Saturday, December 31, 2011

Ode to my 22nd year

With the passing of Christmas, my age increased and another year of my life started. So I figured it close enough to 2012 to look back on 2011 and call it an ode.

So dear 22nd year of my life...

You were good to me.
My biggest travel year to date as you took me on a cruise,
 To Mexico,
Coasta Rica,
and Panama
 then to Ireland and England,
 and across the USA - NY to UT.
Mississippi River!
Yay for family visits! :D

 You gave me a degree and lots of useful knowledge
 You strengthened the meaning of friendship.
 Took me to General Conference.
 Allowed me to attend beautiful weddings.
 You had a photoshoot on the beach.
Let me hold a butterfly,
while spending a week being "bearly" even human.
 Experience a giant hail storm.
Saw the Beach Boys in concert... sort of.
 Embarked on my 2nd annual Parade of Homes,

You were filled with smiles,
a giant Van Gogh painting,
a burning sunburn (and experimental solutions),
sister time,
delicious treats,
memories, new and old
firework fun,
trips to the zoo,
enjoying the temple beauty 
(logan, salt lake, idaho falls, preston, palmyra, nauvoo),
rainy days,
and lots of job hunting. 

I am definitely not the same person I was when I turned 22,
and I am excited for what year 23 will bring!.!.!
(and hoping it opens with a nice little job offer and a big decision being able to be made) 

Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas!
I hope that your day is filled with family and friends
and lots and lots of love and warmth.
And also remembering the reason for the season,
celebrating the birth and life of Jesus Christ.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Target hits the Target.

So perhaps you remember this post:
In my opinion Target has the best marketing team out there
because, honestly, this lady is hilarious.
When I grow up, I want to be like her...
this part of her that is.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

A Little Gratitude and The Birth Story the World Will Never Forget

I feel like I am slacking a bit.
Ok actually a LOT.
I didn't even mention thanksgiving -
when I have so much to be thankful for,

And Christmas hasn't really been mentioned either...
...and it's in 15 days!

Amidst my life storms, decisions to be made, and happy moments,
I have attempted to write up at least seven posts,
and I've never completed them to a posting status.

But I want it to be known that I am incredibly grateful!
I am so grateful for days where church is just for me,
because I know that my Heavenly Father knows me
and my struggles.

I am grateful for  my amazing and wonderful family.
For their talents, gifts, time, smiles, hugs,
listening ears, examples, and so much more.
(extended family included)

I am grateful for my friends.
Their examples, letting me help them through rough patches,
and being their for mine.

I am grateful for the gospel of Jesus Christ,
and a knowledge of its truth.
I am grateful for my older brother,
His Atonement for the world and, and the hope it provides me.
I am grateful for living prophets and apostles and their words.

I am grateful for a home, for the future and opportunities,
for good music,
for great values learned from movie and books,
for nature's glorious beauty,
for technology so communication with others is so easy.
for memories of the past - the magical moment of life,
and for the memories to come,
childhood friends who helped sculpt me,
future friends who will continue to mold me,
And SO much more!

I am especially grateful for the Spirit of Christmas

(even though I've caught myself multiple times feeling like this)
For the giving and the living that happens this time of year.
For the beauty of lights, and nativity's, and stars.
For the music and the message of the season -
and the humble story of the birth that changed the world.

Over at my long, lost cousin Elise's blog today,
I read that dear story written beautifully by Elise, 
as though it is through the eyes of Mary.
It truly is a story that just feels you with love.
Here's the link:
And Merry Christmas.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Ireland: Part 4 (England)

I'm going to apologize ahead of time for the lack of pictures from my Manchester visit. I allowed my camera to die. Ooops. So Maria has a few pictures I'll get someday and I'll share what I can from online places.

Day 8: We boarded our plane to Manchester about 6:30 and after approximately 45 minutes we landed in England. We hopped onto the Tram over to city centre. We got breakfast. Walked around town. Shopped the Christmas markets. Explored the large shopping centers. Saw the AMAZING John Rylands library (became aware of one of my new heroes existence). Learned most of the hotels were booked and panicked a little but found one in the "football" and cricket area of town. Met up with Mick and Dave back at the airport to travel to Preston, England and stay the night in the church accommodations. 
John Rylands Museum
Enriqueta Rylands. She was constantly giving in here life and built the John Rylands library for the people of Manchester. Sadly she had he daughter and niece destroy many of her personal papers after her death but some of them survived by luck and we see her generosity. I really quite like her.
We also enjoyed Piccadilly Gardens.
With the name of Piccadilly surrounding me
I bet you can't guess what song was running through my head all day.
And Happy Christmas!
Day 9:  YAY!
This day we went to the temple and performed Baptisms for the Dead. It was an awe inspiring experience.

It started out just right when we entered the temple and just sat and waited with Mick and Dave in the waiting room. Just in peace. I loved it.

Then we went down to the baptistry (after we figured out we were supposed to have already followed our recommends down to it - oops). There we learned we would be helping with some family names. It truly was a beyond words and humbling experience to listen to family members discuss those they had once known and feel the joy they were feeling as they performed and saw the work for them being done. I am truly and forever grateful for temples and the gospel in my life.

We went to lunch where I dined on Fish & Chips. And then the boys returned to the temple for a session while Maria and I enjoyed the beauty outside the temple and the heat inside the temple accommadations center.

It was actually during our picture taking at the temple that we met a couple with many interesting hotel stories including bed bugs, blood spatter, stolen jewelry, and dead bodies. Yup. And Maria and I had booked the cheapest hotel available for the night knowing very little about it (BUT trusting the reviews of females who had stayed there alone).
 Later we returned to Manchester, the boys flew back to Dublin, and Maria and I enjoyed some pizza and then a night in our hotel room (see no worries).

Day 10:  This was our tour of Manchester day, and I really enjoyed it. We learned about this building:
Today it is part of the Britannia Hotel Chain but it used to be a Watts Warehouse containing tons of ribbons and draperies. It's architecture includes a different style at each level: Italian Renaissance, Elizabethan, French Renaissance and Flemish, and each corner is topped by a large tower with Gothic Rose Windows. The building was in the area bombed during World War II raids, but employees helped to put out the fire and now it's the only old building in the area.

We also saw the Town Hall. Which is a triangle-base shaped building due to the plot of land it was built on. The clock tower is BEAUTIFUL.
 And the courtyard was never scrubbed clean of Victorian Era Coal Dust Air. This is actually a place where movies of that era are shot frequently with it's authentically coated walls.
We also saw St. Anne's Church, Manchester Cathedral, the statue of Abraham Lincoln they have (due to Manchester's support of the Civil War despite cotton shortages in "Cottonopolis."), the area of the IRA bomb damage, a pub where Lady Sittlewick used to consume 40 oysters for breakfast and eventually died by choking on a pearl, and many more cool things.

We brushed back through the Christmas Markets, searched for the Christmas show featuring Wallace and Gromit (but it just wasn't where we gathered it was supposed to be), listened to happy and talented street performers, and headed back to the airport and to Dublin.

Day 11: I woke up, packed my things, went to the airport, rushed through all of the great fun preclearances and security, and made my flight home without any problems (even at Chicago O'Hare) and met Michelle for the ride back to Hyrum for the night and next few days.

It was a great trip but I was also ready to be home!
And I was just in time for Thanksgiving.

Ireland: Part 3

Sorry it's taking me so long to write about it all.
I'm not really sure you care though so in my opinion it's all good.
The next three days I spent the majority of the time by myself.

Day 5: I thought I would wake up soon after Maria left to intern but I slept several more hours. I then got ready for the day and took the little walk to City Centre and Trinity College. I enjoyed the beautiful architecture of the college campus (holy beautiful Georgian style). I loved it. Trinity College is the common thread between sandwiches, Winnie the Pooh, Robinson Crusoe, and the inert gas Argon (the inventers, discoverers, and authors all attended. Along with many others).
While there I visited "The Book of Kells" in the Old Trinity Library.
It was super cool. It told of the methods that monks used when copying and illustrating manuscripts, including the Book of Kells which is an illustrated manuscript of the Four Gospels in Latin. Once you take that all in, the exhibit goes upstairs to the old Library and holy cow I loved being there. The 200,000 of Trinity's oldest books were enchanting. I couldn't take any pictures but I found this one online:

Ah! Amazing. Beautiful. Inspiring. Happy.

I spent some time walking around Dublin.
 Seeing street performers
This just reminded me of Bert from Mary Poppins
Beautiful harp
The Old Parliament building which is windowless on purpose
The Gardens of Remembrance
I tried to get the statue and myself in the same picture...
I had to look up the meaning of this statue online.
The four swans represent the Children of Lir
who were turned to swans by their step-mother out of jealousy
After 900 years they were returned to human form, died,
and lived happily in heaven with their parents
(in one version of the tale).
It represents 900 years of Irish struggle under English rule.

That night Maria and I attended YSA, ate delicious dinner there, and sang Christmas songs, and my Irish (possibly American) cold started with an oober sore throat.

Day 6: I LOVED this day. I accompanied Maria to the village of Bray. Then she went off to intern and I strolled the streets and beach. It was COLD and rainy. So I walked the beach only to become very cold. So I found a small cafe, ordered a hot cocoa, and read a delightful book.

Then I strolled the streets and shopped the shops (without buying anything).
I returned to the beach as the rain had ceased and took a lot of pictures of myself, rocks, and the scenery.

Apparently my mascara is NOT waterproof...
I hope this appeared after my first trip to town...

 Once finished with that I found another little cafe/coffee shop and ordered a muffin and sat a read the rest of my book.
I really enjoy not doing much and just "being."
I met up with Maria later and we enjoyed a night at one of her housemates play with her roommate Anna.

Day 7: This day was pure shopping in Dublin. I didn't have anything crazy or really funny happen so there's not much to tell. But that night I did pack for the trip to Manchester early the next day! :)