Sunday, November 28, 2010


If you had asked me in August if I could imagine that the semester would have ended this fast I would have laughed. Even though time has flown by these last few weeks have been tough ones in school. The desire to study or to even care is very evident in many of my classmates. I am just grateful that Thanksgiving break is here..or at least was. It was a break that I needed. I like my classmates well enough, but I think we have spent too much time together, so it was a nice change to spend more time with family.

Elisa and Alex decided that this year they would spend Christmas with my family down in Vegas, but because Alex's family is scattered and his parents are on the other side of the country, he and Elisa were planning to stick around for Thanksgiving. Matthew's mom was
kind enough to invite them to celebrate Thanksgiving
with us. Matthew's extended family gets together every other year for
Thanksgiving and this year Cynda was in charge of the planning and instead of heading to Price, we had the party just up the street from our apartment in one of the church buildings in our Stake.

Because Alex and Elisa worked morning shifts on Wednesday and didn't have to work on Thursday, they decided to come down to Salt Lake Wednesday night and spend the night. For about a year Matthew and I have been wanting a Wii and with the graduation money that Matthew received from his parents we planned on getting one, but we were waiting to find one on sale. In the mid-afternoon on Wednesday, Alex called me telling me that he had just purchased a Wii for about $80 cheaper than it usually is and he was wondering if he could bring it down with him so we could play it all together. I told him of course and then asked him a few questions about where he got this Wii system. Alex told me he bought it used at GameStop and so, later that evening when Matthew arrived home we drove over to our local GameStop shop and bought a Wii of our very own! We are such proud owners. That evening we enjoyed trying out some games so much that we were up well past midnight.

On Thursday we joined Matthew's family for a wonderful Thanksgiving meal. We also spent most of our time talking and playing games. It was really nice to have the majority of Matthew's immediate family there. I was able to talk a lot with Matthew's sisters in particular. My favorite game that the family plays when they all get together is called "Smash Ball." You play with a little ball and each player has a paddle. There are 9 spaces on the ground and the point of the game is to get to the first space. You do this by getting the players in the spaces above you out by getting the ball to land in their space. It is a very exciting game with the right crowd. It was a great afternoon and the food was amazing, of course.

For me the best part of the day wasn't all of that though. A lot has been on my mind lately about the decisions about children that Matthew and I are making. I am for the most part excited for all the things to come, but with all of that I have also had fear and doubt. Change is sometimes a scary thing, especially when you are comfortable. I think that when things are good it is hard to imagine them differently, because what if different isn't better? And I know, at least for myself, that my fear increases when I can't see how it will all work out. I was contemplating all of this when I sat down to read my scriptures.

My mind and heart were filled with mixed emotions and I had known for a long time that I needed to turn to the Lord. I had finally decided to do it. I prayed for clarity and comfort. I knew that I didn't need all the answers, but most of all I needed reassurance. I ended my prayer and turned to Preach My Gospel. It is the study manual I have been using for my personal scripture study for the past few months. I have been studying about faith and the next scripture I was to look up was Alma 32: 26-43. It was a familiar passage of scripture to me and to many I know, but I gained new insight as I read it. Verse 27 reminded me of the many times I have "experiment[ed] upon [the Lord's] words" and how each time He has kept his promises to me and I have felt of His love towards me. I realized that this situation was no different. In order to increase my faith and trust in the Lord I must be willing to do those things that He has asked me to do.

As I continued to read on I realized how this section of scripture relates to more than just faith, but also children and the blessings that come from having them. I learned that in this situation I must soften my heart and not resist the Lord's will because of my own fears. As I follow the Lord I will be blessed in many ways.As Matthew and I begin to build upon our family we will feel "swelling motions" and will know that it is a good seed and this new soul will "enlarge [our] souls" and "enlighten [our] understanding" and our joy will be increased.

Continuing into verses 37 to 43 I realized that these verses teach us how we should and what things we should do to raise our children. If Matthew and I will take "great care" in nourishing our children, both temporally and spiritually, they will "grow up and bring forth fruit unto us." We need to have faith and be diligent and patient. Only then will we be able to enjoy "everlasting life" with "the fruits of our labor" or in other words, our posterity.

It was a marvelous opportunity to see the Lord answer my prayers through His word. This is another testament to me that He is there and cares for each of us. He cares about our worries and wants to help to guide us and give us comfort and strength. So, the thing I have been most grateful for this Thanksgiving is my Heavenly Father and His willingness to answer my prayers and calm my fears.

Friday morning Matthew and I went out to his parents home to make Christmas cookies with all the kids. It is a little
earlier in the holiday season than normal, but Cynda decided that since all of the grandkids were in town, it would be the best opportunity. It was a lot of fun to spend time with the niec
es and nephews, and especially nice to meet Lucy. The kids were really excited when grandma gave each of them their very own plate of cookies, but I think the parents were even more excited when the kids were still willing to eat apples with their lunch. I am very grateful for family and I'm excited that Matthew and I get
to visit mine for Christmas.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Finding Passion

School this past semester has been jammed packed and as we come close to the end it is sometimes hard to stay motivated. Many days this semester I have stayed at the school until 4 or 5 to study. I figured that since I didn't have to work this semester that I would treat school as a full time job and try to keep on top of my studying. Some days it has been hard to do and at times I feel like my test scores do not reflect all that I have learned, but I can definitely feel a difference in the confidence I have in terms of knowing what I should be doing when it comes to working with individuals in the neurologic population. That isn't to say that I don't have much more to learn, but more that I think I have found something that I could feel good at and even though I know it would be challenging I think that this is a setting I could enjoy working in. I can't wait until my last two internships. Both will be hard, but I think I will find passion for work in them.

Another thing that came up this semester because of the lack of having to work was the hope to spend time with more of my friends from school, but as I said before, it has been a hard semester, not only in terms of the workload, but also in staying motivated. This semester I have felt even more distanced from many of my classmates, but this past week Matthew and I were able to spend some good quality time with my friend Crystal. I have to say that I love this girl.

On Friday night Crystal came over around 4 or 5 and we started making one of the recipes that Matthew and I discovered that has become a new favorite...bacon burgers and sweet potato fries. I know it doesn't sound original and it really isn't, but it has become a new favorite because of the ingredients we have found to mix in with the beef: ketchup, a McCormick Hamburger seasoning and Worcestershire sauce are the key! And ever since spending the summer in Pittsburgh I have had cravings for sweet potato fries and we found a simple and yet sublime recipe for those as well.

While cooking, Crystal and I were able to talk and get better caught up with the nuances of life, you know, all those things us girls talk about; boys, school, boys, the future, boys. We ate shortly after Matthew arrived home and then we sat back and enjoyed a movie. It was a nice chill evening and I was grateful to spend it with Crystal.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Good Food and a Little Culture

This week I managed to get through another round of testing and now I just have finals remaining. This week in school was, as my professor Jim Ballard would say, "A Banner Week," or at last there was "A Banner Day" in this past week. This semester I have a Women's Health/Pelvic Floor class, taught by the one and only Jim Ballard and this class, as many could imagine, has brought much enlightenment and yet for many, discomfort to us. But the pelvic floor is comprised of many important muscles and we as Physical Therapists are the "muscle experts" so we must learn. This week was interesting because we learned much about poop. And the Gastrointestinal Doctor that lectured for us definitely kept us entertained, with many such phrases as: "When you sleep your intestines sleep, so God made morning to poop." and the reason gas is stinky is because: “You have breakfast, no poop. Lunch, no poop. Dinner, no poop. Ice cream, no poop. If you put a burger and ice cream in a room and left it, you could not even walk into the room it would be so stinky.” I guess if you are working in such a field as his, you have to have a good sense of humor.

On Friday night Matthew and I decided to see our friend Carrie, perform as Maria from the play The Sound of Music, with her stake. Before going to the show Matthew and I decided to use the rest of our "Dining out" budget for the month to get some sushi. We know that it will be awhile before we get sushi again so we decided to get our fill. The show was wonderful and as usual, Carrie shined on the stage. Over the past few years we have been able to go to a few of her concerts and I am continually blown away by her talents. She is just an all around wonderful person that Matthew and I both look up to. She has done many wonderful things and she always has great ideas. It was also fun to see all the children perform in the play. At the beginning of the play there was a small girls choir that came out and sang a medley of the classic songs in the play. Matthew and I were impressed that even the younger girls had memorized all the words, and laughed when we could hear one of them singing out really loud and then saw the little girl next to her try with all her might to quiet her down without drawing too much attention. This included nudging her and then giving her somewhat of a dirty look, all while a third little girl was trying to hold the second little girl's hand. It was very sweet and comical.

On Saturday, Matthew and I got together with some of his old high school friends and their spouses to eat and play a couple of games. We met at the home of his friend Jaime and her husband Braden and were joined by his friends Dave and his wife, Holli and Jim and his wife, Heather. We enjoyed very delicious food including nachos, Italian sodas and an excellent pumpkin chiffon that Holli made. For most of the night we caught up with one another, talking about school, work, kids and future plans. We also enjoyed playing Catch Phrase and a sort of "Newlywed" game. It is kind of amazing to me that Matt still keeps in contact with his friends from high school, but I guess he is still living in the same area where he went to high school, whereas I am in a different state and all I have to keep me connected is Facebook.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Wonderful Wedding Weekend

So this weekend Matthew and I had two great friends, Anthony Woolf and Ashley Christopherson, get married on the same day and needless to say it was pretty busy, but a lot of fun.

Thursday night the wedding extravaganza began with a dinner for Anthony and his new lovely wife, Laura. We ate at a little cafe in Draper where they served fresh fruit and french toast. It was very yummy. After eating, the Maid of Honor, Best Man, both sets of parents and the Bride and Groom all gave little speeches. Many of the speakers spoke about what a great fit the two are and many spoke of their experiences with Anthony and how lucky he is to have Laura. Anthony spoke last and it was so cute how he spoke of Laura. It is so great to see Anthony so happy and Laura too, she is a wonderful catch! Matthew and I are particularly excited to go on "Dates" with them in the near future.

After the dinner I headed off to Ashley's house for a Bachelorette party! We got to see her dress and talk about honeymoon plans and catch up with Jen about life in Texas. Then we played a "how well do you know each other game" where if Ashley answered the question wrong a part of her gift was taken away. She only answered 2 or 3 wrong, but they were pretty vague questions, so in the end we let her keep everything. After playing the game, we made some cookies and continued talking.

While I was at the party, Matthew took Anthony out for their own Bachelor Party of sorts. Matthew tells me that they ended up at "The Ritz Classic" bowling alley. He reports that they played two games of bowling, where Anthony completely destroyed him and then they moved on to play 3 games of pool where Matthew won the first two games and Anthony won the last one. In one of the games Matthew hit his last ball in and then it ricocheted off the wall and then hit the eight ball in. He, Anthony and a few bystanders were in complete amazement and if you know about Matthew's skills when it comes to pool, you would be amazed too! After leaving the bowling alley, Matthew and Anthony ended up outside our apartment talking about this, that and other random things for about an hour and a half. It might have been longer, but Anthony knew he still had about 3 hours of work to do on a portrait of Laura and it was already after midnight.

Friday after school I picked Matthew up from work and we headed to the Draper Temple for Anthony and Laura's sealing. We got their early and contemplated grabbing something to eat, but decided to sit in the temple for a little while instead. While waiting for the sealing we were able to read some scriptures about marriage and talk with Laura's dad. The sealing was wonderful and helped to remind Matthew and I of the promises we have made to one another and the love that we feel. We had a good time talking with one of Matthew's friends from high school, Craig Fisher and his wife, Crystal. We also chatted with one of the missionaries that served with Anthony. We had fun taking some pictures and were excited to get some food and a small nap in before the evening festivities began.

Later that night I dropped Matthew off at Anthony and Laura's reception and headed over to Ashley and Rusty's reception for a little while. Ashley was beautiful of course and the reception was elegant. I was stationed at the guest book for 30 minutes, to help the guests know what to do. The guest book was unique because it wasn't really a book, but rather the guest signed river rocks with sharpie paint and Ashley and Rusty plan on putting the rocks in a vase to put on a table at home. It was a very cute idea. I was able to see Ashley and Rusty cut their cake and dance before I had to head back over to the other reception.

Anthony and Laura's reception was at an art gallery, which was the perfect setting for them, especially since Anthony is an artist. When you first entered the gallery three portraits Anthony had drawn were front and center, one of Anthony, one of Laura and one of the two of them together. They also had a photo booth and props for the guests to take pictures in so they could put them in the guest boot and as a gift for the guests to take home. They served yummy crepes and cupcakes. I was able to talk a little more with Craig and Crystal and meet their three adorable little girls and also talk with Justin Jay Kofford. Close to the end of the reception, Matthew's parents showed up and we were able to take pictures, eat and talk with them. It feels like ages since we have seen them last, so it was good to see them again. Soon Anthony and Laura cut their cake, threw the bouquet and we sent them on their way with a line of sparklers. Matthew and I stayed to help load gifts into the car and then headed home.

Saturday, Matthew and I spent the day running errands, cleaning and completing some things for church. I was also planning on getting some school work done, but Dennis and Niche invited us over to watch the Utah vs TCU football game and we were asked to babysit for Alli. Unfortunately the Utes lost, but as the saying goes, "You win some, you loose some." Near the end of the game I headed towards Alli's and Matthew headed towards the campus to work on a DVD for his parents. When Matthew finished what he was working on he came over to Alli's to watch a movie with me, but soon we realized that the movie we rented was blank, so we called "Redbox" and they gave us codes for two free movies. So we plan on returning the broken movie today and renting the movies another time. Instead of a movie we decided to catch up on the last few episodes of "The Office" and while we were waiting for Alli to come home we also watched an episode of the new series "Outsourced".

Today we were able to spend another Sunday with the members of the branch we serve at. Matthew and I have grown to love the brothers and sisters in the branch and look forward to each Sunday. Today I taught Relief Society and each week I am more amazed at the things they can teach me. I came into the lesson thinking it was about facing adversity and come out of it realizing that it is about balance and so much more. I love their insights and the experiences that they are willing to share with me. It is a calling that has taught me so much and I know I have grown and become better because of it.