong testimony.  And though I attend Sunday school, read the scriptures, and spent enough hours attending Institute of Religion classes to earn a second high achievement certificate during my 20's, I wish I knew the scriptures better.

Many years ago my Step Grandfather, before his passing and after I gave a talk when I was 19 during sacrament meeting, said with great reverence, "You have a living testimony."   He said it many times since, and I'm not quite sure what he meant by it.  What does it mean to have a living testimony?  But my testimony in Christ's gospel, and that Christ lives and is still with us, is very strong.  I live what I believe.  Though imperfect, and though I make many mistakes, I strive always to follow him.

Several years ago my YSA (Young Single Adults) stake (a stake is a group of congregations) had two stake conferences a month apart.  This is very unusual, as stake conference only happens twice a year, six months apart.  This happened because Elder Richard G. Scott, a member of the 12 apostles before he passed away last year, came to speak to us.  He chose our stake, even though there were three YSA stakes in our area.  He specifically came to speak to us.

It was extraordinary.  We were excited.  What would he talk about?

My brother and I got there really early and got close seats in the pews, a couple rows from the podium.  And by the time the meeting started and Elder Scott found his seat, he was positioned directly in front of me on the stand.  No head blocked my view.  And I watched him, overwhelmed, filled with the spirit, but also fighting depression and overwhelming feelings of self-doubt.

When he got up to speak his main area of topic was the importance of memorizing the scriptures.  To always have them within us, and the blessings this brings.

In High School I attended early morning seminary at 6:30 in the morning.  Scripture mastery is a huge part of Seminary.  Every year there were 40 scriptures to master, and every year I only memorized a couple.  It's something I've always hung onto.  A regret that I wish I had put more importance on practicing and committing these sacred texts to memory.

I know Elder Scott talked on more topics, more about the scriptures and personal counsel for us.  But it was his loving advice on the scriptures and memorizing them that stuck with me.  And I never followed through.  Always in the back of my mind I would see him, that moment, and regret that I haven't followed his counsel.  Then he passed away last year, and what he spoke came back to my memory.

And now it is Leap Day, 2016, and I am finally going to commit myself to the memorizing of scripture.  Bit by bit.  The goal is one a week, though for longer scriptures it may take longer.  But I know the sure act of it, of always having the scriptures on my mind, will be a blessing, and will enlarge my sensitivity to the spirit.  In this day and age this is a gift.

The first scripture I'm going to work on memorizing is 2 Nephi 7-8, from the Book of Mormon.

"7 Wherefore, this land is consecrated unto him whom he shall bring. And if it so be that they shall serve him according to the commandments which he hath given, it shall be a land of liberty unto them; wherefore, they shall never be brought down into captivity; if so, it shall be because of iniquity; for if iniquity shall abound cursed shall be the land for their sakes, but unto the righteous it shall be blessed forever.

"And behold, it is wisdom that this land should be kept as yet from the knowledge of other nations; for behold, many nations would overrun the land, that there would be no place for an inheritance."

The Book of Mormon is another testament of Jesus Christ.  Another witness that he is our savoir and redeemer.  The Book of Mormon is the Stick of Joseph spoken of in Ezekiel 37: 15-17, whereas the Stick of Judah is the Bible.  "The word of the Lord came again unto me, saying, Moreover, thou son of man, take thee one stick, and write upon it, For Judah, and for the children of Israel his companions: then take another stick, and write upon it, For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim, and for all the house of Israel his companions: And join them one to another into one stick; and they shall become one in thine hand."

But along with this, the Book of Mormon is a record of those who lived in the promise land.  This Land: The America's.  From Canada all the way down to Chili's southern tip.

This is a sacred land.  A land of promise.  Of blessings.

But this is a land of great responsibility, as well.

There's a reason the America's had remained hid for so long from the World.  And it's discovery was by no accident.  The coming forth of this land was in our Savior's hands.

The future is uncertain.  So much hangs in the balance.  But no matter what happens I put my trust in God.  No matter what happens I love America.  I love the founding principles in which this Country was formed under.  And I'm thankful for the Bill of Rights allowing for the freedom of religion and speech, which allowed the miracle of the Great Awakening, a miracle that couldn't have happened elsewhere.

We are all so blessed for this.  And I feel blessed to be apart of this legacy, for the bravery of our founding fathers, and for all my ancestors who risked their lives for this Country.  I will always be thankful.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Nothing Should Be Done In Anger

"Anger is not an expression of strength.  It is an indication of one's inability to control his thoughts, words, his emotions.  Of course it is easy to get angry.  When the weakness of anger takes over, the strength of reason leaves.  Cultivate within yourselves the mighty power of self discipline."

~ Gordon B. Hinckley (1910-2008)

Friday, February 26, 2016

My Friend Kathryn Mecham's First Fashion Show: Absolutely Amazing

Utah Fashion Week is currently taking place, running February 24th through the 27th.  Last night was the Spring 2016 Up-and-Coming Designers show, and my friend and dance teacher Kathryn Mecham presented her very first fashion collection.

Kathryn is incredibly talented in so many ways.  She's my Highland dance teacher and runs L'Esthétique.  Many of the beautiful dresses shown last night are also available online for purchase at The Vintage Daughter-Store.

Morgan Bassett, from the Etsy store Wicked Lovely, did all the beautiful jewelry.

The red dress named "Anna," shown above, is my favorite from the collection.  If I was ever to attend a grand event like the Oscars, I would wear a dress like this: Stunning, modest, and gorgeous.

 All the gowns were beautiful and unique.

This necklace hanging down this models back is just a highlight of the beautiful Wicked Lovely jewelry featured throughout the collection.

 I love the Grecian feel of these dresses.

They all feel part ancient Greece, Renaissance, French, with a dash of ballet flair.

I'm no fashion expert, but this whole collection feels like Kathryn.

If you know her, this collection is her.

 Kathryn with my sister-in-law, and her sister, Lindsay.  That's how we met :0)

Such a beautiful collection!

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Attack of the Giant Bear!!

The bears are coming!  The bears are coming!

There's an infomercial on TV, I think it's one of those pajama commercials, showing a women hugging a giant bear.  That might be fun for a short period of time, but where are you going to keep the big thing!

I've also seen the bears at Costco in a giant crate holding only three.  No more than that can fit.

Amusing, not practical.

It reminds me of carnivals when I was a kid, traveling fairs and Circus Circus in Las Vegas.  Wondering how cool it would be to win the giant stuffed animal.  Looking on with envy if anyone walked by carrying one.

Now that I'm older it's just silly, though winning the giant bear would be a thrill.

Now you can buy one, bigger than any found at a prize booth.  No need to waste quarters throwing balls at tin cans, or shooting water into a hole to make the race horse move.

But still, where would you keep the darn thing?  Bigger question still, how are you going to get it home!!??

Heh, well, that last question was answered today when I was driving around town with me Mum.  Stick it out the back of the car!!

I think the cute bear was having fun. :P

Monday, February 22, 2016

My Year of Fear: Part I

When I was thinking about New Years resolutions last month all the obvious options came up: lose weight, eat healthy, be more organized, etc.  But then I realized what I really needed to conquer this year: Fear.  There are so many stupid self limiting beliefs I've filled myself with, so many things that are holding me back, and it's been eye opening and humbling thinking over these different fears.

It's February and my "Year of Fear" has gotten off to a rough start.  But fear does that; it holds us back. 

Some of these fears I'll talk about on this blog, some I will not, but this last week I decided to face a self-limiting belief that has plagued me for years. That I can't learn French.

Somewhere in my brain this belief sprung, and it's crept into my attempts at learning Japanese.  If I can't learn French, how can I learn any language?  Learning languages is not one of my talents.

But I struggled with reading growing up, feeling stupid all the way through my very last semester in college (it took me 12 semesters to graduate with a 4 year degree).  It wasn't until I was in music literature 304 that I realized I wasn't stupid in English.  That's when I finally realized I could write.  So many signs leading up to that very last class proved I was good at writing, but my early struggles created a handicap in my mind.  Being pulled out of class in the 3rd grade with a couple other kids to get special learning haunted me.

It's amazing how we can let stupid, silly, little meaningless life events dictate who we think we are.

And somewhere I've come to believe I can't learn French.  I can't speak it.

And somewhere I know this isn't true, but this self-limiting belief keeps holding me back.

What am I afraid of?  Not being perfect.

I'm a visual thinking person.  Auditory skills are my weakness, which is ironic because I have a music degree.  (I failed second semester music dictation at BYU, retook it that first Summer getting a C, and if I had failed the second time I would have been kicked out of the school of music.  I cried so many times those few years.)

But I want to be a linguist!  I love listening to different languages being spoken, even though I understand nothing.  The idea of it thrills me.  And I love listening to music in different languages.

And just yesterday I was really struggling with my depression and didn't go to the LDS mid-singles ward/congregation I attend.  It was a few minutes before 1:00 pm, and if I wanted to partake of the sacrament I only had one option, and that was to attend the Spanish ward.  I snuck in the back, feeling ashamed, really, but even though I couldn't understand anything, catching a gist here and there, I still felt the Spirit.  And it was fun listening to the hymns I know so well sung in this different tongue.

I want to learn Spanish, too, but only after French.  First French, then Japanese, then Spanish.  And after I'm confortable with those three I'm going to learn Italian, German, Irish, Portuguese, Korean, Greek, and Hebrew.  Maybe I'll throw Armenian in there at some point, as well.

But it must start with French.  It's my childhood dream.  I took two years in High School, and another two years in college.

And now I have so many tools I didn't have back then.  The four main resources I'm working through are, FluentU, Duolingo phone app, and the Michel Thomas method.

Those are good places to start.

And as a note: Studying the Michel Thomas method is like standing under a waterfall with your mouth open, wondering if you'll ever breath again.  But it sure works.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Always Find Ways To Give

This month I've been on a decluttering kick.  Gotten rid of a few things, made a ran to the local thrift shop, but as I was going through my closet earlier this week I found a pair of really nice shoes and decided it was time to part with them.

I don't have any memories of my family having garage or yard sales.  Even when we were really struggling it was tradition to round up anything we weren't using, grown out of clothes, etc, and take them to the Salvation Army.  Here in Utah one of the main donation places is Deseret Industries, which helps Humanitarian efforts throughout the World.  Though more often I like to take my items to Savers, a chain of thrift stores supporting many charities.

I don't have a lot of money, and if I did I would donate more then I can now.  This has always been a good way to help other people.  A simple way to help that doesn't take much time or extra money.  

"Now ye may suppose that this is foolishness in me; but behold I say unto you, that by small and simple things are great things brought to pass; and small means in many instances doth confound the wise." ~ Alma 37:6.

There's power in "small and simple things."

So earlier this week I found a really nice pair of shoes and sat them aside so I could make a quick Savers run, but things kept coming up that prevented me from doing so.  Then last night I found on the door a bag with a note, asking for shoes to help with an African Relief Effort, and I knew just where these shoes needed to go.

Honestly I know how fortunate I am to have extra pairs of shoes.  My Step Grandpa, before he passed away a few years ago, had all these stories of growing up during the Great depression.  One of his favorite stories involved a new pair of shoes, because back then shoes was a luxury, one pair per child, wearing them thin with holes.

We take so much for granted.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Inside Out Pizza, Blue Apron Edition

"Congratulations San Francisco, you've ruined Pizza!"

~ Anger from Inside Out

Last night I made Parmesan & Provolone Pizza from Blue Apron.  It's the eighth meal I've made from them, on the family meal plan, and so far I'm Loving it.  My Mom and I made this pizza together, and we added the peppers, onions, and mushrooms, but the original recipe called simply for parmesan, provolone, tomato sauce made from scratch, and a whole lot of broccoli.

I never understood why broccoli was the enemy in Pixar's/Disney's Inside Out, the hit animation movie from last year, as I've always loved broccoli.  When I was a kid I pretended to be a dinosaur as I ate them; they we're trees, you see.  Mini trees.

But after last night I realized something: Broccoli, regardless of its yummy factor, doesn't belong on pizza.  Not in the slightest.  But it was a fun experiment.  And now I have a tasty recipe for tomato sauce!

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Kung Fu Panda 3, mini movie review

Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars

For all of Po's life he believed he was the very last Panda alive, being raised by his goose father Mr. Ping, master of noodles and dumplings.  The end credit tease at the end of Kung Fu Panda 2 showed a panda village, dun dun duuuun!, and in Kung Fu Panda 3 Po finally meets his father.  Enter a supernatural villain and the movie plays out to the lyrics of Kung Fu Fighting: "Everybody was Kung Fu Fighting; Those kicks were fast as lightning . .. " etc, etc, etc.

Any more info and I spoil the plot!  What fun would that be?

Without giving too much away, this movie is my favorite of the bunch, with the first movie being a super close second. I loved the first movie. Didn't care so much for the second film.  (And if you haven't seen any of the episodes from the Kung Fu Panda television series, you are truly missing out.  They're really fun.)

Of all the villains this Panda series has introduced us to, Kai is my favorite, who is an old pal of Oogway, the Kung Fu master who passed away in the first movie.  (As a note, an animated series based on Kai and Oogway's past would be fantastic.)

This movie is presented in both 2D and 3D.  I've gotten to the point where I avoid 3D movies, because I'm completely over them.  I'm growing annoyed by the trend.  But I went with my brother Robbie and sister-in-law Lindsay, and they picked the time, which happened to be the 3D showing.  I moaned at the realization, but the opening scene in 3D was so beautiful I let out an audible "ohhh."  It was gorgeous, and I really enjoyed the 3D through the whole movie.

As a final thought, my Dad took the nieces to the movie and I asked him what he thought of the movie.  He gave it 3.5 stars, because he didn't feel the movie wasn't really for kids.  Here I disagreed with him, because I didn't get that feeling.  There's fighting, but that's expected, and much talk about Kung Fu.

I liked the message of the movie.  I liked the theme about family.  There was some backstory I wish wasn't brushed over, but that's okay.  Overall I had fun, and that's one of the main reasons why I like going to the movies.  

MPAA: Rated PG for martial arts action and some mild rude humor.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Vulgarity vs. Virtue

Vulgarity will always be easier than Virtue.  Walking downward will always be easier than walking up, but you must be willing to climb if you want to reach the top of the mountain.

(Heber Valley Campground many moons ago)

 (I  just posted this blog post 30 minutes ago, and then I found this quote!)

"If you are on the right path, it will always be uphill.  The Lord is anxious to lead us to the safety of higher ground." 
~ Henry B. Eyring 

Friday, February 5, 2016

February 2016 POPSUGAR Must Have Box Review and Thoughts

 It's February 5th and I already have the February PopSugar Must Have box!!

 Crazy sauce, this is awesome.

 POPSUGAR Must Have is a monthly subscription lifestyle box for gals.  The cost is $39.95 a month, free shipping, but it's cheaper when you subscribe with a 3, 6, or 12 months subscription.  On any month you can receive goodies for home, a book, fitness, snack, makeup, pampering, fashion, etc.  You never know what you're going to get, only that it will be fun and worth around $100, give or take a little.

 The big reveal, though I realized after the fact that I didn't properly capture the ring.

 The info: Click the picture if you want to read what the cards say.

 Fringe Studio: Hello Beautiful Square Tray, $14.

Usually when I see a tray like this my first thought is soap.  I like having little trays for soap, but it's also good for jewelry and little nick-knacks.

Really cute, and the gold shines.

 Tilo: Heart Print Scarf, $125

Tilo scarfs are like works or art.  Their website is full of beautiful scarves.  This one is simple, and I like the subtle heart print in gray tones.  Makes it easier to wear, and the gray makes the scarf more sophisticated then if it was the typical pink.

 Beautycounter: Nourishing Cleansing Balm, $50

So, I realized something.  The Beautycounter website doesn't list the size of the item, but states it's $80, $30 more then ours.  And our little Popsugar info pamphlet shows a picture of the Cleansing Balm with a gold lid and a size of 2.75 oz., just shy of twice the amount we received at 1.5 oz.

Curiouser and Curiouser.

Makes me wonder if there are any other differences between the item we received vs what was advertised.  For example, the pamphlet mentioned we would receive a "soft muslin cloth" to help wash off the balm, and I received no such cloth.

The instructions say to use this balm at night, so I'll be giving it a try tonight.

 JewelryStorm: Endless Arrow Ring, $28

This is a really cute ring.  It's also tiny, coming only in a size 6, which would serve as a pinkie ring or something called a midi-ring.  I don't get midi-rings.  I've looked into the trend, but I just don't get it.  I don't get a lot of fashion in general.

Thankfully the ring fits my pinkie.

It is rather thick, so I feel it when I wear it, but it's cute, so I like it.

 Foodstirs: Heart Cookie Mix, $12.95

Foodstires is cofounded by Sarah Michelle Gellar.  The kit we received is also "free of artificial ingredients, GMOs, and preservatives."

 The kit is really cute!

And I love how it came with sprinkles and a heart cookie cutter.

This will be a fun activity on Vday, heh, and since I don't have a special dude in my life, I'll devour all of them!!  JK, I'll share ;0)

 Victoria's Secret: Coconut Milk Hydrating Body Lotion, $18

I love the smell of coconuts.  Love, Love, Love, all caps.  And this scent is nice and soft.  "The exclusive hydrating formula of this soothing lotion will help moisturize your body, even during the chilliest months of the year."  So we can slather it on in the Winter while dreaming of Summer.

Because coconuts make me think of  Summer.

I miss Summer.


 Victoria's Secret Sport Socks.

Heh, I need sports socks to encourage me to get back into my forgotten New Years Resolutions.

Thanks Victoria's Secret and Popsugar for the reminder.

Victoria's Secret: Reward Card

A $20 gift card.  There doesn't seem to be any restrictions, only that it expires on March 31, 2016.  I may need to go buy more lotion!  No, I'm not going to go buy lingerie.  That would be silly. Like I stated above, I don't have a special dude in my life.  Lotion it is!

Monday, February 1, 2016

The Popular Character Utah Brawl!

And thus last weekend I found myself at Sensuous Sandwich.  And what did I find?  Another leader board!!  Yeah!!!!  Okay, I wasn't excited, just amused.  And my mental predictions started calculating who will win this battle.

This time around the characters are not from any particular fandom.  They're just a whole bunch of fandoms meshed up on there, so figuring out who will win is a little bit of a challenge.

I was right a couple times back when Loki won Marvel vs. DC.

I was wrong about the Disney villains vs. heroes, predicting Snitch would win, but he lost to Baymax during the final match-up.  (I REALLY wanted Snitch to win.)

So who will win this time around?

I'm shocked that Robin Hood won over Sherlock Homes, and that Sinbad won over Long John Silvers.  Not shocked over Mr. Darcy, Dracula, Westley, James Bond, Frodo Baggins, and Percy Jackson winning.

In the following weeks I predict Frodo will beat Percy, Robin Hood will beat Sinbad, and Mr. Darcy will beat Dracula.  Then Westley will beat Frodo, Mr. Darcy will beat Robin Hood, leading to a Westley vs. Mr. Darcy match up.

So who might ultimately win?

The Princess Bride is insanely popular in Utah.  Like, crazy popular.  So many people love both the movie and book here.

If Westley doesn't take it all I'll be incredibly surprised!!!!

Heh, but I've been wrong before.

It will be fun to see where this ends up.