Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Decorating the "tree" (finally)...

I put up our "tree" at the beginning of December with the intent of decorating it a day or two later.  True to form, it's two weeks later and we just now got around to it.  But, it's decorated, and awesome!  I'm getting pretty good at coming up with creative Christmas trees, that the animals can't get to.
We also got our stockings out, and I got super excited when I realized we could hang them by the fireplace!  
I love Christmas!!!  I also love Pandora.  I have perfected my Christmas music station and it's so much better than 99.9 or the other radio stations (although I am liking 91.5 for some slow jazz Christmas music every night...).  I haven't taken the time to slow down and enjoy the Christmas season and I'm sad that it's only a few days away.  

Last week, my Relief Society did a special Christmas program for our December activity.  I think it was the best church activity I have ever been to.  It's sort of difficult to explain.  The way that it works is that everyone participating sits on chairs with blind folds on and their hands in their laps.  The program is a walk through the life of Christ, and they do it through music and speaking, as well as touching items, smelling things, and tasting things.  Some examples, when they talked about the birth of the Savior they had people walk around with their babies and had you feel their feet to represent baby Jesus.  One of the miracles that they went through was when Christ calmed the storm while they were at sea.  There was someone narrating the story, and there were people with fans and spray bottles, spraying and blowing on us, as well as lights flashing and thunder sounds (remember, we were blind folded while all this was going on).  It was so cool to experience all of these things (it was an hour and a half program) in such a different way.  Not being able to see allowed me to really feel like I was there.  I hope that someday everyone can have the opportunity to have an experience like this.  

Well, I am off to make some hot chocolate (Can this rain and cool weather please stay FOREVER?!) and then go to bed.  Good night!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Update and Conference!

      General Conference, as usual, was amazing!  I'm so excited for everyone affected by the changes to the missionary ages!  It's so cool that they have the option to go earlier if they feel ready!  I loved the talks, and so many of them stood out to me.  I don't think you can have favorites, but Elder Holland's talks are always among my favorites and this time was no different.  His understanding of the scriptures astounds me and I hope that someday I will be able to read the scriptures and see the stories in them the way that he does.  There were several other talks that hit home for different reasons, and just in general, I was left feeling uplifted and motivated to do better.  I can't wait for Thursday when they put the transcripts up so I can re-read my favorites and get some good quotes from them.
     So, as far as re-motivation goes, I was in need of it this week.  My last post I was very motivated to make a lot of changes, through the Personal Progress Program (say that 5 times fast...).  That hasn't changed, but I also haven't done great at it.

     Number 1 was Faith and establishing a routine of praying morning and night.  I did so good at this! ...for 3 days. And then it got a little bit sketchy.  I'm doing better though and am learning what works and what doesn't work for me.  I am finding that the days that I say my prayers I have a better day and am able to feel the spirit more often.  It has just been little changes, but I can feel the difference it's making already in my life and I am loving it!

    As for the rest, I've done bits and pieces, but really there's nothing to report.  I'm working on setting aside a time to work on these goals everyday, so hopefully that will help.  On a different note, Greg and I have started going to the gym in our apartment complex on any afternoon that we have off (usually it ends up being 3-4 days a week).  After years of searching, I have finally found a good workout partner! Imagine that, he was living with me all along.  I always have a hard time getting motivated to go and he is doing that for me.  I'm already feeling better and looking forward to getting healthy!

    And lastly, in other news, Greg passed his FAA Exams! Well, the first two...  He has two more to take tomorrow, so keep him in your prayers and watch for an update.  If he passes them both, he'll have his airframe certificate!!!  (For those of you who that means nothing to, he has two certificates that he'll need to graduate, airframe and powerplant, and this is the first of the two.  He'll test for powerplant near the end of spring semester.)  We are over halfway there... WOOHOO!!!


Monday, September 24, 2012

Personal Progress

Recently I have been working on getting the person that I want to be and the person that I am a little bit closer to being one person.  I have tried and failed at a lot of the goals I've set and it's becoming increasingly frustrating for me.  I can see what I want, it just seems like every time I take a step in the right direction I'm actually stepping onto a moving sidewalk that's going in the opposite direction.  I've had the thought a few different times over the past year that I should redo my Young Women's Personal Progress, and I've even gotten as far as looking up a book on the church website, but I never went to get the book and so I never started.  Earlier today while I was on the phone, I thought about it and since I was already killing time on the computer I decided to look it up.  I went to the link and was very surprised to find that it's all online now!  I, being the computer geek that I am, was instantly motivated to start on it.  I've decided that in order to keep myself accountable, I'll be writing about it on here.  That way there is at least the possibility that someone else knows about it.

The first paragraph on the Personal Progress homepage is this:

You are a beloved daughter of Heavenly Father, prepared to come to the earth at this particular time for a sacred and glorious purpose. You have a noble responsibility to use your strength and influence for good. Your loving Heavenly Father has blessed you with talents and abilities that will help you fulfill your divine mission. As you learn to accept and act upon the Young Women values in your life, you will form personal habits of prayer, scripture study, obedience to the commandments, and service to others. These daily personal habits will strengthen your faith in and testimony of Jesus Christ. They will also allow you to recognize and develop your unique gifts.

Basically that is exactly what I am trying to do anyway!  I'm going to start with a few goals and go from there.

First goal:

Faith 1 - Learn about faith from the scriptures and living prophets.

  • Read Hebrews 11; Alma 32:17-43; Ether 12:6-22; and Joseph Smith--History 1:11-20.
  • Read two general conference talks on faith.  
  • Establish a habit of prayer in your life, beginning by saying your morning and evening prayers every day for three weeks.
Individual Worth 1 - You are a daughter of Heavenly Father, who knows you and loves you.
  • Read Psalm 8:4-6; Jeremiah 1:5; John 13:34; Doctrine and Covenants 18:10; Abraham 3:22-23; and Joseph Smith--History 1:1-20.
  • Record how these scriptures teach you that Heavenly Father knows you, loves you, and is mindful of you.

Good Works 1 - Learn why service is a fundamental principle of the gospel.

  • Read Matthew 5:13-16; 25:34-40; Galatians 6:9-10; James 1:22-27; Mosiah 2:17; 4:26; and 3 Nephi 13:1-4
  • For two weeks record the quiet acts of service that your family members and others perform.  
  • Acknowledge their service in some meaningful way.

Integrity 1 - Integrity is the willingness and desire to live by our beliefs and standards. Learn about what integrity means for you personally.

  • Read Moroni 10:30-33 and think about what it means to "deny yourselves of all ungodliness."
  • Read the pamphlet For the Strength of Youth and reflect on how the Lord's standards differ from the world's standards.
  • Record appropriate standards for behavior, dress, conversation, literature, movies, internet, music, and other media.
  • Write your plan to stay worthy to attend the temple.  After keeping this plan for at least a month record your feelings in your journal, and continue to keep to your commitment.

So here goes nothing... Week #1 here I come.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Lemon Poppy Seed Cake

For the past few months I have been avoiding using our oven at all costs.  We had an old oven in our apartment that got almost as hot on the outside as it did on the inside.  Last month, after I got burned from touching the OUTSIDE of the oven, Greg decided to call maintenance.  They said they would come look at it and 3 days later they knocked on the door with a brand-new oven!  They set it all up, we turned it on, and... the house stayed the same temperature!  Amazing what working appliances can do.  So, now that I can cook at a comfortable temperature, I have been baking everything.  Today I was craving lemon (I know, weird!), so while I was at Wal-Mart I picked up a lemon poppy seed muffin mix and a cake pan and went home to make my very first lemon poppy seed cake!  It was delicious!  And double success, Greg thought so too!  In fact I probably won't be making it again anytime soon, because I've eaten way too much of it already.

My yummy cake!

1 Box Lemon Poppyseed Muffin Mix OR Lemon Cake Mix
1 cup water
4 eggs
1 lemon pudding mix
1/3 cup oil
butter or margarine
cinnamon sugar

(This recipe is for a denser cake, more like a pound cake.  If you don't want it to be dense, just follow the directions on the box for the batter and then continue with the rest of my instructions)

Coat the inside of the cake pan with butter.  Make sure it's really well covered.  Pour some cinnamon sugar into the bottom of the cake pan (it doesn't really matter how much, you'll just put the excess back), then move the pan around until the whole inside is coated with cinnamon sugar.  Pour in the batter.  Bake according to the directions on the box (I think my box said 40-45 minutes.  I did it for 40 and it was perfect!)

Dump out while still hot and enjoy!!!  

If you want a glaze as well (I'm not gonna lie, the glaze was delish) just get a carton of your favorite frosting and spread it on while it's still hot.  I tried cream cheese frosting on the first one and lemon on the second one and they were both amazing!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Happy Birthday Aubree!

Well, it has officially been over a year since I posted anything here.  I've been meaning to get back into it and have even half-written a few blog posts, but have never finished them.  When better to get back into it then on one of my favorite people's birthday?!

Today, my beautiful baby sister turns 14!  I've been sitting here for 15 minutes trying to figure out what to say about her, not because I don't have anything to say, but because I have too much to say.  I've been trying to think of one story to tell that would sum up what I want to say about her, but the way that she has impacted my life didn't happen in one story, so one story won't suffice.  I think that Aubree was born into our family at the time she was for a reason.  For me, Aubree has always been the age where she could help me the most, when I needed her to be that age.  She has always been able to come in my room when I don't want anything to do with anyone else.  She makes me laugh when I don't think I can.  She always has a hug for me and gives the best hugs.  When I'm having a bad day, all I have to do is go over to see my family.  Without fail, Aubree will jump up or stop what she is doing and give me a big hug and genuinely be so excited to see me.  I can think of at least a million times when she has been exactly what I needed to make my day just a little bit better (or a lot better).  Now that she is older, she is teaching me lessons on how to be a better, happier person, just by being who she is.  I have gone from thinking of her as just my little sister, to considering her one of my closest friends and even though I'm sad to see her grow up, I'm looking forward to the amazing woman she is becoming!

So, Happy Birthday to my amazing, fabulous, beautiful sister!  I love you lots!!!